Friday, July 31, 2015


"Well, that'll certainly teach Muffy not to get kidnapped by her skeezy dope dealer boyfriend and his buddies."
Over in a great big RTWT sort of post at Mountain Guerrilla, JM wrote:
"More importantly, don’t be deluded into thinking the gun is a magical talisman of protection. Your CCW certification class is NOT a defensive handgun course. Take a practical shooting course with pistols. Here’s the catch though, not all defensive handgun courses are created equal.

It’s cool to take a course that focuses on shooting fast, accurately. In fact, that’s probably the first pistol course you should take. It helps start developing the fundamental skill sets. In the real world though, it’s entirely possible that you’ll end up shooting TOO fast, and TOO accurately.

Too many shooting courses focus any “decision-making” on simple, binary decisions. “Gun or no gun?” is NOT a valid decision-making matrix for shoot-or-no shoot in the real world. It’s more complicated than that. Hell, even “that dude is pointing a gun at me” may not be adequate grounds to drop the hammer.

A solid, practical, real-world shooting course MUST include practical, complex decision-making processes in the course work. You’ve got to learn to SEE and PROCESS information FASTER, so you can shoot SOONER. A sub-one second shot is great…right up until it takes you two seconds to determine that the apparent target is your wife/best friend/father-in-law, coming to help."

Muffy, in the photo above, was a hostage target slightly occluded by the bad guy, in front of and overlapping her. The pair were situated such that you came upon them pretty abruptly on rolling through a doorway, and you can see the result of poor trigger control under surprise. I think only two teams did not put any holes in Muffy, and I'm kinda happy that none of those bullet holes are mine.  I almost tried a body shot on the bad guy by reflex, and only a last-second realization of what that meant made me shoot him in the grape instead.

However, that's just basic marksmanship under pressure, which is not the same as target discrimination and decision-making in the same circumstances.

One early run we went into the shoot house with a briefing that the guy who'd called 911 was in there with his cell phone. A couple of people shot him.

Our most frequent antagonists in these shoot house runs were the hardened terrorists of the Mongolian-Irish Liberation Front. One late-night run had you exit the first room and into a hallway and there, right in front of you, was a guy in a red MILF t-shirt. He got tagged by a couple people, too, despite being unarmed, and despite the briefing mentioning that the MILF leader was in there, probably not packing heat himself, and should be taken into custody if possible.

These were obviously artificial scenarios, structured to induce thinking on your feet, and everybody improved in that respect over the course of the weekend. But...

Upcoming Gun School Opportunities

Just so I can close more of these open tabs...

*I've said it before and I'll say it again: If my mom told me that she'd decided to carry a gun and was only going to take one gun class ever, I'd send her to MAG-40.

It's a funny ol' world...

I joked about it yesterday, but you really have to wonder what the Venn Diagram  of "Dudes who were saddlin' up to bust caps over the Bundy Ranch thing" and "Dudes with rifles currently being shooed away from their guard posts at recruiting centers" looks like.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

That's a puzzler, and no mistake.


How many lumens?

On the left, some of the lumens. On the right, all of the lumens. Photo courtesy of Pat Rogers/EAG Tactical.
When I got to gun school, I was reminded that EAG Tactical's rules for the pistol shoot house class specified no IWB holsters. Pat probably would have let me run mine, but since I had learned my lesson from June's class and brought the whole range bag, I just did a little bit of swapping around frames and slides to get a more rules-compliant setup...

Since the OWB holster I had was a Raven Phantom for the TLR-1S, I moved the slide from the Tactical Dirt Color gun onto that frame (no backup irons on the DeltaPoint gun yet, and I didn't want to tempt fate). I moved the CTC Lasergrip onto it, too, because I've become a big believer in lasers in the dark. So the gun I used in class was the setup you see in the photo below.

I'm glad I switched.

See, the CTC Lightguard on my day-to-day carry gun is a pretty specialized tool. At ~100 lumens on a fresh CR2 battery, it's not up to much more than illuminating something at which you've already decided you probably need to shoot. And that's fine! It's not for searching dark corners and hunting for bad guys, which are activities I don't plan on doing anyway.

If I'm pulling my gun out and pointing it at something, it's generally because I've already identified it as a threat. Sure, it's possible to dream up scenarios where a light on a CCW handgun, especially one with a grip-activated switch, could be a detriment ("Suppose you're in a store and terrorists cut the power and you want to pull out your gun but not give away your position? And maybe ninjas!") but most of them are so far outside the likely uses of my CCW gun that I have yet to be persuaded that being able to better see my target is a bad thing.

Proper use of a pistol-mounted light is something very few non-cops (and too few LEOs) ever get taught. I certainly don't have much knowledge of it, and what I have is mostly theoretical, gleaned from keeping my ears open when smarter people are talking.

One thing I do know is that for that application, more lumens are generally better lumens. In the picture at the top of this post, that's my gun light on the left: A TLR-1s with less-than-fresh batteries, and so putting out less than its full rated 300 lumen output.You can imagine how swallowed up the LightGuard would have been, with less than a third the output and a generally more diffuse pattern at that.

That pattern part is important. See the light on the right in that top picture? That's the current industry standard, the "U-Boat", a Surefire X300U . With 500 lumens on tap, it has enough light output for a very bright center and a nice corona that helps illuminate the periphery of your vision. The spill from my partner's light was pretty useful to me a few times, since my light didn't give off near as much.

The picture at the top illustrates another point: How long an "indoors" shot can be. That one looks close to twenty yards right there, and if you look around hallways at work, down the aisles at the store, and corridors at your church or other public buildings, you'll quickly come to realize that "Indoors" does not equal "In the same broom closet."

More on this class to come...


Wednesday, July 29, 2015


...other than these two hackers, did anybody else ever buy the full-on Tracking Point rifles?

While the nerd community on social media is absolutely freaking out over the possibility of "hacking sniper rifles", I can't help but think that being able to hack a Tracking Point rifle is like knowing how to hot-wire a Ferrari Enzo: Fascinating at parties, but not a skill you'll get much chance to ever use.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015


Public Service Announcements...

  • Helpful hints for being a customer of gunsmithing services, as well as tips for being a good provider of gunsmithing services as a small FFL. I've worked in four retail gun shops: Three had a mill and a lathe and at least one guy with a diploma from a real gunsmithing college in the back room, while the first was a pawn shop that had a part time gun plumber who swung through on Mondays and Thursdays to pick up and drop off work. Don't oversell your shop's abilities, and when it comes to turnaround times, underpromise and overdeliver. Weaponsman has a good post and it's worth reading and digesting in its entirety.

  • At last Saturday's bowling pin match, there was one shooter who brought his teenage son and a sprinkling of guys in their late twenties or early thirties, but I'd say that I was comfortably in the bottom half of the age demographic and I'm dangerously close to having to throw away my first AARP mailer. Some of this is that it's not a cheap hobby and requires time, cash, and personal mobility, which are three things that are often not had at the same time in one's early twenties. I remember long stretches where I had plenty of free time, but no money, while my friends who were making the money had no free time. Still, like Kevin and Caleb are always pointing out, the Call of Duty generation is full of easy converts to the shooting sports. Keep recruiting.


I normally keep three tabs in my browser window dedicated to Wikipedia links for educational reading or future blog post fodder. Somehow I currently have four.
Now I can close one.

Monday, July 27, 2015

QotD: Grilling Bears Edition...

"In the end, regardless of what you think you might have learned via osmosis from TV, if you haven’t actually built a shelter from scratch, gathered wild food, butchered a critter, and drunk water you sanitized yourself, you haven’t yet graduated survival kindergarten."
Word up. I've spent enough time in the woods to know I'm an unhappy camper.

Automotif C...


Hello again...

Heartbeat City...

1970 Dodge Dart Swinger 340.
Seen while walking along the Monon Trail to Public Greens yesterday...

(Yes, I know the car on the Heartbeat City album cover was a Duster. It's still the first thing that came to mind. Work with me here.)


Bobbi and I went to Eagle Creek for a bit of shooty goodness yesterday. I brought the P320 along and fired the last hundred rounds of that lot of WPA 115gr FMJ through it. There were no malfunctions of any kind to report.

This brings the total to 1700 rounds fired with one failure to feed (#978) and three suspect primers (#903, #1323, #1495). The firearm has not been cleaned or lubricated in any way.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Automotif XCIX...

Riding in the passenger seat of Bobbi's car from the range to Public Greens for lunch today, I caught a glimpse of something interesting in a local service station parking lot.

After we got home, I grabbed the D1X, hopped on the bicycle and pedaled back there. It was a 1960 Chevrolet Bel Air. Pretty cool ride.


Friday saw 100 rounds of CCI Blazer 115gr FMJ go downrange through the P320 with no malfunctions of any type.

This brings the total to 1600 rounds fired with one failure to feed (#978) and three suspect primers (#903, #1323, #1495). The firearm has not been cleaned or lubricated in any way.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Bowling Them Over...

These pins have no idea what's about to hit them.
How I spent my Saturday morning...

What appears to be a "pinto" Model 25 Smith: Blued-steel .45ACP N-frame with a stainless cylinder.

Optically-sighted Glock gets an extra pin, for a total of six. Because it's a nine, they're set halfway back on the table. His opponent, shooting a 5-shot J-frame snubbie, only had three pins to clear.

Makin' major with a .45ACP Smith M&P.


"In San Bernardino, plain clothes officers stood on highway off-ramps earlier this week holding cardboard signs that read “I am NOT homeless. SB Police looking for seatbelt/cell phone violations.” Unassuming drivers likely didn’t take notice and kept on texting or playing Candy Crush."
I would absolutely roll my window down and try and give the dude a dollar, just to see what happened.

Automotif XCVIII...

Seen in the same McDonald's parking lot as the Impala...

...a 1964 Chevrolet Corvair coupe.

Such a tidy-looking little car. Well, "little" for a 1960s Detroit value of "little". Still... Eff Nader.