Working with .22s


Yesterday’s post mentioned the M&P 22 Compact pistol. It’s an excellent pistol and worked well on the range. Once we found the ammo it liked, it worked flawlessly. I suspect it may have had a dirty chamber that caused the initial functioning issues.

Here are some tips about working with .22 caliber pistols, in general.

First of all, keep them clean. The .22 Long Rifle round is dirty. The small size of the ammunition and guns make the gun’s tolerances more critical and dirt in the process isn’t helpful. The gun doesn’t need to be as clean as a dinner plate but gobs of goo certainly don’t help functioning.

Helpful accessories when shooting .22 LR firearms

  • Coghlan’s Aluminum Hooked Tent Peg, 7 inch (69 cents at Walmart)
  • Dry lube
  • Portable cleaning rod and brushes
  • Bore snake
  • #4 drywall anchors ($3.99 at Home Despot)

The tent peg is for pushing out cases or rounds that don’t eject and the extractor won’t pull out. You could use the cleaning rod but the tent peg is stiffer. It’s aluminum so it’s not going to harm your bore. Until you find the ammo your gun prefers or you’re shooting cheap bulk ammo for practice, this is a good tool for clearing stuck cases. Make sure you lock the gun open before inserting it in the bore.

Using a dry lube for .22 firearms goes a long way to keeping them from getting so dirty. The carbon and unburnt powder doesn’t stick to the dry lube the way they do to oil. .22 firearms don’t get very hot so the extra lubrication provided by oil is unnecessary.

When you get finished shooting, run a brush through the bore and chamber a few strokes. Follow up by pulling the bore snake through. Even if you don’t clean the rest of the gun, doing those two things will keep it running for quite a while.

The #4 drywall anchors are to protect the firing pin and breech face when dry practicing. Most .22s need this protection. Snap caps of the centerfire type are not desirable for dry practicing with .22s, they’re for czeching feeding and extraction. Use a new drywall anchor each session and then throw it away. Rotate it slightly in the chamber periodically during each session.

There are magazine loading tools for .22 magazines that make the task of loading the magazine much less of a thumb buster. I don’t have one for the 22 Compact yet but there are two different types I will be trying in the near future.

Test different types of ammo to see which functions best in your gun. Guns will usually work better with some brands than others. CCI Mini-Mags are a good all-purpose ammunition but even they need to be tested in your gun. If you, or someone you know, keeps a .22 for Personal Defense, use good quality ammo in it for that purpose. Don’t use the cheapest bulk ammo you can find and then say the gun is unreliable.

The pros and cons of using a .22 for Personal Defense have been endlessly debated, so let’s not do that here. The fact is that people do, so let’s do it right. Keep the gun clean, lube it, and use good ammo. Odds are that if the ammo comes in a plastic box with individual rounds separated it will work. Ammo that comes in paper boxes tends to be suspect. That’s okay for practice but use good ammo for Defense.

Shooting a .22 can be a lot of fun. If you have a few accessories; it will be even easier. For some segments of the population, they’re the only viable choice.

FTC Notice: all the products in this article were purchased and no compensation is received for mentioning them.

Positive people are a joy to be around


Saturday, I went to a range dedication. Without going into a lot of detail, Corky’s Day, which was the inaugural event for the Hamilton Steel Range in Dahlonega, was a great example to me of how nice it is to be in the company of positive people. In the troubled times that are coming, we all will need to surround ourselves with positive people as much as possible.

The rest is on my Patreon page for Public viewing.

Your car is not a holster (again)

Someone entered the unlocked vehicle

Gun, other police equipment stolen from Salina officer’s personal vehicle

“Meanwhile, two more unlocked vehicles were broken in to [sic] in Kipp overnight, as well as one parked in front of a rural Kipp residence. “

In case anyone wonders what ‘Kipp Kansas’ (population <500) looks like, here’s a Google satellite view.

Kipp is part of the Salina, Kansas micropolitan area, a Census Bureau area consisting of two COUNTIES of Kansas.,_Kansas_micropolitan_area The two counties had a total population of 61,697, according to the 2010 Census.

My mother used to tell us “Nice people keep their doors closed and locked.” That includes your car and garage door, too. Please don’t leave your gun in there either, just because you’re too lazy to take it into the house with you. Being a POlice is irrelevant.

Goal Setting for 2021

The book The Practicing Mind was written by an accomplished musician and concert piano renovator. It contains the following story about when he started playing golf as an adult. The lesson in the story is well worth considering.

even though they had played golf weekly for many years, they still couldn’t accomplish basic things, such as getting the ball up in the air.

What I learned from golf was that all my failures in music had stemmed from my lack of understanding the proper mechanics of practicing, of the process of picking a goal, whatever that may be, and applying a steady effort toward achieving it.

The passage about ‘picking a goal, whatever that may be’ is particularly important in developing competency with firearms. The ‘whatever that may be’ part should be well considered as part of the goal setting process. It’s not uncommon for gunowners to place a high priority on marksmanship tasks. However, in the context of using firearms for Personal Protection, there are many implied tasks that complement or even surpass marksmanship in importance.

  • Being aware
  • Verbalization
  • Accessing a weapon
  • Moving from place to place safely (e.g. without having an Unintentional Discharge)
  • Making reasonable and appropriate decisions
  • Coordinating with friends and loved ones
  • Etc.

The ammunition deficit will give us all time to work on non-shooting tasks and skills that are, or at least should be, an integral part of our Personal Protection plan. For those who place a priority on their safety and their loved ones’ safety, range time can be re-prioritized to time to practice other skills. Some of those complementary skills do not even involve handling firearms. Others are easily accomplished with an inert or even toy gun.

The enjoyment aspect of the shooting sports is another worthwhile goal. My shooting goal this year is to achieve my Distinguished Expert rating in Shotgun from the NRA. Since I already hold two DE ratings, I will become one of the few Triple Distinguished Experts. My gun club is rebuilding our rimfire range, so I’ll also be able to get back into smallbore rifle shooting, a highly disciplined activity.

On the other hand, my interest in ‘Boyd’s Process,’ of which the ‘O-O-D-A Loop’ is part, has been rekindled. I am going to make a concerted effort to delve deeply into the entire process and produce a written piece and presentation for my Patrons about integrating all the parts of Boyd’s thinking into a cohesive paradigm. That falls into the ‘making reasonable and appropriate decisions’ and is only peripherally concerned with firearms, other than as a backup tool.

Think about what your goals are for 2021 for firearms and Personal Protection. Decide what a measurable indicator for reaching each of your goals would be and then make a plan for getting there. That is a different process than ‘New Year’s resolutions,’ which generally are ephemeral and therefore more easily dismissed than a goal with a concrete plan.

FTC notice: I receive no commission for any links mentioned in this post.

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all my friends. On Christmas morning, I enjoy putting on the burning Yule log, watching it while drinking coffee, and not thinking about much. I hope you all have an enjoyable day with family and friends.

Riding Shotgun With Charlie


I almost never listen to podcasts I’ve been a guest on, which is probably a mistake. Since Charlie put the clip of me with my long gun (Zombie MP5) in his intro, I had to listen to this one, though.

RSWC CW with MP5 airsoft

There’s a lot of good information in this episode that doesn’t usually get touched on in the industry. I’m very happy that Charlie gave me the opportunity to share it with the community.

e.g. My father used to say to me ‘son, you’re much more sophisticated about this than I am’ and I want my clients eventually to be more sophisticated about this than I am.

The Negative Outcomes mentioned are detailed extensively in my book Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make .

The LAPD Retired Officer Course and numerous other courses that can be practiced at both indoor and outdoor ranges is in my book Indoor Range Practice Sessions

What does effective Dry Practice actually look like?


Since many people have never seen a structured Dry Practice session, here’s an example.

This session uses a State’s (Louisiana) Concealed Handgun Permit Qualification Course as the basis for structuring the session. Having a structured Dry Practice session accomplishes several objectives. Among them are safety, avoiding “grabasstic gun clicking,” and effective time management, among others.

Although the session seems simplistic, the way it is structured provides multiple repetitions of at least 10 different skills that are common in Defensive Gun Uses. In his groundbreaking book How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie wrote,

“Remember that the use of these principles can be made habitual only by a constant and vigorous campaign of review and application.”

Those words are every bit as true for physical skills as they are for human relations skills. The way we learn to do things competently by practicing them repetitively. As an aside, human relation skills can be very useful in defusing bad situations and Carnegie’s book is well worth reading for general interest.

Skills practiced in the session

  • 36 Good First Round Hits.
    • Good, for my purposes, means creating a serious enough wound that the shootee has to go to a hospital to seek medical treatment. At that point, the POlice will start asking those uncomfortable questions about how he got the wound. More about that definition in the next #mindsetmonday.
    • There are several subsets of getting ‘Good First Round Hits’.
      • 36 Presentations into the Eye-Target line
      • 36 Sight Acquisitions
      • 36 Smooth enough trigger presses
      • 36 Follow-throughs
  • 33 repetitions of Forming the Grip quickly
  • 36 repetitions of Racking the slide in a safe (muzzle downrange) manner.
  • 3 Draws to Ready
    • 3 ‘Draw but DON’T SHOOT YET’ Decisions
  • 3 Safe Re-holsters
  • 33 repetitions of Return to Ready
  • 3 magazine exchanges
    • 1 Reload with Retention
    • 2 Tactical Reloads
  • 36 Deliberate SHOOT Decisions
  • 36 Shot Analyses (Read the Sights)
  • 3 Spatial Analyses (6 feet is in the Close Phase of Social space, 10 feet is in the Far Phase of Social space, and 15 feet is in the Close Phase of Public space) and how they affect your shooting.
Start each repetition aimed below and to the side of the target.

The TRT (Tap-Rack-Training aid) mentioned is available on Amazon Using it is much easier the making the UN (inert and doesn’t work) magazines that were its inspiration.

Image Based Decisional Drills provided the face on the target. A face is available for download in the Downloadables section of their website.

Using a Qualification Course as the basis for a Dry Practice Session and Regimen is an effective way of maximizing the value of your effort. For those who plan to obtain a Weapons Carry License in a State that has a Qualification requirement, it is also useful as an introduction to the structure of pistol qualification, even if the Course used is not the same.

Today’s Patreon post will go into more detail about structuring Dry Practice for maximum effectiveness.

FTC note: I receive no compensation for the product links in this post.

Fundamentals of dry practice

Although dry practice (aka dry fire) is often recommended, many shooters are unclear about the specifics of dry practice. Here is a short video, first in a series, to get gunowners started.

A short dry practice explanation

This series will include a video about safety procedures and a few sessions. I hope it will be useful to my readers and clients.

If you enjoy my content, please consider supporting me on Patreon. I post more in-depth material there for serious students of Self-Defense and Personal Protection.

Walking Back the Cat

Walking Back the Cat is a term used in the Intelligence community for deconstructing events to learn from them. This is the first in a series I’m calling #Walkbackwednesday. It’s useful just to have an idea of how events unfold even from a simplistic viewpoint. A visual representation often leads to a better understanding of what occurred. Veterans will recognize this as a ‘sand table’ exercise.

There are a number of lessons to be learned from this incident. These will be discussed in the future. The original story is here.

Chasing and shooting

Chasing a criminal after they have attempted to break contact is not the way to set yourself up for success. Shooting the criminal at the conclusion of the chase is a good way to end up in prison. It’s common enough to be one of the 11 categories of Negative Outcomes in Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make.

A Miami man who allegedly chased an unarmed burglar and shot him several times as he begged for his life is facing an attempted murder charge.

Prior planning prevents poor performance. If you have a firearm for Personal Protection, don’t just think about the incident, plan for the aftermath.