Plinking Day

I took a break today from tactical things and did some plinking with my Marlin Model 60 .22 rifle. Fortunately, my gun club has a designated rimfire range with overhead cover so the rain wasn’t as issue. No one else was there so I was able to burn several hundred rounds knocking down the steel reactive targets.

Reactive targets

The rain broke for a bit, so I was able to put up a paper target and confirm the zero of my rifle with several different types of ammunition. Different types of .22 ammunition will group differently, so it’s good to know where a particular type of ammo shoots and how well it shoots.

Marlin target at 50 yards

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Repetition and Progression (Part 2)

#fridayfundamentals

The most important Fundamental of all is to be sure your gun works. A recently purchased used revolver seemed okay in most aspects except the cylinder lockup had a hitch. Upon actually shooting it, it worked fine for the first 10 rounds. After that, the trigger could not be pulled with the cylinder closed. As I suspected, something was wrong with the center pin spring and the center pin would not push the bolt into position when the cylinder closed. Moving the bolt into position before it will fire is fundamental to double action revolver design.

Upon examining it later, there was no center pin spring, hence the issue. Someone had obviously messed with it because the extractor rod came free quite easily. Fortunately, the sear/bolt spring for a S&W fit adequately and fixed the problem.

As my colleague, the late Paul Gomez, was fond of saying, “Shoot Yor ….. Guns.”

After repairing it, I used it for another form of progression in practice, increasing distance incrementally. Starting out at a close distance, marking your target after each string, and then increasing the distance gives you an indication of where your strengths and weakness lie. Knowing them gives you an idea of what to practice next.

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The Value of Standards

When planning any journey, knowing where you’re starting from is a necessity. For those new to Concealed Carry and for those who have been carrying for a while, having some kind of Standard to benchmark your ability against is the way to determine where you’re at, skills wise.

Marksmanship skill is not the be all and end all of the skills involved in Concealed Carry, as my Serious Mistakes and Negative Outcomes commentary shows. However, understanding where your capability fits in the big picture helps decision‑making more than is often realized. Some degree of skill helps a gunowner focus on the solution to the problem of a criminal encounter instead of focusing on possession of the gun as the solution.

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Repetition and Progression

#fridayfundamentals

A client asked for a private lesson as preparation for an upcoming class at the elite Rogers Shooting School. Rogers is a very structured learning environment, so the format for the lesson was obvious. Fundamental to learning to shoot at a high level are Repetition and Progression, which are the underlying structure at Rogers. You don’t learn to shoot well by thinking about it, you learn by doing it. Visualization is a useful learning technique but you have to know what to visualize before visualization can have any value.

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Running the Snub – Recoil Management

First in a series about ‘Running the Snub.’

In a discussion of revolver reloading techniques on my 1000 Days of Dryfire Facebook group,  I posted a video of myself shooting the Alabama State IDPA Championship with a snub revolver.

The video generated the following question, which I think is worth some discussion and explanation.

Claude, I watched your video, and to me, you display amazing recoil management – the gun hardly moves. I was under the impression that snubbies are especially hard to shoot and control, particularly in this skill area. Can you share what you are doing to control recoil so well? Maybe details on how you grip the gun, and what kind of load you are firing?

Let’s deal with the simple questions first. I was shooting a two inch K frame at the Championship, which weighs almost twice what an Airweight J Frame does. That has some effect on the recoil management. The load I was using was my IDPA handload, which is ballistically equivalent to 158 grain Round Nose Lead standard pressure. I prefer not to use lead bullets so my load used a plated bullet.

The next issue to deal with is “snubbies are especially hard to shoot and control.” That’s been ‘common knowledge’ among the shooting community for as long as I can remember but how true is it? Like many other aspects of ‘common knowledge’ among gun industry common taters, I’m skeptical about that. So, I decided to do a little more Comparative Testing.

The test I chose was 5^4 (5 rounds in no more than 5 seconds at 5 yards into a 5 inch or less group). The 5^4 protocol was originally developed by Gila Hayes of the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network for her book, Effective Defense: The Woman, the Plan, the Gun and subsequent later editions. .

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In Pursuit of Better Practice

Gila Hayes of the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network was kind enough to do an interview with me about Better Practice in this month’s Network Journal. Her interest was piqued because many members of the Network had said that ongoing training wasn’t possible for them due to resource constraints. Gila said that she wanted to give the members an option for maintaining and improving their skills that fit their budgets.

How far, I wondered, could the armed citizen proceed in his or her skill development through self-guided practice alone?

She’s an excellent interviewer. You will probably find it interesting reading.

https://www.armedcitizensnetwork.org/september-2018-front-page

She also did a book review of Concealed Carry Skills and Drills.

https://www.armedcitizensnetwork.org/september-2018-book-review

If you would like to purchase Concealed Carry Skills and Drills, the link to the downloadable ebook is here. http://concealedcarryskillsanddrills.com

If you would like to purchase Indoor Range Practice Sessions, the link to the downloadable ebook is here. https://store.payloadz.com/details/2501143-ebooks-education-indoor-range-practice-sessions.html

you got skills old man crop

Morale patch courtesy of Chris North

Jacks & Saps and Timing – Part II

Part I of this review gave an overall view of the Jacks and Saps class. Some of the deeper lessons from the class are worthy of further discussion.

Multidisciplinary training (unarmed combat, impact tools, and firearms) doesn’t just mean learning to use different tools and techniques, it also means understanding the overlap of the different disciplines’ concepts. By understanding the overlap, we can reinforce the concepts and lessons of one discipline and apply it to others. Key Concepts in the Jacks and Saps class were Timing, Timing Errors, and Timing Windows. These have parallels in firearms training and practice, as well.

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Any tool will do if you will do

Retro posts bring to mind how often the same issues and the same interpretations arise. In this case, someone referenced my post about How many rounds to carry. https://tacticalprofessor.wordpress.com/2016/11/28/how-many-rounds-to-carry/

A comment referenced Tom Givens’ statement “I have never met someone, who has been in a gunfight, tell me they wish they’d had a lot less ammunition”.

My reply to that is something else Tom often says.

“It’s not how much you last practiced, it’s when you last practiced.”

To that, I would add “And how you last practiced and what you got out of it.” It’s easy to pick out one snippet of someone’s philosophy because it fits your purposes and ignore other integral parts of the philosophy. Even if you can’t get to range three times a week, can you spare five minutes those three days to do five draws, five aimed trigger presses with two hands, five with your dominant hand, and five with your support hand? If you can’t be bothered to expend fifteen minutes a week in dry practice, two extra magazines on your person are most likely meaningless.

Another way of looking at it is that it’s not the ammunition on your body that will save your life, it’s the ammunition that you’ve fired in practice that will save you. This is a corollary to something that’s taught in survival training; “It’s not the water in your canteen that will save your life, it’s the water in your body.”

I wish I hadn’t practiced my shooting so much said no one ever.

If you get the ‘go signal,’ you will find that your confidence in your own capabilities is far more important than your confidence in your tools. I am reminded of the police officer who got into a gunfight and had to tell himself “Hey, I need to … shoot better.” Shooting better solved the problem not expending more ammo fruitlessly. But then he drew the wrong lesson and started to carry 133 rounds. I don’t know if he decided to start practicing more and making his practice more meaningful, too. I certainly hope so.

The Miami Massacre is probably the most researched gunfight in history. One of the things that gets glossed over in the analyses was the solution. Ed Mireles pulled out his six shot revolver, used the front sight to aim at his targets, pressed the trigger smoothly, and made six hits that killed Platt and Matix. Ed’s draw was probably not sub-one second, either, but it was fast enough.

The Comparative Standards I’ve been writing about are a good example of “Know your capabilities.”

0824 results

  • What is your gun’s zero at 25 yards?
  • What is your ability to hit the -1 zone at that distance?
  • What exactly does your front sight look like at that distance?
  • How smoothly do you have to press the trigger to make that hit?
  • Can you hit the -0 zone (thoracic cavity above the diaphragm) unerringly at 15 yards and in?

I regularly gather metrics about the number of people who are interested in getting a status report of their capability with the handgun they own or carry. The number is extremely small. People would rather place their faith in ‘firepower.’ That’s an incredible mistake because when the firepower is gone, you’ve got nothing left. Your capabilities, if you have them, will solve the problem before your ammo load, whatever it may be, is exhausted. That’s the endgame we’re looking for; solving the problem before our ammunition is gone.

If you would like to purchase my eBook Concealed Carry Skills and Drills, the link to the downloadable ebook is here. http://concealedcarryskillsanddrills.com One of the metrics I gather is how many people are willing to spend the price of a box of ammo to get their personal status report and then increase their personal capability. As I said, it’s not many. Ninety-nine and 44/100ths percent are perfectly comfortable with carrying two spare magazines instead.

Comparative Standards – Double Action Autos

I enjoyed the #wheelgunwednesday Comparative Standards exercise enough to repeat it. This time the test was with Double Action autoloaders. Five different autos, three Double Action Only and two Traditional Double Action were the test subjects. Four were 9mm and one was a .22.

  • SCCY CPX-2
  • Sig P250
  • Smith & Wesson 6906
  • Beretta Centurion 92D
  • Walther P22 (Remington Golden Bullet bulk ammo)

All the guns were similarly sized enough that I used the same Mister Softy holster for all of them. The Mister Softy is interesting in that the gun sits low enough in the pants that a full firing grip can’t be gained in the holster. I didn’t notice the lack of a full firing grip was an impediment. The need for a full firing grip in an AIWB holster is another one of the industry maxims I have doubts about. Maybe I just have clever hands.

mr softy sq

I used the same protocols for shooting and scoring as last time so I won’t reiterate them.

Range setup

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#Wheelgunwednesday – Comparative Standards

The Editor of a publication I occasionally write for asked me to participate in a project about comparing different handguns. Being the revolver guy I am, he asked me for some input about how wheelguns fared. His concept is:

[R]each an objective: identifying a short (20-rounds) base of standards for defense handguns to (1) compare similar format guns, one to another, (2) compare formats of handguns (small, single stack or subcompact), (3) “shoot out” duty/defense ammo for replacement while evaluating personal skills, (4) yet another “cold course” of fire to identify skills areas that need attention.

This is the Course of Fire he developed.

  • Basis: 3-second strings
  • Lots of draws
  • Few reloads (on the clock)
  • Limited Vickers: use a target, feature .5 second added for 1-down; shortest time “wins.”
  • 25 yards – singles from holster – 5x – 5 rounds
  • 15 yards – single from holster – 1x
  • single from guard – 2 x      — 3 rounds
  • 10 yards – Pair from holster – 1x       2 – rounds
  • 7 yards – Failure from holster – 1x – 3 rounds
  • 5 yards – Pair SHO from holster – 1 x – 2 rounds
  • Pair WHO from guard – 1x  — 2 rounds
  • from holster, 1-Reload-1 – 1 x – 2 rounds
  • from holster, 1 head – 1 x – 1 round

Total: 20 rounds

The breakdown:

  • Draws – 7
  • From ‘ready’ (guard) – 3
  • Singles – 6, one to ‘brain housing group’
  • Weak Hand Only – 2, Strong Hand Only – 2
  • Shots to smaller target – 2; one is transition from larger target.
  • Pairs – 4
  • Reload – 1 (under time)

All in a 20 round box of ammo.

It’s an interesting concept, so I shot it with four different revolvers and two autoloaders.

  • Smith & Wesson Model 65 – one of my favorite wheelguns and what I shot at the 2018 Rangemaster Tactical Conference
  • Smith & Wesson Model 642– perhaps the most ubiquitous revolver encountered today
  • Ruger LCR – another commonly carried wheelgun
  • Smith & Wesson SD9VE
  • Beretta PX4 Storm Compact, modified to G configuration
  • Smith & Wesson 43C – a nice little .22 snub revolver

All were shot from Appendix Inside the Waistband carry except the SD9VE. The centerfire revolvers were reloaded using a speedloader carried in a centerline carrier. The 43C was reloaded using a QuikStrip carried in the watch pocket of my jeans. I used Remington Golden Bullet bulk ammo in the 525 round box for the 43C. Despite it having a 9 pound mainspring, which I have been told will get me ‘kilt in da streetz,’ there were no Failures to Fire.

We were free to use any target we wanted, so I used the printable target from my ebook Concealed Carry Skills and Drills. Per his instructions, the scoring was Vickers Count with ½ second added per point down. I used the Circle as the -0, the paper target as -1, and the balance of an IDPA target backer as -3.

An interesting aspect of the Course is that every shot or two is scored individually. This involves a lot of walking, especially for the five shots at 25 yards but gives a lot of feedback about the efficacy of one’s shooting. In the spirit of the analysis, I marked the target at every distance change to keep track of where the bullets were hitting.

Range setup

Range setup

65 sq

Model 65

642 sq

Model 642-2

LCR sq

Ruger LCR

SD9VE sq

SD9VE

PX4 sq

Beretta PX4 Storm Compact

43C sq

Model 43C

Here’s how the results came out.

results pic

It’s a demanding benchmark analysis. I’m looking forward to seeing the results of the other testers.

If you would like to purchase Concealed Carry Skills and Drills, the link to the downloadable ebook is here. http://concealedcarryskillsanddrills.com