Category Archives: firearms

Muzzle direction is the primary safety

Muzzle direction is the primary safety. Always has been and always will be.

–Bill Rogers of the elite Rogers Shooting School

“He told police he was oiling a handgun and had put a magazine in it and racked the slide when it fired, hitting his wife as she sat on a couch nearby.”

Man sentenced to probation in shooting of his wife

I absolutely despise the meme from Blackhawk Down that shows a trigger finger with the phrase “This is my safety.” Trigger finger discipline is a good thing but there’s a reason it’s Number 3 in the Four Rules of Gunhandling. Muzzle Direction is Number 2, as it should be in the scheme of things.

this is my safety no

Informal Instruction

A colleague of mine had the opportunity to give a short (15 minute) informal block of instruction to a friend of hers. Most firearms instruction in the US is informally done between friends or relatives.

Their session didn’t involve any live fire and was conducted in their office. It was simply a short briefing on basic safety rules, gun handling, and model specific instructions on how to operate her handgun.

An interesting comment came up in our discussion about the session. It’s worth keeping in mind any time we teach somebody something, whether the subject is firearms related or not.

I talked with her not at her.

When we teach an adult, it’s always worth remembering to approach it that way. Even if we are a Subject Matter Authority, the person is one of our peers and deserves to be treated respectfully. They should be treated like a client in an Adult-Adult relationship, not a grade school student in a Parent-Child relationship.

Mutual respect will garner the rapport necessary for the instruction to be effective and add value to the person’s life.

The Mission

If I went out looking for bad guys for 8-10 hours a day every workday, I’d be carrying a high capacity autoloader too. And I’d be wearing a helmet.

Discussion about snub caliber choices

#wheelgunwednesday

Someone contacted me on my Tactical Professor Facebook page regarding selection criteria for a snub revolver. It was a good discussion and well worth reproducing. For clarity, my answers and comments are in italics.

Where can I find info on 22 mag (probably the Hornady round) in comparison to 38 special (target wadcutters) out of a sub-2 inch barrel revolver?

In terms of what criteria? Penetration, recoil, terminal effectiveness?

I guess the concern would be for ballistic performance. The 22 mag has the higher capacity.

Ballistic performance has a lot of variables. I’m not trying to be pedantic but in the gun community we frequently don’t do a good job of defining our goals.

In general, both of the rounds will achieve the desired penetration. The .22 Magnum will have much more concussion than the .38. The .38 will have more recoil. Our human performance factors are a much more important consideration than ballistic performance of any handgun. Given the opportunity, the best move would be to shoot 5^5 with both and see which one you can shoot it better with. That drill, as originally developed by Gila Hayes and extended by me, was designed as the entry level criterion for choosing a handgun.

Start Shooting Better Episode 2: 5×5 Drill – Lucky Gunner Lounge https://www.luckygunner.com/lounge/start-shooting-better-5×5-drill/

Although it carries two more rounds [in a Smith & Wesson], you should assume the .22 Magnum will be much more difficult to reload than the .38. There will also likely be issues with ignition reliability of the .22. You should assume that you will never be able to achieve a trigger pull on a .22 Magnum that you can with a .38, precisely because of ignition issues.

I agree with that. I’m looking to pick up a Ruger LCR has a back up gun. It’ll spend almost the entire life in an ankle glove or in a pocket.

The 22 mag has 3 more rounds in it but they are smaller rounds and rimfire.

I believe there is one thing incorrect in your assumptions. The LCR in .22 Magnum holds 6 rounds. The .22 LR holds 8.

I’ve read several write ups that the 38 out of those smaller barrels tends to fall short in terms of penetration.

Does the 22 mag follow that trend as well or is it worse? I may be gaining extra rounds but if the 22 mag performs less than the 38 in general then I’m not much better off than with 5 38 wad cutters.

The reliability issues you pointed out makes a lot of sense. That might be the answer I needed.

What you read is untrue. My colleague Chuck Haggard has done more ballistic gel testing for snubs than most people in the industry. His results were that .38 wadcutters penetrate more than adequately.

So you’re only gaining one round. Before I would go that route, I would personally go with a .327 Federal and load it with .32 H&R Magnum.

https://ruger.com/products/lcr/models.html

Ruger® LCR® * Double-Action Revolver Models

Big difference. I wouldn’t go that route for just one extra round. This was the conversation I needed. Again, thank you very much Claude for helping a dude out.

Summary of the discussion

After certain minimum criteria are met, caliber discussion is a relatively low level priority. Massad Ayoob’s Priorities of Survival; Mental Preparation, Tactics, Skill, and finally Equipment, are a good example of this hierarchy. Priorities of Survival is the critical tool used for this week’s Patreon Incident Analysis.

Patreon topics update

  • H&K VP9SK evaluation
  • Shooting test protocol for carry guns
  • Store robbery with hostage taking – an in-depth analysis of the incident
    • Situation – convenience store robbery. One of the employees was taken hostage immediately. Eventually, a satisfactory resolution was achieved when the cashier shot the robber. The shooting was a downrange incident, i.e., the shot had to be taken with a friendly/non-threat downrange of the shooter and in proximity to the shootee.
    • Cast of character development along with 28 point play by play incident timeline.
    • 17 different Personal Protection tasks identified in the incident.
    • Discussion about possible improvements of the actions immediately after the shooting but before the POlice arrive.

I’m able to cover topics more in depth on my Patreon account than I can in my blog. If you’re interested, you can subscribe for $5 a month here. https://www.patreon.com/TacticalProfessor

FTC Notice: I have no relationship with Ruger nor do I receive any compensation for mentioning their product. The LCR was specifically asked about so I responded.

Thinking about what’s important

Man shot in neighbor’s home charged after allegedly undressing in 12-year-old’s bedroom during break-in

https://www.wdrb.com/news/man-shot-in-neighbor-s-home-charged-after-allegedly-undressing/article_184841ce-5f90-11e9-be1f-e328e3b39e3e.html

Although this incident occurred in April, it recently re-surfaced as an example of a Defensive Gun Use. As is frequently the case, Internet common taters had numerous things to say about it.

  • Needs more practice.
  • Only six? Should have emptied the magazine!
  • Too bad the dirtbag’s not in the morgue.
  • Etc.

It’s easy to focus on the unimportant aspects of an incident. All of the commentary focused on feelings, which are unimportant, instead of Lessons to be Learned (LTBL), which are important.

How do we focus on what’s important? One way to start is to identify who was involved by role rather than name. Most the time, news stories use last names but that tends to obscure who did what. Substituting a role for names in the story leads to more clarity about the actions of the participants. For this incident, it would look as follows.

Cast of characters in the drama

Donald Oliver – Intruder

Tina Burton – female of household (Female)

Ali Bracey – male of household (Male)

Daughter

Important aspects of the incident

  • The Male knew there was an actual intruder because of the Daughter’s text.
  • Despite knowing it wasn’t just a ‘bump in the night,’ the Male went to confront the intruder unarmed.
  • The confrontation between the Male and Intruder started verbally and then turned physical.
  • It was either an entangled fight or within arm’s length.
  • When it went physical, the male employed an improvised weapon, to wit: a broom.
  • The broom was apparently ineffective in the confrontation, so the male continued using unspecified improvised weapons.
  • They had a gun but didn’t think initially to bring it to the fight.
  • The Female eventually brought the gun to the Male to use.
  • There was a weapon handoff from the Female to the Male.
  • Shooting the gun caused the Intruder to flee.

Unimportant aspects of the incident

  • The intruder wasn’t killed.
  • The householder didn’t practice enough at the gun range.

Lessons To Be Learned (LBTL) and other important aspects

Guns are not useful if you don’t bring them to the fight. Have a plan ahead of time about how to handle an intrusion.

You can’t practice appropriately for an entangled or close range fight at a gun range anyway. This would most likely have been best handled as a retention shooting situation. Retention shooting is a skill best learned by taking a class from someone who knows what they’re doing. Few instructors are qualified to teach this task. I can recommend Brian Hill of The Complete Combatant, Greg Ellifritz of Active Response Training, and Craig Douglas of Shivworks.

Males of the household will often confront an intruder unarmed. It’s not uncommon for another family member to have to access the firearm and bring it to the fight. A handoff to the Male periodically occurs at that point. This means that several implied Personal Protection tasks for the other family member come into play.

  1. Know where the gun is.
  2. Be able to access the gun. Is it in a safe and can the family member open it?
  3. If the gun is not stored Ready to Fire, be able to place the gun into Ready to Fire condition.
  4. Move safely from the storage location to the fight location. Having an Unintentional Discharge en route will probably be a Tactical Disaster.
  5. Either be able to engage the Intruder with the firearm, or
  6. Safely hand off the firearm to the Male engaged in the confrontation. If the confrontation is physically entangled, a handoff may not be safely possible.

Whether the Intruder is killed or not is completely irrelevant. Let’s keep in mind The Cost of Killing. Achieving a Break In Contact is our objective as Non-Sworn Citizens. Note that in this incident, the Intruder had to be taken to court in a wheelchair. That probably means that he has some serious injuries, perhaps debilitating for his entire life.

We need to focus on the important tasks in Personal Protection incident analysis and not our feelings, which are unimportant. That is what I will be doing in the monthly incident analysis on my Patreon page.

https://www.patreon.com/TacticalProfessor

My Patreon page is live

I’ve created a Patreon page and it’s now live. My plan is to create at least four posts monthly about Strategies, Tactics, and Options for Personal Protection.

https://www.patreon.com/TacticalProfessor

I’ll still be posting a few short articles here monthly but the Patreon page will allow me to do some things I wasn’t able to before.

My first article is an evaluation of the H&K VP9SK pistol. My object is to create a more rigorous and standardized evaluation process than I generally see pistols subjected to. I will not be accepting any compensation for the hardware reviews I do. Each month I’ll be reviewing one handgun with an emphasis on subcompact and compact guns because I think those are the real concealed carry pistols.

There’s also a printable trifold brochure that describes the shooting tests I plan to use. It’s a good reference guide for anyone who wants to use it.

trifold pic 2

 

Other subjects I’ll be addressing will be things like the decision process, incident analysis, practice drills, non-firearms personal protection topics, surveillance detection, et al.

I hope you’ll subscribe to my Patreon page. I guarantee it will have value for you.

 

The Basics and Beyond

#Fridayfundamentals

The NRA Basics of Pistol Shooting course qualification has changed in the past few years. The old standard was to be able to hit a paper plate at 15 feet. The new standard is 5 shots/5 hits into a 4 inch circle at 10 feet. It must be done 4 times to qualify at the first (Red) Level. The tries do not have to be consecutive. Additional qualifications at 15 feet (White Level) and 20 feet (Blue Level) are available for those who pass the Red Level. There is no time limit. This is deceptively simple but many people who think they can shoot to this standard cannot.

Here is a target that you can download to try it out for yourself. It’s printable on standard printer paper.

4 inch circles with one inch centers portrait

You should be able to make the five hits in four consecutive tries at all three distances if you consider yourself a proficient shooter. If all the rounds don’t hit the circles in four consecutive tries, then dry practice all 20 cycles at the distance you didn’t make it. The dry practice should help you tune up your sight picture and trigger manipulation. After the dry practice, reshoot the stage at that distance. This totals a minimum of 60 rounds of disciplined fundamental shooting.

Putting the Qualification on Steroids

After you are able to successfully complete all three levels (Red, White, and Blue), you may want to really challenge yourself. Here’s the qualification on steroids using the downloadable target.

Start at 10 feet (Red Level). Shoot one shot into each circle as five separate strings. String one starts on circle one. String two starts on circle two. String three on circle three, etc. Finish with String five starting on circle one.

Putting it on steroids will teach you the visual patience to make sure your sights are well aligned before you break the shot when you are transitioning from target to target. It will also force you to press the trigger smoothly when you make a target transition.

Tactical Professor books (all PDF)

Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make http://seriousgunownermistakes.com

Indoor Range Practice Sessions http://indoorrangepracticesessions.com

Concealed Carry Skills and Drills http://concealedcarryskillsanddrills.com

Advanced Pistol Practice http://bit.ly/advancedpistolpractice

Shooting Your Black Rifle http://shootingyourblackrifle.com

Personal Performance Class Announcement

By popular demand, we’ve opened up our biannual Personal Performance Class to men as well as women. It will be held October 20, 2019 in Dahlonega, Georgia.

The focus of this class is a little different than most. There will be some coaching but the class is more about giving our clients a benchmark of where their shooting is at. From that benchmark, our clients will have a program they can follow after leaving the class to measure their ongoing performance level.

This is probably the only group class I will be teaching for the rest of the year. It is a joint effort between myself and Brian and Shelley Hill of The Complete Combatant.

The NRA Defensive Pistol I Marksmanship Qualification Program is the standard we use for the class. I’ve run hundreds of people through the program over the past six years. Having to shoot a Course of Fire that has a 100% hit standard is a quite a surprise for many (90%) of the shooters.

All participants will receive a Patch and rocker at the class. In addition, you will receive Rating rockers for the skill level(s) you achieve during the class. You will also receive a takeaway booklet to help you practice and advance in the Program after you’ve finished this class.

DP I Patch crop

Whether you’re a newer shooter or a more experienced shooter, I think you will find this class to be an eye-opener.

Click here for more details about the class.

Defense in Depth

#Fridayfundamentals

Stolen pistol leads to reckless endangerment charge for Stamford man

By John Nickerson Published 4:28 pm EDT, Wednesday, October 2, 2019

https://www.nhregister.com/policereports/article/Stolen-pistol-leads-to-reckless-endangerment-14486880.php

When I posted the story on my Tactical Professor Facebook page as a Negative Outcome, the following question came up.

Which reminds me: this question is probably been addressed here before but for those of us who haven’t caught it are there any vehicle storage lock boxes that have good non shitty locks that we can buy on Amazon or a brick and mortar store?

I use a lockbox that I bought at Academy Sports for 10 bucks. Any defense can be defeated. Just as in the military, defense in depth is how we prevent a defense from being easily defeated. By using multiple barriers, we encourage a thief to move on before he gets our gun. It’s the opposite of leaving a gun in the door pocket of an unlocked car left outside at night. Here’s how I do it:

1. Think ‘be discreet.’ Visually inspect the area to see who is around.

2. Have your pistol box in the trunk, already secured by its cable to the hinge of the trunk lid. If your vehicle doesn’t have a trunk, place the box in some spot that is accessible to you and out of sight of casual passers-by and has a solid attachment point for the cable.

cable to hinge

3. Open the trunk.

4. Quickly palm your pistol and put your hand with the pistol into the trunk. This is where having a small pistol really helps.

gun in safe

5. Place pistol and any other weapons into the lockbox.

6. Lock the box.

7. If your holster doesn’t fit in the box, place it near the box.

8. Close the trunk.

9. Lock the car doors.

For years, I used a box with a combination lock but I’ve come to the conclusion that, for me, a key lock was faster and more convenient. The key is permanently on my keyring. I’m good at maintaining possession of my keys so I’m not concerned about not having the key to the box.

keys in box

I only leave my revolver in the car when I have a good reason to; going into my home at night is not a good reason. Going into non-permissive environments or perhaps to the doctor are good reasons.

My thanks to the gentleman who asked about the topic. That was a good suggestion for a blog post. He wins free copies of Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make and Concealed Carry Skills and Drills.

Tactical Professor books (all PDF)

Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make http://seriousgunownermistakes.com

Indoor Range Practice Sessions http://indoorrangepracticesessions.com

Concealed Carry Skills and Drills http://concealedcarryskillsanddrills.com

Advanced Pistol Practice http://bit.ly/advancedpistolpractice

Shooting Your Black Rifle http://shootingyourblackrifle.com

What snubs can do

#Smith&WessonSunday

I shot the I’m With Roscoe 2019 Internet Match Friday at a local indoor range. The Match is modeled on the Pocket Revolver Championship of the US Revolver Association, as described in the 1915 edition of the book Pistol and Revolver Shooting by A.L.A. Himmelwright. This Match is an Internet enabled version of Postal Matches that were commonly shot in the 20th Century. The Course of Fire is five strings of five shots each at 50 feet. The time limit for each string is 30 seconds and the shooting is done Primary (Strong) Hand Only.

To time it, I used the Dry Fire Par Timer app, available on Google Play, on my phone with ear buds underneath my muffs. That’s a very workable setup for indoor range work.

CW IWR 2019 snub

The outer 4 Ring of the target measures 7 5/16 inches in diameter. Only two shots went outside the 4 ring, so that’s 23 hits in the largest circle out of 25 shots. I think Inspector Erskine would be satisfied with that.

There’s a common misconception that snubs are “arm’s length guns.” As I periodically remind people, that’s only true for the incompetent. Dry practice can go a long way toward improving our skills.

Tactical Professor books (all PDF)

Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make http://seriousgunownermistakes.com

Indoor Range Practice Sessions http://indoorrangepracticesessions.com

Concealed Carry Skills and Drills http://concealedcarryskillsanddrills.com

Advanced Pistol Practice http://bit.ly/advancedpistolpractice

Shooting Your Black Rifle http://shootingyourblackrifle.com