Beretta Nano or SIG P290?

We finally got in a couple of the little Beretta Nano’s.  A very slim single stack 9mm.  It’s a striker fired gun, much like the S&W Shield.  For the same price, between the two, the Shield is easily the better gun.

A Beretta Nano 9mm... finally.
Looks like it's missing a part.

The Nano looks nifty at first.  Cool looking lines.  Unfortunately it feels kind of awkward in the hand. The trigger pull isn’t bad… it’s no Sigma, but it’s not good.  I’ll call it average.  But the way the gun points and feels… it’s just… not there.  It’s like the Italians designed it for looks to fit within a very small box, not to be an actual firearm for a human to use.  Italians are great at designing for looks first and foremost.  The only Italians that design for actual performance is Ducati… unfortunately they don’t make guns.

The Germans on the other hand...

So the gun closest to the Nano, the Shield… Shield wins.  Another Striker Fired single stack is the Walther PPS.  Unfortunately Walther continues to struggle for relevance in the market, and I am no fan of the PPS.  Like the Nano, just because you can make it that small – doesn’t mean you should.  Yet it can be done right.  SIG is very close to the same size as the Nano.   And for the love of all that is good and holy in the world… I think the Germans made a better looking machine than the Italians.  Cleaner lines, and it looks like there are no forgotten parts on the gun.

This SIG P290 as pictured does have a higher price tag, but it is coming with Tritium Night Sights and a Laser Module…. two features I rather like on a defensive pistol.  I firmly believe that night sights are not optional on a defensive handguns – they are mandatory.  SIG has great night sights.  The Nano… not so much.  The Laser is a bonus.  The actions of the two guns show a greater disparity of quality.  The SIG is much smoother than the Beretta, it’s like the difference between a night with a Hot Octoberfest Beer Maiden… and the Nano’s Prison Rape by your Cell Mate at San Quentin.  Which one would you want to spend quality time with?

The SIG is much better feeling in the hand, and it has a slide release that is not in the way, obrusive, or awkward in anyway.  It is there, and it works.  Like it should.  You don’t have to think about it.  The Nano’s complete lack of it… What is this?  A Magnum Research Micro Eagle?  Come on.  Kahr hangs a squared off mailbox off the side of their guns – but at least they have them.  The Nano is trying to be slick by leaving the lever off.  I’d rather have the mailbox, thank you.  Beretta needs to look at the SIG to see how it’s done.  Also, the SIG’s texture is superior.  You can grip it and it’s not abrasive… it’s just… grippier.  And it doesn’t snag clothes.  Just like it should. The Nano… not so much.  Oh, it’s snag free.  But it’s also gripless.  Gripless, Pointless… The SIG P290 just makes the Nano seem a cheaper, sadder thing.  It’s a good thing it’s cheaper.  It will appeal to those without the means to appreciate better.  Like a Hi-Point.  In fact, the Nano looks like shrunken an flattened Hi-Point.  The SIG, looks like freaking SIG. A weapon you can trust. It feels like a weapon you can trust.  And they actually shoot very well on top of it all!   I’m sure the Nano shoots just fine… but do you really want to?

Training against the Flinch

I’ve been reading a lot of articles by Keith Code.  You cats might not know who he is… His subject is training Motorcycle Riders at his school  “California Superbike School”.   But this article I just read translates directly to Firearms Training.  Check this out.

One of the primary purposes of training is to help a rider ramp up acceptance of the unknown. Any breakthrough in riding has some physical sensation attached to it. It’s the delicious price we pay to approach the unknown.

What did it feel like when you let out the clutch that first time? Nervous but thrilling, right? Take that a step farther and imagine what it would feel like to be a stunt rider doing wheelies and stoppies or a MotoGP racer with his knee on the deck? Improvement begins once the rider can embrace those mysterious limits of riding.

Each barrier is based on the unknown. What will it feel like to go into that corner 2 mph faster; brake that much harder; lean that much further; roll on the gas that extra bit? Breaking through those barriers is the challenge, and on the other side is the confidence all riders desire.

When you see a rider falter, you are witnessing in him the fear of the unknown. You see him flinch. Anticipation of some imagined bad result keeps us from moving forward into that uncharted territory of new sensations. When we flinch, we waver from our purpose to execute the control inputs necessary to achieve the intended result.

Read the rest of that article here.  As I said, this translates very cleaning into Firearms Training, and I’ve seen this a bunch of times in students.  This is about pushing your limits… pushing yourself farther than you are comfortable.  Everyone has a comfort zone… a speed limit on time from draw to first shots fired, for example.  That’s one area that shooters have a hard time pushing.  In the last pistol class I had a couple shooters who were doing very well on accuracy.  I’d coach them “Your accuracy is good, but you have a larger area to work with… this means you can go faster!”  But pushing themselves faster was pushing them outside of the comfort zone.  One shooter, when he tried to push just a little faster than his normal speed went from shooter fist sized groups to not even hitting the target paper.  Another shooter actually got slower.  He “Flinched” according to Keith Code.

When you go to a Training Course, or you are Training with your Buddies and working on a Skill… you are not training to look cool and smooth.  You are not Steve McQueen, and because of that, the universe has dictated that you will never will be as smooth and cool as Steven McQueen… so give it up.  You need to push harder.  You shouldn’t be trying to impress your buddies or your Trainer.  Don’t worry about that.  You are the only person that matters here and if you know your not pushing your comfort zone marker… you know you are not really Training.  You’re just Practicing.  That’s fine… but you are not learning anything new when your Practicing.

It’s been said that “Amateurs train until they get it right.  Professionals train until they get it wrong.”  What they are talking about is pushing your limits past that comfort zone.  So what if you fumble that draw or forget to sweep the safety off.  Learn the mistake, file it away, and try it again.  Training is where you need to make those mistakes.  If you go to a training class and you are not pushing yourself to be faster and smoother and more accurate… then you are not really training.  Your Maintaining.  Your standing still and stagnating.  If you are not going forward your going backwards, is another way of putting it… your developing Training Scars and this is going to bite you very hard one day.  So what if you can do the Fast Drill in 5.9 Seconds every time.  When are you going to try to go faster?  Try for 5.6 next time!

When I push myself when I’m riding… even just a couple MPH faster through a curve… I get a visceral thrill through my whole body, like nothing else.  When I’m training… when I’m pushing it, I get a different feeling, but it too is a thrill… I know I’ve pushed it and I did it!  I can get out of breath from that feeling.  Normal shooting, I don’t get that thrill.  I don’t get that surge inside.  And I know I’m not pushing myself.  Ultimately I feel disappointed with myself if I’m honest about it.  Fear is what keeps us from exploring that void that’s on the other side of our comfort zone.  Fear of negative peer response.  That social pressure that makes us more comfortable in doing the same thing again and again as long as you’ve done it well enough.  Well enough isn’t good enough if we want to take things seriously.  Forget your buddies ribbing.  Just imagine yourself having done something, say that FAST Drill in 5.0 seconds. We are all very good at imagining the bad outcomes of failure.  This mental image of failure is what locks us out of achievement.  You need to lock into the mental image of success.

In riding a motorcycle fast, it’s absolutely critical that you look through your turn… if you look at the side of the road straight ahead of you, that’s where you are going to go and you are going to end up in that very ditch you are looking at and fear.  You go where your head goes.  Shooting is the same way.  You lock into what you are afraid of and just run straight into it.  Look past that.  Turn you head and look to that target and look at that spot on the target you want to hit.  Bring the weapon up to your eyes and mentally close that distance between you and that target – and you will hit that target!  You have to believe that you can do it.  Your three second draw and fire routine is a prime example of seeing the ditch and being afraid you are going to run into it.

Not happy

The more I think about it, the more I’m pissed. The Defensive Pistol Class last Saturday. It wasn’t my best work as an Instructor. I could have been better. The only thing I could have done about the wind would have been to postpone the class. But no one really wanted to put off the training. As brutal as the wind and sand was… the problem was that it threw me off my game.  I didn’t teach as well I could have.

Damn it.

Slipstreamed my Superhawk

We here at Crusader have been slowly working on automotive products.  Very slowly since we don’t have a dedicated Test Mule. 
I’ve been wanting to use Slipstream in my bikes engines.  Unfortunately my bikes have all used wet clutches.  Slipstream in that type of engine would mean I would have no clutch at all.  So instead, I Slipstreamed the Clutch Lever and Brake Lever.  I pulled the levers out, cleaned up the brackets, and used Slipstream Styx on the friction points.  The results were dramatic increases in the smoothness and feel.
Is it possible for a bike to feel “happy”? Because it does.
Still haven’t tried it on the chain yet.
There are other applications I’ll be testing as well.

Enjoy Your Memorial Day

This Memorial Day, I am not feeling very happy about it.  In fact, I’m a little pissed off.
Members of the US Military are held to a very high standard… Higher than American Society, and higher than the US President.  If you want to join the US Military you can not be a Drug User.  In fact, if you admit to have ever used drugs – you are not allowed in.  That’s just the standard that is set for them.  And it’s a good standard.  The US Military should be held to the highest standards, because they are the best Military Force ever fielded on the planet.  Expectations of them should be high.  That’s what sets them apart.
Yet if you are a Pot Smoker, and you brag about it, and made it a part of you very character… You can become the President of the United States!    The Commander and Chief isnt held to the same standard as a buck private.  Yet this dope fiend is going to order the buck private to go to some godforsaken shithole for reasons I still can not fathom to help people who hate everything we stand for… so this private can risk getting his privates blown off.   The fact that the POTUS smoked a ton of weed – actually explains a lot.
And then we have Major Media Reporters say that those soldiers who fall  - he in uncomfortable calling them heroes.    Other sources in the Media – as well as our own Government view Veterans as potential Terrorists.

On one hand, American Society expects our Soldiers to be bastions of Honor and Integrity… while they are over there.  American Society expects them to be Educated, Compassionate and to accomplish jobs that are historically impossible… that is the expectation.  To be Super-Human in Character and Accomplishments.  Yet when they come home – they are not to be called Heroes and they are looked upon with Suspicion.
I know one particular Serviceman who is a Prime Example of this.  He is very smart, he is a published Author and has helped other authors with their very popular books.  He is Educated, He is Trained and Experienced.  He’s a great guy, loyal and dedicated and would be a Great Asset to any company that would hire him.  This is the type of guy that you would think any company would be searching for.  American Society should be trying to recruit guys like this – because these are the guys that get things done.  Unfortunately he’s got a Military Background.   That means he’s to be avoided by American Society.  He’s unwanted.  Don’t think for a second that this isn’t true.  This was my own experience, and the experience of my own brother as well.
I watched one of the Managers for CONVERGYS discard the Resume for a former US Marine.  This Marine had all the certs that were required and more so, and years of experience, more than were required.  But the Resume was discarded because the Manager Chick “Didn’t want to hire a Psycho.”  That’s the Mentality of American Society today.  They as a whole do not understand what it is to have served.  The sacrificed that are made.  The struggle to meet the expectations and standards of Military Service…. and they don’t understand the insulting lack of respect that is shoveled on them when they get out.  No one is asking for anything, just for some Dignity.   But that seems to be too much to ask for.

And I am supposed to Celebrate Memorial Day?   I Mourn it.  The meaning is completely lost on the ignorant masses of American Society who only look at this day as a day off of work and to enjoy a Sale at their favorite Retail Outlets.  I mourn this day.  Because children are growing up not knowing what this day is about and are taught to shun those that this day is for.  Some understand… some people get it.  And they honor the day.  But as a whole, American Society has forgotten… and worse yet, they don’t care.

If anyone out there has a Job for a good and honorable man – one of the best I know – Let me know.  He’s been looking for work for months and has only had one interview.   This is the guy you want on your team.  Contact me if you have a job that needs to be filled.

 

Monday’s Motorcycle

The Hellcat

This is the X132 Hellcat from Confederate.  It radiates Badass like it’s the Chernobyl of Badassery.  Even the name is badass.  Let’s talk about the name for a sec…  It’s very fitting.  In WWII at the start of the Pacific Theatre Conflict, the US Navy had a lot of fighters called the Wildcat.  The Jap Zeroes had little problem knocking them out of the sky as the Zeeks were faster, more agile, and just gave us hell.  So the US Navy decided to give them hell.  They came out with the Hellcat and it was all about brutality.  More powerful engines and weapons and all the sudden the table was turned.  It was an overpowered, overgunned fighter that claimed 5271 enemy fighters – more than any other allied aircraft.

Now take a look at this motorcycle and tell me it’s not worthy of that name!

2163 CC’s of Muscle giving the Hellcat 132 Horsepower and an asskicking 150 pounds of torque. That’s a ridiculous amount of power in such a little bike.  It’s heavy, 500 pounds, but that weight is all engine.  This bike is a wicked cross between a Bobber and a Cafe Racer.

The Hellcat is no chopped and beefed up Harley.  Don’t let the V-Twin engine fool you.  This bike is engineered from the ground up to be exactly what it is… a brutal force of nature that has no mercy for it’s enemies… Everything on the bike is designed specifically for it’s purpose.  This is Engineering from the school of the Ends Justify The Means.

The Cafe Racer style is my favorite kind of motorcycle.  It’s stripped down, purpose driven, lean, and angry.  And then there is Confederate Motorcycle’s take on the Cafe Racer concept… I think the early planning stages had a discussion over what bike this would end up being.

“Gentilemen, this is a Cafe Racer.”  Thuggish looking brutes with folded arms and stoney faces looked at the little Cafe bike with disapproval.   One of them unfolded an arm like a side of beef and raised it…
“It needs more.”
“More of what?”
And then to illustrate what the bike needed more off, the large brute smashed the board room table into splinters with his fists, and then ate it.
“Build it.”
And that’s how the Hellcat was born… through malice and furious rage.  This is bike isn’t in a Biker’s Dream… This bike is in a Biker’s Nightmares – this is coming after them – and they can’t get away from it no matter what they do.  The hellcat is coming for them.  This is the bike that Death himself rides, this is Mortis.  And Hell follows it.

Desert Training After Action Review

Saturday’s Defensive Pistol Class was the hardest class we’ve ever put on.  In the morning, an hour before the class started, we arrived and started setting up the targets.  It was a beautiful morning and we were looking forward to having a great day of training.

Looking towards Vernalstan

As the students started to arrive, so did the wind.  The wind was brutal.  We had Veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan that said it was just like over there.  The wind was picking up sand and dust and blasting us all day long.  Sand would get in the guns, in your eyes, ears and teeth, and in your sinuses.  And that wasn’t the worst of it.  We’d watch helplessly as the target boards were snapped off the stands and carried up over the berms, over the mountains.  Paper targets that were taped to the boards were shredded, and then ripped off the boards, and then the boards were ripped off the stands.   This was the worst training environment I have ever trained in.  I wanted to Postpone the class… But the students wanted to train, so we trained.

Started out with 12, ended up with 5.

The students all did a great job. They worked hard and trained hard in these horrible conditions.  One guy was having problems with sand getting into his contacts, but he stayed and trained through the end.

What you don't see here, is the Sand Blasting Effect going on.

It really felt like being Sand Blasted, it would sting, the skin and eyes.  This was unpleasant.  With the sand getting into everything, we did have some problems with some weapons.  One of the Walthers started jamming very badly and was failing to go into battery with more consistency than not.  Sand in the magazines started getting troublesome for an XD shooter.  The worst of it though was the sand contamination that brought a S&W Revolver to it’s knees.

Dave shooting around simulated cover

If there is any lesson to be learned from training in these conditions… it’s that these are the same conditions experienced by our troops over in Iraq and Afghanistan.  We expect them to perform in it.  Such conditions make doing everything more difficult and unpleasant to say the least.  But with following the basic core fundamentals of shooting technique and malfunction clearing… you can overcome the environmental difficulties.  These students can no handle shooting in situations like these… they can handle anything.  Great job to everyone that attended.

But right here is what made this class, as brutal as it was, very special to me.  Our good friend brought out his daughter to train.  She’s 13.  She had never done anything like this before and really took to it.

Dad's what else is better than taking your girl training?

She did a great job in some of the worst conditions, with a gun that was jamming like a jazz band.  Dad was proud of her, fit to bust.  I was proud of her too… I’ve known her since she was just a little tiny thing and it’s good to see her being raised right.

After the class, some of our Crusader 870 Shotguns came out to play, one had been transferred to a customer the day before and the other was Joe’s personal training gun.

Nothing makes me grin like a good Shotgun

The actions were so smooth it felt like I was shooting Semi Autos.  Cycling was effortless and fast.  There were no failures of any kind and the patterns were good with the loads used.  With the Rifle Sights, I was able to pick up targets and engage them fast and accurately, just as fast as with a Ghost Ring set up, but with much more precision.  It doesn’t have the Cool Guy winged rear sights that are popular because they look cool… These sights just work better.  When you start launching slugs, Ghost Rings are no help.  Rifle sights are what you need.

I want to personally thank my assistant instructors who were dealing these these conditions and the environmental issues we were having.  Joe and Zack, hopefully we never have to teach a Sand Storm again… but if we do – we know we can get it done.

"Really? Another target stand blown off the range?"

This was not a Fun Day at all.  It was hard.  It was unpleasant.  It was draining.  And that’s what Training is all about.

Training on a very limited budget.

First off, we need to lay down that Training is not just going out with your friends or alone and shooting things.  Training has a purpose, so before you do anything, set down a few goals for your training.  What you want to accomplish specifically.

Practice Makes Perfect they say. That's a Start, I say.

At this point, I’m talking about Pistol Training.  Reading through a number of Paperback and Hardbound sources of firearms wisdom, I’ve found one consistent trend.  Going back to a Shooter’s Bible that was printed back in 1958 PIE – Pre Internet Era – I found an article written by a champion competitive shooter.   (He must had had a holster lashed to his Loin Cloth) The article specified that the key to good shooting with a handgun is Trigger Control.  Such a simple thing as how you pull the trigger, effects everything.

Continue reading

Defensive Pistol Class Update

WEATHER REPORT for SAT MAY 26th Training Has the Potential for Rain Showers.
SLC will be Raining. Uintah Basin, might not be. Regardless… We Will Be Training. Class will Only Be Cancelled if we are having a SEVERE Thunder Storm or active sky to ground lightening.
Bring Warmer Clothes, Layers, and Wet Weather Gear. From Experience – You never know what sort of weather we could have.
I suspect we will have most of the day for good training with little problem.  We might get a little damp late afternoon, but I bet we’ll have great day.