Category Archives: Training

Am I a Dark Prepper?

“You’re not a Prepper.  You’re a Dark Prepper.”
This was thrown at me some time ago and I dismissed it off the cuff… And for some time I’ve been thinking about it.  A Prepper is a guy that gets all the stuff he’s going to need to survive and stockpiles it and hordes it.  So I guess the Dark Prepper, or Anti-Prepper is different in that has preps are so that he can go get what he needs through the use of force.   So the accusation has some clearly dark meaning behind it.  Here’ the thing though.
It’s true.
But not in the way they or you think, but yes, basically it could be said that I am in fact a Dark Prepper.   I’ve laid out all my prepping plans in Uprising USA.
Here’s the plan.
1.  Secure your HQ.
2.  Secure your local area.
3.  Secure your People.  Your Friends, Family, Loved ones… Those that may need help.  Elderly, Young, Infirm.  Make sure everyone is okay and has what they need to survive.
Now here’s where it gets gnarly…
4.  Secure additional assets and supplies to insure longevity.  Food, Medicines, other supplies and equipment.

Now where I differ from the truly Dark, is that I would not use force on those that have the assets we’d be looking for.   Force would be only to defend.   This is all pretty clearly laid out in Uprising USA.  Moving further, in Uprising UK, there is a scene where assets were taken unknowingly from another survivor who hid when they came to get it.  When it was discovered that someone had a claim of ownership to the property, the person was fairly and justly compensated for what had been taken and an amiable conclusion was reached.

So really, maybe, I am not a Dark Prepper.  Just a humble procurer of that which sustains life… an amicable prepper.  A beneficent prepper.  A Magnanimous prepper…

My new Plan since I’m on the East Coast?  Not giving away any details, but it involves a large comfortable boat, all my pals and fam, and a long cruise to someplace nice.

Fisking a Pro-Gun Article

I’m going to fisk a Pro-Gun article here.  Not to play Devil’s Advocate, but to make some corrections.   The article is found at BuzzPo.

1. TRIGGER:  Probably the most important feature for your EDC. 99% of all accuracy issues seem to always come back to trigger control. Now that doesn’t mean that with your skills and abilities you can’t master a goofy trigger. But why put yourself through that?

When selecting your EDC, pick a weapon that has a trigger that feels good. Think of it as putting on a pair of boxer shorts one size too small. You’d likely eventually adjust, but it never really feels natural and quite right.

You are correct, Sir.  Most all accuracy issues can be found in the trigger.  However it is not in the Mechanics of the Trigger, but in the Manipulation.  It’s how you use it.  Even a bad trigger used by a good shooter can result in outstanding accuracy.  Just like a great trigger used by a poor shooter will of course result in poor accuracy.   To quote Chuck Yeager, “It’s not the plane, it’s the pilot.”  You can not buy proficiency.  That takes practice, regardless of what pistol you buy.

2.  GRIP SIZE:  Look at your hands! If your a small petite woman with tiny hands, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that you’re not going to like the full size 10mm Glock 20. And by the same token, I’m a big guy with bear claws for hands. So I personally hate shooting the Sig P938. Again, this is a preference thing. Does your hand naturally wrap around the grip? Does the grip length extend to the base of your hand, or are your finger(s) dangling off the end? Does the grip angle fit and feel well in the webbing between your thumb and trigger finger? Find what feels natural for you.

Here’s where a lot of compromises come in to play.  The Litany of Questions that the author asked are rather useless to the purpose.  EDC, “Every Day Carry”, for the most part really means “Concealed Carry”.  And that means different things for different people.  Everything having to do with Concealed Carry means Compromise.  You are going to compromise Power, Practical Accuracy, Comfort, and Capacity all for the sake of having something that you the EDC Person can have on you all the time, every day.  How you dress, what you are going to be doing that day, the weather, where you are going… all these factors come into play.   And for all of this, the gun is the least important selection… more importantly is having the right Holster.

3:  Frame Size & Safety:  This one is simple. How are you planning to carry? If you want to concealed carry, a full size Glock with a 5 inch barrel will pose some significant challenges. Furthermore, frame size plays a part in felt recoil with larger calibers as well. So that tiny 9mm may actually thump a tad harder than a full size .45.

What about an external mechanical safety? I prefer not to have one. One less thing to fiddle with if you need your EDC in action. But that’s only my preference. If you prefer an external safety, PRACTICE WITH IT! And by practice, I mean find a range that lets you draw and fire from the holster. Get your draw stroke and safety disengagement down as you draw, and your trigger press smooth and consistent as you extend your arms. Fire 2 or 3 rounds at your threat (target), clear the area to the right and left, safety, re-holster, and repeat.

Wait, didn’t you already talk about size?  So… you need to talk about it again.  Huh, I guess size does matter.   You pull out a 5 inch Glock?  So a Glock 34, 35, or 41… essentially Glock’s competition pistols.  So you are saying not to EDC a Competition Pistol.  Okay.   I guess that means I’ll leave my Razorcat at home as well.  Wait, we’re talking Size again and all the sudden you just straight into a day long pistol course in the space of one paragraph.    Dude, everything you explain, you do by asking questions.  Don’t ask me questions, give me the answers.  This is why we’re reading your article!  And why I’m fisking it.

External Mechanical Safeties, good point about practicing with it.  But the difficulties involved with it are grossly overstated.  If you have the mental capacity to conclude that you have all the legal criteria met for the use of lethal force to remedy whatever situation you are in, you should also be smart enough to know how to flip a lever from SAFE to FIRE.  This is not rocket science.  And it’s not solving a Rubic’s Cube.  It’s a Safety Lever.   Yes, indeed… Practice with it.  A lot.  In my police academy, we were told 500 Presentations from your holster before you carry a new gun or use a new holster on duty.  That sounds like a lot… and it is.  But it’s more of a goal than a requirement.  The point of it is practice and get used to it.

4:  Caliber:  My favorite subject. “My .40’s faster than your .45. My .45 hits harder than your 9mm.”

Good God, when this subject comes up, it’s worse than a male genitalia measuring contest! What good is a large caliber if your rounds are 5 feet off target? And I’m not talking about the first round. I’m talking about the follow up shots. In a real life or death scenario, you’re going to fire until you stop the threat. Your EDC should be a caliber that you can consistently control well. If you can do that, SIZE DOESN’T MATTER!

Well, yes and no.  There are minimums and maximums.  I wouldn’t go below .380 Auto for a defensive caliber.  Too many people out there are using .22 Long Rifle, .32 Auto, .25 Auto… These are just not up to the task.  Even if shot placement is perfect, it may not stop the threat.  The threat is the whole reason you are shooting.  The Bad Guy or Wild Animal or whatever alien, monster, zombie is ruining your day… you are shooting it because it’s about to do something really bad and you have to stop it from doing that thing.   If I come at you with my wee little pocket knife, and you pull your .22 or .25 on me… I promise you, I will turn you into coleslaw and you will be dead before I get tired and expire.  You will beat me to the Pearly Gates because your gun isn’t enough to stop me.  At least, not with a reasonable enough expectancy.  There are occasional antidotes of immediate threats being halted.  But there are far more that are just otherwise.  Such as people not even knowing they had been hit until later.  Such a President Regan, who caught a small caliber bullet and didn’t realize it.
On the flip side, handguns designed for hunting make poor EDC choices.  Not just for size and weight considerations but for power.  A cartridge designed to drop an Alaskan Brown is probably not the best idea for self defense.  Not from the stand point of ruined meat, but the legal liability of over-penetration and having to articulate this in front of a jury.   This is a very real and legitimate concern these days.  The heyday of “carry as much gun as you can” is long over.  I suggest using similar calibers and similar loads as your local law enforcement uses.   Because in court, you can articulate you chose that same loads for the same reasons.  Your attorney will be able to defend you easier than if you chose something along the lines of something exotic.   There are no Magic Bullets.

5:  Magazine Capacity:  Finally, the magical trade off. Magazine capacity vs. concealability. This is a question that only you can answer. Just remember, there’s no rulebook that says you can only have one attacker at a time. Be prepared, and be ready.

In conclusion, your EDC is by your side constantly, like your spouse. So make sure it feels natural, fits well, isn’t uncomfortable, doesn’t kick you too hard, and you practice with it frequently.

A question only I can answer?  You haven’t answered any questions!  I’ve never been in a situation where I wished I had less ammo.  Ideally you want as much as you can get in your gun.  But we’re talking EDC and that means Concealment for most of us, and that means compromising.  Capacity is usually the first to go.  But if your caliber is adequate, capacity is generally mitigated and less of a concern.  Most small handguns are packing 6 or more rounds, snub nose revolvers generally get 5 shots.  This is just fine for most of us.  Most defensive shootings are only 1 or 2 rounds.  Mostly.  Realistically though, a five shot snub is going to be plenty.  And if you need more, this is why you carry more ammunition, either in a Speed Loader, Speed Strip, or Spare Magazine.  Not a bigger, heavier gun.  But hey, if you can pack a full sized Beretta 92FS with a 17 round capacity, or an XDM with a whole box worth of Hollow Points – then more power to you.  But you will still want to carry a spare mag.

Unlike your Spouse, you are not married to your EDC carry gun.  You can have more than one.  In fact, in most places, there are no limits on how many you can have or even carry on you if you want to go Yosemite Sam.  I’d suggest having several guns and carry the best one for what your day has planned.   Feel, your perception of recoil, comfort… that’s all BS.  Clint Smith said that a carry gun shouldn’t be Comfortable, it should be Comforting.  You are not picking out a Puppy or a fluffy pillow… you are picking a weapon for which you are going to use to defend your life, or the lives of your loved ones.  The only considerations after you have concluded that it is one that you will be able to actually EDC with… RELIABILITY is First and Foremost.   It has to go bang every single time.  Second – Practical Accuracy.  You have to be able to make hits with it.    If you can’t hit your target with it, it does no good outside of brandishing and taking selfies in the bathroom.    And that takes – and I agree with the author completely – Practice.  Dedicated, frequent practice.    Even after you have taken your courses and have confidence, you still have to practice.  Shooting skills are like Milk.  It goes bad quick if you are not cycling through it.

It’s about the Foundation

I’ve been hearing a lot of really bad theories on how to shoot better.  Basically there are no secret tricks to shooting well.  There are no shortcuts.    It starts out with the foundation.    You can’t shoot well if you don’t have a solid foundation of THE BASICS.  First, let’s talk about your Grip and Stance.


Once you have a good Grip and Stance, you have to get a good Sight Picture. Too many guys are watching the target or the rear sight… You need a hard focus on the front sight post. Don’t worry about anything else. Just the front sight. Your eye will be able to center the target in your sight picture without you focusing on that front sight.

After you have your foundation solid, and a good sight picture… It’s all about the Trigger Pull.  You can have everything else perfectly in line, and then throw it all out the window with a bad trigger pull.    Riflemen who are all about accuracy go to great lengths to get a great trigger pull.  They have a 7 to 9 pound gun, with a trigger pull that weights maybe 1 or 2 pounds.  With a handgun, you have a 1 pound gun with a trigger pull that’s anywhere from 4 to 9 pounds.    So how easy do you think it could be to have the trigger pull ruin your shot?  I read a Shooter’s Bible from the 50’s and a competition shooter from that era wrote about how it’s all about the trigger pull.  This was as important then as it is now.  Nothing’s changed.  A good pull should be a smooth and constant pull from the take up to the break.  This will take some practice.  The best way is Dry Fire Practice.    Unload your pistol… take the ammo and put it in another room.  Check the pistol again to see that it’s unloaded.  Now lock the slide back, check the chamber and magwell once more time.  Now that you are completely sure the pistol is unloaded… Dryfire it in a safe direction.  Cycle the action and aim carefully at a target.  Concentrate on your grip, stance, and sight picture.  Get that sharp focus on the Front Sight Post and break that shot.  That front sight post shouldn’t have twitched.    If the post came off target, keep practicing.  Make 10 clean breaks and call it good.  Do another 10 tomorrow.  10 a day.

Grip & Stance, Sight Picture, Trigger Pull.  That’s your Foundation.  Here’s some tips for you.

 

Blackstone Shooting Sports

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Blackstone Shooting Sports is a new Indoor Shooting Range and Retail location in Charlotte, NC.  It’s using the very best range equipment and a new layout for selling guns.   It’s going to turn every Gun Shop Stereotype on it’s head.
Check out the website.  BlackstoneShooting.com
The name Blackstone has some history to it.  It’s named after Sir William Blackstone.  Don’t know who he is?  Our Founding Fathers did.

Robert Ferguson notes that “all our formative documents – the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Federalist Papers and the seminal decisions of the Supreme Court under John Marshall – were drafted by attorneys steeped in Sir William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England. So much was this the case that the Commentaries rank second only to the Bible as a literary and intellectual influence on the history of American institutions”.

Sir William Blackstone should be studied by our current Government Officials.    Blackstone’s influence on the second amendment can not be ignored.   Blackstone Shooting Sports aims at being just as influential on the future of the second amendment.

This is why my postings have been rather sparse lately. This is why I moved to the Charlotte area… to be a part of Blackstone.

Krav Maga Shooting Fail.

For those that don’t know… Krav Maga is the type of Martial Arts developed in Israel.  I don’t practice it myself, my preference being Shotokan.  Since I don’t practice it, I am no expert in it.  However I do have an opinion.  I think it’s an “All or Nothing” type of thing… You make a move and it either works, or you are totally screwed.  Just my impression, this is probably what you need in Israel if you are the One Guy in the doorway protecting a room full of babies from the guy with a gun trying to get in.  I may be wrong.  Like I said, I’m no expert in Krav Maga.  I think I would like to take a few classes  in it and learn more.

HOWEVER…  I’m not wrong in this:  Krav Maga Shooting looks dangerous as hell and I don’t want anything to do with it, based on this video:

Continue reading Krav Maga Shooting Fail.

Considering teaching 3 new Courses.

I’ve been thinking about three new firearms courses.   Let me bounce this off you guys and see if these would have some traction.

1.  The Lever Action Operators Course.   This course would be a focus class on the Lever Action Rifle platform, specifically Winchester 94’s, 92’s, and Marlin’s 1895’s, 336’s, and 1894 rifles.
The course would start out with the introductions, history and development… and then move to disassembly, cleaning, repairs and modifications, and then moving on to tactical applications within the weapon’s performance envelope.

2.  The 1911 Intensive.  So many Shooters have commented that they are “Not Familiar” with the 1911.  This course would fix that.  Taking someone who’s never fired a 1911 before, and turning them into someone who is both familiar and confident with the pistol.  This would start out with of course the history and development of the 1911 pistol from 1907 to present.  We’ll cover a detailed breakdown of the 1911, to full disassembly and reassembly.  Every single pin and part.  Students would bring their 1911’s and we’ll tear them apart, inspect each part, clean and lubricate each part, and reassemble.  We’ll talk about common modifications, things to avoid, things to look for, and how to make the 1911 fit you the best.  Then we’ll cover the application of the 1911 in a defensive role.   Classroom in the Morning, Shooting in the afternoon.

3.  The Grilling While Armed Tactical Grilling and Shooting.  We’ll combine two of my favorite things in one course.   We’ll start out with how to set up your grill, how to cook direct grilling and smoking on your Weber (or other) charcoal grill.  Once the coals are lit and the meat and heat are set, we’ll do a defensive pistol course.  During the breaks from shooting, we’ll cover Pro Level, Champion Grade cooking techniques so you get the most out of your Grill.  Then we shoot some more.  And then once the smoking and grilling is done – We FEAST.  So you come away from this course, full and satisfied with grilled and smoked foods, and with the knowledge to grill and smoke your own, and with some improvement to your defensive shooting.  Okay, really this is just a day of hanging out at the range with good people and good food and enjoying the Freedom Lifestyle.

The Ferguson, MO situation.

Ferguson, Missouri. Here’s my take on the situation. The Media is all over how the Police are too Militarized and are too heavy handed. True. And frighteningly so. However, take a look at the other side of this. We have a complete breakdown of society that happened within just hours. People were upset about a Police Shooting… So the response of the people there was to flip over vehicles, burn down buildings, and loot everything that wasn’t under armed guard. In their own town, in their own neighborhood, to their own neighbors. They are doing this to themselves. I’m sorry, but that has got to be contained and stopped, like firefighters fighting a wild fire. With what I’ve seen in the many videos of the rioters and what they are doing – I think the Ferguson Police were doing it right. A big show of force that communicated “This stops here”.
Then they went and jumped the shark as that power went quickly to their heads and became part of the problem themselves.
This is a situation that needs to be evaluated in great detail as to how it proliferated from protest to pure chaos. We need to see the stages and the signs and we need to break this down into lessons we can learn from.
This is Prepper School Fodder right here.
Civil Unrest is a reality that moves just as fast as a fictional Zombie Uprising. We use Zombie Uprising as an analog for Disaster Training… but guys, I’m telling you. You just saw that happen in Ferguson, MO. There’s your Zombie Uprising, so don’t tell me Zombies are not real. Because that situation in Ferguson is very real. And if it can happen there, it can happen anywhere. It can happen where you live. So we need to think about that. Break that down.
Look at where you live. Imagine that situation in YOUR TOWN. Ask Your Self some questions.
1. Where would it most likely happen?
2. Can you Button Up and Hold Out, or will you need to Go Mobile?
3. If you need to Move Out, then what is your movement plan?
4. What is your Destination?
5. What are your Preps for that? Moving or Holding.
6. Who is in your Group to back you up and what is their Readiness?

You need those answers NOW. Because looking at Ferguson, you don’t have time to make the preps when things start to happen. You only have time to execute your plans.

Small changes can make a big difference

My beloved Springfield 1911 GI developed a problem.  One of the wood grip panels developed a crack.  Not a big crack, but one that would have lead to the panel splitting.  In my experience, if I don’t pay attention, it splits while I’m shooting and I end up with pistol grip in my hand.  Painful and distracting when trying to shoot.

Chance was unwanted, but unfortunately necessary.  Being quite broke I asked my Facebook Friends if anyone had a set of 1911 grips laying around.  Luckily they did and sent them.   Simple black synthetic panels, nothing fancy… but they took the GI Springer from looking like it’s old war vet self and made it look different.

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It didn’t change the gun, but it changed the nature of the gun.  It’s appearance is different.  It’s feel in the hand is very different as well.  It’s like it’s a completely different pistol.  All because of a small change of a couple of grip panels, we’ve got big results.

In all reality, small changes make all the difference.  They way you stand when shooting, the way you grip.  How you focus your eyes.  Any number of little things that you can change can have big impacts on how you shoot.  The problem is we really can’t see ourselves shooting.   We can’t see the habitual errors we make.  And we can’t see how we can make an adjustment that could give us an improvement.

I was shooting with Massad Ayoob when he stopped me, physically repositioned my thumb – slightly – and instantly improved my shooting.   I’m not kidding or exaggerating.  That happened just a couple years ago.  As an instructor, I find it all the more important to be a Student.  We can never stop learning.  We can never stop seeking out those small changes to improve ourselves.   When you go to a training course, don’t expect to learn big magic ninja tricks.  Because there is no such thing… But if you are a good student, you will come away with a string of small changes.  And those can have the biggest results.

Overland

If you say Off Roading to different people, it’s going to mean different things.  And I don’t pretend to be an expert at anyone of them, but I’ve tried them…
Rock Crawling has never had much appeal to me.  Fighting your vehicle over obstacles may be fun for some… Twisting axels and drive shafts and blowing your tire’s bead off the rims… no, I don’t consider that fun.  Sure, it’s fun to watch others do it.  But I’ve never been tempted to do it for sport.  I’ve done it a couple times out of necessity in my Bronco or my Scotsdale… but I only did it to get out of areas I got into and had no other way out of.  No, I’ll avoid rock crawling as much as possible.
I’ve never liked Mudding either.  Sure it can be fun, but it can get you stuck tighter than anything else.  See, the Earth doesn’t like Mud Boggers and Mother Earth strives to punish them… Sucking them down ever deeper into her grasp.   I was once stuck for over 14 hours when I went Mudding with some folks in Washington State.  We were so stuck, a couple of us had to hike out to find Search and Rescue.   The Rescue vehicle showed up, pulled them out (While me and another fellow hung out at the Rescue Station and waited for them to make it back) and then got stuck them selves.   That cured me of all my desire for Mudding.   And then as further punishment, the Mud will get into your axles and bearings and everywhere else it can cause havoc and if you don’t get it washed out good – will act as a grinding compound to eat your vehicle alive.  No, no thank you.
Now then there is Overlanding.   This is my kind of off roading.  Overlanding is about traveling.  It’s about going some place, not just getting through some thing.  The way I see it, Overlanding has a point.  A destination as well as the journey.
I see a lot of Off Road vehicles guys are setting up and a lot of them just make me scratch my head.  What are they set up for?   To me, it seems they are set up for looks only.  Some look like they could be set up for Mudding or Rock Crawling until you look closer.  Few are set up to be an actual Bug Out Vehicle, yet that’s what their owners are saying they are.  I’m sorry, but Jeep is cool with your 454 on a stock 18 gallon tank turning 44″ tires isn’t going to get you much distance, so I hope you are not Bugging too far Out.
To me, a good Bug Out Vehicle has to be a good Overland Vehicle.  Imagine it this way… You have to get from one coast to the other, without going on a Freeway or passing through a city and avoiding as much population as possible, and avoiding Points of Entry along the way.  Now plot that course out.  You may have to take some trails or fire roads.  You may have to cross open BLM Land.  Forestry Trails.  Follow power line trails.
Okay, let’s get serious here.  Think about your Zombie Plan.  Your SHTF Plan.  Your Bug Out Plan… Where are you Bugging Out too? How are you going to get there.  Now think about who you are taking with you.  Okay, now think about what you are going to need.  Now think about how you are going to take that with you.  Yeah, just having a 4×4 isn’t the solution.   You may not actually need a 4×4.  If your plan is just “getting up into the mountains”… You need a better plan.
This is where Overlanding has some good value.  It’s like a how we go to Shooting Courses to learn the art of gunfighting… but for Bugging Out.  Get out there… get into the wilderness. Get away from Wi-Fi.  Disconnect from things.  And put yourself to the Bug Out Test.  By actually Bugging Out for awhile.
Man, I do miss my Chevy Scotsdale 4×4 right now.

Vitals of Defense

I know a lot of Firearms Instructors. Let me rephrase that… I know a lot of excellent Firearms Instructors. One of the best, and one that I am proud to call a Friend, is Daniel Shaw. You may know him from GUNFIGHTER CAST.  Daniel spent a lot of time training US Marines to be better Marines. He has translated his Military experience into a very good practical approach to Self Defense with a Firearm. This isn’t a regurgitation of other training, this isn’t rehashing of other training programs. This is a fresh and new approach without hype, and without fanfare. Daniel is very easy going, none of that over the top bravado that some trainers have… Outside of Training, He’s one of the best guys I know. You are going to enjoy this training program, you are going to learn a lot from this program, and you will be glad you got it. I’ve been watching it and it’s fantastic. I look forward to taking one of his courses in person one day.

There are two parts and each is only $5.56.  That’s less than lunch a drive through.

VITALS OF DEFENSE.