Damsel in Distress

2-Mar-15 – 15:55 by ToddG

About a month ago on pistol-forum.com I described a scenario I’ve run in Force on Force scenarios many times:

I used to run a pretty straightforward FOF scenario in which the student was standing around minding his own business when a couple walked around the corner. First the guy started calling his gf/wife/whatever a whore and yelling at her about the way she dressed, wore too much make up, etc. Then he’d grab her by the shoulders and shake her a bit and yell more loudly. If the student still did nothing, he’d hit her and knock her to the ground.

At any point, if the student intervened the guy would draw a gun. When the student drew his own, the GF would then draw her pistol from a position off to the side of the student and burn him down. Then the police arrived on scene and both the abuser and GF said the student tried to mug them. The number of students who couldn’t wrap their heads around that (very realistic) turn of events was close to 100%.

ll2Limatunes (aka Melody Lauer) posted her experience from a very similar FOF scenario (NSFW, printed language) being run by Craig “Southnarc” Douglas at this year’s Rangemaster Tactical Conference. Melody goes through every moment and every thought throughout the entire challenging situation.

If you have ever thought about saving the “damsel in distress” then you really need to read Melody’s post and consider how these things tend to end in the real world.

Thanks for taking the time to share all of that with us, Melody.

Train hard & stay safe! ToddG

Minor Progress

26-Feb-15 – 10:18 by ToddG

Gshock-Burton01_edited-1Finally, after multiple repeated failures, I managed to squeak out an Advanced score on the F.A.S.T. yesterday at the NRA Headquarters Range. I shot three runs at the end of a short practice sessions:

  1. 7.32 (clean / 2.39, .60 / 3.29 / .36, .37, .31)
  2. 7.01 (clean / 2.28, .63 / 2.87 / .42, .35, .36)
  3. 6.62 (clean / 2.23, .72 / 2.70 / .33, .33, .31)

Pistol was the Jason Burton/Heirloom Precision 9mm Commander; holster was a JM Custom Kydex AIWB under an untucked polo; mag pouches were Custom Carry Concepts BMCs.

For comparison, my personal best-of-three F.A.S.T. runs is 3.87 (clean / 1.38, .31 / 1.64 / .18, .19, .17) shooting a gen4 Glock 17. My best 1911 run was 4.27 (clean / 1.36, .33 / 2.04 / .18, .19, .17). So there is still a long, long way to go. My time to the first shot is the biggest slow down at present which means my draw needs a lot of work.

ToddG

 

Ballistic Radio Tonight!

15-Feb-15 – 13:44 by ToddG

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I’ll be on Ballistic Radio tonight at 7pm. The topic of discussion will be what it’s like losing your shooting ability and what it’s like trying to get it back. Should be a barrel of laughs! Listen in or check out the podcast once it’s up on the ‘net.

Train hard & stay safe! ToddG

War Belt Meets Dress Belt, pt2

13-Feb-15 – 10:37 by ToddG

A little over a year ago I wrote about a belt system that a friend developed. It’s specifically designed for folks who need to carry a lot of gear in a low-profile environment.

The manufacturer, FirstSpear, has updated the belt’s web page and included some great information and a video specifically about the Tactical Dress Belt. Check it out!

Train hard & stay safe! ToddG

Designing Custom Sights

8-Feb-15 – 21:45 by ToddG

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One of the best parts about building a pistol from the ground up with Jason Burton was designing a set of truly bespoke sights. Instead of figuring out which set of sights currently on the market that I liked best, I got to tell Jason what I wanted out of a set of sights and he just, you know, built them from scratch.

My goal was pretty straightforward. I wanted high-visibility sights that would allow speed and precision under all possible lighting conditions. For me there were four primary aspects of achieving this:

  1. A permanent orange high-visibility front sight blade that wouldn’t wear off from use or cleaning.
  2. A rear sight notch wide enough to see plenty of “light bar” on either side of the front blade.
  3. 3-dot tritium sights.
  4. A point of impact that corresponded with using the front tritium dot as my point of aim.

So why?

The orange front sight is something I’ve been doing for quite a while now and started out by following John Stewart’s advice from many years ago. The high contrast sight is very easy to pick up quickly and track easily. It stands out clearly when using a so-called “soft front sight focus.” For me at least, it provides most of the benefits of a fiber optic front sight but doesn’t require a lot of light to be useful.

The sight widths are primarily a function of putting a tritium capsule in the front sight and knowing it’s held in place strongly enough to last tens of thousands of rounds of shooting. While narrower rear sights and coming into popularity again, I’ve always liked the balance of speed (gross sight picture) and finesse (finer sight picture) that I can achieve with the wider rear notch. Plenty of people find it easier to align the sights when there is very little extra space between the front post and rear notch. But I’ve never found that to be true. Much like the concept behind ghost ring sights on subguns, carbines, and rifles the eyes tend to center things very naturally. While I may be giving something up in slow fire marksmanship it’s not nearly as important to me (except for bragging rights at the practice range) as being able to make acceptable hits at speed. If that means my slowfire is a little slower than someone else’s I can live with it.

Although I used to be a big fan of 2-dot sights I began gravitating back to the more traditional 3-dot night sight setup after contemplating some of the things that Tim Chandler said in his Handgun Lowlight Essentials write-up a few years ago. The idea behind the 2-dot was that the rear sight was “less busy,” which is technically true. But a 2-dot sight only lets you align the gun horizontally with your eyes. The vertical alignment depends totally on your index (or your guesstimate of the distance between the upper and lower dot). So people sacrifice a true two-dimensional aiming reference under realistic low light conditions to get a little less busy sight picture when it’s daylight bright.

Of course some people eschew tritium on the rear sight at all and insist on using all-black rears because those tiny little capsules are just too darned distracting for them. First of all, I think you’re in trouble if a little blurry dot in your sight picture distracts you so much that you can’t shoot well because — and I’m just going on stories from friends here — being shot at or hit over the head with a baseball is significantly more distracting. Also, there are all sorts of lighting conditions in which having no tritium in your rear sight leaves you with little more than an index and a glowing bouncing ball in space for aiming. The common response is “I’ll have a flashlight” but there are times when you may not want to identify your position with a light though you do still want to aim your gun.

Finally, I use the front dot as my POA/POI because (a) I learned to shoot that way so it’s very natural for me and (b) it means my daylight POA/POI is the same as my lowlight POA/POI. It’s often referred to as “driving the dot” and it just works for me. It requires a little bit of a 3D mental picture when you’re shooting for maximum accuracy at distance but with practice it’s doable. At the end of the day it’s really little different than using a fiber optic or red dot. You put the dot over the spot. Ta-da.

Obviously, given how many different sight designs are on the market there is a wide variety of tastes and needs. Being able to specify exactly what I wanted and then having a set of sights custom built & regulated just for my gun was an experience I’ll greatly miss the next time I have to buy off-the-shelf sights.

Train hard & stay safe! ToddG

Thanks as always to the pistol-training.com Heirloom Project sponsors:

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Heirloom at 2,000

5-Feb-15 – 02:01 by ToddG

It took more than a month to get there, but the Jason Burton Heirloom Precision 9mm Commander broke the 2,000 round mark on Wednesday. A detailed description of the gun part by part is in the works along with plenty of new photos.

Thanks as always to the pistol-training.com Heirloom Project sponsors:

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Open Carry II: The Desperation

28-Jan-15 – 22:51 by ToddG

Gun Nuts posted something on Facebook earlier today that really resonated with me: “Open carry activists have had more success getting guns banned than Michael Bloomberg.”

Then someone shared this and it just goes to show how far the Crazy Open Carry Knights are willing to go to get attention. No one could be stupid enough to think forcing his way into a state legislator’s office is helping the pro-2A movement.

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Think of all those restaurant and store chains that have banned guns over the past year or so. The majority of them were targeted by anti-gun groups who use these open carry narcissists to scare people. Why? Because most people don’t want to have dinner at Chipotle with a bunch of strangers waving semiauto carbines all over the place “because ‘Merica!”

The COCKs are almost solely responsible for every step backward the RKBA community has faced. Remember Starbucks? We went from a company saying yeah, you can bring your guns in here to… what? A major national news story about Starbucks changing its policy specifically because the OC idiots couldn’t take “yes” for an answer.

We get it, COCKs. You’d rather be on television bragging to your mouth breathing buddies about how brave you are in the face of unarmed mothers drinking lattes than doing something actually beneficial like, say, not scaring people … especially the state legislators who are going to vote on the issue you pretend means so much to you.

I’m seriously approaching the point where I wish you people would start to show the same level of dedication and demonstration for medically assisted suicide.

Train hard & stay safe without being an idiot about it! ToddG

Fighting Smarter by Tom Givens

27-Jan-15 – 01:58 by ToddG

fightingsmarter-tomgivensFighting Smarter: A Practical Guide for Surviving Violent Confrontations by well known instructor Tom Givens has now been released in a new, updated 3rd Edition available from Amazon.

While students often judge instructors based on the number of gun battles the instructor has been in, it seems obvious that a better measure would be the number of his students who have succeeded in self-defense shootings. By that measure, Givens is quite literally perfect. More than 60 of his students have had to defend themselves with firearms and all of them — 100% — were the victors.

That’s 100% success. Those are students ranging from a little old lady (literally) to every other imaginable demographic. When they’ve been faced with a violent attack and used a gun in self-defense, they’ve won.

Every. Single. Time.

So if you are someone who may face a violent attack, and you are someone who chooses to have a gun for self-defense, Fighting Smarter by Tom Givens just might teach you some things that you’d find helpful. Just a thought…

Train hard & stay safe! ToddG

All or Nothing: The Press-Out

21-Jan-15 – 02:50 by ToddG

As anyone who has followed me here or on pistol-forum.com has to know, I’m a big fan of a technique called the press-out. So following up on last week’s “All or Nothing: Unsighted Fire” I thought turnabout is fair play and so I’ll examine the pros and cons of this technique and why it’s the right choice for some uses and the wrong choice for others.

The way I’ve historically taught a press-out involves bringing the gun from the holster up to eye level and then doing three things simultaneously:

  1. extending the gun
  2. aligning the sights
  3. pressing the trigger

It basically moves in an upside down “L” shape. The gun moves in a straight line from holster to in front of the face, and then in a straight line to the target.

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This puts the sights between your eyes and your target as early as possible. It gives you a drawstroke that doesn’t rely on any practiced index and makes sure you don’t touch the trigger until you are absolutely certain that the sights are aligned exactly on the point of the target you want to hit. If you use a high ready position (as I do) it also moves the gun through that ready position, giving your practice a universal application whether you’re starting with the gun in or out of your holster.

At the opposite end of the spectrum is what I’ve frequently called the “index” draw. The index draw relies on a very simple principle: the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Here is Ron Avery explaining and demonstrating the technique:

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The gun drives straight from the holster to a fully extended position at eye level. It’s arguably the absolute fastest way you can make an aimed shot. The most common objection to the straight line draw is that it won’t work if there’s a steering wheel or table or any other obstacle that you’d hit with the gun as you swing it forward.

There are two variants of that straight line draw. The first (which has been taught in defensive shooting classes since the beginning of defensive shooting classes) is to punch the gun out, then align the sights, and then make contact with the trigger to break the shot. Obviously, that’s a very slow process. Doing each of those things in sequence takes more time than doing them simultaneously (as in the press-out).

Making the straight line draw fast relies on a practiced index — meaning the gun goes precisely where you want it every time you draw, literally bisecting the line of sight without any visual reference before the gun is fully extended — and, more importantly, a willingness to get on the trigger before you see your sights. Advocates of this technique usually discuss it in a competition context when the entire down range area is safe. If you had to shoot over the heads of a crowd of children in, say, a school shooting you’d be pressing on the trigger as the gun was pointed at those children. And in a match, you have time to think in advance about what you’ll do if there is an obstacle blocking your draw.

The biggest challenge with the straight line draw is building up that perfect index. Plenty of people can do it to a big target like an IDPA or USPSA “A” zone at close range. Once you start applying the technique to lower probability targets (smaller, farther, or obscured targets) you see success requires a lot of practice. Otherwise, the gun is extended but not pointed exactly where it needs to be, taking time to get the gun and sights on target before the shot can be finished. Many of the people I see who can reliably hit the 3×5 card at 7yd during a F.A.S.T. run spend hours and hours every week practicing in dry fire on top of range practice. But if you can devote that effort to your skill building, and you can accept getting on the trigger before you see your sights, there’s simply no faster way to draw when you have the open space in front of you.

Somewhere between the L-shaped press-out and the straight line draw is a decades old technique first described in Brian Enos’s book Practical Shooting, Beyond Fundamentals. It is essentially a J-shaped draw that moves the gun in a more direct path than the first option but gets the sights in front of your eyes sooner than the second. I think of it as rounding the hard edge between the “up” and “out” phases of the L-shaped draw.

The Enos “J” draw gets the gun high enough to see the sights in your peripheral vision to verify that it’s pointed at the target before you start pressing the trigger, but doesn’t take the time to bring the sights right into the eye line. It gets the gun up high enough to avoid obstacles and allows you to judge if/when it’s safe to begin pressing the trigger. The “J” draw is still a press-out by my definition, but it’s one that literally cuts corners to deliver the gun at full extension faster. Because the shooter’s eyes aren’t looking through the sights as early as in the “L” draw, it benefits from the same index building practice as the straight line draw.

After teaching and using the L-shaped draw for more than a decade, I am coming around to the J-shaped Enos draw. As a shooter, it allows me to avoid a sharp stop/start in my drawstroke, saving time as long as my rough index is good enough to get the gun close to where I need it before I see the sights. It also requires less bend in the elbow which is easier for me right now.

As an instructor, it’s easier to teach because students don’t need to change the orientation of the gun from a muzzle up angle to flat and level. This saves not just time but also allows the student to skip over a  conscious step that otherwise complicates the press-out technique.

So which is best? Examine the good and bad and decide which works best for you right now, and keep an open enough mind that you can examine it again in the future to see if something else works better for you down the road.

Train hard & stay safe! TPOG

New Raven Eidolon Modular Holster

17-Jan-15 – 20:06 by ToddG

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I’m an AIWB (appendix inside the waistband) holster kind of guy and have been, exclusively, for many years.

Raven Concealment System‘s first foray into AIWB holsters (the ACR), was not a holster I liked. And I said so. More than once. Raven’s second foray into AIWB (the Vanguard 2), was not something I liked. And I said so. More than once.

Unlike many companies that get upset if you fail to endorse their products, Raven instead sent me a pre-release version of its newest AIWB capable holster, the Eidolon. They’re only available presently for Glocks but other models are obviously coming.

I say it’s AIWB capable because it is not specifically designed only for AIWB use. It is also capable of being set up as a standard behind/on the hip IWB. It will accept all current mini-Red Dot sights. It works with suppressor barrels. It works with most extended controls. It has a unique way of retaining the pistol that isolates the front of the trigger guard rather than the entire area of a gun. From an AIWB perspective it has wedges (first seen on the Garrity In-Victus) as well as a “claws” (similar to the wing on the 5-Shot SME) that can be used together or piecemeal to provide the optimum 3-dimensional position for concealment, comfort, and speed.

That’s the Eidolon (which I jokingly tell people is pronounced “LEGO” for apparent reasons).

If you stop by Raven’s booth at SHOT and mention my name, they’ll give you a free complete Eidolon kit plus $100.*

Train hard & stay safe! ToddG

* note, stopping by Raven’s booth at SHOT and mentioning my name won’t get you anything but a quizzical stare and, possibly, a kick in the shins.