Ok, Tracking Point, Now I’m Interested.

night20hawk20web

NightHawk
300-yard Target Lock Range, 7 mph Max Target Velocity, Night Vision

Key Capabilities

  • Allows owners to protect their home and property 24-hours a day
  • Night vision capabilities (with IR illuminator attachment)
  • Works with standard off-the-shelf ammunition
  • The knock-down performance of the 300BO
  • Can be financed for up to 48 months (payments as low as $160/month)

True, $6k is a bit much for what is essentially a .300 Blackout AR with a thermal sight, but considering a thermal sight by itself costs almost three grand, that’s not bad. The financing option is also interesting as it greases the skids into owning this gun and allows Tracking Point to make a few more bucks with every sale. Tracking Point is selling this as a defensive gun, but to me, with thermal sights and .300BLK, it just screams “HOG RIFLE!!!!”.

It’s nice to see the Tracking Point technology filter down to us mere mortals this way, and the price/features curve is definitely bending downward on this sort of thing. The next few years of rifle development are going to be quite interesting.

 

Tempest In A Red Dot.

Red dot sights will get you killed on the street“.

Nuh-uh“.

Uh-Huh, they totes will get you killed“.

Nah, bro, they’re bomb.”

Enough.

Disclaimer: I’ve trained with Suarez and I’ve trained with Pincus, so I am familiar with two of the people on opposite sides of this debate. I’m also about 1/100th as qualified to talk to about this subject as the guys I mentioned in the above paragraph, so take what I’m about to say with a salt lick or two.

However, I was a crash-test dummy for this episode of Shooting Gallery on red dot guns, and I’m open to the idea that technology can improve our shooting, mainly because advances in technology have improved our shooting ever since we swapped out handgonnes for matchlocks.

The fact is, a red dot is very, very useful on a defensive handgun, for certain situations. I had a completely open mind when I trained with Gabe: My only experience with red dots on pistols was the el cheapo sight on my Smith and Wesson .22, and I was truly curious to see how they worked on a defensive pistol because they seemed to work pretty darn well on all the Open guns I’d see at a match.

At the beginning of Alf and I’s training with Gabe, both of us were chasing the dot at close ranges rather than focusing on our iron sights. Once we realized that the dot was there to augment, not replace, the iron sights on our guns, we settled down, and our groups tightened significantly.

Is a red dot applicable to every shooting situation? No, but guess what, your iron sights aren’t applicable in every situation, either. A red dot really shines (pun intended) when the distance needed to make the shot gets beyond 25 yards. Sight picture is crucial at those distances, and a red dot makes those shots so easy, even a moron like myself can make them. Is it a good thing to know you can make a 50 yard shot on-demand with your carry pistol? I’d say so.

Are red dots an essential must-have tool in your toolbox? No. Are they the future of handguns? Maybe. Are they more beneficial to the average schmo than $1500 worth of ammo and quality firearms training? Probably not. There is a definite niche for the red dot, though, and it’s a niche that will only get bigger as time marches on.

A Feeling of Safety. First.

It’s been percolating in the back of my mind for awhile now that the majority of  “Gun Culture 2.0” isn’t about guns, it’s about what guns do. More specifically, it’s about how having a gun near them makes them FEEL, and what they want to do is “feel safe”.

Look, let’s address the elephant in the room. 99.5% of legal gun owners were safe BEFORE they got a gun, and they’ll still be safe now that the own a gun. This is a good thing, because people who have only a 60% chance (or less) of being safe at any moment are living in a war zone and/or Chicago, and that’s something that nobody wants, no matter how good the pizza is there.

When I got my first self-defense gun, I bought it because my wife and I no longer “felt safe” in our home in the metro Phoenix area. We took steps along the way to make ourselves feel safe, and more importantly, thanks to things like firearms training, increased awareness, first aid kits, flashlights, gas cans, etc, we ARE safer. Buying a gun is just part of a “safe” lifestyle: It’s a waypoint along the journey towards personal security, and thankfully, it’s a waypoint that some, (and quite frankly, probably MOST), will never need.

Let’s face it: If you want to live a longer, happier life, reducing your risks of heart disease and a stroke are probably the  #1 and #2 things you should do. Dying in a shootout with a gangbanger at the local Golden Corral is waaaaaaay down the list, so plan accordingly. Not that gun skool isn’t fun (it is) and not that have a concealed carry gun on you isn’t a comfortable presence when you gas up your car late at night, (it is), and not that there isn’t an increased risk of terrorist/drug mob violence in our country (there is), but it’s a well-rounded plan that focuses on mindset that keeps you safe, not just a pound and a half of metal and plastic on your hip.

Feeling safe by BEING safe is our goal.

After Action Report: Bob Vogel World Class Pistol Skills

The basics: The two day class was held at Altair Gun Club, a private range about 45 minutes east of Naples. The class was nine guys, all older, split about 1/3 each “gamers”, 1/3 professionals (LEO or private security and 1/3 casual tactical learners. All of the students had a lot of previous gun skool, none had any “gamer” classes”.

I was pleased that Bob’s shooting philosophy is similar to mine: Shooting is shooting. Delivering the shot on-time and on-target is the same for tactical as it is competition. The point is to be as fast and accurate as possible in any situation. As for tactics, as Bob says, “Speed is a huge tactic”.
Gear-wise, there were five Glocks, two M&P’s, a Grand Power and me with my CZ’s (Yes, plural. More on that later.). As Bob shoots a Glock and the majority of students in the class shot Glocks, there was at least an half hour’s discussion devoted on how to make a Glock run as fast and accurately as a CZ.

You can’t. Game over. 😀

One thing I did appreciate was looking down the sights of Bob’s competition Glock 34. His sights are a LOT wider-spaced than mine: The rear sight groove is bigger, and the front sight is a mere slip with a small fiber dot. I really liked that idea, as it fits in with the faults I’m finding with my competition guns.

The technique training was solid. As Bob says, “Almost anyone can hold a gun on-target at 25 yds. The trick is keeping it on-target as they pull the trigger”. This dovetails nicely with what I learned from Rob Leatham, so there’s something to be pursued further in my dry-fire along those lines. Bob also believes that “The less the gun moves, the better you shoot”, and that’s what his draw, movement on a stage and grip are based around. He grips the gun with the support hand further out towards the muzzle than most people do with the modern isosceles, and he emphasizes using the meaty part of your thumb on both hands, just below the last knuckle, for controlling the gun movement. He also cants his wrists slightly downwards, allowing for the support hand to grab the gun further out of the frame. That grip, he believes, allows you to get your hands closer to the muzzle and therefore closer to where the recoil is happening.

Also, he believes that people should “pinch” the gun in the holster with the middle finger and thumb versus grabbing it with all three fingers. Pinching relates to a higher grip on the gun and a faster draw, as the complete grip assembles itself as the gun is on it’s way towards the target. Straight left wrist  = low hand on gun, cant wrist down. A strong support hand is an essential part of his grip, because the strong hand has to grip the gun and pull the trigger, and the support hand jus grips the gun, so it’s essential for control during the trigger press. If you notice on the video I posted yesterday, his hands are pressing slightly inwards on each other. Torquing them inward like that creates pressure downwards and from side to side, which helps eliminate side to side motion. This also helps press the gun up and right, which works against trigger jerk that tends to push the gun down and to the left.

Another element of recoil control he teaches is grip strength. Bob is a big proponent of the Captains of Crush grip stregtheners, as they helped him, and I’m getting one sent my way to try it out.

To be honest, that was takeaway #1: The physical reality of being a truly great shooter. I got to see Angus Hobdell, Tarn Butler and Rob Leatham shoot many, many times, and no one would ever accuse them of them of being “svelte”. They’re big guys, but they all can move very quickly and explode out of the shooting box when needed. Watching Bob spring from a dead standstill to 6 feet ahead at the drop of a hat was enlightening.

Takeaway #2 was the Bill Drill. To be honest, I had not practiced this drill a lot, but now I see it’s usefulness in finding what you’re doing consistently wrong. If you have an occasional problem with trigger jerk, it WILL show up when you shoot six shots in a row multiple times.

Takeaway #3 was the importance of dry-fire, and practicing measurable things while dry-firing. To be honest, I’d been dry-firing wrong. Having a double-action gun means I can pull the trigger on each target I point my (empty) gun at, but that doesn’t mean I should pull the double-action trigger every time I need it. I’m switching to a true DA/SA trigger practice from now on. True, I won’t have the hammer fall with each shot, but it will be more like the way my gun actually works and allow me to see issues with trigger press and gun movement.

Win – win – win.

Here’s a video of me working my way (slowly) through some of the drills in the class.

This is not a class for everyone; If you’re new to shooting world or haven’t taken a beginning pistol class, take those first ,and shoot a few matches as well. However if you’re ready (as I am) to get really, really good at shooting a pistol under the artificial stress of the range and a timer, this is a great class to help take you to the next level.

And because this was Florida, we had an alligator show up for some free training. He kept to himself, but I wasn’t going to be the one to tell him he needed to wear eye and ear protection while he was watching us shoot.

gator

Match Report: USPSA at SW Florida Practical Shooters, 2/4/16

I shot the weekly USPA match at the Hansen Range prep for this weekend’s class with Bob Vogel, and to spend a little quality time with my new upgraded CZ P-07. Let’s roll the tape!

Overall, I’m not happy with how I shot: I had too many Mikes on targets where they just weren’t justified. This was the first time I shot the P-07 in USPSA, and I had trouble picking up the front sight on strings of fire. I’ve got Meprolight night sights on it right now, and they… suck. They’re hard to pick up because they’re three dot sights (which I hate) and the front sight post is too thick for precise aiming. I got the night sights because the P07 is my regular carry gun in addition to being my IDPA gun, so I need to find a compromise between a race gun sight that’s useful on a square range and night sights useful on a carry gun. I think I may (may!) have found that compromise, so we’ll see how they’ll work out.

My plan was, before tonight, to shoot the P-07 at the Vogel class, but I honestly think shooting the new (old) pre-B CZ75 in the class will better reflect my actual skill level.

Opportunity is knocking

Or,

Alas, poor Remington. I knew them, Horatio: a company
of infinite accuracy, of most excellent shotguns: I hath
borne them on my back a thousand times; and now, how
abhorred in my imagination they are!

The Firearm Blog noticed the big grey elephant in big green’s SHOT show booth: Where is the R51, and what happened to Remington Defense?

Let’s face it, Remington has not been on a roll as of late. The Tracking Point rifles where… whelming, and the 700 recall mess-up is tarnishing the reputation of what once was the gold standard in precision rifles. There’s been recalls with their shotguns as well, the purchase of Para-USA, the elimination of Para-USA not going over that well, the iffy quality control on Marlin rifles and the fact that the ACR failed to live up to expectations, and you can see why the execs at the Freedom Group might be gulping down Xanax by the handful right now.

So why not sell to Sig Sauer?

Okay, aside from the fact that Sig probably doesn’t have a billion or so in spare change in the sofa cushions, selling most of (if not all) of Remington to Sig makes a lot of sense, and by “Remington”, I mean Remington as it was five or six years ago, before it went on a buying spree. Sig’s product lines and Remington’s core product lines intersect but lightly. Sig doesn’t make shotguns or bolt guns and their ammunition production pales in comparison to Remington’s, so the two brands wouldn’t cannibailze each other that much. The Remington 1911’s do conflict somewhat with Sig’s 1911’s, but if they cut Para loose again, that problem would solve itself. There’s also the question of Remington’s AR line, but again, Bushmaster is just sitting there, waiting to be turned loose from under Freedom Group’s thumb.

Sig benefitted greatly when Freedom Group snapped up AAC: Sig’s new silencer line and the MCX are just two of the items hatched by John Holister and Kevin Brittingham since they left AAC, and I’m sure there’s more to come. Will Sig snatch up Remington as well? Only time will tell.

Pocket Dump

I’ve been pocket-carrying my KelTec P3AT a lot recently, and decided to get some practice with it. I shot the Step By Step Gun Training “Shoot And Scoot” event last week, and I was reminded how much I hate shooting it. The trigger bite on it, especially with the Crimson Trace laser on it, is nasty and makes shooting more than a dozen rounds an exercise in pain.

Ever shot a Tokarev? It’s a lot like that.

So now I’m looking around. I’m thinking LCP, Bodyguard or P238, or maybe even breaking the model and going with an LCR, maybe even in .22 Magnum. In the mean time, I’m going back to pocket-carrying the Sccy. The new version is a LOT better than the one I purchased many years ago, and it fits into the pocket of my khakis, plus it give me 10+1 of 9mm versus 7+1 of .380.

I’ll take it.

Do You Like American Marksman?

icon_american-marksman-redI like American Marksman
Don’t you like American Marksman, too, baybeee? 

Why yes, I am a big fan of the Violent Femmes. Why do you ask? 😉

I’m really excited that The American Marksman is starting to take off. I’ve known about this for over a year and a half, and I think it’s a great way to get people of all skill levels and ages into competitive shooting, which has been my hobbyhorse of late. I’m not going to enter (I have better things to do than shove my ugly mug in front of the camera again), but dude, fifty grand is fifty grand.

Go for it.