Tactical Vs. Practical

I thought I’d break down the Louland match from a few weeks ago where I shot my subcompact Shield versus my normal gamer gear to see how much equipment actually affects performance. I’m comparing my scores to another “C” class shooter at the match who was running a Glock 19 with full mags to give some idea of what difference carry gear and drawing from concealment makes in a match.

Stage One
This stage traditionally has a lot of falling steel, mini-poppers and plate racks, meaning accuracy is at a premium. It was also the first stage I shot in the match with a gun I hadn’t practiced with for months, which led to some expected results.

Competitor One
Points: 110 – Points Down: 0 – Time: 32.48
Points: 80 – Points Down: 60 – Time: 79.69

Yeah, screwed the pooch big time on this one, leaving 6 targets un-shot. Moving on…

Stage Two
A more traditional steel stage, with some run and gun elements. The targets were bigger (A-C steel and poppers) and I’d settled down a bit and gotten used to the gun after the first stage. Here’s a photo and a stage diagram.

Stage Description: Shoot the lettered targets from their corresponding area.

Competitor One
Points: 120 – Points Down: 0 – Time: 16,42
Points: 120 – Points Down: 0 – Time: 54.10

Still slow, but getting better. As a way to judge the skill level of the other competitor and myself, I re-shot this stage the next day with my gamer rig, and did it in 20.69 seconds.

Stage 3
You’ve seen this one in the video, so let’s get to it.

Competitor One
Points: 95 – Points Down: 0 – Time: 19.44
Points: 98 – Points Down: 0 – Time: 28.54

Took me a while longer to shoot, but my comfort with the small gun was definitely improving. Also, I was very pleased with my accuracy on this stage, dropping only four Charlies and a Delta on all that paper.

Stage 4
The stage from the last part of the video, the one with the pond. Very fast, with few targets.

Competitor One
Points: 56 – Points Down: 0 – Time: 11.25
Points: 58 – Points Down: 0 – Time: 18.36

Having to reload and work from concealment really hit me on this stage.

Stage 5
All steel, with hostage-target and a bunch of tiny little rabbit auto poppers.

Competitor One
Points: 95 – Points Down: 0 – Time: 19.66
Points: 95 – Points Down: 0 – Time: 28.35

Again, having to reload twice as often and draw both my gun and magazines from reload affecting things there quite a bit.

All in all, I’m glad I shot the match with my carry gear because some of the targets (like the hostage shot) were quite tricky, and knowing that I can make the shot with my carry gear, on-demand and under stress, is a big confidence booster.

Meet Ricochet.com’s newest contributor.

Me, and my first article for the site is about choosing a holster for concealed carry and the benefits of an inside the waistband holster versus outside the waistband holster.

Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 2.04.07 PM

I’ve been a big fan of Ricochet.com and their unique “pay to comment” business model for a long time, even before my good friend and former co-blogger joined their ranks, and now I’ll be writing for them on the new realities of gun ownership and how it affects the politics of the U.S. I’ve been after them for years to add more Second Amendment content like their competitors at The Daily Caller and Townhall.com, and now they’ve got one.

I just wished they’d pay more…

If you’re reading this and are not a Ricochet.com member, please consider joining the site. The people there are smart, the conversations are guaranteed to be troll-free, and it costs about as much each month as a squash pumpkin-spice latté, but without the cloying aftertaste.

Ruger Ammunition?

Ok, this gets interesting

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According to AccurateShooter.com, the ammunition is made for Ruger by Polycase Ammunition, and if so, I’m very intrigued. I shot their ammunition at SHOT and was very impressed. It was easy to shoot, accurate, and had a bullet design that looks to re-invent what defensive ammunition looks and acts like.

And the price looks right, too. Ruger upset the apple cart 8 years ago with the LCP, did it again this year with the Precision Rifle, and now they’re looking to follow Sig Sauer into the ammo market as well.

Stay tuned.

Something to add to your reading list

I’ll admit, my initial reaction to sociologist Jennifer Carlson’s book on concealed carry was a bit… wary. No one likes to be poked and prodded as a test subject, and I thought her take on why concealed carry was gaining popularity to be a bit simplistic.


In the course of her research, she got her Michigan CCW. She became an NRA Basic Pistol and PPiH instructor. She carried on a regular basis. She attended an open-carry rally, and openly carried while doing so.

I probably won’t agree with everything she says in her book, but the amount of effort she put into it deserves more research and my respect. Rather than show up at an NRA convention and mock the old fat white guys in camo overalls, it sounds like there’s a sincere effort to start with a “beginner’s mind” and truly learn the ins and outs of new gun culture.

So I’ll let you know what I think of her book, “Citizen-Protectors: The Everyday Politics of Guns in an Age of Decline” after I’m finished reading it.

Product Review: ThruNite TI4 Flashlight

Advantages: Small size, powerful output, common battery type
Disadvantages: Confusing controls
Rating: Four out of five stars.

I’ve been carrying a SigTac flashlight for a year now, and I like it because it’s bright (enough), small and it takes one AA battery. Yes, this means it isn’t as bright as an equivalent flashlight that uses CR123 batteries, but it also means I can find batteries on the Moon if need be.

However, it’s a thick flashlight, and that thickness is something that I need to deal with when I take other things out of my pockets. Sometimes, it’s not about the gadget itself, but how that gadget plays well with others. Also, I wasn’t really satisfied with the output of the SigTac light, so I started to look around for a slimmer light with a bit more candlepower.

I settled on a Thrunight Ti4 LED light. It’s powerful, easily surpassing the output of the SigTac. It’s also light, slim and becuase it looks like a pen, it doesn’t scream “I have a tactical flashlight on me!” when it’s clipped in my front pants pocket.

2xAAA LED flashlight

If I have one complaint, it’s the controls. The light has four modes: Firefly (very weak), Low (good for navigation), High (good for dazzling someone) and Strobe (good for triggering epiletic seizures). The light starts out in the dimest mode available when turned on and then the other modes are accessed by double-clicking the end cap, twisting the lens barrel or pressing and holding the end cap. It works, but it’s a bit kludgy. I’d much prefer some way to set up the light so that it starts up in my preferred mode every time I turn it on, rather than having to cycle through all the modes to get to the one I want. Also, an “emergency switch” of some sort would be nice to quickly turn on the strobe function when I need to use it stop a potential bad guy from doing me further harm.

Overall, though, for the price, it’s a great light, and definitely an upgrade from the SigTac light I had been carrying or the Streamlight MicroStream I carried before that.

Production note: As an experiment, this post was created entirely on my iPhone 6+ using an iWerks Bluetooth keyboard and the Camera+, Tilt/Shift Generator and Resize Image apps. It took me about twice as long to write than if I’d used a full-size computer, mainly because the layout of the keyboard is slightly different and toggling between browser windows is tougher on a smartphone than it is on a desktop, but I found out I can write a blog post on gear I can fit into my pockets. Cool.

Current Every Day Carry

I’ve made a number of changes to what I carry on a daily basis, so I thought a review is in order.


Clockwise from upper right left:

I carry the belt gear on a Uncle Mike’s tactical instructor’s belt, and I really like it. It’s infinitely adjustable and holds my gear in-place throughout the day. I don’t carry everything I *might* need, I carry the basics of, well, everyday carry. This is bare minimum needed to keep me safe and functioning on a daily basis.

Well that, and coffee.

The rest of the crap I need to live a day on my own I have near me in another bag, and an even bigger bag (and gun) to deal with the really bad stuff.

Your gear?

So just what is a “training scar”?

Judging by this conversation, a training scar is best defined as “a process or style that a student has which a firearms teacher cannot integrate into his teaching”.

Look, I know I have a tendency not to look around after a course of fire is over. Despite that, every time I’ve ran through a “blind” shoot house, where I didn’t know where the targets were or how many targets there were, I stopped only when the instructor told me the exercise was over.

Yep, despite not doing a “scan and assess” after shooting a stage, when it came time to replicate things in as real of environment as possible, I kept my guard up and kept treating it as “real”, even though it wasn’t.

It’s almost as if my mind and body know when I’m gaming, and when I’m not.

For me, the benefits of regular competition, namely, being able to deliver the shot quickly and accurately under stressful conditions, outweigh having to deal with integrating that into a “tactical” environment like a training class. Let’s stop worrying about “training scars” and start worrying about making the shot, no matter what happens before during or after the trigger press.

Match Report – Louland Pistol Match, 9-24-15

Once a year, I like to shoot my carry gear in competition to see how it performs in a stressful situations, so I brought my Smith&Wesson Shield in 9mm, Crossbreed Minituck and a pair of mag pouches to the Louland pistol match last week.

Shooting a match with a gun that holds 8+1 means you get a LOT of opportunity to practice your reloads, and despite this (and the super-short sight radius of the Shield), I did ok.

Here’s a video of another shooter running a stage with a Glock 19 versus my Shield. There is something to be said for having 15 rounds in a mag, as we shall now see, with special bonus footage of what happens when you set up a match, then have a Florida monsoon roll in the morning of the match.

Optimism means evangelism

I wrote a piece on gun ownership targeted for the non-gun-owning crowd of Ricochet.com, and it generated a lot of good comments and a lot of… not-so-good comments. I was expecting a lot of stupid questions, and that’s ok because stupid questions help avoid stupid mistakes.

Another example.

A few months back, there was an excellent two-hour talk on Florida self-defense law here in Naples. The attorney who gave it was affiliated with the Armed Citizen’s Legal Defense Network and knew his stuff. The people in the audience DIDN’T know their stuff, and their questions revealed that fact to everyone present.

That’s ok, because if they knew everything, they’d be teaching the class, not giving it. The problem is, of course, when those who DON’T know everything think they can teach the class, and that’s when the fun begins.

If we want the pool of gun owners to expand, we need to put up with such stupidity and guide the people towards a safer, more educated lifestyle. It’s not fun, and it means putting up with some really bad ideas and even worse choices, but that’s what happens when you win: People want to be on your side.

Let’s make them at home, not uneasy.