What’s next?

Like Jay, I’ve kinda reached a crossroads in my firearms acquisition. I have my eight guns (plus a few more…), and I can compete in every sport I want to. 

But. 

I don’t own a 1911. And while my Remington 870 is a heck of a gun, it’s not optimal for sporting clays. And I while I was able to crank off a decent group with my M1903, I’d like something dedicated to long-range shooting. And then there’s my .22 rifle: It’s a Mossberg Plinkster, and it sucks. And the boys are going to be wanting guns of their own soon, especially my youngest, who’s taken a shine to a .50 cal rifle he saw earlier this month. 

He’s gonna need to get himself a part-time job pretty soon to pay for that sucker. 

All of the above

“Is it better to be feared or respected? I say, is it too much to ask for both?” 

- T. Stark 

The debate rages on: Pistol or long gun for home defense. Me? I have both. 

Pistols: Are good for moving about and other tasks where a free hand is needed, like opening doors or guiding frightened children to your safe room

Long guns: A shotgun or a rifle brings firepower to the table that a handgun just can’t match, but unless you’ve got an Ithaca Auto & Burglar* by your bedside, you’re going to need both hands to work the gun.  

I have a Mossberg 500 in my safe room loaded with #4 buckshot, and I have a pistol (usually one of my CCW guns) on or near me at all times. The shotgun is for defense of the safe room, and the pistol is there to move around the house if needed. 

Look, if The Balloon Goes Up (hhhmn, now where have I heard that before…), I don’t want to be auto-enrolled in a Quick Response Tactical Force and get my SWAT ninja on: I want to make sure my family is safe, period end of sentence. I don’t want to clear my house, I don’t want to go from room to room with catlike stealth, I want to get my family to my safe room ASAP and keep them secure until help arrives. 

I’ll leave the professional tactical work to the professional tactical people. 

* Is that the greatest name for a gun or what? 

Walther ramps up their game

Well now this is interesting. Seems like Walther is looking to start their post-Smith&Wesson era with a bang. 

Yeah, that was a bad pun. Sorry. 

“Next year Walther will be selling an entry level ‘under $500′ 9mm & .40 S&W called the Walther PPX. The PPX looks to be a simplified version of the Walther PPQ. The PPX appears to be a hammer fired DOA (double action only), not striker fired like the PPQ. It does away with the “paddle” style magazine release of the PPQ and replaces it with a convention button magazine release. 

Well, cool. Nice to see them ditch that goofy paddle release and hit the market price point. I’ll admit I have a soft spot in my head heart for Walther pistols, and yes, it’s because of James Bond. 

And before you mock, how many of you want a Mare’s Leg simply because of Chuck Connors and/or Gina Torres

I rest my case.

Trigger work

I am not mechanically inclined: I lack the patience to do detail work and I soon become frustrated and ask around if any has a hammer.

So the delicate task of installing an Apex trigger fills me with dread. Fortunately, Rob Karrob has produced an EXHAUSTIVE video on how to install an Apex trigger in the Shield from start to finish.

Unfortunately, I’m going to need to head out to Dane Armory to get things done, as it’ll require a vise, punches and heat gun to make it work.

If you’re like me (and I know I am), 52 minutes might be a tad long. Fortunately for us ADD-addled types, there’s a shorter version as well. And the results? Two pounds less on the trigger, and a 1/8th inch reset

I can dig it.

Getting more from a paradigm than just twenty cents

I spent some time a couple of weeks ago with Jim Neff of Generations Firearm Training doing some night shoot practice and working on my colder-weather draw. This wasn’t a formal class per se, but just a few of his more advanced students hanging out and swapping ideas back and forth and working out new ideas for drills and practice routines. 

A couple of his students have been trained in what’s loosely called “executive protection”, and they showed us a few simple drills for keeping someone safe as you engaged a threat with your handgun… 

… and that’s when it hit me. The skillset I’m looking for as an armed civilian with a family isn’t the skills of a SWAT cop (which seem limited to shooting dogs and busting down the door of the wrong house…) or the sills of a beat cop or the skills of an Elite Tier One Tactical Operator, it’s the skills of a bodyguard. 

My goals are not to execute a perfect breach-bang-clear or CQB drill as second nature: I want my family to survive the worse day of our lives, and that’s exactly what a bodyguard does.

Now I’m not going to bulk up, shave my head, get a pair of Ray-Bans and wear a bluetooth headset wherever I go, and I’m not going to watch “In The LIne Of Fire” over and over to pick up tips on how to protect my principal (even though it’s one of my favorite movies) and I’m definitely not going to give my family code names like Rawhide or Timberwolf, but I am going to filter what I’m learning through the lens of someone who wants to keep someone safe. It’s not that much different than why i’m studying karate: I know I’m going to become a cage fighter in my middle age, but if someone throws a punch at me, I want some options available to me that involve more than cowering in fear.

This where the integration of situational awareness/empty hand/armed response comes in, maybe something like the DSG’s Box Drill with airsoft and live participants. Is there a threat? Where is it? Does it represent a danger to myself or my loved ones? Is the correct response to the threat retreat, de-escalation, an empty-hand response or deadly force? Can I safely execute the response? 

That sort of scalable response is just not taught to civilians as an integrated package with practice drills and tests to make what you learn stick into your muscle memory and become second nature (kata, if you will). I can practice karate and I can practice shooting and I can practice situational awareness, but I’m not yet seeing a way to bring all the elements together in a way that is repeatable, testable and practical. 

Yet.

Dungeons and Dragunovs

Tam’s comments about the SCA and Sebastian’s post about nerds and ThirdPower’s post about miniatures got the wheels inside my head a-turnin. Gun Culture 2.0 tends to be tech-savvy, which means D+D and other games are a distinct possibility. 

 

Myself? Oh yeah. Ten years of D+D (starting with the first three and Greyhawk ’cause the DMG was just coming out), then Traveller, TFT, Champions, MSPE, Shadowrun … you name it, I’ve played it. That’s what happens when you hang out with the people who make the stuff, I guess. 

And now I’m a gunblogger. There’s a connection to be made there, but it’s late Sunday night as I write this and I’m too tired and too doped out on L-Tryptophan to make it right now…

Pay no attention to the sponsor behind the curtain.

“I have always hated the basic undercurrent of magic which Jerry Seinfeld put best when he said: ‘All magic is “Here’s a quarter, now it’s gone. You’re a jerk. Now it’s back. You’re an idiot. Show’s over”.'”

- Penn Jillette

First off, (as it’s not every day a comment of yours gets mentioned on the Michael Bane podcast), let me make one thing perfectly clear (shakes jowls):

Shooting Gallery and Best Defense are two of the exceptions to what I am about to talk about! (I haven’t seen Rapid Fire because no cable, but if previous shows are any indication…).

*rant mode off*

Back before I had Outdoor Channel, the only gun show I could watch was a guns and gear show on what was then called the Versus Sports Channel. And it was horrid. It was half an hour of people talking about how their sponsors guns were great and neat and the coolest thing ever, intermixed with ads for their sponsors. It was really hard to tell, at times, when the show ended and the ad began.

When I started to get into coyote hunting, I watched a show ostensibly about predator calling, but was nothing more than “Hi, here we’re using the ‘Obsequious Rabbit’ setting on our WolfRam XP-4000 Caller to bring in a coyote. Wait for it… BAM, he’s dead. Aren’t I cool, and isn’t the WolfRam XP-4000 a cool piece of must-have gear for the serious predator hunter?”

Replace “coyote” with any other game animal and the WolfRam XP-4000 with any other piece of shooting/sports gear and you have the template for 90% of the content on both the Sportsman’s and Outdoor Channel. All I learned from those shows is that in order to shoot coyotes, I need to be the host and have the host’s gear.

But I’m not the host, and I don’t believe that gear makes the shot, but rather, the man makes the shot. The gear is helpful, but at the end of the day, it’s ME behind the trigger, and no amount of gadgetry is going to make up for a bad trigger squeeze (ask me how I know this…).

Some people in the hunting community get it: Two local organizations, Arizona Predator Callers and Xtreme Predator Callers emphasize teaching adults to learn how to hunt for themselves and not just take them out on a two-day hike where they get to kill something. Outside of the hunting realm, Babes With Bullets and Her Handgun make shooting fun for women, and Rob Leatham’s Intro To Steel and the Ruger Rimfire Challenge are excellent (and cheap) introductions into the world of practical shooting. But sadly, this is still the exception and not the rule.

Hopefully, that will change. Guns have become popular as of late because freedom has become popular, and firearms are the gateway drug to freedom.

Is the vast majority of firearms media educating its readership to make choices as free people?

I’ll let you decide that.

I miss having cable TV and the Outdoor Channel not because I miss watching “GUNSRCOOL MAGAZINE PRESENTS “CELEBRITY IBEX HUNTING” FEATURING WIZBANG RIFLES SPONSORED BY BLAST-O-MATIC AMMUNITION” but because I miss watching shooting shows that treated me as a living, thinking, breathing adult who happens to be into shooting. Hopefully, firearms media will catch on to the fact that we consumers have choices now, and if content we get in return for the $100+ a month we pay for cable or dish isn’t valuable to us, we’ll look elsewhere.

Michael gets it. Others don’t. In the meantime, we, the consumer, must wait.

And because Michael’s been on a punk rock kick as of late, here’s The Clash doing The Guns of Brixton. Miss you, Joe. Who’d have thought you’d go before Topper?

Warm Winter Concealed Carry

There’s some good articles out there dealing with how to carry concealed in the cold, cold weather that’s about to descend on most of the country, but out here in the Desert Southwest, winter means putting on a light jacket when we leave the house, not bundling up in a snowsuit. 

So how do you deal with concealing your sidearm in such weather? Keep in mind that in some warm-weather states, open carry is still not allowed (sorry, Robb), so just slipping on a jacket isn’t an option because once that jacket comes off, you’re “brandishing” and you’re in big trouble. 

I had an opportunity to talk with Jim Neff of Generations Firearm Training on this topic, and created a short video to pass along what I learned from him. 

Kel-Tec does something completely different. Again.

The company that came out with a pocket .380 and a mini 9mm loooong before those guns were cool has re-imagined the defensive flashlight

Almost a good idea

The small size of the CL-43 makes it possible to hold and operate parallel with a handgun without impairing a conventional two handed hold. If required, and with some training, the light can be operated one-handed together with the gun. 

The unique features of the CL-43 include:

  • Superior ergonomics due to the forward facing push button switch.
  • Small size. Can be enclosed by one hand and operated in parallel with a handgun
  • Extreme light power. 420 lumens and an optimum beam angle.

Sounds neat. 

But. 

“The switch is operated like the trigger on a gun, pointing the light as an extension of your arm. ” 

Ok stop.

Didn’t we have this discussion before with the SERPA? We know that having your trigger finger twitch while drawing your sidearm out of it’s holster is a bad idea? So why is having your middle finger of your gun hand or the trigger finger of your support hand flick a light on and off whilst your finger is on the trigger any less of a bad idea? 

I’ll give full credit to Kel-Tec for thinking outside of the box on this one, but I can’t see it as something I’d but or recommend it as it’s designed now.