Just the essentials

I’m hopelessly addicted to Tiny House Nation. I’m not necessarily going to downsize to 300 square feet (yet), but I love a good hack, and the houses they build on that show  are chock full of space-saving, problem-solving goodness because of their small size.

Which got me thinking: Eight guns are the minimum for a well-rounded shooter, but what if there’s not enough space for even that? What is the absolute minimum amount of guns that I might need to protect myself and my loved ones and participate in my shooting sports of choice?

  • A full-size 9mm pistol.
    It all begins with this. I’d pair it with an OWB holster so that I can shoot IDPA or USPSA with it as well as carry it concealed under a cover garment during the day. For added fun (and to save money), I’d make sure whatever I bought was capable of switching over to .22 without much fuss and bother.
  • A 16″ AR-15 in .223.
    Add on a free-floating barrel, collapsable stock and a 1-4x scope, and you’ve got something to defend the home, take to the range or shoot 3 gun. If I want to save money, I can just drop in a CMMG adapter and blast away with .22LR ammo, and if I want to go after deer or need more thump, there’s .300BLK available if I don’t mind storing an extra barrel and BCG around somewheres. Speaking of 3 Gun and extra barrels…
  • A 12ga semi-auto shotgun.
    Set up for 3 Gun with an 8+1 magazine tube, I can easily swap the barrel and tube if I want to blast one of God’s creatures out of the heavens.
  • A pocket .380.
    For those days when concealing a full-size gun is just not possible.

All of that easily fits into a Plano Two-Rifle case, and that, along with a half-dozen mags for the rifle and pistols, 1000 rounds of 9mm, 500 rounds of .223 and a bunch of shotgun ammo should easily fit into the space underneath the average couch.

Maybe we don’t need all that gear after all.

Ninjas vs. Spartans.

No, this isn’t about some game app for your phone, but rather about two popular athletic events.

The Spartan Race is a variant of the “tough mudder” obstacle course / marathon competition that’s become popular as of late. It’s not easy (far from it!) and that difficulty is what makes it so popular, with big-time sponsors, a TV series and races on three continents. How they can call it “The Spartan Race” and not have the contestants lop off the heads of a few Helots along the way, I don’t know.

I digress.

American Ninja Warrior is also a very tough obstacle course, but it’s shorter and is more focused on acrobatics and gymnastics rather than endurance and mud. It also has big-time sponsors and a tv show, and unlike the Spartan Race, I’m absolutely hooked on watching on TV, as are my wife and sons.


  1. It’s better TV.
    All the excitement of the contest happens over the space of 7-8 minutes, not a 2 hour run. If I wanted to watch a mini-series, I’ll re-watch “Band of Brothers” on Netflix.
  2. It’s better to watch in-person.
    I’ve not been to a taping of American Ninja Warrior nor have I ran a tough mudder, but all the action in ANW happens right there in front of you, making for boisterous crowds and a party atmosphere, and what’s good to watch in-person is, by definition, good to watch on TV.*
  3. The obstacles match an urban audience.
    Running around over hill and dale is fun, (and heaven knows I did a bunch of it my younger days), but it’s not really relevant to today’s youth who are more into parkour and rock gyms than they are marathons and farm life.

Here’s the fact of the matter: Practical shooting, as it stands now, is the Spartan Race: The people who watch it and benefit from it tend to be the people who participate in the sport. If it’s going to grow, it needs to become American Ninja Warrior, and draw in fans who don’t have a rock-climbing wall in their basement.

* Think about it: There’s a reason why so many musicians do so well selling recordings of their live performances, even though their fans can listen to the songs as performed in the studio on  the non-live albums. Excitement and fans = $$$. The Grateful Dead figured this out DECADES ago. Why hasn’t practical shooting caught up with what those hippies learned back in the 60’s?

Shooting Teams Are The New Blue Angels, Part II

Let’s pick up from where we left off last time.

The Army’s Golden Knights parachute team has a YouTube Channel, and the most popular video on that channel has over 1.2 million views.

Not bad, until you realize that the most popular video on Hickok45’s channel has over 10 million views, and the most popular video on Jerry Miculek’s channel (a relative newcomer to YouTube) has over 2 million views, and it’s just him and his family cranking out the content, not the full weight and power of the United States Army.

All is not lost, however. Aside from the world-record stunts and two celebrity tandem jumps, the average views for a Golden Knights YouTube video is less than 40,000 views. However, the Army Marksmanship Unit (AMU) has more videos of over 40,000 views than the Golden Knights, and their content has consistently higher engagement as well.

So the people want to watch people using firearms on YouTube. The question is, who is going to give them content to watch?

It’s just a training issue.

There’s nothing wrong with the design of the Serpa, according to Blackhawk! fanboys. It is weapons retention perfection, they say.



Ain’t never seen a leather holster do that.

Welcome everyone from Active Self Protection and elsewhere around the ‘net. The beer’s in the fridge, chips are on the table. Don’t drink the single-malt, that’s mine for after you guys have left. ;) I’d love it if you stuck around and read some other stuff, or you can Like me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

Fear and Loathing in the Magic Kingdom


Oh noes, there was a dude with a gun at Disneyland!

A man with a loaded pistol was arrested outside the main entrance to Disneyland last month after another park visitor reported seeing something suspicious, Anaheim police revealed Tuesday.

Just before 9 p.m. on July 9, officers assigned to the resort property received a radio call from Disneyland security regarding a report of a man with a gun, according to police spokesman Eric Trapp.

Plain clothes detectives went to investigate and located a man with a handgun in the esplanade area of the resort, Trapp said. The esplanade is the open area that divides the entrances to Disneyland and California Adventure once patrons pass through security.

I was at Disneyland in late 2013, and I’m surprised that this sort of thing doesn’t happen more often there. The security at the park is pretty much a bag search at the entrance, cameras everywhere and cops milling about inconspicuously. They do a great job of not harshing the mellow of The Happiest Place on Earth™, but the fact is, it’s dead-simple to get a knife or a concealed pistol onto the grounds of Disneyland on your person. In fact, I may or may not have had a multi-tool and a folding knife on me in the park during my last trip. Yes, it’s the happiest place on earth, but, I am not going there without something to help get me out if it all goes to hell.

Bag searches and cameras help prevent mass-casualty events like the Boston and Bangkok bombings, and Disneyland’s zero-tolerance rule towards boisterous behavior cuts down on the riots and fistfights, but unless Disney wants to re-create the TSA at the entrance of each park, stuff like this is going to happen.

Although I will admit, I’d LOVE to see how the Haus of Maus might put a happy face on a full-body x-ray scan and cavity search. I digress.

I’m ok with a bag search at places like Disneyland because they’re prime targets for our enemies, and a bag search would limit the ways they might do us harm. Rather than go with metal-detectors and x-rays, though, I’d prefer Disney to allow concealed carry on the grounds and let those who can safely defend themselves do so inside their parks. Clamping down on security and turning their parks into “The Happiest Prison Grounds on Earth” won’t work. To borrow a line from a movie now owned by Disney, “The more you tighten your grip, the more people will slip through your fingers.”

A pocket full of .22

Attempting the 2000 round challenge with a pocket .380 is not for the faint-hearted, but it does raise the question as to why someone hasn’t cranked out a .22LR version of a pocket .380 by now. The LCP has been a runaway hit, and there’s all manner of guns like the Bodyguard, Nano and others following in its wake. But all of those guns are NOT guns you want to practice with. I enjoy shooting the Glock 42 (which strains the definition of “pocket”) and the Sig P238, and that’s about it: Anything else ends up on the wrong side of Newton’s Second Law of Motion.

A blowback, DAO pocket .22 would solve this problem but it would raise another issue: People who are recoil-adverse (or think they’re recoil-adverse) would buy the .22 version and use that as a defensive firearm, instead of something in a larger, more effective caliber. Instead of a comfortable, affordable training gun, we’d end up with Lorcin 2.0 and a lot of people trying to defend their lives with guns uniquely unsuitable for such things.

But I can dream.

Free Range Competitions

Here’s a brain-buster: What makes a match memorable? What makes one match stand out from another? Not just individual matches, but (aside from the weather) what’s the difference between shooting a match in Arizona versus shooting one in New Hampshire?

I’ll let you think about that for awhile, because honestly, I’m struggling to come up with an answer. Green Valley has the Bianchi Cup and Rockcastle has the cave. Iron Man has crazy stupid stages and then there was the glorious madness that was the Crimson Trace Midnight 3 Gun, but other than that, which matches have something that makes them memorable in and of themselves?

Other sports don’t have this problem: Either the venue itself is memorable (Augusta Country Club, Lambeau Field), the way the venue is built creates memories by affecting the competition, (the ocean at Pebble Beach, the Corkscrew at Laguna Seca, the Green Monster at Fenway) or the environment around the venue makes memories (the infield at a NASCAR race, tailgating at a football game, the seventh inning stretch).

Now I’ll grant you that practical shooting is new on the scene and hasn’t had the chance to create the legacy of a Wrigley Field (with the possible exception of the Bianchi Cup), but why don’t matches strive for a unique flavor in how they set up their stages (and no, I’m not talking painted props)? There’s only one place to run the Donga, and there’s only one place to shoot the Zipline. Those two places also have great reputations in the shooting world and have people clamoring to shoot there from all over the world.

A coincidence? Probably not.

Gunsite. With frickin’ lasers*.


Kudos to Crimson Trace, they know how to run a contest that people actually WANT to win, versus “Give us your email and we’ll send you a bunch of crap we can’t sell.”

The Gunsite Academy 250 Defensive Pistol Course is known as “The Gunsite Experience”. First presented in 1976 by Colonel Jeff Cooper, 250 graduates will be well-grounded in the Modern Technique of the Pistol. The Crimson Trace Gunsite 250 Pistol course covers the complete 250 doctrine, while adding in the practical use of laser sights.

One lucky winner (and guest of their choice) will receive airfare, course registration fees, and lodging. The course is scheduled for October 12-16, 2015.

Enter here, and good luck.

*Sharks and/or ill-tempered sea bass optional.