The Public Gets What The Public Wants.

But I don’t get what this society wants*.

Let’s pause for a moment to consider this item: The Grip Shot, which allows you to mount a handgun on the accessory rail of your rifle.

Yes, you read that correctly.

Why in the name of Colonel John Dean Cooper do I need this gadget? It is a solution to a non-existent problem. It is the very personification of an Alton Brown Unitasker, a tool that does only one thing, and usually not very well. To borrow from Alton, the ONLY reason I can ever see buying one of these is to give it as a gift to a gun owner I don’t like all that much.

What’s next? Tactical Cue Cats?

Skills > Equipment. Always.

*Yep, another music reference, this time from The Jam.

Essential Skills

A really great run down of what a well-prepared, well-protected civilian would need in training, mindset and equipment, over at Revolver Science. I like this list because rather than concentrating on “The Seventeen Ways YOU Can Stop Terrorism With Your AR-15 (And #12 Will Blow His Mind!)!!!”, it lays out, pretty clearly, what our threats are and what can be done to stop them. I really like that “defensive driving” is on the list. Want to avoid a road rage incident? Try not to be a jerk on behind the wheel, and never escalate the situation when someone cuts you off.

Gee, maybe those same principles of heightened awareness, conspicuous politeness and de-escalation might also work when he have a firearm on our waist and well as when we’re behind wheel.

Now that my family’s moved, “Getting into shape in order to help me live longer and with less creaking joints” needs to be on my version of this list.

A Shelter In The Time Of Storm.

You would think that if there was a particular type of crime that was up 1000% percent since 2005, it’d get some airplay on the news programs, right?

Well, in the case of attacks inside and out of the sanctuary, that’s not the case.

Lately we’ve seen a large increase in church security teams coming for firearms and tactics training. (I use the word “church” for any house of worship.) This is a good thing. According to one study violence at religious centers has increased over one thousand percent between the years 2005 to 2010.

Let’s face it: A church should (SHOULD!) be a place where people who are wounded emotionally and spiritually find solace and support to overcome their inner demons. This means that people who engage in questionable, if not outfight illegal and stupid things show up on our doorstep, and that means dealing with people who they associate with. I’ve seen it for myself: I was waiting in the narthex before service one Sunday when a rousing knock-down fight started between a woman and her divorced spouse. Both of them attended the church prior to their divorce, and neither was willing to find a new spiritual home now that they were no longer a couple. Fortunately, cooler (and stronger) heads prevailed, and the fight was quickly broken up and taken to a quieter place for the authorities to handle, but that was my wake-up call that bad things can happen inside a house of God.

Now that we have to deal with the threat of Islamic terrorism on our shores, what are the odds of ISIS doing over here what they’ve committed to doing in Iraq, namely, ridding the world of any and all competing faiths? How soon until we see a terrorist attack on a sanctuary or a synagogue?

It’s coming, and if you church isn’t willing to have a plan for man-made or natural disasters, make one for yourself.

Obscured Sight Picture

This is why you train with someone who know’s what they’re doing:

I ran through a quick drill with my P07 at the Shoot N Scoot event back in April, and part of the course of fire for that drill was some 40 yard A/C zone steel plates. I had a more-difficult time than I expected hitting that plate, and Jeff Street suggested that the problem might be that my eyes were shifting to the target at the last second.

He’s right, and it took a 3rd-party, someone who can diagnose the problem, for me to understand what’s going on.

I have yet to find a sight setup for the P07 that I like. I bought one of the earlier “Duty” versions of the gun, so it came with sights that mimicked Glock sights (which is kinda like wanting to mimic the singing talent of Justin Beiber). I swapped those out for Meprolight tritiums, but because them suckers have a narrow rear notch and a rather huge front blade, I am still having issues isolating on the front sight during a course of fire.

This is where being a special snowflake and shooting a gun that’s not a Glock, S&W or Sig really hurts. If I shot a Glock, I’d drop a set of Sevignys on that gun in a heartbeat, I really like them. However, the P07 wasn’t really supporting by anyone, not even CZ, until the creation of the “Carry Optics” class in USPSA. Now I can find all manner of red dot accessories and suppressor sights for that gun, but there’s still only one or two options for fiber optic sights, and just the Mepros for night sights. I do love me my CZ’s, but that love comes at a cost.

No, They Are NOT Looking At You.

image

… so I took out the tacticool tourniquet pack out for a spin a few days ago, concealing it under an un-tucked grey t-shirt. I went to Staples, the public library and I did the Wal-Mart walk.

Nothing happened. No one stared, no one pointed, no one asked me if that was an iPhone 6+ or was I just happy to see them. That tells me it’s ok to start adding that into my daily concealed carry.

Cool.

The Metric Is The Medium

I queued this post up last week about objective gun reviews, and then James over at The Firearm Blog comes up with an attempt to quantify the problem.

So, how do you do that? How do you find which gun is the most efficient? Well, I isolated two ways.
One is, it’s very easy, rounds per ounce.
You just take the weight of the gun and divide that into the capacity of the gun.
So for example, if you have a 20 ounce gun and it holds 10 rounds then that’s.5, one half.
You get.5 rounds per ounce.
Now as far as figuring out size, that was a little but trickier.
So what did I do? With size, again, we divide into capacity but the number we divide in is the height of the gun times the width of the gun in inches.

Using his system, he determines that the most efficient carry gun out there is… a Kel-Tec P11.

Look, I have nothing against Kel-Tecs. I own two, and I think they make decent guns for the money. But I think we’re looking at single-point analysis here. There is more to a carry gun than just it’s measurements, there’s also how well it fulfills it’s intended purpose, namely, stopping a threat to save your life, and that’s where metrics like accurate first shots and rapid follow up shots matter. Adding those metrics into the mix is a problem, because as I said, Bob Vogel IS going to faster on the draw than me and have quicker followup shots than I will.

So how do overcome the variable of different skill levels? By measuring the quality of our reviewer and adding that into the mix. Fortunately for us, that already exists, at least when it comes to handguns. Both the USPSA and the IDPA have a classification system that allows us to judge how competent a person is with a handgun in a situation that sorta mimics real-life, so we can factor that data into our decision as well. High-C/Low-B me is going to be faster and better than a beginner, and Todd Jarrett is going to wipe the floor with me.

We can also overcome the variable of different skill levels by having just one reviewer perform all the tasks. There’s a reason why The Stig does the Power Laps on Top Gear: He’s a great driver, and he can get the most performance possible out of a car, allowing for a reasonable comparison to be made between the performance of different cars.

I like that James is trying to add an element of math into the reviewing of guns, and I’d like to see more of it. Maybe one day we’ll go from seeing gun reviews as poetry to gun reviews as an measurable, repeatable event. I’m looking forward to that day.

Metrics and Measures

It’s not perfect, (“Stopping Power”? Really?), but I like where Larry Potterfield was going here with his Concealed Carry Handgun Rating system, because it adds in measurable, repeatable results into the mix. If we pick up Gun X off a table five times and get a hit on-target in Y amount of seconds which is less than the time it takes Gun Z to get a hit on-target, it is reasonable to assume, ceteris paribus, that Gun X will be slightly faster on the draw than Gun Z.

The “accuracy” measurement, which tracks the time between follow-up shots, only works if you’re measuring across people of equal shooting skill. Bob Vogel WILL get more shots on-target in a shorter amount of time than me. That’s why he’s Bob Vogel, and I’m not. Let’s not use that one. Instead, we know which dimensions matter most in a concealed carry gun, let’s use that. Lower weight, lower width and shorter are what makes a gun more concealable: The length of the slide/barrel is secondary. Those dimensions should be taken into account as well, as they are something we can measure and judge.

Lastly, “stopping power” isn’t really applicable to a handgun, but firepower is. I define firepower as the total amount of energy (quantity of rounds, velocity of rounds and the weight of each round) you can drop onto your target without reloading. Maybe that’s a metric we need to look at as well, because it shows that the 1911 comes out surprising close to the Glock 19 as an effective carry gun, but boy howdy, does a .22 derringer suck.

A (Short) Day At The Range

I finally found the time to escape the insanity of my recent life and went to the “Shoot and Scoot” event at hosted by Step by Step training at Louland range for a couple of hours last weekend. I had a fewf things I knew I needed to test, like the new Trijicon HD sights on my M&P Shield and the reliability of my new carry ammo, Federal HST 124gr, in both my carry guns. In addition to this, I wanted to get in some one-hand only practice and try out a gadget that will be featured in an upcoming article for Shooting Illustrated.

The Results:

  • The Trijicon sights worked great. The front blade isn’t the skinniest one out there, so I wouldn’t want to use these sights in competition, but they did allow me to shoot a plate rack clean, so I’ll take it.
  • Both the Shield and the P07 ate a box of the HST’s with no hiccups, so that ammo will replace my beloved Hornady XTP’s for a while. I don’t like to keep my carry ammo sitting around inside my guns for more than a few years, and the HST’s were easy to shoot and felt much the same as practice ammo does, something that I like in carry ammo.
  • I was quite pleased with my one-handed shooting. While it took a while longer to shoot the stage than it did two-handed, but my hits were there and I was comfortable shooting both strong and weak-handed.
  • Nope, not going to tell you what the gadget was. You’ll have to wait for the article to find out.

I addition to this, Jeff worked on some new (to me) ideas about which is faster/better: Engaging a bad guy on the way to cover, or engaging him with more-precise hits while planted in one place, much the same stuff that Greg Ellifritz talks about over here. I’m still processing the data, but it was enlightening, and it felt GREAT to finally put rounds downrange once more.