One year ago today

Remington announced a trade-in program for owners of the “troubled” R51 pistol.

Anyone who purchased an R51 may return it and receive a new R51 pistol, along with two additional magazines and a custom Pelican case, by calling Remington at (800) 243-9700. You will be asked to provide your name, address, telephone number, and the serial number of your pistol.

There’s been pretty jack and/or squat from Remington about the R51 since that update.I like the R51 because it’s one of the very few semi-auto’s out there that isn’t a blowback action or delayed-action gun, and a little competition improves the gene pool, but you can’t get in the game unless you’re actually in the game. I understand that Remington has gone through some drastic changes since then, but c’mon, throw us a frickin’ bone here.


Are we living in a golden age of firearms training?

In a word, yes, yes we are.

Firearms instruction and training really has evolved. The days are long past when someone handed you a gun and told you to go out back and teach yourself to shoot. Today we have a gun to fit each person, each purpose, and each budget. We are entering the golden age of firearms instruction that is equally wide and deep.

Instructors today know their material in depth. They take continuing education courses and most instructors have sampled a number of different training schools before they instruct. This pays real dividends for the student. First, today’s instructors have standards of professional practice to safely run a range. Second, today’s instructors have a well stocked bag of tricks. This is invaluable when the first training method doesn’t connect with the student. What works for you might not work for me. Instructors need several approaches to teach the same skill.

Lots and lots of great insights in that article, so please read the whole thing. And I especially love this little bit at the end.

Take a new shooter to the range.. and take a class with them.

Yep. And also, take them to a match as well. H/T Phil Wong of Gator Farm Tactical.

What’s your experience?

We’re in a post-scarity world when it comes to firearms: The panic-buying of the last seven years is over, so now people are looking to DO something with all those guns.

This is why I now work at a gun range versus working in a gun store. Duh.

In Gun Culture 1.0, doing something with a gun meant going out into the outdoors in pursuit of the best day of your life: You hiked through the beauty of the outdoors, spotted one of God’s magnificent creatures, and blasted it to smithereens.

Mission accomplished. Food is on the table, a trophy is on the wall, and a good time was had by all.

However, things are not the same for Gun Culture 2.0, because our best-case scenario is… nothing happens. Our training and situational awareness worked, and we didn’t go to dumb places to do dumb things with dumb people. If hunting is preparing for the best day of your life, Gun Culture 2.0 is about preparing for the WORST day of your life.

Practical shooting is somewhat similar, because as Steve Anderson says, the sport is speed-biased and negatively charged. The best, the absolute best we can do on a stage is NOT screw up our stage plan with a brain fart or a gun malfunction. I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t scream “The human drama of athletic competition” to me.

This is even more of a problem for tv shows and magazines about Gun Culture 2.0, because there’s not a lot of excitement to be had talking about stuff that didn’t happen: After all, when a baseball game gets rained out, they show reruns of “Good Times”, not shots of a rainy ballpark.

So what DOES happen in Gun Culture 2.0 that is worth celebrating and enjoying and sharing? Good times on the range? Learning something new in a class? Something I’m missing?

Well now THIS was unexpected.

I’ve always assumed that Sig had the inside track on the new handgun contract for the military, because what the military says it wants looks and sounds a lot like a P320, with an added safety.

But now there’s a couple of new entrants from companies not exactly known for being the sort of company that leaps to mind when I think “defense contractor”

First is Kriss, who are entering the fray with a variant of the CZ75 Sphinx.

Tim Seargeant, Kriss’s Marketing Manager confirmed that the Swiss-based group will be submitting a variant of the Sphinx SDP. The SDP line of pistols includes subcompact, compact, and standard-frame double-action/single-action (DA/SA) pistols with an ambidextrous decocker, based on the CZ-75.

A CZ75 clone as the army’s service pistol? Be still, my fainting heart!

And say “Hello” to Mr. Curveball from out of left field.

STI Detonics Army

Looking roughly like a 1911, the STX uses a drop-in striker box system that can be easily swapped out with other trigger packs, is caliber agnostic, uses a truly modular frame and grip that enables either a long or a short grip to be installed, has felt recoil up to 40% less than comparable designs, and is perhaps the only contender that exceeds the MHS spec for fitting various hand sizes.

STI makes accurate guns. Detonics makes innovative guns that push the boundaries in interesting ways. Neither of them is really known for making rock-solid, reliable guns that just work day in, day out, but dang, that is an interesting gun.

Either way, it looks like my dream of a Universal Pistol Platform is getting a little bit closer…

Lessons from Chattanooga

We may poo-poo the idea of “Monday Morning Quarterbacking” tragedies like the jihad in Tennessee, but I’d rather learn from these incidents than pretend they don’t exist or hope and pray they don’t happen to me or my loved ones.

Number One:
The shooter in this latest incident was a Kuwaiti who didn’t exactly come from an impoverished background.

Terrorist house

Lesson to be learned here: Just because you live in a “nice” neighborhood doesn’t mean you’re safe from jihad. Naples, where I live, is nothing if not wall-to-wall “nice” neighborhoods, and we’re DARN close to Cuba as well. If you think you’re safe because you’re not in the military, you’re dead wrong. Jihadis have shot up schools, shopping malls, churches, airports and hotels; they’re going to have issues shooting up your favorite Mexican restaurant.

Number Two:
Carry as much firepower as you can, all the time. I’m carrying my CZ P07 off-work as of 5pm on Thursday, rather than the Shield I’ve been carrying. 9 rounds of ammo is good. 16 rounds is better, and another 16 in a spare mag on my belt, (with an AR in the trunk), is even more better. If you can’t carry at work, have a flashlight, a first aid kit and an escape plan.

Number Three: 
Carry more than a gun. I’ve got my tactical man-purse with me pretty much all the time now, and it has the things I need to deal with a day’s worth of what life might throw at me. If that’s too much for you, carry the four things you should have besides your gun and some means of mitigating the effects of a gunshot wound to yourself or others, and know how to use your gear.

To be honest, I’d much prefer to not worry about such things. It’s sad that we must consider terrorism on our home soil as a very real thing, but the consequences of not considering it are even sadder.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again

There are two possible responses to a dispersed threat such as “lone wolf” terrorism: Increasing security and reducing civil rights to the point where it is indistinguishable from tyranny, or a dispersed response that empowers individuals to not be victims.

Thoughts and prayers for the people of Chattanooga and all the Marines out there.

If only there were some compact and effective way for trained personnel to deter such attacks. Maybe something like this would stop the next tragedy before it happens.

Until our armed forces are allowed to be, you know, ARMED, they are targets, not soldiers.


One Hour To Save A Life

Grant Cunningham (and others) brought to light this absolutely fascinating tale of an impromptu training session at a shooting range.

We keep talking. I find out she’s a single mom with two kids. Her house has been broken into three times in the last two months. The last burglary attempt occurred while she was in the house with her kids. She has never shot a gun, but she recognized that she had a duty to protect her family. She went to a gun show and bought a Jimenez Arms JA-9… She tells me that she has a bad feeling that the robbers are coming back tonight to get the X-Mas presents she bought for her kids. She doesn’t know anything about guns and doesn’t know anyone who can teach her. She’s signed up for a CCW class, but no one teaches classes on the week of Christmas and she can’t find an opening until January, and she thinks the robbers are coming TONIGHT… The problem was that the range was closing in an hour and she could only afford one box of bullets. How’s that for a dilemma for you instructors out there?

One hour, one cheap gun and one box of rounds. This isn’t some high-speed, low drag training course with 1000 rounds that last five days, this is one hour to save a person’s life with a gun of questionable quality. Kudos to Greg for giving this scared single mother the training she needed, when she needed it.

A class by itself

I had an interesting chat with a gentleman on the range awhile ago. He was shooting a .38 with snakeshot loads because (in his mind) “You can’t miss!”. I tried to bring up such things as bullet weight, penetration, muzzle velocity, yada yada yada, but in his mind, the plethora of holes in his paper target trumped such things.

Ok then.

Concealed carry permits are BOOMING. Why, then, are so few people taking the logical next step and getting the training that will drastically improve their odds in surviving a gunfight?

Part of it, as I said before, lies with how trainers talk about their classes. We humans don’t want to actually LIVE through the zombie apocalypse, we just like watching it on TV. Taking firearms training is a responsible thing to do if you own a gun, but making the responsible thing seem fun is a steep hill to climb: Ask anyone who’s had to make an 11 year old eat their broccoli.

Part of it is the classes themselves: For safety’s sake, they require a gun/holster combination that’s not that common for non-gun people, or for that matter, require a holster in the first place. How many guns have sold in the past 10 years that never, ever leave the house? Why, then, do we assume that CCW=Carry? Maybe CCW= “Ok, at some point, I may WANT to carry, but for right now, let’s leave the gun at home”?

That’s not how I think, and that’s not how firearms trainers think, but it’s how our market thinks. The question is, are we selling training to ourselves, or our market? What needs to change to increase our business, ourselves, or our market? Which is the easier to change?

Something to think about.

This is what you want, this is what you get.

Thinking more about this throwaway line from Tuesday…

“… has anyone ever taken a serious firearms self-defense class where someone else was using an LCP? Me neither.”

… why is there such a disconnect between the guns we see in a firearms training class and the guns that people actually carry? There’s a bunch of reasons why, of course. I tried to take a Combat Focus Shooting class with my Shield, but in the end, having to have 4+ mags on my belt compared to two needed for the P07 was a deal-breaker. I’ve taken a bunch of “self-defense” firearms classes, and either a) IWB carry is not as popular as the holster manufacturers would have us believe or b) people cheat and use a holster in-class that they’d never use on a daily basis.

That’s like taking a class at Bob Bondurant on how to drive an SUV, when the car in your garage is a Honda Civic.

Part of the blame lies with us, part with the industry, part with trainers. I’ll have more thoughts on this after the weekend.

And yes, the title is a P.I.L. reference. ;)