Games without frontiers

Or, if looks could kill, they probably will.

Matt over at Jerking The Trigger had a good post on how we set our training priorities and how that affects the gaps in said training:

Why do so many shooters emphasize shooting courses and turn up their noses at combatives and first aid training? I suspect most people are more likely to need to know how to use a pressure bandage or throw a punch than to need to draw their handgun in anger over the course of their lives.

Yep. Backup irons become important if you train on a square range in the daytime. Take a night-shooting class, though, and those iron sights mean NOTHING compared to a good weapon light.

Also, think about how competition affects our gear and our training: Maybe one of the reasons why there is very little integrated combatives/firearms training for us civvies is because we haven’t found a way to make a game of it yet. The Greeks figured out 3000 or so years ago that if you make a game of war, you get better at war, and USPSA and IDPA are capitalizing today on what was learned on the slopes of Mt. Olympus long ago.

We’ve yet to apply those same ideas to combatives / firearms training for civilians, and when we do, then the idea that just having a gun won’t be enough will REALLY take off.

Why Carry More Than Just Your Gun?

So you can do more than shoot somebody, that’s why

I’m moving to Alaska from Georgia. Was having dinner with my half brother in Colorado springs, CO. Carrying as usual. Helped an old lady change a flat in the parking lot then as I’m walking to my car I hear someone yelling “help me.” Look down and it’s a younger guy with 2 other people talking to him so I assume he’s drunk and goofing off. Then I hear some slapping noises. Look again and some guy is hitting him with a piece of wire or hose or something about 10 feet long. The guy keeps yelling for help and goes fetal while this guy is nailing him. I’m on top of a hill above them, maybe 10 feet up and 25 feet away. My first instinct was to run down and draw on the guy but I didn’t want to get too close to him so he can hit me with his weapon. Instead, I pulled a flashlight out of my pocket and yelled at him that the police were on their way. As soon as I said that he looked up at me and turned around and ran away. It turned out the 2 guys were arguing over a woman that was with them. End of the story I didn’t draw but used my flashlight to blind a guy instead. I stayed out of range of the guys weapon, but was prepared to draw if he did come towards me up the hill.

Bottom line, having the means to deal with a violent threat but not having to use said means to keep yourself and others safe is a bigger win than if you had to draw a gun and shoot. 

Always carry your gun. And carry other stuff, too. The life you save may not be your own.

Grading On A Curve.

Taurus-Curve-side

I’m going to hold my fire on the new Taurus Curve until I get my hands on one at SHOT and/or get one out on the range. 

At least Taurus is trying something different. When Glock (finally) comes out with their single stack 9mm at SHOT, everyone will scream “OMG, Best…Gun… EVER!!!” and then praise the gun’s innovative style and looks. Maybe The Curve is a flaming hive of suck and villainy, maybe it’s not, but at least it’s not a cookie-cutter look alike of something Kel-Tec brought out in 2004

Update: 
Left this as a comment over at Triangle Tactical and thought I’d share it here as well.

I look at this gun as the spiritual cousin of all those goofy cars that Pontiac came out with before they left us. Sure, they came out with the single ugliest car ever made (the Aztek) but also came out with Solstice and the insanely great GTO.
Or maybe a better example would the Mac Cube, or the stupid hockey puck mouse the original iMac shipped with. They never caught on, but they were signposts that pointed towards a design language that changed how EVERYTHING is designed.

Update 2: 
Miguel weighs in

If this thing goes ‘bang” every time and has no major issues, I expect Taurus to sell this thing like there is no tomorrow.  We might be seeing The Judge part 2. The Fudd among us will still cringe at the thought of being seen holding and shooting one of these babies, but it was not that long ago (OK it has been) that the idea of shooting an European gun made of plastic and not based on the designs of John Moses Browning was enough to send you to solitary confinement at your local range.

Again, I go back to the iMac. NOBODY knew what to make of it when it first came out. “What? USB ONLY? NO FLOPPY? INTEGRATED MONITOR? ARE YOU INSANE?” is what the computer reviewers said, but it turns out that people wanted a computer that “just worked”. The iMac was the starting point of something huge, a computer and accessory ecosystem that gave us the iPod, easy and cheap media downloads, every modern smartphone on the planet* and turned Apple into the biggest company in the world.

So what happens when we get a defensive firearm that “just works”? Not sure, and I’m not sure this is it, but something is happening here, and other gun manufacturers should pay attention. 

*Yes, Android fans, search your feelings, you know it to be true. Take a look at what Samsung phones looked like before the iPhone and what they looked like afterwards. Acknowledge the obvious, and get on with your lives…

Couldn’t agree more.

John van Swearigen makes the same point that I’ve been saying for a while: There is no dividing line between “tactical shooting” and “competitive shooting”, there is your ability to make the shot on-time and on-demand, or not. 

As a portion of the shooting community, advanced competitive shooters can generally run any given firearm (more) proficiently than their peers. No, they may not have a tactically sound or particularly defensive mindset, but they can drive their gun like they freaking stole it. Everyone that shoots (especially those that count on their firearm to defend themselves and others) can learn something from that. 

The biggest difference is the way the best competitors practice. They don’t just drill shooting positions or situations. They drill the very basics of firearms manipulation to an excess. Dry-firing. Reloads. Drawing to a sight picture. It is not unreasonable to claim that the best competitive shooters can shoot weak-handed while moving with a higher degree of proficiency than the average patrol officer can shoot two-handed.

The ability to make the shot should be first and foremost in ANY firearms training class, be it tactical or competitive. All that stage planning, all that practice with tactical reloads, all those times getting quickly into (sub)urban prone means SQUAT if you shoot slow and inaccurately, and sonuvagun if the “balance of speed and precision” I learned in Combat Focus Shooting isn’t pretty much the same as what I learned training with Rob Leatham. 

It’s almost as if there’s not real secrets to this, just stuff we need to re-learn from time to time.

Reload, review, respond

costa-tactical-reload-

One of the problems with shooting IPDA is that even though they go to some lengths to prevent “gaming” the system and make things more realistic, you know just how many targets you need to engage and where they are the minute you load your weapon to start the stage. 

At least you should, and if you don’t, well, that’s why they invented “Failure To Engage” penalties. 

As such, you know exactly when (or if) you need to reload, and going to slide lock is actually a desirable thing because it’s faster in IDPA to reload an empty gun than it is to top off a partially loaded gun. 

This has a pretty big potential to create some training scars, because even though the odds of we civilians running into a half-dozen attackers is very, very small, we want our training to be up to the task if we need it. 

A comparison: While I was, (and am) not satisfied with the training I received at Front Sight, the shoot-house scenario they ran was interesting and eye-opening. As the amount and location of bad guys were unknown to me, so was my “stage strategy” and possible reload points. I ended up doing pretty well in the scenario (including a 7 yard shot on the hostage taker that went right thru the bad guy’s right eyeball), and I credit my background in competition for not getting the shakes and allowing me to make the shot when needed. 

So what is the point of a tactical reload? Why do people who don’t wear uniforms and/or badges need to do one? More thoughts on that subject over at the Osage County Guns blog.

The Whole (Sight) Picture.

I first heard the phrase “gross motor skill” in my first NRA class. The idea was that dropping the slide on a reload by racking it was a gross motor skill and therefore better to do under stress than the “fine motor skill” of hitting the slide release lever. 

The instructor then proceeded to spend HOURS on the importance of a smooth trigger press to insure accurate hits on target. 

So “gross motor skills” are good and should be done whenever possible, except when they can’t. 

Uh-huh. 

Why not ditch the idea that some physical movements are more “tactical” than others, and see the process of putting hits quickly on the target under stress as an integrated whole? 

More thoughts on this over at the Osage County Guns blog.

License to Chill

One thing that the anti-civil rights crowd gets consistently wrong is the idea that carrying a gun means you (and not the gun) are a hair-trigger, looking for an excuse to draw your weapon and lay waste to all those foolish enough to cross your path. 

Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, I’d suggest they’re projecting their lack of emotional stability onto everyone around them. Every time, EVERY SINGLE TIME that gun control gets loosened and freedom is regained, the streets are predicted to run red with violence, usually with a reference to the OK Corral and/or the Wild West. 

But every time, EVERY SINGLE TIME, that doesn’t happen. Why? Because people realize that with the increased empowerment of becoming your own first responder, there comes an increased responsibility for your actions. 

Your goal, if you carry a gun, is to become a peacemaker without ego

Full spectrum training

One of the complaints I had about training at FrontSight was their monoculture of experience: Practically everyone I trained with cited their experience at FrontSight as the qualifications to be a firearms trainer

Not a big fan of such things, because practicing and training only one “style” pretty much insures you won’t know how to handle the inherit chaos of a violent lethal threat. 

I’ve got some more reasons why you want to spread out your firearms training over a bunch of different trainers and systems over at the Osage County Guns Blog.

Free Gun

Remember when I said “Free Guns” were one of the things I wanted to do at my new job? 

I wasn’t kidding. 

We’re giving away a Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard .380.

Yep, free. Now, you don’t HAVE to link back to the contest or join our email list in order to win, but I’d appreciate you doing that because a) it would make me look good to my boss, and b) that means I can do more of this kind of stuff in the future. 

Good luck!