We now return you to your regularly scheduled program.

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You may have noticed that I’ve been posting more here as of late. 

There’s a reason for that. The wheel is turning, the tides are shifting, the clichés are… clenching. Whatever you want to call it, the fact of the matter is, I’m able to write more on my own now, so I is. 

More on this later. Have a happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

No. Not this.

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Found this on a Facebook group that I belong to:

“Imagine you and your family are in a store shopping for whatever reason, that store ends up with an employee that was fired hell bent on revenge, or a gas station where you’re simply grabbing fuel and a soda, all of a sudden it’s being robbed at gun point, well I’m the quiet guy who’s in the isle (sic) next to you who has trained and trained and trained and trained, and guess what I also carry a firearm. I am your silent protector, there’s no police officer there only me, the national guard is not there, only me, not even a Navy Seal team can get there fast enough to save your life. Yet I am there, I am a responsible gun owner with a license to carry a firearm, not only for the safety of myself and my family, but also for you and yours.”

It was meant as a plea to others who don’t believe in the right to keep and bear arms, but it sounds more like Tom Joad delivering a Batman speech.

If I *ever* start to talk like this, reach in to your monitor and gently tap me with a clue bat. I am not a “silent protector”, I’m just some dood who wants to keep on living, no matter what.

Talismans, Curves, Phases and Gates

taurus_curve_20Thinking more about the Taurus Curve, and why it might be a game-changer…

First off, let’s look at what actually happens in a lethal force encounter. Dr. Gary Kleck of Florida State University broke down what happens when firearms are used to defend a life.

  • Fifty-four percent of the defensive gun uses involved somebody verbally referring to the gun
  • Forty-seven percent involved the gun being pointed at the criminal
  • Fourteen percent involved the gun being fired at somebody with intent to stop the threat
  • The offender was wounded or killed in only 8 percent of incidents studied

So shots were fired in only 14% of all the instances that a gun was used in self defense. We scoff at the idea of a gun as a “protection talisman”, but 86% of the time, they are exactly that. At each step along the way, there is a gate that is passed though and closes behind you, and a new phase begins. You can’t go back to a previous phase, because if yelling “Get out of the house, I have a gun” didn’t work, it’s time to move onto something else, and quickly. 

Now there are more than a few people who will read that and say “What? I’d never yell out a warning! It’s not tactically sound! It’ll get you killed!” and there is a grain of truth to what they say. If you’re getting shot at, yelling at people to leave is a very bad idea indeed, but in general, due to the escalating danger to myself and others (and escalating lawyer’s fees…), if I can solve the problem without lethal force, I’m going try to do so.

Let’s pause a moment to think about what sort of things would improve the chances of someone NOT having to put rounds downrange in defense of their life. A flashlight comes to mind, as does a laser, and the Taurus Curve has them both. Huh. It’s almost is if they designed it that way… 

I agree with Tam: A light on your gun is NOT a general-purpose flashlight. However, having gone through a couple of low-light training sessions, a light on the gun is FAR more useful than a light in your hand when you’re thinking about sending rounds downrange.

Just don’t use it to look for your car keys, m’kay? 

It’s that other 14% of the time where the talisman needs to be more than just a comforting presence, they need to be an instrument of lethal force, and it looks like the Curve will work adequately in those situations. Now, would I rather have, say, a full-size M&P loaded to the brim, topped with a red dot with me rather than this gun? Sure, but right now, I have my P3AT with me, not my P07, because compromises. 

The fact is, it looks like the Taurus Curve is a great gun for all the phases of a lethal force encounter up to the application of lethal force, and it’s a pretty good gun for that last part as well. It’s not a gun I would carry, but that doesn’t mean it’s a) a bad gun or b) a gun that other people will carry and use to save their lives. 

The status quo has been shook up a bit. Let’s see what else falls out of the tree.

If Not Leno, Then Who?

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Ok, ever since Jay Leno decided to turn his back on the many, many car owners and veterans who own guns, I’ll admit that I’ve been pushing hard for star of stage, screen and noted Browning Hi-Power owner Alton Brown as the new keynote speaker for the SHOT Show kickoff dinner, but let’s say the impossible happens and Alton doesn’t get the gig. 

Who then would be good to keynote the kickoff dinner? 

At the NRA convention this year, the music was a bit… dated, so here are a few suggestions for people who think that music didn’t up and die sometime around 1991. 

Gary Sinise. 
Aaron Lewis.
Miranda Lambert.

And the mind REELS of a James Heartfield/Ted Nugent/Ice-T jam to kick off SHOT Show. People would be deaf for WEEKS after that gig.

Your thoughts? Keep in mind “celebrity” isn’t enough, it has to be a celebrity with a stage show that can entertain thousands of people for an hour, not just someone who stands up and says “Hey, I’m famous!” in front of a bunch of people.

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…

Reload, review, respond

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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.

Video shooting games

motherhunter_games_3Cabela’s has a VERY successful line of console games that stretches back several years and cuts across all the popular platforms.

Coin-op video frames are all but gone, but Big Game Hunter stand up arcade games are still thriving. 

Trijicon teams up with EA for special bonus items in Medal Of Honor: Warfighter.

So how come practical shooting has had one (count it, one!) video game to it’s name

You would think that the run n gun format of practical shooting would be perfectly suited to the run n gun style of first person shooters. 

And you’d be wrong. 

Video games are the perfect gateway drug to practical shooting. Maybe one day, the people who run the sports will wake up to this fact, and get more young shooters involved in the sport.

What are you not talking about?

First off, a moment of Zen. 

long range shooting

That’s my Savage 16 on the rifle range at Owensville Gun Club. You’ll note that I haven’t been talking much about that gun lately because I’ve been stuck in a vicious circle of suck: I haven’t been able to get a good group to verify that it’s zeroed, and I don’t want to shoot it because my targets (and what’s NOT on them) make me look like a complete loser.

The source of this loserness wasn’t easy to diagnose, either. It wasn’t something simple like a trigger jerk or a flinch, it required a two-part solution. 

  1. New scope rings. I had Extra High rings on that gun because of the large objective lens of the Millett scope, except that I have a 20 MOA base on the gun that lifts up the scope even more.
    As a result, I had set up my scope WAY above the point where I could get a consistent cheek weld and scope sight picture. 
    Whoops. 
    Changing out to a set of Weaver medium rings has made a HECK of a difference in getting consistent hits on-paper. 
  2. New ammo. I had been using M80 ball of questionable origin (I think it’s Greek surplus, but I may be wrong…) in my practice sessions, and I could get 3MOA out of it, at best. Switching to Hornady Steel Match (which apparently isn’t made anymore. Bummer.) has made a world of difference, and all of a sudden I was making 1MOA any time I wanted to, and that man-shaped piece of steel at 325 yards got rung with boring repeatability. 
    When the Steel Match runs out, I’ll switch to Prvi Partizan Match for practice and maybe even matches, at least until I get my reloading press set up again. 

I wasn’t talking about shooting long-range because I wasn’t any good at shooting long range. Instead of training hard to fill in the gap, I was avoiding the problem in front of me.

Whoops.

Not no more. Now that I’ve identified the problem, I can work on a solution.

And one thing you can’t see in that photo is the flock of wild turkeys that wandered across the range at about 400 yards. I was tempted, VERY tempted to get the main course for next month’s big dinner, but managed to hold back and shoot at the inorganic targets I had in front of me…