WYSIWYS.

Tunnel vision

“What you see is what you’re going to shoot.”

Steve Anderson.

While that quote is meant to apply to sight picture and accuracy at a match, it can also apply to the “tactical” world as well. Is knowing FOR CERTAIN that your sights were on target a good thing in a defensive shooting situation, especially if you (God forbid) have to go to trial?

I’d say so.

So tell me again how competition shooting is going to get you killed on the streets.

SHOT Shot 2015 Is A Wrap.

And I’m utterly and completely spent. The difference between going to SHOT to write about SHOT and going to SHOT to do business is the difference between watching a marathon and being in a marathon.

Some highlights.

Sig Sauer Range Day was definitely a highlight, and shooting SBR versions of the MPX and 716 7.62mm were definitely highlights. Also, the more I shoot the P320, the more I like it, and I liked it a LOT when it was rolled out last year.

While we’re on SIG, they are definitely on a roll right now. While Glock introduced red-dot slides, Springfield introduced the XDM-2 and Smith and Wesson introduced, um, errr, well, not really anything, SIG has moved on to optics, with top-notch glass created by team members originally from Leupold and silencers created by the mad geniuses who built everything of interest at AAC.

Because silencers are cool.

Bits and pieces of other cool things:

A Ceratoked 1911. I don’t know whether to load ammo into this, or preflight it for takeoff.

IMG_3810

The Fostech Origin 12. Maybe the ultimate in Saiga-style shotguns. Want one SO badly.

fostech

Speaking of nice things, Korth firearms impressed everyone with their Sky Marshall revolver (and it is VERY impressive), but their 1911’s are INSANE. From the frame down, they’re a 1911, but the slide and barrel use an HK roller-locking system to create a gun like none other.

korth

And now on to something not quite as nice. The Taurus Curve is not all that bad: There is a “peep sight” in the crosshairs that does allow you something like a sight picture, and the trigger is the best of any striker/DAO .380 I’ve tried. I wouldn’t carry one without a holster, but it stacks up well against the LCP, P3AT and other such guns.

curve_1

And to fly RAPIDLY down to bottom of the barrel, oh Sarsilmaz, you so funny. Last year, it was designing a gun for six-fingered women, and this year, well, see for yourself.

Fail

Marketing guns to women: You’re doing it wrong.

A Gunblogger’s Best Friend.

Larry Weeks

Larry Weeks has been a tireless champion of the Gunblogging world, and he finally had the good sense to retire from the hectic world of retail firearms sales and take up the serene, contemplative sport of auto racing.

No, really.

Those of us who do this ’cause we like it owe him a big debt of gratitude. He was one of the first people in the big boys to take us seriously, and he leaves behind some mighty big shoes to fill.

Good luck, Larry, and may all the flags you see be checkered black and white.

 

The Fundamentals Never Go Out Of Style

Had a fun little night-time training session with Jeff and Robyn from Step By Step Training last week. I learned a lot about my gear (memo to self: Get night sights for the Shield, STAT!), and talked with them about a bit about what drives their passions.

Me? I’m a gamer, with trainer tendencies. I’m concerned about my personal protection, but I’ve decided my path to mastery (or at least not-suckery) goes through learning to shoot for shoot’s sake.

An explanation.

Going back and looking at that match video from earlier this month, nothing there, by itself, is “tactically unsound”. Most (if not all) of what we can “tactical training” has to do with NOT shooting a gun. Getting a smooth draw, quick reload and fast, accurate hits is something at applies to training range and pistol match alike.

So why some people think that “competition will get you killed on the streets” is something I’ll never know.

There are three reasons to film a match.

One is to share your exploits with your friends and family.
Another is prove to yourself just how dang good you are (or think you are…).
Thirdly, to show where you need improvement.

This post is about that last item.

Here’s two of the stages at nice little practical match at Louland Gun Range just south and east of Naples. I reminds me a lot of the Tuesday Night Steel match at Rio, except one of the stages (as you’ll see) uses paper targets.

Lessons Learned from Stage Three

  1. Holy cow, is my draw ever slow! I don’t need a shot timer to measure it, I need a sundial!
  2. REALLY like my movement out of that first position. I’m on the move less that 0.2 seconds after the BANG. I set up in the box leaning slightly to the right, which allowed me to push off and start moving to the next position with no wasted motion.
  3. My splits are long here (0.6 seconds) but I’m getting my hits, and there is no difference between the split times in-between shots on the same target and shots on a new target. Cool.
  4. That is not a reload, so much as an interpretative dance about reloads. Based on my many, many times running an El Pres, I know I can do it better and faster.

Lessons Learned from Stage Two

  1. Again, the painfully slow draw. Something needs to change there, and soon.
  2. I drop a missed shot on a popper on the second array, which goofs up my stage plan…
  3. … but I recover for some turn’n’burn rapid fire on that stationary target. I’m happy with my speed and hits there.
  4. Speaking of speed and hits, after I send another miss downrange, my splits on those last two targets are very good (for me) and again, there is no time difference between shots on the same target and shots on a new target.

So all in all, there is areas where I need improvement, and areas where my improvement has paid off. I’m not going to beat Rob Leatham, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be better.

Oh yeah, and it’s pretty scenic down here in the Sunshine State.

Practical shooting in Florida

Product Review: Sig Sauer CP-1 Scope and STL-300 Stoplite.

kel-tac su16c

My “trunk gun”: A Kel-Tec SU16C with a SigTac CP1 scope and an STL300 laser/light.

I shot a 3 gun match last year with my trunk gun, a Kel-Tec SU-16C, to see how well it worked under stressful conditions. The rifle was surprisingly accurate and I was able to work the cross bolt safety with ease, which surprised me, because I shoot that gun left-handed due to my cross-eye dominance. One thing that did pop up, though, was that I forgot to turn on my red-dot sight before I started my first stage.

Whoops.

Now at a match, all that means is I’m a little more embarrassed than I usually am and a few wasted seconds to turn on the dot. However, if this had been a two-way shooting match with rounds incoming, that simple mistake would have serious issues.

SigTac CP1 3x Scope

Advantages: Clear optics, great value, good combo of magnification and field of view
Disadvantages: Confusing reticle
Rating: Four out of five stars

I decided to replace the Vortex Strikefire on top of my gun with an optic that was always on, and I settled on a Sig Sauer CP1 3×32 optic. I chose this optic for a couple of reasons: I wanted an “always on” optic that I could quickly use, and I wanted something that wouldn’t break the bank and leave me heartbroken if it broke on me. Yes, I could get an ACOG and get everything I wanted (and more) but somehow, putting a $900 optic on a $600 gun that I’m not going to use all that often just doesn’t make sense to me. Also, a fixed power 3x magnification scope gives me enough power to help reach out and touch people at 200+ yards and yet doesn’t give me tunnel vision for closer work.

reticleThe CP1 scope mounted quickly on the top of my SU-16, although its eye relief is a little short compared to the red dot I had on there before. If you closely look at the picture above, you’ll note that the scope is right up against the rear backup sight, and I still get a little blackout on it at times. The scope sighted in quickly: I prefer a 50 yard sight-in on my .223 AR’s, and I was able to get this one dialed in quite fast. The scope comes with options to light up the reticle in red or green light, and those controls are easy to activate and manipulate. The reticle, however, is my biggest complaint about this scope: It is much more confusing than a simple scope like this requires, and there is just too much information going on to quickly make a good decision about what line for what use at what range. A simple duplex or cleaner BDC reticle would have been much more useful than the mumbo jumbo inside this scope

Optically, however, the scope is quite nice, easily keeping up with other scopes in its price range. The colors are clear, the details are crisp and there is no noticeable “rainbows” of chromatic aberration in the reticle. It’s not an ACOG or a HAMR, but what it does, it does well.

SigTac STL300 Stoplite

Advantages: Blindingly bright, versatile, easy to set up and use
Disadvantages: Do I really need a strobe mode?
Rating: Five out of five stars

AA_magliteThe SigTac STL300 Stoplite is a natural compliment to the CP1 scope. It’s a powerful LED light, laser sight and vertical foregrip all in one, and attaches easily to any Picatinny-compatible rail. The LED light is very bright, and to test it, I set my camera on a tripod about 40 feet away from a white rollup garage door with the exposure set for 1 second at f5.6, ISO 400. The first pic is the garage door lit up with my old standby, a AA Maglite that I carried with me across two continents. The second shot is lit up with the STL300.

sig_stopliteAs I said, it’s bright.

The light on the STL300 has a “strobe” setting that I think is unnecessary and needlessly complicates things. If the bad guy(s) you are lighting up are not understanding that their lives are about to change for the worse, I don’t see how strobing them is going to reinforce that message.

The controls on the STL300 were set exactly where I wanted them: I found the laser and the flashlight easy to switch on, but due to my cross-eye dominance, I shoot long guns left-handed, and the controls may not be as well-placed for right-handed shooters.

The STL300 may not have the same rugged appearance as its higher-priced cousins from other manufacturers, and I haven’t done a ‘torture test” on it to see how it fares under highly stressful conditions, but you know what? I don’t care. I am NOT a Tier √-1 Operator operating operationally in an operational operating environment: I have a trunk gun in my trunk for the (thankfully) very slim chance that I’ll need something more than my CCW gun to deal with the crap going on around me, so that means the accessories on that gun are probably never going to be put to the test.

But I’m comfortable and secure with what the CP1 and STL300 will do if, God Forbid, I need to call on them. They’re not top-of-the line milspec gear, but I’m not a top-of-the-line milspec guy. Howver, these two SigTac accessories are definitely a step or three up from the bargain brands you see out there on Amazon.com and such.

If you’re looking for a couple of accessories to make your AR more effective in a hairy situation, you’d do a lot worse than these two SigTac accessories. I found both the CP1 scope and the STL300 Stoplite to be a good value for the money.

Cover drill

Miami ViceI’m doing something many men never, ever do, and that’s re-thinking my wardrobe. For a lot of guys, “wardrobe” consists of jeans and t-shirts with logos on them, and that’s ok, they’re guys.

I, however, have had a conscious “style” for the last 20 years, and it was black. Black t-shirts or long-sleeve shirts (NEVER a polo shirt or short-sleeve dress shirt), no logos, no brands and either jeans or khakis, and it served goofy artistic me very well, as I what I wore became part of how people thought of me.

It’s called “branding”, people, and it’s not just for corporations.

But it’s time for a change. I’m going to be changing gradually this year to something more tropical and lighter weight, and part of what I need to consider in my new wardrobe is concealed carry.

For daily wear, I’m gravitating towards guayabera shirts in white or off-white and khakis. I’ve liked them for a while now (ever since I lived in Costa Rica) and apparently they’re pretty darn good for concealed carry as well, so that takes care of my off-work sartorial needs.

For work, that’s easy. I have a uniform (first time I’ve had that since I worked fast food). It’s a nice black Columbia Sportswear shirt which needs to be tucked in, and for a bunch of reasons (the least of which is to help acclimatize people to such things), I want to open carry inside the store. I’m looking to pickup a nice OWB holster for the P07 for shop use, but that presents a problem: What do I do when I walk outside the store? Florida doesn’t have open carry (yet), so for the first time in my life, I need a cover garment that isn’t an untucked shirt.

I’ve narrowed it down to three options, and I’d appreciate your input.

  1. A lightweight IDPA “Shoot me first!” vest. There’s a ton of fishing going on here, but almost none of it involves the stuff you need a vest for. I’d stick out like a sore thumb in a vest, but on the other hand, I work in a gun store, and looking all tac’d out would not be a bad thing.
  2. A lightweight dress shirt, like something in chambray or linen. I *love* chambray shirts, I used to wear them all the time layered over a t-shirt. A shirt like this would conceal the gun and not look too out of place, and it’d also be my least-expensive option. Downside: Stray winds exposing the gun. Florida’s “brandishing” laws seem pretty good, but still, why take a chance?
  3. A lightweight suit jacket. Properly made, a summer weight jacket is very easy to wear in the all but the hottest of climates, and as Naples has MONEY, it’d make me look a bit spiffier outside of work. Downside? Being nicknamed “Crockett”.

Your thoughts? Is there something I overlooked?