So just what is a “training scar”?

Judging by this conversation, a training scar is best defined as “a process or style that a student has which a firearms teacher cannot integrate into his teaching”.

Look, I know I have a tendency not to look around after a course of fire is over. Despite that, every time I’ve ran through a “blind” shoot house, where I didn’t know where the targets were or how many targets there were, I stopped only when the instructor told me the exercise was over.

Yep, despite not doing a “scan and assess” after shooting a stage, when it came time to replicate things in as real of environment as possible, I kept my guard up and kept treating it as “real”, even though it wasn’t.

It’s almost as if my mind and body know when I’m gaming, and when I’m not.

For me, the benefits of regular competition, namely, being able to deliver the shot quickly and accurately under stressful conditions, outweigh having to deal with integrating that into a “tactical” environment like a training class. Let’s stop worrying about “training scars” and start worrying about making the shot, no matter what happens before during or after the trigger press.

Match Report – Louland Pistol Match, 9-24-15

Once a year, I like to shoot my carry gear in competition to see how it performs in a stressful situations, so I brought my Smith&Wesson Shield in 9mm, Crossbreed Minituck and a pair of mag pouches to the Louland pistol match last week.

Shooting a match with a gun that holds 8+1 means you get a LOT of opportunity to practice your reloads, and despite this (and the super-short sight radius of the Shield), I did ok.

Here’s a video of another shooter running a stage with a Glock 19 versus my Shield. There is something to be said for having 15 rounds in a mag, as we shall now see, with special bonus footage of what happens when you set up a match, then have a Florida monsoon roll in the morning of the match.

Optimism means evangelism

I wrote a piece on gun ownership targeted for the non-gun-owning crowd of, and it generated a lot of good comments and a lot of… not-so-good comments. I was expecting a lot of stupid questions, and that’s ok because stupid questions help avoid stupid mistakes.

Another example.

A few months back, there was an excellent two-hour talk on Florida self-defense law here in Naples. The attorney who gave it was affiliated with the Armed Citizen’s Legal Defense Network and knew his stuff. The people in the audience DIDN’T know their stuff, and their questions revealed that fact to everyone present.

That’s ok, because if they knew everything, they’d be teaching the class, not giving it. The problem is, of course, when those who DON’T know everything think they can teach the class, and that’s when the fun begins.

If we want the pool of gun owners to expand, we need to put up with such stupidity and guide the people towards a safer, more educated lifestyle. It’s not fun, and it means putting up with some really bad ideas and even worse choices, but that’s what happens when you win: People want to be on your side.

Let’s make them at home, not uneasy.

It’s Tam’s Internet, we just post on it.

I was talking with a local firearms trainer over lunch last week about how situational awareness plays into a safe, secure lifestyle. We both agree that trainers who poo-poo the concept are missing the point of situational awareness: It’s not going to help you that much* when the proverbial stuff hits the proverbial fan, but it will help you avoid large amounts of fans and even larger amounts of, errr, stuff.

The main reason I carry a gun is because my situational awareness is not perfect. If it were, I’d stroll on out of the area and let the gunfight happen to somebody else.

Memo to self: Re-read “The Gift of Fear” in the very near future.

* I would like to revise and extend my previous remarks. As they say, knowing is half the battle, and knowing who you’re facing, where they are and how you can get away from them if needed is all part of gathering tactical intelligence-gathering. Or situational awareness, as we civilians call it.

Sun’s out, Glocks out.

2231111Should be fun.

Louland Gun Range, Southwest Florida’s favorite outdoor shooting range, and Step By Step Gun Training are teaming up for a unique shooting sports event featuring GLOCK USA firearms. The Everglades GLOCK Range Day starts at 9am on Oct. 24, 2015 at Louland Gun Range, 12425 Union Road, Naples, FL and runs until 4pm that day. The event will feature three stages based on GLOCK Shooting Sports Foundation stages and much more. Admission is $5 per person, and the entry fee for each stage is $5.

So to the reader(s) in the 239, come on by, and to those elsewhere in South Florida, come on by as well. Hey, it’s a day on the range for five bucks, what more can you ask for?

FTC Disclaimer: I’m involved in helping set this up, and know everyone involved.

The Purpose-Driven AR

For the last 20 years, buying an AR was the goal of buying an AR: Either they were banned, or they were about to be banned. Back then, you didn’t need a reason to buy an AR other than “It’s an AR, it’s in-sotck, and I want it.”

That is no longer the case, and the downturn in AR sales reflect that fact. Yes, there are people who buy guns for gun’s sake, but I’m not one of them, and I’m not certain that attitude reflects the majority of today’s gun owners, who buy guns for a reason, not because they’re “into guns”.

From my (brief) experience slinging steel over the counter, the big things driving AR’s these days are a) uniqueness or b) price. Either people are willing to pay more for an AR that does more than the average rifle, like, say, an LWRC or a Noveske, or else they want to buy the cheapest (not: I did not say “least expensive”) gun out there.

AR’s needed no other reason to exist beyond “we can buy one”, but that’s no longer the case now. It’s going to be interesting to see what they become over the next few years, as we move into a post-pessimist world of gun ownership. The reason for getting a defensive pistol are self-evident, and even shotguns have an aura of “I’m just protecting what’s mine” about them.

A rifle, though, is different, because a rifle allows for engagements at distances far beyond what non-gun people consider to be an “immediate threat”. Yes, the power of a rifle trumps the power of a pistol, but a shotgun does that as well, without the baggage of being something regularly seen in the hands of the military, not civilians.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not banging on the capabilities of a rifle as a self-defense weapon. I have one dedicated to just such a thing myself, and I also think that an AR-15 is an essential part of anyone’s arsenal, but acknowledging the realities means being able to overcome the problems, and getting the AR off the range and into the home is the logical next step for rifle manufacturers.

Not enough gun for the round

One of the trends I saw while working behind the counter at the range was the tendency of people who are new to concealed carry to chose a gun with too much power and too little size to make it controllable. They’d come in, and even though they’d never shot a gun before, they’d immediately gravitate to pocket 9mm’s like the Glock 43 or a Shield. Now, I own a Shield, and I absolutely adore it, but it’s not a gun I’d recommend for first-timers because it has a steeper learning curve than, say, a Glock 19.

The smallest, most powerful hand-cannon in the world does you SQUAT if you can’t hit the target with it, and people tend to over-estimate just how good of a shot they are, especially if they’ve never shot under stressful conditions. This is why I steered people towards the more-controllable LC-380, Glock 42 and Sig P238 in .380 ACP instead of a 9mm (or even .40) pocket rocket. The smaller cartridge and extra mass of those guns make them eminently shootable, and with the right cartridge, (I prefer Hornady XTP’s), .380 will deliver enough oomph to get the job done.

And now there’s a new .380 pocket gun out from Rock Island that seems to tick all the right boxes, especially if you’re into the 1911 platform. I’ll admit, I’m not a fan of safeties on a carry gun, but they make a whole lot of sense if you appendix-carry or carry off-body, and this new gun looks like a great combination of power, concealability and accuracy.

Memo to Martin Tuscon Tuason: Thanks for this gun. Now, can you PLEASE make the .22 TCM AR-15 upper I’ve been wanting from you for over a year now?

The Delicate Balance of Concealed Carry

Grant Cunningham talks about the convenience of off-body carry for women (and others) versus the very real risks of carrying a pistol in such a manner.

As someone who carried one of these on his shoulder for hours (if not days) on end, I understand the convenience and appeal of off-body carry. I carried cameras, lenses and other gear in my bag, but you know what I didn’t carry in my camera bag? My wallet. My car keys. All the things that were essential to my life.

I understand such things are not an option if you carry a purse, because you carry a purse to carry the things that ARE essential to your life. Your firearm, however, is there to protect yourself and what’s important to you, and therefore should be kept separate from the things that are attractive to crooks.

It’s like planting a gun safe in your front lawn. Sure, technically, it’s secure there. It is a safe, after all. This is not a good idea, though, as it places the items you’re need to protect yourself outside of where you’ll need them most.

Now, despite years of (quite frankly, very sexist) study of the female form in my youth, I am not an expert on the best way for women to carry a gun on their person. The results of a poll I did awhile back on this subject surprised me, so take these results into account when it comes time to shop for something that’s not a gun purse, and carry your gun in a location where it’ll be in your hands when you need it, not in the hands of crook.

Match Report: 3 Gun at Altair Training

I got in a bunch of new gear in advance of an article for another firearm blog about what it takes to shoot 3 Gun left handed (thank you SO much, cross-eye dominance), so I thought I’d put my new gear to the test at a 3 Gun match atAltair Gun Training.

This was Stage 4 at the match, a pistol-heavy 3 gun stage with short-range rifle targets, and aside from a shot-up no-shot and two not-shot shoot plates (derp), I did ok. Note my prancing across the stage with my rifle, caused by the need to keep my rifle pointed downrange while carrying it left-handed. This is also the first time I’ve used my TacCom shell holders in a match, and I thought they REALLY speeded up my shotgun reloads, although they did have a nasty tendency to drop a shell or two as my body flexed.

The dry fire work I’ve recently put in showed up on the pistol stage, where I was one of the few competitors to go 1 for 1 on most of those $!#% plates. Where I need work is on the long-range rifle shots, especially from all the goofy positions on a VTAC barrier. More work, probably with my .22 adapter, is needed to get better at that sort of thing.

Overall, I was very pleased with both my gear and my performance: I managed to win the Tac Iron division, which sounds really good until you realize there were only 18 people at the match and 3 people shooting Tac Iron, but hey, a win is a win, and look for the article sometime very soon.