Home-focused firearms safety

It might just be the quasi-dead nature of the Naples demographic or the fact that Republicans here tend to be be more mainstream oriented than Tea party sympathizers, but I am seeing a LOT more interest in home defensive firearms and CCW guns than I am in AR-15’s.

Given that there are so many new firearms owners out there that are concerned about home invasion, when was the last time you saw an NRA Personal Protection In The Home or similar class that had people a) bring along their home handgun safe of choice to class and practice opening and drawing from said safe and b) had people draw out a layout of the home and plan a safe room response based on their unique home design?

Maybe a little more time on how to make a safe room and a little less time worrying about HSLD techniques like AIWB would pay off for today’s firearms trainers.

If we want guns to become part of our lifestyle, they need to be part of OUR lifestyle, not the lifestyle of a Delta SEAL Recon operator.

“It’s just a training issue”.

… so there was a dust up earlier this week between a very famous firearms trainer / expert whose credentials are beyond reproach and a bunch of other famous firearms trainers over the topic of carrying a firearms in an inside-the-waistband appendix holster.

Sigh.

Is it more dangerous to carry up front near your appendix? Of course it is.

We know by experience what happens if you have a negligent discharge with a gun carried in an outside the waistband holster: You get a hole in your leg (and possibly your foot) and your video gets posted on YouTube for everyone to mock.

Have a negligent discharge with a gun near your appendix, though, and there’s a lot more things at risk than just your ego. Is that risk real? Yes. Can it be mitigated with training? Yes. Is it worth the effort?

*thoughtful pause*

For me, no. I just don’t think the benefits outweigh the risks. Other people who I respect have looked at that same equation and reached a different conclusion, and that’s fine. We’re dealing with opinion here, and we aren’t going to have mathematical proof that one way is better than another.

If one trainer wants to ban AIWB in classes, cool, don’t train with him. If another trainer insists that everyone should switch to AIWB, cool, don’t train with him (or her) either. The path to personal safety is broad and has many gates. Leave the “straight and narrow” talk for the preacher on Sunday morning.

WWEKD?

What Would Elmer Keith Do?

I had an interesting discussion with a range officer at work last week: If Elmer Keith and the training legends of the past were alive today, what would they recommend as far as handguns?

One school of thought is that they’d recommend a lot of the same things they recommended back in the day. .44 Magnum. Wheelguns. Wadcutters. More of the same.

Me? I say different.

Let’s digress into the world of photography and talk about St. Ansel of Adams. The question arose awhile back on what ol’ AA would do in today’s world of digital images and photoshop, and I contend that rather than messing around with 8×10 view cameras and spending hours in the darkroom, he’d be diligently working on turning digital photography into a process-driven art, just like he did with chemically-based photography. The Camera, The Negative and The Print were not about the tools themselves, they were about integrating those three items into a process that could deliver consistent, repeatable results.

Now pause for a moment and look at the landscape of defensive firearms and firearms training right after WWII. The 1911 was not a consistently reliable platform yet and bullet design… well, bullet design sucked. Given those two realities, it’s only natural that yesterday’s trainers gravitated to big-bore revolvers, because that’s what worked at that time.

But those times are not our times. Semi-automatics work well now, and high-speed cameras and computer modeling have revolutionized the way bullets are made. Modern pistols work well, modern ammunition stops the threat, and modern materials means you don’t have to lug around an ingot of lead on your hip when you walk out the door.

Bottom line is, if you’re going to have icons, make an icon out of the process, not the person.

 

Function, meet form. Form, function.

Thinking a little more about this post, (thanks for the FB mention, Grant!), having look/feel be part of gun-buying decision is not a bad thing at all, because it means that gun culture is treating guns as part of our everyday life.

An example.

I’ve been car-shopping for a while now, and I’ve settled on either a Honda Civic SI, a Ford Focus ST or a Volkswagen GTI. Why? Because all three are sporty, fun to drive and have four doors so I can stuff the kids in the back seat.

Please note that practicality was in third place.

If I were doing this as a purely rational decision, I’d be looking at a small minivan or a Honda Fit or something that Consumer Reports would recommend as being safe, boring, reliable and gets good gas mileage.

Like my current Honda Civic hybrid, the car that I want to replace.

So I’m willing to compromise a decision on a mechanical device that I’ve entrusted with the safety of myself and my family and let things like looks, performance and how it makes me feel cloud my judgement.

Man, am I a bad person or what?

On track, on target, out of touch.

There’s an unfortunate tendency in some training circles to poo-poo the idea of “situational awareness” as a defensive tool.

“Situational awareness isn’t going to work”, they say, “You WILL be surprised by an attacker, and as such, you need to be ready to react to the bad guy and take charge of the situation.”

As with most things, there is an element of truth to this. As armed civilians, we don’t go out hunting for trouble like the cops do, trouble (unfortunately) finds us, so of course we’ll most likely be reacting to a situation and need to work on dealing with our startle response.

But that doesn’t mean that situational awareness isn’t an absolutely vital part of the armed lifestyle.

Take a moment to watch this video. Yes, I know, it’s aboot hockey, but watch what happens after the interview when the participants get to spend some quality time with Lord Stanley’s Cup. Two minutes into it, one fan stays true to the task she was assigned, and spends minute after minute filling out paperwork, blissfully unaware that one her life’s greatest dreams is sitting mere feet away from her.

She had a task to perform, and that task took 100% of her attention. Nothing else mattered, all she was worried about was filling out that paperwork. The Leprechaun Liberation Army could have been in the room, waiting to perform Irish jihad on her @$$, and she would have missed them and ended up as dead as disco.

Is situational awareness cloaking shield that stops you from having anything bad happen to you?
No.
Does it help stop bad things before they happen?
Absolutely yes.

Nineteenth (-ish) Report

Let’s not talk about the Dot Torture Drill, shall we? I ended up in the mid-30’s, my worst Dot Torture ever, and I trashed the target before I took a picture of it.

The reason? My trigger jerk showed up again. I haven’t been dry-firing as of late, so I have no reason to expect good results from my range time, and guess what, that’s what I got.

Fortunately, I was semi-expecting such things, so I brought along my S&W 22A and picked up 300 Mini-Mags at the range (yes, we have them in-stock) and started to isolate on my trigger.

I *really* like a .22 pistol and a red-dot for such things. The recoil on a .22 is almost non-existent, and the red dot allows me to see how my point of aim is moving around during the trigger press.

100 rounds later, this happened at 15 yards, firing rapidly.

M22a_w_red_dot

I can dig it.

classifier-244x300Another issue I need to work on is the IDPA Classifier, specifically the third stage. The last time I shot it, it was a disaster, with SIXTY-ONE (count ‘em!, 61!) points down on the third stage.

So I decided to practice just the 1st string of fire in the third stage, which goes as follows:

String #1 Shooter Position 4 – Draw and fire 2 shots each at T1 – T3 in Tactical Priority from either side of the barricade using cover, do a Loaded Chamber Reload and fire 2 shots each at T1 – T3 in Tactical Priority from the opposite side of the barricade using cover. (12 shots)

The last time I shot Stage 3, I shot String #1 in 18.7 seconds. Today, I shot it three times, averaging 19.28 seconds, with the target at 12.5 yards, and I’m pretty happy with the results.

IMG_4385b

That semi-transperant target is the IDPA target reduced to 50% (because I shot this at 12.5 yards, not 20 yards), and I’m down just 35 points total.

That averages out to 19.28 seconds and 12 points down. Cool.

The day and the hour is unknown

Yikes. Scary stuff happening in Waco yesterday.

Gunfire erupted Sunday among rival biker gangs in Waco, Texas, leaving at least nine people dead, according to police.

Authorities had anticipated trouble and pre-positioned officers.

“There were at least three rival gang groups here this morning for whatever reason. As they were here, we had officers on scene. We expected issues,” said Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton, a police spokesman.

The fight broke out at Twin Peaks restaurant and spilled into the parking lot. It quickly escalated from hands and feet, as weapons, to gunfire, Swanton said.

  1. Kudos the Waco police for being on top of the situation from the get-go.
  2. This didn’t happen at Biker Billy’s Beef N Booze Roadhouse, it happened at a Twin Peaks, a chain restaurant in the grand tradition of Hooters, Tilted Kilt, etc.
  3. If you see a bunch of cops staked out at a restaurant, DON’T GO INTO THE RESTAURANT.
  4. If you don’t see the cops and still go into the restaurant, if there a lot of bikers fingering weapons and growling menacingly, LEAVE THE RESTAURANT. There isn’t a beer in the world worth dying over.
    Well, except for Saisson Dupont, of course…
  5. Sometimes, the bear finds you. The pastor at my old church was at Bike Week in Laughlin the day this happened, and he was literally minutes away from mixed up in this mess. Have a plan to avoid everything altogether, a plan to get out, and a plan if you can’t get out.

It’s just a training issue…

Two unrelated, related items from this week.

  1. Bob Owens’ piece on why Glocks aren’t the guns cops should be using caused a tempest in a pisspot in the online gun community.
    Full Disclosure: Bob called me before he wrote that article and asked me about the benefits of an DA/SA gun versus striker-fired, and I gave hem a recap of what I wrote over here.
    There was the usual outrage from the usual fanboys as to why their particular brand of Austrian engineering is the Best. Gun. Ever., but one comment on Facebook caught my eye (no link, can’t find it) talking about how DA/SA versus striker was a “training issue”.
    Hold that thought.
  2. I had a conversation at work with an unabashed fanboy of Serpa holsters. Any problems with the action of reflexively curling your finger causing negligent discharges as you draw your gun was due, he said, to “training issues”.

I’m sensing a pattern here.

Can the inherit flaws with the Serpa be overcome with training? Yes. Can dealing with a striker-fired gun be overcome with training? Yes. Can getting used to a DA/SA gun be accomplished through training? Yes.

But training time is a finite resource. Should learning how to use your holster without putting a round into your leg be a priority when there are other retention systems out there what work just dandy? Should the hours of practice needed to master the difference between a 8lb first pull and 4lb second pull be a priority over learning sight alignment? Is just learning how to shoot a Glock enough for you, or do you have the need to shoot other guns every once in a while?

That’s the real issue with training.