Something I need to work on in the near future

cast-magoo

… is shooting without my glasses. 

No, no, not protective eyewear, I mean my prescription frames. I’ve worn glasses most of my life, and every time I got in a fight in my childhood years (and my not-childhood-years, if I’m honest…), the glasses came zooming off. 

Might that happen in a gunfight? You betcha.

I’m certain that training will kick in and all that would happen is the land beyond the front sight would be even more blurry than it normally is, but still, knowing that I can deliver the shot without glasses would be a comforting thing.

Enthusiasms

enthusiams

“A man becomes preeminent, he’s expected to have enthusiasms. Enthusiasms… Enthusiasms… What are mine? What draws my admiration? What is that which gives me joy?” 

- Robert DeNiro, The Untouchables 

On his podcast a few weeks ago, Michael Bane talked about avoiding burnout in shooting keeping interest in the sport over the long haul. To be honest, I’m kinda surprised how long I’ve kept at shooting: You’ll notice I don’t post much anymore about life in dojo? There’s a reason for that. I don’t golf much anymore either and my sketchbook sits on the shelf gathering dust.

But I still shoot.

I think that’s because while the mechanics of shooting (aim, breathe, squeeze) vary little from sport to sport, the other actions for each sport can vary greatly. Want to run around like a maniac and/or USPSA shooter right before an F-Class match and still win? Good luck with that.  

I have friends who dedicated to one sport, and they’re getting quite good at it. Me? I’ve got too much ADHD to settle into just one shooting sport, I like ‘em all. Having to learn to shoot a DA/SA gun has made me a better shooter with guns I’m not used to, and I want to continue that trend. I’m getting into long-range shooting and I really need to spend more quality time with my K-22 to learn how to shoot a revolver more gooder.

Not to go all Chuck Taylor on you (the firearms trainer, not the basketball shoe), but rather than be the master the art of one gun, I’d rather be okay with a bunch of them, and then pick and choose which gun to master if and when I want to. 

Life is too short to shoot only one gun.

Default Settings.

Once people figure out that you’re a “gun person”, the question will inevitably arise, “Hey, so I was thinking about getting a gun for self-protection: What do you recommend?”

When I got gear questions when I was a photographer, I knew what they were looking for was a quick fix to taking better pictures. The real fix was shooting a lot more film and analyzing their mistakes, but every once in a while I’d talk to someone who knew what they were doing and had reached the limits of what their camera could do. At this point I’d usually recommend a Nikon FM, a 35mm f2 and Tri-X. Because old school. 

So what do I recommend for a pistol? Shockingly, not a CZ. I really love my CZ75 and my P07, but the fact is a double-action trigger is a hard thing to master, and the time and bandwidth needed to reach a level of comfort with such a trigger is better-spent elsewhere for a beginning shooter. Don’t get me wrong, I think double-action triggers are just peachy, it’s just not a place I’d start with a beginning shooter. 

When people ask about a self-defense gun for beginners, unless they talk about a need for concealability or easy shooting, I usually end up recommend the Smith and Wesson M&P series for first-time shooters.

mandp9

Shocker, I know. 

Ok, why? 

  • I’ve gained a new appreciation for the M&P after owning and shooting my Shield
  • It’s easy to find accessories for
  • It’s an easier transition to other pistols than the Glock
  • It’s striker-fired so there’s only one trigger pull to learn
  • It’s easy to shoot
  • 9mm is (theoretically) common to find

Ok, so was my thinking out of line? What would you recommend?

Home Is Where The Lockdown Is

fire_escape

Schools have fire drills.
You have fire drills.
Schools have lockdown drills.

You have… what? 

As part of his first year in Cub Scouts, my first son and I created a home fire drill plan for our house. We sketched out our house and figured out how we were going to get out quickly and safely in case of fire, and then we turned around and created a home invasion response plan focused around our family going to our safe room inside the home rather than leaving the house.

And out of the entire troop, we were the only ones to do do. Our scout troop is smack dab in the middle of a very conservative and gun-friendly area of a conservative and gun-friendly state (which has had more than it’s share of home invasions), and we were the only ones to face the reality that violence was/is a greater possibility than a house fire.

Having a fire drill plan for your home is a great idea, and it’s an accepted part of society that every family should have one. I’ll never know why, then it’s considered “paranoid” to have a plan and the means to deal with physical violence, something that is far more likely to occur.

The most overused word in guns today is…

… “tactical”. 

o8bj2poei1

I’ll admit this conversation has been happening for longer than I’ve been blogging, but as it’s still going on and this Fabebook post has gotten some play on teh internets, I thought I’d chime in. 

One of Webster’s definitions of “tactical” applies very well, I think. 

“of or relating to tactics: as (1) :  of or relating to small-scale actions serving a larger purpose (2) :  made or carried out with only a limited or immediate end in view.”

Well, yeah, that sums up armed self-defence quite nicely. If (God forbid) I’m staring down the muzzle of a goblin’s gun, I care little about the socio-economic circumstances that caused he/she to the point where armed robbery was a viable course of action. 

Don’t. Care.

If you’ve decided to threaten my life or my family’s life with violence, the why of how this happened is of no importance to me. I’ll worry about that stuff when it comes time for me to write my monthly check to Streets of Joy, not when faced with violence.

I’m ok with the word “Tactical”, when used to describe the methods need to complete the task at hand (i.e. saving my life). I’m NOT ok with it being used by civilians as the military does, i.e. small unit tactics, i.e. CQB, suppressive fire, calling in airstrikes, all of that. I have no idea how to do that, and more importantly, I don’t WANT to know how to do that sort of thing, because I’m not in the military, and it’s their job to know how to do that stuff, not mine, and the situation is even more complicated by the fact that a copy of the IDPA’s magazine, “The Tactical Journal” is sitting on my kitchen counter as I write this, adding in a third way that “tactical” pops up in the life of an armed citizen.

Hence the problem: The same word (“tactical”) is both appropriate and NOT appropriate to how I protect my family.

So do I use it or not? 

I do, and I don’t worry about it too much. I own two pieces of 5.11 gear (both of them hats) nothing in Multicam and exactly one bag with MOLLE straps. There is furniture in Craig Sawyer’s house that is more “tactical” than I am, but I still frame how I think about defending my loved ones in terms of “tactics”. I’m not a fan of “Operator” training for people not in the military and I definitely not big on confusing military training with competition, but preparing for the possibility of the worst day of my life is a long-term plan for a short-term problem, and that’s tactics. 

So there.

You are not alone.

I really need to to do this

“While *I* had plans, procedures, and safety checks… I hadn’t made her aware of them in enough detail. With her not being a shooter, I had covered a few basics, assured her ability and judgement where safety is concerned, and left it at that.

My mistake, and one rectified as quickly as I arrived home. The noise? Some critter in the night perhaps, but never a threat or bother. She was just being careful. You can be assured… I announced myself before I walked in (g).

What I hadn’t explained well enough to her was this; In my ‘home defense weapon’ plans, every pistol available (without unlocking something complicated) is in the same condition.”

I am guilty of the same thing: My wife can shoot, and shoot well. What she doesn’t know (and solely due to my inaction) is how the home defenses are set up. This is not good, and it will be rectified immediately.

Customer-Focused Firearms Training

Not For CCW

As a semi-professional firearms student, I think Todd’s on to something here

“When one of these non-shooters, whether he’s a MLB star or Joe Sixpack, comes to class and clearly demonstrates no desire to train regularly I don’t bother talking about sights or how to press a trigger. We talk about safety… a lot. Then we hit the range for some simple drills to get used to the gun making loud unpleasant noises. I want the student to get comfortable with a gun going off in the hand, and then build his confidence in an ability to point the gun toward a humanoid target and hit it in the chest (or thereabouts) with some degree of rapidity.” 

Honestly, my first take on this was “Why, that’s just silly, a firearms teacher needs to instill the fundamentals of marksmanship in a student in order to start them off right!”

But then I realized that the training model that worked in the past might not work today. How much of what we “know” about pistol training is based on bullseye shooting and PPC matches? How much of it is based on what we “know” about Weaver stance and The Modern Technique? 

And how much of that is relative to someone who just got their concealed carry permit and wants to feel competent with their handgun of choice? 

Note: I said “feel competent”, not “be competent”. If a trainer insists on teaching his/her students something that is difficult for beginning students to accomplish, like rapid sighted fire, that trainer is setting his students up for failure. He’s also extinguishing the desire for further training because his student will see something that looks simple (shoot accurately AND quickly) and not be able to accomplish it. 

Both the NRA trainers I’ve worked with and the Combat Focus Shooting classes I’ve attended do just that, but from opposite ends of the spectrum. Combat Focus Shooting is all about the act of putting hits on a target that work in defensive situations want teaches safety in that context, while an NRA class teaches safety, safety and more safety and then works in trigger press and gun handling. One compliments the other, and I’d recommend both to new shooters looking for a way to feel confident about carrying a gun. 

Another Gun Lock Test

This time, it was a GunVault BreechVault and my Mossberg 500. Jaci had some issues with gun handling on the shotgun after the lock was opened, so now I’m looking around for another storage solution for this gun, and I’m leaning in this direction right now.

And no, leaving it loaded and unlocked is something my wife and I are not comfortable with right now. Yes, my kids know the Eddie The Eagle mantra by heart, and yes, because they’re around them all the time, guns are not tempting to them. 

Don’t. Care.

The odds of them mishandling a gun are 10,000 to 1. But the consequences of that one time are so devastating to me, they negate the other 9,999.