The Whole (Sight) Picture.

I first heard the phrase “gross motor skill” in my first NRA class. The idea was that dropping the slide on a reload by racking it was a gross motor skill and therefore better to do under stress than the “fine motor skill” of hitting the slide release lever. 

The instructor then proceeded to spend HOURS on the importance of a smooth trigger press to insure accurate hits on target. 

So “gross motor skills” are good and should be done whenever possible, except when they can’t. 

Uh-huh. 

Why not ditch the idea that some physical movements are more “tactical” than others, and see the process of putting hits quickly on the target under stress as an integrated whole? 

More thoughts on this over at the Osage County Guns blog.

License to Chill

One thing that the anti-civil rights crowd gets consistently wrong is the idea that carrying a gun means you (and not the gun) are a hair-trigger, looking for an excuse to draw your weapon and lay waste to all those foolish enough to cross your path. 

Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, I’d suggest they’re projecting their lack of emotional stability onto everyone around them. Every time, EVERY SINGLE TIME that gun control gets loosened and freedom is regained, the streets are predicted to run red with violence, usually with a reference to the OK Corral and/or the Wild West. 

But every time, EVERY SINGLE TIME, that doesn’t happen. Why? Because people realize that with the increased empowerment of becoming your own first responder, there comes an increased responsibility for your actions. 

Your goal, if you carry a gun, is to become a peacemaker without ego

Full spectrum training

One of the complaints I had about training at FrontSight was their monoculture of experience: Practically everyone I trained with cited their experience at FrontSight as the qualifications to be a firearms trainer

Not a big fan of such things, because practicing and training only one “style” pretty much insures you won’t know how to handle the inherit chaos of a violent lethal threat. 

I’ve got some more reasons why you want to spread out your firearms training over a bunch of different trainers and systems over at the Osage County Guns Blog.

Something I need to work on in the near future

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… 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.

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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”. 

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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.