Category Archives: Firearm Training

Why we train

My opinion is things like this are the reason the founders of our nation wanted everyone to be armed and skilled at using those arms. We must all strive to ensure that if such evil ever appears in our nation the notion of “a rifle behind every blade of grass” is reality.

But that’s just my humble opinion.

Why our freedoms matter

Shortly after the 9-11 attacks I commented that the best way to beat our enemy was to guard and increase our liberties not restrict them further. Recall that at this time guns were banned based on cosmetic features magazine capacity was (nationally) subject to an arbitrary limit and concealed carry laws had not spread to every state. In light of recent events I am more convinced than ever that we need to not only restore our rights we need to exercise them as well.

This article (subscription required) details possible methods and outcomes of a terrorist attack(s) on the United States. The Washington Times opines that having and exercising our right to bear arms is one way to ensure our safety. Monderno reports on a potential threat to soldiers and their families in their homes. Australia recently stopped an ISIS plot to abduct and behead Australian citizens.

This is not comforting news and barely scratches the surface of what terrorist groups are capable of. Granted not all threats can be stopped by armed citizens, but having a well armed citizenry makes it much more difficult to conduct hostile actions on American Soil. So if you don’t have your permit (and need one to carry), get one. If you do have one or don’t exercise your rights, start. Finally keep an eye on your elections Local, State and Federal. If a candidate does not support your right to keep and bear arms its a sure thing they think little of the rest of your liberties too.

If You Live in St. Louis Now is NOT the Time to Buy Your First Gun

This title is not likely to make a few of my pro-gun acquaintances upset, but I believe it to be sound advice in spite of the current civil unrest. Allow me to explain before you march with your pitchforks and torches.

Deciding to prepare to defend yourself with lethal force is a heavy decision. It is also one that requires some preparation you can’t just go buy a gun, a box of ammunition, maybe fire a few rounds at a range stick it in the closet and assume you are protected. A firearm is much like a musical instrument, you need training and practice so that when it comes time (and hopefully it never does) you can use it proficiently.

So what should a defenseless St. Louisan do? In my opinion they should do the same thing as an armed St. Louisan. Pay attention to the news reports so you know where the trouble spots are, keep an eye out for potential trouble and avoid both if you can.

Once things settle down if you still think you want to add a firearm to your security plan I heartily encourage it. I think you should start by doing some research before heading down to the gun store though. I recommend you start with Massad Ayoob’s “In the Gravest Extreme” due for an update very soon. Other books I recommend include “Counter Ambush” and “Defend Yourself” by Personal Defense Network’s Rob Pincus.

Once you buy your gun, it’s time to get training. The NRA has thousands of certified instructors where you can go to learn the basics. I also recommend getting a CCW permit if you selected a handgun as your defensive firearm. Then you should look into advanced training. If you’re in the St. Louis area I have heard good things about Asymmetric Solutions, you can also look at courses from Combat Focus Shooting (headed up by the previously mentioned Rob Pincus). Additionally you could attend courses at Gunsite, Thunder Ranch and the Ayoob Group. To keep your skills sharp I recommend participating in matches like those put on by the International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA).

Purchasing a firearm for self-protection is not a decision to be taken lightly. It is one that will require careful forethought and a commitment to learning and practicing a lifesaving skill. It is not something one should do in a rush, but rather done in a careful methodical manner where you examine all of your options and make the choices that best suit you.

On Being Consistent

No knows for certain who first coined the phrase “Beware the man who only has one gun. He probably knows how to use it!” However there a lot of wisdom in those two sentences that the average individual would do well to learn. As rob Pincus explains in this video, When choosing firearms to protect you and your loved ones having them all work in the same way makes it easier for everyone to operate them under stress. An example of this would be a husband and wife who both carry and shoot Glock 19s, have his and hers Remington 870s and his and hers AR-15s for protection. If the absolute worst happened and one were incapacitated and the other needed a working firearm they could grab their spouse’s and be able to use it as if it were theirs.

My own efforts in this regard have not been entirely successful, but I think I’m pretty close. When I was younger and owned fewer firearms this was easy to do. I either had a 1911 pistol or a S&W revolver for a sidearm, my shotgun was a simple Winchester pump action and my rifle a surplus SAFN chambered in a round well suited to the desert terrain I lived in. Today things are more complicated because as a firearms enthusiast I have a variety of firearms that all work differently. Thankfully, I don’t HAVE to employ them all in a defensive role. Instead I employ a Glock and/or Kahr pistol and an AR-15. Even this combination has an issue though as the preferred method for chambering a round in a Glock is to slingshot the slide, while Kahr recommends using the slide lock to release the slide to chamber a round.

Many instructors, notably Rob Pincus and Clint Smith advocate the slingshot method for loading a firearm. This approach makes sense as it is a gross motor skill that utilizes stronger muscled in the upper body making it desirable for those without much upper body strength. It also creates a consistency as not every gun has the slide stop (if it has one) in the same place but all will release the slide if there is no empty magazine to push the slide stop into position. If you have a gun that doesn’t lock back the slingshot method will still charge the gun. Kahr’s recommendations meant I would either have to get used to using two different methods to reload my pistols or I could do something to ensure consistency. I’ll tell you what I did next time.

Why I voted #Pincus4NRA (and you should too)

A few weeks ago Rob Pincus announced his candidacy for a seat on the NRA Board of Directors. For me it wasn’t even a question as to whether or not I would vote for him. Rob makes his case for why he should be on the board here and addresses some of the controversial statements he has made that people misinterpreted here. Monderno also addresses these issues here. Rob’s candidacy has even earned the endorsement of Massad Ayoob.

Now these are all good reasons why you should vote for him if you can, but I would like to add another reason based on my own limited interactions with Rob Pincus.

1. He is not afraid to slaughter sacred cows if he has sound reasons for doing so. When Rob excoriated the mini-1911 platform specifically and the 1911 in general for daily carry, people (including your truly) were righteously indignant. However, his points were valid and the disagreements were emotional rather than factual.

2. He is quick to forgive and move forward. I am a small minnow in a big ocean of gun bloggers, yet when I admitted my fault Rob was very gracious when he really didn’t have to pay any attention to what goes on here.

3. He has an open mind when it comes to legitimate differences of opinion. Just because you may not agree on something doesn’t mean he won’t listen to what you have to say. Rob is very analytical and constantly searching for ways to do things better, he doesn’t let his ego invest in what he does or how he does it.

These three things I have seen from Rob Pincus tell me one thing and that is based on my limited experience he is a man of integrity. He won’t shy from controversy if he feels he is right (and uncomfortable as it may be to you he probably is). He won’t hold grudges or try to advance a hidden personal agenda and he doesn’t do things solely to gratify his own ego. That’s not to say he doesn’t have a lot to be proud of, just that everything he has done and continues to do is for the shooting community first. This is why I think he deserves a seat on the NRA Board of Directors, if not this year then next year for sure assuming he still wants it. That is why I will do what I can to see that Rob wins a seat.

Seven Ps

Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance

Two little tidbits from Facebook this week to ponder. The first is from Clint Smith of Thunder Ranch:

“Parts and Smarts”

If you head to the range this weekend for practice and your extractor breaks in your pistol…FIRST….do

you have an extra extractor and TWO….do you have the “smarts” to put it in correctly?’

Something I want you all to really work on this year….get spare parts and LEARN how your gun runs and HOW do change out parts…please.

We are headed to the range to learn from Jason Burton how to to this with our 1911s…more soon from the classroom.

Whether you carry a 1911 or other pistol having spare parts and the knowledge to replace them is important. Assembling a spare parts kit and some tools should be a priority if you haven’t already.

Up next we have something from Rob Pincus of the Personal Defense Network:

Day 4 CFS… Learning to work with less optimal gun designs. Most guys who get to CFSID School are using Modern Striker Fired guns, so I pull some things out of the safe do they can learn to deal with single and double/single action guns on the range.

Knowing your gun well is important, but if you’re going to instruct others you should take the time to learn how other systems work. An instructor must be competent if their students are to have faith in their training.


Gun Digest Book of the Revolver, by Grant Cunningham

Gun Digest Book of the Revolver, by Grant CunninghamWhile most of you know I chose a Glock for my daily carry gun and am a long-time devotee to the first handgun I ever shot, the 1911 pistol, the first handgun I owned was a revolver. For several years that big S&W 686 was my only handgun and it saw use as a daily carry piece, a competition piece and pretty much everything else you would want a handgun for. Most of the rounds it has sent down range have been in competition some even against a national award winning, accordion playing competitor. I got beat soundly by him, but I learned a lot from him so it was a fair trade.

After 29 years of owning, modifying and shooting revolvers one would think they would know all there is to know about revolvers. They would also be woefully wrong. I picked up Mr. Cunningham’s book after The_Missus  decided a revolver was right for her, so long as it wasn’t an airweight J Frame (more on that later). I knew from reading Mr. Cunningham’s blog he was very knowledgeable on revolvers so I figured if there was anything new for me to learn it was likely in his books (I’ll cover the second one after I finish it I promise).

The book did not disappoint one bit. While there were no earth shattering revelations for me, there was still much to learn. From proper fit to reloading and malfunction clearing there was a lot of information I hadn’t seen before. One of the malfunctions Mr. Cunningham mentions is debris under the extractor star. Which is one I learned really early and wish I have known about his technique for clearing it. Yes revolvers are boringly reliable, but pay attention to the malfunction drills. When your revolver has a problem, you are in a heap of trouble if you can’t fix it quickly.

Whether you are new to the world of revolvers or an old hand, the Gun Digest Book of the Revolver will be a valuable resource to your library. There are many today who will say the Revolver is obsolete, yet just this year at the SHOT show we saw the introduction of several new revolvers from Smith and Wesson and Ruger. The revolver is a part of American history and while semi-automatic pistols are all the rage today there are still tasks that only a revolver can do.