• 28 Mar 2010 /  Firearms

    This weekend I’m attending the Northeast Shooter’s Summit in Pelham, NH. This is an event featuring several instructors teaching various training blocks. Here’s a quick wrap up of Day 1.

    The first event for my relay was Southnarc of ShivWorks. The block was entitled “Confined Space Shooting” and covered the physical mechanics required to defend yourself with a handgun in small spaces and at close proximity to both threats and innocents. The first part was the basic steps of drawing from a holster. While the pistol draw is something most shooters have a pretty good handle on, Southnarc has some very targeted specifics that keep the gun very close to the body and enable rounds to be accurately fired as early as possible. The focus here was being able to access your handgun while minimizing the opportunities for an opponent to interfere with the draw. We practiced each step of the draw and fired from both the compressed ready and extended positions. We covered the “nose over toes” stance that I’m familiar with and conducted several drills. One very enlightening drill was where we practiced engaging a target while surrounded by innocent bystanders, literally shoulder to shoulder. The mechanics of Southnarc’s draw stroke proved effective here as we were able to draw and fire in these very tight confines without sweeping any of the bystanders with our muzzles. Southnarc is very attentive during these drills, always right there to intervene if there is any hint of a safety issue as well as offering corrections. The session concluded with an overview of how to both shoot from, and properly exit a vehicle. The mechanics of this are way more complicated than you would think. Being able to exit a car without sweeping yourself or any of your (presumably friendly) passengers with your muzzle requires lots of forethought.

    The entire Confined space block was very educational. Most of the techniques were small tweaks to what I’ve already learned in various other courses, but these small changes have big results. The only downside of this session was that I managed to slam my holster hard on the seatbelt latch when entering the car and I broke one of the screws. Having a pinwheeling holster isn’t conducive to range safety. Thanks to Chris for stealing a screw from one of his spare holsters and getting me back online!

    The next block was taught by Chris Fry of MDTS Training, and I had the pleasure of assisting him teach. The class was based around dealing with carbine malfunctions. We started with a diagnostic test that shows basic gun handling at very close range.  A little tip if you ever find yourself in one of Chris’ carbine classes, at very close range, you need to account for the bore/site offset on the rifle and aim a bit high. We then covered what to do when your carbine stops functioning at various ranges from contact distance to 25 yards. This included muzzle strikes as well as both one and two handed pistol transitions. Finally Chris described and demonstrated all the common (and a few not so common) carbine malfunctions as well as his simple system to handle them without some of the problems of more traditional methods (like SPORTS). The culmination of this block is an exercise where students get a chance to handle multiple malfunctions under some induced pressure.

    During a great lunch provided by the club, we enjoyed a lecture from Andy Langlois about Dealing with First Responders. Some good insights into what will be going through an officer’s mind if they are responding to a defensive shooting. Biggest takeaway from that, when an Officer says “DROP THE GUN!”, do it … now.

    After lunch we had an overview of some of the many hardware options available for the AR platform. There are a lot of them.

    After this I assisted Chris again with his carbine block for the 2nd relay of shooters, this meant I had to miss the block on Tactical Medicine, but I will be looking for more opportunities in that area.

    Overall, it was a great day of training. The blocks of instructions were somewhat compressed, but there is a lot of information to be learned, and the opportunity to train with many instructors is a welcome one.

    Thanks to the organizers and all the help from Pelham Fish and Game Club, which, incidentally, is a beautiful club.

    Click here for day 2…


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  • 08 Jan 2010 /  Firearms

    My buddy and trainer Chris Fry from MDTS recently authored a couple of excellent documents about AR platform malfunctions. He does a great job describing the malfunctions, how to clear them, and how to create them so you can practice. Until I took an MDTS carbine course, I had never even been exposed to one of the complex malfunctions he covers. Any AR15 operator would be well served by studying these documents:

    One would also be well served signing up for any of Chris’ training. He does a great job providing excellent training at an affordable price.


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  • 22 Oct 2009 /  Firearms, Tech

    I recently came across (through a spam email actually) the Safety Bullet. Short version (you can watch the videos there for the longer version), it’s a device that chambers in your firearm just like a live round. If the trigger is pulled while the Safety Bullet is in place, the gun is locked up. Yes, the gun is completely disabled until you obtain the tool to reset it. Admittedly the tool is simply a plastic rod, but in my opinion this is a terrible idea.

    The recommended usage is to load 1 Safety Bullet in the chamber and 1 in the top of the magazine with live rounds below that. If you actually need to use your firearm, you then rack the slide twice to get a live round in the chamber. If you forget to do that and attempt to fire, you have a gun that will not function and you will likely die.

    Revolvers are even worse, you load a Safety Bullet in the next chamber to be fired. To use the firearm you have to manually rotate the cylinder one notch before firing. This is a rather delicate task, and if you lose count and attempt to fire 6 rounds instead of 5 (or 5 instead of 4, or 8 instead of 7, hmm how many rounds does this revolver hold again?), guess what? Gun locks up!

    So, under the stress of an attacker beating down your door, or coming up your stairs or beating a loved one with a pipe, you will have to remember this procedure or render your defensive firearm inoperable. It’s well understood that under this kind of life or death stress, lots of things go out the window. Fine motor skill and complex reasoning (uhhh … like math) being the big ones. I will say it again, this is downright dangerous if used in a home defense firearm. Using it in a stored firearm would not have these issues, so I’m ok with it in that application, but that’s not how it is being marketed.

    I’m all for safety and protecting our dear children, but this is just not an acceptable solution to me. If you’re concerned about your stored firearms, lock them up, even disassemble them if you like. If you have a home defense firearm please look into other solutions that don’t potentially disable the gun for the rest of your life. There are many quick access safes and locking devices out there that are much better solutions than this.


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  • 22 Sep 2009 /  Firearms

    Yesterday Ruger announced a new .22 rifle, the SR-22.

    Official Ruger pic

    Nevermind that it looks like it’s just the Nordic Components kit around a 10/22 receiver, I’m actually OK with that (as long as Ruger properly licensed it). However, I don’t see the niche for this rifle. It sorta looks like an AR-15, but the safety, mag release, and charging handle are all different. This severely limits it’s usefulness as a low cost AR training platform.

    Ok, so that’s not where it fits, maybe it’s just a cool looking plinker for folks who want something “tacticool” but don’t really care about AR training. Fine, but the MSRP of $625 puts it way higher than it should be for that. You could buy a standard 10/22 and  number of accessories to acheive the same affect for quite a bit less. The S&W M&P 15-22 is only $499 MSRP and is actually an AR pattern rifle.S&W M&P 15-22

    In fact, the only advantage I can see of this rifle is that it can take 10/22 mags if you already have a bunch of those. Since a modified 10/22 will do that too for less money, I just don’t see where this rifle fits.

    Regardless, I’m glad to see Ruger coming out with so many new products and responding to the market. I sincerly hope I’m wrong about this rifle and that they sell piles of them.


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  • 08 May 2009 /  Firearms, Things I Like

    So, Montana (which I now completely love and am making plans to move to) has recently enacted a new law. You can read about it here, but the upshot is that federal firearms laws do not apply to in-state manufactured and owned firearms and accessories. For example, a suppressor (often known as a silencer) manufactured in Montana, and owned by a resident of Montana, would not need to be federally registered as they are now.

    Since Montana appears to have The Constitution on their side, 10th ammendment state’s rights issues and all that, it will be very telling to see what the federal government does here.

    I’ll be making popcorn, and packing all my stuff.