• 07 Dec 2010 /  Firearms

    Some really interesting training ammunition here from Ultimate Training Munitions. Initially, I didn’t understand the purpose of the “Silent Blank Round” since it generates no noise and no projectile, but, as Bob states, it’s perfect for dry-fire drills because it cycles the action for you. To dry-fire most guns, you must manually cycle the action after every pull of the trigger, which can create a training scar.

    Wonder if any of these will be available to us civilians?

    Cool Training Tech from UTM – Bob’s Gun Counter.


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  • 28 Oct 2010 /  Parenting, Things I Like

    Declan recently wrote a Halloween story for a local homeschooler group. They decided not to publish his story on their site because it referenced weapons (no restrictions were stated up front), so I’m publishing it here:

    by Declan Chase-Salerno, age 7

    A guy in black with another guy gave the man in black some dynamite in a bush, but he didn’t blow anything up with it yet, and then one of the good guys said, We have to take the man in black to the statue factory, (“His name isn’t important!”).  None of the other guys knew what that would do.  When you move, he disappears.  Then we stood still, and he shot wooden carts with weapons at us, and my mom grabbed on to me and jumped over all the carts.  And then we dodged the carts, which led us to our barn, and then we hid in there for a while.  And then we found the guys that gave the man in black some dynamite, and we asked if it was fake dynamite, and he said no, and we said why did you give him real dynamite, and the man in black hypnotized him to do it, because he owns a dynamite factory.  Then, he wanted to help us get the man in black, but we still couldn’t catch him, we didn’t have enough guys, And then we got our dog, Casey, to help us find him.  She barks a lot when she sees someone.  And then we found him, but he disappeared when we even moved a step.  So we went to upstairs in my house, and we got some guns to get him to surrender, but they still didn’t work.  He had a machine gun.  And then they got the police to help them, and the police got the sheriff’s department, the army, and that still wasn’t enough, until the army invented a new weapon, the disintegrator, but that still didn’t work, because his armor was stronger than anything.  Then we got him to a statue factory, but that didn’t stop him because he broke out of the steel case.  Because he was so strong, he broke out, and he also had fists made of pointy steel.  Then the army got the military that invented a new gun called the Hypnotizer but he had hypnotizing-proof glasses, that still didn’t stop him, so they had to set off the dynamite while he was still holding it, like in cartoons.  Until a good ghost came to help us and called all of his ghost friends, and they wanted to help, and the military called a weapons specialist, Agent G, and he invented a gadget that could read people’s minds and we could know his plan and stop it, and we would know where his base is.  And the ghosts called a ninja force, and they helped them, until they met the Super Penguin.  Which could peck people’s heads off.  But he had an indestructible helmet that the Super Penguin couldn’t peck.  Until they chased him to Canada and his armor fell off while he was running, all his armor, it turned out he was very skinny and weak, and they destroyed his base, and then they had a campfire and roasted weenies.
    The End.

    Quinny also wrote one, but hers was deemed OK:

    Last Night There Was 3 Girls And 2 Puppies Who Woke Up
    by Quinn Chase-Salerno, age 4

    Last night, three little girls woke up, and then the serious one said, “What happened?”  And then the three little puppies woke up, and one barked at someone, and then they saw a little spooky thing, then they turned into spies, then killed him, and then they all went in the dark and brought a flashlight and then the 3 little girls weren’t scared except the serious girl wasn’t scared, and the 2 little puppies weren’t scared either, then they saw something that was creeping slow and had a shell on top and it was a turtle.  And then they put their flashlight in their pocket then it was daytime then they weren’t scared again.  Then they went back home and saw a little black thing it was their brother.  And then there was a kitty that went back.  And the kitty wasn’t scared either.
    The End.

    Great stories Guys!


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  • 22 Oct 2010 /  Firearms

    Well, I’ve been meaning to write this AAR up, but one of the other participants beat me to it. He did a fine job, even including a couple of pictures of me, so I’ll just refer to his post:

    AAR~ MDTS CP 3&4 New Paltz Rod & Gun Club – Oct 16, 2010 – AR15.COM

    Excellent course that really pushed some new skills, I enjoyed learning the weapon retention techniques, and the one handed manipulation block was eye opening. I learned that a closed front cover garment makes it very difficult to do anything with only the support hand. The charging target block really introduced some stress, showing how skills degrade.

    I’ll echo the endorsement of Chris Fry and MDTS. His courses consistently deliver well thought out material that is constantly evolving and well tailored for the armed citizen. Thanks also to Joel for helping run a safe range, except for the part when he yelled at me for automatically doing a reload when my gun went dry during the qual. Sorry Joel, I’ve been indoctrinated by Chris (and others) already. Looking forward to hosting Chris in New Paltz again.


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  • 29 Mar 2010 /  Firearms

    Well, I’m back from the Summit now and what a great time it was. Here’s a wrap up of what day 2 included, you can read day 1 here:

    The first block of the day was all morning. An intensive 4 hour block from Rob Pincus of I.C.E. Training, yes that’s TV’s Rob Pincus. Rob’s program is called Combat Focus Shooting program. He spent quite a bit of time talking in the beginning about the program and how it developed as well as some specific thoughts equipment and safety. One point that was highlighted again was how congruent all the programs of the summit were. While there were some subtle differences, they could be attributed to a couple of things. As Rob pointed out, context is important, in day 1’s “Confined Space Shooting” block we did things a certain way because of the specific context, that is, dealing with threats at less than 2 arms reach when we are in a limited space. In Rob’s block we were dealing with a bit more distance and therefore some slight changes are warranted. The other factor is that there simply isn’t always one best way to do something in every situation. The differences are very subtle and there is a consistent training imprint from all the blocks during the summit. I was very impressed by Rob’s teaching style, he was very clear and articulate and injected humor to maintain engagement. It’s obvious that his courses are highly developed.

    Once we were done with the talking, we started with the shooting. A key aspect of  Combat Focus Shooting is to not use the sights unless you need to. At very close range it’s important to get combat accurate hits on the threat very quickly. It’s not very important if your shot grouping is 1″ or 6″. At longer ranges, or with smaller targets, precision becomes more important. The fact that we aren’t using the sights does not mean that we aren’t aligning the gun with the target, it’s just that it’s a coarser grain of alignment based on the gun and our body positioning. We repeated several drills to practice this concept, fast shots on a large target, and slower, precise shots on smaller targets. The basic “Balance of Speed and Precision” drill was expanded over the course of the morning by adding additional actions such as the draw, off axis movement and after action checks.

    One thing that Rob stressed during this, and all the drills, do not establish a training pattern. If you constantly train that your response to a threat should be 2 shots to the high center chest, then you are conditioning yourself to do that and only that. As we know, fights are chaotic and unpredictable, so when that response you’ve drilled into your head doesn’t work, you’re going to have a problem. We practiced shooting a self selected number of rounds for each command and actually visualized the threat stopping before we would stop shooting. This same concept applies to common gun handling. Every reload should be done as a combat reload, every time your gun goes dry you should initiate a reload, even if you’re out of magazines, every time the gun goes “click” instead of “bang”, initiate immediate action. Don’t let your brain be trained that “click” means anything other than “fix that gun NOW!”. This is a common theme I’ve seen with the quality instructors I’ve trained with.

    After lunch, we were in the classroom for the rest of the day. The first block was Managing Unknown Contacts from Southnarc. This described and demonstrated how to effectively handle an unknown person approaching you. Obviously, everyone that might approach us is not a threat, so the response needs to be appropriate without compromising your own safety. Southnarc laid out a series of progressive responses that escalate as the probability of a threat escalates. This includes verbal commands from a simple, “stop right there, please” all the way up to something like “BACK UP RIGHT NOW!”. He also adds movement in a specific manner to maintain distance, and to help you identify additional threats. Remember, bad guys often work in pairs or groups. This module strictly covered the initial response, not what to do when the threat isn’t diffused by that. So there’s a future training opportunity. He also described some of the signs that may indicate that someone intends to do you harm. We concluded this block by pairing up and role playing these responses.

    Lastly, William Aprill gave a presentation on the psychology of “Violent Criminal Actors”. There was a lot of information here that I had never considered and understanding how a violent criminal will respond to something that seems like “no big deal” to me was enlightening. It’s good to understand how the built up context of different lives can affect what one might consider a reasonable response to a given situation.

    This summit was a great opportunity to sample a variety of instructors at a very reasonable expense and travel. Thanks to Mike & Jim of NE Shooters for organizing, all the folks that helped execute, the instructors, and Pelham Fish & Game for hosting it. I look forward to doing it again next year.


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  • 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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