Monday, December 11, 2017

Funny Coincidence (If You Believe in Them)

On December 1st, the day I wrote about shooting left-handed, my brother Deejo blew out his right biceps tendon.

I'm not the only one in my family who believes we should be competent shooting with both hands, though I'm the one who practices the most (and probably the one who needs the most practice).

Knowing he would be off work for a while - it's hard to drive a 36' truck with a manual transmission once you've ruptured a bicep tendon - he called up and asked if we could go shooting. Only in my family would we find an injury reason to hit the range, but his work injury is the exact reason everyone should practice and become competent with their non-dominant hand.

Trust me, he did not go into work on Friday morning looking to suddenly become left-handed, but shit happens and until he's healed up from surgery and finished with his physical and occupational therapy, left-handed he is.

If you've been putting off your non-dominant hand practice because it's "uncomfortable" or "awkward" stop making excuses, get off your butt, and get to the range. This isn't like PE in junior high, where you get hurt, wave your hand, limp off the field, and get left alone. Outwardly injured folks may look even more enticing to a predator; why would anyone just accept that fate? Refusing to become competent with your non-dominant hand puts you at even more of a defensive disadvantage.

Friday, December 1, 2017

A Leftie in the Making





At the beginning of the year, this meme was incredibly accurate. I have always done some shooting left-handed, but very little. 50 - 100 rounds per year over the last fifteen years doesn't add up to much when compared to the rounds shot with my right hand. My best guess would be 1-2% of my shooting was done left-handed since I began shooting.

I knew, when I wrote up my shooting goals for this year that I wanted to increase my left-handed shooting, but it was pretty vague. I just wanted to do it "more". My vague idea of "more" was somewhere around 25%, I figured that would make me competent enough should anything happen to my dominant arm/hand.

I started the year shooting the Dot Torture, so it was easy to plan to shoot it once right-handed and once left-handed. By the end of February, I realized that I was far exceeding my goal of 25% left-handed shooting. I continued to run drills both right- and left-handed throughout the year, and I have averaged about a 50/50 split between both hands.

Some drills, like the Baseline Evaluation, lend themselves very nicely to switching hands. When I shoot the Baseline Evaluation I do it right-handed, left-handed, right hand only, and left hand only. At 50 rounds each, it's easy to run through 200 rounds in a one-hour period of time, so it can get expensive quickly.

I have found an unexpected benefit to all of this left-handed shooting (besides the obvious increase in confidence, etc.). A couple of months ago at work, I was working on my laptop and eating lunch at the same time. About half-way through my lunch I realized that I'd been eating my salad left-handed. With a fork and everything. And I hadn't even made a mess!

As I sat there, in wonder that this miracle occurred, I realized that I've been using my left-hand far more frequently and without thought since I began shooting left-handed. It's a benefit that I never considered, and, yes, I feel dumb for not ever considering it.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Hand Over Your Weapons

I’ve read the Boston Globe Article “Hand over your weapons” at least 3 times.   Sometimes making it all the way through, sometimes stopping to ponder how a particular aspect of the article might look in America.   Summarizing, the writer of the piece writes about the “epidemic” of firearms deaths in the US, trotting out the tired statistic of 30,000 people being killed (without mention of the suicides), followed by how gutless politicians are for not being  willing to oppose the 2nd amendment, though a brave Obama had hinted at it.   An example of how a mass shooting in Australia lead to the country’s mandatory ban on most firearms, and how the more civilized Aussies endorsed that national feeling of guilt.    Lastly, the gun grabbers here are willing to endorse confiscation, but the NRA is too powerful and well organized (woos me), and those yahoos own too many guns, and a one sentence acknowledgement of mental illness.   I’ve attached a link to the article so you can see if I accurately surmised the article.

https://www.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2017/11/10/hand-over-your-weapons/6IxJLanMKGak7RvCLipwbN/story.html

I’ve read articles like this for years, but with this article, my mind keeps circling back to “What would gun confiscation look like in the US”?   A compulsory buy back followed by using illegally kept records from database searches, to surprise seizures of paper records from your local gun store?  The next paragraphs are fiction, it’s how my mind sees a possible unraveling of events.

The compulsory buyback component would be the same lame format that some of the big cities have used, and  failed at getting guns out of the hands of criminals.   The money they offer won’t match the value of the guns, because states like NY and CA can’t afford to pay a fair value of the gun.   However, the state will use the threat of prison time, and fines  to attempt compliance.   The resulting inventory of turned in guns will likely mirror the inventories retrieve in Chicago, and Phoenix-old relics, broken 22s,  PVC and wood zip guns, etc…   Look at NY and CA to lead this charge on “buy back” and when that fails, look to them to jump head long into confiscation.

In my imagination confiscation has a couple of different looks, one looks like this.   State politicians would order police to confiscate local gun shop records, some records would be lost in mysterious fires, others would be turned over, computer records, that by law should have been destroyed, will mysteriously be available to cull names, addresses, serial numbers etc.…  Names are regionalized and organized for local enforcement if the agency leadership mirrors the views of the state leaders, else look for state agencies to enforce the state mandate.    Some cases of Blue flu are reported.

The state initiates limited targeting based on the intelligence gathered from gun store records, or family turn coats, or electronic records.  Based on the numbers of teams available for the searches and seizure, CA and NY announce a huge success in the number of illegal firearms seized, increasing numbers of raids are planned.  Illinois polls the questions and contemplates following suit.   The Governors and allies pose for the photo-op that is used as the front cover of every paper in the country.  The Feds remain mum, wanting to see how this plays out.  Republican leadership wants to be able to claim “me too” if the raids are well received by the public.    The state realizes that it confiscated about 8% of the firearms it expected, the press provides cover, gun owners are jailed, jail populations expand, people that had been law abiding have now become criminal because they believe in freedom that the state no longer supports.    The state plans a 2nd round of raids.  Three days later, a second round of raids is met by limited resistance.   In one instance, a 36 year retired policeman knows they’re coming to his house.    He sits behind the door with his Rock River AR-15, 30 round mags loaded with XM855.   Knowing the tactics, he anticipates the proper arrival time, partially barricades the doors, he doesn't expect to live through the ordeal.   The flash bang is ineffectual because the retired patriot anticipates and the partially blocked door allows him to recover in time to head shoot the first 2 men in the stack before being shot and killed by the third.   In his death the older man becomes a rallying cry, “Remember Bob!”   A call goes out for a suspension of the raids but is largely ignored by the gun grabbing media and politicians.   After all, it’s the gun nuts that are being killed by the gun, they brought this on themselves.

Serious push back occurs during the third raid, about 2 weeks later.   Now those people that have been following the reports are banding together and  actually creating defensive plans.   Blue flu attacks 50% of the LE ranks, and teams of “gun free believers” are combined from the remaining operators.  Some gun owners are targeted and caught in the open by changing tactics employed by the state – targeted traffic stops to catch them unarmed, or less armed,   But the raids are still the darlings of the media and the planning is still going strong.   As long as the politicians can get a photo op beside piles of menacing looking guns, they vow to press on.       The third set of raids are embarrassing for the state.   Armed resistance is up, patriots surveilling the police watch the Bearcats rollout and put out the call -1 if by land.  A full 1/3 of the raids are met with resistance, and in some cases are counter attacked.    Casualties are high among the police and the civilian/patriot populace.  Horded tannerite was used to make IEDs  and the homes of politicians, their families and of senor police staff seen on TV are set on fire.   The Governors mansions are fired upon in retaliation and many “suspicious” packages are found through out the parking garages that service the State’s Congressional buildings.   Fire trucks are impeded in route.  The third raid will be the last.  Politicians have no stomach for being involved in the confrontation they endorse.

No politician will be held accountable for the breach in constitutional rights, no guns returned, no apologies are issued.   A week later, a Kardashian is killed in a freak accident.   The body is not found for a couple of days, and a small pack of Chihuahuas partially devour the body, the image is leaked to TMZ, and the country has already forgotten.

Eight months later a young man in Texas, recently off his psych drugs, kills 6 in a failed attempt to become the greatest killer of all time.   The state confiscates all property and razes the house, sues the estate and confiscates all insurance money, all proceeds are used to reimburse the families of the dead for all funeral costs as far as the money goes.   The body is publicly burned in front of the court house and the ashes and remains are left for the crows and the wind.   Texas tells their citizens, that the surviving family members will be punished for the attempted mass murders of their family members.   Keep your family in line, or we come for you.


Do the people that believe in gun confiscation think further out than the act of confiscation?  If it started tomorrow, would they fear a backlash?  It’s High School science people, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.    Do they not acknowledge the violence perpetrated in England and Australia by people with knives?  While maybe the “gun” violence went down, did the numbers of violence, murder and assault go down, or was the tool being used just changed to a knife?    What do they think will happen?  Or do they think we’ll all take the public transportation  down to the park link hands and sing Kumbaya ( ok, Boulder might)?

Sunday, November 12, 2017

The New AR

I mentioned in my last post that my best friend and I snuck off to the range last weekend to sight in a recently completed AR.


Being the sole provider for my family and coming off the second lay off in 3 years, I am a bit "gun poor". I actually started building this AR a couple years ago after the first lay off when I picked up a basic Aero Precision Gen 2 stripped lower receiver. If you're not familiar with Aero Precision, they make some very good components for ARs. The Gen 2 lower in particular is nice as it has the addition of an adjustable polymer set screw in the rear of the receiver to help stabilize the upper. It takes the place of an aftermarket accu wedge. 

Accu Wedge

Aero Precision Gen 2 Lower - polymer set screw
Anydigression, the lower was finally completed earlier this year. For those interested in the specs, here is the rundown of the parts selected:

Aero Precision Gen 2 Stripped Lower
CMMG lower parts kit
Magpul MOE FDE pistol grip
Magpul CTR FDE Mil Spec adjustable stock
Aero Precision Mil Spec 6 position buffer tube, buffer, end plate and spring set
CMC 3 lb. single stage flat trigger

Total cost in parts was $383 and change including tax.

A brief word about assembling the parts. It's not hard. There are plenty of  videos out there to help you figure out the process. Anybody can do it. Having said that, it is infinitely easier to do if you have or can borrow the right tools for the job.

So, when I landed my current full time job, I was in the process of thinking it was high time to gather the parts for the upper when I get a call from my best friend. "I got something for you.", he says. Low and behold, it was a complete upper. It's good to have nice friends. He gifted me, as a "congrats on the new job" gift, a SOTA Arms (SOTA stands for State of the Art, BTW) 16 inch, .223 Wylde chambered, 1:7 twist heavy barrel upper with a mid length gas system, a KeyMod forend and a standard A2 birdcage flash hider.

Did I mention I have a really great best friend?

I had a Hawke 3-9x40 AO IR scope on hand for an optic (I may eventually replace that with a red dot...I might not) which we mounted up without too much trouble (a scope mounting level really helps a lot), and it was off to the range to sight in and see what it can do.

Another mini digression about ammo selection. I had some American Eagle 55 grain .223 Jacketed Boat Tail on hand. Best friend had the same in addition to some 68 grain Magtech .223 that he had picked up somewhere. Those familiar with twist rate and bullet weight pairing will recognize that the 55 grain/1:7 twist combo is "not ideal" for maximum accuracy according to the experts.

3 Shots - 1 inch square - 50 yards
Meh. Experts...smeckperts. Those look like they stabilized just fine to me. I didn't have calipers with me to get a precise measurement, but the Mark 1 hairy eyeball guestimates that at roughly 3/4 of an inch at the widest which maths out to 1.5ish MOA at 100 yards. That's with a mediocre shooter and non-match ammo out of a non-match barrel.

I'll take that.


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Humbling

I consider myself to be a fair shot with a pistol. More often than not, my targets look like actual intentional groupings as opposed to random patterns. Having said that, I've done very little in the way of structured training or practice (shame on me). So, when my best friend and I escaped to the range on Sunday to sight in a recently completed AR, we took along the pistols as well.

My friend suggested we give the Dot Torture drill a whirl. I said sure. Why not? I'm familiar with the drill from seeing others post about their experiences, but I'd never taken a stab at it personally. I thought, "How hard could it be?"

Ha.

HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

Sure, I can hit a 2 inch target at 3 yards. No problem. You can too I bet. Until you try and get this:


That's my first try at Dot Torture with a Ruger SR1911 5 inch at 3.5 yards. Color me shocked. 

We then had the bright idea to pull out the .22 pistols and give it another try.


Better but still not great. Ruger 22/45 Target model with a fiber optic front sight. 

Well, neither of us was happy with our performance. So, we decided one more try was in order.


Almost clean. 1 dropped shot.

This is going to become a regular part of my range outings from now on. You should give it a try too. 



Monday, November 6, 2017

Church Security

Disclaimer: I am NOT an expert on church security. I just wanted to share with you an experience I had a few months ago.

I had to travel to Salt Lake City a couple of months ago for work, and during our down time, my co-workers and I went to see the Mormon Tabernacle Choir practice. Besides the soul-soothing music, I got to see first-hand how they handled security.

I was fortunate enough to attend one of Grossman's Sheepdog Seminars in June of 2016 and I don't know if the church security has attended any of the seminars, but I did get to see some of his suggestions in action. I witnessed no less than four "rings" of security around the building.

One of the things that he said during the Seminar was that church security teams need to be out in the public - they don't need to be threatening, but they need to be interacting with the guests. The first thing I noticed when I stepped onto the grounds was that there were multiple people greeting all of the guests. Not a single guest went without someone making eye contact and greeting them warmly. (Outermost ring)

The second thing I noticed was that if anyone was carrying a backpack or bag (other than a small purse), they were approached with a smile and asked to check it. The bag check was on the outer perimeter of the building and everyone who was asked to check their bag was escorted to the bag check. (Second ring)

At the door, anyone who had a purse, had their purse searched. But it was done with a smile and a kind word. (Third ring)

Inside the concert hall, they had people stationed throughout the rows, back to the performers, watching everyone in the audience. All with a smile on their faces, but their eyes missed nothing. Each section of seats had at least one person watching over them. (Fourth, and closest, ring)

What I found exceptional was that none of these security people looked like security people - the were people of all ages, both male and female - and they were all exceedingly polite. It was very much reminiscent of Roadhouse - "be nice until it's time to not be nice". In fact, if I had not spent time studying security and if I had not attended the Sheepdog Seminar, I might not have recognized this multi-layer approach to security.

The church did an excellent job of providing security disguised as outstanding customer service.

My hope is that more churches embrace the style of security that Lt. Dave Grossman advocates. Too many times, church security folks are dressed in their tacticool clothes, all clumped together inside the building drinking coffee. Spread out a bit, walk the parking lots, engage the parishioners and their guests in conversation. Be nice, but be aware. If you can identify the threat in the parking lot, you've gone a long way in hardening your church as a target.
 

Saturday, November 4, 2017

I'm Sorry (An Open Letter)

To the woman at the gun shop today,
I'm sorry.

I'm sorry I didn't interrupt when the (older, male) idiot behind the counter insisted that women needed revolvers instead of a semi-auto, because apparently we women are to stupid to learn to identify and clear malfunctions.

I'm sorry I didn't offer to help when I saw you in the lane next to me with a snub-nosed thirty-eight, and your (young, male) "gun expert" encouraging you to continue shooting a gun you were obviously not comfortable with.

I spent the entire time watching you and wanting to pull you aside, wanting to tell you to take a proper class, wanting to tell you the men who were advising you today were idiots who have no idea what they were talking about.

You see, a snub-nosed revolver is an expert's weapon, not a beginner's one, but the "experts" you had to deal with today aren't expert enough to know that.

I'm not an expert, but I dedicate a lot of time to shooting and studying shooting. I knew they were steering you wrong.

I should have broken my rule of not offering unsolicited advice, and for that I'm sorry. I've been angry at myself ever since.

Please accept my apologies,
GunDiva