Sunday, December 28, 2014

Expanding My Horizons

In January, while at SHOTShow, I played with throwing knives and tomahawks and had a blast.  I thought it would be fun to learn to do.

 I also played with a crossbow and had a ton of fun. 

 I knew that eventually I'd have to own all of those fun toys.

Jay was hemming and hawing about my Christmas present and complaining that he didn't know what to get me.  I saw my opportunity and started in on him about throwing knives and tomahawks.  He emphatically told me he wasn't getting those for me for Christmas.  So I helpfully pointed out that we live on enough property to set up a nice tree round for practice and it wouldn't be a problem.  And he still said no.  Ever helpful and optimistic, I suggested that we would have a good time learning to throw from horseback. He stood his ground and I started to get mad.  After all, he was the one complaining that he didn't know what to get me for Christmas and I was giving him perfectly reasonable suggestions. 

Fast-forward to Christmas morning:

Guess he figured out what to get me.
Yes that is my very own crossbow.  It has no practical application in a defensive sense, but it certainly will be a lot of fun.  It's too cold and snowy to take it out for practice, not to mention we don't have an appropriate target/backstop, but that doesn't stop me from getting my Daryl Dixon on and walking around the house with it.

I almost forgot that I was mad about the throwing knives and started making plans to pick up a big 3x3x8 bale of straw while we were driving to the in-laws for Christmas morning.  I couldn't stop myself from mentioning that I thought we'd be buying a tree round instead of a bale of straw, even though I was thrilled with my present.

So imagine my surprise when I opened my gift from my in-laws and found SOG throwing knives and a tomahawk!  No wonder Jay was so adamant about not buying me a set for Christmas.  Again, hardly practical in a defensive sense, but so much fun.

I must have made it very clear, loudly and often, that I wanted throwing knives, because that afternoon, at my family's Christmas gathering, I opened another set of knives.

I wonder what I'll try out at SHOTShow 2015 that I can add to my list of "fun things" I must own?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Review: Swab-its

As much fun as the shooting sports are, once the fun is over you need to take care of your equipment.  This includes cleaning your firearms.  Contrary to popular belief, your firearms do need to be cleaned and lubed to maintain proper function and accuracy. 
Everyone is familiar with the standard cleaning kit consisting of cleaning rod, brass bore brush and cotton patches.  These have worked well for many decades.  But they do have their own disadvantages.  A traditional patch does not conform to the round shape of the bore and you end up using numerous patches to obtain a clean bore.  A bore patch does not reach into the nooks and crannies of modern semi-auto firearms.  You could use old-fashioned Q-tips, but they are made of cotton which leaves cotton fuzz everywhere, they are short and don’t have flexible shafts.  Finally, you end up with a pile of trash to be thrown away. 

Now there is something better to help clean your firearms.  Bore-tips and Gun-tips by Swab-its (Swab-its).  Both of these items use a lint-free synthetic material that is washable and reusable.  No more throwing away piles of cotton patches or Q-tips. 

Gun-tips are simply a synthetic Q-tip with a plastic, flexible shaft.  They are great for getting into the nooks and crannies of modern firearms.  They come in various sizes and lengths and do an excellent job of cleaning the junk out of your firearm.  Another great use is to help apply lubrication.  You can put the lubrication where you want it instead of spraying lube everywhere and hoping it goes to the right lubrication points.  Just pick the one you need to help with your cleaning. 

Sample of Gun-tips

Use Gun-tips to clean into deep pockets. 

Great for applying lube where you want it

Bore-tips are a caliber specific combination of cleaning jag, bore mop and cleaning patch in one.  Bore-tips thread onto a standard cleaning rod and can be used to apply cleaning solution to the bore as well as removing loose particulates (just like a cloth cleaning patch or cleaning jag) once the brass brush has been run through several times.  Due to being round in shape and conforming to the shape of the bore the Bore-tip is more efficient than traditional cleaning patches.  They are also great for applying a uniform coat of oil to the inside of the bore for long-term storage.  

Sample Bore-tips

Bore-tip replaces cleaning jag, bore mop and cleaning patch

Use as cleaning jag, bore mop and cleaning patch


I like both of these products from Swab-its and think they will be a useful addition to your cleaning kit.
They may seem expensive but they are washable and reusable.  In the long run you should save money and reduce waste going to the landfill and more efficiently clean your firearms.


Sunday, November 9, 2014

Barrett .50 BMG

When dead just isn't good enough.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

HUNTED LYON is Free Today

Want to rile up Momma Bear?  Threaten her family.

I know today is almost over, but there are still almost eight hours to take advantage of my free promotion on Amazon today.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Boogie Man Book Giveaway Extravaganza!

The wonderful Kathryn Loving is giving our readers the chance to win all three of her Boogie Man books:  The Boogie Man is My Friend, The Rookies, and Behind the Shield.

If you've ever read her blog, The Boogie Man is My Friend, you know that she's a straight shooter with a bit of a quirky personality which shines through in these books.

Her first book, The Boogie Man is My Friend, deals with issues she has seen in her career and is, in my opinion, a great parenting book.  She talks about issues that no one wants to acknowledge and just when it gets to be too much, breaks up the tension with her signature humor.

The Rookies takes a break from the seriousness of dealing with the Boogie Man and takes a look at the lighter side of cop work, from her time as a rookie to her time as an FTO.  It's a light-hearted look at the folks who are trying their best to keep society safe.

Behind The Shield is a continuation of stories, drawn from her extensive journals.  Readers of her blog will "recognize" some of the people and stories she discusses.  I'm currently about half-way through her newest book and am enjoying it immensely.

So what do you have to do to be entered to win autographed copies of all three books?  It's pretty easy, just follow the prompts in the Rafflecopter below.  The giveaway will end at midnight (Mountain time) on October 16th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, September 29, 2014

Gun Blogger Family Loses a Child

At GunDiva's request, I am cross posting this here.

Brigid at Home on the Range sent email yesterday asking to spread the word. Brigid's email is copied below:

"The loss was expected given the deformity found in vitro but they insisted on carrying to term to give her even a little love here on earth.

Peter Grant ways it better than I. His link (with links) is below. Spread the news if you can.

I have to give the family a lot of credit for having the courage to see the pregnancy through. That had to be a tough decision. One that I can't fathom. My thoughts and prayers are with them. Follow the links and do what you can even if it's just a moment of silence in remembrance. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Exploding Soup

Had a good time at my friend's place over Labor Day weekend playing with my new toy: a Marlin 1894 .44 Magnum. My buddy was holding the phone shooting the video and was the unfortunate backstop (or front stop if you will) for several globs of soup. The video is in slow motion, but it did rain soup and can parts for several seconds in real time.

Full review of the Marlin one of these days.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

There Is No Such Thing As An Accident

My sister's youngest daughter was running through the living room and knocked over a margarita glass that was sitting on the floor, which shattered the glass.  My niece looked horrified for a moment, then shrugged and said, "accidents happen".

No they don't!

Accidents don't just happen and we have to get that concept out of our head.  It removes our personal responsibility to utter that phrase, when, in fact, someone is responsible and was negligent - otherwise the so-called "accident" would never have happened.

I tell my students this all the time and I receive blank stares, sometimes even stammers, "but ... but ...".

Let me repeat that: There is no such thing as an accident.

As a society, we have allowed the word "accident" to mean "unintentional". We need to remove "accident" and "accidental" from our vocabularies.

In my real life, I'm a medical instructor.  I teach fledgling youngsters how to become professionals in their field.  One of the classes I teach is phlebotomy, and that's where I hammer this concept home.  The textbooks are notorious for talking about "accidental needle sticks".  There is no such thing.  There are unintentional needle sticks, but there are never any accidental needle sticks.  In fact, every "accidental needle stick" I've ever seen has been a "negligent needle stick".

For example, let's say a phlebotomist is getting ready to draw blood and has the index finger of her non-sticking hand in front of the needle to stabilize the patient's arm.  Let's just say the patient is terrified of getting his blood drawn and flinches away right as the phlebotomist begins to stick.  Instead of the needle going into the patient where it belongs, it is now buried deep into the phlebotomist's own finger.

Was it intentional?

Nope.  Trust me, no phlebotomist on the planet wants to get stuck with a needle. But that doesn't make it an accident just because the phlebotomist didn't intend to stick herself.

Was that an accident?

Nope.  It was negligence, pure and simple.  The phlebotomist was negligent for putting a body part (the index finger) in front of the sharp, pointy object destined for the patient.

Another example:  Five years ago, my youngest son was hit by a car as he was skateboarding.  It was a bad collision that he was lucky to live through.

Did the driver of the car intend to hit him as he was crossing the street?  No.

Did my son intend to get hit by a car as he crossed the street? No.

Was it an accident? No.  It was negligence.

Both my son and the driver were negligent and that caused the collision.  The driver was negligent in that she was speeding in a residential area and not looking for kids in or near the street.  My son was negligent in assuming that he didn't have to look both ways and that a car would (or could) stop for him.  If either one of them had been paying attention, the collision would never have happened.

One more non-gun example: I was a wrangler for years.  I took out trail rides and was responsible for keeping my guests and horses safe at all times.  I took the responsibility very seriously, and to this day I believe that if there is a "wreck" or if a guest falls off, it is the wrangler's fault.  If the saddle slips to the side and the guest falls off, the wrangler was negligent in his or her duty of ensuring safe and properly adjusted tack.  If a horse starts kicking at the horse behind it, the wrangler was negligent: either he didn't watch the spacing between the horses and correct it; or he put the horses together who didn't get along; or he had a known kicker and didn't put the kicker at the back of the line where it couldn't kick anyone else.

Why am I going on and on about non-gun-related things?  Because as shooters and instructors, we are very well aware of the fact that there is no such thing as an "accidental discharge".  Ever.  There is either a "negligent discharge" or a malfunction, but never an accident.

However, we need to change the way we look at "accidents" in our daily lives as well.  We can't practice (and preach) that there is no such thing as an "accidental" discharge, if we don't take responsibility in the other aspects of our lives as well.  By accepting responsibility for the "accidents" in our lives, we can act on that responsibility and in the end, we will all be safer.

Remove the word accident from your vocabulary and you'll be amazed at how differently you begin to look at things.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Do Team Sports Make You a Better Defensive Shooter?

This is something I've been thinking about for a while now: would athletes who engage in fast-paced team sports make better defensive shooters? (My definitions of fast-paced does not include baseball or cricket; I'm talking hockey, soccer, rugby.  You know, fast-hard hitting sports.)

My belief is yes, they would be better defensive shooters.

As a general rule, we shooters are a lonely lot.  We might go to the range as a group, and competitions are chock-full of people all carrying guns, but it's really an individual thing we do. (LEOs and military, are the exceptions, as they are taught to shoot as part of a team, but each still has his/her own individual job to do within that team.)

Defensive shooters talk about situational awareness and quick, decisive decision-making ad nauseam.  We talk about disrupting the OODA loop in attackers; we talk about body language and tactics.  All of these things are things that athletes in fast-paced sports do.

Let's look at some of the things athletes and defensive shooters have in common:

Situational awareness: At all times, the athlete must know where his/her teammates are and what they are doing.  They must also know, at all times, where their opponents are and what they are doing. They must be able to anticipate not only what their teammates are planning, but what the opponents are planning.  Is this not exactly what we preach?  Additionally, doesn't it also stand to reason that athletes are able to break free (or should be able to) of tunnel vision?

Quick, decisive decision-making: The athlete, in order to "win", must make split-second decisions based on the opponents' body language.  Is the opponent going to attack or is it a bluff?  These are skills defensive shooters need to hone as well.

Honest assessment of skills:  In addition to the decision-making required, the athlete must make an honest assessment of his skills.  Are his skills equal or better than his opponent's? Has his training been enough?

Being hurt does not mean you're out of the fight:  Athletes play hurt.  In my past life as an athletic trainer, I saw athletes play on injuries that would have the average person laid up in bed.  Just because you took a soccer ball to the face at thirty miles an hour doesn't mean you're not going to complete your play.  I've seen athletes blow out their knees or ankles and still struggle to get back up and re-engage.  As an instructor, I tell my students that just because they're hurt doesn't mean they're beat, which leads us to ...

Fight to the death attitude: It's easy to pick out which sports team is going to lose on TV.  It boils down to one thing: the will to win.  Even if a team is losing, I have a whole lot of respect for them if they continue to fight to the end. The fact of the matter is, sometimes you're going to lose.  It's how you lose that matters. 

From a personal standpoint, even if my situational awareness sucks one day and I'm unable to make quick, decisive decisions, and I'm woefully unprepared, by God, I'm not going down without a fight.  Even if I "lose" and die, I'm not going without a fight to the death.  The bastard who I'm up against won't have an easy time of it, and I'll be sure to gather plenty of DNA evidence against him.

Anecdotally, I can say that when I was playing on five different soccer teams a week, I was at my peak as a shooter.  A great deal of that came from being fit, but the mental aspects played a big part as well.

I know many defensive shooters are deeply involved in all aspects of self-defense, and do a lot of additional training in various areas, most of which are focused on the individual.  Do you think playing team sports has merit with regard training for personal defense? 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

It's Been A While

I've been absent from The GunDivas for a while due to selling our house and the resulting move. Now that life has slowed down from warp speed to something more or less sane, I've had some time and opportunity to play again.

First, guess who has a ticket to the First Annual Texas International Firearms Festival? Yep. This guy. My best friend turned me onto it via FaceBook. He and I will both be there Sunday, November 9. Look for a report and photos to follow. Holler if you see me.

Second, Groupon appears to have quietly reinstated deals for firearms as I landed claws on a gun range outing including lane rental, unlimited use of rental guns and one box of ammo for $35. I took the free time afforded by being semi-homeless to indulge my curiosity on the shooting qualities of certain guns.

First up, the Gen 4 Glock 21.

Glock G21 Gen 4
Prior to this range outing, I have not spent any time looking closely at the Gen 4 Glocks. I have handled a few at gun stores and have come away generally ambivalent about the changes between the Gen 3s and the Gen 4s. I have read many opinions about the Gen 4 grip texture. My brief handlings at stores left me with the impression that I could see how others would hate it while not giving me passionate feelings one way or the other. I will say that my preference is still for the smoother Gen 3 texture on a purely aesthetic level; however, having handled and shot one on the range now, I can see the benefits of the Gen 4 grip texture. I had no troubles with the grip texture being too rough for my hands as has been reported by others. I see this as one of those "too each their own" issues. Try them both side by side. Pick the one that works best for you.

The recoil on the G21 shooting pretty standard 230 gr. Federal FMJ ammunition was very manageable. There is more muzzle flip than with a G19 or G17 in 9mm, but it's neither horrendous nor hazardous. Ditto for felt recoil. My biggest gripe is that my thumb likes to ride the slide release which resulted in the slide failing to lock back on the last shot unless I made a conscious effort to keep my thumb off or below it.

Accuracy was decent for a combat handgun considering I was out of practice and not used to the gun.

G21 at 7 Yards 10 rounds (I think) Left Eye Closed

G21 at 7 Yards 5 rounds Both Eyes Open
The lone round in the 6 ring on the first target was a flyer. No excuse. Probably was just not paying attention to what I was doing. I mention the left eye closed vs. both eyes open because my eyesight has turned to pure fertilizer over the last few years (I'm farsighted, and my near vision is to the point that I have to concentrate real hard on anything inside arms length with no guarantee that I can see it then) and focusing on the front sight is a challenge. I thought it might be useful to see if a second eye would help my results. Inconclusive.

G21 15 Yards 5 Rounds

G21 15 Yards 10 Rounds
Not much to say about the 15 yard targets. I think I could get that grouping a little tighter with more practice and standard three dot sights, but I'm not unhappy with that result even with the Glock "dot in a bucket" sight system.

Bottom line: I'd carry it.

Next up: Sig P226 9mm.

I didn't spend very long with the Sig. Long enough to remember why I don't like the SA/DA triggers. The Sig is well made and smooth. I just can't get the hang of the trigger on it for the life of me.

So, the Sig got swapped out for a Glock 17 Gen 4 in 9mm. I've shot a G19 several times and thought I'd see if the extra barrel length did anything for me.

G17 7 Yards 10 Rounds
Again, I may be out of practice, but I won't complain about that group even though I'm pretty sure I should be able to put all 10 inside the small, scoring chart silhouette at 7 yards (and have done so with both G22s and G19s).

In conclusion, I had a good time. 50 rounds of .45 ACP and 50 rounds of 9mm through three different guns made for an enjoyable evening after work. Groupon is cool to be offering these deals again. The P226 is a good gun...just not for me. A Glock is a Glock is a Glock.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Review: Australian Outback Ammunition

During SHOT Show 2014 I came across a new brand of ammunition, at least new to me.  This brand is Australian Outback. (Australian Outback Ammunition)  This is the commercial line for Australian Defense Industries.  Currently they are importing .308 Winchester, .223 Remington and .300 AAC Blackout ammunition.

I purchased several boxes of their .308 and .223 ammunition for testing.  I chose the 168 grain .308 and the 69 grain .223 ammunition.  Both calibers are using Sierra MatchKing bullets.  This is very good for you the shooter.  Sierra is known for manufacturing high quality bullets for the commercial manufacturers and the reloading community.  (Sierra Bullets) 

So far I am amazed with the results of this ammunition.  The accuracy and repeatability are amazing.  First I will start with the .223.  First shots I was able to obtain sub-inch groups with 3 holes overlapping.  This compares favorably with BlackHills ammunition, (BlackHills Ammunition) which has a reputation for high quality and accuracy. BlackHills also uses the 69 grain Sierra MatchKing bullet. 
Both brands were fired out of an AR15, 16 inch barrel with a 1:8 twist. 

The .308 also gave me favorable results.  First 3 shots out of the box was a sub-inch group of .6 inches.  The groups later opened up to .8 as the barrel heated up

All groups were fired from a Remington 700 SPS with a standard hunting weight barrel.

Now the .308 results get even better.  After I took these initial shots, I took a long range class using Australian Outback ammunition and I achieved even smaller groups at 100 yards.  (No pictures available as of this posting)  Overlapping holes were routine.  (These results are from a Remington 700 LTR with heavy target barrel)  And as part of the class we needed to chronograph our ammunition to perform the calculations.  The results are as follows:

  • 1.    2663
  • 2.    2672
  • 3.    2669
  • 4.    2668
  • 5.    2666

Average = 2667

These are numbers that most hand loaders would be envious of.  It is only a sample of 5 shots, but I have never seen factory ammunition this consistent ever.  Even my instructors were impressed with Australian Outback ammunition. 

Now for the bad news.  This is match grade ammunition and it comes with match grade pricing. 

Prices I paid are:  
.223 Remington - $19.95 per box of 20
.308 Winchester - $29.95 per box of 20.

The other bad news is I have not found a local store that carries it.  I have to order online.  This makes buying onesie-twosie boxes very expensive when you include shipping.  Luckily for me, I knew I was taking the longrange class and needed 200 rounds of .308.  I was able to offset shipping with a large order.

One place online I can buy this brand is

In conclusion, do not overlook Australian Outback ammunition.  I have achieved excellent results so far.  I will continue to buy this brand.  It is expensive but I think the results justify the cost.  

By: Mez

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Tips & Tactics - Situation Dry Fire Practice

Tips & Tactics Sponsored by Cabela's Outdoor Fund
Tatiana Whitlock on Personal Protection: Situational Dry Fire Practice

We are so excited to introduce our newest Tips & Tactics instructor: Tatiana Whitlock! Tatiana is a Refuse to Be a Victim® and NRA-certified basic pistol instructor, trained range safety officer, Krav Maga student and self-defense expert. In her first Tips &Tactics episode, Tatiana explains the importance of dry fire practice in preparing for self-defense situations. Remember: always check to make sure your gun is unloaded before dry firing!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

R.I.H. (Rest in Hell)

Many of you know, I learned to shoot from someone who ended up becoming my stalker.

We had worked together for a couple of years, became friends, and then more-than-friends, and then hunted/hunter (as my children put it).

The stalking occurred for a couple of years, and ended when I threatened to kill him with one of the guns he bought me.  I didn't draw down on him, but when he showed up at my door one night like nothing had ever happened, I told him to get lost and the next time he showed up, I'd kill him without a second thought.

I meant it and he knew it.

It was the first time I realized that I could, in fact, take someone's life.  Before that, I thought I could if the danger was great enough, but when he showed up I knew I could.

Years of looking over my shoulder, of tires being slashed, of lies being told, and vague threats being made had me fed up.  I even had to interact with the FBI at one point because he was arrested on a weapons charge in another state and they called me a couple of times during their investigation.  I was done.  My kids didn't deserve feeling like they were being hunted.  It's one thing to make me uncomfortable and unsure of my safety, but to make my kids feel hunted?  Oh hell no.

Over the years, I knew when he was nearby, but he was careful not to be seen or to directly harass me, but I'd developed a sixth sense that I trusted. (Thank you Gavin deBecker!)

I haven't thought of him in a couple of years - he was gone and I was glad to have that behind me.  I was still vigilant about safety, I still kept an eye out, but after a year, then two of not "feeling" him around, I was feeling more comfortable.

Writing and publishing HUNTED LYON was very cathartic, so I credited some of my peace with exorcising the demon, so to speak.

A couple of weeks ago, my sister Nebalee and I were talking on the phone and she asked if I ever Googled him.  Not in years, honestly.  I didn't see any reason to if I didn't think he was around.  She cajoled me into looking him up.

There's a very good reason I hadn't felt him around for the last couple of years.

Bastard died August 9, 2011.

I really don't feel anything about it, other than the bastard got what he deserved.  It appears that he died alone in life and no one claimed him, from one of the obituaries I read.  I passed the news onto the kids and their sentiment was the same.  I spent a day or two worrying that maybe I was being too callous about someone's death and that maybe somehow I'd screwed my children up, too.

Then I realized, I didn't do that to my children, he did.

R.I.H. William F. Yeck

Monday, June 2, 2014

Gun Links

This post will be a simple list of links to websites about guns.  Sites I think are interesting and provide useful information.
This list is not an exhaustive list, but is a good start.

1.  Colion Noir - Youtube video blogger.  Reviews, information and some politics.

2. NRA Sharp magazine - Informational lifestyle magazine catering to gun owners.

3. Billy Johnson - Amidst the Noise - Youtube video blogger.  Politics and logic of guns.  Very well done and worth the time to review his videos.

4. NRA News - The NRA (National Rifle Association) Youtube channel.

By: Mez

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Defensive Pistol with the Glock 42

Last week was the monthly Defensive Pistol match at our local range.  I thought it would be a good way to break in the Glock.  I know it's a little crazy to take a BUG to a full-on match.  Usually, we have a BUG side-match that is specially designed for mouse guns, but what fun is that?  Anyone can shoot one stage with a baby gun.

I've stated it before: I use the Defensive Pistol matches as practice time.  You just can't get the same type of practice standing at a line taking all of the time you want to take your shots.  Most ranges won't let you shoot and move, or shoot from unconventional positions.  I know some ranges that won't even let you draw from a holster.

It's a good thing that I use the matches as practice and don't worry too much about my time, because otherwise I'd be really sad that I came in dead last. :)

Mez was kind enough to bring his mouse gun to shoot the match with, too.  He's obviously got a lot more time on his gun than I do and does amazing things with his little Sig P238.

The first stage we shot was 48 rounds if you shot it clean.  I did not shoot it clean and had to have Mez follow me to reload my mags.  As a general rule, having five magazine is plenty, but in my case, five magazines only gave me 30 rounds (31 if I "cheated" and loaded one in the pipe, which I totally did).

Let's just say I got lots of mag change practice on that stage.

Overall, I'm very happy with the Glock.  It ran very well, with just a couple of exceptions.  I had some double feed issues.  Being a Glock, it was easy to take to the safe table, strip it down, clean it, and put it back together.  I'm not entirely sure that it was a dirty gun issue.  It could have been a cheap Russian ammo issue as well.  I started the day shooting Federal and didn't have a problem, but quickly ran out (remember the first stage?) and had to borrow some ammo.  I didn't have any problems with the Federal, but the gun was clean then, too.  So it could have been a one, both, or either problem.

200+ rounds downrange with just a couple of hiccups.  I'm happy.  I need to run a few hundred more rounds through it, of course, but it feels great in my hand and, hey, I cleared the Texas Star with it!

To be fair, I should mention that Mez also cleared the Texas Star with his even smaller mouse gun.  The Sig isn't much smaller than the Glock, but it is smaller.