The More you Bleed in Training…

…the rustier your guns get.

“Oh the pain, the horrible pain!”

I was breaking in the new Glock 34 during my usual Thursday night live-fire practice at the NRA Range.  I spent a fair amount of time doing concealed draws at 7 yards, and during one of my runs I managed to slice my finger open on the razor-like Warren Tactical rear sight.

I also worked on the emergency reload for a bit, and noticed a possible hitch. Four times during the practice, the slide failed to go into battery.

Glock Perfection

Weird, huh? This happened with a few different magazines, so I’m wondering if I might need to replace my magazine springs. I’ve also seen this kind of stoppage with longer-than-spec ammo, so I should probably check the loading press over.

Other than that, I have some high hopes for this particular Glock.  It has one of the better out-of-the-box triggers I’ve felt on a Glock, and I’m holding consistent 3″ groups offhand with it (five shots at 25 yards.)  I’ll be wringing it out more thoroughly over the next few weeks.

BATFE Releases Study on the “Importability of Sporting Shotguns”

Over at his blog, Michael Bane has posted up his initial reaction the BATFE’s study on the importability of certain shotguns.

There were rumors about this flying around at SHOT, though the reps there refused to comment on it at all. Most of the rumors were centered around whether they would allow Saiga shotguns to be imported, or possibly the legality of the Taurus Raging Judge.

Well, it turns out that the rumors were more or less true with regard to semi-auto shotgun, primarily the Saiga, though ATF basically takes a screaming leap from the supposed sporting suitability of box magazine-fed shotguns and straight into tube-fed magazine land.

In a specific bout of stupidity, they make the following statement on page 15:

In regard to sporting purposes, the working group found no appreciable difference between integral tube magazines and removable box magazines. Each type allowed for rapid loading, reloading, and firing of ammunition. For example, “speed loaders” are available for shotguns with tube-type magazines. These speed loaders are designed to be preloaded with shotgun shells and can reload a shotgun with a tube-type magazine in less time than it takes to change a detachable magazine.

So, basically, all shotguns with magazine tubes are the same thing as a Saiga with a 25-round drum because open-division shooters use tech loaders to execute fast reloads. Never mind that use of these reloading systems takes a lot of practice, just the right technique, and if you screw it up in the least, you end up squirting shells everywhere but into the gun itself. Also, such setups are so rare outside of the world of Open Division 3-Gun, that I have yet to see them used anywhere else at all.

To quote a friend of mine:

That’s like classifying a mini van as a sports car because The Stig can flog it around the track faster than Grandma can make it in a 911.

Then, near the conclusion of the study is this particular gem:

The USPSA currently reports approximately 19,000 members that participate in shooting events throughout the United States.32 While USPSA’s reported membership is within the range of members for some other shotgun shooting organizations,33 organizations involved in shotgun hunting of particular game such as ducks, pheasants and quail indicate significantly more members than any of the target shooting organizations.34 Because a determination on the sporting purpose of practical shooting events should be made only after an in-depth study of those events, the working group determined that it was not appropriate to use this shotgun study to make a definitive conclusion as to whether practical shooting events are “sporting” for purposes of section 925(d)(3). Any such study must include rifles, shotguns and handguns
because practical shooting events use all of these firearms, and a change in position by ATF on practical shooting or “police/combat-type” competitions may have an impact on the sporting suitability of rifles and handguns. Further, while it is clear that shotguns are used at certain practical shooting events, it is unclear whether shotgun use is so prevalent that it is “generally recognized” as a sporting purpose. If shotgun use is not sufficiently popular at such events, practical shooting would have no effect on any sporting suitability determination of shotguns.

Therefore, it would be impractical to make a determination based upon one component or aspect of the practical shooting competitions.

Despite the obvious presence of winners, losers, time limits, spectators, trophies, brightly-colored jerseys emblazoned with sponsorship logos, thousands of competitors, and national TV coverage, BATFE isn’t actually sure if 3-Gun is a sport. That’s the sort of insipid mouth-breathing bureaucratic stupidity you could only find this side of ten DMVs.

Then they go and drop this:

As a result, the working group based the following sporting suitability criteria on the traditional sports of hunting, trap and skeet target shooting.

In other words, a sport isn’t a sport unless it conforms to the notions of what a shotgun game is circa 1843.

I haven’t finished reading the whole thing, but there generally seems to be a lot of unpleasantness for pretty much anyone interested in shotguns that incorporate any sort of technological advancement made in the last 70 years or so.

Admittedly, this post focuses primarily on BATFE’s opinion of what constitutes a sport. However, Michael Bane really cuts to the heart of the matter in his post when he stated this:

The big issue here isn’t whether ATF recognizes practical shooting as “legitimate” sports…the issue is that the “sporting purposes” clause itself is BS from the ground up.

Four paragraphs of ranting on my side, and he cuts the whole thing down to size with one sentence.

On the bright side of things, this is just a study with a policy recommendation at the end, and, as I understand it, doesn’t carry the weight of law or regulation with it.

Yet.

July Tidewater 3-Gun AAR

Yesterday I wandered down to the furthest reaches of Southern VA to visit the folks, and shoot the monthly Tidewater 3-Gun match.

The Tidewater 3-Gun is held on the sprawling U.S. Training Center facility (formerly known as Blackwater, formerly known as Xe, or whatever…), so the Tidewater folks have all the resources they need to put on a smokin’ match.  As usual, they didn’t disappoint.

My own shooting, not so much.  Although my shotgun and pistol game were dead on, my rifle had inexplicably shifted it’s zero about 3MOA towards 8:00.  To add insult to injury, I had planned on going out to the range Saturday to shoot the rifle, but passed on it due to rain.  Sigh.  Lessons learned.

We had four good stages, 2 pistol/rifle (including a very cool mid-range stage on the USTC 1000-yard range) and 2 multigun.  As usual, the kind folks at USTC provided lots of props for our entertainment.  Hitting a flash target at 175 yards doesn’t sound too hard, until you have to hit it offhand through the window of a junked car…

Anyhow, I managed to scrape out like 5th or 6th place.  The always-dangerous Robb J. picked up the top spot, no surprise there.  Congrats, Robb!

Next match will be August 8th or therebouts.  Be there!

Not All Defensive Trainers are Equal

Matthew Temkin has been posting in various online forums for years, touting his point shooting “technique” for defensive pistol work. For those of you who’ve been lucky enough to participate in the online gun world for any length of time without coming across Matthew Temkin and his constant droning on about how point shooting is the best defensive pistol technique EVAR, consider yourself lucky.

Well, it seems that the folks at Paladin Press saw merit profit opportunities in producing a video based on Matthew’s “shooting techniques.”

Behold:

Frankly, I’m embarrassed for the poor guy. For years, he’s touted his point-shooting technique as the bee’s knees in defensive shooting, much to the incredulity of those who’ve spent time training with various military organizations and legitimate defensive trainers like Pat Rogers, Louis Awerbuck or Rob Pincus. And now that we have video of his shooting, the only thing I can say is that Matthew Temkin is abysmally bad with a handgun.

To put this in perspective, according to USPSA, I’m ranked as a C-level shooter with a 56.88%. (To make B-level, I’d have to score 60% or better as an average across a number of classifiers.)

So, based on that, you know I’m not any sort of Grand Master or anything. My ranking is fairly run-of-the-mill. And yet, given that, it’s blazing clear that Temkin wouldn’t even be able to hang with a C-ranked shooter. Watching the video, it’s clear that his splits for double-taps and rapid firing are quite slow and methodical. He fails to maintain a proper grip or arm position to maximize recoil control (especially important when quickly firing a pistol with only one hand), and his transitions between multiple targets are glacially slow.

Ok, I hear you saying “yeah, but defensive shooting and competition are two completely different things, and what works in a match may not work when you’re jumped in an alley at 3am.”

There is, of course, truth to that, and admittedly my shooting background is steeped more in the world of competitive shooting rather than defensive tactics. But that said, even as someone who’s not attended defensive classes, it strikes me as a bad idea to approach an assailant while defending yourself. After all, the primary advantage to using a pistol for self-defense is that it gives you the ability to defend yourself at a distance. Other than Temkin, I’m not sure that I’ve seen any other defensive instructor advocate charging your assailant. The bulk of the information that’s out there generally advocates doing everything in your power to put distance between yourself and your attacker as quickly as possible. Charging a single assailant is stupid. Charging multiple assailants is lunacy.

If you’re considering picking up material or attending a class on defending yourself with a firearm, pay attention to who the author is and what their background and general reputation is. There’s a wealth of good information out there, and many excellent trainers who offer classes you can travel to, or if you’re limited in travel, many of them will be happy to come to your range to conduct a class. Seek out good training, and avoid the wannabes.

Internet Stupidity = Blog Fodder

A recent thread at THR started out as a discussion about finding and purchasing reliable forty round AR-15 magazines. It wasn’t long, of course, before a debate broke out over whether such long magazines are the least bit practical.

Yours truly chimed in to point out that, yes, there are a couple of companies that make reliable 40-round magazines (I’ve had great luck with the 42-round Supermag from Tripp Research), and that there are times when higher-than-average capacity magazines can come in handy, generally on rifle-based hoser stages.

Not long after my post, someone chimed in with this particular gem:

Ahhhh, yes, the same gamesmanship that brought us 30″ shotgun barrels with tube mags to match on supposed defensive shotguns. I think they should require a prone stage with distant targets at EVERY rifle 3-gun, and we’ll see how popular those 40+ ers suddenly become.

Now, the thing that’s particularly funny about this commentator’s attempt to bag on competitive shooting is how just utterly ill-informed it is about practical shooting matches in the first place.

I’ve yet to attend a regional or national-level match that doesn’t have rifle targets out to at least 300 yards, and local matches that have targets to at least 200 yards. I’m assistant match director for a local, monthly tactical rifle match and our steel targets are always at distances of between 200-425 yards, with paper targets located at between contact distance to fifty or so yards.

Of course this is all generally common knowledge to anyone who’s attended a match or two, even just to watch. On top of this, nowhere in my post did I advocate the usage of 40+ round magazines as the be-all and end-all for three-gunning.

When attending a match, my range bag will generally contain an assortment of rifle magazines in capacities from 20 rounds up to 50 rounds. This offers a large degree of flexibility, allowing me to pick the most effective magazine for a given stage. That said, even at times when using a large magazine would seem to be a hindrance, this isn’t necessarily so.

Dyed-in-the-wool members of the Chairborne Rangers will claim that longer magazines are difficult to use when shooting prone, but this isn’t necessarily the case. As the following picture and video demonstrates, what one person thinks can’t be done often times can. One of the reasons for competitive shooting is that it offers the ability to try out gear or techniques for yourself. If they work, then stick with them, if not, discard them and move to something else.

The author engaging targets from a prone position with an unusually long magazine.
From Tactical Rifle Match 09/09


The author, who runs like a galoot, using a 40 round magazine in various field positions to engage targets to distances of 300 yards.

Hey, Have You Guys Seen This Poll from USA Today?

This Is A Public Service Announcement From The Way of the Multigun

For some reason, among the online gun culture, an informal online poll that USA Today posted in 2007 has gone viral. And much like a viral infection of the unmentionable social sort, it keeps. popping. up. I don’t know how many times I’ve closed threads at THR where well-meaning but misguided people continue to post links to it in an attempt to skew the results to show “them” that “…the Second Amendment give(s) individuals the right to bear arms” but it has gotten tiresome.

So, for the love of God, pretty girls, cute puppies, and annoyed forum moderators, if you get a link in your email asking you to vote in a USA Today poll about the second amendment, please don’t just pass it on like a credulous moron.

Something I forgot, linking to this poll has been scientifically proven to cause ED.

Never figured I could type while wearing a straight jacket...

Arrrgh…

The evil extractor pin on my #1 Smith and Wesson M&P9 finally screwed me over good.  While replacing the extractor, I managed to break the pin off, half in and half out of the slide.  An overnight soak in Kroil did nothing to loosen the broken pin, so it looks like I’m going to have to drill it out.

Fortunately, I have M&P9 #2 to keep me going in the meantime.  It’s almost identical – sights, trigger, grip, recoil springs, everything but the stippling pattern on the frame.

Thus the lesson – any weapon system you’re going to run hard, you need to have an identical backup copy.  Don’t let a broken part take you out of the game.

The “Israeli” Draw

I’ve been seeing a resurgence of interest in the so-called “Israeli” draw; that is, in carrying one’s defensive pistol with an empty chamber, and cocking it during the drawstroke.

Please do not do this. There is no good reason to carry a pistol with an empty chamber, and many good reasons to carry your pistol loaded. If you’re afraid that your gun will go off in the holster, get a different gun, a different holster, or get educated about how your gun works. If you’re afraid of accidental discharges, get some professional instruction. If you think the Israelis are all cool and badass and you want to carry like the Sayeret Matkal do, get a life.

That is all.