Wednesday, August 26, 2015

When We Chum For Monsters...

…why are we surprised when they rise to the bait?

When we give the monster everything it wants, even in death, why are we surprised when even more monsters surface to take the bait?

When we refuse to learn and continue to embrace not our ignorance, but our purience, the lust of the voyeur, why are we puzzled about the emergence of those who would feed that lust?

Just a few thoughts on yet another angry man...

Getting Ready for Noveske...

…well, not really. Cleaned my Versa Max yesterday, rounded up choke tubes, shotgunny stuff like that. I was thinking of changing my rifle for the match, but yesterday I was talking to my friend and IDPA champion Tom Yost. who said, and I quote, "Good Lord, Michael! Have you lost your mind?" Scales lift from my eyes! Tom's right…I'm sticking with the Daniel Defense/Burris MTAC set-up I've been shooting for the last 2 seasons. On the handgun side, it'll be the STI Marauder 9mm, which has been just a super gun to shoot.

I know I said I was going to shoot Open, but I never could sustain a happy relationship with my Glock 34, the gun I was going to dot up. When I shot the Glock well, I shot it very well. But under match pressure I couldn't to "re-educate" my grip so that I didn't drag the slide enough to make the gun stumble. Totally me, not the Glock. I suppose I should have tried a shock collar.

I'm going to shooting a G19 w/RMR for the next couple of months, so I plan to revisit the whole Glock Open issue again.

Not such great news on Ye Olde Knee…I went to my orthopedist yesterday, who diagnosed a tear in the outer meniscus. Next week I'll get an MRI to see if they need to do arthroscopic surgery and duct tape it back together, although my orthopedist thought that would be pretty much necessary. Thanks to the greatly flawed miracle of cortisone and a nice, no doubt extremely hot, knee brace, I should be able to get through the match this weekend without ending up on the ground, flopping like beached catfish. I will definitely, however, be in the running for last place!

Monday, August 24, 2015

God, I Hate Monday!

Got the podcast done, of course. It was easy, since it was a busy week. Then I took a break to disassemble my 3-Gun Versa Max and clean most of the crap out of it. Here's a Mr. Stupid point…at the last match I wondered my shotgun seemed a little off…when I pulled the choke, surprise, I'd replaced the "skeet" with a tighter "modified." I can't for the life of me remembered why I went to a "modified" choke, except that I did it at the last Crimson Trace Midnight 3-Gun. I'm back to "improved," maybe "skeet." Pay more attention, Michael! Details…details…details!

The Noveske Multigun match is next weekend. Tomorrow, I have a heart-to-heart with my orthopedist, which will probably include injections into my knees. Yeechy-poo! By Thursday I'll have all my guns cleaned (more or less), dialed in and ready for the match.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Duck and Cover!

Ah yes, it must be Saturday:
Animal rights activist beaten with duck in Spain 
Madrid (AFP) - An animal rights activist was beaten with a duck by a Spanish woman defending one of the country's most bizarre and controversial festival traditions. 
The man was whacked with the bird while he filmed the annual "duck chase" in the Catalonian seaside town of Roses, where every August ducks are thrown into the Mediterranean and then caught and brought back to the shore by swimmers.
Sort of like running with the bulls, but not. Maybe it's because it's early yet, but for the life of me I can't figure out a witty lyric from "Mf Fair Lady" that incorporates "ducks." 

"The ducks in Spain stay mainly on the brain…"

You see my point. It's just not working. Or, "By George! He don't got it!"

Not to scale…LOL!

I note that a main battle tank with operational cannon is for sale:
We are selling our Cheiftain MK 6, main battle tank with 120mm gun. 
This armored tank is fully functional. The 2 engines both run great and have low hours on them. It comes with a NEW backup main engine. The turret is fully operational and the stablization system works; it is controlled via a joystick. The main gun is registered as a Destructive Device with the ATF and comes with 10 projectiles. More projectiles are available. The barrel is in excellent condition and has never been molested. It has a factory laser range finder. Also included is the hydrolic mine plow and infrared spotlight. The intercom system works as does the NBC filtration.
Okay, let's be honest…if you're reading this blog you can close your eyes and imagine how cool that tank would look on your lawn. Of course, you can also imagine being divorced and forced use the tank as a very dangerous motor home. Imagine rolling up into the Egret Acres Motor Park and Landfill in your very own battle tank RV. You pull up to your spot, plug in the power, open the top hatch, pop up the satellite dish, set the hibachi on the turret, rotate the cannon toward the old Winnebago full of dudes playing Kid Rock at mind-numbing volumes and say, "You have 30 seconds to turn down the music!" It'd almost be worth the divorce! I envision my very own battle tank with a snowplow blade and a backhoe attachment, so not only could I plow a road, I could build a road! I think I would paint it blue, with a contrasting red digicam turret.

You will notice I am not at a 3-Gun match this AM as planned. I decided to give me knee one more week (and a shot of cortisone next week) before the big Noveske 2-day match. Besides, I have to assemble a pizza oven, which is proving more complicated than cold fusion.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Meanwhile, Back At the Internet Corral

Yeah, I've been pretty busy…no big deal. Been trying to keep up with social media, mostly FaceBook, but when you're spending a day sitting in froth of the computer, sitting in front of the computer some more loses a lot of its appeal.

I have noted an interesting series of posts boiling up in Ye Old Gun World regarding this incident in West Philly where a concealed carry holder was relieved of his gun and had it used against him. Lots and lots and lots of words have been poured out by people with a lot of knowledge…I suggest you read  of the analyses and draw your own points.

On THE BEST DEFENSE we have developed over the years a set of "doctrine points" for lack of better words that we are constantly testing and resetting in simulation and as compared to Real World incidences. We believe that doctrine much be constantly challenged…this is important to us because we produce television programming that our viewers, if they ever use it, it will be at the worst moment of their lives. That responsibility weights on all of us.

So what points of that doctrine applies here?

• A failure of situation awareness is the foundation for disaster. Can you maintain full situational awareness all the time? Of course not…this is a point I deal with extensively in TRAIL SAFE. The "point man" burns out quickly. Everyone can — and will — be surprised; however, and this is a really big however, our goal should to to minimize those surprises. The Cooper color code has, at least in some circles, fallen into disrepute, but I believe it remains an amazingly useful tool for training people how to think.

Without going into a long dissertation, if we accept that we can maintain 100% awareness all the time, then we need to train ourselves to raise and lower our awareness level depending on where we are, how we are, etc. Cane we still get surprised? Sure, but we will be surprised a lot less than someone who spends their life in Condition White, gun or not. Your goal is to internalize when you need to move to DefCon 1, then strive to accomplish that every single time.

• On a more micro scale, as opposed to the macro response above, letting strangers close with you, especially within "intimate" distances, is in these grim times potential  suicide. Realistically, can you stop every incidence of having your personal space invaded? Of course not…but you'd be surprised at how many such incidences you can avoid. When I first began hanging out with Special Forces guys back in the early 1980s, I got crash lessons in positioning one's self in a room, how to stand in a line, where you need to be in a crowd, how to challenge someone who is closing with with ("Can I help you?' "Do you need something from me?" "Excuse me, but I'm standing here." Or what I came to think of as "the dance," the simple steps to keep moving away from anyone who is moving toward you in a non-threatening way (if it's a threatening way, that's a different set of responses)…all part of the day-to-day reality of being armed all the time.

• Time to go back and read Col. Cooper's PRINCIPLES OF PERSONAL DEFENSE, specifically Principle 2, Decisiveness:
When "the ball is opened"-when it becomes evident that you are faced with violent physical assault-your life depends upon your selecting a correct course of action and carrying it through without hesitation or deviation. There can be no shilly-shallying. There is not time. To ponder is quite possibly to perish.
Any of this starting to look familiar from THE BEST DEFENSE? Col. Cooper notes that the specific course of action within certain parameters is actually secondary to the vigor with which that action is taken (which leads to Principle 3, BTW, Aggressiveness). When you're in the soup, you're in the soup...this is not a time to say, "Huh??? I wonder what I should do?" When you put on the gun, you must have already worked through this decision tree!

Another point I covered in TRAIL SAFE that has seen great use in THE BEST DEFENSE is the concept of "lag time," the time between the initiation of the event and your response to it. In a match you my think that you draw your gun the very millisecond the buzzer goes off, but you don't. There is always lag time, some of it physically built into your nervous system.

In high-risk sports we were fond of saying that lag time decided who lived and who died...the longer it takes for you to initiate your response to an unfolding event, the less likely it is that your response works. Why? Because unfolding events are fluid; they are changing even as you respond to them. Your initial response is, therefore, to the initial event that has already changed.

An example — in a cave dive in Florida I once smacked my regulator against the rock wall of the cave. The regulator busted and started "free-flowing," venting air. Hammmmmm...what to do what to do what to do? Think of how much air I would have lost if I had been thinking that way...the event is on-going. The broken regular continues to spew air, air that I might need to get out of the cave. Instead, I did what I trained to do —shut off the air flowing to broken regulator from tank A, change the manifold over to tank B, access the spare regulator attached to tank B ( remember "2 is 1; 1 is none?").

• Which brings us to training, specifically in combatives. Here's an interesting point I've mentioned on the podcast — the most criticism I ever get on THE BEST DEFENSE is about our decision to routinely show combatives, e.g. empty hand, stick, knife, even using the gun as a striking weapon. I have received a lot of email/personal responses that essentially boil down to, "I'm carrying a gun; that's what I'm going to use to solve the problem."

The problem with that statement is there is often more than one "problem" in a violent attack. My thinking on this came from the earliest days of SHOOTING GALLERY when we begin filming defense against violent attacks in what we termed "the hot zone," inside of an arms" reach. In talking to masters like Ralph Mroz and, of course, Michael Janich, it quickly became apparent that there was not a simple "draw gun; go bang" solution. There were, at the very least, 2 problems — stop the initial attack; access the primary weapon.

As we've moved from SG into THE BEST DEFENSE, we demonstrate the multiple level of problems (stop attack; retain gun; access primary weapon).

It's easy to Monday morning quarterback an event...I say this as someone who done such on quite literally hundreds of events. Interestingly enough, each one brings me back to the importance of understanding my own state of awareness. I have drills that I wrote about in TRAIL SAFE, and I pretty routinely run those drills myself. 

Maybe the most important is the one I was taught by some SAS dudes back in the day and reinforced by great trainers over the years...pick a moment then stop and completely access your surroundings...what is your own mental threat level at that moment; that is, what's your level of attention? Be brutally honest here? If you're texting or on the phone, your level of attention is plus-or-minus zero. Who and where are your greatest potential threats? Where is cover/concealment? Where is your exit? Have you positioned yourself in such a way that you're vulnerable to the threats around you? Is there a better position, and how long would it take you to move to that position? Where is your primary weapon in relation to the greatest potential threat (can your greatest potential threat see your primary/secondary weapon)? Can you access your primary weapon? Is your primary weapon exposed to a threat?

Something to think about...

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Another One of Those Weeks Week

Is it Tuesday? It seems like Monday of next week. But it's cool tonight, which is cool after a long hot streak.

BTW, DS Arms is having a summer sale of a bunch of their trade show FALs and ARs, including this beauty:

You know I'd buy that in a heartbeat if I didn't already have a great FAL! There are some killer deals there, so check it out. The FAL remains a great MBR…the new generation of AR-10 platform guns have eclipsed the old warhorse, but that hardly negates the FAL's sterling qualities.

You should also read this NYT article on a "Clash of Cultures" about shooting on public land. Obama's progressive jihadists have long wanted to shut down all public lands to shooting, and they're getting closer and closer. The standard tactic is to "emergency" close the most popular shooting areas, forcing shooters into the larger — and often less safe — forest areas. We've seen that happen repeatedly in Colorado.

Secondly, the various public entities, be it BLM of the U.S. Forest Service, virtually never enforce the laws already on the books. In fact, U.S. Forest Service officials admitted to me that they don't enforce the laws because of a string of excuses, beginning with insufficient manpower and going from there. I told officials from USFS the their policy of emergency closures of "traditional" shooting areas would eventually get someone killed, and when it did the blood was on their hands.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Ruger Redhawk .45 Colt/.45 ACP and Hammerheads

Went to the range to site in one of my older ARs that I'm thinking about using for the remainder of the 3-Gun season...more about which later...but I figured that since I was at the range, I should put some of the Garrett Hammerheads through the Ruger Redhawk dual .45s.

The holster's from Diamond D Custom Leather, their Guide's Choice holster.

I shot a group with the first 4 rounds, then flinched the other 2 out. Yes, as a matter of fact a 365-gr bullet in a 4.2 inch barrel has a bit 'o de ole recoil — note thumb below — but I have shot worse...much worse!

Be a heck of a back-up gun/round for dangerous game country. After, of course, you try harsh language!

BTW, when I have carried bear spray and a gun, I have typically carried the gun strong-side and the bear spray weak-side. My bear spray, Guard Alaska, can be operated with one hand, and I prefer not to be in a position of having to drop something from my strong hand before I draw. Especially in the case of a bear. If I'm in the backcountry and I have a question about something..big noise in the underbrush, bearish grunts, poachers whistling, whatever…I want my hand on the gun, prepped for the draw.


Because, as Mike Seeklander has said on TBD, it is hugely faster, as much as 50% faster. Secondly, going to the gun allows you to establish a solid grip. Probably the biggest risk on a draw is that you don't "hit" your grip 100% — one of the big reasons I urge you all to do some sort of practical competition. Competition requires you to draw the gun a lot, both in actual competitions and in dry fire practice (in fact, since there are storms rolling through this part of Colorado and I'm inside watching a wretched Australian movie about a giant killer croc stalking 2 hot girls and an ineffective guy, I'm going to go get my rig and practice draws now).

If you go to the gun early, and this is for the backcountry, not 8 Mile (although it's not such a bad idea for 8 Mile, either…one grim stretch of road), you can guarantee your grip. It also allows you to clear any thumbsnap or retention loop, or, if you're not open carrying, to open whatever carry device (e.g., a SafePacker) you're using.

On TBD, although it has been a while back, we noted that defense against a wild animal is an exception to our "no warning shots" advice…obviously, I'm excluding your basic charging anything here. I'd rather scare something off than kill it, especially if I can do so legally.

The likelihood of you running up against something mean with teeth in the woods is pretty much on par with getting struck by lightning, but both things do happen. Of course the real danger in the woods is bad people, not bad animals (read TRAIL SAFE). I'll be walking Newt later this evening on her favorite trail, and I'll be carrying a a Taurus Judge loaded with Federal buckshot, mostly as a snake gun. Would work for coyotes as well.

If you're going to carry in the backcountry, give some thought about how and why and work out your personal details.