Friday, November 03, 2006

Friday, Thankfully!!!

I feel a little better with a dozen new Brownell's AR 30-rounders in house, not to mention the five-mag packs for the Para and Glocks. I still need to round up some Sig 226 20-rounders and the back-up Mini-14 mags, but, as I said, I'm feeling a little better about the election. Still, two things you can never have too much of are magazines and ammunition.

And, of course, designer beer. I'm currently carrying the torch for Rogue Brewery's Brutal Bitter, a wonderful cross between the tradition English bitter and the obsessively Americanized India Pale Ale that every microbrewery on earth makes. At roughly $11 a six-pack, darned expensive, too.

Oh yeah, about my revisionist thinking on tactical reloads. You regular readers — and you know who you are! — know that I was extremely critical of seeing the tac reload missused. Here's the Cliff's Notes version of the "reloading controversy":
There are basically three types of reloads for semiautos (and I'll use GUNSITE terminology for consistency)...

1) Administrative reload — you replace the partially spent magazine with a fresh magazine while the gun is in the holster.
2) Tactical reload — During a lull in the action you replace your partially spent magazine with a fully charged magazine while retaining the partially spent magazine in case you need the extra rounds.
3) Speed reload — You drop the partially spent or empty magazine and quickly replace it with a fully charged magazine.
And yes, there are zillions of different flavors within the three catagories, but they all spring from a basic philosophy...keep the the gun charged and running. When the gun goes down, get it reloaded and running as fast as possible. When you have a gun on your person, it should be fully charged and ready for action.

Obviously, there are exceptions, such as when you're shooting on a "cold" range, that is, a range that requires guns to be holstered (or cased) empty while you're on the range.

Without going into a lot of the B-S that swirled around reloading techniques in various practical shooting sports over the last few years, one of the side effects of Hurricane Katrina has been a re-evaluation of how and when you should use a tactical reload.

A speed reload is absolute fastest way to get the gun running with a full mag...a professional shooter like Todd Jarrett doesn't even break his shooting rhythm while he reloads.

The fastest way to both reload and retain the magazine (either for the remaining ammo or because you have limited magazines) is speed reload, then pick up the magazine off the ground. However, when wading in a liquid chemical/biological sludge like what flowed through the streets of New Orleans, you're not going to want to stick your hand into the poison soup unless absolutely necesary. Ergo, don't drop the magazine on the ground.

In a situation like New Orleans, you might need to know how to perform a tactical reload pretty quickly...just a thought. I have in the past been critical of training that focused on high-speed tac reloads...I apparently have been overtaken by events and stand corrected. The speed reload is still the primary technique, but you might want to add some pressured tac reload training to your regimen, especially if you're a responder type!

Another thought you might ponder is the long-reviled lanyard ring. A lanyard ring on the butt of a gun allows you to attach a lanyard, attaching the gun to you. I know, you're thinking Teddy Roosevelt, San Juan Hill, Sgt. Preston of the Mounties, etc. Well, gunsmith god Hamilton Bowen offers custom lanyard rings on his hunting revolvers; he tells the story of the Alaskan hunter who ridiculed the idea...right up until the point he launched his $4000 custom blaster into a fast-running Alaskan river.

In the case of a Katrina, a lanyard would save a responder having to fish around in the toxic muck for a dropped gun...and yes, it does happen! Especially in the middle of the night in a hurricane, etc. It's interesting to me that while current LEO and military firearms requirements (go read the Request for Information for a potential new handgun for the Air Force, BTW) always include a requirement for an accessory rail for mounting weapons lites, lasers, blender attachments, bayonets, etc., a lanyard attachment is rarely mentioned.

Also in the "interestingly enough" category, Gemtech, the suppressor guys, make a nice Tactical Retention Lanyard. Hopefully, we'll learn from experience and have a gun to attach said lanyard to!


Anonymous said...

Miachael, as you indicate, there are multiple means of performaign a tactical reload. The main two would be, under common terminology, the puretactical reload, where the new magazine is obtained before dropping the partial magazine, then dealing with two magazines in hand t the same time, and the "reload with retention" where the off hand takes the old magazine from the gun, stows it, and then obtains the new magazine and seats it in the gun.

As much as the reload with retention is often frowned upon, it is the faster shot to shot tactical reload, according to the timer. Of course, if you need a reload in that much of a hurry, you should likely still be shooting the remaiing rounds, then worry about the reload.

However, thinking of your New Orleans scenerio, the reload with retention does offer somewhat better odds of not fumbling the magazines since you will only have one magazine in hand at any given time.


Anonymous said...

Obviously, I'm having trouble typing this morning. Sorry for the hard to read stuff. I'll try to remember to proofread in the future before posting.


Anonymous said...

Well, well. Two items; the first being a man who is willing to correct his thinking when presented with new and compelling facts.

The second, a man who is willing to so admit(publicly) that he has done so. "Mensch" comes to mind.

As an afterthought, think how much gun fighting BS would we be finally shed of if there were more such "mensch"- instead of self promoting charlatans. (I flatter the latter group here as the thought crosses my mind that they are simply just plain dumb!)

Walt R.

Anonymous said...


If you are interested, I have four, new in the box, 20 round factory Mini-14 mags that I would be willing to part with. Drop me a note at Mossyrock6ATYahooDOTcom.


Anonymous said...


re; Tac Loads, thanks for coming back to the practical side of the argument. Too often folks get to thinking in a competitive context and reach conclusions based upon things like split times or total time. As in Katrina, I learned this lesson early on in my Border Patrol career while mucking about in the Tijuana River valley. The whole place was contaminated and sometimes we were entertained by spectacles such as watching the river catch fire. Anyway, you quickly learned not to drop things and found out that ankle holsters, for example, were a bad idea under the circumstances.

See you next week,

Ed Head