Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Does Everything Our Government Produce Consist of Lies?

This is just shameful.  Hard to be confident in your elected leaders when this kind of stuff is happening in addition to all of the other scandals.

McCaskill demands explanation over staged arrival ceremonies for fallen soldiers

We really are in an era of unprecedented secrecy and lies surrounding our government.  Trust is a two way street, but apparently the overlords and bureaucrats in Washington and other levels expect the We the People to do all of the trusting.  Disgusting.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Beans, Band Aids, and Bullets

Lately, I have been dialing back on the amassing of items and focusing more on skills and physical training which cost me nothing (or close to nothing).  However, it still is a good idea to maintain and slowly add to what a lot of people refer to as "Beans, Band Aids, and Bullets".  Food and water, first aid/medical and the ability and supplies to protect your self and loved ones is high on the list when securing for the future.  I am not necessarily paranoid, but I am unfortunately pessimistic about the future of our economy.  So, I find that investing in extras in these categories to be prudent.  If the value of our dollar was to drop, or if our jobs were cut, then at least we would have the peace of mind that we still had a supply to fall back on.  Barring that, we would eventually work our way through these supplies at some point in our lives so it is not a waste.

I keep a running list of items in these categories and try to make it a point to stock up on items in each category that we may not have or that are lowest in quantity.  For example, I have identified the following for next month:

  • Protection - 9 mm Speer Gold Dot (100) rounds
    • Note, there's a news story about the last lead ore smelter shutting down due to what amounts to extortion by the EPA.  It might be time to make a bigger than normal purchase to hedge against unavailability/high prices.
  • Food -  Beans, Mylar Bags and Desiccant Packs
    • Giving this a try for the first time.  We are big bean eaters so there's no worry of this going to waste.  Also, they last literally for years if done correctly.
  • Water - Bottled Water (5 cases)
    • Easy pick up at Sam's Club.  We go through this quite a bit, surprisingly.
  • First Aid - Rolled Gauze, Moleskin
    • Don't have either of these items.  Any suggestions where to get a good deal on bulk purchases?
Do you all do something similar?  Do you have a method to your "prepping" madness?  Comment below and let me know.  Thanks for reading.

Monday, October 28, 2013

DGU of the Day: Can I Get A Witness?

This one made the rounds earlier last week, but I thought I'd still share it.

Indiana pastor pulls gun on man, stops robbery

A lot of folks sometimes ask how, as a Catholic, I can reconcile using a gun to defend my life.  Here is what the Catholics are taught about self defense:

Catechism of the Catholic Church (specifically the section entitled "Legitimate defense")

Note that it sounds similar to the law that is codified in today's society.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

DGU of the Day: Prairie Patriot's Hometown Representin'

I'm especially proud of this woman from my home town.

Wichita Woman Shoots Home Intruder

I'm proud that she was able to defend herself.  If it had been me, then I would have popped him without a verbal considering there were children in the house and an attacker can cover ground very quickly.  I simply would not risk it.  Still, this was a "W" for the good guys (or gals, in this case).

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

DGU of the Day: Tulsa, OK Man Shoots Burglar

This guy did what he had to do.

'No regrets' for Tulsan who shot burglar

Notice that the man put several rounds on the burglar center mass.  And he still survived.  Real life is not like the movies.  One shot usually doesn't finish the job.  Just another point against the argument that citizens should be limited in capacity.  Limiting the law abiding will cost lives.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Range Report 10-19-13: Accuracy Session

For this trip I decided to focus on more drills for accuracy rather than speed/combat style drills.

Slow shots for accuracy at 3 yds

My shots were grouped very well.  You can see that I had a couple fliers on the center mass grouping (first shots).There was a slight bias to the left, but not nearly as bad as towards the end of my last session.  Also, when I thew the couple shots I immediately stopped and unloaded the pistol.  I then performed ten good dry fires to help reinforce proper trigger manipulation.

Ball and Dummy Drills at 3 yds
At the suggestion of some of the good folks at m4carbine.net, I loaded up two dummy rounds along with 8 live rounds for the next drill.  Again, groupings were fairly good, but when I did foul up, the rounds went low and to the left.  And, the telling part of this drill was when I would encounter a dummy round.  I was indeed flinching slightly.  Nothing major, but obviously enough to tell the tale of why my shots sometimes went down and left.  More dry fire at home is definitely in order.  And more accuracy drills at the range.

Slower than normal controlled pairs at 3 yds
Here is the result of speeding up.  As you can see, my groups opened up when trying to speed up my shots.  I did focus more on accuracy than speed for this.  Still, the head grouping was larger than I would like.  The good news is that I did not throw one off the silhouette.  This was my only drill that could loosely be called a "combat" style drill as I was not going for pure accuracy.

Slow accurate fire at 5 yds
I decided to push the target out to 5 yds and again work on accuracy.  What a difference 2 yds makes.  Not only did my groups open up (which is to be expected, I suppose), but the left and low bias was more pronounced.  Still, I kept it all on the silhouette.  I maybe should have quit at this point to not reinforce bad trigger habits.  I decided to reel it back in for one handed shots to change it up.

One handed right (top 7 point of aim), one handed left (bottom 7 point of aim) at 3 yds

This was the same target from the last picture just so that there is no confusion.  My one handed shots were not terrible considering I don't spend a lot of trigger time using just one hand

Slow accurate fire at 3 yds (14 round grouping)
 At this point I had 14 rounds left so I decided to throw up my last clean target and end my day on a good note.  As you can see, the grouping was pretty good, but there were three shots low and to the left out of the 14.

I think it's just a matter of time and practice before I eliminate the flinch.  I was on the money whenever I focused on just pulling the trigger back without flinching.  As the session went on and I started to over think it was when my accuracy would suffer.  The good news is that the groups were all fairly tight and there were none thrown off the silhouette.  All in all, a good session, but with room to improve.

As usual, if anyone has any suggestions on how to completely eliminate flinching, then please do share.  I am really wanting to become a good shot and know that accuracy work is the foundation for anyone who carries for self defense.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

DGU of the Day: Suspect Breaks Into House Second Night In A Row, Pays For It

This guy pushed his luck too far.

Suspect Shot In Alleged Home Invasion Dies

The family member that shot the man did the right thing given the circumstances.  He gave a verbal warning and when the suspect proceeded into the house anyways, then he paid for it.  I never like seeing someone lose their life, but this is a classic example of how guns save lives.  If someone is brazen enough to enter your home as you tell them to leave, then you can bet they aren't there for a social call.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

DGU of the Day: Senior Uses Appropriate Use of Force

What a low life.  First, he doesn't control his own dog and then attacks the senior when she uses an appropriate response.

Pendleton skateboarder charged with assault

This lady showed a very good understanding of a level of force.  Pepper spraying a dog is appropriate when it is aggressive and the owner is a douche bag.  The scumbag attacks the lady for stopping his dog from biting her.  She then pulls the gun out.

My only quibble is that she fired a "warning shot".  Not sure if that's how she described it to officers or if that's the paper's way of reporting it.  However, never fire a "warning shot".   If it's serious enough to pull the gun out and pull the trigger, then you better being aiming for center mass.  Legally, you can get slapped with discharging a weapon charge since your intention wasn't to defend, but to "warn".  In other words, don't take Crazy Joe Biden's advice.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Gear Review: FLIR PS24 Thermal Monocular



Labor Day weekend was above average for me this year.  I got to spend it running around 800 acres of wooded and farm land on my uncle's ranch around Elk Falls, Kansas.  But the best part came at night.  I had just received my new FLIR PS24 unit.  And the rule of the ranch was to smack as many armadillos as possible.  You could only make the Armadillo Wall of Fame if you killed one and posed with it.  I thought, "No problem!".

We would sit on the porch of the ranch and let it get dark.  I would occasionally scan the field in front of us with the PS24 as I shot the breeze with my family.  And lo and behold, they came.  The first armadillo was 75-100 yards out when I first spied it with the FLIR unit.  I grabbed my AR and walked out to within 7 yards of the critter.  I dropped the FLIR unit (it was on a lanyard on my wrist), brought up my rifle and white lighted the nasty thing.  The shot made it jump at least 3-4 feet high in the air.  And then it took off like a bat out of hell.  Turns out armadillos are tough.  Which is why the Armadillo Wall of Fame in the tractor shed on the ranch is a place of honor.  You basically have to unload on the armadillo before it will just keel over and die.  I learned two lessons.  First, always continue to shoot until the threat armadillo is down.  Second, and more specifically to armadillo, shoot for the head or just behind for a better chance at rolling them.  Unfortunately, I had two more chances that weekend, but never could drop one on the spot.

But, I am sure you want to know about the FLIR unit itself.


You can check out the technical specs on FLIR's website.  I will just give you my impressions.  Let me state that I have no basis for comparison.  So, everything I say is probably going to be fairly subjective.  The first thing I noticed was that the size of the unit was just about right when using one hand to hold it to your eye.  The buttons that control the operation are placed on top of the unit.  It did not take me long to get accustomed to using the buttons.  It does come with a lanyard so that if your grip slips your pricey purchase will not hit the ground.  There is a generous eye cup that allows you to look at the mini screen inside the unit itself.

Buttons are large and easy to distinguish in the dark using sense of touch only.  It also helps that they light up.

And, in fact, it is a screen.  I found myself using the white hot setting the most often to initially pick out critters.  I would then switch to black hot if I had a hard time identifying something.  The contrast between the two sometimes helped give me a better overall picture of what I was looking at.  The unit does come with an Insta-Alert feature that is supposed to light up warm blooded animals (and humans) as red.  There are four sensitivity levels.  I found the least sensitive setting to be somewhat helpful if you were within "close" range.  The other 3 more sensitive levels tended to paint everything red if the earth or trees still held their heat from the daylight hours.  To be fair, the FLIR manual did state it had a max range for the Insta-Alert that fell well short of the overall max range of the white/black hot settings.

Artemis chillin' out.  I was 5 feet from her.  This is on the white hot setting.  Forgive the poor quality.  It was hard aligning the camera lens with the viewer.

I also encountered a few surprises with the unit.  I started walking around checking everything out when I first turned it on in my home.  I happened to be bare foot on the carpet.  When I turned around you could see my foot prints!  That should give you some idea of the sensitivity of different temperatures the unit is capable of distinguishing.  Another surprise was when I attempted to look out a window.  All I saw was my IR reflection!  Of course, this makes sense as the IR spectrum is part of the overall light spectrum.  Those waves were bouncing off the glass just like visible light would.  I know all of this has probably been covered on the Internet somewhere prior, but for me it was new and a neat experience when I first got to know the unit.

My footprints immediately after I stepped away to take this picture.

Some other miscellaneous features that I appreciate are the the captive lens cap cover and the built in LED white light.  The LED white light can only be used when the unit is off.  If you do not use the unit, then it shuts itself off after 5 minutes which helps save on battery life.

Speaking of the battery, my one complaint is that the unit only has an internal lithium ion battery.  It would have been nice to be able to switch out the battery on my own.  However, I have a feeling by the time the battery gives up the ghost that the technology might be dated anyways.  Only time will tell.

The unit is relatively cheap compared to FLIR's other offerings.  However, it is still quite pricey.  As of this date I can only find it for no less than $1980 not counting shipping.  I would buy this over Gen 3 night vision if only given one option for a few reasons.  I will not delve into that now as it is best saved for another post.

Do any of you have experience with thermal imaging?  Or the PS24 in particular?  What are your thoughts on it's strengths and limitations?  Comment below and let me know.  Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, October 14, 2013

DGU of the Day: Homes Are Like A Box of Chocolates...

These intruders got the gross marshmallow chocolate one.

Retired deputy fires shots at intruder

Glad they bagged the delinquents.  Not a whole lot of detail other than a good guy with a gun defends his home and self.  Like we see time and time again.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

DGU of Day: 83 Year Old Defends His Castle

Another thief chooses the wrong home.

83-year-old Salem homeowner shoots intruder, Marion County detectives say

If it saves just one life...  If this old gentleman and his wife had not had a weapon, then does anyone really think they would have stood a chance against someone much younger?  Guns save lives.  Period.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

DGU of the Day: Man Fires At Driver Who Tries To Run Him Over

One man went to check on the local church after the alarm was tripped and almost got ran over for his trouble.

Man shoots at suspected robber at South Austin church

The one thing I'd like to point out that may not have been a good idea:  Declaring that you are armed.  You either use your weapon or you don't.  And you make damn sure that if you're going to use it that it is a surprise to your assailant.  Other than that, good job for this guy.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

DGU of the Day: Another 3 on 1 Encounter

Three people broke into an acquaintance home and threatened his life:

Vacaville Homeowner Confronts Three Burglars With Gun, Shoots One

Not a whole lot of detail on this one, but clearly, if the homeowner did not have a way to even up the odds, then things could have turned out very differently for him.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Asymmetric Solutions Tactical Pistol 1: After Action Report

One of my personal goals is to get professional firearms training at least twice a year.  I frequent several forums and websites and had caught a lot of chatter about Asymmetric Solutions.  I contacted them via email and asked them what courses they recommended based on my previous training.  I got a very nice response stating that I could start with Tactical Pistol 1 and 2 and if I felt the courses were too rudimentary that they would credit me my tuition for different courses in the future.  Further, as I would be traveling from Kansas City, MO, they offered to let me stay in the facility barracks overnight between the two days.  I ended up only signing up for Tactical Pistol 1 due to time constraints, but it was nice to know that in the future I could stay on site assuming the offer still stood at a later date.  For this course, I ran my M&P9c out of a Safariland 6378 ALS holster.  I configured the holster to use the belt loops instead of the paddle attachment.

I traveled down on a Friday night and stayed at the Hampton Inn in Farmington, MO on points (one of the benefits of traveling for work constantly).  The course started on Saturday at 9 am.  Our instructor, John, gave the safety briefing.  Usually you get the 4 rules of firearms safety.  John's take on safety is that there are three safe positions for a pistol:  in the holster, in the low ready (muzzle pointed at the ground) and on target.  I had not heard it explained this way before.  John explained that being on the target was a safe position because by eliminating the threat you were making it safe for everyone else.  That statement certainly rang true to me.

Asymmetric Solutions is a busy place.  The same day of Tactical Pistol 1 there was a class of what I estimated as between 15-20 students taking Asymmetric Solutions' Basics of Tactical Shooting class.  John mentioned that this was the biggest civilian class he had seen come through at one time.  That certainly spoke volumes to me about Asymmetric Solutions' reputation along with what I have been seeing on the Internet.  Another class, Precision Rifle 1, was also taking place.  Throughout the day you could hear the Precision Rifle class ringing the gong.  Just another class I will have to take I suppose!

There were 10 students in the class including me.  John was our constant companion along with a couple of other instructors who filled in at various times.  John's teaching style was laid back and easy to understand.  I was able to focus on the material and drills and felt completely comfortable.  It can sometimes be hard to find folks who are SMEs in their field, but cannot transfer that knowledge in a way that works for the students.  Rest assured, you will understand if John is your instructor.

We started out by working a drill that emphasized muzzle discipline in crowds.  This was meant to reinforce the idea that you will not always be mano a mano with your assailant and that there may be innocents between you and the threat.  It really was something I had not considered practicing.  Needless to say, I will be incorporating this into my personal regimen.

We moved on to scenarios involving vehicles including what to do when threats present from the front of your vehicle and how to move to cover behind your vehicle if necessary.  We did this on our own and as two man teams.  During the two man team drill we learned how to communicate using concise language and appropriate "bounding overwatch" movement to the rear.  The opportunity to shoot through windshields and get an idea of the concussive force made this drill worth doing along with the details of how to get out of the vehicle without muzzle sweeping yourself.  It also got me thinking about how I would react in certain situations and what my set response would be to a threat.

We had a quick lunch break and then moved onto how to move and engage threats that are both in front and behind a person.  Drills were setup so that we would have to incorporate turning to engage a threat and then to run to cover after the threat was down.  There were several variations of this that we worked on.

Reloads and malfunctions were covered fairly briefly as we had already been performing reloads in our previous drills (and there were even some malfunctions).  It was fairly standard fare in this department.  John's take on how to deal with "tactical" reloads differed slightly from what I have seen others recommend, but his logic and research behind it is sound.  I especially liked how he broke down the malfunctions into three categories: stove pipe, closed battery, and open battery malfunctions.  In my mind, this makes it easier to decide on what course of action to take.

John also had us run through drills designed to try and overload our problem solving skills.  The drills progressed from shooting at a sequence of called out targets to fully incorporating running to cover, shooting from cover and shooting on the move.  We also ran drills that emphasized moving down a line laterally and engaging targets with others on the line.  This simulated working together with others as a team and communicating during an active fight.

We finished up in the shoot house performing two man room clearing.  We all partnered up and ran the drill several times "hands only" in order to ensure we had it down cold.  It was pretty much textbook on how to clear a room with two men.  We got to run the drill hot once we were deemed safe.  I sure appreciated the opportunity to do it using live fire.  It definitely made me more muzzle aware being in such close proximity to my partner.  The day came to a close at 5 pm and I loaded up and made the 5 hour trip home wishing I could stay for Tactical Pistol 2, but alas, the boss wanted me home and I had to travel back out for work on Monday.

Bottom line:  I already know that I am going back to Asymmetric Solutions.  The only question is when.

DGU of the Day: Man Defends His Mom and Self From Three Thugs

This man defended himself from 3 different assailants.

Robbery suspect shot and killed by store owner, two suspects at large

Folks, they roll in packs.  Carry a spare mag and watch your six when in "transition" areas.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

DGU of the Day: Homeowner Emerges Victorius

This homeowner prevailed in a gunfight for his life.

Munhall Homeowner Shoots, Kills Intruder

Three things jumped out at me.  First, was the fact that there were multiple burglars who were both armed.  Luckily for the homeowner the lookout took off running.  If both had engaged, then can anyone imagine a scenario where the homeowner would need as much ammo capacity as possible?  I know I could.  Hell, I would want it even if one guy was coming at me.

Second, the gunfight spilled into the alley.  This tells me that there was some movement during the fight.  A lot of training at different instructor courses involves movement and firing.  Now you see why.  Always keep moving in a gunfight if possible.  It is much harder for you to be hit.  Sounds obvious, but a lot of folks only train at a range.  It gets ingrained into their mind to square up and take the shot and never move.  My suggestion would be to practice this dry if you cannot find a range that allows movement and live fire.  It would also benefit you to get quality instruction first to make sure you're not making mistakes that could kill you.

Lastly, the dead perp was shot multiple times while the homeowner came out unharmed.  Some of this is luck.  But, it's clear that the homeowner knew how to use his weapon effectively.  Train, train, train!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Range Report 9-26-13: Tune up prior to Asymmetric's Tactical Pistol 1

Hey folks, sorry for the irregularity of my postings.  It's been a bit busy professionally and personally the past couple of weeks.  However, I did find time last Thursday to make it out to the range.  I have a pistol course this up coming weekend at Asymmetric Solutions and I thought that it would be a good idea to try and tune up prior.

Slow and steady, for accuracy at 3 yds
I put a hundred rounds total through my M&P9c.  I shot groups of ten for each drill.  Above, was my customary slow and steady shots for accuracy.  I only threw one.

Fast presentation, single shot at 3 yds
I next worked on presenting the pistol and acquiring the sights as fast as possible from the "meet and greet" position and firing a single shot.  I then returned the pistol to the "meet and greet" position.  My groups opened up, but were still combat acceptable.

Fast presentation, controlled pairs at 3 yds
The next twenty rounds, I repeated the same exercise.  This time, however, instead of a single shot, I performed controlled pairs.  I would like to get a shot timer to eventually see how slow my splits are.

Slow and steady for accuracy at 7 yds
At this point, I decided to extend the range a bit.  I worked on accuracy in this string of fire.  Unfortunately, my groups opened up more than I wold have liked.  Furthermore, I had noticed in the previous drill that my shots were starting to group to the left/ low left.  I decided to research ways to fix this once I got home.  Also, I figured I could ask the folks at Asymmetric to watch me and see if they could pick out what was going on.

On a side note, if you take a look at the top of the target, then you will see a "rip".  That, in fact, was a round that I must have fired into the metal hanger and then ricocheted on through the target.  I was kind of mad at myself because I thought for sure I was on target when I broke the shot.  Oh well, practice, practice.

One handed shooting.  Left hand/group on the left 7, Right hand/group on the right 7 at 3 yds
I brought the target back to 3 yds for one handed shooting.  My shooting was slow and for accuracy.  I was surprised that I was really fairly tight on my groupings.  I did ten with the left and ten with the right.  You can see my groups on the 7's on the target

I will be sure to write up an After Action Report (AAR) about my class at Asymmetric in the next few weeks after I attend.  If anyone has any tips on how to correct my slight bias to the left / low left tendency, then I am always open to the advice.  Outside of the drills I just mentioned, are there any drills that you would like to share that you find useful in sharpening your skills?  Any recommendations on a shot timer?