Saturday, July 17, 2010

Meditations on Platform

When it comes to your defensive shooting platforms, I'm a big fan of getting out there and shooting a bunch and picking what feels right for you. I do not think that any single platform dominates, performs better, or is perfect. When you decide on a platform, my suggest is to use it, train with it, and if you get bored with it, switch to something else. That's right, change your platform, and you SHOULD change your platform. Why? A couple of reasons:

1) You may discover that another platform works better for you in the end. Your instincts and work are not necessarily intuitive to the system you have initially chosen. You have two options, try something else or train hard with your platform and hope the issue never comes up. In my opinion, you are better served using your training hours not to correct non-intuitive movements, but to practice shooting the gun.

2) When we get bored with a platform or vehicle of shooting, we don't practice enough, we don't shoot, train, or work as hard. Why would we? It's boring. Then it's time to change your platform and shake things up a bit. Does it mean you've mastered that gun? Maybe, maybe not, probably not, but you aren't going to master it if you don't care about shooting it.

Keep in mind the platform that works for one does not always work for another. For instance, I do not rely on an AR platform as a primary defensive weapon. Why not? Well a variety of reasons, I never can seem to get the gun to feel right, even with 50 bajillion adjustable accessories. I don't like the AR platform bolt release, in fact, I HATE the bolt release, my instinct is to run a charging handle by hand to release a bolt. I don't like malfunction clearing drills on the AR platform, they feel awkward and completely counter-intuitive to me. Finally, I don't have preference in the 5.56/.223 chambering the guns normally come it. That's a lot of reasons and yes, I could train nearly all of them away, if I spent hundreds or thousands of hours clearing malfunctions, releasing bolts, and adjusting the gun to fit. OR I could just pick up a gun that feels right, works the way I expect and fires a round I prefer, like a plain old standby M1 Carbine.

Some may argue that one platform is better than another, I'll just continue to point out that not everyone is made equal. A person who feels well armed with 15 rounds of .30 Carbine and can run the gun is just as deadly as a person with 30 rounds of .223 and who can run the guns. The point here is not that one platform works better or worse, it's that shooting skills apply across all weapons platforms and we should simply choose the guns of our preference.


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Top Shot

I've been seeing some blogger chatter on History's Top Shot, so I thought I'd give it a shot. Two thumbs down, I think it sucks. The shooting challenges are good, but I can't get over the constant bickering, the fighting, the Big Brother-esque house. No thanks, can we get an hour or people shooting at stuff with interesting challenges? That would be good fun.

In fact, maybe we should just make up a competitive league where you compete in a variety of challenges. Something like IPSC meets IDPA meets 3-Gun meets CAS meets good old fashioned Kentucky Rifle challenge. I'd do that, walk from station to station, one station has me blasting clay birds with a scatter gun, the next has me going after the Lone Star wheel from CAS, another is a High Power rifle shot at 500 yards through open sights on an '03 Springfield, finish the day off with 100 yard silhouette shot on a turkey silhouette with a replica Kentucky rifle. The winner is the one who hits the bullseye the most times.

That'd be a better competition and more fun to watch to boot. I'll pass on Top Shot, too much in the drama queen department, not enough guns and shooting.


Only a True Gun Nerd

Could stand on a range with thousands of dollars in short barrel ARs, suppressed Tactical Solutions .22s, suppressed fully automatic H&Ks and be bored and unimpressed. Only to be more impressed by a nice Webley MKVI cut for .45 ACP Moonclips (all the better to shoot the steel plate rack with), an early (3rd year) Colt Python, a British Military issued FN Auto-5 (that's the one with the 8-round tube and fore end that extends to the end of the barrel, issued to Brits in Malaysia post-WWII but pre-Korea), and an original Mauser C96 with stock (from 1902).

Yea that plastic stuff is okay, but ya know...plastic is cheap. Have you fondled a Pre-WWI Mauser C96? They DON'T make 'em like that no more, maybe in some ways they are better or worse, but the reality is they just don't make 'em like that no more. The machining, the fit, the finish...


Thursday, July 8, 2010

An armed society is a polite society...

As a kid, I was always taught to be polite, because it's easier to win friends and influence people (to steal a good quote) that way. One thing I remember though, was that being armed and being polite seemed to go hand in hand. My father always taught me to be nice in traffic, because you never knew when that guy you decided to flip the bird to, was going to pull out a gun and turn your driving affair into a shooting affair.

I remember an event that happened to me about two years ago at the BBOD. A customer had purchased a gun safe and taken it home, upon getting it home, they were unable to get the safe open, using the combination provided by the manufacturer. A manager, not my immediate boss, decided the prudent (read: STUPID) thing to do was to send an employee down to the customer's house and make sure the safe didn't open like the customer said it didn't, before we returned a $1000 gun safe and exchanged it. Somehow, I got drafted for this duty and was sent on my merry way to the customer's house. (In retrospect and perhaps the best advice I can provide from this experience is if you get stuck in this position, tell your boss to stick it).

When I arrived at the customer's house, the customer, a young gentleman in his late 20s was absolutely irrate! He was simply furious at me, while I inspected the safe and confirmed that indeed, the combination was not correct and I set about trying to correct the problem. The gentleman was just absolutely furious right up until one distinct and very memorable point in time. He was looking at me cursing when he simply stopped in the middle of his sentence and asked a question, "Is that a Thunder Ranch pin on your hat?" "Why yes, yes it is. I just received it last week, when I finished my Defensive Revolver course with them." "Oh..." And suddenly, the gentleman's tone changed as he realized he might have been cursing, screaming, and generally degrading a guy who had just spent three days with a premier firearms instructo, throwing enough lead down range to require a small mining operation to extract it from the berm. Suddenly, the whole experience changed, the customer was polite to me, respectful, courtesy, and realizing perhaps that I was doing my best to take care of him, he was grateful.

An armed society is a polite society. Remember guys that store clerk/auto mechanic/paper boy you're insulting, maybe he's packing a loaded .357 while your hurling insults at him. He is polite to you, both by being nice and smiling and doing his best, and for not pulling his smoke wagon out and giving you a few extra holes to run your mouth from.

Armed, polite. We shouldn't have to live in a world where being armed is a requirement for courtesy and kindness, but it would behoove us to remember that some folks are packing heat and we should just be nice to everyone, so we don't worry about who is who.