Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Last call for Armed Response Class - Aug 25-26

If you are interested in registering, call me direct at 401-465-8484.

Aug. 25 & 26, 2007
Harvard Sportsmans Club, Harvard, MA.
9AM - 5PM

Based on my book by the same title, Armed Response covers the mindset, knowledge, and tactics needed to defend yourself with a firearm before, during, and after a life threatening assault.

From learning what to ask before deciding to carrying a gun, how to carry and use a concealed firearm, and the legal issues and implications of using of lethal force, Armed Response is one of the most indispensable classes available.

Realistic, defensive shooting skills are emphasized including drawing from a concealed holster, engaging multiple targets, and shooting from cover, as well as real-life lessons about preparing to face a lethal threat, winning a gun fight, and surviving the ensuing court battle. This two-day class is a must for anyone using firearms for self-defense.

Day One:
Police protection
Responsible use of lethal force
Properties of survival
Body alarm reaction
Reaction drills
Armed confrontations
Aftermath of a shooting

Day Two:
Concealed carry techniques
Back up tools
Stopping power/Ammo selection
Defensive Shooting

Equipment needed: Carry firearm with proper carry holster, at least 3 magazines (or speedloaders) and mag holders for at least 2 mags, 300 rounds of factory ammo, eye and ear protection, brim hat, concealment vest or jacket, sweat shirt, paper, and pen.

16 hours. $250.00

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Been Busy…

It’s been a while since I have posted as I have been on the road for most of the last four weeks with just a few days in the office in between. Here’s some info on my trips;

I spent 5 days in Roswell, NM watching the filming of the Future Weapons TV show featuring LWRC’s piston rifles. They are featuring 3 different rifles, each in its own segment. The 2008 series starts airing in November of 2007. I don’t yet know which program they will be on but they will be worth looking for.

One segment was on LWRC’s piston PDW (Personal Defense Weapon) in 6.8 SPC. This ultra-short rifle (8-inch barrel) is perfect for close quarters fighting. The short barrel allows easy maneuverability in cars, tanks, buildings, etc. and the 6.8 caliber offers tremendous stopping power even with such a short barrel. It is amazingly controllable even in full auto.

LWRC introduced their soon to be in production SABR (Sniper/Assaulter Battle Rifle) for another segment. The new .308 piston rifle is designed to be used in dual roles; a 12-inch upper for assault duties, and the 20-inch upper for sniper work. The system offers a custom backpack so the 20-inch upper can be easily carried and switched over as needed.

Another new gun was highlighted, the LWRC piston IAR (Infantry Automatic Rifle). Its unique design allows it to shoot in closed bolt mode in semi-auto and in open bolt mode for full auto operation.

I can’t give out too many details as a magazine article featuring a story about the filming will be soon published by a yet to be named magazine! Once I know, I will let you know!

NTI was held May 30 through June 2 in new Cumberland, PA. It was a fantastic event which included realistic live fire scenarios and force-on-force training.

The goal of the NTI is to offer as realistic training as possible in real-life scenarios. This year’s theme was that participants were hired as an expert witness to testify in a trial. The trip entailed picking up luggage at the airport, traveling to a hotel, shopping trip a mall, trip to a doctor, meal at a restaurant, drinks at a bar, a lecture at a school, and testifying at court.

Along the way, unpredictable, yet troubling events occurred which you had to handle—in some cases you were armed, in others you were not. Since everything was blind—meaning you had no idea what to expect or what the scene that you were stepping into looked like—you had to think on your feet, instantly come up with a plan, and instantly execute the plan. Some participants plans worked better than others.

The dynamic of the force-on-force scenarios was different with every participant as the actors played off of how the participant acted. The live fire stages all used realistic 3-D targets dressed in clothing. Shooters had to determine who was good, who was not, and interact with all accordingly. Some of the shooting events even started without your gun!

This is a training event not to be missed. Check them out at www.teddytactical.com and read about them in an upcoming article to be published in Handguns magazine.

I just finished 4 days of training with Jim Yeager of Tactical Response. All I can say is WOW –and I don’t say that lightly! These were two of the most intense classes I have ever taken.

It was non-stop from the moment we started until the end of the day. The class was not a shooting class and was not a rifle class, it was a fighting class! We did lots of tactical and team drills all designed with fighting in mind. When it was done, I felt like I just got off duty in Iraq! Beware, these are ammo intensive classes—we shot 1,000 rounds a day!

I recommend being completely familiar with your rifle and how to shoot before you take these classes. I will have an article about the Fighting Rifle class in the 2nd edition of the new Tactical Weapons magazine by Harris Publications.

After working with Yeager for 4 days, I highly recommend any class by Tactical Response!

Cover and Concealment Revisited

Understanding the difference between cover and concealment is easy enough; bullets can not penetrate cover while concealment just hides you from view. Interestingly enough I often find both of them misused or under utilized.

Starting with cover, the most common mistake people make is defining object as cover when in fact they are not bulletproof. In actuality, not a lot of everyday items can act as true cover. On the street, cement walls, brick walls, telephone poles (if you are skinny) cars, and possibly public mailboxes (if the assailant is using weak rounds) can be used for cover but most other objects are relegated to concealment.

In your home, several inches of books on a bookshelf will work as cover if you can get the books between you and the assailant. Furniture, mattresses, and acrylic tubs are just concealment—cast iron tubs are probably good cover depending on the cartridge but I have not seen any tests on them. Looking around my own home, I don’t see anything else besides my car that would be effective cover.

Unlike what you see on TV and in the movies, car doors don’t make good cover. While I was at Mystic’s training facility in NM, I had an opportunity to see for myself by shooting a .40S&W FMJ into a car door. The rounds easily penetrated right through! The engine block is the only sure bullet stopper.

The problem that I see with many people using concealment is twofold; 1. they treat concealment as if it is cover. 2, they don’t treat concealment as merely concealment.

A common error in using concealment is thinking that since the bad guy can’t see you, he can’t shoot you. If you’re not behind true cover, he can shoot right through your concealment! If you duck behind cover, don’t stay in one place; MOVE! If your assailant knows where you entered concealment, don’t be there when he tries to shoot there. If you come out from behind cover to shoot, come out at a different place and/or a different height each time so your attacker can’t predict your movements.

People often forget that just as their own concealment can be shot through, so can your attacker’s. Very often in force-on-force scenarios I see people ignoring shoot through opportunities. Rather than shoot through a chair where they know an attacker is hiding, they walk around it to get a visual first. If the surroundings are safe to do so, light up the chair and shoot through the door!

First Aid Protocol

During the Tactical Response rifle classes that I took, James Yeager demonstrated the best first aid protocol that I have seen. First off, he has a large medical supply kit stationed where everyone can access it. But just as important as its availability, he told every student where it was kept.

Secondly, he checked to see if cell phones worked in the location of the range. This way, we would know if we could use them to call 911 if needed. If they didn’t work there, he would have told students where they could locate land-line telephones.

Thirdly, with a life threatening injury, getting the injured to the hospital as fast as possible may mean the difference between life and death. Yeager’s truck was emptied with keys in the ignition to be used for transportation to a hospital. Brilliantly, he had a GPS set to give directions to the nearest hospital. All someone had to do was to start the truck, drive, and follow the verbal directions of the GPS.

This protocol should be in effect for every public gathering, shooting event, or even an individual practice session. In an emergency, the importance of having immediate availability of medical supplies or the ability to get to a hospital quickly can not be understated.

Friday, May 11, 2007

I’m leaving for the future—Future Weapons that is.

Shortly, I will be heading out to a private military/law enforcement training facility to Roswell, NM with my friends from LWRC whose rifles are being featured on the TV program. www.lwrifles.com

I’ve done several magazine articles on LWRC’s piston AR rifles. Their piston design presents a dramatic leap in operational reliability and longevity. Since the bolt is actuated with a piston rather than hot, dirty gas bled from the barrel, the system runs cleaner and cooler. The dramatic reduction in chamber fouling increases reliability and the lower running temperature decreases the stress effects on component parts resulting in longer service life.

Knowing these advances were just the type of products that Future Weapons likes to feature, I tracked down the producers in England. Long story short, I got LWRC booked on the show.

The episode will cover LWRC’s entire product line including their standard 5.56 and 6.8 piston rifles and the new additions to their line up; a super short 6.8, a .308 and their .499 caliber AR.

My main purpose in joining them in NM is to have a ball! No, no… I meant that I will be participating in the production and will be writing a magazine article on the filming of the show.

Lots more info to come once the filming is done!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Long gun or pistol in the home?

I read several gun related forums at various times to keep an ear out for product news what people are talking about. One topic constantly amazes me; the discussion of what type of firearm to use for home defense. The fascinating aspect is that, by far, most people talk about using a shotgun or a rifle and downplay the use a handgun. What AR should I use? Is buckshot OK inside? Is birdshot a better choice?

For me, I much prefer a handgun for most aspects of defending the inside of my home. I certainly acknowledge that long guns offer far better stopping power compared to a handgun, but the reason I prefer a handgun is because it is more practical.

Working within the confines of a typical home, the reality of dealing with light switches, doors, and family members often requires that one hand be available for extraneous use while the other operates the firearm. When the subject comes up in my tactical handgun classes, I have each participant in the class handle a shotgun while opening doors, activating light switches in the classroom and guiding family members to the a “safe room”. Inevitably, each student is forced to hold the shotgun with just one hand, usually for an extended time. Each time, often within ten seconds, the person quickly realizes how heavy and awkward it is to handle a shotgun with just one hand.

Let’s look at it from a naysayer’s point of view. “Light switches can be activated by shoulders and elbows while maintaining two hands on the long gun.” That may be true, but under extreme stress that method probably won’t be easy, plus, the instinctive method is to use your hands, and under extreme stress most people revert to what is instinctive. “It only takes a second to use a door knob”. Ok, I agree, that is true.

Some may say that “family members should be trained on what to do in a crisis and should not need to be directed.” Well, let’s be practical. How many of us have actually trained with our family members? Of those who have, do you drill often enough so that every member of the family is completely sure of what to do by instinct and won’t panic if an attack comes? Will your family know how to react if the event occurs differently than planned? Will anyone panic regardless of their training? What do you do if you have small children? In many, if not most cases, a leader must take charge, direct the family members, and ward off the attack.

Let’s say that you have trained yourself to open and close doors quickly, turn lights on and off with extraneous body parts, and you have no one else living with you. Is a handgun still the best choice? In my opinion, again, yes.

In order to not give your position away and to prevent a gun grab when negotiating travelways through the home, a gun should not protrude beyond a corner or through a doorway. To survey around a corner or pass through a doorway, a long gun must be lowered or raised to keep it from view. Due to its length and weight, that’s not easy to do, especially so with just one hand. Additionally, if you are limited to one hand, it’s not easy to get a long gun back on target in a hurry from a raised or lowered position. Whether you have one hand or two on your weapon, it is far easier to negotiate doorways with a handgun.

While a short-barreled rifle or shotgun is most often the weapon of choice for law enforcement entry teams, there is quite a difference between an entry team and a typical homeowner. First off, police are highly trained and practiced. Secondly, they are a team. One officer can operate the doors and deal with innocents while other members make entry and take care of business.

A long gun does have a presence in my home defense plan. In case of a home invasion, my plan consists of getting my handgun, gathering my family and directing them and myself to a “safe room.” This room is the one furthest the from anticipated entry location, one that is the easiest to get to and to defend, and one that has a cell phone and long guns. I plan to use my handgun to get my family safe, then defend my safe room with a long gun.

In reality, there is a lot more to planning a home defense than what is written here and the principles presented have been greatly simplified, but you can see that a handgun, does indeed, have plenty to offer in protecting your family and yourself.

Barrett's Long Range Basics class - Magazine Article

I had the privilege of attending Barrett's Long Range Basics class a few months ago in Raton, New Mexico for an article assignment for the Barrett annual publication. Participants received training as a depot level armor, marksmanship skills, ranging, scope adjustments, and had lots of range time with the big 50. Starting at 200, we worked our way back to shooting at 1,000 yards. After that experience, the 200-yard range at my local club looks tiny! This class was very educational and a lot of fun. It certainly gave me the bug for long distance shooting.

Barrett Long Range Basics.pdf

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Ammunition Choice

One of the most vexing concerns in carrying a firearm is the choice of ammunition. What makes it confusing it that it is very difficult for the average shooter to determine the difference between offerings due to the fact that the effects can not be easily visualized.

The good news is that with the high quality of today’s ammunition, the differences between different manufactures and bullet designs is not very distinct. Meaning that most defensive ammunition from the top brands will work effectively. That statement could not have beeen made a decade or two ago as the art of bullet design has advanced tremendously in the last few years.

Here’s some guidelines for picking the right ammunition;

1. Pick an ammunition that works 100% of the time in your gun. Revolvers do not have feeding issues so reliability tests are not needed, but you MUST ammo test your semi-auto. For me, I won’t carry a gun and ammunition combination unless it can feed at least 200 rounds in a row flawlessly. If it fails, I either change ammo or send the gun to the smith, or both. Realizing the high cost of quality carry ammo, this can get expensive, but if you are going to bet your life on your gun, you have to know it’s going to work.

2. Pick an ammunition that works 100% of the time in your gun.

3. Pick an ammunition that works 100% of the time in your gun. See a pattern here?

4. Use hollow points. Round nose, often called full metal jacket (FMJ) tend to go right through the target with relatively little damage. Not only does this greatly reduce stopping power, the over penetration puts bystanders at risk. Hollow points are designed to expand (often to 150% of their original size), produce maximum wound cavities, and expend all of their energy inside the target—thus offering maximum stopping power. While hollow point bullets may seem “mean” and “extra deadly” to the uninformed, they are very easy to justify in court if needed. As a public-safety point of view, hollow-points are safer because they are less likely to over penetrate and hit bystanders behind the assailant, compared to round nose bullets. With the greater stopping power of hollow-points, fewer bullets would need to be fired, which increases overall chances of the attacker’s survival. Lastly, every local and federal law enforcement agency uses them. As of this date, I believe New Jersey outlaws the use of hollow points so it is important to make sure hollow-points are legal in your state!

In the past, I advised that since most of today’s high-quality carry ammunition performs pretty much the same, so it really didn’t matter what you carried as long as it functioned in your gun properly. Recently, that has changed as there is a new cartridge on the market which outperforms most others; the Corbon DPX (Deep penetrating round.) DPX testing has shown it to perform better in both hard cover (doors, glass) penetration tests and in soft penetration tests (gelatin, and four-layer denim gelatin.) Rather than fragmenting when hitting hard objects, DPX is able to hold together to offer good terminal ballistics even after passing through objects yet does not over penetrate when hitting soft tissue because of its expansion. A good test of how a bullet would perform through heavy clothing in the gelatin test is shoot through four layers of denim before entering the gelatin. Most traditional bullets tend to clog up in the demin test while DPX goes right through and still expands properly in the gelatin. DPX is loaded in all of my guns.

NOTE— The last paragraph may seem to contradict my opening statement that most quality defensive ammo performs roughly the same. DPX does perform better in some circumstances but that does not mean the other bullet design are not effective. It is important to understand that there is no magic bullet. A bullet is ONLY effective if you do your part; hit the target in the vital areas with multiple shots. It is vital that you keep shooting until the threat is stopped.

As long as you are using a cartridge designed for self-defense (not target use) by a top name brand manufacturer your choice of bullet is not as important as your ability to properly hit your target. The best performing bullet in the world won’t be effective if you don’t place your shots well.

Clearing Jam and Malfunctions - Magazine Article

Handguns magazine published the following article that I wrote on clearing jams and malfunctions with semi-automatic handguns. Enjoy.


Saturday, March 24, 2007

The Zumbo Effect

Thanks to Jim Zumbo, we now have two new phrases; “Let’s Zumbo him” meaning “to act against an unacceptable infringement on our rights” and “a negligent discharge of the mouth” which I coined myself.

As you probably know, Jim Zumbo, a prominent hunting writer, stated in his blog that he equates AR owners with terrorists among other anti-gun statements. Within hours, there were over 3000 comments bashing his statement and another 3000+ comments bashing his rather hollow apology. Within three days, he lost all of his sponsorships, his editorial jobs, and his TV show.

Without spending much more time on the details, the issue is this; all gun owners must stick together and fight for our collective rights. Riflemen, hunters, and handgunners are all gun owners and must work together to maintain the 2nd amendment. If gun owners would petition Congress with the zealousness that they attacked Zumbo, gun control would evaporate!

Here’s an article that Gary Cananzey — a friend of mine who has actually hunted with and immensely respects Jim Zumbo—submitted to OutdoorLife magazine. Since he has not heard back by now, Gary figures that it won’t see the light of day with OL so it might as well get out the same way Jim’s Zumbo’s comments did, by the internet.


- - -

United We Stand

“United We Stand.” You know the rest!

Recently, perhaps the industry’s greatest outdoor writer made a mistake. He equated AR-15 owners with terrorists. Jim forgot why we own guns. And, he forgot that all of their uses are protected. As a matter of fact, the very guns and use he decried are the most absolutely protected.

Jim Zumbo had every right, both to have and to voice his opinion. Unfortunately, Jim is not some pampered 26-year-old movie star with a liberal arts degree who thinks just because he gets face time on TV that he’s a political expert. We take the spoiled, adolescent and pampered Hollywood elite for what they are.

I’ve had the honor, and honor it was, of spending some time with Jim Zumbo in a hunting camp. He is all that he portrays himself to be and more. I, like many others, have spent decades reading Jim’s work while he spent those years crafting perfectly worded accounts of what he did and how he did it and we’ve all, young and old, lived vicariously through those adventures. Unfortunately Jim, like many others who’ve reached that level of stardom, transitioned from telling us what they did and how, to telling us what to do. You don’t expect wisdom from a 26-year-old; you do from a Jim Zumbo. Knowledge, is knowing what to say. Wisdom, is knowing if you should say it. Words and actions can be divisive and Jim’s stuck us all where it hurts the most. But, for the good of what we do and who we are, we need to get past beating Jim and address the cause of our great discontent, as even the best of us are allowed to get it wrong every now and then.

Did you ever marvel at a weed sitting in the center of a crack that goes completely through a 100-ton granite boulder, its roots protruding everywhere you looked, and wonder how something so small could have such an inexorable effect on something so immoveable? The massive boulder cracked because a seemingly inconsequential weed managed to get a roothold in some miniscule chink in its armor then time and persistence killed the great beast. The same happens with the divisiveness of man.

Ever wonder why when radical Muslims are not killing us they are killing each other over what seems to us to be indecipherable religious nuances? Does the logic of their all devoutly believing in the same God; yet still killing each other’s children over some trivial religious disagreement confuse you? Aren’t you thankful that our own culture is past feeding on itself? I used to think that there was no American correlation to the radical Muslim behavior and I’m sorry to say that I was completely wrong. The issue is not radical Muslim behavior; the issue is human behavior!

I have been involved with hunting, the shooting sports, and gun ownership for a very long time. At one time my passion even found me owning a couple archery stores where, for the first time I had to deal with the public. We catered to all the various archery pursuits and while I use archery as an example, the problem is universal to all the shooting and hunting sports.

On many occasions I had to break up disputes among customers who acted more like warring factions than fraternal participants in the sport of archery. Traditional longbow archer customers not only thought of the compound bow shooters as the great unwashed, but also felt that the recurve shooters where heretics for straying from the true path, and in turn the wheel-bow shooters thought the traditionalists were all relics. The 50% let-off shooters looked down on the 65% let-off shooters and everybody thought the 80% let-off shooters were simply sissies. These feuds were further exacerbated by organizations like Pope and Young who established that animals taken with 50% and 65% let-off bows could be entered into the record book, but not those taken with the 80% let-off bows. The manufacturers weighed in on the whole thing by making 80s almost exclusively. The whole argument revolved around what was and was not considered to be the definition of proper “BOWHUNTING.” These were fully grown men almost coming to blows over nuances. And the younger men and women were watching and taking sides; “You’re not a archer if you……”

To make matters worse, the problems repeatedly reached the print media. Specialty publications where full of the same things, “Be ware of the Dark Side.” “Our way is the only way to salvation”. We saw the traditionalists lobby legislatures trying to get special hunting seasons that would have precluded compound archery participation. Rifle, shotgun, and muzzleloader hunter groups all followed suit, each trying to carve their piece of the rock at the other’s expense.

The disparaging remarks and infighting eventually escalated between Cap and Ball muzzleloader people and the Inline muzzleloader group. We had disputes between the optical sight and iron sight folks and then between the traditional Cap and Ballers and the traditional Flintlock shooters for all the same reasons. We see it continue with nearly whole sectors of sports not supporting the others, shotgunners not supporting handgunners, and hunters not supporting riflemen. The list, sadly, goes on and on. Human nature promotes us to congregate with those who have similar interests then subdivides each specialty and nuance until everyone hates everyone. We must recognize this and consciously work to avoid it.

Think about it, there are tens of millions of us and combined we would be the greatest political force in this country, yet we fight amongst ourselves over nuance. We fractionalize and mitigate our own importance simply because it’s not enough for us to just not do what someone else does, we need to degrade and denounce it because we don’t do it. We need to mark our territory. We need to establish ourselves in the pecking order ahead of the next guy. And all the while we are doing it our enemies circle above us like vultures waiting for the weakest among us to fall out of step. They pick us, or in this case our rights, off one by one. Like the weed, they look for the beginnings of a crack, which we most likely started for them, and they make it wider, separating the smaller pieces over and over until there’s just sand left. We are doing this to ourselves. Our enemies have not the strength of numbers, the facts, nor the intelligence to defeat us, so we fight amongst ourselves and do the heavy lifting for them.

Jim’s words hurt sportsmen on many levels. Primarily, it pitted one congregation of the shooting sports against another. Nothing hurts more than the strike of a friend. The backlash was immediate and it was massive. The disciples of the black rifle took it personally. They were tired of being attacked by outsiders and would not stand for an attack from inside.

Jim’s comments exacerbated the rift between disciplines. I, for one, consider all shooters to be part of a sacred brotherhood. Whether it be hunting, sport, or defense, we are all of the same ilk. I fear that others who used to think the same way will now see hunters —and anyone else not of the same discipline — as different from the pack. Lastly, we will see Jim’s thoughts used against the entire shooting sport as his words are resounded and repeated by those working diligently to take all our rights away.

We often see those in the hunting, archery, and clay-shooting disciplines decry the rights of those involved in self-defense far more often than the reverse. While it may have happened, I have never heard of an owner of an AR-15 bemoaning the existence of hunting rifles.

The most ironic aspect of this is what it is that is truly protected by our Constitution. It’s time someone simply said the dirty little secret out loud. The bow hunting magazines won’t do it because they’re interested in bow hunting; the hunting magazines won’t take the position because they’re only interested in hunting. The shooting magazines don’t want to draw attention to the fact that there are thirty million of us with guns, so no one says it. This isn’t about hunting or shooting, it’s about the right to “keep and bear arms”. PERIOD!

That’s all it is and we need to realize that or it’s not going to matter if you think that shotguns are enough, or that bows are the right way, or that assault weapons, or IPSC are your things, because if we can’t get it through our collective heads that we need to be one voice first and foremost, if we can’t rally around “One for all and all for one” it’s not a mater of if we lose, we’re just marking time until we lose.

After the Second World War a German reverend was asked why the people hadn’t simply stood up to the Nazis in the beginning. He said, “well first they came for the socialists, but we weren’t socialists, so we said nothing, and then they came for the gypsies, but we weren’t gypsies, so we said nothing. Then they came for the Jews, but we weren’t Jews, so we said nothing. “And after a long litany he said “and when they finally came for us there was no one left to say anything.”

They will come for our shotgun and hunting rifle just as they have come for handguns and so-called assault weapons. The only way to end the tyranny against our rights is for all members of the shooting sports to work together as one. Clay shooters must protect the right to self-defense as much as bow hunters must protect the rights of target shooters. Divisiveness will only allow the weed of the anti-gunners to destroy the rock of our rights.

The thing that no one wants to say is this; our founders gave us the right to keep and bear arms for two reasons only; the first is implicit in the second. The first is that we be able to protect and defend our loved ones, our property and ourselves. The second is that we have the ability and the right to overthrow, that’s right, revolt against our own government if it becomes unresponsive to, or abusive of the needs and rights of the People. Period!

They meant that we should have weapons capable of fighting against those supplied to an army by that unresponsive government. They did not guarantee a right to hunt, to shoot clay pigeons, or bow hunt. Those things were implied by “to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”.

“A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

You will notice that only the words State and People are capitalized. Obviously these words and their connotation were of great import to the congress. Clearly the signers wanted there to be no ambiguity about the importance of the People and their right to bear arms.

This capitalization was not a mistake or a typo. You may have doubts, but consider that 220 years ago, 40 dedicated and educated men, after fully ten years of thought and deliberation took the time to review each individual word in our Constitution and were unanimously agreed to each one used in the text of the most specific and important democratic document ever written. For anyone to claim that they meant anything other than what they said they meant is foolish. These were learned and deliberate men.

I don’t duck hunt. I did, but I don’t anymore, but you can. I’m into tonnage now. Yep trophies, another thing Jim Zumbo is now against, but you hunt what and how you want with what you want and so will I. I own several duck guns and several field guns, however I haven’t shot at a pheasant for years and fully expect not to for years, but you go ahead. I don’t shoot trap, or skeet, or sporting clays or even whitetail anymore, but I’m glad that millions do. All I want to do is hunt Africa now and while I could, if I were shortsighted or overly opinionated, make a great case that ten grand for a shotgun to shoot clay is ridiculous, I’d have to then deal with my building several $5,000 hunting rifles each year that I may never use more than once, or face the fact that I also like owning and building ARs and military weapons. It’s my right, yours too, but you do what makes you happy and so will I!

I, by the rights given to me by some very smart men, have the right to voice my positive or negative opinion about the guns you own or how you pursue your little piece of the gifts our second amendment allows, but I must remember to remember that whatever you shoot or don’t shoot is your right and I would be the first one out the door with mine to protect yours. And while Jim and many like him may have forgotten that, please don’t you forget it!

-- Gary Cananzey

Gary Cananzey has hunted large and small game across most of North American and is now focused on hunting Africa. He is an avid gun collector, precision rifle shooter, handgunner, and managing partner of American Hunting Albums, a manufacturer of photo storage products for hunters.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Suggestions wanted!!

If you have a question, or have a suggestion for a topic, this thread is the place to let me know!

Video and article on pocket carry!

The best kept secret in concealed carry! Video contains lots of tips, techniques and suggestions.

Also see my article in Handguns magazine, Feb/March 07, page 64. Click the following link to download the article in pdf format

Holster Selection

The choice of holster is as important, if not more important, than your choice of firearm. A good gun in a bad holster can be compared to a race car with lousy tires. What may initially seem insignificant is actually a vital part of your safety equipment.

There are many facets to a holster’s performance. Obviously, it holds the gun, but it needs to do so properly - not too tightly and not too loosely. If your gun is too loose, at best, it can move and be in a bad position, and at worst it can fall out. I don’t want to be put in the position of trying to explain to the little old lady at the checkout counter that I am one of the good guys and that there is no need to worry, as I pick up my gun from the floor. Not to mention trying to figure out what to say to a responding police officer!

A holster that is too tight could prevent a proper grip, throw off your draw, and derail your shooting. I have seen some holsters that were so tight that it was nearly impossible to retrieve the firearm. The better the “boning,” the less tight the holster needs to be. A quality holster is fitted to the gun by boning the features of the gun into the leather, which entails pushing the leather into the feature shapes of the gun with a tool, while the holster is wet and is being formed. A properly boned holster will adhere to the trigger guard, slide stop, safety, and other physical features detailed into the leather. The boning provides the fit around the gun and eliminates the need for a strap to hold the gun in.

Good tests for holster fit are 1. to run at full speed and 2. to jump up and down. The gun should remain firmly in the holster, yet not so tightly as to impede the speed of the draw. If you find yourself tugging too hard to lift your gun, you will need to loosen it. If you have an adjustable holster, the adjustment screw will change the tension easily. If the holster does not have an adjustment screw, and if it is only slightly too tight, there is a simple home remedy. Wrap your gun (or dummy gun) with plastic wrap, and then several layers of masking tape (I use about four layers) and leave the gun in the holster overnight. The extra thick fit should loosen up the holster. If you don’t use plastic wrap first, you may need to get the tape and glue off with some adhesive remover. If four layers of tape does not work, try again with eight layers the next night. If that doesn’t work, send the holster back to the manufacturer if it’s new. If it’s too old to send back, you will need to buy another holster.

In addition to simply holding your gun, the holster needs to do so comfortably. How well the holster and belt supports the weight of the gun has a lot to do with how comfortable your carry rig will be. Thick, supportive leather in the holster — and especially the belt — will keep your gun positioned upright and minimize it flip-flopping around. Nothing is more aggravating to me than my gun flopping around on my belt, not to mention what that does to reduce concealability.

While frequently overlooked, gun belts are extremely important as they greatly contribute to comfort and security. For maximum support, the belt should be double thick to help distribute the weight of the gun. I prefer the buckle holes to be place 3/4-inch apart rather than the standard 1-inch. The shorter distance between holes offers more gradual adjustment for a better fit. Concealed Carry Clothiers offers gun belts with those features and even added a valuable twist — They reduced the thickness of the belt to a single ply in the front which eliminates the thick “gun belt” look. Whichever belt you choose be sure that it is properly sized for the holster’s belt loops. If you have a 1.5-inch belt opening in your holster, it won’t work well with a 1.25-inch belt. I have seen lots of quality holsters used with wrong size or low quality belts, only to watch the shooter struggle with draws and reholstering.

If all that’s not enough, a holster needs to do all of its jobs with a high degree of concealability. This is where things get tricky. Concealability is derived from the person’s body size and shape, the holster’s placement on the body, and from the size and shape of the gun. What works for one person may not conceal as well on another, and what is comfortable for one, may not be for someone else.

Holsters are variously designed for a “straight drop”, “cant forward”, and what some call a “radical cant.” Some holsters also offer adjustable cants. The forward cant pushes the butt of the gun upward, reducing the amount of the grip that sticks out the back. The greater the cant, the more concealable the gun, but if its too far forward getting a proper grip becomes difficult. With the more extreme cants, I find it beneficial to bend over slightly at the waist, which offers a better angle to grip the gun. Personally, I find that the best compromise between concealability and access is the “radical cant,” which angles the gun forward about 20 degrees. It’s enough to keep the butt of a full-sized gun from sticking out the back, but still allows a good grip.

A more minor design element is the “rise,” or how high the gun sits in relationship to the belt. For taller folks, the high rise might be better, but I find I get maximum concealability and minimal movement with standard, non-high-rise designs. The higher the gun is in relation to the belt, the more flip-flop movement there can be. For short people like me, the added height above the belt makes drawing more difficult, as you have to lift even higher to clear the holster.

One feature that inspires some level of controversy is the thumb break. While it may appear to be essential to hold the gun in the holster, it is, in fact, not necessary for that purpose. Quality holsters retain the gun quite efficiently by their fit and boning. The open-top design is a testament to their retention ability. The true intent of a thumb break is to deter a gun grab. The snap reduces the ability for someone to grab your pistol from its holster. While it may be possible for someone else to release the snap, pull the gun through the strap, or even break the holster, the extra safety device does act as a deterrent, slowing down the gun grab or possibly even preventing it totally.

The controversy comes in determining if that advantage is worth the trade-off. The thumb break does add some time to the draw. With lots of continuing practice, it may add only a fraction of a second, but it is yet one more thing to practice and therefore one more thing that could go wrong. If you don’t practice, you will add significant time to your draw at a moment when time is of the essence. Another argument against the thumb break is that if your dominant hand is hurt, using your non-dominant hand (which can be weaker) to draw from a dominant-side holster may be made more difficult by a thumb break. This scenario makes a great argument for carrying a back-up weapon accessible to your support hand.

The thumb-break issue boils down to one question; how likely are you to have someone try to take your pistol from your holster? Compared to private citizens, police officers are far more prone to having the gun taken from them. While the average person may never come into direct contact with a “bad guy” in his or her lifetime, the police officer will. Secondly, the police officer’s gun is fully exposed to view, while the average person’s gun is usually not known to anyone since it is most often concealed. Most assailants will never know that its there until it’s too late. An exception to that would be if the altercation starts as a hand-to-hand fight. In the duration of the tussle, the concealed holster is very likely to be discovered, and even possibly dislodged. In that case, the thumb break may go a long way to delay or completely prevent the gun grab. Other than that, the average person is not likely to be in a situation where a thumb break would be essential to survival. On the other hand, if you are willing to practice enough on a continuing basis to make the release of the thumb break second nature, it does add one more level of security.

There is no formula for putting all of these elements together. Lots of us have a drawer full of holsters that we like and dislike to some degree. Unfortunately, it’s a try and see situation. The good news is that many quality custom holster manufacturers accept returns if you are not satisfied. It’s worth buying from those companies just for that opportunity, even if you have to pay more.

While leather dominates the market, a new material, Kydex, has made significant inroads in the last few years. Kydex is a plastic material that has good molding and machining qualities. Like almost anything else, there are those who love it and those who hate it. The advantages of Kydex are that it is relatively inexpensive to manufacture, provides a fast draw because there is less friction inside the holster, and can be designed to be very adjustable.

The expense of Kydex holsters is lower than leather because of the low cost of plastic versus quality leather, as well as the reduction in manufacturing costs and time. Leather manufacturing necessitates that large amounts of the work be done by hand, while Kydex is often machine-made. Kydex does not need much maintenance because it’s plastic. The adjustable tension found on many Kydex holsters, combined with a design that locks in the pistol but releases as the gun is pulled out, allows a fast draw. One of the best features of Kydex is its ability to be designed in a manner that allows tremendous adjustability. Since Kydex is a hard plastic, threaded plates and nuts can be molded in, allowing interchangeable and adjustable belt loops. Some manufacturers offer belt loops of different sizes, so the holster can be used on 1.5 inch through 1 inch belts. Belt loops can be exchanged for J-clips, and it is even possible to change the holster from a belt side to an “inwaistband” design. By placing multiple fastening bolts in different locations, the height of the “ride” as well as the cant are highly customizable.

There are two disadvantages to Kydex: lack of flexibility and noise. Because the material is a hard plastic, it will never mold to your body with use like leather will. Unlike Kydex, leather holsters tend to become more comfortable over time as they mold to your body. While some people find that Kydex’s inflexibility makes the holster uncomfortable, especially when worn “in-waist-band” (IWB), this is not my experience. I often wear an IWB Kydex holster for 8 to 10 hours a day with a full-size gun, and find it quite comfortable. Again, personal taste and preference comes into play.

One drawback to Kydex that cannot be discounted is noise. While a leather holster is nearly silent during the draw, the same cannot be said for Kydex. There is a slight sound made as the gun rubs against the hard plastic, and there is a definite noise as the gun clears the molded indentations. While this is not too loud, if you need a quieter draw, stick with leather.
No matter what material you choose, there are some features that are a must for a holster to be considered suitable for carry purposes.

The holster must cover the entire length of the barrel. If not, the front sight can easily catch on the holster as you attempt to draw. You can put a short gun into a long holster, such as a 4-inch gun into a holster designed for a 5-inch, but not the other way around. There are many holsters that have the barrel sticking through. These may be acceptable for range use, but they are not suited for carry.

A second “must” feature is the holster’s ability to remain open while the gun is not holstered. This is vital because if the holster collapses it will require two hands to reholster. Not only do you endanger yourself because of lasering, you are at a severe disadvantage when dealing with an attacker. Holstering a gun into a collapsed holster requires extra attention, and will distract you from your more important task. It is essential that a belt holster be made of sufficiently thick and stiff leather to remain open. For IWB use, the holster needs to be reinforced. For the most part, this is not an issue for Kydex holsters, as the stiff plastic remains open. Talk to the holster manufacturer and make sure it fits all of your needs before you buy.

The last, but certainly not least, important feature to look for is the ability to get a full grip while the gun is holstered. A good draw starts with a good grip. Be sure that you can reach around the entire grip and place your hand properly up against the bottom of the trigger guard.

One feature that I insist on is a body protector. This is a tang that is extended upwards beyond the side of the holster that rests against the body. Not only does this keep the gun from making my shirts dirty, it offers three significant advantages. Reholstering is easier with a body protector because you can motion the gun sideways, pointing downwards, (not towards your body), pressing sideways against the protector, and use it to guide the gun into the holster in the proper direction. Second, it keeps the shirt from being pushed down into the holster, which would make reholstering or drawing difficult. Third, it protects the gun from body oils, sweat and the salt that the body secretes. The tang also provides an additional advantage for guns that have external safeties, because the body protector prevents your torso from accidentally releasing the safety during normal movement.

Women have additional holster considerations because of their body shape. Often, the placement and cant angle of men’s holsters are uncomfortable for women and are difficult to draw from since womens’ waist lines are often higher than mens’, and may angle inwards. Some holster manufacturers such as Fist, Inc.21 and Mitch Rosen Extraordinary Gunleather, LLC22 make holsters designed specifically for women.

I find that with holsters, as with most things, you get what you pay for. The best-fitting and most comfortable holsters that I own, I bought from custom manufacturers. They did cost more and I had to wait longer to get them, but I will wear them for years to come. I already have too many holsters relegated to the dresser drawer, not to buy right the first time.

Training Classes - 2007

2007 Tactical Training Classes by David Kenik


Download registration here; registrationforms2007.zip

May 12, 2007 – Harvard Sportsman's Club, Harvard, MA
July 21, 2007 – Harvard Sportsman's Club, Harvard, MA
Sept. 1, 2007 – Harvard Sportsman's Club, Harvard, MA

June 16 & 17, 2007 – Harvard Sportsman's Club, Harvard, MA
Aug. 25 & 26, 2007 – Harvard Sportsman's Club, Harvard, MA
April 28-29, 2007 – Hartford Gun Club, East Granby, CT

June 23, 2007 – Harvard Sportsman's Club, Harvard, MA
Sept. 8, 2007 – Harvard Sportsman's Club, Harvard, MA
May 6, 2007 – Hartford Gun Club, East Granby, CT

For the new gun owner or the shooter looking to learn the fundamentals of defensive pistol shooting. This class covers the laws of self-defense, drawing from a holster, flash sight pictures, engaging multiple targets, and use of cover. -- 8 hours. -$150

Based on his book by the same title, Armed Response covers the mindset, knowledge, and tactics needed to defend yourself with a firearm before, during, and after a life threatening assault. From learning what to ask before deciding to carrying a gun, how to carry and use a concealed firearm, and the legal issues and implications of using of lethal force, Armed Response is one of the most indispensable classes available.

Realistic, defensive shooting skills are emphasized including drawing from a concealed holster, engaging multiple targets, and shooting from cover, as well as real-life lessons about preparing to face a lethal threat, winning a gun fight, and surviving the ensuing court battle. This class is a must for anyone using firearms for self-defense. Topic covered include; Police protection, responsible use of lethal force, properties of survival, body alarm reaction, reaction drills, armed confrontations, aftermath of a shooting, concealed carry techniques, back up tools, stopping power, ammo selection, and drawing from a holster. --16 hours. -$250

Most gunfights happen within 5 feet-within touching distance. Yet little firearms training is done at this extremely close distance. This is the zone in which defensive tactics must be combined with shooting in order to survive-the distance at which integrated use of force becomes important. The class includes an overview of essential gun presentation skills and the effective integrated use of force techniques for extremely close ranges, engagements of single and multiple targets, shooting while moving, target focused shooting, and simulated close quarter assaults.

In this class you will learn: empty hands defense techniques, close quarters drawing, shooting at touching distance, shooting while moving, engagement of multiple threats. This class is not for beginner shooters. Attendees must be familiar with firearm safety rules, proper gun handling, and drawing from a concealed holster. -- 8 hours -$150

Download registration here; registrationforms2007.zip

Magazine Article - C Products AR mags

Check out my latest magazine article in the March 2007 issue of SWAT magazine featuring the manufacturing process of AR magazines by C Products. www.cproductsllc.com

You can download the article below in pdf format. Reprinted with permission of S.W.A.T. Magazine, Copyright 2007 C-productSWAT.pdf

Email notification of new topics

If you would like to be notified when I post a new topic, just send an email to info@armedresponsebook.com with the subject "subscribe." Your email will not be given or sold to anyone and will only be used to notify you of new blog topics and training news/events.

Great pants for in the waistband carry (IWB)

For a comfortable fit while carrying an IWB holster, it is recommended that you wear pants two inches larger than normal to accommodate the holster. However, the pants often appear baggy and are especially large and uncomfortable when not using an IWB holster.

Deluth Training Company may have the answer. In their FireHose series of men's pants they offer "Self-Tailoring Travel Pants" with an expandable waistband. Rather than just an elastic sewn into the waistband, these are two overlapping bands of fabric that form the waist band, held together by internal elastic. The result is that the pants expand and contract invisibly.

At $54 they are a little pricey but they are very well made. The adjustability and added comfort is worth the price. Unfortunately, the do not offer a pleated version so pocket carry is limited to small pocket rockets.



Welcome to my new blog. Approximately twice a month I will post training tips for the armed citizen as well as comments on firearms and personal defense related issues. Please feel free to comment, ask questions, and share!

For details and purchase information on my book, Armed Response; A Comprehensive Guide to Using Firearms for Self-Defense, please visit www.armedresponsebook.com

Details and class schedule for my training classes can be found at www.armedresponsetraining.com

If you would like to be notified when I post a new topic, just send an email to info@armedresponsebook.com with the subject "subscribe." Your email will not be given or sold to anyone and will only be used to notify you of new blog topics and training news/events.

If you would like to contact me directly, use the same email; info@armedresponsebook.com

Stay safe and train often,

David Kenik