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 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.