Practice your Training

For those who are new to gun ownership and armed self-defense once you have engrained good Fundamentals it is often very difficult to find a place where you can practice. Public ranges do not allow drawing from a holster, moving to and shooting from cover, rapid fire and other techniques many have learned in training. A fundamental truth in the violent encounter is you will perform as you have trained and practiced.

To survive you need to move and shoot, fast and accurately because this is not the OK Corral and you are not Wyatt Earp.

While at the 2014 NSSF SHOT Show we spent a considerable amount of time looking for new tools to either enhance our training programs or new tools to help our students to continue to ingrain good, even life saving habits.

For home practice we found a couple of items that will allow you to draw and shoot, moving to cover and all the while have your shots timed and scored.

First we found a Laser “bullet” that will safely convert your gun to firing a burst of red laser light at a target. The device comes in a variety of set ups so it can fit almost any handgun and they make them for carbine rifles as well. Once installed correctly the gun clearly shows a red tip so you visually know your gun cannot fire a live round. I have about 500 hits through mine at this time and it is working flawlessly. If you wish to have effective practice check out Laser Ammos SureStrike L.A.S.R. Range.

LASR Practice

While at Laser Ammos booth we found another tool to use with the laser bullet to allow us the ability to define a target as well as record and time hits or misses. LASR

The L.A.S.R.: Laser Activated Shot Reporter allows you to set up real targets, define a hit zone and define differing courses of fire so your practice is timed and scored.

Here is a video from LASR,

So for a minor investment in the equivalent of 1,000 rounds of your favorite ammunition you can practice endlessly from the comfort of your home and on your own schedule.

Remember, failing to train is training to fail.
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Mastering Your Trigger

Different guns have different triggers, not all are the same and even in some manufacturers lines you will find different triggers. Semi-automatic triggers are different that revolver triggers. Mastering the trigger on any gun is really very simple but to commit it to sub-conscious memory requires multiple perfect repetitions.

First some definitions; Trigger reach is measured from the back strap to the face of the trigger once all play has been taken up. This is the measurement that will determine if your finger can reach the trigger face with a proper grip on the back strap. Trigger play or slack is the looseness in the trigger before it meets resistance as you move the trigger rearward, almost all semi-automatics have some. Trigger break is when the correct pounds of pressure have been applied and the firing mechanism has released and the trigger easily moves to the rear of the trigger guard. The trigger reset point is the place where after a shot has been fired, as you move your finger forward you will hear and feel and audible click which is where the firing mechanism has been re-engaged.

The firing sequence is fairly simple, after you have acquired your sight picture and are on the trigger begin to gently move the trigger rearward until you meet resistance. At this point you have removed any play in the trigger and are now preparing to apply the correct amount of pressure to the trigger face to cause the gun to discharge and move the trigger to the rear of the trigger guard. As you begin to apply pressure to the trigger face you must understand that there is a specific amount of pressure required to make the trigger break, if you apply more than is needed or you accelerate pressure that the gun will move just as the trigger breaks and you will miss what you are aiming at. I am going to step out on a limb here and give you an empirical fact; you do not miss what you are aiming at because of bad sight alignment or bad eyes or any of the other dozen excuses I’ve heard over the years as everyone I’ve ever worked with sights their gun just fine, you simply miss because you moved the gun right at the moment of firing. Where the gun was pointed at the time it fired is where the hole is on the target, it really is that simple.

Somewhere in the process of applying the correct amount of pressure to the trigger the gun will fire. Proper follow through indicates you should continue to the rear with the trigger and keep it pinned to the rear throughout the recoil of the gun. Once you have acquired your next sight picture you begin to release the trigger in a controlled manner until you hear/feel the trigger reset. Check your sight picture and repeat.

This method will help keep you from jerking the trigger and will increase your accuracy considerably as compared to flipping off the trigger. I have watched videos of accomplished shooters firing multiple rounds rapid fire and their finger never leaves the trigger and has minimal forward and rearward motion. Master your trigger, your shooting will improve.

Trigger reset with a Sig P239 and a Glock G23

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Concealed Carry Questions

I often ask students various questions when they are considering carrying or already carry. Often many had never considered the question.

How do you determine which gun is going to be reliable, after all you are betting your life that thing will work when you need it most?

We get a lot of funny answers from this and I suspect the reasoning is that most people never even considered the possibility of a gun failing since almost all failures happen at a public range rather than in a gunfight. We also get a lot of gun forum answers and Ole Guys Tales.

I do not have an empirical method to tell you who make reliable guns as there are no reliable records so for us I had to consider who I could trust for information. I know the gun makers are not going to tell you about their failures, not good business, same with the gun sellers. I know that anyone who can post on gun forums is generally not a good source since ANYONE can post of forums and call themselves gun experts. Listening to what my great uncle Joe believes from over 120 years ago is also not going to be a good source. Lastly there are firearms instructors but since there are no hurdles to entry instructors are much like the gun forum guys unless you can get one who teaches a 100 plus days a year and sees a lot of gun failures.

So from all of that I looked at who bets their lives on the guns performing and do not care one iota what those guns cost. That left me with more or less just two sources, US Special Operations and the FBI. From there I came away with just two manufacturers. This of course is what we carry.

How many rounds are you going to carry?

Again, blank looks on faces. It seems that most believe they will never have to reload yet in the interviews I’ve done with citizens who have been in gunfights, THEY ALL ran out of ammunition. I like many used to just carry the magazine in the gun until I had an exchange with a FB friend who had been a detective in the Bronx. He had his gun and two magazines, a revolver with five rounds and an ankle semi. While chasing some bad guys he got into the fight and ran out of ammunition before the cavalry arrived. From that frightening experience I now always carry at least two spare magazines.

So let’s say we have to draw and shoot. We will shoot very quickly, perhaps emptying our first magazine in less than two seconds. SO ask yourself this, how long does it take a large man to fall to the ground? We’ve timed it, about two seconds and as we who study these things know, most bad guys are not lone wolves and come with a pack of help, think about the woman shooter in Las Vegas who shot Joseph Wilcox as he walked by her.

How are you going to carry daily?

Again we get a lot of interesting answers, the one most often quoted is they are just going to keep the gun in the glove compartment not actually carry it on them. I get a chuckle out of that. In researching the use of guns in self-defense by citizens we find that they happen more often in public parking lots than at businesses or home, and that they seldom happen when you are in your car. Here’s an empirical statement, if you need your gun more often than not it will be in the transition zone when you are moving from one place to another in public. If your gun is in the car you might be out of luck. And as a side note on the car storage thing, the second most often location for guns being stolen . . . in your car.

Additionally we get people who say they are only going to carry when they feel the need, as if they can somehow predict the future. My standard response is, did you wear your seat belt while driving today?

Carrying is a change of lifestyle, it is a mindset that says you refuse to become a victim or let others around you be victimized. It is not intended to be comfortable but I will guarantee you it is comforting to know you are armed.

What size of gun are you going to carry?

We see a wide variety of sizes. Most younger, stronger and healthier people carry full size guns, the size and weight does not bother them. Most active people who WILL carry daily pick compact sizes like the Glock G19/23 or the Sigs P229/239. Most clueless people show up with a micro-TINY subcompact in .380 to take a 500 round class. As an interesting note on my interviews with the gun fighting citizens, ALL had tiny revolvers in .38 or subcompact .380’s, ALL ran out of ammunition before the gun fight was over, ALL the bad guys gave up psychologically and ran away not a single one dropping at the site of the fight from gunshot wounds and all of the citizens received gunshot injuries. They ALL today carry larger .40 S&W caliber guns with extra ammunition and they take training and practice regularly. I guess getting shot in a gunfight when you are out gunned makes a person reconsider their carry options.

I carry three different sizes of guns, my favorite EDC is a full size gun, if I can hide it, and it is the one I am packing daily. I have a dress size gun; sometimes I have to dress for business rather than the range and I need a THINNER gun so I carry a single stack gun that tucks and conceals more easily. Finally, I carry a tiny subcompact chambered in 9mm, which is my minimum caliber, it tucks in nicely for appendix carry when I am riding my motorcycle where all the rest are harder to conceal.

Think of how you dress, carry the biggest gun you possibly can, carry extra ammo and carry daily.

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The Tupperware Gun –

Due to an ongoing problem with my lower back I started about six years ago looking for different ways to carry other than my old favorite Sig P229. I had purchased a Glock G22 Gen 3 that I had been using in my Beginning Pistol classes but just was not that impressed with look or feel. I have to admit though it was one tough gun that takes a beating in my school and never complains about it’s lack of cleaning or lubrication.DSC00175

When the Gen 4’s came out in 2010 I decided to give the G23 a try, over the next two years I had put about 2,000 rounds through it and the gun function flawlessly. I liked the way the new grip felt, the redesigned recoil spring was very comfortable and again like all Glocks the thing NEVER malfunctions.

As part of this discovery process I had dropped my P229 from my from my CCW permit and replaced it with the P239. IMG_1455

Two years ago while lifting weights the dead lift really buggered the back so when it came time to renew my CCW I thought about the G23. Because reliability of my EDC is my first and foremost consideration when selecting a concealed gun I decided to give the G23 a burn out test, taking it to the range with 1,000 rounds and see which one of us quits first. I was pleasantly, although sore, surprised that running a dirty G23 through 1,000 rounds did not take as long as I thought it would AND the gun just got easier to shoot throughout the day. Not one malfunction of any kind so . . . weighed all of my favorite carry guns and voila, the G23 made the cut and is now my EDC.

As I was never thrilled with the factory sights I replaced the front sight with the TRUGLO BRITE•SITE™ TFO™  and the rear sight with the TRUGLO BRITE•SITE™ TRITIUM . Over time I started looking at the grip, while comfortable, I work outside in Sacramento in the heat with my EDC hand in and out of the holster much of each day and it gets warm and sweaty here so I just added the Brooks Tactical Agrip wrap to the gun and it is working perfectly. IMG_1454

My permit is up again this fall so I am once again evaluating guns and accessories. The Glock G23 is going to remain on the list but this time with the new Guardian trigger from Jeff Wilson at with some help from Ken Hackathorn . . . great trigger, all OEM, crisp clean break with little to no pre-travel.

For those who don’t know the story, here is a blog post from Cheaper Than Dirt about where the tupperware gun came from.

Glock History
By CTD Blogger published on February 3, 2011 in Glock, History

In 1963, Gaston Glock founded a plastics company near Vienna Austria. His moderately successful company primarily manufactured plastic curtain rod rings along with various other plastic products. Soon, Mr. Glock realized the strength and durability that could be realized by combining plastic and steel for particular military products and he began supplying the Austrian military with various tools and components. When two military Colonels were visiting in 1981 to oversee the manufacturing of plastic grenade components, Mr Glock overheard the military officials lamenting the fact that no one could manufacture military pistols that would meet their specifications.

Mr. Glock interjected, saying that he could produce the pistols. The military men laughed at him. But Gaston Glock is not someone who tolerates being laughed at. He immediately set to work in his basement designing a pistol that would not only meet but exceed the requirements of the Austrian military.

Glock 17
Glock had no experience building pistols before. If you ask him, that was an advantage. Despite Glock’s inexperience in manufacturing small arms, they were nevertheless invited to participate in the bidding process. Glock’s revolutionary design so impressed the military evaluators, that in 1983, the Austrian army ordered 25,000 Glock pistols.

In 1985, Glock established a factory in Smyrna, Georgia so that they could better serve the United States firearm market. The Glock 17 became enormously popular in the United States and was readily adopted by law enforcement agencies.

Around the same time, GLOCK developed their second model handgun, the G18 machinepistol. The G18 was based off of the G17, but had a selector switch on the back of the slide that allowed the firearm to fire in semi- or full-auto. Because of its small size and extremely high cyclic rate (1,200 RPM) the G18 was never widely used.

Glock’s popularity increased demands from consumers for a compact model that could be easily concealed. In 1988 Glock released the G19, a compact 9mm. Despite the smaller frame of the G19, it still had a 15 round capacity. It was around this time that Glock also built a plant in Hong Kong to meet demand from Southeast Asia, as well as a second factory in Austria.

Glock 21
Soon, Glock released their big bore models, the G20 and G21 in 10mm and .45 ACP, respectively. These large pistols gained a huge following from American consumers who valued them for their large caliber stopping power. When the FBI developed their .40 caliber round with Smith and Wesson, Glock answered in 1990 with the G22 and G23. The G22 was a full sized .40 caliber handgun, and the G23 was the compact model. Later that year a fourth Glock factory was opened in South America to better serve markets in Brazil and the rest of Latin America.

In 1995, Glock released their G25 handgun chambered in .380 Auto. The G25 was about the same size as the G19 but utilized a blowback design for increased reliability. Later, in 1996, the subcompact G26 in 9mm and the G27 in .40 S&W were both released due to increased demands from the American market where concealed carry led to the need for small easily concealable firearms. Glock released a .380 subcompact in 1997, the G28. That same year, Glock continued the development of their subcompact line with the release of the G29 10mm and G30 chambered in .45 ACP. This helped further appease the US market where demands for big bore subcompact handguns had been growing.

Glock has not been without some mystery and controversy throughout the history of the company. On July 27th, 1999, Gaston Glock was brutally attacked by a hitman, contracted by Glock’s onetime business consultant Charles Ewert. Glock fought back, powered by his indomitable will and years of exercise, overpowering the would be assassin and knocking him unconcsious.

Gaston Glock immediately suspected who his betrayer was, and while being treated at the hospital contacted his bankers and immediately started transferring tens of millions of dollars out of the reach of Ewert. Glock succeeded in safeguarding $40 million in this fashion before Ewert could block the transfer of another $30 million. Ewert was eventually convited of attempted murder, along with his hired gun Pêcheur.

To say that Ewert’s betrayal was an enormous hit to Glock would be an understatement. Glock, already known as an untrusting and secretive man, became even more paranoid according to some insiders. Ewert had been Glock’s right hand man for over 15 years, helping to propel Glock from a small military arms manufacturer in Austria to becoming one of the largest suppliers of side arms for law enforcement agencies throughout the world.

Further investigations both in Austria and the United States resulted in fraud and embezzlement charges being brought against Ewert. Allegations state that Ewert funneled more than $100 million to himself and attempted to fraudulently take over Unipatent, Glock’s holding company. For himself, Gaston Glock has continued to oversee the meteoric growth of his company.

When the Glock pistols were initially released, they rumors ran rampant about the guns, including one rumor they could pass undetected through airport metal detectors. These rumors proved totally fictional.

While the Glock Safe Action Pistol consists of over a pound of steel, the “Combat Tupperware” nickname comes from the almost completely made of polymer frame.

The Glock Model 17 was adopted into service with the Austrian police and military forces in 1982 as the P80 and has since captured the world’s and the United State’s attention as the premier duty sidearm.

The Glock has had many evolutionary changes over the past 28 years, with the major model changes identified as “Generations”. Glock is currently releasing its fourth generation pistols all along its model line.

1st Generation
The 1st Generation Glock, as it came to be known, was introduced to the US market in 1984. The Glock pistols continued their rise in status and production with very few changes.

Glock 17 1st gen

Glock did switch to a captive recoil spring fairly early in the pistols life and at one point the serial number became stamped on imbedded steel plates in the pistol’s dustcover.

2nd Generation
In 1988 Glock added checkering on the front and back straps on all its models. In 1990, the locking block was enlarged and an additional cross pin was added on the non 9mm caliber models.

Glock 2nd Gen

3rd Generation
In 1998 Glock changed the frame substantially. An accessory rail was added, officially known as the “Universal Glock Rail”. Thumb rests and finger grooves were added, the extractor was changed to also function as a loaded chamber indicator and the OD color was added to the lineup.

Glock 21 3rd Gen

In 2002 all 17, 19 and 34 models started using the larger locking block and additional cross pin to simplify production.

Glock 22 RTF2

In 2009 at SHOT Glock introduced the Model 22 RTF2 with a pyramid grip texture and scalloped slide serrations. It is still considered a 3rd generation gun. Glock produced the RTF2 in models 17, 19, 22, 23 and 23C. Around mid-2010 Glock dropped the crescent shaped slide serrations and started using the standard slide serrations on the RTF2 models. As of January 2011 the RTF2 Model Glocks were available only to Law Enforcement.

4th Generation
In January 2010 Glock debuted the latest and greatest version of the Glock Safe Action Pistol. The big changes are a smaller grip circumference with add on backstraps, a captive dual spring recoil assembly, a truncated pyramid grip texture and a larger, reversible magazine release.

Glock 17 gen 4

These changes are accompanied by smaller changes in the barrel, slide, trigger bar, trigger housing, the deletion of cutout on the front of the grip for magazine removal, and the additional notch on the magazines for left-handed magazine release.

Glock continues to maintain their presence as one of the world’s handgun manufacturers with their continuing innovation and cutting edge technology. Though often imitated and copied, Glock continues to outperform and remains one of the most popular brands of handguns today.

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The Use of Deadly Force in Self-Defense

When you carry a gun you are in fact carrying a tool that is lethal if used, same as if you used a car, knife, baseball bat or rock. All can be lethal. Interestingly even though most items we use daily are not required to be permitted to carry one with us such as our car or a knife yet for some reason states require permits to carry a gun. My guess is that it is perceived to stop or reduce crime however I believe the records clearly show that laws only keep the law abiding from breaking them. Criminals by their very nature commit crimes.

There is a wide disparity of gun laws throughout America today, somewhere in excess of 27,000 yet it appears to not have stopped the criminals.

Many states are referred to as gun friendly or anti-gun. I live in a state that is considered by many to be the most anti-gun in the country, yet I carry a gun daily as do more and more people here do every day.

I teach Concealed Carry and in that class we spend a fair amount of time on the use of deadly force in self-defense. Because I’m in CA I often wondered what other states have as their self-defense laws. Upon looking through the penal codes of 34 different states what I found is the law concerning the use of deadly force in self-defense is almost uniform throughout America regardless of their pro or anti gun stances.

In CA the legal defense of self-defense in California law means that you can’t be found guilty of a violent crime that you committed in order to protect yourself, as long as your conduct was reasonable under the circumstances.

For purposes of the self-defense legal defense, “reasonable under the circumstances” means that you need to have:

  1. Reasonably believed that you were in imminent danger of being killed, injured, or touched unlawfully,
  2. Reasonably believed that you needed to use force to prevent that from happening, and
  3. Used no more force than was necessary to prevent that from happening.

Pretty simple really, if the person attacking you or another has the ability to cause you grave bodily injury AND has the opportunity to employ that ability AND has shown the intent to do so you may use whatever force is available to you to stop that threat. That force is not restricted to your carry gun; you could use your rifle, truck, knife, fish billy . . . whatever tool you have that would stop the threat.

Okay so that is the most anti-gun in the nation’s self-defense laws. What about one of the most pro-gun states in the country, Arizona.

13-405. Justification; use of deadly physical force

  1. A person is justified in threatening or using deadly physical force against another:
  2. If such person would be justified in threatening or using physical force against the other under section 13-404, and
  3. When and to the degree a reasonable person would believe that deadly physical force is immediately necessary to protect himself against the other’s use or attempted use of unlawful deadly physical force.
  4. A person has no duty to retreat before threatening or using deadly physical force pursuant to this section if the person is in a place where the person may legally be and is not engaged in an unlawful act.

Again pretty cut and dried, amazingly similar to the gun hating state of California. Notice also there is NO mention anywhere of what force can be used.

Well we all know Michigan has very strict carry laws so obviously there would be no right of self-defense . . . wrong.

780.972 Use of deadly force by individual not engaged in commission of crime; conditions.
Sec. 2.

(1) An individual who has not or is not engaged in the commission of a crime at the time he or she uses deadly force may use deadly force against another individual anywhere he or she has the legal right to be with no duty to retreat if either of the following applies:

(a) The individual honestly and reasonably believes that the use of deadly force is necessary to prevent the imminent death of or imminent great bodily harm to himself or herself or to another individual.

(b) The individual honestly and reasonably believes that the use of deadly force is necessary to prevent the imminent sexual assault of himself or herself or of another individual.

(2) An individual who has not or is not engaged in the commission of a crime at the time he or she uses force other than deadly force may use force other than deadly force against another individual anywhere he or she has the legal right to be with no duty to retreat if he or she honestly and reasonably believes that the use of that force is necessary to defend himself or herself or another individual from the imminent unlawful use of force by another individual.

Oh my, that looks almost exactly like California law. Well there has to be at least one anti-gun state that won’t let you shoot someone who is attempting to kill you . . . let’s see, hmmm how about New York, it has to be the worst state.

1. A person may, subject to the provisions of subdivision two, use physical force upon another person when and to the extent he or she reasonably believes such to be necessary to defend himself, herself or a third person from what he or she reasonably believes to be the use or imminent use of unlawful physical force by such other person, unless: (a) The latter’s conduct was provoked by the actor with intent to cause physical injury to another person; or (b) The actor was the initial aggressor; except that in such case the use of physical force is nevertheless justifiable if the actor has withdrawn from the encounter and effectively communicated such withdrawal to such other person but the latter persists in continuing the incident by the use or threatened imminent use of unlawful physical force; or (c) The physical force involved is the product of a combat by agreement not specifically authorized by law.

Well, I cannot seem to find a single state that will not let you defend yourself, so much for differences in the law. Please note though it is practically impossible to legally carry in many places. Carrying does nothing more than place on your person a tool that could be very effective in stopping a bad person from harming you or others. You can use your car, your knife or your baseball bat or golf club. In certain areas of Sacramento I see older men walking their dogs or their wives while carrying a golf club and I can guarantee it is not so they can stop by the driving range on the way home.

Some things to remember, if you can get away and don’t, regardless of the law people will ask why you shot when you could have safely escaped. I do not know of a single state that requires you to retreat but I believe if you can and do not, you have a good chance of being prosecuted because if you can escape the threat is not imminent.

Additionally, it is important to understand that the majority of cases where self-defense is proclaimed often you are looking at two bad players, perhaps doing a drug deal and one of them pulled out a gun to rob the other. Honest citizens seldom if ever have to go to court as Zimmerman did and had there not been meddling in that case he would have never gone to court.

Any tool will do to stop a deadly threat.

Be calm . . . and Carry, all the time.

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