Tag Archives: guns

Jack of Heatrts

You don’t know Jack about CCW. And neither do I.

Jack of HeatrtsI’ve wanted to formulate a post/article on CCW for quite some time now.  Let’s start from some common ground.  You don’t know jack.  And neither do I.  We each may know some strong points, but we’ll never know everything.  Before you can start this, we have to agree on that.  I am not an instructor.  I do not want to be.

I am going to approach this from the perspective of someone who is a lifelong shooter, has worked in positions in which I was required to carry, and have carried, legally, different times in my life.  I will soon have my Ohio CHL and will carry all the time.  I want to convey that I absolutely believe every person has a God-given right to carry a gun and to protect himself or herself with it.  But you weren’t born using a fork and spoon, just like you weren’t born with a gun in your hand.  You have to learn.

In Ohio, we have a training requirement to carry a concealed handgun.  Until March 23rd, 2015 it involved 10 hours of classroom instruction and 2 hours of range instruction.  After March 23rd, 2015, that drops to 6 hours of classroom and 2 hours of range instruction.  These courses are NOT designed to teach you to be a self-defense shooter.  They are designed for you to be exposed to a minimum level of instruction in firearms and the laws about them, as well as for you to demonstrate safe handling of a firearm.  In 8 hours.  I want you to think back to when you took Driver’s Education.  For me that involved a 9-week course at my school after school, 2 hours each day and then an additional 80 hours of behind the wheel instruction, as well as having to pass the Ohio Driver’s License written exam.  And after all that?  I didn’t know jack about real world driving.  And neither did you.  So where am I going with that?  Right, wrong, or indifferent, to qualify to carry a handgun concealed in Ohio, you get 8 hours of instructor-led training, and then you are allowed to carry a device that, when properly used, is harmless, unless it needs to be otherwise, in which case, it is deadly.  Many people seem to baulk at paying, on average, $100 for this education.  Many people seem to feel it is also all that you need to be a good steward of concealed carry.  And baulk at paying $12.50/hr. (after 3/23/15) to get it.  In my mind, to have a professional instructor, that’s a good value.  Will a $45 class be just as good?  I don’t know.  I didn’t take one.  I do know that at the end of my course I knew who Jack was.  But we’d still never met.

So how did you get to where you could feed your face without needing a bib?  You practiced.  A lot.  HUNDREDS UPON HUNDREDS of times.  Being skilled with a firearm is the same thing.  Very few people are actually instinctive shooters by nature.  I’ve met three in my life and I’m married to one of them.  What does that mean?  Well, they are really freaking good at hitting a target.  I’m pretty good.  But shooting was ANYTHING but instinctive to me.  I learned to shoot the hard way.  I did it, a lot.  This is what most people need to do.  A very sad statistic involves many law enforcement officers.  They, on average, discharge their service weapon for training and qualification a total of 100 rounds a year.  Have you ever been to the range where a police officer was shooting?  How did they do?  I’ve seen some pretty good shots, but they were folks for whom shooting was a hobby and not just a potential job function, and I have seen some who were… Not so good.

If you want to be very good, and a good steward of CCW, you need to have a solid fundamental skill set in shooting in general.  That means pointing your firearm down range and safely firing rounds onto a target the size of the human center of mass and at least having every round on that area from a reasonable distance, 30’ being a good mark, doing it at 50’ is even better.  Think of an 8.5×11 sheet of paper.  That should be your ballpark 101.  Next, be able to do the same thing, rapid fire to the capacity of your weapon. When you can do that consistently, you then need to start doing the same thing from your holster.  Every round needs to hit that paper.  Any round that doesn’t just killed the thing in the world you hold most dear.  Sounds dramatic?  Well, a stray round killing someone else, is.  Once you’re comfortable and competent drawing and firing from your carry holster, doing so should become an integral part of your shooting practice, if you can find a facility that allows it.  If not, try to find one that will.  You should also try to practice at different ranges from point black back to 50’ if you can.  How much should you practice?  As much as it takes for you to be able to consistently put those rounds into that piece of paper from 7’, 14’, 21’ and 30’ is a good BASELINE.  Realistically, if you’re capable, getting involved in a hobby-level shooting sport that involves learning to shoot while moving, from cover and concealment, and at varied ranges is going to serve you well.  You should also be able to do this from your non-dominant hand.

Earlier I mentioned your carry holster.  I have seen dozens, maybe hundreds, of cases of people waiting to find the cheap solution to a holster.  If you are going to carry a gun the holster you use needs to be one of a quality manufacture, that is absolutely comfortable for you to have on your body no less than 18 hours per day.  If it doesn’t fit those criteria it is NOT GOOD ENOUGH.  It needs to retain its shape, protect your weapon and be comfortable and durable.  You are probably going to go through several until you find the exact right one, but I will tell you this, you’re probably not going to buy it at Wal-Mart.  You are buying a (bra/jock strap) you should feel comfortable and willing to PUT ON AND WEAR EVERY DAY ALL DAY.  It needs to be as close to your definition of perfect feeling as you can get, NO MATTER THE COST.

Opinions vary all across the board as to carry weapons, calibers and ammunition.  The FBI Ballistic Test Protocol (http://greent.com/40Page/general/fbitest.htm) sets a quantifiable standard for the effectiveness of ammunition.  In my opinion, for a general carry weapon, if the round in question will NOT pass this protocol then it is not suitable for carry.  There are some very specific exceptions, and they are rare and I’m not going into that here.  The FBI Ballistic Test Protocol is the guide I, and most others, use, to make sure their ammo will deliver a wound capable of inflicting damage that should be capable of delivering a mortal wound with ideal placement.  No one should rely on one shot stopping anyone, it, generally doesn’t happen.  You also should proof the ammo to work reliable in your firearm.  That means you’re going to be firing enough rounds of your chosen ammo through your firearm to be certain that it will feed, fire and function under varied conditions.  Slow fire, rapid fire, full magazine, partial magazine (or cylinder.) And this should be done through your carry gun that you have fire enough rounds through to also be comfortable that it will function reliably.  Some schools of thought recommend that you fire no less than 500 rounds though your carry gun before you ever carry it.  That’s something you’re going to have to decide, but it’s NOT a bad idea.  As to what gun you should Nope.  Not going there.  Too much emotional attachment.  If it won’t fire 500 rounds in a row without a failure it is probably not a good choice.  Period.

I want to come back around to what carrying a gun is fundamentally about, and that is shooting.  IN order to be a good shooter you have to shoot.  It all comes back to the old joke of “how do you get to Carnegie Hall?  Practice. Practice. Practice.”  The fundamental ability to shoot well will be developed by practicing.  Practicing with your carry weapon, from your carry holster also achieves a training element of building muscle memory.  You will learn your failure points, and you will develop muscle memory that will come from doing the activity over and over and over.  When it comes down to the time when you actually have to draw your weapon and fire the person who has practiced this often will be orders of magnitude faster, and more accurate, than someone who does not.  The person you may have to fire on is someone who intends to kill you, and you can bet your bottom dollar, THEY HAVE PRACTICED.  And they WILL KILL YOU if given the chance.  They do not care about bystanders!  They do not care about missed shots!  They do not care about the baby in your arms!  They are intent on making sure you get dead, so that they do not get dead, and they can escape.

The final element that is essential to being a good firearm carrier is that of training.  There are people who make it their life’s work to become as absolutely versed on carrying firearms, shooting them, drawing them from holsters, shooting under circumstances you’ve never considered.  They are in the business of attempting to convey knowledge they have gained from their own training, from experience, and from practice.  Your CCW class is an introduction to get you to a bare minimum qualification level.  Every bit of training you can get beyond that, that you can afford, and you should afford, is going to get you a small step closer to knowing Jack.  The money you spend will help you to develop good habits, think about scenarios and situations you have not considered, and have a professional instructor work with you to help you overcome short falls that we ALL have.  Even if you can only take one class a year you will be LIGHT YEARS ahead of someone who only ever did the bare minimum.  You know the bare minimum type; we’ve all worked with them, right?  And be a good consumer of instructors.  An educated one.  There are a lot of mall ninjas and paper tigers out there.  And then you’ve got the guys that are really good and know their stuff.  Talk to people who have taken classes from them.  Make sure you’re making an investment and not just being entertained.

At the end of the day you are taking on a responsibility to safely and skillfully be in possession of a deadly weapon with the ability and understanding that you can and will only use it with absolutely the best skills at your disposal under circumstances that warrant it.  Every round you fire, every class you take, every video you watch, and every book you read is a tool in your belt and gets you closer to knowing Jack.  Who knows Jack?  In my mind it would be the person who has lived and breathed under immediate and imminent threat of their life every single day, and possibly has experienced it.  You probably don’t want to be Jack, but you want to develop as close to a skill set as he has as possible.

Again, I’m not a professional, not an instructor, and freely admit I don’t know Jack.  But I hope that reading this helps someone to get closer to it

In defense of the 1911, and all others.

I don’t know how any of those hundreds of thousands of GI’s who carried 1911’s ever made it home alive… All with FMJ, too! It’s not about the tool, it’s about how you use it, maintain it, and train with it. Capacity is a factor, of course, as are many other things, but anyone who wants to try to tell me that 1911’s are unreliable and finicky and hard to work on I will HAPPILY take to a VFW hall of your choice and let the guys and gals there show you how fast someone who has TRAINED WITH THEIR WEAPON SYSTEM can tear down, clean, and reassemble one, and then we’ll go to the range and they can show you how horribly these guns shoot. Sure, it’s a 100 year old design, and there are newer, perhaps better designs, but the 1911 is NOT some mystical anachronism. Strangely, the United States Marine Corps just went BACK to a modified 1911 for their Close Quarter Battle Pistol. You can prefer a newer design, you can find it to be something that works better for you, but this bullshit of people saying it’s an unreliable and incapable firearm is getting on my nerves. Pick what works best for YOU and stop telling other people why they’re wrong. The gun YOU want is the gun YOU should shoot, use, carry, whatever. But don’t dog on someone else because they’ve decided to go a different route. If one design were the be all and end all, everyone would make it, carry it and use it and nothing else would need to be sold. the 1911 has stood the test of time, has been copied, modified, upgraded and made in nearly every caliber you can think of from .22LR to 32acp, 380acp, 9mm, .38 super, .40 S&W, 10mm, .45 ACP and yes, even .357 magnum. If it were such an inferior design, no one would bother.

Personally, if I wanted a 1911 for carry today I’d probably go buy a Colt® M1070CQBP, which is what the USMC is going to be using. I would then learn the few changes it has over the 1911’s I am familiar with, and love it long time. If you want to carry a Glock 17, a Walther PPK, a Smith and Wesson J-frame or a North American Arms .22LR revolver, well, God Bless You. Everyone has their own reasons for picking what they pick. I don’t understand the constant need to proselytize one design over another. There are VERY few bad firearms designs out there anymore, and even fewer poorly made weapons. In the day of the Internet, word gets around too quickly and a bad design or process can kill a company.

As to the Ruger SR1911, before you consider one I would HIGHLY recommend you google search “sr1911 rust.”

Sorry for the soapbox, but people need to understand that there is no one solution for everyone. Use what works for you, and be ready for what you have to. Period.

http://www.colt.com/Colt…/Products/ColtM1070CQBPM45A1.aspx
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On Bereavment, Dingoes and Firearms Values

Anyone who knows me knows that I take a lot of pride in knowing the value of a firearm, or in knowing how to find out what it is.  If I list something for sale, it generally sells quickly, and at asking price.  I really have taken a lot of effort to learn what guns are worth, what they’re selling for, and what the latest trends in popular and classic firearms are.  I developed this knowledge after, well, being screwed pretty badly because I didn’t have it.

When my father passed away in December of 2010, he didn’t leave a huge cash estate.  He had a lot of tools, and a lot of firearms.  He also had no burial insurance.  Because of a lack of knowledge, I ended up selling a LOT of firearms for MUCH less than they were actually worth.  Not so much out of desperation, as out of ignorance.  You see, when you’re looking to sell firearms quickly, the Dingoes come out of the woodwork to “help.”

At that time I knew what a Blue Book was, but I’d never owned one, and certainly didn’t have one.  Since my father had quite a few firearms he’d collected over the years in his safe, new in the box but never fired, a friend recommended I deal with a small dealer who was a friend of theirs from their church.  Now I’ve been around guns my whole life, but usually, up until that time, I bought new from dealers or used from dealers in gun stores, and very rarely did any research beyond “good price from good place.”  I trusted that this small dealer in Stark County would give fair value, and provided him a list.  He came back with prices, with what sounded like a reasonable explanation at the time…  “Even though they’re new in the box and unfired, they’re used guns, they are like a car, as soon as they leave the dealer, they lose a lot of their value.”  I’ve since learned that, yes, it’s not a “NEW” gun, but they don’t lose HALF of their value by having been sold and tucked away.  This dealer ended up with some fantastic deals on some very nice firearms because I trusted him, and he talked a good game.  Just an example, he got a new, unfired, Ruger Mark II Stainless Heavy Barrel .22, all original paperwork, box, the lot, for $175.  He was a Dingo, and I was a bleeding lamb that was cut from the herd and slaughtered.

There are many honest people and dealers out in our communities.  There are also a lot of dingoes.  They will do anything possible to get a fantastic deal, and will lie and cheat to make it happen  There are tons of resources available to tell you what the ACTUAL value of a firearm is.  The Gun Traders Guide and the Blue Book of Gun Values will tell you the average prices a firearm has sold for in the past year based upon it’s condition.  They will also explain how to assess the condition of a firearm to get an idea of the value.  There’s also a nation-wide website called Armslist that is composed of real people and dealers selling firearms.  A quick search will give you an idea of the current asking price of a firearm both locally and nationally.  Keep in mind these are asking prices and tend to have a factor built in to them based upon the knowledge that a buyer is going to haggle the price down.  You can also seek out a reputable dealer who has a reputation for dealing square.  A dealer isn’t going to give you full value, but an honest one will tell you what your firearms are worth on the private market and what they can give you for them and still make some money when selling them.  Again, they should be upfront about that fact.

If you need to sell of firearms in a crisis the worst thing you can let happen is for people to know that you’re IN A CRISIS.  It brings out the Dingoes in droves, and they will take advantage of your emotional state to attempt to get the firearms for as little as possible and you still feel like you got some fair cash for them.  It’s much better to either wait, involve a friend to help verify pricing, or do the research yourself and sell them off slowly for value.  Learn from my mistake.  I did.

A few Dingoes made a lot of money off my father’s dying because we felt a need to desperation sell, and were led to people who make their living off buying during other people’s grief.  It’s fair to say that, in many cases, my lack of knowledge, trust, and feeling like I had to raise money quickly, resulted in several of my father’s firearms being sold for 40-50% below actual value.  I have since armed myself with the knowledge to never have that happen again.

On CCW firearms…

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I was recently involved in a conversation on a discussion forum at my friend Adam Litke’s Facebook page for his company, Shield and a Sword Academy.  I felt that the information was worth sharing with others because I managed to give a short, succinct, detailed answer that quite a few people found informative.

Carry guns are totally a compromise.  I’m somewhat old school. Function over form, as much power as you can manage, and figure out how to tuck it away if you have to.

The average person, however, is much more driven by easy of conceal-ability and price. There’s a different mindset between “gun guys” and a person who just wants to be able to protect themselves. Another thing to consider is that a lot of people think you need to arm yourself to “go to war” in order to carry. In my mind, a carry gun is most often a “last stand” weapon and should be adequate to meet the ‘rule of 3’s.’ (The average self defense scenario happens in less than 3 seconds, at 3 feet away with 3 shots fired.)

My personal preference, due to the fact that I can’t wear restrictive clothing or anything that puts long-term pressure against my body, is for either a Walther PPK/s or my wife’s J-frame Smith and Wesson 642 Airlite .38 special. For a last stand, .380 or .38 special is more than adequate. Even .32 ACP will suffice from me to you in a close fight, given the right ammo. If I were to absolutely KNOW I was going into a situation where I has a huge probability of having to defend myself, my Para p13.45 .45 ACP would be on my person loaded with Golden Saber’s or HST’s.

There are so many factors in carry weapons to consider, function, features, price, power, but the only one that matters to begin with is this… Is it a hassle to carry it to the point that someone will think about making a compromise and NOT carrying it? If it is, it’s the wrong weapon for that weapon. A .22 mouse gun you’re comfortable sticking in your pocket EVERY TIME you walk out the door is worth more than a $2500 Kimber 1911 that someone lets sit because they have to go through gyrations to conceal it.

At the end of the day I feel it’s important to educate people on the best option, encourage them in any way we can to seek out the best options for them, and then support them and teach them how to use what they decide to carry. The gun you have is worth 1000 of the one you don’t.

MtNkitty lives!

I have a very special friend named Jan who lives in Minnesota. She saw a joke post I put up about the Hello Kitty AR-15. She kinda like it. I decided to take on the project of building something for her that would be similar but not involve such a huge investment. This is MtNKitty. It’s a 1943 Mosin Nagant M44 carbine. These were used by the Soviets during both World Wars and after. I found one that lacked a bayonet, which removed a lot of it’s “value.” It did, however, make it legal for use for hunting in Minnesota, and also, affordable. We ordered an ATI Gunstocks Monte Carlo stock for it, put the factory wood stock away, and then, with the help of Jason Mcdaniel, it went to paint. It is White and Rose Duracoted, and the whole thing was cleared with several coats of automotive clear coat. I sourced some automotive exterior quality Hello Kitty licensed decals and applied them, along with a few other creative touches. This is the result. Thanks to EVERYONE who helped with this, including Andrew Laurence at Home on the Range LLC who helped me ship it to Jan’s FFL-licensed dealer in MN. If you’d like help with a similar project, give a yell, I’m happy to provide whatever I can. By the way, Jan just re-enlisted for an additional 3 years in the Minnesota National Guard. 🙂

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Why I’m Anti… Decal, that is…

A long long time ago, a kid I knew was 18 years old and loved competition car audio…  He spent countless hours, and tons of money, building a fantastic stereo system, with JL subwoofers, MB Quart door speakers, Rockford Fosgate amps, a Clarion cross over and head unit and toys and bells and whistles galore.  Everything he bought came with a beautiful sticker, which he proudly affixed to the back tinted glass of he Toyota Corolla station wagon.  He even had a large JL Audio sticker across his tinted stripe on his front windshield.  I had a pretty cool system, too…  One day we went to the mall and parked in the parking lot.  It was busy, so we were horribly close to the doors.  When we came back out a few hours later his back window was smashed out, his equipment was all gone, up to and including the head unit from his dashboard.  My car, which had an equal amount of equipment in it was sitting there unmolested.  That day I learned a valuable life lesson.  DON’T ADVERTISE.

I see stick figure stickers of family’s on cars and vans all the time.  Even including names and sports and hobbies.  Sometimes, the family has a vanity plate of the family surname, too.  Wow, to me that’s just arming any pedophile assailant with too much information.

Even as a member of the National Rifle Association, and owning many items that have come with stickers, none will ever grace my vehicle.  Not so much as a pro-gun bumper sticker.  I might need to go into a rest area to relieve myself, or park at a store, when something is inside that someone might find of value.  I also won’t put political ads on my car, as I have no desire to take a chance that the police officer who just pulled me over for 3 over happens to like the other side.

Not advertising, in this case, is a very smart decision.  Think about it.