Thursday, December 27, 2012

Panic Buying of Magazines

Obviously there is a bit of panic buying going on right now of modern defensive rifles, pistols, magazines, ammunition and the associated parts with keeping them running.

I’ve read several places regarding the amount of magazines one should have as a minimum. I’ve read various opinions on the subject. They run from the 2-3 magazines to 500 magazines. The opinions are the just enough for shooting once a year to shooting for the rest of your life if they are banned. I’ve been asked by several people what I would recommend.

My opinion, just like most of the time, is based on reading what others more experienced than I would say. The general minimum recommendation per weapon is as follows:
10 magazines for carry/use.
10 magazines for training.
10 magazines in wrapper/packaging for long term storage.

Notice I said, per weapon. If you have 2 AR-15 rifles, then you will need 20 magazines in each category, etc. Obviously you will also need the ammunition and parts to keep the gun running, so don’t neglect those things.

Take that into consideration and use the guidelines if they will help you. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

KISS 3 - Tactics

KISS Part 3


Several top instructors have said that there is nothing advanced in the gun world (shooting/carry techniques/room clearing/CQB/etc), just perfect application of the fundamentals.

How do you apply that to your training regime? I know one way I apply it for me, and its in my grip of a rifle or pistol. In my opinion, the grip must work with absolute minimal shift of hand or finger movement to activate low light devices either lights or lasers. This results in less mind boggle and hesitation when under the stress of using your firearm (real or on the range). I forget the company or instructor that said it, but “Simplicity under stress.”

Why do I stress the importance of a rifle or pistol to be griped in a way that works for day or night useage? Statistics. 80% of all self defense shootings take place during no light or low light conditions in the USA. That number drops to 70% for LE, who respond to calls during the daylight hours. Both statistics come from the FBI’s study of the Unified Crime Reports (UCR) statistics.

What are the lighting conditions for most of your range training or dry practice? For 99% of the people I talk to, it has been daylight conditions only. When you put these people into a low light/no light environment, they struggle. This is not a good thing as in a real world life or death situation, mind overload is already happening and simple things such as light activation do not need to be figured out then. I have changed my personal range training and dry practice schedule to be roughly 50+% in low light/no light conditions. This has only benefitted my day time use of a weapon as well as my low light/no light useage. 

There is another point of view that says that you should have a specific weapon for a specific purpose. For example, a dedicated night fighting weapon with a grip and equipment setup for use with Night Vision. This would allow a perfect IR laser placement as one is not concerned with daylight useage. This point of view is not wrong, its just impossible on most budgets, mine included.

With costs of ammo continuing to go up, efficiency in your training is very important. Consider the idea of a one grip doing most and how it can apply to you and your training. 

Examples of how minimal shift of daytime grip will allow weaponlight to be activated. 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

KISS part 2

KISS Part 2


This is the biggest thing that comes up in the Guns, Tactics, Gear discussion. KISS Carbines. The opinions on what KISS stands for on a Carbine range from an Irons only non freefloat A2 style handguard and maybe a collapsible stock with a 2 point sling to the efficient only the bare bones for a Fighting Practical Carbine – Red Dot, White light and 2 point sling with a Magpul MOE style handguard.

The vast majority of the Iron sights only crowd when questioned will admit that they don’t have the money for a quality red dot hence preaching the irons only mantra. The other part of that crowd is broken up between the crowd who hasn’t used a quality red dot – i.e. Aimpoint – and the crowd that just shoots paper bullseyes during the day when Irons are somewhat useful.

The Fighting Practical KISS Carbine crowd is commonly found to say the following things are a must on a fighting rifle; Optic (red dot or ACOG style), 2 point adjustable sling and quality white light. Some will say that the white light is truly optional as well. A good non free float handguard like the Magpul MOE line is perfect for this application. For the purpose of this blog post, I’m covering a Home Defense, LE patrol rifle in the definition of a Fighting Carbine.

KISS doesn’t mean you skimp on the parts or neglect items that are a must have because of the goal of saving money. KISS means making it streamlined and efficient for only the given task.
There are several things that people buy that are not a must have on Practical KISS Carbine, but are useful items nonetheless. Repeating, THEY ARE NOT A MUST NOR ARE THEY CRAP.
·      Vertical Fore Grips
·      Visible Lasers
·      Free Float Rails
·      Rail Covers
·      Upgraded Flash Suppressors
·      Sound Suppressors
·      Aftermarket pistol grips
·      Triggers, Ambi-Safety’s, Charging Handles, etc.

The one caveat to all of my parts/gear recommendation is that I refuse to use or buy junk when a quality option is available. Generally I’m a made in the USA only person as well – with the very noticeable exception of Aimpoints.

I’m going to use the topic of Visible Lasers to cover why I’m a “gear snob.” There is a reason why a quality visible weapon laser costs over $200-1,700 a piece.  These items need to be able to retain zero from the recoil of a weapon as well as have a good run time and bright enough laser to not be washed out with the use of a 200-250 lumen weapon light. An excellent comparison of the quality of the Surefire X400 to the Streamlight TLR-2 is found here:
 If you didn’t know already by using the two companies products, there is a huge quality difference. I am working on a longer term review of the X400 and its possible uses for a future post.

Back to KISS and what is the minimum needed gear setup for a KISS carbine. First. Sighting systems. Why is a red dot a must? Simple. World is not always light out. Can you see your iron sights in the dead of night? No. Can you see them in the poor lighting of dusk/sunrise? No. Can you see them in a poorly lit house? No. Can you see them in the same low light or no light situation with the aid of a flashlight, either hand held or weapon mounted? Maybe. Do you always need a light to see your target and have confirmed it’s a threat? No. Do you need to make your goal acquiring your sights before shooting? Yes.

Now that the theory has been covered, I’m going to post a suggested range drill. This will be done with a carbine in multiple variations. This is to be shot in a no light range condition – i.e. NIGHT! Starting at 7 yards, see if you can even see your iron sights on the rifle. Next, Red dot only. Then try both sighting systems with a handheld light and weapon mounted light. Then its time to shoot. I personally recommend you shoot the course of fire with a Irons and Weapon Mounted Light Carbine first and then a Red Dot and Weapon Mounted Light Carbine second.

Keep your shot timer and a piece of paper and pen handy. The drills will be started from the low ready position.

·      7 yards, 2 shots 1 target, 2.5 seconds
·      15 yards, 2 shots 1 target, 3.5 seconds
·      25 yards, 2 shots 1 target, 4.0 seconds
·      50 yards, 2 shots 1 target, 6.0 seconds
·      7 yards, 2 shots per 2 targets, 3.5 seconds
·      15 yards, 2 shots per 2 targets, 5.0 seconds

Compare your times. Personally I barely make the times with a iron sighted rifle with weapon light carbine whereas I cut the times in half with the Red dot weapon mounted light carbine.

Next I urge you to take both weapon set ups, verify that they are cleared and safe and your house is empty. Then practice clearing it with the various lighting modes you leave the house in during dark hours. See if you could identify a threat vs. a non –threat. Is that bump in the night and dark shadow my kids, the neighbors kids sleeping over, visiting relatives, or is that a thief?

I’ve done this both in the practice “square range” as well as the real world – building clearing, barricaded subject situation, etc. What have I found? Red dots are king at everything buy one topic by a landslide. The one time they might be less efficient than irons is on a static day light bullseye shooting. MAYBE. And since square range is not the real world, don’t let it dictate something that could save your life.

So now that you see the must haveness of a red dot, next I’ll cover a weapon mounted light. Obvious use, to see with. More defined its to identify a threat/non threat in low light/no light conditions. I personally will only use Surefire lights on guns that my life may depend on at this time. However the Inforce WML is something to watch for as they are a serious contender in the market at a very reasonable price point. For a KISS Carbine, you will be best served by something simple like the Surefire G2X or P2X Fury single stage lights in a VTAC mount. This can be mounted to the excellent Magpul MOE drop in handguard.

Sling. Needed to carry the gun. Two point is the way to go. This will allow for easy carry and control of the weapon in the vast majority of scenarios you may find your self using the gun in. For a LE viewpoint, you have to go hands on with someone, you’ll need to sling the weapon in a way to use both hands for going hands on. If you happen to have a weapons malfunction with your rifle and are carrying a pistol, it will allow you to safely drop the rifle and draw your pistol. Going much more into the topic of slings is not the point of this post though. Either the Blue Force Gear Vickers Combat Applications Sling or the SOB-B Sling. You can secure them with a simple piece of 550 cord to keep things simple.

Handguard. I already mentioned the best option for this role, the Magpul MOE drop in handguard. It has a far better feel than that standard USGI drop in and is versatile and modular where the USGI is not. Pick up the Magpul “illumination kit” or the add on rail section for weapon mounted light compatibility and your ready to go.

Anything beyond this is nice and has it’s purpose, but is not mandatory for a fighting carbine when your on a budget – most individual LE and CCW budgets.

An example of something that is a good first upgrade to a Kiss weapon, is free float handguards. Kyle Lamb of VTAC said that pressure on a non free floated rail will result in point of aim point of impact shift of up to one foot at 100 yards. That is a big difference if you are having to make the shot to save a loved one or a hostage. Just keep that in mind.

As for the other mentioned upgrades to a carbine, I’ll cover them at some point but not in the KISS topic.

Hope this helps provide a bit of insight into the topic. KISS should not mean ineffective, it should be simple without removing any equipment advantage gained in the year 2012.

 Here is a picture of a rifle that fits my definition of a KISS weapon (with a few non KISS accessories that were lying around) and a rifle that is clearly not a KISS weapon. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

KISS part 1

Why KISS is not KISS

Part 1 of many.

I was browsing a few different gun forums recently and found the stereotypical posts on “KISS” guns and gear. The posters ranged from the “realist” to the “I was in Vietnam and carried a M-14 so I don’t need anything else” to the “Iron sights are the only option and red dots fail” and so on.

All of the posts I read revolved around the following topics:
  • ·      Modern Firearms (AR-15 family, Glock/M&P Pistols)
  • ·      Red Dot Sights
  • ·      Weaponlights
  • ·      Lasers (visible and IR)
  • ·      Slings
  • ·      Gear – ALICE, MOLLE, Kydex, etc.

Now this whole post is a waste if your goal is to own as many guns as possible, then don’t waste time reading further.

There is a reason that a go to weapon for combat, home defense LE duty use or every day carry (EDC) is NOT a M1 Garand and 1911. It’s a modern reliable semi auto carbine with a 30 round magazine appropriately outfitted (Red Dot/Light/Sling) and a high capacity polymer wonder gun – Glock, M&P or HK.

Why is that? Progress. As the often reposted quote from Larry Vickers’ goes;
“GI’s carrying 1911’s defeated Axis forces, including Austrians. The 1911 was winning battles and savings lives before Gaston Glock was even born – somewhere along the way we probably figured out a thing or two on combat handguns.”

Obviously we don’t have the context of this quote so we can take the quote two opposite directions. The only thing I am going to say is this, Osama wasn’t shot with a M1 Garand. He was though shot by a hard charging American fighting man equipped with the latest state of the art weapons system.


Don’t ignore it.

Don’t ignore the tactics required to use the latest tool.

To be continued.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Pocket Carry IFAK's

Means that most people do not run around in full kit in the United States (with the exception of Geko_45), a pocket carry trauma kit is something very useful. There are a couple options out there with the market adding to the options on a more regular basis.

One common option is to carry one or two pieces of the most basic equipment in your pocket. For example, One Combat Gauze LE and a SWAT-T Tourniquet. I’ve personally tried carrying a SOFT-W in one pocket and a packet of Combat Gauze in the other. This is possible, but will require you to align the items in your pockets to allow for the most comfortable placement and carry of them. One way to make this method of carry easier is to switch the real tourniquet (CAT or SOF-T) out for a TK-4 or a SWAT-T.

Another option that had been pushed by the late Paul Gomez, is a pre made multi use kit. For example Gomez carried a carabineer on his key chain that when used in conjunction with a cravat in his pocket was a field expedient TQ. That same cravat could be used to make a pressure dressing with the Combat Gauze he was carrying. Before his unexpected passing Gomez posted pictures of a project he was working on with a pre made pocket kit. Sadly nothing further has been posted about this by whoever he was working on it with, but there are two other pre made kits that will do excellent work.
Paul did post some advice on a EDC kit in this video:
Paul also posted a few hints as to the Gomez Training International kit on his facebook page with the following items:
  • TK4-L
  • PriMed Gauze
  • Thin H Bandage
  • Wound Seal Kit (believed to be a chest seal type item)
  • 14 Guague Needle
  • Nitrile Gloves

The easiest option around right now is a pre made pocket kit. ITS Tactical has possibly the first one on the market called the ITS EDC Trauma Kit. This definitely wins in the most compact method with an overall size similar to most men’s wallets. The contents being:
·      SWAT-T Tourniquet
·      Combat Gauze LE
·      Nitrile gloves in a
Its vacuum packed and stored in a nylon pouch built by Zulu Nylon Gear.

The newer kit that I ended up going with is the Dark Angel Medical Pocket D.A.R.K. It contains the following:
·      Combat Gauze LE
·      4” Israeli Bandage
·      SWAT-T Tourniquet
·      Nitrile Gloves.
Its vacuum packed and stored in a nylon pouch built by First Spear.

Based on my training and conversations with several tactical medics, I found that it was worth going with the slightly larger kit for pocket carry as having the Israeli Bandage for use as a pressure bandage could be extremely important. When I’m working my day job, I have the Pocket D.A.R.K. in my pants and a CAT TQ on my duty belt. This gives me a real Tourniquet as well as the SWAT-T if needed.

Pants I have carried the Pocket D.A.R.K. in include the following:
·      5.11 Tactical “PDU” Patrol Duty Uniform cargo pockets
·      5.11 Tactical Taclite cargo and rear pocket
·      VERTX men’s pants cargo and rear pocket
·      Wrangler “Riggs” workwear Ranger pants cargo and rear pockets

My preferred pocket for carry of this is the cargo pocket. This is based on conversations with about 10 different Chiropractors. Your spine and back get screwed up by carrying anything in back pockets. Now if your one who carries a wallet in your back pocket, you won’t notice much difference by carrying a trauma kit on the opposite side. This of course is a moot point if you’re a Jeans all the time person and don’t have cargo pockets available. If this is you, the ITS EDC Trauma Kit is probably the best option. The DARK kit will fit in your rear pocket as well, but like I said its very big for a rear pocket.

These are all just my observations and some information I’m pushing out to you as the reader for you to make a decision with as ultimately it’s your money and possibly you or a love one’s life.