Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Modern Training Methods

On Modern Stress Training Methods

Recently, I have noticed many techniques that defensive shooting instructors have been using to apply stress to their students.  None of the techniques are new, but their implementation is fairly interesting.  Today, I watched videos of instructors simply placing a stick into the ejection port of a semi-automatic rifle while a student is firing, to induce a malfunction in their firearm.  After viewing some video footage of this method being utilized for training purposes, I have decided to analyze it for this post. 

Over the course of five minutes in the video, malfunctions were induced more than 15 times between two shooters.  This made me wonder, what is the actual objective of this training lesson?  If it is to teach the proper clearing of a malfunction under stress, then it is incredibly effective.  However, if the true objective is to teach students the proper techniques to combat an assailant, while employing two weapon systems and maintaining situational awareness, then it falls short.

Believe me, I realize that there is no better way to train the correction of malfunctions than to have them happen at the worst possible moment in training.  That is precisely when we want them to happen, on the range, not in the real world.  This is where I believe the value of this type of training ends.  That is, unless YOU make it more valuable to you by changing your way of thinking in these types of scenarios.  You can spend the entire drill trying to get your primary weapon functioning and forget that you still need to deal with the problem in front of you.  However, there should be much more to learn than just high stress malfunction drills.

Imagine the drill like this: you are not just working through a problem, rather, you are trying to prevent the problem from happening in the first place.  Treat the instructor as an actual element in the equation and work it as such.  For example, do not just think “at some point the instructor is going to jam a stick into my gun and I will have to fix a malfunction”.  Instead, think "this is a problem for my gun and I need to prevent it from getting in there because it will cause an issue that I don’t want to happen”.  Now, this thought process can work against you, so you must consider all aspects of the drill.  If you focus too much on the instructor causing an issue, you will lose focus on the threat.  In the real world, if your gun continued to malfunction, at some point you would have to cut your losses and accept the reality of the situation. 

WORK THE PROBLEM.  Do not allow other things to obscure the end goal.  If the objective of the training is to shoot the bad guy without getting shot, you cannot achieve that if every time you pull the trigger your firearm malfunctions.  If you are sitting behind cover unjamming a gun, you are not effectively defending yourself against the bad guy.  In a real world scenario, if your primary weapon has a malfunction more than twice back to back, logic would dictate that the weapon was not functioning properly and more invasive action was needed.  This malfunction could be from a mechanical fault or defective ammunition.  Either way, are you going to keep messing with the malfunction, or are you going to get your secondary weapon out to combat the threat?  At what point does the secondary training function of clearing a malfunction become detrimental, and simply repetitive?  The simple answer is: the moment it becomes your primary focus in the exercise.  If you spend more time clearing than shooting, you have lost the initiative and failed to achieve the objective. 

A better approach is to possess enough situational awareness to move out of the way when the instructor approaches your weapon with a stick.  Realistically, if you have been in a position long enough for a person to affect your weapon, you have probably been there too long.  Constantly be looking for a better position.  Your position can always be better.  Change your attenuation and elevation to the target and employ alternate firing positions.  While stress training, make sure to get your mind and body out of your comfort zone.  These skills are just as important as training to fix malfunctions under stress. 

If you can effectively engage the target from a position where the instructor's stick cannot reach the ejection port, all the better for you.  The instructor may succeed in inducing a malfunction for you once or twice, but you should still be able to fight through and complete the objective without getting bogged down. If you have a secondary weapon, USE IT, it is faster to transition than to clear.  If you are not shooting and your partner isn’t shooting, it’s not the right time to be fixing a long gun.  Someone needs to be going pew-pew.  If you are out of pew-pew, it is time to get out of dodge.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

EDC (Every Day Carry) Installment 2

When planning your every day carry (EDC) load out, you should also consider other scenarios outside of shooting and fighting.  Emergencies arise all the time and while most of us love run and gun, more than likely your ability to save a life will benefit you more than your ability to take one.  Basically, you are more likely to plug a hole in another person than put one in them. It may not be as glamorous, but if you are not looking into it as a cornerstone of your preparedness mindset, you are already behind the power curve. This is why in this installment I would like to discuss medical preparedness.

Medical training is the most overlooked part of preparedness. Most civilians are only trained in basic CPR and possibly the use of an AED.  Neither of these are relevant in the event of traumatic injuries. The clock starts ticking at the moment of injury, and it has been proven that the care provided correctly in the first hour will do more to ensure survival than anything. 

In the past decade, the process of battlefield triage has advanced by leaps and bounds. Many adjuncts that have been proven to save lives have fallen out and back into favor, but there are three universal constants in life saving that need to be adhered to:

  • Keep the patient breathing
  • Keep blood inside the patient
  • Keep the patient warm

Ultimately the how of each of these objectives is not necessarily as important as them just getting done.  However, if you are looking at specifics, let's discuss them for a moment.

Keep the patient breathing. A majority of breathing issues can be mitigated by ensuring the patients airway is not compromised. If the patient is screaming, the patient can breathe.  If the patient is bubbling, the patient can breathe.  Just not very well.  In this phase the goal is to optimize air transfer and in such, oxygen profusion throughout the body. The primary method is to utilize what has become simply known as the rescue position.  Instinct is to put the patient on their back as this is the easiest position for you to assess them in.  This may, however, not be the best position for them to breathe in.  The rescue position allows the patients natural breathing process to occur with minimal hindrance of body mass and gravity.  Secondary methods are pharyngeal airway instruments in conjunction with the rescue position.  Now, obviously it is best to allow the patient to put themselves in a position where they can best breathe if they are conscious, and never place an adjunct where you don't have to.  In extreme circumstances, and if allowed by municipal mandate or law, intubation or cricothyrotomy may be an option.  These should only be used in life or death scenarios and only after extensive training and certification.

Keep blood inside the patient. Severe blood loss caused by trauma is a terrifying thing to see. The important thing to remember is all that red stuff is carrying the oxygen needed to keep the patient alive. The most important thing to combat this problem is tourniquets. Dating back to the civil war, tourniquets have saved countless lives.  With that, they also acquired a negative stigma associated with tissue necrosis, or limb death.  This stigma is false and needs to be remedied. Tourniquets are used in medical procedures lasting several hours and the tissue remains viable with no lasting effects post-op. Proper placement and use of a tourniquet is paramount.  The second thing used is pressure dressings.  An effective pressure dressing can work as well as a tourniquet.  Used in conjunction with a tourniquet, there is no bleed on the body that can't be stopped with the exception of a neck or thoracic vessel transaction. The key technology advancement in this area has been homeostatic agents. These agents have special chemicals that aid the clotting process and help seal the wound. Beyond this, ensure that enough gauze is on hand to properly pack the wound. This is a common underestimation. 

Keep the patient warm. After blood loss or any major trauma has occurred, the patients body temperature will likely drop. Clothing may have been removed or is soaked with various fluids which conducts heat away from the body. Getting the patient dryer than they were is important and then begin rewarming. Rewarming should not degrade any adjuncts nor should it hinder higher medical care from doing their job.  Emergency blankets should always be on hand, as well as a wool blanket of some kind, as wool can retain up to 80 percent of its warming capability, even when completely soaked.  Skin to skin contact is also effective in rewarming as long as the caregiver is not compromised in the process and the patient is consenting. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

AAR Sentinel Concepts Shoot House September 20-21, 2014

First, I want to thank all the people who supported this class.  The Alliance Police Department has an awesome facility and was very welcoming and helpful.  Joe Weyer was an incredible liaison and facilitated all of our needs. I also want to thank Matt from Firelance Media for taking some awesome pictures throughout the course. He has an excellent eye and captured some amazing scenes. Finally I cannot say enough good things about Steve Fisher of Sentinel Concepts and his AI this course, Tatiana Whitlock.  Fantastic team, and the knowledge they passed on to the class was phenomenal.

Coming from a high-end military background, I thought I knew pretty much all there was to know about CQB.  I could not have been more wrong.  The intricacies of individual clearing techniques are far different than those used by military and LEO units.  In fact, working as an individual I was forced to utilize techniques that were in direct conflict with everything I was ever taught, but we will get to that. Steve and T showed us all new ways of not only working in a house but also thinking to solve problems as they present themselves.

This unique course progressed as a traditional class would.  Single room single-threat, single room multi-threat and so on.  Training was presented in a scenario-driven format which force you to take in everything and evaluate the situation. In this line of thinking, a traditional “no shoot” target may in fact be a threat. Each piece was a new problem to be solved. The 360 degree field of fire gave a unique opportunity to place targets in unusual places. In most cases, with myself included, this caused the shooter to miss threats. I found myself looking in corners but not “seeing” into them. As Steve put it, I was moving faster than I could process information. Normally, this wouldn’t be a problem when you have a team behind you because the #2 man would simply pick it up. I had a hard time picking up on this concept at first, but after a few runs I settled down and started to clean up. This was true of my marksman ship as well. Inside a house it is a common trend to throw rounds at a target under the mentality that it is “only 10 yards or so.” While true, a lot can happen within 10 yards. I had one run where I pumped six rounds into a target and not one was a true lethal hit. There was a trend appearing: I needed to slow down. Then it all started to click. After that, I started working on head shots. Not to show off, but to force myself to focus on a smaller target and go back to fundamental-based shooting techniques. This is a huge part of Steve Fisher's teaching style. There is no such thing as an advanced shooting class. There are only fundamentals and dealing with shapes.

After dinner, we returned to the house and started working on low light scenarios. We also decided to stay with pistols and not introduce long guns into the mix just yet.  The progression was similar to the daytime training we had just accomplished, only this time more condensed.  We basically “re-warmed” our skills in the twilight while waiting for the sun to fully set.  By then everyone was primed for full dark runs. I decided to run it a few different ways. One was with a weapon-mounted light and then one running handheld. Weapon-mounted was easiest, so I ran it first. The dark forced everyone to move slower, so we saw a lot of much better runs than in the daylight. One of the students even broke out his PVS-14’s and did a fully blacked out run. Not too shabby for a 68 year-old man. Final run of the night I broke out my EDC set up and ran the house. This included the long 41 yard hallway and the largest room in the house which is close to 30 yards as well. Not easy with a 3.5 inch M&P 9c and a handheld light.

On day two we brought out the long guns and started running two man techniques. I was paired with a coworker with a military background. Took a few runs to get our timing and verbiage down, but once we did, it was like old times again. Biggest problem I had was going back to low gun. For years now I have been utilizing a high port carry for weapon manipulation. This is not conducive to a house with observers on a catwalk, so I found myself fighting the gun more than I would have liked, but such is life. Adaptability is key in the shooting world in general. I did most of my runs with my 14.5” BCM, but I did get a few in with the AAC 300BLK right up until I smoked one of the doors as it bounced back during a shot call. Things happen, and after examination, I actually hit the target through the door with at least one round. This taught us all an important lesson that Steve had said on day one: nothing in a house is true ballistic cover. Our final validation took us around the house in a loop. This showed us how different angles in the same house can present it as a completely different structure. Targets we had engaged the first time through became active again as we ran the same rooms backwards.  It worked perfectly.

In conclusion, I would recommend this course to anyone and everyone. We all know that continuing education is the most important thing you can do to develop yourself as a shooter. This course forced me out of my comfort zone and well into my failure point.  I think the biggest lesson I learned was SLOW DOWN. When you think you are going slow enough, SLOW DOWN MORE. There is no need to rush to your death in a gun fight.  Sometimes a tactical pause when you open a door is enough to throw an adversary off balance, gives you an opportunity to step back and see into the room. You can shoot people through doorways just as easily as from inside the room, however you cut off their angles of support if they have friends in the room. Slow and methodical will get you surprising shots on target. Fast and aggressive will get you dead unless you have someone backing you up.  Even in a team, work your angles and find the shots that minimize exposure. When you commit to a room, speed, surprise, and violence of action are your friends. All in all, wish I had more time to spend in the house.  It was a great experience and I can’t wait for the next class.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

EDC (Every Day Carry) Installment 1

I would like to take a moment to talk about every day carry (EDC). Most people assume this just means 
carrying a firearm. This is only a fraction of what EDC entails. In many cases, a firearm is not a requirement. 
In this first installment however, I will focus on armament and our options. 

Being armed has many meanings. While a firearm is the most obvious choice, it is not always the best. Certain establishments don't allow for carry. Certain situations don't make firearms a viable choice. Knives are the clear second choice, but like firearms they are restricted in certain situations.  In regards to knives, don't assume this means carrying a big scary knife designed for mortal combat.  Choose a practical knife that you are comfortable with.  Practical additions to your knife should include a seat belt cutter and glass breaker along with any sort of tool. For example, screwdrivers, wire cutter, wrenches and pliers.  Knives are an excellent choice because they require very little training to operate.

The most recent every day carry defensive object on the market is the tactical pen.  Little more than a disguised striking implement, various models of these pens have become a regular item in every day carry. As they are technically a writing tool, they are not restricted the same way guns and knives are.  In some cases, these pens also have other survival tools built into the such as flint or steel for fire starting. This makes them all the more valuable. As a tactical pen appears fairly innocuous, some may view someone as a soft target when they are not. As a defensive tool, they can double as a fist pack, modified kubaton or, with enough force, a puncturing device. With a little training, the damage that can be imparted is severe and can be very effective in stopping a threat.

The fourth option should be one that is part of your every day carry anyway: a flashlight. Modern flashlights are valuable for more than just illumination. With the addition of a strike bezel, they can be very effective defensive tools.  Also, with the impressive output of modern LED technology, they can disorient and even temporarily blind an assailant even in daylight.  Furthermore, most people don't carry with a weapon mounted light.  Even if they do, a single cell backup light should be carried as well, as pointing a firearm at an individual should be one's very last resort.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Follow-Through Blog

Ya wanna know what pisses me off? Ya wanna know what makes me so angry I could scream? So angry I just want to stick bamboo shoots under my finger nails? So angry I want to swallow a bunch of helium and untie my belly button so I fly around backwards until I land flat as a pancake???

It’s when a DJ is playing a song and talks throughout the instrumental introduction and/or finish of the song as if only the singing matters. The other day on the radio I was jamming along with my man Mark Knopfler’s Speedway at Nazareth. The old boy got done singing and I was ready for the searing and precise and under-stated guitar work at the end when the DJ started yakking.  Inexcusable under any circumstances!

Well, it’s inexcusable unless the DJ is Elizabeth Cook. (You might remember her from my March "Devil’s DNA" blog.) She can talk endlessly and I’d listen to that all day. Her accent is hot.  Hell, she’s hot. A bit under fed, but still hot….  

Anyway, “what the hell has this got to do with shooting,” you ask?

Plenty, it turns out.  A good song is like a good shot.  I’ve blogged about topics like breathing, trigger control and shooting on slopes. Here’s a blog on follow-through. Think of the final instrumental jam a the end of a song as the composer’s or arranger’s follow trough. It is, to the composer, and indispensable part of the song and the song is incomplete without it.

When teaching shooters, one of the hardest things to get them to do is follow through.  Hell, they just navigated their way through sight alignment, sight picture, grip, stance, breath control and trigger control. They want to see where they hit. And right now, damn it, they want to see what they hit.  So what do they do?  Almost as one motion with the trigger breaking, they drop the gun a tad and look. And they miss. Duh! Of course they missed. They moved the gun out of alignment before the damn bullet could clear the barrel.

This is where follow through comes in, and it is crucial to any shot. After the trigger breaks the gun is going to buck. It’s physics; nothing can be done about it. The key is to roll with it and to maintain the exact marriage between you and the gun. The same grip, cheek weld, everything. As the gun settles down from the recoil, it should return to where it was before the shot. This is follow through. And it can make or break a shot.

So, you in the back with your hand up. I know what you’re going to ask. “How do I develop follow through?”

Easy. Start with a decision. A decision to follow through. Then practice with dry firing. Remember dry firing? It is one of the most important practice techniques.  Dry fire endlessly until follow through is ingrained. Then head to the range. And do it all again. Dry fire a few times and then add ammunition. After each trigger break, picture yourself in concert. The shot is the end of the words, but you still have to play some more. Give it just a second or two of follow through and see the results. Shooting fast-action combat? Fine. The idea is the same. If you ingrain the follow through, even the smallest amount, your groups will improve. In the end it isn’t the duration of your follow through, it is simply the act of doing it.

The weather is fine now. Winter cold and spring storms have mostly passed. Get some ammo, head to the range, and put some rounds down range.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Edging-Out Rust Blog

“Damn, they’re right. This blade doesn’t rust!” I was pleased to see this be the case. I had ordered a particular knife, made with Spyderco’s H-1 blade material that they claim cannot rust.  With salt water scuba in mind, I thought they had to be exaggerating. They were not.

Let’s face it: knives are cool. No EDC gear collection is complete without at least one.  Often two or more are needed depending upon the circumstances.  I’ve carried either a Spyderco or a Cold Steel with me on duty for my entire career.  Sometimes I carried both. For me, they are tools.  I used them all the time and carry a knife religiously day in and day out.

A few years ago I bought new dive gear and the new buoyancy vest I bought hasn’t got room to mount a proper knife sheath for a fixed blade knife.  My thoughts turned to getting a good folder like my Spyderco I carry all the time, but the issue of corrosion was a problem.

Then I read about Spyderco’s H-1 material and figured it was worth a try. So,I bought a Spyderco Salt series knife. I clip it onto the thigh pocket of the board shorts in which I dive. The clip keeps it in place and, even with almost two weeks of 2+ dives a day with basically no rinsing, there is no rust on the knife.

I’m basically a smooth blade guy, but for this knife I opted for the serrated edge for emergency cutting of rope, fishing line, pirate’s carotid arteries… oh, sorry, I got carried away there for a moment.

Of course, other blade materials are available, too, and there is sure to be a Spyderco model that will fit your needs well.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Smith Optics- Now I Understand

We've carried Smith Optics sunglasses and tactical goggles since day one.  I've checked them out over the past year and a half and felt that they were nice, but I never really got the whole thing about them.  It is almost like a cult following with some of their fans.

So, I bought two pairs.  Mrs. Blog Sarge liked one pair so much that she stole 'em from me!

Now that I have tried them, I understand their loyal following.  Here's some of the things I like about them...

  • Smith's technology makes great lenses; both in glass and a plastic material they call carbonic. Their lens shapes are made to project the image onto your eye in an optimum way, avoiding the distortion and waves sometimes seen in lesser optics. This is great for those like me whose eyes are not quite as sharp as they once were.

  • The carbonic lenses are extremely impact resistant. They say they are the most impact resistant lenses available. Sorry, but I'm not gonna test them by shooting pellets at them.

  • They add a coating to their lenses that repels moisture and contaminants, too. Which is great in a maritime environment with salt spray and suntan lotion.

  • One thing that drives me to distraction is seeing light reflections from behind me on the inside of the lenses. Smith uses an anti-reflective coating on the inside of their lenses to avoid this.

  • Up to 100% UV protection

So, in order to test them, and to give loyal blog readers an accurate assessment of how good they really are, I sacrificed Mrs. Blog Sarge and myself by flying down to the Caribbean just to test them out.

Grand Cayman is a sunny place. With lots of water. And lots of UV rays.  And lots of salt spray.  And lots of suntan lotion. And lots of bikinis... Ahem, sorry, I digress.....

So, after careful research, here's my assessment...

Clarity? Top notch.

Glare reduction? Top notch.

Contaminant/moisture repelling? Top notch

Style?  Well, there's only so much that can be done with me, but they do the best they can (and Mrs. Blog Sarge looks good in the pair she stole from me, damn it all).

So yes, I am now a fan of Smith Optics eyewear. We have a good stock and can order anything else in.

And another benefit, especially in the bikini-land of the Caribbean, with dark glasses they can't see what you're really looking at!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

What's the Best AR...? (The Would-Be Hash Bash Blog)

Today was the Hash Bash. Well, er, I mean the Hemp Rally. I kind of thought about writing a blog about that, but I’m still on probation at my new job so I better hold off on that and behave. So I’ll write about homegrown ARs and Roll-your-own SBRs. Seems like a safer bet to me…..

Anyway, a guy walks up to me and knows that I work at A3, so he asks, “What’s the best AR you got?”

I hate these questions. Any question that starts with “What’s the best…” is fraught with peril. Almost inevitably when we answer, the guy has a come-back. Like, “Well, what about the ‘Whiz Bang 2015’ I just read about in Job Shooter’s web review?”  Sometimes it is almost as if they guy was trying to lay an ambush for us and let everyone in the store know how smart they are by asking about some obscure gun that nobody else has heard of.

So, I try not to answer these questions directly. The best response to the initial question is that it depends on a whole host of things. And often the case is that the ‘Whiz Bang 2015’ that Joe Shooter reviewed was a pre-production sample of a gun that won’t be available for another year or so. And, when it comes out, it might not actually work. (Anyone remember when the Kimber Solo came out)? Oh, and let’s not forget that "Whiz Bang" bought a whole page worth of full-color advertisement in Joe Shooter’s magazine. Still, I’m sure Joe was objective in his review….

Which brings us back to the original thrust of the blog. The best tactical AR's.  I asked the guy who posed the original question what his intended purpose is for the AR. The response was something like “Well, I want it for home defense and maybe some hunting. If you could carry any AR you wanted in your police car, which brand, caliber, optic, barrel, etc. would you carry?” Hmmm. The options are endless.  Wilson Combat, LWRC, Smith & Wesson, Core 15, Daniel Defense…you get the idea. There are tons of them out there, most of them being pretty well made.

Truth be told, though, I’d opt for none of the above. Sure, they’re all great and most any rifle on our ‘wall-o-rifles’ would probably serve my purpose very well. But if I could take just one rifle on patrol with me and knew I would need it in the direst of circumstances, it would be none of these. It would be one custom built by me with guidance by "Tactical Corporal."

Bottom line is that I would believe in and trust a "Tactical Corporal" gun right from the start. Why? My home built guns have all been built with input from him and post-production inspection by him, and I have shot other guns he’s built. They just simply work damn well. That, and he’d probably take it out and shoot the crap out of it before handing it over.  Using my ammo, too, no doubt.

And you can have the same thing. If you've never built an AR but enjoy them and want to understand them and build your own, stop in and ask for Bill (AKA Boss Dude) or Tactical Corporal.  We have or can get all the goodies you need to build a great shooting AR.

I just guided a friend through his first build. Talk about rewarding. He’s shot a bunch but never built one. He got the parts and sat down and spent a couple of hours driving roll pins and putting some torque on barrel nuts with my guidance. When he got done, we went out and he sent a couple of magazines down range to sight it in. What a hoot!

If you want to build your own, we can give advice and pointers to you and get you on the right path. Shooting an AR is a boat-load of fun. Shooting one you built is even more so.

(So, what would I have Tac Corporal building if I could carry any AR on patrol? It would be an SBR in 300BLK with 8 to 10 inch barrel  (1:7 twist), a suppressor, a Rogers Super-stoc and probably a Leupold VX-R scope. Load it with a 20rd GI magazine full of Barnes Blacktips and watch me smile).


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Here's Your (co)Sine

A chicken and an egg are lying in bed. The egg is not happy. The chicken is leaning back grinning and he's puffing on a fat cigar. The egg speaks. “Well, I guess we answered that question.”

And you wonder what this has to do with shooting. (Hell, you probably wonder why you still read these blogs) As for the first question, easy, follow me here. As for the question, God only knows.

We were almost to Suttons Bay on our bicycles last summer, having left Traverse City fifteen or so miles behind us. It was uphill all the way and I was thinking of the incline. Didn't really want to think of the incline, but it was better than thinking of my sore butt which regular blog readers might remember I had sprained a number of blogs ago. (Refer to the June 10 “Call Girl” blog, if you need a refresher) The incline had reminded me of an egg joke: Why did the egg cross the road? Simple. It had the inclination. Some won’t get it. Some will. Some who do get it will wish they hadn't. Either way the joke sucks, but play along for a minute. And I promise my jokes for today about eggs are all ova...

I got to thinking about shooting up and down hills and how to compensate for bullet drop. The fact is that bullets drop based upon how far they travel horizontally, not how far they travel overall. Seems kind of counter-intuitive at first, but distance traveled vertical doesn't really matter much to the bullet.

Gravity affects a bullet basically at right angles to horizontal. So, the distance over which it affects a bullet’s flight is measured horizontally and does not count true distance on the incline. Some range finders do the math for you; they measure the true distance to the target, compute the angle up or down at which they were held, and render the horizontal distance.

If this is not taken into account, the bullet impact will be above the point of aim. How much? Well, for most of us it isn't that much. But to someone interested in the utmost precision, it will matter.

To find out how much, we need to know a few things; the actual distance to the target on the slope, the horizontal distance, the angle of the slope from horizontal, the cosine of the angle and the trajectory of the gun. If we know the measured actual distance to the target and the angle, we can calculate the horizontal distance and then plug in the rifles ballistics (and I’m sure you all know your rifle’s ballistics, right?)

(WARNING: I am about to commit the crime of math here. For you who are math professors and physicists, please forgive me! It’s been a long while since high school math class. Hell, I can’t even tell a sine from a cosine anymore… So, feel free to add your insight if you can clarify things.)

Measured distance to target on the slope=300 yards           
Angle up or down = 30 degrees
Cosine of 30 degree angle = .87 (And we all carry cosine charts, don’t we???)

So, 300 yards x .87= 261 yards.

Or, if the distance to target on the slope is 200 yards, then the actual horizontal distance is 200 x .87 which yields a horizontal distance of 174 yards.

In my 300 Blackout, which is admittedly not a flat-shooting round, the difference in the 200 yards example is two inches. If I did not compensate for the incline, I would be shooting two inches high.

The difference will be even smaller if shooting a flatter round like the 308 Win Mag. The difference here would be about .4 inches.

At a 45 degree angle, which has a cosine of .71, the actual distances from the above examples are 213 yards for 300 measured and 140 yards for the 200 yard measured.

Does this matter in Michigan? Probably not, from a practical point of view. But for those of you who head to mountainous areas, it could make the difference between a miss and a meal. And, you can impress your hunting mates around the campfire with your erudite grasp of ballistics.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

This Ain't No Polar Vortex

I think I can go out on a limb here safely and say that most of us are done with winter. What sucks is that it isn't done with us.  It seems that one polar vortex after the other has had us in its sights.

I thought I'd never want to see another vortex. Then we started carrying the Vortex line of optics. Vortex is an American company from Middleton, Wisconsin and is building a solid reputation for bullet-proof optics with fail-safe warranties.

What kind of warranty? Unlimited. Unconditional. Lifetime. If it breaks, they will fix it or replace it. Period.

Their line of optics covers everything from red dots to long-range sniper glass. Prices range from under $300 to, well, how much do you want to spend?

Our order from SHOT show is starting to come in and I like what I see. We have their Crossfire II 1-4x24 with 30mm tube for $289 and we have a Razor HD 1-6 x 24 with 30mm tube for $1,900. We are still receiving shipments and will have models filling in between these. And to complement the optics we also have mounts arriving from Vortex so you can screw them securely onto your rifle.

If you haven't been in to see us lately, stop on by and check out the Vortex line. The glass is great, the features well thought out, and the cost competitive.

Hope to see you soon. And think spring.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

PIG Gloves

“Oh, you meant the food kind of pig roast,” I said.  Someone had just mentioned a pig roast and I thought they were referring to a typical law enforcement retirement party.  “I always feel a bit cannibalistic at the food-type of of pig roast,” I continued.

“You’re an ass,” they replied. Yeah, I already knew that, but I amuse myself so I just roll with it.

Which brings us to the blog’s topic, PIG (Patrol Incident Gear) Gloves. We’re starting to carry them and are excited about it.

Yeah, I know, our Boss Chick is Jewish and is supposed to avoid pork, but hey, it’s bizness! And besides, as far as I can find, no actual swine were injured in the production of these gloves. 

For those not familiar, PIG Gloves burst on the scene advertising a level of fit and dexterity not found in most gloves. As a bonus, they have a model that allows use of touch screens while wearing the gloves. According to their website, they accomplish this by using “magical thread made from the hair of the unicorn pu...”… ahem, well, ummm never mind, let’s just say they use something that makes the touch screens work and leave it at that.

For now, we just have the PIG Gloves and they are here now.  As time progresses we might branch out to their other products but for now we are tight for space. That should change soon. Stay tuned for more on that later!

For your edification, and for something to do until you can come in and check them out, here’s the PIG Gear website.  As you’ll see, they have a refreshingly lighthearted and irreverent view of things.

And for those of my brother and sister law enforcement types who might be offended by the pig thing, be sure to check out their FAQs wherein they address the issue.  And then lighten the heck up!


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Winter Driving Preparedness- The Paul Simon Blog

I gotta think that there was a whole lot of slip sliding away going on lately on the roads… .

I remember getting the calls; someone was on their cell phone, in the snow drift, in hopeless conditions in which we would be hard pressed to get to them.  Were they prepared?  Not just no, but hell no! Under-dressed for the cold, no boots, thin gloves, no warm hat, probably poor tread on their tires, no water to drink, no flares, no tow rope, no shovel, no self-protection in case someone with ill intent came along, no emergency light, no food, no real pressing need to have been out in the weather and the question on their lips… “how soon can you get to me? I’m in a hurry!”

And like the Coast Guard when they rescue a boat that went out in crappy seas, we’d always find a way to get to them.

So, what should you do if they needed to risk a trip in the weather?  Prepare!

Any car should have a basic kit in it. The contents of the kit will vary based on the season, but the kit should be there. How extensive should the kit be?  That’s like asking an old timer if he wears boxers or briefs, he’ll answer, “Depends.”  It depends on your level of comfort.  It depends on your type of vehicle.  It depends on the route you’ll be plying.

Any time of the year, you should have some basics like water and some munchies. (No damn it.  Not those kind of munchies, this ain’t Colorado, dude. I mean real food! ) Throw in basic emergency supplies for your car (flares, air pump, fix-a-flat, jack, flashlight) and some means of protection (you always have that on you, don’t you?) and you have a good start.

Summer is easy. Not much above the basics are mandatory, although I’d throw in some bug repellent and extra hydration.

For winter, warm clothing is paramount (boots, hat, gloves, blankets).  A shovel is good.  Toss in some bags of something for weight, too. I use water softener salt; adds weight for traction and I’ll end up using it eventually for its stated use.  It also can be pressed into use for traction under your tires. (Reminds me of some folks I came across one winter. Stuck in the snow and putting floor mats under their rear tires for traction. Might have worked if it hadn’t been a front wheel drive vehicle. (And worse, these type of people breed).

And best advice; if you do not need to be out, stay in. When old man winter is over-achieving, there’s nothing like a warm fire in the fireplace, warm mug of cocoa in your hand, and a warm spouse and warm puppy belly to rub.  Staying in sure beats the alternative which can be frustrating at best, or deadly at the worst. Ask any cop, firefighter, EMT or wrecker driver. They’ll tell you how many times they’ve attended scenes where lives were tragically changed, or ended, in an instant on hazardous roads.

And don’t forget to say a quick prayer for those in the emergency services and medical care field who can’t take snow days, who absolutely have to "get there" and go to work.