Reloaders Corner: Accuracy 2

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Accuracy matters! Now here’s what matters to accuracy… This article discusses 5 essential steps that pay off big.

Glen Zediker

Last time I wrote a little “essay” on the importance of accuracy and a few ideas on why it matters and how to judge it. That’s all well and good, but the part I knowingly left out was to say more about “how” to get the most of it. Here’s a few points that, over a many-many years, have proven themselves to me to improve the quality of on-target perforations, and, to make sure I’m clear, that is manifested by smaller-diameter shot groups. There are a plenty of others who agree with these tips. There are plenty of others who might not agree with all of it, and even a few more who would love to add their own “can’t miss” components to this mix. But here are mine.

concentricity

ONE: After-the-fact concentricity. By that I mean actually checking loaded rounds on a runout indicator. Concentricity is pretty much the goal for sizing, seating, and neck-related case-prep steps, like outside case neck turning. However! All those things are done to help support concentricity, but not a one of them is concentricity.

Concentricty is the centered relationship of all influential circles in a cartridge case, with the reason that a more concentric round will have its bullet looking down dead center into the rifle bore: ultimately, if the loaded round spins “flat-line” it will shoot better than those that don’t.

It starts with brass selection and then likely also segregation. Then it moves on to the quality of tool alignment.

I have checked enough factory-loaded rounds though a concentricity fixture, and those that show the best group the best; even if the overall group from random selections is so-so, “flatliners” shoot smaller.

Check out Midsouth products HERE

TWO: Inside flash hole deburring. I know I’ve mentioned this before, but this simple and easy step shows up on target next firing on thusly-prepped cases. It improves propellant ignition consistency and, depending on the tool used, also ignition efficiency.

Inside deburring tool
How and why an inside flash hole deburring tool works is pretty clear to see. Despite the fears I’ve heard, it will not hurt the integrity of the case.

There’s a burr inside most cases that resulted from manufacture (with only a few drill-cut exceptions, like Lapua, cartridge case manufacturers punch the flash hole). This burr is variable in size and scope, but it acts as a block to the spread of primer flash, and it’s redirecting or misdirecting the flash at the same time.

It only has to be done once. Ever.

Check out Midsouth products HERE

THREE: Primer pocket uniforming. This helps because it lets you set each primer the same, and also fully. The reason is that it squares the “edges” or corners of what otherwise is a slightly bowl-shaped cylinder. A perfectly seated primer is sitting square and flush on the bottom of the pocket, with its anvil legs compressed. This “loads” the compound for rapid and consistent ignition. If the primer isn’t seated fully then the firing pin finishes that job before detonation. That creates what equate to time variables — inefficiency.

Funny, but clean primer pockets don’t shoot any better than dirty pockets. What matters is flat pockets.

Check out Midsouth products HERE

FOUR: Consistent case sizing. There is a widespread fear, especially among some “accuracy” fanatics, about sizing ops. There’s also a lot misunderstood about full-length sizing versus neck-only sizing and so on. But. What matters is that, whichever tooling and how much sizing the cases are treated to, it needs to produce dead-same cases. Consistent case expansion dynamics is not often talked about, but it’s influential, especially on longer-range rounds. Just in general, going a little on the “light” side with sizing might seem like a good idea (less stress, less working the metal, etc.) but it can also lead to round-to-round inconsistencies. My belief is that it’s better to be more “positive” in sizing ops, and by that I mean to reduce a case neck 0.003 inches rather than 0.001 prior to seating a bullet. Get all the case shoulders the same height. Running extra-light case neck tension and leaving case shoulders where they emerged last firing may not reproduce round-to-round consistency, unless the rifle chamber was perfect and the cases were too. A little more sizing works the best for the most of us in the most rifles.

Forster seating die

FIVE: Invest in a good seating die. No doubt: the bullet seating operation is the “last thing” that happens and it’s also the one thing that can corrupt the care and treatment given to the quality of the loaded round prior. A sleeve-style seater, well machined, goes a whopping long ways toward preserving alignment, and, therefore, concentricity. Also make sure that the stem in yours comes to rest well down onto the bullet ogive, and, above all else, is not contacting the bullet tip! That will wreck a round.

seating stem
Remove the seating stem and drop a bullet into it. The farther down the ogive or nosecone the step recess grips the bullet, the better. If it’s only pressing down against the bullet tip, a crooked seat is assured, along with inconsistent seating depth.

Check out Midsouth products HERE

This article is adapted from Glen’s newest book, Top-Grade Ammo, available at Midsouth HERE. For more information on that and other books by Glen, visit ZedikerPublishing.com

And the Winner Is…

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2017 Midsouth Shooters Crawfish Cup
Welcome to the 2017 Midsouth Shooters Crawfish Cup!

It was another beautiful, and exciting trip to Lake Charles, Louisiana, for the 2017 Midsouth Shooters Crawfish Cup. After driving through the larger portion of three states, and a delicious stop at our favorite LA Po’ Boy Shop (shout out to Poor Boy Lloyd’s, in Baton Rouge, LA!!!), we found ourselves back in the warm hospitality of the Southwest Louisiana Rifle and Pistol Club.

We were thrilled to see some of our old friends, meet some interesting new folks, and see just how much the competition had grown over the last 12 months. George Mowbray, and Gary Yantis, plus a big group of some of the best volunteers money could never buy, had made even more range improvements, including making The Crawfish Cup 100% wheelchair accessible! From the new rail mover, to the concrete walkways, the range looked perfect.

George Mowbray and Louis Tomme
George Mowbray and Louis Tomme

Our field of competitors had grown, but the elite competitors were unphased. Caspian Shooter Bruce Piatt, Midsouth Shooter Kevin Angstadt, and Black Nitride Shooter Tony Holmes all brought their A-game. A new face in the top competitors bracket was Mark Itzstein. Mark’s funny, energetic, and has the skills to back up the slight ribbing he’d dish out to his fellow shooters on the line.

Kevin Angstadt, Tony Holmes, Troy Mattheyer, Bruce Piatt, and Jeremy Newell
Kevin Angstadt, Tony Holmes, Troy Mattheyer, Bruce Piatt, and Jeremy Newell
Becky Yackley prepares for the first day of competition
Becky Yackley prepares for the first day of competition

Some other folks we were excited to see again we’re Jeremy Newell, who amazed us with his skill level last year, and his extensive resume of shooting disciplines in which he competes. The Yackley’s are one of the coolest families you’ll find on the range. They compete with everything they have, which is a ton of talent, and a family bond which lifts each member of it’s circle to do better, try harder, and to always be gracious. Becky set a new ladies record on the mover this year! Tim took the high honors in his category, and Sean tore up the competition as well!

Also, the Army Marksmanship Unit took home top honors in several events, to include Metallic, as well as Production. Newcomer SPC Heinauer took third in the Metallic Sight overall, and First in Falling Plates Metallic. Their group is always one to follow. Their energy is matched only by their skill!

If you don’t know who Vera Koo is, you’re missing out. Graceful, grounded, and generous, Vera had nothing but kind words, and praise for The Crawfish Cup. She also has a ton of skill and dedication! Vera took home Grand High Lady at the cup, and donated several hundred dollars of her own money to be given as door prizes.

Vera Koo at practice day of the 2017 Crawfish Cup
Vera Koo at practice day of the 2017 Crawfish Cup

The heat and humidity were also in attendance, as well as delicious food, and strong competition. With enough shooters to fill two days, we found ourselves extremely busy with shooting of our own. We’ll have a video of the shoot coming out soon, as well as more write-ups on sponsors, who make the entire shoot possible.

The Gun Type Champions for Open, Production, and Metallic Bruce Piatt, SFC Sokolowski, and SSG Franks
The Gun Type Champions for Open, Production, and Metallic Bruce Piatt, of the Army Marksmanship unit SFC Sokolowski, and SSG Franks
Your overall winners for 2017 Crawfish Cup, Bruce Piatt overall winner, Kevin Angstadt second place, and Mark Itzstein third place
Your overall winners for 2017 Crawfish Cup, Bruce Piatt overall winner, Kevin Angstadt second place, and Mark Itzstein third place

In the end, it all came down to X-rings, and the mover. Pulling off his third win in a row, Bruce Piatt took home the esteemed Crawfish Cup, with Kevin Angstadt coming in second, and Mark Itzstein coming in third. A great group of winners, in a field of exemplary shooters. Everyone tried, had a ton of fun, and made the 2017 Midsouth Shooters Supply Crawfish Cup a huge success. We’re ready for 2018 already. Are you?

SKILLS: How To Practice Drawing a Pistol From Concealment

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If you’re going to carry, you need to learn how to get your handgun out of its holster and into play. Here are some tips on how to practice this all-important skill.

by Tamara Keel
NRA Family

CCW draw

One of the unfortunate realities of carrying a concealed firearm for self-defense is that the one thing you will absolutely have to do in any real-life defensive gun use is also the one thing that is the most difficult to practice: Drawing the concealed firearm.

The majority of indoor ranges…and no small percentage of outdoor ones…get the vapors at the idea of patrons drawing loaded guns for practice on their premises, and for good reason. It is a probably-statistically-provable fact that drawing a loaded firearm from a concealed holster is the second most dangerous thing most folks do with their CCW handgun. And I say “second” because the only more dangerous thing is putting it into the holster in the first place.

Did this make you a little nervous? I hope so, because when people stop treating this process like they’re milking a live rattlesnake is when complacency sets in and the ambulance rides start.

The thing is, being under stress makes it difficult to learn new skills, and the middle of a holdup attempt is a heck of a time to try and figure out how to draw your pistol from concealment in a hurry.

One thing I would recommend for practicing drawing from a concealed holster is a “blue gun,” an inert plastic copy of your actual carry gun that will fit in your actual carry holster. Eventually you’ll incorporate your carry gun and the draw into your dry-fire routine (you do have a dry-fire routine, right?) but it’s easiest to start with a completely inert copy.

blue gun
Author recommends investing in a “blue” gun, which is a reproduction, for ultimate security and safety in learning the concealed draw.

One thing that this will allow you to do is work out how practical various carry methods are for rapidly and safely accessing the gun in the first place, as well as working out safe ways to draw without muzzling yourself or others. This will also help you screen your cover garments for safety and ease of draw and holstering. Heavier fabrics tend to be better for cover garments because lighter materials want to bunch up around the hand, gun and holster, which can become a safety issue.

Oh, and drawstrings and dangling zipper pulls on cover garments are a big no-no. Those find their way into trigger guards as though drawn by a magnet.

You’ll also find out if you can access the gun at least somewhat surreptitiously. One phrase I’ve heard from many trainers is “sooner is better than faster.” What this means is that paying attention to your surroundings and perhaps prepping your draw by getting your hand on your concealed firearm without drawing removes one of the most time-consuming portions of the draw sequence.

My friends John Johnston and Melody Lauer at Citizens Defense Research like to illustrate this in their training classes by showing students the “magic secret to the sub-1-second draw from concealment” and letting students see the difference in draw times between a standard draw and starting prepped with hand on the gun.

This, incidentally, is one of the downsides to deep concealment methods like SmartCarry or the Flash Bang bra holster. One would look a little funny accessing a gun in one of those positions as a precaution in a parking lot.

All these initial steps to selecting and testing a carry position are great uses for the blue gun, and it will be handy down the road for retention training and a host of other things, but you are going to want to be able to do it with your actual carry gun eventually.

The actual skill of drawing a loaded firearm on the clock is probably best initially learned under the watchful eye of an actual qualified trainer, but once you’ve learned it, how and where do you safely practice it?

If you’re lucky, your local range allows it. I mean, it can’t hurt to ask. The most recent range at which I worked did not allow customers to draw from the holster but the previous one did if they passed a simple qualifier. We’d just have one of our range safety officers go out and watch the customer draw from the holster and re-holster five to 10 times and if they did it safely, we’d make a notation in their customer file that they were cool for drawing from the holster.

If the regular commercial range doesn’t allow it, you can seek out various private clubs in your area and see if they do. This is a lot more common and definitely worth looking into, since the club may open another good venue for practicing drawing from concealment: competition.

Of the two major run-n-gun handgun sports, USPSA and IDPA, the latter actually mandates drawing from concealment while the former doesn’t prohibit it. Going the competition route will not only let you get practice drawing from concealment but will add some time pressure and stress, too, and the chance to perform this skill while getting a little stress inoculation to go with it is definitely worthwhile.

Click here to visit NRA Family 

Judicial Watch Sues ATF for Records of Attempted Reclassification of AR-15 Ammuniton

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Judicial Watch has announced that it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), a component of the Department of Justice, seeking records of communications related to a proposed reclassification that would effectively ban certain types of AR-15 ammunition as armor-piercing.

ball ammo

Source: Judicial Watch

The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:17-cv-00600)).

The ATF is reportedly reconsidering its February 2015 proposal to revise the 2014 Regulation Guide regarding the reclassification of certain ammunition.

In March 2015, more than 200 members of Congress wrote to former ATF director Todd Jones expressing their “serious concern” that the proposal might violate the Second Amendment by restricting ammunition that had been primarily used for “sporting purposes.” The letter asserts the ATF’s move “does not comport with the letter or spirit of the law and will interfere with Second Amendment rights by disrupting the market for ammunition that law abiding Americans use for sporting and other legitimate purposes.”

Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit after the agency failed to respond to a March 9, 2015, FOIA request seeking information on the ammo ban effort:

All records of communications, including emails, to or from employees or officials of the ATF related to the decision to revise the ATF 2014 Regulation Guide to no longer exempt 5.56 mm. SS109 and M855 (i.e., “green tip” AR-15) ammunition from the definition of “armor-piercing” ammunition.

The precise statutory definition of “armor-piercing ammunition” can be found in 18 U.S.C §921(a)(17).

“This is yet another example of how Obama’s wanton use of the ‘pen and the phone’ attempted to undermine the constitutional rights of all Americans, as opposed to upholding the rule of law,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The Obama ATF simply ignored our request on their ammo ban. Let’s hope the Trump administration finally brings transparency to this out-of-control agency.”

About Judicial Watch
Judicial Watch, Inc., a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law. Through its educational endeavors, Judicial Watch advocates high standards of ethics and morality in our nation’s public life and seeks to ensure that political and judicial officials do not abuse the powers entrusted to them by the American people. Judicial Watch fulfills its educational mission through litigation, investigations, and public outreach.

For more information, visit Judicial Watch

ATF letter

Read the entire letter (PDF): Click HERE

Smith & Wesson M&P45 Shield Test

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If you’re looking for a small, light, and (very) powerful CCW, that’s also manageable to shoot, this one is impressive… Read more!

Source: American Rifleman Staff

Ten years ago, Smith & Wesson introduced a line of defensive-oriented semi-automatic pistols that carried the firm’s long-used “Military & Police” (M&P) model identification. Unlike the familiar Model 10 revolver that armed Americans since the last decade of the 19th century, the new M&Ps were 21st century striker-fired, polymer-frame autoloaders with a full range of today’s essential features. The first models were full-size service pistols with double-column magazines chambered in .40 S&W, although 9mm Luger and .45 ACP followed quickly. Undeniably a successful product line, the M&P has been made in numerous variations — from compacts to long slides and, for a while, even in .357 SIG. But of all the variations that have come from the Springfield, Mass., plant, one that stands out is the M&P45 Shield.

The Shield line is a reflection of the current interest in medium-to-small, single-stack, semi-automatic pistols set up for concealed carry or police backup roles. High-capacity magazines are not essential, but serious terminal performance is. The first gun in the Shield line was a 9 mm, followed closely by a .40 S&W. It took a while longer for S&W engineers to adapt the Shield concept to the .45 ACP cartridge, but that gun is now a reality.

With a steel slide riding a polymer frame, the M&P45 Shield is recoil-operated, locking by way of the barrel’s hood engaging the ejection port and unlocking by way of its underlug camming downward after firing as it comes into contact with a steel block in the frame. A captive, dual recoil spring assembly returns the slide to battery.

S&W M&P45

The gun’s substantial .45 ACP chambering and scant 22oz. weight combine to create a pistol that might be a bit difficult to manage were it not for its superior ergonomic design, which makes the pistol eminently shootable. Most shooters, including those with smaller hands, generally take to the Shield grip shape well. In fact, it is probably the most appealing of the little pistol’s virtues. The frame is angled for natural pointability and has a deep pocket for the web of the shooting hand.

Looking at the gun in profile, the curve of the trigger is well below the curve of the pocket on the backstrap. This means that the pistol is nicely shaped for the “back and up” sweep movement of the trigger. The trigger pull is around 5 lbs., and seemed to vary just a bit, though it may level out with time. There is a minimal take-up before trigger pressure actually begins. Trigger reset distance is reasonably short.

With regard to safety features, the M&P45 Shield has an articulated trigger safety and an internal drop safety. Our sample gun also featured a manual thumb safety mounted on the left side of the frame for use by right-handed shooters, although Smith & Wesson offers a variant without the manual safety.

Shield 45 sights
The M&P45 Shield’s steel, drift-adjustable, three-dot sights consist of a square-notch rear and a post front.

Each pistol comes with one 6-round magazine and one 7-rounder — the only difference is in the height of the baseplates. As is the custom with service pistols, most shooters will load the pistol by retracting the slide, inserting a fully loaded magazine and depressing the slide release to chamber the top round. They then remove the magazine to top it off with a single round and replace it in the pistol. For this reason, pistols are commonly described as having a capacity of “six-plus-one” — the magazine carries only six rounds, but after topping off, the gun has a total of seven cartridges onboard. Yet curiously, both M&P45 Shield magazines feature witness holes marked “3, 4, 5, 6 and +1.” Not only is the “+1” denotation nonsensical, it is frustrating when one unsuccessfully attempts to load the “additional” round into the six-round magazine.

Shield 45 magazines
Two magazines come with the .45 ACP-chambered Shield, one with a seven-round capacity and one that holds six. The longer magazine provides additional gripping area for those who prefer.

Finished in a businesslike black Armornite® (slide is stainless steel), the Shield is an impressive little package. The square-notch rear and post front sights feature a three-dot pattern and are drift-adjustable. At the time of the M&P45 Shield’s introduction, the maker pointed out the improved (over earlier Shields) texturing on the gun’s gripping surfaces. S&W has gone to panels of a slightly more aggressive version of what was once termed a “crackle” finish. It works like a charm, serving to anchor the pistol firmly in the hand. This is a very light little pistol that recoils sharply when firing the larger .45 ACP cartridge.

In range testing with a variety of commercial ammunition, there were no malfunctions of any kind. In the absence of proper Ransom Rest inserts, accuracy shooting was done over sandbags on a solid bench. Results are tabulated above and are surprisingly good. Note the reduced velocities of typical 230gr. ammunition, due to the pistol’s shorter barrel.

S&W M&P45

The Smith & Wesson M&P45 Shield is a good choice as a daily carry gun. At 22.7 ozs., it isn’t particularly heavy, and would be a good choice as a police backup gun, as well; it is flat and could nicely fit into a pocket or seam in body armor. The M&P45 Shield is quick into action, simple to manage and about as powerful as carry guns get.

S&W M&P45

Visit Smith&Wesson to learn more HERE

Two Bills Compete to Bring Permitless Carry to Texas

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In this interview with WBAP radio in Dallas, Independent Program Attorney Edwin Walker of Walker & Byington discusses the differences between two Texas House bills that are vying to bring permitless carry to Texas. (Audio only).

Check out these other great articles from U.S. Law Shield and click here to become a member:

The just-released video above is from the Florida State Attorney’s Office, supporting a judge’s ruling that a citizen who opened fire on a man attacking a Lee County deputy last year was justified in using deadly force.
Taking the family to a state or national park this summer? Then you need to know the rules about firearms carry at your destinations, in state or out of state. Click to watch Independent Program Attorney Michele Byington explain various park rules controlling where you can — and definitely cannot — take your gun. And please take the poll at the bottom to tell us if you take firearms with you on vacation. All poll responses are completely confidential.

 

 

 

Crawfish Cup 2017: Welcome Back!

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We’re excited to be heading back to Lake Charles, Louisiana for the 2017 Midsouth Shooters Crawfish Cup! Familiarize yourselves with this illustrious Action Pistol Championship with our previous articles by Clicking here, and here.

Last year, we saw Bruce Piatt take the cup in a dramatic finish to what was one of the most exciting Crawfish Cup competitions yet. Team Black Nitride took all three top spots with Tony Holmes, and Doug Koenig taking second and third, respectively. Midsouth Shooter, Kevin Angstadt took home the fourth place prize.

Members of the Army Marksmanship Unit, plus Bruce Piatt and Tony Holmes find some shade on the Mover
Members of the Army Marksmanship Unit, plus Bruce Piatt and Tony Holmes find some shade on the Mover

We also saw greats like Vera Koo, and Team Yackley compete hard, and take home honors of their own. Tim Yackley won the Junior Division, and Vera achieved Grand High Lady!

Every year, The Crawfish Cup becomes more than an NRA Action Pistol event. It’s a place where greats come to hone their skills before the Flagler and Bianchi Cup Championships, and it’s a place where amateurs and professionals can compete side-by-side. The undercurrent of the shoot is always one of friendly competition, and conversation. It’s a warm environment for every shooter involved, and it’s not just the oppressing humidity of a Louisiana late spring.

Range Master George Mowbray and Head Range Officer Gary Yantis
Range Master George Mowbray and Head Range Officer Gary Yantis

We look forward to seeing all of our friends next week at The Midsouth Shooters Crawfish Cup!

RELOADERS CORNER: The Value of Accuracy

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Can you take a focus on accuracy too far, or never far enough? Here are some thoughts on why better accuracy (really) matters…

Glen Zediker

dial indicator

Anyone who has ever read one of my books knows the extent of tickiness that can be involved in handloading. Competitive shooters also tend to get pretty wrapped up and sometimes entrenched hopelessly in technical rifle details. All these things we do are done in the hope of better accuracy: smaller shot groups.

Why bother with tickiness? Well, the answer (always) depends on the level of tickiness afoot and on the level of reward we get from it. No other answer makes any sense.

Accuracy always matters. If you do something different or new in the handloading process and see better shot groups, that no doubt was worth it. Ultimately, it was worth it. It might have been upgrading tools, experimenting with components, one or more case prep steps you hadn’t tried before. It’s still always a payback over the expense, time, and effort. But. It’s another level, attaining another level. It’s stepped up. I’ve compared all this to other endeavors where attaining that new level forever eclipses the old. But then there’s also the time and the effort. When I load ammunition, I consider its purpose. I do not turn case necks for ammo that’s going through my old SP1 on a Sunday afternoon of tin can hunting with my sons. For that, I’m interested in volume and function: the best way to load a lot of .223 Rem. with bulk-packed bullets and ball gunpowder, and with the fewest number of steps. We need a lot of ammo because we have eradicated entire species of discarded objects.

But, let’s for the rest of this assume that the sole purpose is the smallest group sizes we can get, day in and day out. That’s easier to talk about and make sense of, because, no doubt, there are factors that influence it, and I do know what they are.

I’ve always judged accuracy by group size. No shock. Most people do it thataway. I’m also way on more concerned with the worst group my combination shows me than I am the best group. Not everyone views that the same. When it gets down to it, though, I want to know what the worst shot I can anticipate might be because that information is very valuable in adjusting for the next shot. Now I’m talking about shooting for score in a tournament.

I picture a circle that outlines the group size I warrant for my rifle/ammo combination. For my own purpose of clarity, I call it “the accuracy cone.” This circle gets bigger the farther I’m shooting. Shots outside that circle need correction, shots inside that probably don’t. Yes, no, I don’t always launch a perfect shot. So honesty matters, objective evaluation of the shot break.

Group ilustration
You are always shooting a group! You might be aiming at one point but you’re shooting a group. The aiming point is really the center of the group. That’s a “zero,” by the way, or that’s how to zero, but this is straying beyond the levee here. This drawing is a representation of the importance of smaller group sizes. One of the biggest helps that great accuracy provides is that it’s clear when there’s need for sight correction, and when there isn’t. The smaller circle the ammo covers on a target face, the more defining sight corrections can be. If that’s not clear: A perfect shot break on a correct sight setting at 600 yards from a 1 MOA combination means that a shot 3 inches left, right, up, or down away from target center is still a “perfect” shot, even though the perforation point was imperfect. With a 1/4 MOA combination, we’re defining “perfect” with more certainty, because “imperfect” is anything outside 1 inch of target center. Follow? This isn’t just theory.

Mathematically-oriented people may tell you (and I understand this) that testing with 3-round groups provides accurate feedback of a round’s performance. It has to do with probabilities and such. However! I believe too much in luck, or as Buddy Dave calls it, “The Bullet Fairy.” Math-folk will further tell you that the more rounds fired the bigger the shot groupings will become. I’ve seen many instances where that wasn’t true, where the first two or three rounds defined the outer edge of what ultimately became a 10-shot group. I can’t argue with math, but I can argue with myself to the point that I want to see more rounds, and more groups, before I cook up a big batch of a component combination and call it good, or call it “match ammo.”

If you are a competitive shooter, better accuracy helps you get all the points you hold for. We can’t, any of us, ask for more than that. If you are a varmint hunter, it means a close miss may become a hit. The smaller the target the more it matters, or the smaller the goal area on a target is. Aim small, miss small. So let’s miss smaller… Examples can continue, and they might involve a trophy elk in New Mexico, or something even more important to stop in its tracks. It’s doesn’t really matter if the target is 10 feet away, or 10 yards, or 1000 yards, a more accurate firearm is a more effective tool. You can’t miss! Or you sure don’t want to.

accuracy cone
This equals that. Accuracy, on-target group size, is a “cone” that gets wider, expands across distance. A 1/2-inch 100 yard gun is not a 5-inch 1000 yard gun. It shoots bigger than that. However! A solid load-test group like this one David Tubb fired at 288 yards held up on down the pike at 1000. Tip: velocity consistency is a key to keeping a group together at extended distances.

LAST WORD
The value of accuracy is undeniable, but the value of time and effort and expense does indeed have a limit. No, I don’t do “everything” possible to my ammo to make it perfect. I have found a few things that really help, things that are reasonably (by my standards) good paybacks. Another tip: Get a good barrel! Honestly: that gets the most from whatever you do, or don’t do, to help the cause.

This article is adapted from Glen’s newest book, Top-Grade Ammo, available at Midsouth HERE. For more information on that and other books by Glen, visit ZedikerPublishing.com

MASTERING GRIP: 5 Ways You’re Holding Your Gun Wrong

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A correct shooting grip is one of the most important fundamentals in mastering pistol shooting, but most don’t know to do it! Find out…

Courtesy Team Springfield

It’s show and tell time.

We asked Team Springfield™ shooters to assemble some of their go-to tips to benefit the fans out there looking for some pro advice. The first topic we threw out to them was the art of the grip. Let’s dive in.

#1: ROB LEATHAM: WRIST ACTION
The most common email question I get is asking how to correct the low, left shot on the target (from a right-handed shooter). One of the ways to address this problem is:

LOCK YOUR WRISTS, AS IF THEY ARE A VISE ON THE GUN

When instructing, I primarily observe the arm/wrist/hand areas when a student is shooting. I often see prominent movement in the strong-side wrist and hand (and sometimes into the arm) before or as a shot is fired. Even the smallest of movement before or when the shot is fired will cause the gun to move out of alignment, typically in the low, left direction.

I don’t care if you “jerk” the trigger. You can jerk all you want if you are able to hold the gun completely still. IMO, “Do not jerk the trigger” should be replaced with “Do not move your wrists.”

#2: KYLE SCHMIDT: UNSUPPORTIVE SUPPORT HAND

When Rob asked me to explain my No. 1 issue regarding grip, my mind immediately turned to earlier in the day. Less than an hour prior to the text from Rob, I was working with a few struggling shooters. Each one of them suffered from a very common gripping issue that I regularly see:

NOT USING THE SUPPORT HAND PROPERLY

Without proper support (i.e., position and strength) from the support hand, you are essentially shooting one-handed. One of the first indicators of improper support-hand usage is that the primary and support hands separate (partially or completely) when the gun is fired. Many shooters try to correct this problem by continually readjusting their support hands between shots; however, that correction is time-consuming and typically short-lived. The lack of use of the support hand has a significant negative effect on the shooter’s ability to both hold the gun steady when aiming difficult shots and the ability to quickly return the gun onto the target after firing.

#3: KIPPI LEATHAM: GET YOUR SHOOTING GRIP FROM THE GET-GO

I work with a lot of newer shooters, and the No. 1 gripping problem I see is:

PICKING UP THE GUN A DIFFERENT WAY EVERY TIME

One time they grab the gun with their strong hand and the webbing between the thumb and trigger finger is positioned one to two inches below the tang. They immediately have to re-position the webbing higher under the tang/beavertail before they can rack the slide and shoot.

The next time they pick up the pistol with their support hand to seat a magazine with their strong hand, they only to have to switch the gun and grip back to the strong hand before chambering a round to shoot. Or they draw the gun from the holster with all four fingers under the trigger guard, requiring an adjustment of the grip to re-position the trigger finger so it can press the trigger and move the other three fingers under the trigger guard.

My advice is to get the proper shooting grip immediately (if possible), whether picking the gun up off of a bench, drawing from a holster, taking it off of a display rack, etc. Every time I handle one of my pistols, whether I’m loading a mag, unloading the gun, drawing from a holster, just admiring it, etc., I use my strong-hand shooting grip —

Trigger finger rests on the frame (below the slide), visibly above/outside of the trigger guard.

Three remaining fingers are closed and touching under the trigger guard.

Thumb webbing is centered on the back strap of the gun and positioned under the tang as high as possible.

Thumb on the left side of the gun is touching the side of the frame.

proper pistol grip

If you can do this every time you handle your pistol, you will repeatedly reinforce your proper shooting grip, and, soon, muscle memory should take over.

#4: JASON BURTON: LOSE THE LOOSE GRIP

GRIP THE PISTOL TIGHTLY = HAVE MORE TIME

Whether it is competition such as USPSA, shooting bullseye at Camp Perry, or defensive-oriented pistol craft, time and its effects on the end result are a factor present in most shooting. Time as it relates to competitive shooting can often be categorized in two ways: Expend the least amount of time (or do things as fast as the shooter is capable) or make the most of the fixed amount of time allotted. However, time as it relates to personal defense is neither fixed nor limitlessly expendable, but rather a consideration often used and quantifiable for making decisions. So when it comes to actually shooting the pistol from a personal defense aspect, how can we have more time with which to make decisions and/or react to the evolving situation?

ONE VERY SIMPLE WAY IS TO MAKE THE PISTOL MOVE LESS

Many times in classes (as well as competitive circles) I have seen shooters who wait to move from one target or part of a shooting array to another until they have completely recovered the gun onto their existing problems. While more prevalent in defensive pistol craft, this is not necessarily a bad thing, as it is essentially an assessment of one’s previous actions and the results they had.

However, the sooner you can get to the point of assessing your previous action, the sooner you can move on to the next problem. Herein, the application of proper shooting technique will contribute to the speed at which you can assess problems. Simply put, the better you grip the gun the less it will move, and the less it moves the sooner it will return to the target, which allows you more time to evaluate if what you did worked. My friend Clint Smith has a saying, “You have the rest of your life to solve the problem. How long your life lasts depends on how well you do it.” So grip the gun like your life depends on it, because it just might.

#5: STEVE HORSMAN: THUMBS DOWN

When I taught concealed carry permit classes, we would spend the first day in the classroom discussing safety, state self-defense law, basic shooting technique, and — did I mention safety? On day two at the range, after discussing safety again, I would ask the students to shoot a group at 5 yards and 10 yards, and my primary objective was to observe how the student gripped the pistol. While I would occasionally have students shooting revolvers, most were using a semi-automatic pistol, such as the 1911 or the striker-fired XD® line. So this is the grip I’ll focus on.

What I immediately noticed was that most shooters would place their primary thumbs over the top of their support-hand thumbs, with the thumbs almost pointing down. If you can visualize a good revolver grip, this is what many shooters were doing while shooting their semi-autos.

THUMBS DOWN TO THUMBS DOWN

However, most firearms instructors and accomplished competition shooters grip the pistol with a high thumb grip. Visualize my primary-hand thumb resting on my support-hand thumb, with both thumbs somewhat pointing toward the muzzle of the gun. Thumbs should look like they are in direct line of the slide/barrel.

gripping pistol
This high-thumb hold/grip allows you to get more of your support hand on the pistol and forces your hands as high up on the pistol as possible. The best thing about that grip is that it reduces the muzzle flip!

With this tip, and the others that my Springfield teammates have suggested, head out to the range, give these techniques a try and see if you don’t just notice some improvement…

Fired for Your Firearm: Do You Have any Options?

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A recent incident in which a Waffle House waitress was fired after defending herself against an attempted robbery shows that even when people exercise their legal right to self-defense, they can still be terminated by their employers.

According to WSBTV in Georgia, “Deputies said robbers gave a note to a waitress that threatened to shoot everyone unless she gave them money.” Heather Stanley, another waitress at the Newnan, Georgia eatery, went out to her car, retrieved her handgun, and “fired one shot into the air” as the would-be robbers ran to their cars.

Stanley was fired by Waffle House after the incident.

Stanley told WSBTV, “I didn’t know if they had guns. I didn’t know if they were going to their vehicle to get another one and could come back and try to get to the safe, so my instinct was to go to my car and get the gun.” Stanley added, “For trying to protect their Waffle House and trying to protect their money and to get their money back, they let me go.”

In Texas, employers can fire employees for similar policy violations. Independent Program Attorney Emily Taylor of Walker & Byington discusses the limited options fired employees in the Lone Star State have if they violate an employer’s firearms policy:

What happens if you do get fired for violating a firearms policy? Well, unfortunately, Texas is an “employment at will” state so your employer can fire you for virtually any reason, or no reason at all at any time.

So if you’re fired for violating a firearms policy, you don’t really have recourse. Firearms owners in Texas are not a protected class of persons, so you can’t come back then and sue your employer and say you were discriminated against for being a firearms owner. We reserve this protected-class status for things like race, gender, ethnicity, religion, and things of this nature.

There’s one more quirk in Texas firearms law that pertains to employers and employees, and this is having your firearm in your vehicle at work. We have a bill here in Texas that says that the general rule is employers must allow you to do this.

However, that bill doesn’t have a punishment for employers who violate this law, so at the end of the day, if you have your firearm in the car, your employer tells you that you cannot do this, and then they fire you for having your firearm in the car, unfortunately, even though, they are in violation of the statute, you have again no legal recourse because Texas is employment at will.

Check out these other great articles from U.S. Law Shield and click here to become a member:

The just-released video above is from the Florida State Attorney’s Office, supporting a judge’s ruling that a citizen who opened fire on a man attacking a Lee County deputy last year was justified in using deadly force.
Taking the family to a state or national park this summer? Then you need to know the rules about firearms carry at your destinations, in-state or out of state. Click to watch Independent Program Attorney Michele Byington explain various park rules controlling where you can — and definitely cannot — take your gun. And please take the poll at the bottom to tell us if you take firearms with you on vacation. All poll responses are completely confidential.