Category Archives: Shooting Skills

REVIEW: MantisX: The Little Training Gizmo That Could

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestyoutube

This new training aid is worth well more than its cost in ammo. Find out what it is…

MantisX

by Frank Winn, Guns & Gear Editor
NRA America’s 1st Freedom

How enthusiastic would you be about a device that could turn you into a better pistol (or rifle) shooter in a hurry; weighed essentially nothing; worked on a huge variety of firearms; played no favorites by gender, stature, handedness (or hat-size, for that matter); worked in both dry- and live-fire modes; and could be had for a few week’s worth of pocket change?

Yeah — us too. So we present the MantisX Firearms Training System.

Physically, it’s an underwhelming sort of kit: A bland-looking Picatinny-attachable component (packed in the smallest Pelican case we’ve ever seen) comprises a compact sensor, and is accompanied by a single sheet of instructions and a USB-to-mini-USB charging cable. But unfold that sheet of paper, and you’ll start to cheer up, we promise. Eight steps that would fit legibly on both sides of a business card may be all you’ll ever read about the MantisX.

While we have suspicions about the need behind the complexity of the nuts and bolts, the concept behind the device is simple. Step One of those instructions is to get the brains to your phone — a free App Store or Google Play download — and Step Two puts the device on your rail. Next come prompted and self-terminating connection and calibration steps, and now you’re ready to train. Just push “start,” and you’re rolling. (Unless you’re at the range, remember to make sure a dry-fire session is truly dry: NO LIVE AMMO IN THE SAME ROOM AS YOU ARE.)

The sensor and your smart device are now monitoring the movements of your pistol in near real time. The data stream that the sensor sends is stripped of the crucial milliseconds around the hammer or striker fall, and the segment compared to the “still” calibration position. Large-amplitude movements like cycling and actual shots are filtered out. The result is shot-by-shot analysis of your movements in generating the trigger press. Individual shots are scored, and the string as a whole is averaged on a 0-to-100 scale (100 demonstrates you’ve introduced no extraneous movement).

A lot of what you’ll see on your smart device in “Train” mode will remind you of a “Common Errors and Corrections” target that’s been around for years and years — one of those teaching aids that we love and hate at the same time. Pretty much everybody has seen these. They’re a spider-web-looking sort of target with a very pronounced center aim point, and labels that really give them away. They’re intended to help you identify and correct many gripping-architecture/mechanics problems that, if repeated, cause shots to stray in predictable ways. So far, so good. Their shortcomings are more difficult to apprehend, and the biggest are inseparably tandem: They have handedness (different for righties and lefties) built in, and this means they’re truly helpful only when you shoot on them with the named, single hand. As this is a huge departure from modern technique — both hands pressed together around the pistol grip just for starters — it’s no wonder their utility begins to fade. Certainly, their cues to remedy misdirected shots become less useful.

MantisX screeen

You can use your MantisX system in this way. In fact, knock yourself out: You will develop a fine trigger press with either hand. But don’t think for a second that the MantisX software shares the limitations of paper predecessors. Take a look at the “Learn” screens, and you’ll see that two-handed technique has been accounted for in the software. Whether the training suggestions are utterly perfect or not will soon be an afterthought. The real power is in revealing those tiny corrupting movements you had no idea you were making.

Two additional “Train” mode displays are where this becomes clear. The first is a line graph that looks a little bland on first inspection: Your string gets plotted left to right on the zero-to-100 scale as shots are made. Overlaid on this is a running average, recomputed and displayed as a line across the inevitable zig-zag of the successive, individual shots.

With an efficiency matched by nothing else we know, the MantisX gets you closer to repeatability in that all-important press.

This isn’t as ho-hum as it may sound, though it’s a little hard to describe why. We think the graphical presentation of the relative stillness of each shot is simply more obvious in the line plot: Shots that feel very similar will measure quite differently and — sometimes glaringly — illustrate the disastrous compounding of flaws that routinely spoils what feels like a technically sound shot. Nothing makes this clearer than an ugly, obvious 20- or even 40-point bounce from one press to the next. But stick with it, and this is where the near-magic happens. Between the MantisX sensor, software and your brain, a feedback loop is built, and we think you’ll be as astonished and impressed as we were how rapidly those infuriating swings begin to moderate. With an efficiency matched by nothing else we know, the MantisX gets you closer to repeatability in that all-important press.

MantisX

The third Train-mode screen gives even better detail on variations in one crucial sense. While it goes back to the “bucket” display mode where shots are grouped by error type, it shows the degree of error, rather than a simple count. Reading this is therefore a bit more subtle: If you have small, concentric slivers all around the center, your technique is likely very sound. The mistakes you’re making are causing very small angular deviations, and are approaching irreducible levels that reflect biologic immutables (pulse, respiration, etc.), not technique blunders.

If your pattern is more spoke-like — with larger/deeper arcs more scattered — then your score will be lower, too. You may have fewer errors, but their magnitude is such that they’ll have big(ger) impacts on downrange results.

While it’s easy to get excited about the actual shooting benefits of the MantisX system, it’d be an injustice to overlook some other fine attributes. A favorite is the charging method: The supplied cable lets you charge your sensor in any handy USB. We have no idea why there isn’t more of this in small devices of every type.

Next is that charging port itself. If you plan to do mostly dryfire work and have a pistol to which you’ll leave the sensor mounted (don’t forget — it works with CO2 and Airsoft too), such a mount can be made with the port accessible; that is, pointing forward to make plug-in dead easy. If you are using the sensor in live fire, you’ll be well-advised to turn the charging connection rearward so that carbon and other detritus don’t find their way into the connector. Just remember, this is parameter for the sensor, and creates push/pull assessment errors if not set on the “Settings” screen.

We can hear some of you thinking, by the way. “Gee, what would it be like on my rifle?” That is easily answered in two ways. First, we tried it, and it works just fine, though obviously the technique tips are mostly meaningless because grip is so different. But in terms of telling you how “quiet” you are physically at the moment you break the shot, it’s grand. Second, and not coincidentally, MantisX tells us that a rifle version of the software is already well along and due this summer.

A “History” mode is built into the MantisX software, too, and it’s about as self-explanatory as it could be. It stores each string as a bar graph in 0-to-100 scale, and contains the individual “Train” mode results (all three plots). It divvies them up by “live,” “dry” and “all,” as well as presenting some summary statistics. All are shareable as well.

We expect it’s clear that the more we fiddle with the MantisX, the more we like it. It’s clever, reliable and affordable, and will allow disproportionately rapid improvement for modest investments along several axes. But make no mistake: Its genius is not merely in forging some new paradigm, but also in refocusing and capitalizing on a time-tested one. It will put the fun back in dry fire. And if we’re honest, the more seasoned you get, the more boring this becomes. Heck, the MantisX even allows this to become a mildly competitive pursuit, if you like.

As to a new paradigm, we’d suggest it does this too. Nothing in (LOUD) shouting distance allows a reconnection between dry and live practice like the MantisX system. Making one pay dividends for the other has never been frankly transparent, and we think that’s about to change.

If you’ll take our advice, don’t be on the tail end of finding out.

MantisX unit

Visit MantisX site HERE
MSRP of the MantisX Firearms Training Systems is $149.99

SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT: Sun Poisoning & Heatstroke: What You Should Know

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestyoutube

Summer sun is a wonderful thing but, as with many such, all things in moderation!  Here’s how to protect, and treat, yourself and your family from over-exposure.

high heat

by Laura Cromwell, NRA Family

After what felt like an endless winter of Narnia proportions, summer is more welcome than ever. Now that we’ve said goodbye to bulky winter coats, subfreezing temperatures, and mounds of powdery snow, it’s time to break out bathing suits, open up pools, and enjoy the relaxing warmth –- no Polar Vortexes allowed!

In moderation, sun exposure boosts vitamin D production in the body, regulates melatonin, and has been found to suppress symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis along with many other health benefits. But overexposure to the sun has potentially life-threatening consequences that can ruin vacations and take you on a different trip — all the way to the emergency room. The effects of sun poisoning and heatstroke are not to be taken lightly. Learn what you can do to protect yourself and your family.

Sun-Blocking Strategies
Before going out in the sun, rub on broad-spectrum SPF 30 or above sunscreen at least 15 to 20 minutes prior to sun exposure. Reapply every two hours or after periods of swimming or sweating. Remember, there is no shame in camping out in the shade, covering up bare skin, or putting on a wide-brim hat as an extra precaution. Many clothing companies sell garments treated with UV-ray obstructing components for all-day wear.

Too Much of a Good Thing
Everyone gets overexposed to the sun at least once in their lives, but there’s a stark difference between a rosy pink gone-after-a-few-days sunburn versus painful, swollen, blistered skin. Sun poisoning is sunburn that has been taken to the next level — displaying skin damage similar to that found in a hospital burn unit. How can you tell when you or a family member has been over-served on sunlight, and what should you do? Here’s a quick reference guide.

What to look for:
Skin redness and blistering
Pain and tingling
Swelling
Headache
Fever and chills
Nausea
Dizziness
Dehydration

What to do:
Get out of the sun
Take a cool (not cold) shower or bath or apply cool compresses
Drink extra fluids for a few days
Take ibuprofen or acetaminophen for pain
Use aloe gel or a moisturizing cream
Completely cover sunburned areas when going outside

When to get medical help:
A sunburn that forms blisters, covers a large area, or is very painful
Facial swelling
Fever and chills
Upset stomach
Headache, confusion or faintness
Signs of dehydration

When You Shouldn’t Take the Heat
Whether you’re mowing the lawn, jogging or playing in brutal summer temperatures, heatstroke creeps up and rears its ugly head with debilitating, even fatal, results. Get a hold of the day’s temperature forecast before going out. If it’s too hot, it’s just not worth it. Utilize the coolness of early-morning or evening hours to take care of the yard, exercise inside instead of putting yourself in harm’s way. Information provided by the Mayo Clinic recognizes that heatstroke begins as cramping in arms, stomach and legs, nausea, moist skin, dizziness and headaches, then evolves into symptoms that wreak havoc on the human body. Pay attention if you or someone you know is exhibiting the below indicators and know ahead of time what you can do to help.

What to look for:
Body temperature of 104 F. This is the telltale sign of heatstroke
No sweating. In heatstroke brought on by hot weather, skin feels hot and dry to the touch. With heatstroke brought on by vigorous exercise, skin may feel moist.
Nausea and vomiting
Flushed skin
Rapid and shallow breathing
Racing heart rate
Headache
Confusion
Seizures
Hallucinations
Difficulty speaking or understanding others
Passing out, or unconsciousness that may lead to a comatose state
Muscle cramping or weakness

What to do:
Seek immediate medical help. Call 911 or your local emergency services number.
Cool them down. Get the person moved to a shaded location, have them drink water or an electrolyte-containing sports drink, and remove excess clothing.
Place ice packs or cold, wet towels on the person’s head, neck, armpits and groin.
Mist the person with water with a fan blowing on them.

No Time for Summertime Blues
Summers are meant to be jam-packed with fireworks, backyard barbecues, fishing trips, barefooted bliss, and most importantly, no school! Taking the necessary precautions to enjoy the sunshine safely means more memories can be made without a visit to the doctor’s office. If your summer plans include getting out on the waves, hiking up a trail, or exploring the desert, you’ll be equipped to beat the heat. There’s no need to be afraid of the sun when you know what to do to get the most out of July and August. Bring on summer!

Folks, we put this in here because w’ve seen it happen at a shooting range more than once. Do not dismiss or underestimate the effects of a hot summer sun!

As Temperatures Go Up in Texas, So Does Road Rage

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestyoutube

A recent national television report asserted that road-rage incidents are becoming more common and more deadly, with the latest incident taking place in Pennsylvania, in which a man is alleged to have shot and killed a teenage girl during a traffic merge.  Click to watch level-headed advice from your Independent Program Attorney about what to do—and what not to do—in these situations.

Hello, my name is Edwin Walker. I’m an Independent Program Attorney with Texas Law Shield.

I want to talk to you today about an issue that we see on a daily basis. In fact, you will encounter it on a daily basis — the subject of road rage. I am sure that you have all seen road rage. You may have actually been involved in a road rage incident.

Now, if you’re a responsible gun owner, I’m going to give you a few words of advice on how to react when you find yourself in one of these unfortunate road-rage incidents. While on the roadways, we all observe something that makes us upset, whether it’s poor driving, unsafe driving, or just simply somebody being very discourteous.

By all means, you should restrain yourself from engaging that person and telling them how bad their actions were because this can be perceived as an act of road rage. If you’re a lawful gun owner and you have a firearm in your vehicle, you do not want to be viewed as the aggressor in a road-rage situation.

Now, about a situation where an individual has chosen to rage against you, and you are the actual victim of road rage, if you and the other individuals are still in their automobiles, do not use your firearm to respond to any of the rager’s activities. This is because law enforcement views the fact that you’re both still safely in your metal boxes as removing any threat of immediacy that you may be harmed.

So please, if you have a gun, and somebody is raging against you, forget that you have a gun, don’t display it, don’t brandish it, don’t show it, don’t point it, and for God’s sake, don’t fire it. This could result in a lot of trouble for you. Now let’s look at a situation where a road rage incident has escalated to the point where one of the participants has actually gotten out of their vehicle. We recommend that you stay in your vehicle at all times. Do not exit your vehicle because the person who left their vehicle is going to be looked at as the aggressor.

If the other individual has exited his or her vehicle and the person is not in contact with your vehicle, and they do not have a weapon, then do not feel that you can display your weapon in the act of self-defense. People are allowed to just simply stand there and scream at you—scream whatever they want—until they make a demonstrative effort to try to harm you. There is no immediate threat that would justify displaying or shooting or brandishing your firearm.

Now, if the person shows a weapon, in particular, a firearm, the existence of a weapon would give you reasonable belief that there was an immediate threat of harm that would justify an act of force or deadly force.

Even in this situation, I would be very cautious. Now, if this situation escalates even further, where the person has actually made physical contact with your vehicle, whether they are beating on it with an instrument with their fists or they’re attempting to open your door, this would give you the facts that you would need to show that you had a reasonable belief that that individual is unlawfully and forcefully attempting to either enter your vehicle or remove you from your vehicle. This is very very important because this falls under what is commonly known in Texas as the Castle Doctrine.

The Castle Doctrine provides that an individual is given a presumption of reasonableness if they use force or deadly force in a situation where they believe that the person is unlawfully and forcefully either attempting to enter their occupied vehicle or remove somebody from their occupied vehicle. This legal presumption can be very very important because this legal presumption then says that you are allowed to use force or deadly force in response to this other individual’s actions.

We want to keep you safe out on the roadway, so keep these words of advice in mind and try to have a little less road rage out there. If we have a little less road rage, maybe we’ll have a safer world.

 

 

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

 

The “purple paint law” became official in Texas on September 1, 1997. The law doesn’t appear to be common knowledge for every hunter in the Lone Star State, even though Texas hunting regulations describe it.
Can your employer restrict your ability to carry firearms at the workplace? Click to watch Emily Taylor, Independent Program Attorney with Walker & Byington, explain that in Texas, employers call the shots regarding workplace self-defense.
In this excerpt from a U.S. Law Shield News live report, watch Emily Taylor, independent program attorney with Walker & Byington, discuss the ground rules for carrying firearms into restaurants and bars. Click the video below to find out the significant differences between blue signs and red signs in Texas establishments, and how getting those colors crossed up could lead to some orange jumpsuit time.   If you would like to see these reports live on Facebook, click here to join the Texas Law Shield Facebook page and sign up for live notifications.

SKILLS: Riflescopes: All About Reticles

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestyoutube

This is the second in a series on optic basics, and it covers the most visible component of a scope: the reticle. Read on…

by NRA Staff

basic riflescope reticle

The riflescope’s reticle is the visible reference used as an aiming point to align the gun with the target. There are many reticle patterns ranging from simple to complex. The most popular remains the general-purpose crosshair. However, even the simple crosshair offers choices, such as tapered, ultra thin, duplex, mil-dot, ballistic compensating, range-finding, center dot, center ring and post, just to name a few. Each configuration is intended for a specific type of use and there are multiple versions of all. For example, tapered crosshairs are a popular choice for varmint hunting and duplex crosshairs are a common choice for big-game hunting. There seems to be no limit to the new reticle designs being offered, and most makers offer at least six or more types. Your best bet is to try out several at a local gun store, then consult with experienced shooters or hunters before making a final selection.

Reticles may be illuminated electronically, with tritium or with fiber optics to enhance their contrast against dark backgrounds; this is helpful especially at dusk or dawn or during heavy overcast conditions. Illumination remains an expensive option that may not work well in very cold conditions and has limited usefulness. Still, it has proven a popular addition to many scopes.

reticle choices

The reticle itself may be located inside the scope at the first, or front, focal plane or the second, or rear focal plane. The location is an issue only in variable-power scopes. Reticles located in the first focal plane in a variable-power scope will increase or decrease in size as the magnification is changed while those located in the second focal plane do not change size when the power is adjusted. For this reason, the latter location has become the most popular.

One situation in which a front-focal-plane reticle is clearly advantageous is in scopes with a mil-dot ranging system. This type of reticle employs dots spaced one milliradian apart on the crosshair. (A milliradian is the angle subtended by 3 feet at 1,000 yards.) An object of known size is bracketed between the dots, and a table is used to determine the range based on the number of dots the object measures. With a rear-focal-plane reticle variable, the mil-dot system is only accurate at one power setting. A front-focal-plane location maintains the same relationship to the target throughout the range of magnification, thus enabling mil-dots to be used accurately at any power.

A second benefit of placement in front of the variable-magnification lens system is that the reticle remains unaffected by tolerances or misalignment of the erector tube during power changes. With a rear-focal-plane location, these tolerances may shift point of impact as the power level changes.

In the past, many scope reticles were not constantly centered, meaning they moved off to the side when windage or elevation adjustments were made. Many shooters found this annoying. Today, nearly all riflescopes have constantly centered reticles that do not change position when adjustments are made.

Crosshairs or other reticle patterns are created by laser etching on optical glass or by ultra-thin platinum wires. Some early scope reticles used strands of hair, hence the name “crosshairs.” Others used spider silk…interestingly enough, the silk of the black widow spider, which has a better tensile strength than other types of spider silk.

David Tubb DTR Reticle
David Tubb’s DTR design takes a reticle about as far as it can go, offering built-in aiming dot compensation choices to even account for density altitude.

SKILLS: Optics ABCs: What All Those Terms Mean

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestyoutube

When it comes to optics for firearms, the specific terms that people use to describe them can be confusing. Here’s what all that argot actually means…in alphabetical order, no less.

Source: NRAFamily.org

rifleman with scope

Contrast
The ability of an optical system to distinguish clearly and crisply between areas of light and dark is called contrast. For shooting purposes, always select the riflescope with the highest contrast.

Exit Pupil
Exit pupil is the diameter, in millimeters, of the beam of focused light transmitted by the ocular lens. The exit pupil can be calculated by dividing the diameter of the objective lens by the power, or magnification, of the scope. An exit pupil of about 5mm or larger in diameter is preferable. A large exit pupil provides a brighter image with greater contrast and a wide field of view for easy target acquisition. Exit pupils smaller than 5mm in diameter offer darker images with lower contrast and progressively narrower fields of view.

Eye Relief
Eye relief is the distance of the eye from the ocular lens when the image fully fills the lens and is not vignetted. Normally, eye relief figures are given as a distance range, for example 3.2 to 3.8 inches, due to differences in individual visual acuity. On a variable-power scope, eye relief typically changes with scope power. Too little eye relief is undesirable, particularly on a scope mounted on a hard-kicking magnum rifle, where it may contribute to a “scope bite” on the eyebrow. For this reason, most centerfire riflescopes have a minimum eye relief of 3 to 4 inches. A riflescope with an eye relief of less than 3 inches should only be used on a small-caliber rifle with low recoil.

Most riflescopes and shotgun scopes are designed to be mounted on the receiver, close to the eye, and thus have relatively short eye relief. Scopes to be mounted on handguns and on the barrels of long guns are classed as long eye relief (LER) or extended eye relief (EER) scopes. Some models provide as much as 18 to 20 inches of eye relief, enabling scope use on a handgun extended at arm’s length. Other models may offer an eye relief of 12 inches or less for scope mounting on a scout rifle. Note that the higher the magnification, the shorter the eye relief of such scopes.

Field of View
Field of view is the width of the area that can be seen in the image at a given distance. Normally, field of view is expressed as the number of feet in the image at 1,000 yards, for example 322 feet at 1,000 yards. Field of view decreases dramatically with increasing magnification. A narrow field of view makes it difficult to find the target and then to hold it in the image. For this reason, a wide field of view may be more important than high scope magnification.

When looking through a scope with a 100-foot field of view at 1,000 yards, a 100-foot-wide object viewed at that distance will just fill the visual field.

Focal Plane
The focal plane is the plane or distance from the objective lens at which light rays from an object converge to form a focused image inside the main tube. Objects in the same focal plane appear to the eye to be at the same distance, and therefore can be seen with equal clarity without the need to refocus the eye. One of the advantages of optical sights is that the target and the reticle are in the same focal plane. This eliminates trying to focus on both iron sights and the target at the same time. This is why riflescopes are so popular with shooters who have less-than-perfect eyesight.

There are two focal planes in a typical riflescope: The first behind the objective lens, and the second behind the erector lens set.

See the huge selection of riflescopes available here at Midsouth HERE

O Canada! Sniper Gains World Record

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestyoutube

A Canadian Special Forces [sic] sniper looks to have taken out an ISIS fighter from a world-record distance of 11,316 feet, or about 2.2 miles away.

Now, as shooters and reloaders, we know there are a myriad of details which went into making a shot like this successful. “The spotter would have had to successfully calculate five factors: distance, wind, atmospheric conditions and the speed of the earth’s rotation at their latitude,” Says Ryan Cleckner, a former U.S. Army Ranger who served several tours in Afghanistan, and wrote the “Long Range Shooting Handbook.”

Atmospheric conditions also would have posed a huge challenge for the spotter.

Cleckner says, “To get the atmospheric conditions just right, the spotter would have had to understand the temperature, humidity and barometric pressure of the air the round had to travel through.”

BUT WHAT ABOUT THE HARDWARE???

“While the ammunition that Canadian special forces use in the TAC-50 is “off-the-charts powerful,” with some 13,000 foot-pounds of force when it comes out of the muzzle, the speed of a bullet, a 750-grain Hornady round, is not as important as the aerodynamic efficiency of the bullet.”

Yes. You read it correctly. The rifle is great, the spotter was spot-on, the shooter held to his technique.

One of the largest factors was the bullet. A HORNADY bullet.

This Hornady.

“The key to having a sniper round travel that far and hit a small target has less to do with speed and more to do with the efficiency with which the projectile moves through the air,” he said.

“That’s because while sniper bullets exit the muzzle at several times the speed of sound they eventually slow down to less than the speed of sound, and at that point they become less stable. An efficiently designed bullet reduces that instability, he explained,” Says Michael Obel of Fox News.

“When it all comes together, it’s ‘mission accomplished’.”

Well done, soldier! We appreciate you essentially disrupting a deadly operation about to take place in Iraq by these barbarians.

We have to ask! What’s your longest shot?

Wanna start shooting like this warrior? We have a few boxes left of the legendary bullet . Click Here to stock up!

SKILLS: Top 6 Public Range No-Nos

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestyoutube

There’s a lot for a new shooter to learn, and a lot of it is learned at the shooting range. But learn first  about the range!

by Jeff Johnston, NRA Family

So you’re heading to the range for the first (or maybe the second, or third) time. Here’s what NOT to do, both from a safety and a common courtesy perspective.

DON’T…
…Bring a shotgun and shoot it with anything except slugs. In most public range settings, lanes are set mere feet apart from each other. While a shotgun loaded with any pellet-type load might hit only your target at 10 yards, at 50 yards the spread of its pattern will turn your neighbor’s pristine new target into Swiss cheese. For this reason most ranges don’t allow shotguns on the range for anything except slugs. You should know this beforehand, so you don’t buy everyone new targets later.

DON’T…
…Place your finger on the trigger before your sights are on the target. This is the quickest way to tell everyone in the range, “Hey, everyone! Look at me! I don’t have the foggiest clue what I’m doing! Ha! Ha!” You may notice people begin to look at you like you’re wearing a Bin Laden costume as they back away slowly. Why? If you don’t know the second NRA rule of gun safety, you are obviously not safe. So keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to shoot. Perhaps you can’t hit a bullseye to save your life, but at least everyone around you knows you’re  trying to be safe.

This one is for indoor ranges that max out at 50 yards:
DON’T…
…Bring your .338 Lapua Mag. (or .300 Win. Mag. or any other high-power rifle that’s equipped with a muzzle brake) to “sight it in.” To zero your rifle for hunting you should shoot it at 100-200 yards anyway, so why kill people’s ear drums at the range by getting in on paper there? A muzzle brake sends sound waves and hot gases backwards, and many times the long, 26-inch barrels of magnum hunting rifles extend past the side barriers, sending those unfiltered sound waves and gases directly back at your neighbors. Think the opposite of the Nike commercial and just don’t do it.

DON’T…
…Place your target above or below eye level. Some ranges clearly post rules against this, while others do not. Regardless, consider what your bullet does after hitting the target: It continues on its merry way at its given angle, and if that angle is steep, it will stop in the floor or the ceiling, not the backstop as it should. Wood and debris from the floor or ceiling will fly, and the range officers will begin eyeballing you like buzzards above a bloody road kill. So place your targets at eye level so your bullet goes into the backstop where it should.

DON’T…
…Give unsolicited advice to complete strangers. Sure, it’s OK to politely point out or correct a major safety violation if someone is clearly being unsafe (if the range officers are non-existent), but if the good-looking girl on lane 14 would’ve wanted your advice, she’d have given you some type of signal. That’s right, like a “Hey, you” from across the range complete with “come ‘ere” wave and a tractor-beam eye hook. But 100 times out of 100 she just wanted to shoot her new Springfield a few times without being hit on as if it was closing time at Hooters. And see that cool dude with her? One of the reasons she’s with him is because he’s not always telling her what she’s doing wrong. So go back to your lane, make happy face targets with your .357, then go home and make yourself a few bachelor burritos.

DON’T…
…Let some Magnum PI-looking yahoo on lane No. 13 tell you how to shoot your own gun. I’ve seen it all too often. The minute you try to be polite by saying, “OK, thanks for the advice,” Magnum thinks he’s Steve Spurrier with a renewed license to coach. So instead, just say, “If I wanted instruction, I would’ve hired a professional,” and turn away. I hate to sound crass, but the shooting range isn’t the place to put up with this kind of nonsense. Of course, if he or she is offering good advice in a non-creepy way, and is in fact Tom Selleck, feel free to listen.

What are your public range pet peeves? Tell us in the comments! 

 

 

Texas Legislative Wrap-Up: More Great News for Gun Owners

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestyoutube
Texas Law Shield Independent Program Attorney Edwin Walker visited with TSRA Legislative Director Alice Tripp at the Texas House of Representatives Homeland Security & Public Safety Committee hearings in Austin earlier this year. Edwin testified on a number of pending bills.

The 85th Texas Legislature adjourned on May 29, and in the session, legislators passed several bills that enhance gun-owners’ rights in the state. Following are descriptions of several bills that have passed the Legislature and have either been signed or are awaiting Gov. Abbott’s signature:

H.B. 1819

Purpose: Creates Texas Penal Code § 46.05(a)(7) which states that firearm silencers that are curios or relics, or are possessed, manufactured, transported, repaired, or sold in compliance with federal law, are not prohibited weapons. This means that if the federal “Hearing Protection Act of 2017” becomes law and removes firearm silencers from ATF regulation under the NFA, they will no longer be prohibited weapons under TPC §46.05.

Amends Texas Penal Code § 46.05 to state that prohibited weapons does not include those weapons that are not subject to the ATF registration requirement. This means that since the ATF has chosen not to regulate the Mossberg Shockwave as a short-barreled shotgun under the NFA that it is not prohibited under TPC § 46.05(a)(1)(C).

Signed by the Gov.: May 26, 2017

Effective: September 1, 2017

S.B. 16

Purpose: Amends Texas Government Code § 411.174(a) to reduce the fee for an LTC application to $40. Amends TGC § 411.185(a) to reduce the renewal fee for an LTC to $40.

Amends TGC § 411.190(c) to reduce the application fee for LTC instructors to $40.

Amends TGC § 411.194(a) to reduce the fee for a duplicate or modified LTC (currently $25) by half and reduces the renewal fee to $5, for an indigent person.

Amends TGC § 411.190(c) to reduce the application fee for LTC instructors to $40.

Amends TGC § 411.195(a) to reduce the fee for a duplicate or modified LTC (currently $25) by half and reduces the renewal fee to $5, for a person who is 60 or over.

Amends TGC § 411.1991(d) to eliminate LTC fees for peace officers.

Signed by Gov.: May 26, 2017

Effective: September 1, 2017

H.B. 435

Purpose: Creates Texas Penal Code § 46.01(18) which is a Volunteer Emergency Service Personnel (VESP), that includes volunteer firefighters, volunteer emergency medical services, or any individual who provides services for the general public during emergency situations. It specifically does not include peace officers or reserve LEOs, who are performing law enforcement duties.

Creates an exception to TPC §§ 30.06 & 30.07 for VESPs who are LTC holders.

Creates an exception to the prohibited places listed in TPC § 46.035(b)&(c) for VESPs who are LTC holders and engaged in providing emergency services. Creates a new exemption under TPC § 46.15 to the prohibited places under TPC §§ 46.02 & 46.03, for VESPs who are LTC holders and engaged in providing emergency services.

Creates an exemption to the prohibited places under TPC §§ 46.02, 46.03, & 46.035 (except correctional facilities) for LTC holders who are the attorney general, assistant attorney generals, United States Attorney, assistant United States Attorney.

Creates an exemption to Texas Government Code § 411.209 for 10 specifically listed state hospitals that can exclude handguns carried by LTC holders via a posted sign.   Also, creates a civil fine for an LTC holder who violates the sign, in addition to the existing criminal penalty.

This is still awaiting action by Gov. Abbott. If signed, it will become effective on September 1, 2017.

S.B. 263

Purpose: Amends Texas Government Code § 411.188(a) to remove the minimum caliber requirement for the firearm used to qualify during the range portion for an LTC.

This is still awaiting action by Gov. Abbott. If signed, it will become effective on September 1, 2017.

H.B. 913

Purpose: Creates Texas Penal Code § 46.01(18) (the numbering conflicts with H.B. 435) which defines Improvised Explosive Device (IED) to be a completed and operational bomb. It specifically does not include the unassembled components or an exploding target used for firearms practice, i.e. Tannerite.

Creates TPC § 46.05(7) (numbering conflicts with H.B. 1819) to add IEDs to the list of prohibited weapons.

This is still awaiting action by Gov. Abbott. If signed, it will become effective on September 1, 2017.

S.B. 1566

Purpose: Creates Texas Education Code § 37.0815 to prohibit school districts and charter schools from having employment rules that prohibit school employees who are LTC holders from keeping handguns, firearms, or ammunition, that is not in plain view, in a private, locked motor vehicle in a school-owned parking area. This does not allow a school employee to exhibit a firearm to cause alarm or personal injury or to violate TPC §§ 46.03 or 46.035.  It is important to remember that this law applies only to school employees who are LTC holders. School employees who are not LTC holders continue to be subject to school employment rules under Texas Labor Code §52.062(a)(2)(B)&(C).

This is still awaiting action by Gov. Abbott. If signed, it will become effective on September 1, 2017.

H.B. 1935

Purpose: Amends Texas Penal Code § 46.01(6) to remove the term “Illegal” knife and create the term “Location restricted” knife. Knives will no longer be classified as throwing knife, dagger, dirk, stiletto, poniard, bowie knife, sword, or spear. The only requirement to be a “Location restricted” knife is having a blade over 5 ½ inches long, from the guard to the tip.

Creates TPC § 46.02(a-4), which prohibits a person under the age of 18 from carrying a location restricted knife except on their own property, their motor vehicle or watercraft, or under the direct supervision of a parent or legal guardian.

Creates TPC § 46.03(a-1) which adds the following prohibited places for location restricted knives to the list of weapons prohibited places already in TPC § 46.03. These places include 51% businesses, high school, collegiate, professional sporting events or interscholastic events, correctional facilities, hospitals, nursing facilities, mental hospitals, amusement parks, and places of religious worship. The offense for taking a location restricted knife into the premises of a school or educational institution is a 3rd-degree felony. The offense for taking a location restricted knife into any other prohibited place is a Class C misdemeanor. There is no requirement to give notice of the location restricted knife prohibition, i.e. no 30.06 or 30.07 criminal trespass notice, or 51% business establishment notice needed.

This is still awaiting action by Gov. Abbott. If signed, it will become effective on September 1, 2017.

H.B. 3784

Purpose: Amends Texas Government Code § 411.188 to allow for online LTC classroom qualification courses. The range portion of the LTC qualification must be done in person by a qualified instructor who will also provide an additional 1-2 hours of range instruction prior to shooting.

Amends TGC § 411.190 to create qualifications for online instruction certification.

Creates TGC §411.1993 to allow for licensed county jailers to qualify for an LTC without additional training.

Creates TGC § 411.1994 to allow for state correctional officers to qualify for an LTC without additional training.

This is still awaiting action by Gov. Abbott. If signed, it will become effective on September 1, 2017.

H.B. 867

Purpose: Creates Texas Education Code § 37.0813, that extends the school marshal program to private schools.

Amends TEC § 37.0811 to allow for one school marshal per 200 students instead of 400 students or allows for one school marshal per building on a school campus.

This is still awaiting action by Gov. Abbott. If signed, it will become effective on September 1, 2017.

S.B. 2065

Purpose: Created Texas Occupations Code § 1702.333, to allow places of religious worship to have volunteer security teams without being licensed by the TxDPS as a security guard or security company. In order to qualify under this provision, the members need to be unpaid volunteers and not wear a uniform or badge that says “Security” or gives the appearance of being a police officer, personal protection officer, or security officer. There is no restriction on members of the security team who are LTC holders from carrying their handguns.

This is still awaiting action by Gov. Abbott. If signed, it will become effective on September 1, 2017.

—Compiled and written by Independent Program Attorney Edwin Walker, a lawyer with the Walker & Byington firm in Houston.

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

The “purple paint law” became official in Texas on September 1, 1997. The law doesn’t appear to be common knowledge for every hunter in the Lone Star State, even though Texas hunting regulations describe it.
Can your employer restrict your ability to carry firearms at the workplace? Click to watch Emily Taylor, Independent Program Attorney with Walker & Byington, explain that in Texas, employers call the shots regarding workplace self-defense.
In this excerpt from a U.S. Law Shield News live report, watch Emily Taylor, independent program attorney with Walker & Byington, discuss the ground rules for carrying firearms into restaurants and bars. Click the video below to find out the significant differences between blue signs and red signs in Texas establishments, and how getting those colors crossed up could lead to some orange jumpsuit time.   If you would like to see these reports live on Facebook, click here to join the Texas Law Shield Facebook page and sign up for live notifications.

Campus Carry — Very Safe, Despite Worries from Anti-Gunners

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestyoutube

By: John R. Lott Jr., Ph.D.

My recent op-ed in The Hill newspaper points out that while professors seem to be very concerned about allowing permitted concealed handguns on college campuses, their actions don’t match their rhetoric. While a professor’s resignation at the University of Kansas gets national news attention, for example, only one out of 2,600 faculty members has left his or her post at the school.

In my column, I point out that permit holders across the country have an astoundingly low rate of criminality — even lower than police officers. Permits have been revoked for firearms-related violations at rates of thousandths of one percentage point. Civilian permit holders are less likely than police officers to be convicted of a firearms violation. So, many academics’ worries about the potential for shoot-outs on campuses are overblown, if you just consider the data.

For instance, a Crime Prevention Research Center study shows that from January 1, 2005, through December 31, 2007, the yearly rate of misdemeanors and felonies by full-time police officers was .102 percent. The annual rate for Texas’ concealed-carry permit holders in the year 2015, the year campus carry was signed into law in that state, was .0102 percent, or one-tenth the rate of LE violations.

Also, from January 1, 2005, through December 31, 2007, the yearly rate for firearms violations was .017 percent. The annual rate for Texas’ concealed-carry permit holders in 2015 was .0024 percent.

In the column, I argue the purported danger in campus carry has not materialized, even though campus carry has been in effect in some states for 14 years—it became law in Colorado in 2003 and in Utah in 2004, and has become law in numerous other states since then, including Arkansas and Georgia this year. That’s enough time and enough data to have at least noticed a spike in campus criminality by concealed-carry license holders if it had happened.  —Texas & U.S. Law Shield Contributor Dr. John Lott, Jr.

John R. Lott Jr., Ph.D. is the president of the Crime Prevention Research Center and the author most recently of “The War on Guns” (Regnery, 2016).

 

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

The “purple paint law” became official in Texas on September 1, 1997. The law doesn’t appear to be common knowledge for every hunter in the Lone Star State, even though Texas hunting regulations describe it.
Can your employer restrict your ability to carry firearms at the workplace? Click to watch Emily Taylor, Independent Program Attorney with Walker & Byington, explain that in Texas, employers call the shots regarding workplace self-defense.
In this excerpt from a U.S. Law Shield News live report, watch Emily Taylor, independent program attorney with Walker & Byington, discuss the ground rules for carrying firearms into restaurants and bars. Click the video below to find out the significant differences between blue signs and red signs in Texas establishments, and how getting those colors crossed up could lead to some orange jumpsuit time.   If you would like to see these reports live on Facebook, click here to join the Texas Law Shield Facebook page and sign up for live notifications.

4 Things You Need to Know When Picking a Kid’s First Rifle

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestyoutube

It’s true: there’s one chance to make a good first impression. Choosing your child’s first rifle wisely goes a long way toward ensuring their lifelong interest.

by Drema Mann, NRA Family

Frist rifle

Have your kids ever asked to hunt or shoot with you? If so, you’re like a lot of other folks, and might be wondering where to start. To really feel involved, kids need their own gear — everything from hearing and eye protection to their own rifle. Choosing safety gear is straightforward enough, but when it comes to the rifle, you’ll want to make the best choice to ensure their success and enjoyment.

One: Size it Correctly
The rifle should not be too big or heavy, and the key to that is to make sure to involve your child in the selection process. Many parents purchase a rifle as a birthday present, and that is a wonderful idea. Years down the road it will be a special heirloom. But remember that predicting the arm length of a seven or eight year old is pretty difficult to do, and when the time comes, that rifle might not fit.

When my daughter, Montana, was about seven, she decided she would like to try her hand at shooting. We quickly found most youth guns were too long, and too heavy for her. Her first shots had to be taken from the bench, which was fine, but soon she wanted to shoot standing up like an adult. It took some searching before we found the right rifle. I suggest you visit a well-stocked gun store with your child to try rifles on for size. Much like their jeans, the gun must fit the child, or you could have a problem on your hands.

Two: Get a Good Trigger
Trigger pull weight is crucial too. A good starting point is to try a trigger with about half the pull weight of the gun. Take into consideration the size of the child, and remember, what works for one 10-year-old might not work for another. Some youth rifles have heavy, gritty triggers, and will only lead to frustration for you and your child. Avoid them. A crisp trigger with a light-to-moderate pull weight simplifies the complexities of learning to shoot.

Three: Match Their Personality
Probably the most important part to Montana was that the gun fit her personality. It was by no means one of the most important things to her daddy or me. No flat black or green camo for this girly-girl. She chose, you guessed it, a pink rifle. Maybe she gets that spark of personality from me but, for whatever reason, pink fits her perfectly.

Four: Invest Some Money
And finally, don’t be afraid to invest some money into this new-found interest. The Xbox you bought your child for their birthday cost just as much as a good rifle. The rifle will probably last longer and mean more in the end than any electronic gadget that could be obsolete in a month or two. If the gun doesn’t fit and they don’t like it, they won’t stay interested for long. Involve your child in choosing their rifle. Use it as an excuse to spend some quality time together, and you just might have a hunting and shooting buddy for a long time to come.

For Montana’s first rifle we settled on a Pink Platinum Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22. It weighs only 5.5 pounds and the stock has 1.25 inches of adjustability. She’s proud of her pink first rifle and proud to hunt and shoot. She’s since graduated to bigger guns, but still treasures her first rifle. On crisp fall mornings, you can now find her in the woods with her daddy or me. I can only hope I’m the one lucky enough to be in the stand with her when she takes her first West Virginia whitetail!