Category Archives: Shooting Skills

MATCH REPORT: Sokalowski Wins 2018 NRA Bianchi Cup

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Crawfish Cup winner, SFC Adam Sokolowski is the 2018 NRA Bianchi champion! READ MORE

bianchi champion

SOURCE: Various news outlets

With a perfect score of 1920-176X, SFC Adam Sokolowski of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) is the 2018 champion of Colt’s NRA Bianchi Cup, the NRA Action Pistol championship event. Additionally, Sokolowski won the Multi Gun Championship with a score of 3822-329X.

SFC Adam Sololowski
SFC Adam Sololowski.

Mark Blake was second, ending up in a points tie with 18-time Bianchi Cup winner and perennial “top gun” best-bet, Doug Koenig; scorecard review broke the tie.

Sokolowski won Midsouth Shooters Supply Crawfish Cup earlier this year, and became now the third time the winner of this event went on to claim the NRA championship. We’re very proud that the Crawfish Cup has attained that status: if you can win here you can win there…

SFC Sokolowski holds another distinction as an NRA Action Pistol champion: he is the only shooter who has won all three Bianchi Cup divisions — Open, Metallic, and Production (and the first-ever perfect score in the Metallic [sights] division. This man can shoot a pistol! And all that in just four years on the circuit.

Rob Vadasz is the 2018 Metallic champion with 1912-155X, his sixth win in this division. Second place Metallic was Enoch Smith (also 2018 World Action Pistol Metallic Champion) 1907-150X. Third was Roman Hauber with 1906-141X.

In the Production division, Sokolowski’s AMU teammate SFC Patrick Franks took the championship home to Ft. Benning with a 1894-136X. Franks previously won back-to-back Bianchi Metallic Championships, as well as having earned a NRA National Precision Pistol Championship. Second went to legendary action pistol shooter Rob Leatham of Team Springfield Armory with a score of 1862-129X. Seiichi Ishikawa followed Rob in third place with 1822-109X.

SFC Patrick Franks
SFC Patrick Franks, Production champion.

Anita Mackiewicz, now a three-time champion, won the Women’s Championship with a score of 1911-153X. Second place went to last year’s winner, Cherie Blake, 1910-137X. 2016 champion Tiffany Piper finished third with 1903-154X.

Read complete coverage by John Parker HERE and HERE

 

SKILLS: Free E-Book Download: Anatomy Of A CCW Draw

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This is a great free resource compiled by some of the best. Get it, read it, practice it! MORE

ccw book

SOURCE Team Springfield

When and where legal, there are many positives to carrying a pistol concealed. Chief among them is the lowered visibility to the outside world. The whole point of concealed carry is to be discreetly armed.

When it comes to drawing your concealed firearm, though, how do the experts do it? What’s the safest and most efficient way?

Our e-book, “Anatomy of a Concealed Carry Draw,” demonstrates:

The two-handed draw and re-holster
The one-handed draw and re-holster
Safety guidelines for firearm handling
Our top recommendations for concealed carry pistols

IF YOU WANT TO CARRY LIKE A PRO, MAKE SURE YOU CAN DRAW LIKE A PRO.

DOWNLOAD the Springfield Armory e-book now, and our experts will show you, step by step, exactly how to draw like a pro.

.300 BLACKOUT — Take The Plunge!

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Here’s a compelling argument in favor of this relatively new cartridge for an AR15 enthusiast wanting to expand the capabilities of this firearms platform. Read why…

300 blackout

SOURCE: Team Springfield, posted by Steve Horsman

Historically, I have been hesitant to jump on the bandwagon of newly introduced cartridges. I am already heavily invested in several pistol and rifle calibers. When a new caliber comes out, I usually wait to see how it’s received and if it’s going to stick around. So when the .300 Blackout made its appearance several years ago, I took the “wait and see” approach.

As time went on, and it was apparent that the .300 Blackout was here to stay, I took the plunge and built an AR-style rifle with parts that I had on hand. I had to buy a barrel in .300 Blackout, so I invested in a 16-inch. When I put it all together, the rifle worked great. I’ll admit that I have only put a few hundred rounds through that gun, but like any good firearm enthusiast, I purchased the dies and components to eventually handload .300 Blackout.

As time went on, I continued researching the caliber, but my .300 Blackout rifle largely remained in the gun vault due to other firearm projects taking priority. #FirstWorldProblems

saint 300 blk

DUTY CALLS
In late 2017, Springfield Armory® introduced the SAINT™ Pistol in 5.56, and to say it has been successful would be a huge understatement! Prior to the release, I was tasked with testing the pistol and subsequently penned a blog about it shortly after it came out.

After literally shooting thousands of rounds through my 5.56 SAINT™ Pistol (and having a lot of fun), I started to think that a cool, new version would be if it were available in .300 Blackout. Well, the decisio- makers at Springfield Armory® were on the same track (great minds think alike), and designed the newest SAINT™ Pistol chambered in .300 Blackout.

I was excited to get my hands on one of the early production samples and I admit, though I really like the first 5.56 SAINT™ Pistol, I LOVE the newest chambering of .300 Blackout.

My .300 Blackout test firing consisted of shooting multiple steel and paper targets at 80 yards, and I also performed some reload drills. The only ammunition I had on hand when testing the .300 Blackout was 125-grain supersonic FMJs. Even though that ammo may not have been the optimal choice, the .300 blackout SAINT™ Pistol functioned perfectly and shot amazingly well. I was able to put one round on top of another at the 80-yard distance. I was very pleased to say the least.

BALLISTIC COMPARISON
There is a ton of ballistic data available for the .300 Blackout on the internet, so I will share just a little of the basic info with you here.

Compared to the 5.56 round, the .300 Blackout performs really well, and it actually excels in a short-barreled gun (primarily because it doesn’t lose velocity as rapidly as the 5.56 out of a shortened barrel).

The 5.56 REQUIRES velocity for peak performance whereas the .300 Blackout’s peak performance is based much more on the combination of bullet weight and velocity.

What I am basically saying is that the lightest bullet (commonly a 110-grain projectile) in the .300 Blackout is double the weight of the most common 5.56 bullet weight (a 55-grain).

A quick comparison shows that a 55-grain 5.56 round out of our 7-inch SAINT™ Pistol comes out at about 2300 FPS, creating about 650 foot pounds of energy. On the other hand, the 110-grain .300 Blackout round comes out of the 9-inch SAINT™ Pistol at about 2100 FPS, creating about 1090 foot pounds of energy.

If you’re more of a visual learner like I am, this may process better:

SAINT™ Pistol 5.56 — 55 gr. bullet — 7-inch barrel — 2300 FPS — 650 FT LBS

SAINT™ Pistol .300 — 110 gr. bullet — 9-inch barrel — 2100 FPS — 1090 FT LBS

Ballistically speaking, because of the huge difference in bullet weight, the comparison is pretty incredible!

SIDE BY SIDE SAINT PISTOLS
At first glance, the SAINT™ Pistols in 5.56 and .300 Blackout visually appear similar, but on closer inspection you will notice that the .300 Blackout version does not share the muzzle blast diverter that the 5.56 has. Also, the barrel on the 5.56 model is 7 inches long, whereas the .300 Blackout has a 9-inch barrel with a conventional A-2 flash hider.

NOTABLE SIDE NOTE
Most gun enthusiasts know that all 5.56 / .223 AR-style magazines and ammo work and function perfectly with .300 Blackout chambered guns. This may seem like a small detail to some, but the reason this is critically important to talk about is that the opposite is NOT true. Do NOT try to shoot a .300 Blackout cartridge through a 5.56 firearm!

While it may take some effort to get the .300 Blackout round into the chamber of the 5.56, it is extremely dangerous and will cause great damage. Just do a Google search to see photos and video of what actually happens. It’s not good and it’s not pretty. #ChamberDanger

Needless to say, I was very happy to see that the SAINT™ Pistol .300 magazines are smartly marked “.300 Blackout” on the side. This makes it easy to quickly differentiate from my 5.56 mags when I put my new SAINT™ .300 Blackout into the gun safe with the rest of my arsenal.

WRAP AND ROLL
The Springfield Armory® SAINT™ Pistol in .300 Blackout just might be the perfect size-to-power ratio in an AR-based pistol. The .300 and I will be spending a lot of time together this summer both at my backyard range and in my truck. Now, I’m not getting rid of my first 5.56 SAINT™ Pistol in the truck. I’ll just have two now — one for me and one for my lovely Mrs. The sleek, compact size of the SAINT™ pistol family makes that totally doable.

I’m also making space in my reloading bunker, because I’m now committed to another proven caliber.

Click HERE to check out AMMO at Midsouth!

saint pistol

Click HERE for more on the SAINT

SKILLS: 4 Dry-Fire Drills To Challenge Any New Shooter

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Learning to shoot better is from a balance of live fire at the range and dry-fire away from the range. Do it with a purpose to get the most from it! READ HOW

dry fire

SOURCE: Team SpringfieldPosted by Ivan Gelo

Dry-practice should be a fairly significant and useful portion of your training package — especially when learning a new technique or focusing on specific principals like the four below.

SAFETY FIRST
Let’s start with the basic safety rules for dry-firing:

CONDUCT with your full concentration — no distractions.
ENSURE the gun is unloaded — no magazine inserted.
VISUAL & TACTILE CHECK — With the slide (or bolt) locked back (via the ejection port) look into the barrel chamber and down through the grip area toward the magazine well to confirm that the firearm is unloaded and no magazine is inserted.
DOUBLE CHECK that all magazines are unloaded — no live ammo.
REMOVE all ammunition from the dry-fire area.
PLACE targets to use as specific aiming points.
CHOOSE a suitable backstop / direction, so that if a round was to discharge, your backstop stops the bullet and causes no injury and minimal physical damage.

Before doing that first trigger press — CHECK AGAIN that the gun is unloaded. Once you’ve gone through the safety checklist, you’re ready to start your dry-fire practice.

1. TRIGGER PRESS DRILL
This is a great exercise that focuses on keeping the gun as still as possible while learning to manipulate the trigger quickly:

Rack slide to set the trigger.
With the gun in your two-handed firing grip at full presentation, bring the gun back to your “natural handclap position” while maintaining grip pressure and hand positions. (I got this description from Ron Avery many years ago — thanks Ron!)

Focus your attention downward, where you are essentially looking over the top of the gun — you are primarily seeing the top of the slide. Press the trigger as you so deem necessary — imagine the type of shot you are trying to replicate, i.e. shooting a group at 15 yards.
As you work the trigger up to the point the striker or hammer is released, pay specific attention to how much left or right movement there is while looking at the top of the slide.

dry fire drill

Most new shooters will see movement to the left or right and/or down or up. This is typically caused by movement in the hands or by the trigger finger. No movement at all means you’ve done a good trigger press!

Repeat starting at Step 1. Once you are able to hold the gun still, increase your trigger press speed. Focus on the consistency and stillness of your hand/grip pressure as you increase the speed of your trigger press. Work up to the point where you are working the trigger quickly — one-eighth-of-a-second from start to finish of press. Minimal to no movement is the goal.

2. START POSITION VARIATIONS
At a match you will, and in real life you might, be drawing from positions other than standing, gun loaded and holstered, with both feet stable on even ground. Practicing varied positions can be extremely beneficial.

Vary your dry-fire start position:

Seated
Holding an item in your hands
Kneeling
Standing behind a wall
Facing “uprange”

You can also vary the gun’s start position:

Gun on a table
Gun in a box
Gun in a drawer

dry fire drill

3. MASTER MOVEMENT
Once you’ve practiced some of these different start “positions,” incorporate movement during your draw or after retrieving your firearm. Movement changes everything! Relocate yourself left, right, forward, back during your practice.

4. BEDTIME ROUTINE
At night, do you keep your firearm on a nightstand, in a drawer, or in a bed-mounted holster? If so, when was the last time you dry-practiced getting out of bed to retrieve your firearm from its location?

And in what condition is your firearm? If you keep your firearm “cruiser ready” or “condition 3” (magazine inserted and seated with the chamber empty), have you practiced racking your slide under duress?

In this situation, dummy or inert training rounds are invaluable! NEVER use live ammo at home to practice quickly loading your gun! Safety first — always.

When using training rounds, go through your safety checks very deliberately — again, remove all live rounds from the training area and check and then check again that all rounds are inert.

Hit The Range: a new shooters guide to etiquette and safety

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New to shooting? Whether you’re going with a friend to the range or taking a class, there are a few things you should understand before you take your first shots. KEEP READING…

kippi leatham

SOURCE: Team Springfield Armory, by Kippi Leatham

Here are first-timer tips and best practices for firearm safety and range procedures.

SAFETY FIRST — SAFETY ALWAYS
The first and most important thing to learn as a first-time shooter is safety. There are four basic rules of firearm safety. Read them, understand them and always follow them. You don’t want to end up getting the “attention” of the range safety officers – or worse yet, booted off the range for not following the fundamental, universal safety rules.

1. THE GUN IS ALWAYS LOADED
Always treat your gun as if it’s loaded and keep it pointed in a safe direction (more on that in rule number 2). Check — and double check — the condition of the gun BEFORE you continue with the task at hand.

Check that the chamber is empty and there is no magazine inserted BEFORE you clean, disassemble, store, dry fire, or put the gun on a table to walk down range, etc. This important rule applies also when you are getting a gun out of storage, whether from a safe, range bag, gun case, etc.

Even if you’re positive the gun is not loaded, check again. You never want to have a negligent discharge and potentially injure someone because you “thought” the gun was unloaded.

2. NEVER POINT THE GUN AT ANYTHING YOU’RE NOT PREPARED TO DESTROY
Muzzle direction is especially important, regardless of whether or not the gun is loaded or unloaded (and it’s ALWAYS loaded, see rule #1). The muzzle must never point at any part of your own body, another person, family pet, or in any unsafe direction.

MUZZLE DIRECTION — AT THE RANGE
Most ranges are designed with a common firing line. That means all shooters are standing in a line next to each other, parallel to the backstop, shooting at targets downrange. You are allowed very little muzzle movement right and left (laterally) because of the shooters next to you.

From the moment you pick up your gun or draw it from your holster, the muzzle should point straight downrange, parallel to the ground. The muzzle should never point up (toward the roof, light fixtures, or sky) and it should never point down (toward your feet, shooting table, or the ground/floor).

When you finish shooting, keep the muzzle pointed downrange when UNLOADING the gun. Many right-handed shooters rotate the gun and muzzle to the left — pointing it at the person to their left — when unloading. Lefties do the opposite. Teach yourself to keep the muzzle STRAIGHT downrange. Rotate your body 90 degrees if you need additional leverage to unload the gun and/or lock the slide open.

MUZZLE DIRECTION — NOT AT THE RANGE
Want to show your best friend the new Range Officer® Elite you just purchased? You can easily do this when not at a live firing range. Here is the etiquette to follow:

Create a dry-fire line — facing in a safe direction — perhaps behind a table, counter, or workbench, pointed into a corner.

Make sure none of your family members — or the dog and cat — will be walking in front of your dry-fire line (downrange).

Take the gun out of the case, with the muzzle pointed downrange and your finger out of the trigger guard.

Ensure the gun is unloaded (no magazine and an empty chamber).

Lock the slide open so the empty chamber and empty mag well are visible to everyone.

Hand the gun to your friend, keeping the muzzle pointed downrange with your finger out of the trigger guard.

Continue to handle the gun as if it were loaded.

3. KEEP YOUR FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER UNTIL YOUR SIGHTS ARE ON THE TARGET
This is an extremely important safety rule to follow, but even many experienced gun owners put their finger on the trigger at the wrong time. This can unfortunately cause accidents.

Remember, your finger should be on the trigger ONLY when you have fulfilled the following criteria:

You are pointing the gun at the target.

You have made the decision to shoot the target.

At all other times, there is absolutely no reason to have your finger on the trigger. Train yourself to keep your finger off the trigger (and out of the trigger guard) during ALL other times that you handle the gun, including:

When taking the gun out of a case, bag or safe.
When picking the gun up from a table.
When drawing the gun from a holster.
When checking the status of the gun (loaded or unloaded).
When loading or unloading the gun.
When reloading the gun or changing a magazine
When locking the slide back.
When putting the gun down on a table or bench.
When holstering the gun.
When clearing a malfunction.
When placing a gun back into its case, bag or safe
When disassembling the gun.
When handing the gun to another.

If you develop a good trigger finger habit, you will hopefully never have a negligent discharge, firing the gun when you are not ready to shoot. That’s a club you should want to belong to. #LifeMember

Being aware of your finger position is one of the best “safeties” on your gun. If your finger is not on the trigger, the gun won’t, can’t, or shouldn’t discharge.

4. ALWAYS BE SURE OF YOUR TARGET AND WHAT’S BEHIND IT
It is our responsibility as shooters to know what we are shooting at, what is beyond our target and what is between our gun and the target. We call that “the line of sight.”

TARGET — Always shoot at targets that are approved for the shooting range layout, and your gun and type of ammunition, i.e. paper, steel, clays, etc. Never shoot at glass or anything that could ricochet or leave dangerous remains on the ground.

BEYOND TARGET — Make sure you know what is beyond your target also, as the bullet doesn’t typically remain in the target. At indoor ranges or outdoor ranges with berms and backstops, this is usually not a problem. But if you’re not at one of these types of ranges, it’s your responsibility to know what is in the area behind your target (for several miles possibly), as bullets can and do travel a long distance.

LINE OF SIGHT — It’s imperative that there is nothing obstructing your line of sight. That means there shouldn’t be any objects between your sight picture and your target.

Follow these first-timer shooting tips to stay safe and have fun — whether you’re at home or at the range.

Don’t Buy This… Buy That

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Guns and gun accessories go together, no doubt. However! Some are indispensable. Here are a few. READ MORE..

pistol magazines

by Jason Anderson

If you’ve ever gone to a gun store and purchased a firearm or just picked up a gun magazine, you have undoubtedly been inundated with the many, many gun accessories you can add to your firearm.

The reality is there are some people who spend more on gun accessories than they do on the gun itself. Which begs the question are any of these accessories really necessary? The short answer is yes — as long as you purchase the right accessories.

Accessories for your gun are worth every penny if you buy ones that actually make a difference in performance. Don’t waste your money on an add-on that has no functional purpose. With that in mind, here are the most important gun accessories I recommend for your firearm:

Tactical Light: This is the No. 1 gun accessory I recommend. If you wake up in the middle of the night from the sound of someone in your house, you’ll need a light to investigate. Most people will just grab a flashlight in this scenario, which is fine. But if you decide to go this route, I encourage you to practice shooting while holding your flashlight so you get used to having only one hand on the gun instead of two.

You can also buy a tactical light/laser combo that will help you aim in the dark, but like anything gun related, these gadgets can be expensive, and they’re not something you want to go cheap on

Holsters: Whenever you purchase a new gun, you should buy a holster at the same time. Owning multiple holsters is beneficial for a few reasons. First, you need to make sure you always have a holster that works with the clothes you’re wearing. For example, the holster I wear with my jeans wouldn’t work with the shorts I wear on my morning run.

Second, you need to have a holster that best fits your lifestyle. What I mean is if you’re always going to carry concealed, you might want an inside-the-waistband holster. However, if you live on a large piece of property and regularly patrol it, you may find that an outside-the-waistband holster is more comfortable and convenient

Sling: When it comes to long guns, I believe a sling is a must-have accessory. A sling makes it easier to carry your gun while hunting or patrolling. Plus, a sling often makes it easier to transition from a long gun to a pistol in an emergency. Don’t forget, if you buy a sling, you will have to purchase swivels to attach the sling to your gun, but this accessory is well worth the price

Extra Magazines: I recommend everyone have — at the absolute minimum — three magazines for each gun they own. The fact is, if you are in a bug-out situation, you should have all three mags loaded and ready to go. Even if you just keep your guns at home, you should keep your extra mags ready. If, heaven forbid, multiple intruders break into your home, you’ll be glad you’re prepared. In addition to having extra magazines, remember to practice reloading them so you won’t miss a beat in an emergency

Gun Cleaning Kit: A basic gun cleaning kit isn’t expensive, and while it’s certainly not the sexiest gun accessory, it’s one that’s often overlooked. Keeping your gun clean and well oiled is critical to ensure it functions properly when you need it. Now, I know people who say they’ve shot thousands of rounds with a Glock without having to clean it. While that may be true, the fact is grime and dirt will build up eventually, so always remember to clean your gun regularly.

pistol cleaning kit

Some people spend thousands of dollars to add all kind of bells and whistles to their firearms, but I’m a big believer in the idea that a quality self-defense gun doesn’t need a lot of fancy add-ons. One final note: No matter what, please don’t do a trigger job on your self-defense gun. You don’t want to find yourself facing a prosecutor trying to explain why your gun has a two-pound trigger.

Jason Hanson is a former CIA Officer and New York Times bestselling author of Spy Secrets That Can Save Your Life. To get a free copy of his book, visit www.SpyEscape.com.

 

SKILLS: How To Zero In a 1911 Pistol

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One of the world’s greatest-ever pistol shooters details the process he follows to get a 1911 on target. Pay attention! KEEP READING

rob leatham

SOURCE: Team Springfield, Rob Leatham

I just got my grubby little hands on a few of the new Springfield Armory® 1911 Range Officer® (RO®) Elite pistols. (Four to be exact.) And the one that grabbed my attention first was the Target Model. Probably not a big shock to those of you who know me as a competition shooter — this pistol was designed for someone just like me.

After looking it over and admiring how well put together it is, I can’t wait to see what it can do. Which means it’s time to hit the range! #LetsGoShoot

TESTING DAY
Any time I get a new gun, the first item on my to-do list is “zeroing.” Zeroing is the process where I test for point of impact on a target and, if needed, make changes to the sights to cause that position to coincide with where I actually see (or think I see) the sights on the target.

A properly zeroed pistol means there is no variation between where I aim the gun and where the bullets hit. Now, to be honest, the term “zero” means there is zero variation from sight to bullet impact. The reality, though, is there is seldom a time when I use a gun that is 100 percent “zeroed.” So for me, zeroed means “sighted in.”

Since this is kind of confusing, I’m going to document my zeroing-in process for your information and enjoyment. The RO® Elite Target is fitted with my preferred fiber-optic front sight and a fully adjustable target rear sight — a perfect setup for quick and easy zeroing.

MORE THAN MEETS THE EYES
Several factors come into play that affect zeroing a pistol:

Eyesight
Ammunition
Distance to Target
Shooter Preference and Skill

I’m pretty efficient at zeroing my guns, as I’ve been doing it for many decades. The more you do it, the better you’ll get too. Just follow these easy steps:

ZEROING PROCESS
Gun and Ammo Initial Check: I first test how well the gun shoots out of the box and which ammo is the best or most suitable. This can be done in many ways, but I usually shoot standing, slow-fire with a two-handed grip at 25 yards.

I try a variety of bullet weights, brands and loads and make my final choice of which to move forward with based on several factors, including accuracy and felt recoil.

I check to see if the grouping size is adequate for my intended need. Once I establish which load I will move forward with, I then work on point of impact (POI).

POI Versus Point-of-Aim Check: With the selected load, I use a very specific aiming point in the center of the target. A square piece of 3/4″ black tape works well, but sometimes I just use a full-size USPSA target and shoot at the “A” imprinted in the middle of the body zone or the center of the smaller “head” of the target. I shoot five-shot groups to see where the gun/ammo combination actually hits. When I establish whether it is dead on, high, low, left or right, I start making basic adjustments to the rear sight.

How precisely I zero the pistol is based on the intended use of the gun. For many applications, it is at this point “close enough” and nothing further needs to be done. My competition guns however are a different story. I want them perfect.

Windage Check: I prefer a given gun/load combo to have as little lateral variation (windage) as possible. I never want the gun to impact left or right, so if it’s off I make corrections until my hold is the variation, not the sights.

Elevation Check: As a general rule, I also do not like a gun to shoot low at the distance I am zeroing. Dead on to a little high is what I want to accomplish. Once I’ve done this, I have a basic zero. Now it gets a little more complicated.

Specific Zeros: I next determine my “practical distance and accuracy” requirements. I need a gun’s elevation to be set for a specific POI at a specific distance, based on the usage/shooting discipline.

Concealed carry guns: Dead on at 10 yards

Bullseye guns: One to two inches high at 50 yards

Bianchi pistols: Dead on at 50 yards

USPSA production & single-stack guns: One inch high at 25 yards

I shoot slow-fire groups (standing) at the required distance and make fine adjustments to both windage and elevation until I’m satisfied. Based on your skill level and ability to hold the gun stable, you may need to use a rested position. Since I notice variations in my POI between a rested and standing shooting position, I prefer to do my sighting in from the position I most likely will use, which is standing. The only time I shoot from a stabilized position (i.e., sand bags on a table, seated, etc.) is when I’m testing for accuracy, which is a completely different task.

So now that you know what I require to zero the gun, how is it that you specifically accomplish the task? Well, it’s not always a simple process, because the type of gun and kind of sights determine the difficulty of the challenge.

TYPES OF SIGHTS
A “fixed sight” gun usually allows for some windage adjustment by moving the rear sight, but elevation changes may require modification or replacement of the front or rear sight.

An “adjustable sight” gun typically has a rear sight that allows you to move the “blade” in small increments (with a small screwdriver), usually with a “click” you can hear or feel. Depending on the sight, this allows you to simply and easily make adjustments.

VARIATIONS OF SKILL
The shooter’s skill level plays a very large part in the zeroing process. You must be able to shoot well enough to determine if the gun is zeroed. If you can’t shoot a good enough group at the needed distance you may need to work on your shooting skills before you worry about adjusting the sights.

The good news is, most shooters will never see enough POI deviation at the closer distances they shoot for it to matter.

DISCIPLINE AND DISTANCE
It should be relatively simple for experienced shooters to zero their concealed carry pistols, since the guns are typically expected to be employed at very close ranges. I can’t imagine any out-of-the-box pistol deviating significantly in terms of POI from one to five yards, unless operator error interferes.

The four different XD-S® pistols I use for carry can hit a USPSA target in the center A-zone at 25 yards straight from the factory, which highly exceeds my requirement for a concealment pistol.

My IPSC Classic Division competition 1911, on the other hand, needs to be much more precise at much greater distances, as many as 60 yards. I shoot non-standard ammunition loaded to a very specific velocity to keep recoil to a minimum. I prefer a 147-grain bullet with a special powder, because I like the feel of the combination and it’s super accurate.

The Springfield factory standard ammo for 9mm is 115 grain FMJ standard velocity ball, which shoots a much different POI than my special “cheater” loads. Because of this, I almost always need to adjust the sights when I get a new gun from the shop.

I make bold adjustments at first and then fine tune it with a click here and a click there until I’m convinced that I can’t get it any better. That’s when it’s nice to have a finely tuned and easily adjustable target sight on your pistol.

CONFIDENCE AND IMPROVEMENT
Each time you get a new gun or lot/type of ammunition, be sure to follow a zeroing procedure. But do so based on your “practical distance and accuracy” requirements. I bet you will end up not only more confident in your equipment, knowing exactly where your gun impacts, but hopefully also more confident in your skill level, as you should hopefully start to become a better shot.

Find Rob on Twitter!

RELOADERS CORNER: Bullet Ballistic Coefficient

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Ballistic coefficient is a term that’s often used but sometimes not fully understood. Keep reading to find out exactly what it is, and what it isn’t…. HERE

nosler rdf
BC is essentially a race between a real bullet and a mathematical bullet. Real bullet never wins… The closer the real bullet gets to the “standard” bullet, though, the higher its BC and the better it’s going to fly. I’d love to get a Kroger-sack full of G1s… Until then, one of these Nosler RDFs will do nicely.

Glen Zediker

A “ballistic coefficient,” or “BC,” is a number that suggests a bullet’s aerodynamic performance.

BC is a component in bullet design that matters much, and it matters more the farther it travels. Bullets that flat out fly, fly flat far out, are of great interest to any longer-range shooter. A bullet with a high(er)-BC is also an advantage at shorter distances, especially when there are variations in the shooting distance. A flatter-shooting (one of the traits supported by a higher BC) bullet means a more flexible zero, a smaller difference in the elevation hold from, say, 100 to 300 yards. BC is influenced by sectional density, bullet weight, and, mostly, its shape or profile.

BCs are derived by comparison. Here’s how that works: There are “standard” bullets that are mathematical models. Bullet designers and ballisticians know which model to apply to different bullet styles. Pistol bullets, for instance, are calculated from (compared to) different models. For the majority of rifle bullets we’ll encounter, one common model is a “G1” (there are others, like G7, which is becoming the popular standard for boat-tail bullets; G1 is based on a flat-base). The flight of this G1 bullet has been calculated at varying velocities and distances. It’s “all math” because a G1 doesn’t exist in a tangible sense.

vld blueprint
Here’s a bullet blueprint. It’s the Bill Davis original 105gr 6mm “VLD” (very low drag). Design factors that influence BC are pretty much every design factor: length, ogive, boat-tail, meplat, weight. All these factors, in this instance, calculate a BC of 0.560. By the way, there’s about a 5 point BC increase for each added 1 grain of bullet weight.

The standard bullet has a BC of 1.000. An actual bullet that’s compared to, for example, the G1 at points, distances downrange, will either be flying faster or slower than the G1 model. If it’s faster, its BC will be greater than 1.000; if it’s slower, it will be less than 1.000. So it’s a percentage of the standard or model bullet’s performance.

Comparing bullets with different BCs, the one with the higher number loses less speed over distance. Losing less speed means its flight time will be shorter and it won’t drift and drop as much as will a bullet with a lower BC. So, a 0.600 flies better than a 0.550.

Depending on the bullet-maker, assigned or published BCs are either calculated or measured. More mathematics than I can wrap my mind around can get these calculations done based on a blueprint. Measured BCs involve chronographing at the muzzle and then at other points on downrange, same bullet, same flight.

Which method — math or measure — provides the best information? Some, and this only “makes sense,” believe that a measured, tested BC is more realistic and, therefore, more valuable. But, if the point is to compare bullets, calculated BCs might be more reliably accurate. I know a number of very serious NRA High Power shooters who have gone to great lengths to “field test” different bullets. It’s not easy to chronograph at long range. Given that information, measured BCs are quite often lower, but not nearly always. Reasons follow.

All the drift and drop tables (whether printed or digital) you’ll see are based on a bullet’s assigned BC. The accuracy of those tables clearly revolves around what the actual, at that moment, BC performance is from the bullet you’re shooting. Also, some bullets have a different stated BC based on muzzle velocity to start.

A whopping lot of things affect the actual, demonstrated BC: anything that can influence bullet flight influences the actual BC performance.

Bullet stability is a factor. For a stated BC to be shown on a shot, the bullet has to be “asleep.” If it’s not stable, it’s encountering disruptions that will slow it down. The rotational speed of a bullet in a test can influence BC. We’ve seen differences comparing different twist-rate barrels, and the faster twists often show a little lower BC outcome.

Atmospherics, which add up as a list of factors, influence BC mightily. Air density is probably the most powerful influence. Any conditions that allow for easier passage of a bullet through the air don’t detract as much from its BC as do any conditions that serve to hinder its flight. BCs are based on sea-level so can easily show as a higher number at a higher elevation.

uniformed meplat
BC uniformity is important to a long-range shooter’s score (less elevation dispersion results). There will be variations in any box of hollowpoint match-style bullets, and a source for variation is the meplat (tip). These variations are the result of the pointing-up process in manufacture. I’ve measured as much as 0.020 inches sorting through a box of 100. A “meplat uniformer” tool eliminates this variance. Uniforming reduces BC 3-4 points, but it’s a trade many serious long-range shooters say is worth the effort. Uniformed on right.

meplat uniformer

Range-realized reality is that the demonstrated BC changes from morning to afternoon and day to day and place to place. The calculated BC is not changing, of course, but the mistake is assuming that a BC is a finite measure of bullet performance. If you’re interested, there’s some valuable information from David Tubb (visit DavidTubb.com). He’s done a volume of work on calculating influences from atmospherics as it applies to his DTR project, which, in one way of seeing it, gets down to understanding why it’s really rare to dial in what a ballistics table says for a particular bullet and speed and distance, and hit the target.

One last (for now) bit of information I’ve always found valuable: a BC is a finite thing in one regard, and that is that any BC derived from a G1 model, for instance, fits all bullets with that same BC. This was helpful before ballistics apps were as common and easy as they are now. For instance, if there was a new .224-caliber bullet with an advertised BC, but no tables, just find another bullet, of any caliber, with that same BC, plug in the velocity, and the drift and drop figures will be accurate.

The information in this article is from Glen’s newest book, Top-Grade Ammo, available HERE at Midsouth. Also check HERE for more information about this and other publications from Zediker Publishing.

SKILLS: 9mm VS. .45ACP: The Ultimate Caliber Conundrum

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This debate has raged for decades, but it’s  important  to settle for yourself when choosing a defensive caliber., Read what some of the best have to say HERE

pistol calibers compared

 

SOURCE: Team Springfield Armory 

And here we go again … you already know that you can’t go wrong with either of these classic calibers. But it’s a debate that continues to create controversy among shooting enthusiasts everywhere. Each round has its pros and cons when compared, yet each remains a staple among firearm fans.

Read on for not just some of the same old argument (there’s some of that), but considerations from our Team Springfield™ SMEs on which caliber may be the best for you.

45 compared to 9mm
There is more to answering this question than just the 0.095 difference in bullet diameters…

9MM
RECOIL
The greatest attribute of the 9mm cartridge is that it has the easiest-to-manage recoil. Pair this with the weight of a full- or mid-sized pistol, and handling will prove to be comfortable and pleasant. And this combination is also a perfect gun for brand-new shooters to start with.

PRICE & AVAILABILITY
If you don’t want to go broke buying range ammo, then 9mm has your back. Due to its prominence among our military and law enforcement communities, and popularity with civilians, the 9×19 is the most commonly-encountered pistol round world-wide.

This and the relatively small amount of material used in the manufacturing process also makes 9mm the most economical center-fire pistol round currently available.

PERSONAL DEFENCE
When it comes to personal defense, the 9mm is more than ready to do the trick, especially with hotter +P (increased velocity) hollow-point loads. Its lighter recoil makes follow-up shots quicker, and the smaller size gives 9mm pistols additional round capacity.

OUTDATED DATA?
Team Springfield™ SME Ivan Gelo, is a huge fan of the .45, but knows that much of the comparison bullet “data” stems from bullet performance technology that is over 25 years old. Like most tools, equipment and devices, bullet technology has grown by leaps and bounds over that same period, especially in the area of the 9mm pistol round. Ivan says that, “Old 9mm technology was related to the .45 and the concept of the heavier bullet; hence the widespread use of the 147 grain 9mm bullets. With advances in technology though, the more common 9mm 124/125 grain +P loads have substantial stopping power. So with greater mag capacity and the lighter ‘carry’ weight, the 9mm benefits are easy to argue.”

PHYSICAL LIMITATIONS
If you have any physical limitations, i.e. carpel tunnel, tendinitis, loss of hand-strength, etc., Team Springfield™ shooter Kippi Leatham recommends the 9mm over .45 without question: “I shot larger calibers through many of my competitive years. My first competition gun was a 1911 .45 — and I loved it! Eventually though, over several decades, I developed tendinitis in both elbows. With continued proper strength training and a decision to shoot exclusively 9mm pistols, my elbow injuries are no longer an issue.”

So if you have physical limitations or pain, don’t continue to damage your body or create discomfort in exchange for greater stopping power. In Kippi’s opinion, a well-trained, competent and confident 9mm pistol owner is easily able to defend him or herself should the need arise.

.45ACP
STOPPING POWER
The terms “stopping power” or “knockdown power” are concepts popular with the self-defense crowd. The .45 regularly is considered to have more stopping power than a 9. It’s a big reason why it was adopted alongside the 1911 for U.S. military service back in the day. While its velocity is slower than 9mm, what you lack in speed, you more than make up for in a larger and heavier projectile.

To its fan base, the .45 is the best round for law enforcement and personal and while the .45 does obviously have more recoil than 9mm, that is the cost of increased power.

Curiously, decades later the US Military also adopted the 9mm and widely replaced the .45 with it, but for more reasons than power alone. Many Spec Ops groups did not change, and retained the .45 for its greater power.

Team Springfield™ Captain Rob Leatham says, “My position on this subject is well documented: I like the .45. While currently, I do shoot more 9mm in competition than anything else, it’s because of the rules and subsequent advantages the lower-powered, lighter-kicking 9 has. For defensive use, especially in a mid- or full-sized, easily controlled pistol, I would choose the .45 every time.”

FROM THE PREPPER’S MINDSET
Steve Horsman — Team Springfield™ Expert Prepper — has multiple guns in an assortment of calibers. But he does have a preference when carrying for self defense. He likens the .45ACP v 9mm debate to hunting. Steve states that choosing a 9mm for self defense, with the higher-capacity, lighter kick, and lighter-weight, is like him choosing to hunt elk with an AR 15 with a 30 round magazine. “No one in their right mind would ever use a .223 for elk hunting; they would more likely choose a .308 [minimum]-caliber rifle. Given the choice, I will pick the bigger bullet with more power every single time.” Magazine capacity alone cannot and will not substitute for power and accuracy.

AMERICAN AS…
Apple pie, baseball, bald eagles, and .45ACP! This cartridge has a proven track record in America that dates back over a century. It was trusted by the United States through two world wars, and, while its use among the military and LE agencies has lessened more recently, it still serves a large role in many specialized units, as well as remaining a favorite of many civilians.

Supply of this cartridge should also be high. The .45 auto has been around for double-digit decades and while pricier than 9mm, the large quantities in which it’s produced makes it easy to find.

PICK ONE AND PRACTICE
To summarize, both the 9mm and the .45ACP are great self-defense rounds. Though a 9mm pistol will hold more rounds, the .45 ACP definitely packs more punch.

So as with most things firearms related — pick your preference: heavier and more powerful cartridges with more recoil OR a caliber that allows for greater capacity, less recoil and a lower cost to shoot.

And as you read above, even our Team Springfield™ SMEs don’t agree on caliber… but they do agree on this:

Whichever caliber you choose, put some rounds down-range, shoot a lot of them actually, and make sure you train on a regular basis. Become proficient with your caliber of choice, because that is the best way to maximize the effect of any firearm that you carry for self defense.

Great video featuring Rob Leatham, Team Springfield Captain HERE

SKILLS: Revolver vs. Semi-Automatic

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This is one of the first questions any new handgun buyer has to answer, and here’s Jason Anderson’s take on finding your own answer. READ MORE

revolver vs. semiauto

by Jason Anderson

I’m often asked which type of handgun is better, a revolver or a semi-automatic? Well, the truth is there are pros and cons to both  —  it all depends on which one you’re more comfortable using. So allow me to break down the facts to help you decide which type firearm fits your needs best.I’m often asked which type of handgun is better, a revolver or a semi-automatic? Well, the truth is there are pros and cons to both  —  it all depends on which one you’re more comfortable using. So allow me to break down the facts to help you decide which type firearm fits your needs best.

First, let’s go over some of the reasons people prefer revolvers for self-defense:

1. They’re easy to fire. A typical revolver has a cylinder that rotates with each fired shot. There is no need to feed the next round, and each round is separate, so there is no way for the rounds to jam or double-feed. Anyone who shoots often has at some point experienced an ammunition malfunction or feeding issue with a semi-auto. While it’s not something that happens all the time, it does happen. And if you don’t know how to fix it, you could be in trouble.

2. A revolver is simple to reload. It’s easy to reload a revolver, because all you have to do is push the cylinder out and remove the expended cartridges. Then reload each chamber with fresh ammo and push the cylinder back into place. It’s not exactly a quick process, but it’s very basic. Reloading a semi-automatic weapon can be difficult for some people, because first, you have to pull back the slide to chamber a round. Someone who is elderly or has weak hands may not be able to manipulate the slide very well, which is another reason to consider a revolver.

3. They require less maintenance. I’m a big believer in keeping your guns clean and properly oiled. Even if you don’t shoot often, it’s important to make sure you oil your semi-auto to keep the contact points lubricated. While this is especially important for a semi-auto, it’s less important for a revolver. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you never need to clean or oil a revolver, but you don’t need to do it as often as with a semi-automatic. When semi-autos first arrived on the scene, most people agreed that revolvers were more reliable and dismissed them. But over the years, handgun manufacturers have improved the durability and functionality of semi-automatic weapons.

Now here are the top three reasons to consider a semi-auto:

1. They have a higher capacity. Most revolvers have a five- or six-shot capacity. However, semi-autos have a much wider range of magazine capacity — usually anywhere from 7-19 rounds depending on the firearm. Obviously, if I was in a gunfight, I would rather have more rounds. In fact, when police departments around the country began switching to semi-autos, one of the biggest reasons was so officers had more rounds in the event of a shootout.

2. They’re quicker to reload. There are people who will tell you that they can reload a revolver faster than you can reload a semi-auto. And someone who has practiced reloading a revolver can probably do it pretty quickly. However, the average person will likely always be faster at reloading a semi-automatic than a revolver.

3. They have better accuracy. The majority of people will be more accurate shooting a semi-automatic than a revolver because of the more modern design. Most semi-autos have less recoil and muzzle jump than revolvers. Also, semi-autos tend to have a smoother trigger pull than revolvers, and when you combine these factors, they usually allow for better accuracy.

When it comes down to which type of handgun is better, it really depends on personal preference. If you suffer from arthritis and can’t pull the slide back on a semi-auto, then you might want to consider a revolver.

However, if you carry concealed often, you probably want a semi-auto that can hold more rounds. To figure out which side of the fence you’re on, I recommend going to your local gun range. Rent a few different guns of each type and see what works best for you.

Jason Hanson is a former CIA Officer and New York Times bestselling author of Spy Secrets That Can Save Your Life. To get a free copy of his book, visit SpyEscape.com.