Category Archives: Shooting Skills

M14s and M1As: From Magazine Dreaming to Camp Perry Competiing

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Dreams can come true! Here’s a story of a lifetime of fascination that culminated in the pinnacle of competition. READ IT ALL

camp perry m1a

SOURCE: Team Springfield, Steve Horsman

My first memories that took me down the path of firearms and shooting came in the 1970s. I remember looking at old gun magazines, specifically Guns and Ammo, all of the time. Most of those magazines were dated from the late 60s through the mid to late 70s. #CollectorItems

That was when my love affair with firearms and shooting started. I was a very young boy, not quite 10 years old. The Guns and Ammo magazines, for me, were just like the Sears Roebuck Christmas catalog. I remember looking through both and daydreaming about all of the stuff that I wanted for Christmas. I would study the pictures and read the articles, as I was dreaming about the guns that I wished I had and the hunting adventures I wanted to be a part of.

Hard to believe that that was nearly 45 years ago. #LifeMovesFast

M14 DREAM
During my younger years, there were several firearms that I was attracted to; obviously for how they looked, but mostly because of their capabilities and the history that surrounded them. One of my favorite guns was the M14 rifle, and my admiration of this rifle has never waned, even after 4 decades. Again, the sweet appearance is was what first drew me to it. It had classic lines that resembled the M1 Garand, but it had the more modern box fed magazine. I just wasn’t a fan yet of the M16 / AR16 rifle of that time, as it looked, dare I say, “cheap” to me.

As I got older, the desire to own an M14 rifle only grew stronger. What I didn’t know at the time though was that many of the M14s I was drooling over were (most likely) Springfield Armory M1As. Never in a million rounds, would I have imagined I would one day be working for “the” gun company.

camp perry range

DISPOSABLE DINERO
Jump to the late 1990s when I was finally able to buy my first M1A! It was a brand new Springfield Armory “Loaded” M1A Model. I was in M1A heaven! It had everything I wanted, and I loved that rifle. I shot it in my first and only (as of this writing) High Power match, and once at the Superstition Mountain Mystery 3-Gun Match.

From the moment I got it, until the day a good friend talked me into selling it to him, it performed perfectly. If you’re like me, you know that it’s always hard to get rid of a gun — I had the original “Loaded” Model in my safe for over 10 years, and was always a proud owner. But in the end, I really wanted the flagship M1A Super Match.

As things often happen though, I bought not the Super Match, but the Springfield Armory Scout Squad model. Probably because every time I had the chance to shoot one of these guns, I started to like it more and more. At the time, it fit my needs for a battle rifle better than the Loaded Model did, and the Super Match was just a little out of reach dollar wise.

I still have that Scout rifle, and have “made it mine” by removing the Scout scope mount, and adding a wooden hand guard in place of the plastic one that comes stock on that model. That rifle is a tack driver and I can hit 10-inch steel plates at 500 yards all day long. #Gratifying

DREAM JOB
As life fast forwarded and my LE career was wrapping up, I was fortunate enough to become involved with Springfield Armory. (That little-boy-paging-through-gun-magazines’ dreams were definitely exceeded!)

I also found myself interested in shooting rifle events again. And, it just so happened that in January of 2015, my buddy Rob Leatham called and asked, “Do you want to go to Camp Perry and shoot the M1A Match with me?”

I immediately knew the answer, but wanted to play it cool. I called him back a few days later… or was it a few minutes later? And since Camp Perry was on my bucket list, and life moves really fast, and of course I wanted to go, I excitedly said, “OH YEAH! “ But then I tell Rob that the only M1A I have is my Scout, and I ask, “Can I use that?” He said I could, but also suggested that he had a few rifles that might be better; more accurate, and actually set up for High Power style rifle shooting.

Who am I to turn that kind of offer down?

Next thing I know, Rob and I are heading out to the range to begin zeroing his rifles so we can practice. Rob’s two rifles were basically Super Match set ups. He chose the really nice Camo Super Match and he loaned me the older wooden stock rifle. It was basically a predecessor to the current Springfield Super Match, and it was really accurate and shot awesome!

camp perry tower

After months of practice, we finally arrived at Camp Perry. I was humbled by the history of the place and duly impressed by the size of the ranges. I was told it is the largest shooting range in the country. It’s truly an amazing sight to experience!

Rob and I shot the match, and of course, he barely beats me! My guess is it had to be the rifle he shot, versus the rifle he “loaned” me to shoot! 🙂 #Setup

CAMP PERRY EFFECT
Thanks to Camp Perry, I was now really ready to get the M1A Super Match that I’ve always wanted, and upon my return, I promptly placed my order at Springfield. I got my rifle and, as advertised, it was awesome! I ordered the Camo fiberglass stock model and immediately took it to the range for zeroing. It shot every bit as well as I expected and anticipated — it was outstanding!

Fast forward to the Summer of 2018, and I make my way back to Camp Perry to participate again in the annual M1A event with MY Super Match. Needless to say, the Super Match shot great and I destroyed Rob’s score!* See, I told you he gave me the less-accurate rifle!

*Did I forget to mention that Rob didn’t actually shoot the match in 2018? 🙂

M1A MANIA
Joking aside, this year’s Springfield Armory M1A Match at Camp Perry had over 350 shooters — That firing line is another incredible sight to see! I spoke with so many other competitors while there, and they all said their love of the M1A rifle is the reason they shoot this match. Most stated too that they shoot their M1As at local High Power matches all throughout the year.

I also have several friends who currently shoot and have shot High Power rifle competition for many moons. In a nutshell, all of them have told me the same things about the beloved M1A:

It is extremely competitive.
It does very well in the high-power matches.
It holds its own against anything on the firing line.
Most prefer the lower recoil of the AR-pattern rifles — which is why they shoot them.

And without exception, whenever I go to the range and break out my M1As, I am asked by other shooters if they can look at my rifle. After they check it out, I usually get several questions, and most of them eventually tell me, “I’ve always wanted an M1A…

m1a

SKILLS: Advantages To Competing With Your Carry Gun

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Competition creates competence, and Team Springfield’s Ivan Gelo reveals 4 big reasons why. KEEP READING

ivan gelo

SOURCE: Team Springfield, Ivan Gelo

When I began my life of daily carry almost 30 years ago, I carried what was approved and available. My respect of the .45 ACP round goes this far back, as that is when I chose to purchase a single stack .45 ACP as the handgun which would reside in my holster. I actually opted out of the .357 revolver that was department issued at the time.

Not long after, I began seeking out some of the best firearms shooting and training that was available. Living in a shooting mecca, I quickly caught the match shooting “bug.” It was in those early years that I met fellow Springfield Armory SMEs Steve Horsman, Kyle Schmidt, and some guy who was often seen riding wheelies around the range on his mountain bike. You guessed it — this multi-tasking dude was Rob Leatham. Being able to compete with shooters of all levels, from beginners to Master Class World Champions was both inspiring and awakening.

I decided then and there that for the majority of my match shooting, I would compete with some form of my duty or daily carry firearm.

CARRY OPTIONS
Fast-forward many years to the introduction of the Springfield Armory XD line of firearms. Since then, the XD(M) in 9mm has been one of my two primary carry / duty companions. In addition, it is the handgun I shoot in USPSA Production, IDPA Stock Service Pistol, and multi-gun matches. My second carry / duty handgun is a Springfield Lightweight Operator in 45 ACP. #EqualAdmiration

STOCK OPTIONS
Other than adding grip tape and experimenting with various iron sight combinations, my XD(M) pistol is in its factory stock condition. The only trigger enhancement that I have done is by way of hard use and repetition. The trigger components have refined one another simply by the thousands of rounds of 9mm ammunition that’s been fired through the gun.

ADVANTAGE, ME
I teach a lot of classes — from the novice shooter and the new police academy recruit, to the veteran SWAT officer and experienced competition shooter. Not only do I compete with the gun I carry, I teach with the same. Why, you may ask? Well, it’s simple, because there are so many advantages to competing with your carry gun.

1. TRAIN LIKE YOU FIGHT
I have thoroughly enjoyed attending Pat McNamara’s TAPS classes; his energy, shooting skill, experience and sarcastic sense of humor (at times) make him a great instructor. “Mac” brought to the forefront the reflection of the “overused axiom” of “train like you fight”. Understanding the history and actual concept behind this mantra still holds a lot of merit and is certainly applicable in the arena of competing with your carry gun.

The consistent use of your daily carry handgun in competition will pay dividends if you ever have to use your handgun in “real life”.

Anyone who competes regularly has done thousands of under-pressure first shot draws. This repetition, which is done on every stage of a match, assists the daily carrier’s tendons, bones and muscles in learning the precise angle the wrists need to be aligned for consistent, repeatable, proper sight alignment during a draw or presentation of the gun.

ANGULAR APPROACH
It’s a known fact that different handguns have different grip angles. This angle needs to be “learned” to the point where the draw is a reflective action. Much like shooting baskets in basketball, the mind integrated with the body, learns how much input, angle of release and arch needs to be applied to make the ball go into the bucket. This can only happen through repetition.

The draw is no different, and that grip angle is one of the reasons I like the XD(M)so much. The different-sized replaceable grip inserts allow a custom fit to the shooter’s hand. The XD(M) grip angle is also very similar to my other favorite carry gun, my Springfield 1911.

TIMING IS EVERYTHING
Each model of the wide variety of available handguns has a different, even if ever so slight, recoil impulse or timing. This feel and response also varies with different ammunition, even in the same caliber.

Shooting my XD(M) carry gun in competition helps me better understand the timing of my handgun. Acquiring the recoil / timing knowledge and experience of my defensive handgun enables me to shoot faster and more accurately. #BecomeOneWithTheGun

Shooting often in a competition setting — training — with the gun you may have to use in a lethal force encounter — defending lives — can only benefit you and those you protect and care about the most.

2. EXPENSIVE CUSTOMIZATION NOT REQUIRED
Most competition shooters eventually modify their firearms and/or end up purchasing brand new highly-customized guns for the sport. #ChaChing

Not me.

My XD(M) is the standard 4.5 inch 9mm model — again, it’s the handgun I compete with, as well as my basic duty / daily carry firearm. This particular Springfield has performed these multiple functions for me for almost a decade. During this time, I have spent little money to modify the gun. With the simple addition of grip tape and fiber optic sights, my cost to customize has been kept to a minimum.

USPSA Production and IDPA Stock Service Pistol divisions have been a perfect fit for me and my 9mm XD(M). The gun has served me extremely well, at a very cost-effective price point and I have no doubt it will continue to do so for many more years — in both competition and defensive roles.

3. THOROUGH TESTING & COMPLETE CONFIDENCE
Let me ask you a couple of questions:

How many rounds have you fired in the last couple of months with your carry gun?
Under what conditions have you shot your carry gun?
Do you have complete confidence in the reliability of your carry gun?
Do you have complete confidence in your ability to shoot your carry gun?
Within 20 rounds or so, I can tell you exactly how many rounds I have fired through my daily carry XD(M) in the last month.

MATCH REPORT
On the date of writing this article, I shot a 5-stage USPSA club match in northern Arizona. It had hit 105 degrees in the Phoenix area and summer had just started, so getting out of the excessive heat, if only for a day, was welcomed.

As with most USPSA matches, there were some very technical shots:

A “standards” stage with shots out to 50 yards.
Stages with a series of close, mostly open targets, where you can run the gun as fast as possible — with splits in the low teens.
Aiming-oriented stages with several “head” shots.

Everyone who shot the match was tested in a variety of situations, and all of this was done under the time and pressure of the clock. There are few better tests you will encounter with your daily carry firearm that require the variety of skills that matches offer.

RELIABILITY REQUIRED
Don’t discount the reliability of your gun, associated magazines, and ammunition used during a match setting either. Not only is it very important to your score, but the reliability of this same equipment during a lethal force encounter is CRITICAL.

Want to further test your carry firearm? Want to have complete confidence in your personal defense / carry gun? Make the commitment to shoot it consistently at your local matches.

4. TEACHING CRED
Any instructor worth their salt will always demonstrate the drills that they require of their students. And it brings even more credibility when these same demonstrations are done with a firearm that is similar to what the majority of the students are using or carrying.

The students will not only respect that you are shooting with them, but it’s almost more important that you are doing it with the same type of firearm, a firearm that they are also using and/or carrying for everyday personal defense.

To date, I have never regretted my decision to compete with my EDC / Duty pistols. My Springfield 9mm XD(M)® is still one of my favorite multi-use tools with great features.

XDM

So compete with what you carry, and rest assured that you will have the advantage at your next match AND every day as you get dressed and walk out your door.

SKILLS: Great Handguns Under $500

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It doesn’t have to break the bank to latch on to a quality, reliable handgun. Here’s a few that won’t let you down. READ MORE

500 dollars

Jason Hanson

One evening, Grayson H. and five of his friends decided they wanted to go catch a 7:00 PM movie at the Central Mall in Fort Smith, Arkansas. The mall was overly crowded so they parked about 100 yards from the door and walked to the ticket counter.

The group decided to go back to their vehicles since they had a little time to waste before the movie began.

One of the friends in the group named Tabitha was going through a difficult divorce and the group of friends were looking forward to a fun evening to cheer her up. However, while the group was standing in the parking lot waiting for the movie to start, Grayson noticed that Tabitha’s ex-husband was driving around.

Before he knew it, Tabitha’s ex had jumped out of his vehicle and was walking toward the group. The ex, identified as 34-year-old Fadi Qandil pulled a gun from his waistband and fired multiple shots at Tabitha, missing her.

Grayson saved Tabitha by pushing her out of the way, but he was hit by the gunfire and fell to the ground. Immediately, Grayson pulled out his own gun, a Smith & Wesson, and returned fire striking and killing Qandil. Grayson made a full recovery from his wounds.

Obviously, Grayson saved lives that day and while he carried a Smith & Wesson, which is a great gun, his was definitely not the most expensive gun on the market.

I hear from a few folks that think guns are too expensive these days, but you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a quality gun.

Here are some solid handguns on the market that are under $500.

Walther Creed
This is a relatively new pistol from Walther that the company came out with to meet the demands of folks wanting a decent entry-level gun without breaking the bank.

The Creed is designed with very comfortable ergonomics and a high-quality trigger that you will typically see on guns that are much more expensive.

In addition, in the 9mm you get 16+1 rounds, which is a great number for a compact 9mm.

The Creed starts around $400 and I love to carry this gun.

Walther Creed
Walther Creed

Smith & Wesson SD9VE
Smith & Wesson is known for its long tradition of making quality firearms including both revolvers and semi-automatics.

The SD9VE is a polymer-framed striker-fired 9mm pistol with a magazine capacity of 16 rounds.

The thing is, this firearm has been around since the 1990s and legend has it that the company spent millions of dollars on researching the shape of the human hand to create the best grip and shape of the pistol.

Essentially, for around $400 you can get a solid handgun.

Smith & Wesson SD9VE
Smith & Wesson SD9VE

Canik TP9
Canik is a Turkish company that broke into the U.S. market with their poly-frame striker that is extremely accurate and reliable.

One of the biggest advantages to this firearm is that you can easily purchase aftermarket accessories to upgrade or replace any parts.

Plus, you get a 9mm with an 18+1 capacity for around $350. I own this gun and it’s never given me any issues.

Canik TP9
Canik TP9

Ruger
For over 25 years, Ruger produced the P Series, popular with law enforcement and civilians alike. This series of firearms are known and respected for being reliable, and simple to use. Sadly, that series is no longer made, but has been replaced by at least equally capable models like the Security-9. All Ruger firearms are good quality, reliable, and sturdy, and this one is no exception.

The mid-sized Security-9 uses a blued, through-hardened alloy steel slide and barrel and glass-filled nylon grip frame. This pistol has some innovative safety and performance features and a 15+1 capacity, and retails at $379.00

Ruger Security-9
Ruger Security-9

CHECK THESE LINKS FOR MORE

WALTHER 

SMITH & WESSON

RUGER

CANIK

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, click HERE.

SKILLS: Chasing Time

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“The very first step to shooting fast is not to go fast at all but to literally stop the gun!” Steve Tarani explains all that next… READ ON

tarani

SOURCE: Team Springfield, Steve Tarani

As a sworn deputy and later a federal employee, it was incumbent upon those of us carrying firearms to qualify with those weapons, meeting the minimum standard as set by that agency or department.

Technically speaking, you could squeak by your in-service qualification with a barely-passing score. However, to the rest of the team you’d be considered a second-rate schmuck if you didn’t hit close to that perfect score. The boys might let you slide if you were down one or two points, but any more than that was considered pedestrian, and you’d pay the price of choking on a giant mouthful of humble pie.

TO TOP QUAL OR NOT TO TOP QUAL
To keep your qualification scores near, or at the top, you must maintain your skills.

To do that, you need to train.

Whether defensive tactics or shooting, all physical (hard) skills are perishable. Although we would like to think that we would rise to the occasion, it was the ancient Greek philosopher Archilochus (680 to 645 BC) who said, “We do not rise to the level of our expectations. We fall to the level of our training.”

As state employees, we were subjected to, what one of my esteemed colleagues refers to as, “institutionalized inbreeding” — that which is taught by rote from generation to generation of department/agency — without question or personal edification. “Son, this is the way we’ve done things since the last world war.”

As an employee you are required to adhere to the institutionalized system.

TRAIN TO MAINTAIN
Again, if you want to maintain your current skills you must train — you don’t have another choice in the matter.

If you want to raise your skill level above the standards set by your organization, you need to step outside the proverbial box and seek outside instruction.

Receiving outside instruction can expand your knowledge base and raise your level of understanding, which, in turn will eventually help raise your level of performance.

TRAINING OTB
Recalling one of my first ventures outside the box, my instructor, Rob Leatham, asked me point blank, “What do you want from this training?” My response was, “To shoot faster and be more accurate.” To which he replied, “Don’t we all!”

After much contemplation, trial and error, sweat, blood, tears, and countless rounds, it turns out the very first step to shooting fast is not to go fast at all but to literally stop the gun! Hailing from an institutionalized training perspective, this was a completely foreign concept.

Ensconced in systemic protocol, we were programmed to “beat the clock” and indoctrinated with “Your passing score is 80%” dogma. Passing the qualification test (QUAL) meant you had to complete each string of fire meeting a par time. So, what was our mental approach to shooting? Chasing time.

PARADIGM SHIFT
Stepping out of the box also meant a paradigm shift in our mental approach to shooting. The goal was to be a better shooter. Whereas, inside the box, the goal was to pass the qual. Two very different mission objectives.

Back in the box, the range master would bark out commands for the next string of fire. “Shooters on the line, facing down range at the ten-yard line, deliver two rounds to the body in two seconds from the holster — stand by.”

Outside the box, you might here something like, “At ten yards, I want you to guarantee placement of two rounds in the “A” box of the body from the holster. No time.” If you can’t complete that task on demand minus a par time, then you have no right to be on a clock. Weak performance does not warrant measurement.

Inside the box we tried to “be better” but that translated to going faster. We tried hard to beat the clock. “Trying harder” meant chasing time.

BUT FIRST, SKILL
On the outside, the training objective is to develop your skill to complete the task. Once you can do this, on demand, and without error, then you have gained that skill. Only after you’ve gained that skill, can it be measured.

Outside the box, time is a measurement of skill.

Inside the box, skill is a measurement of time.

Let’s take this task:shoot a five-round drill:

All rounds inside the “A” box…
…at ten yards
…from the holster
…in under a three second par time

You have at least two diverging training approaches. One, is to really “try hard” to hammer those five rounds into the “A” box under three seconds. Running the same drill over and over again “trying harder,” you either drop a round or two or fail to meet par time. Either way your only remediation is to “try harder.”

Using this training approach, you chase time.

The other is to put your timer away for a while, and train to guarantee placement of your first round, then guarantee placement of your first and second round, then your first, second and third round. Who cares if it takes you seven or even ten seconds — you’re developing a new skill!

tarani timer

Training with the “get your hits and forget about time” approach, eventually you will develop the skill to guarantee all your hits. Each time you train, you consistently put all your rounds right where you want them — not by luck or by chance, but by repeatable performance.

Over time this becomes more comfortable. Eventually you develop confidence in your newfound abilities.

The day you feel comfortable and confident in your performance of that task, is the day you can dust off your timer and take a measurement of your skill.

To learn more about training conducted by Steve Tarani, go to Steve’s websites:

HandToGun.com

SteveTarani.com

About the author: Steve Tarani is a former CIA protective services subject matter expert who served on Donald Trump’s pre-election protection detail and is the lead instructor for the NRA’s new Non-ballistic Weapons Training program offered nationally to 2.3 million members. Tarani, an active protective agent, is a Central Intelligence Agency and FLETC-certified federal firearms instructor who also provides services for the US Naval Special Operations Command, FBI National Citizens Academy Alumni Association, National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO), and others.

 

SKILLS: First Responder Realities

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Increasingly, Americans might find themselves faced with a crisis involving a “shooter.” Here are thoughts from Team Springfield Armory’s Kyle Schmidt on the citizen’s role. READ ON

first responder

SOURCE: Team Springfield, Kyle Schmidt

No doubt — there are more frequent reports of criminals attacking citizens. It has become more commonplace at big events or where large groups of people gather together. These environments make easy targets for the criminals.

Unfortunately, when there are no “good guys with guns,” the bad guys don’t really need to be very skilled at whatever attack method they use, and they are highly likely to injure someone.

#GOODGUYWITHAGUN
Likewise, there are more situations where a citizen thwarts the criminal attack before any or further injury occurs. The news reports though are hard to find most of the time — due to the lack of mainstream media reporting — but it happens more than you might think and the stories are out there if you know where to look.

And personally, as an American, I think this is awesome. Citizens helping protect each other…what says “United We Stand” more than that?

From the news sound bite, though, this may seem all too simple. Realistically any “active shooter scenario” or other type of attack is a very complex and continuously evolving process. And difficult to successfully get through because there are countless scenarios and variables.

DECISION MAKING 301
If an attack situation allows, it makes sense to 1) get away from the threat completely or 2) hide in a safe location until law enforcement arrives. Unfortunately, those options may not always be available.

What the situation requires at that point is advanced decision making; complex, chaotic decision making. Ideally, your decisions should be based on situations you have thought about, prepared and trained for (what ifs?) prior to becoming a responsible concealed carrying citizen.

How you handle the scenario starts with identifying what your priorities are or what you want to accomplish. Slight changes in the situation may change the priority or action you choose to take.

Everyone’s priorities are different… None are wrong, they are just different.

If I am out with my family, friends or acquaintances, their safety will be my number one priority.

If I am out by myself, the safety of the innocent people is my number one priority.

If it is just me and the criminal, my safety will be my number one priority.

To break it down, we all have a built-in priority hierarchy when it comes to saving lives and preventing the criminal from trying to injure or kill. As stated above, my priorities are:

Family
Friends / Acquaintances
All other people
Self
Criminal

I could further complicate this with the concept of life years saved, but I think you get the idea.

RAPID RESPONSE
Let’s skip a couple of steps and jump right to response; you decide to take action and use your concealed Springfield Armory XD-(M)® pistol to stop the criminal. The very first thing to remember / consider is SAFETY — all of the firearms rules that everyone works so hard to learn and apply. Drawing your gun to stop a criminal does not relieve you of your safety responsibilities. Now, more than ever, you will need to adhere to them. If you inadvertently injure someone, other than the criminal, it will be a serious problem.

SUSPECT DOWN — HEADS UP — GUN AWAY
Let’s jump ahead again. You have successfully stopped the suspect and saved some lives. #GoodSamaritan

But once the (only) suspect is down, the problems are not over.

At this point, another significant issue is of immediate concern: That others involved, citizens and law enforcement, do not recognize that you are the good guy. You and the suspect are the only ones that know for sure that you were the good guy who stopped the bad guy. You cannot assume that others recognize what transpired. There may also be more than one law-abiding concealed carrier on site.

In fact, this is still a very dangerous situation. If you can confirm the scene is safe, put your gun away. This is the best way to avoid another Good Samaritan or LE agent engaging YOU as if you were the suspect.

THE 411 ON 911
Since virtually everyone now has a cell phone, there will probably be multiple calls being placed to 9-1-1. If you can, call 9-1-1 yourself to inform the police of your situation. One of the most important things you can do is give the 9-1-1 operator YOUR physical description. It’s also critical to then follow their directions. Most fine details about the incident are unimportant at this point, but responding officers need a quick description of you; gender, race, hair color, height, clothing, etc. #JustTheBasics

If you are with someone, instruct them to do the same, remembering only pertinent information is required at this point. There will be plenty of time during the subsequent investigation for the fine details.

PREPARE FOR POLICE ARRIVAL
Most police officers are extremely good at evaluating what is going on, before they take action. However, realize that they likely have received numerous (possibly inaccurate) reports of a shooter and may have been given more than one description. They have probably also received a description of you (the good guy) by those who saw you shooting.

When the police are on scene, they will most likely treat everyone (especially those with a gun) like a suspect until they can get some investigating done and figure out what actually happened.

Remember their goal is to make the scene safe and get aid to any victims. But they need to locate and stop any threats before they can safely do that.

My advice for when the police arrive – just comply with what they tell you do. Nothing new, as that’s what you should always do. The responding officers don’t know who you are or anyone else for that matter. Trying to convince them that you are not the bad guy (especially while you are still holding the gun) will just make things more difficult.

DUTY CALLS
If you are going to be a responsible, armed citizen; make it your duty to be prepared both physically (by becoming a competent, skilled, safe shooter) and mentally (by knowing how and when to safely take action, and what to do when you have stopped the criminal). Discuss, prepare and plan for this type of situation with your loved ones (also) on a regular basis. Preparation before an attack happens, may just save the lives of your very important “priorities”, and that is absolutely worth the investment.

 

SKILLS: Consistency Is King

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Finding yourself right smack in the middle of harm’s way can give pause even to the hardest of the hard. However, chance favors the prepared. READ MORE

steve tarani

SOURCE: Team Springfield, Steve Tarani

Ask any real-world tier-one operator about preparation, and he will tell you that one of the most effective tactics in your personal defense arsenal is consistency.

Hailing from the operational world, none other than the granddaddy of soft skills — situational awareness — should remain paramount in your preparedness repertoire. Utilized more than any other soft skill, or hard skill for that matter, situational awareness is a staple to the seasoned operator.

SOFTWARE VS HARDWARE
Compare the last time you employed your situational awareness (SA) versus your firearm in a real-world scenario. The number of times you employ SA far outweighs the number of times you go to guns in a day, a month, a year, or a lifetime. Only by continual practice can you build that consistency over time. As useful as it is, the more you use it, the more comfortable you will be using it, and the less effort it takes to employ.

When it comes to hardware, you may want to consider which every day carry (EDC) tools best fit your personal profile. Best case scenario, your operational environment allows you handgun carry. If this is the case, then you would need a comfortable, quality holster, at least one spare magazine and a magazine pouch. The position on your body that this lifesaving equipment is carried should remain consistent.

In other words, don’t carry your blaster on your hip one day and then appendix the next day or change the position of your spare magazine(s). If you carry inside the waistband (IWB) appendix with a spare mag, then those same carry locations should remain consistent every time you strap them on.

DON’T BE LEFT IN THE DARK
Another important piece of gear, with or without a firearm, is a flashlight. It gets dark every single day. You could be in a building in the middle of the day and the power goes out, or you may need to go through a closet, attic, or basement with low or no ambient light.

Working on a protective services assignment, I was attached to a detail in charge of protecting a high-profile VIP at an equally high-profile televised event. Our team was directed to a holding area with several other protective teams, including the protectees.

Three protection teams, with their respective VIPs were moved to behind the filming stage in waiting for their entrance que. On the televised side of the stage it was brightly lit, but behind the stage curtain it was pitch black. Of all three teams, not one protective agent had a flashlight on them except for me. Flicking on my EDC hand-held flashlight I said, “Please watch your step, Sir,” as I directed our protectee up the backstage steps. The other teams flocked to my light like moths to a flame. Lesson learned: carry a flashlight and carry it in the same place every time so you can quickly access it without looking. Again, consistency reigns.

CARRY CONSISTENTLY
Carry your gun in the same position — as well as your knife, magazines, pen, glasses, flashlight, cell phone, first aid kit, and/or any medications — all in the same location on your limited personal real estate.

Extend this consistency practice to your personal training when you go to the range. Your eye and ear protection, sunscreen, cleaning kit, and the like, should always be in the same place so even at night, in complete darkness, you can find what you’re looking for without wasting any time.

Carrying the same gear in the same location every time ensures that you can get to it in complete darkness, in thick smoke, during a sandstorm (don’t think just the Middle East — there are places the likes of TX, NM, and AZ, where dust devils can impair your vision in broad daylight). The same applies to sleet, snow, and other natural or man-made causes of visual impairment. Consistency remains the “A” answer.

DEMAND RELIABILITY
Once you build consistency into your operational profile, like anything else, you can come to rely on it. What this can guarantee is, when you move your hand to that pocket, or that area on your body under duress and expect to find certain kit, there it will be waiting for you, accessible, available, when you need it — on demand.

When you train presenting your firearm, you practice clearing your cover garment(s), defeating any holster-retention devices and developing your draw stroke so that one day should you need it, that consistency will pay dividends on time invested. The same applies to reaching for that spare magazine, or pocket knife, or flashlight, all very useful EDC items. You purchased them because you need them — helpful tools for when the time comes. If you need one of them, there it is, right where you put it, ensuring accessibility and rapid deployment. You know you can rely on them, where they are, and that you can get to them in a timely manner. You are guaranteed this reliability, because you run your gear knowing that consistency is king.

To learn more about training conducted by Steve Tarani, go to Steve’s websites:

HandToGun.com

SteveTarani.com

About the author: Steve Tarani is a former CIA protective services subject matter expert who served on Donald Trump’s pre-election protection detail and is the lead instructor for the NRA’s new Non-ballistic Weapons Training program offered nationally to 2.3 million members. Tarani, an active protective agent, is a Central Intelligence Agency and FLETC-certified federal firearms instructor who also provides services for the US Naval Special Operations Command, FBI National Citizens Academy Alumni Association, National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO), and others.

Range Day Checklist: Advice From The Pros

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A good day at the range can turn into an awesome day at the range with a little preparation. Here are some great tips! KEEP READING

rob leatham

SOURCE: Team Springfield

Packing the essentials, plus a few extras, and having a plan will help you make the most of your time. Good preparation requires a solid organizational effort. But if you’re like us, you may find that your range bag can become cluttered and unorganized. Start each new season by cleaning out your bag. Take everything out and put back only what’s necessary — in an organized manner.

RANGE BAG
And if you don’t yet have a bag, find one that works for you and all of your equipment. There are a lot of options when it comes to range bags. We suggest getting one with several compartments to keep your range items organized. Some shooters prefer one large bag, many like the new backpack style, still others want multiple smaller bags — either way, you will need plenty of room.

Here are the basics that should always be in that bag:

Hearing Protection
Make sure you have ear protection. You may want to also throw in a spare set in case you misplace one, or a friend needs to borrow a pair. Basic ear plugs or earmuffs do the job, but high-quality electronic headsets are a worthwhile investment for both safety and convenience. Backup batteries are a must with electronic headsets.

Ballistic Glasses
Quality eye protection is another must-have, but it doesn’t have to be fancy (or expensive). Your eyewear should however be performance rated by ANSI Z87.1. This standard protects your eyes from high velocity and high mass impact. Grab a pair of safety glasses you’d wear in the shop, or you can opt for something more stylish from Oakley or ESS.

Magazines & Magazine Loader
|You can’t shoot your gun if you forget the magazines. Many shooting bags have specific compartments that hold each magazine individually. How’s that for organization?

Quick tip — number your magazines. This helps to identify and easily separate any magazines that are not properly functioning or need to be cleaned. Our Team Springfield SMEs suggest Dawson Precision magazine grip tape for the base pads. In addition, the aggressive surface helps you maintain a good grip on your magazine as you load  and reload it into your gun.

If you’re shooting a couple hundred rounds, it’s also nice to have a magazine loader — definitely a time-saver. You can find mag loaders for a wide variety of rifle and pistol magazines. They’re inexpensive and easy on the thumbs. Our SME’s favorite manufacturer is MagLULA. #TriedAndTrue

Cleaning & Tool Kit
Toss in a portable cleaning kit designed for your firearm, along with any other maintenance tools you might find handy. You don’t need anything elaborate — just enough to make sure your gun and magazines stay in good working condition. For those of you who shoot outdoors don’t forget sunscreen, lip balm, hat, and water.

day at the range

AMMO & AMMO CAN
You can probably fit a decent amount of ammunition in your magazines and range bag, but if you’re planning on an extended training session, an ammo can is a nice add.

You will also need a container to put your empty brass in. Any sort of receptacle with a lid works, from an empty cardboard box or military steel can to a 5-gallon bucket. One of our favorites is old freezer storage bags. #Reuse

TAPE & TARGETS
You have a lot of options here and most ranges sell targets. The type, shape, color, imprint, and material of targets is more than plentiful. Whether you’re going with a traditional bullseye, a paper silhouette, a Shoot-N-C, a whitetail deer target, or cardboard competition targets, make sure to bring tape.

Depending on the range and what target frames / stands are available, you may also need a staple gun (and staples) or binder clips to attach the targets to frames.

All ranges will designate what ammo you’re allowed to use. Any steel-core or armor piercing ammo will most likely get rejected, as it can spark and / or cause severe damage and cratering on steel targets.

Speaking of steel targets, some ranges may have steel targets you can use. With all steel targets, it’s very important to shoot a safe distance from the target to avoid ricochet. Recommended distance from steel targets (based on manufacturers and practical shooting organizations) varies between 9 and 11 yards minimum. To be certain, check the target manufacturer’s guidelines for safe target distance. Target type, composition, ammunition type, and target placement, position, and angle are all factors to consider.

Shooting on public land designated for target shooting? Leave the scrap electronics, tin cans and appliances at home — and always make sure you take care of the mess afterward. Don’t be the person who leaves their shot-up junk behind for others to deal with. #NotCool #PackItOut

SHOT TIMER
Shot timers are a great tool for training. You can test your skills under the pressure of the clock down to the hundredth of a second. Timers relay valuable information to the shooter: First shot time, target split times, target acquisition times, and the overall time of the drill.

Once you are a safe, proficient, and accurate shooter, speed is the next part of the equation. The timer is one of the best ways to track your progress in this area of skill development.

There are a variety of timers on the market. You can buy an old-school, time-tested, battery operated, handheld style (like PACT or Competition Electronics), or download a shot timer or dry-fire app on your smartphone.

PRACTICE LOG
Practice makes perfect — and it’s a lot easier and much more beneficial if you keep a practice log. Make the best use of your time and ammo by having a plan before you hit the range.

Choose one or two drills to focus on in each practice session. Work on a specific technique until you make some progress. Document the practice session – date, time, drill, target type, distances, number of rounds, procedure, times, and your overall takeaways from the day. Keeping a log is beneficial, as you can revisit old drills to continually re-test your skill level and compare results.

If you’re old school, a physical paper training book / log works fine. Put it in your range bag. More of a smartphone junkie? Try the RangeLog app. Need some drill ideas? Get some cool drill ideas from InstructorZero and Mike Seeklander of ShootingPerformance.

See what Midsouth has to offer HERE and HERE

SKILLS: Handgun Training

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A few thoughts from much experience! Read it all HERE

handgun training
Always focus on your primary carry gun! As simple as that may seem, we all like to use them all! But this is the one that will matter the most.

Bob Campbell

Handgun training, more so than most pursuits, is charged with individuality. Special teams and rifle companies move as a unit and exercise strict discipline. They have a plan of action. The handgun is a weapon of opportunity carried to meet the unexpected difficulty. The action is not planned, and the response is reactive.

For many problems, a trained individual will respond with simple reflex. Reflex is sufficient for some problems, but simple movements set the stage for more elaborate responses. Training and movement should be simple and as straightforward as possible.
In education lectures, presentations are directed toward the crowd; handgun training must be on an individual basis. The direction of training, and the line of solution, must be clear. At present, I practice and work hard at keeping myself fit and prepared. As for games and competitions, I am fast becoming more of a pensioner than a participant.

I have engaged in a great deal of training and some competitions. I understand that study of drills, and then execution on the range, is the double route from which proficiency grows. You must hold a physical knowledge of movement and an understanding of the interplay of tactics. Every time you draw the handgun it must be a studied action reverent of the necessary safety involved and the intent of the handgun, which is to save lives.

handgun training
Hitting offhand with a short barrel 9mm is sometimes difficult but demands practice.

Practice, practice, practice
When I practice and drill, I am not absorbed in playing the game or the drill, rather, in winning. This means mastering the skills and hitting the target regardless of the requirement. I use a handgun of sufficient power for the task at hand. Ask yourself; does the handgun you deploy have enough power for the work for which it is intended? If possible, a firearm of disproportionate power to the work involved would be better, and that means a rifle or shotgun for home deployment — no concealable handgun has a surplus of power.

For many of us, most of the time we choose a reasonably portable handgun, and this will be the weapon with us when we are attacked. When in the home, choose a shotgun or rifle for far superior hit probability and power. We should not neglect to practice with those firearms. The handgun will become near useless if we do not practice often.

When I train, I use drills centered on common sense and real problems. As an example, while modern science stresses the strength of a straight line, I prefer the Greek idea and stress the strength of the circle. Moving and getting off the X is important. When you convert linear motion to rotational movement, you have accomplished much and that means you will be moving out of the line of fire and moving to a more defensible position.

You must understand that when there is a fight for real; you have to dispense with the range notion of the firing line is forward and the safe line to the rear. The whole area is a firing line and there will be people all around you. Moving constantly is a key to survival. Moving to a good firing position and firing accurately is another key.

Moving Constantly Is a Key to Survival
Training is a perpetual challenge. Substance, process determination, and action are needed. Becoming a formidable shooter is gained by action, not contemplation. The brain and hand unite to produce the desired result. I have been training for a long time on a regular basis. The past 35 years have reinforced the need to study and to learn.
I have prosecuted the inquiry to the best of my ability. A great deal of research and an open mind goes into proficiency at arms. The bottom line is to get the basics right. Hit the target. Then learn movement and seek cover when possible.

handgun training
Firing off hand, quickly, and moving is a key to proficiency.

As for the handgun, I have come to a sort of New Year’s resolution on my carry guns. As a professional gun writer, I test a lot of handguns. I am something of a gun crank, if not a collector, and enjoy pushing the envelope and discovering how well a firearm performs against another. Reliability is the baseline.

I have deployed several truly exceptional handguns during the past year and have my favorites for different uses. These include a Springfield Armory Mil-Spec in .38 Super, the Les Baser Concept VI .45, Dan Wesson Guardian .45, SIG TACOPS .45, SIG C3 .45, SIG Emperor Scorpion 10mm, SIG P225 A 9mm, and Colt Series 70 .45. My backups include a pair made in 1962, the Colt Detective Special and Colt Cobra, both in .38 Special, and the Kimber K6s .357 Magnum.

Then there is the Ruger GP100 7-shooter, because everyone needs a magnum. And you need a Glock, too; so I have the Glock 19X. These are fine handguns but too damn many. I enjoy each and try to keep my skill level up but with testing other handguns and teaching it isn’t easy or perhaps even possible.

This year, I am going to carry only the handguns that I fire and use the best. This means the 1911. I am narrowing it down to the most credible choices. So far, it looks like the SIG C3 or Dan Wesson for daily carry. When the pretty girl and I visit the ‘wild, out of the way places’ it will be the SIG TAC OPS with +P loads. That is enough to master.

What are your goals when you practice? Share them in the comment section.

SKILLS: Cut Your Reaction Time (UHR)

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Trainer Steve Tarani shares his tips and tricks on increasing speed by decreasing time. KEEP READING

tarani

SOURCE: Team Springfield, Steve Tarani

The martial arts offer an age-old perspective on something critically important to your shooting performance — reaction time. Employing a punch, a round kick, an edged weapon or a firearm in self-defense means that you’re reacting to a rapid and dynamic escalation of force. Your objective is to stop or gain control of that escalation. The single most important factor in meeting that objective is time.

TICK TOCK
Both your dearest friend (when in ample supply), and adamant foe (when turned against you), time, in any self-defense situation with or without a firearm, is a double-edged sword.

“Reactionary Gap,” is a term applied to the amount of space at your disposal in response to a real-world active threat. The greater the reactionary gap, the more time you have. The smaller gap, the less time.

Physical violence that causes you to go to guns in defense of life or limb, usually means a minimal reactionary gap. Relying on precision shooting when fighting for your life at extreme close quarters, may not be your very best bet. However, having true reactive shooting skills in your tool kit will help make optimal usage of time.

REACTIVE SHOOTING SCHOOL
Founded (more than 40 years ago) by former FBI Special Agent and renowned professional competition shooter, Bill Rogers, this is a reactive shooting school that trains you to do just that — shoot reactively.

rogers school

If you’re a student of defensive handgun and you’ve never been, the Rogers Shooting School, located in Ellijay, GA, is a very worthwhile training investment. Reactive shooting is unlike any other, in that, just like the real world, you don’t have much time to react. The Rogers system demands alacrity in both effective gun handling and marksmanship.

According to Bill, we humans have an average “Unit of Human Reaction” (UHR) time measured to be approximately .25 seconds. It’s the measurable amount of time your computer (brain) needs to process stimulus response. Although the aggregate may be about a quarter of a second, this is a very subjective measurement and can vary from shooter to shooter.

One way to find your UHR is to use your shot timer. At your next practice session, face down range. Load up. No target required. Point your muzzle into the berm and take up as much slack in the trigger (if any / as possible) without sending the round down range.

shot timer

BEEP, BOOM
With the timer set to random (to provide more of an unknown variable — like the real world), have a buddy hold it to your ear. When you hear the beep, break the shot. Beep — boom, it’s that simple. The time registered between beep (stimulus — your sensory input followed by computer interpretation) and boom (response — signal from your brain box down the neural pathways leading to your trigger finger) is your approximate UHR. Run it several times to find your average.

Taking this average as your par time, you can use it to measure that initial critical step (interpretation and processing of life-threatening information) in making rapid and accurate round placement from concealment. Depending upon your skill level, running this drill repeatedly will better familiarize you with operating in fractions of a second and, in the long run, eventually lower your reaction time (UHR).

Reducing your UHR allows you to get to your gun faster because it lessens the amount of time required in decision making — which is a significant and contributing factor in the processing time from initial stimulus to response.

Given that the purpose of defensive shooting is to make combat-effective round placement in a timely manner when reacting to an active threat, time is not on your side. Reducing your UHR by even one tenth of a second shortens your overall time in placing a warranted first round on threat.

OTHER OPPORTUNITIES
In addition to using a shot timer at the range, look for and run other “drills” or training opportunities in your day where you may be able to work on reduction of your UHR. Such innocuous training as opening the microwave door during the countdown just as you see the one-second display, but prior to the beep, is a good drill.

Another training opportunity is when driving and sitting first in line at a red light. With your foot on the brake and your eyes on the traffic light — not on your cell phone — the split second you see the light change from red to green, move your foot off the brake pedal, faster than you normally would, but with good control to not stomp on that gas pedal. In fact, you want to make very light placement on that gas pedal. This action is similar to getting on your trigger quickly from the holster, in rapid control, but without disturbing muzzle alignment with the target.

Using these and similar reactionary gap training drills can help you to continually be cognizant of and work on reducing your reaction times. After a couple of months of running these, remeasure your presentation times. You may be pleasantly surprised with the performance benefits of cutting your UHR.

To learn more about training conducted by Steve Tarani, go to Steve’s websites:

HandToGun.com

SteveTarani.com

About the author: Steve Tarani is a former CIA protective services subject matter expert who served on Donald Trump’s pre-election protection detail and is the lead instructor for the NRA’s new Non-ballistic Weapons Training program offered nationally to 2.3 million members. Tarani, an active protective agent, is a Central Intelligence Agency and FLETC-certified federal firearms instructor who also provides services for the US Naval Special Operations Command, FBI National Citizens Academy Alumni Association, National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO), and others.

SKILLS: 5 Tips To Avoid Printing With Your Concealed Carry

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Tips from the pros help prevent “standing out” in a crowd. READ MORE

printing

SOURCE: Team Springfield

The word “printing” has a whole different meaning for those with a concealed carry permit… Of course, it refers to “giving away” the fact you’re carrying because of an obvious gun outline or shape glaring away. This is one of the major mistakes you want to avoid and can land you in some pretty sticky situations if you fail to follow certain practices. Instead of taking a “let’s see what happens” approach, it’s best to spend time practicing specific forms and techniques.

WHAT CONSTITUTES A CONCEALED CARRY FIREARM?
There is somewhat of a debate among firearm owners and those with concealed carry permits. What constitutes a concealed carry firearm? For example, does it have to be a small, pocket-sized firearm? Or, can it be a larger model that is still hidden from view? While concealed firearms are generally considered to be “small,” the reality is that it just has to be hidden from sight. Regardless of whether you have a small or large firearm, hiding it from plain sight requires that you avoid printing.

TIPS FOR AVOIDING PRINTING
As said, “printing” refers to the visible outline of a firearm underneath an individual’s clothing. Regardless of the size of your firearm, printing is a very real possibility. To avoid this, it’s important to consider the following solutions:

ONE: Wear the right clothing. The number one cause of printing is a poor choice of clothing. While it’s fairly easy to conceal during the winter, it is more difficult during the hot summer months. Consider buying loose shirts and tucking in when possible.

TWO: Choose the right holster. Everyone’s body type differs, so it’s difficult to claim that one holster is better than another. For best results, try out multiple types — including over the shoulder, waist, and ankle holsters — to see what works best for you.

THREE: Pay attention to movement. The way you move is just as important as what you wear. When concealing in your waistband, try bending with your knees instead of your waist. When wearing an ankle holster, avoid situations in which you are required to stretch or reach.

FOUR: Ask for advice. Before leaving the house, ask a friend, spouse, or family member whether they can spot the outline of your firearm. If they know what they are looking for and can’t immediately find it, this usually indicates that it is concealed well.

FIVE: Consider size. While there are ways to conceal large firearms, some select a smaller size. No matter what size of firearm you decide is the best fit for you, be sure to use the correct holster and clothing to conceal it.

no printing
Better!