Category Archives: Tactics & Training

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.

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.

Your Biggest Home Security Weakness

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Home security isn’t just about doors and windows. Check the garage… Criminals do! READ HOW

Jason Anderson

breaking and entering

Every 15 seconds, a home in the U.S. is broken into. While most intruders go through the front door, there are a significant number of burglars who break in through the garage.

In October, criminals in Las Vegas broke into the garage of a police officer’s home. They stole the officer’s unmarked white metro police cruiser, which contained a gun, police radio, tactical vest, Taser — even police uniforms.

Obviously, the police want to catch these people, but the reality is this might not have happened if people took their garage security more seriously.

Since criminals often use garage doors as an easy way to access a home, here are five garage security measures I recommend putting in place:

1. Never leave the door opener in your car
Many people park their cars in the driveway and then open the garage door with the clicker to get inside. Thieves will look to see if you’ve left the opener in your car and use it to get into your home.

Breaking into a car is easy and if they can find a garage door opener they can get into your home in seconds. If you tend to leave your opener in your car, you may want to switch to a key fob opener that you can attach to your keychain.

2. Secure the door that leads into your home
Of course, having your garage broken into is frustrating enough, but if burglars also manage to access your home, you are in for a big mess. I’m always shocked when I see people who have the best deadbolts on their front door and a cheap lock on their garage door.

Use quality locks like Schlage and Medeco on your exterior doors, and use them on your garage door as well. In addition, consider a product like Nightlock. This doorstopper security device will make it more difficult for a criminal to kick in your door.

nightlock

3. Cover any windows
If you have windows that allow someone to see into your garage, I strongly recommend always keeping them covered. Not only do windows allow criminals to see what valuable items are inside, but they also make it easy for a criminal to gauge if anyone is home.

Whether you have windows on the garage door or on the side of your home that look into the garage, make sure they are adequately covered.

4. Secure the safety mechanism
All automatic garage doors are legally required to have a release mechanism you can pull that allows you to lift the garage door in an emergency. Since this is for safety, it’s not something I recommend removing.

However, criminals often use coat hangers to reach through the seal around your garage door and pull the emergency release. Once they do this, they can simply lift the garage door and walk right in. What you can do is use a zip tie, put it through the release mechanism and attach it to the pull cord.

Make sure to test this contraption and confirm that you can pull the cord and break the zip tie in an emergency. Basically, you want to make it so it’s not easy for criminals to pull the release but you still want to be able to do it yourself if you have to.

5. Padlock the door when you’re out of town
If you go out of town (or don’t use your garage regularly), you should consider using a padlock to secure the garage door. Depending on the age of your garage door, you can place a padlock on the track of the door, which will keep it from moving. Of course, this isn’t something I recommend doing all the time since it’s a pain to constantly remove the padlock, but it’s a good solution if you won’t be using your garage door for a while.

Of course, these are year-round security considerations. But if you plan on traveling for the holidays — make sure to take the proper precautions to secure your garage, since it’s one of the easiest ways for criminals to gain access to your home.

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.

Why You Should Have An AR-15 For Home Defense

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Choosing a home-defense firearm is a very important, and very personal, decision. Here’s a few ideas on another to add to your list. READ MORE

ar15 home defense

Team Springfield

Good news is, a relatively small percentage of people will experience a home invasion during their lifetime.

Bad news is, unless you possess the ability to see into the future, you won’t know if you are one of them until it happens.

If you’re reading this, then you’ve probably already had that realization and have decided to equip yourself for home defense. #BePrepared

Many law abiding gun owners will advocate hard for using a pistol vs. a rifle for home defense. We suggest going to the range yourself and putting the two to the test. Once you’ve put in some trigger time and are familiar with the operations of both weapons, your home defense pistol and an AR-15 rifle, put yourself on a timer and keep score. You might just surprise yourself at how well you perform with the AR.

Having said that, here are a few reasons you should consider selecting an AR-15 to defend your legacy.

EASE OF USE
The primary benefit of the AR-15 platform lies in its intuitiveness and comfortable ergonomics. The position of the fire controls and its overall light weight make the AR easy to operate, and that’s an important factor, especially under pressure.

As with any firearm though, familiarity and continuous training are mandatory. Those who have spent a lot of time with the M16, like so many of our military veterans, will most likely find use of the AR-15 seamless, but first-time rifle owners will obviously need to invest time in training at the range.

EASE OF ACCESS
The biggest challenge to having a firearm for home defense is ease of access. If you need to defend yourself quickly, accessibility is obviously pertinent!

An AR can be just as easily accessible in a home defense situation as another type of firearm. It can be stored in many of the same locations as a shotgun or even a pistol. The sheer size of an AR-15 rifle may also make it easier to grab when things go bump in the middle of the night.

But it’s also mandatory to be diligent with security. It’s common sense and common knowledge, but all firearms must be stored in a secure location, so that non-authorized users cannot gain access.

So, if that means you must unlock your AR-15 at night so you have quick access to it, and then lock it back up in the morning (after you’ve put on your EDC gun), then that is what you must do — every day and every night. #GoodHabits

CAPACITY OPTIONS
Many self-defense shootings involve only a few fired shots, but if you can gain extra capacity with your home defense weapon, you may as well have it. While many double-stack pistol magazines can hold 15 to 18 rounds, a standard AR-15 magazine capacity is 30 (although not legal in some states).

Another, often over-looked, option is the 20-round AR-15 magazine. It makes the rifle just a tad lighter, and you may really like how much more maneuverable it becomes.

SIGHT ACQUISITION
Another great aspect of using an AR-15 for home defense is its ability to be customized with attachments. Putting on a red dot optic will make “finding” your sights far easier in a high-pressure, low-light situation. Again, training is paramount. Those of us who have firearms with optics know that initially, that little red dot may not show up in the center of the scope as quickly as we would like it to.

Mounting a flashlight or laser sight onto the handguard can also be beneficial, though there are pros and cons to these illuminating options. All of the SAINT™ models have either Keymod, or M-Lok rails, so attaching a light or laser can be done quickly and easily.

PENETRATION
A common knock against the AR-15 for home defense is that the 5.56×45 NATO chambering will over-penetrate. This statement is somewhat controversial.

All ammunition, whether for pistols, shotguns, or rifles, is developed for different uses / purposes. With the plethora of 5.56 and .223 ammunition on the market today, you have many options. Most of the lighter weight rounds, and many “varmint” hunting rounds, are designed to break apart when hitting a hard object. There are several other cartridges designed specifically for personal / home defense, such as Hornandy Critical Defense, Black Hills TSX, Federal Vital-Shok, and Winchester PDX-1 Defender.

Take a look around YouTube too. You can search for penetration tests where 9MM, 40S&W, 45ACP pistols and 5.56mm and .223 rifles penetrate a variety of materials such as wood or cinder block.

Do your research, and choose the option that fits your needs within your fortress.

And always make sure your home defense firearm is zeroed with your ammunition of choice.

In the end, regardless of what gun you choose for home defense, if and when the time comes to take a shot, you must always be aware of what’s behind your target and what’s in the line of sight between you and the target.

Check out some great choices HERE

 

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!

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.

SKILLS: The Case For Appendix Carry

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Picking a holster position for concealed carry is a very important decision to make. Here’s one opinion from a trusted source. READ MORE

appendix carry

SOURCE: Team Springfield, posted by Mike Seeklander

I am often asked about my handgun carry position and the reason for my choice. There are some subtle, yet important, differences in the defensive draw process versus the competitive draw process. There are several crucial steps to performing a lightning-fast concealed draw.

While drawing a handgun quickly under the stress of an attack is important, there are other critical factors in accessing your handgun.

THE CONCEALED CARRY TASTE TEST
In previous years, I always used some sort of strong-side carry method, including belt-type concealed carry holsters in leather gear made by Bianchi and Safariland, as well as duty holsters when I was a police officer in Knoxville, Tenn. I also carried in a custom shoulder holster for a bit of time after I moved on to the Federal Air Marshal Service and spent a significant amount of time in a seated position.

It was during that mission that I began to consider the downsides to carrying a handgun in the typical strong-side position, simply because accessing the gun while seated was so difficult. I began my first experimentation carrying in the appendix position at that time. In the end, I had key reasons I ended up picking the appendix position as my primary carry method.

WHY APPENDIX?
The appendix carry position offers me more flexibility — the pros vastly outweigh the cons. Whether seated at a desk or in a car, it’s my position of choice. And with shorter, more compact guns like the XD® Mod.2™ Sub-Compact, comfort and concealment are not an issue. Appendix carry allows me to draw the handgun quickly, efficiently and with my support hand if necessary.

Finding the ideal holster that allows for safe re-holstering is a primary consideration when appendix carrying. If safety rules are violated in any way, you will get hurt. Years ago, I took a class with Todd Green that was specific to the appendix carry position. He taught a very deliberate method of re-holstering that stressed keeping the gun pointed in a safe direction at all times. In my own classes, I make students that wish to carry in the appendix position demonstrate safe re-holstering several times with an unloaded gun before allowing it in the class.

The bottom line? The one risk to the appendix carry position is that the gun can be pointed at the lower extremities while re-holstering if the shooter is negligent. This carry position requires attention to detail and training. If you are not committed to both, select a different carry method. Remember:

Select a high-quality holster designed for IWB (“inside the waistband”) carry, and never try the appendix carry position without a holster.

Keep the muzzle pointed away from your body while safely indexing the muzzle in the holster. 

Keep your finger indexed along the slide — not in or on the trigger guard.

Use the support hand to clear your cover garment.

Be very slow and deliberate — there’s no rush to put the gun away once it is out.

For more tips, connect with me at Shooting-Performance.com or on Facebook.

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