Category Archives: Tactics & Training

HANDGUNS: 10 Minutes of 10mm History

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Many-time champion Rob Leatham gives his take on one of the most powerful semi-auto loadings. Listen! HERE’S MORE

springfield armory 10mms

SOURCE: Team Springfield, Rob Leatham (find Rob on Twitter)

The 10mm auto is a curious cartridge.

Designed originally as a best-of-all-options for the defensive pistol world, it was targeted to be an all things to all people service pistol cartridge. Sort of a hybrid of the service pistol standards, .45 ACP and 9×19 rounds. The goal? To have more capacity than the .45 and be more powerful than the 9mm.

Without completely retelling the detailed history, in the early 1970s, the late Col. Jeff Cooper was reportedly looking for a round that combined the advantages of both velocity and momentum. The ballistics of a 200 grain .400 (10mm) diameter bullet traveling 1000 feet per second looked good to Jeff on paper.

CASE CREATION
There was a problem, however. There wasn’t a readily available cartridge case for an auto pistol that would handle that bullet diameter. So it wouldn’t be as simple as just powering up an existing cartridge as had been done with .38 Special, .38 Auto, and .44 Special.

A new case had to be devised. Well, maybe not new, but altered and repurposed.

Similar “wildcat” cartridges had been developed previously using .224 Weatherby and .30 Remington brass. These had been chambered in a number of different guns. Most promising was the .40 G&A round developed by Whit Collins, followed shortly thereafter by the Centimeter and then the .40 S&W.

Of those, only the .40 S&W would ever make it into production, albeit much later, but the ground was laid for the 10mm as we know it.

10mm

BREN TEN
When the design of this new hybrid cartridge occurred, a new gun (with design input from Colonel Cooper) was being developed to accept it. Known as the Bren Ten, it was basically a sized-up CZ 75.

Both the 10mm gun and round were in development about the same time. However, the ammo was finished long enough before the gun that people were becoming impatient to try this new hybrid.

WE HAD AN INTERESTING NEW ROUND AND NOTHING TO SHOOT IT IN.

So, what to do? The combat pistol world was in its hey-day and the buzz over this new combination was eagerly awaited by pistol enthusiasts worldwide. As time dragged on and the Bren Ten didn’t seem to be happening, Colt stepped in and introduced a model to accept the 10mm. While familiar, it really wasn’t the totally new, complete package we were all hoping for.

AMMO ADVANCES
Remember that the design goal was originally to achieve a 200 grain bullet at 1000 FPS. This would deliver a flatter trajectory, greater penetration with a slightly higher level of power in both energy and momentum than standard .45 Auto (with the bonus of increased magazine capacity).

Norma, the company that originally developed the 10mm, in their enthusiasm to make the round as good as modern propellants would allow, made their ammo far more powerful than was originally requested. The ammo was approximately 20% higher in velocity than the original specifications called for. While this sounds like a good idea, it was in fact not. At least not for service-pistol use.

With that increase in power came costs that were just not worth it for the majority of shooters.

While exceeding the power of any other standardized auto pistol combination encountered, the gun/ammo combination was just too difficult for most to control.

To add to the overall problem, the Bren Ten Pistol was long delayed and in the end, sadly never made it. Some were built, but they too couldn’t take the beating of the “hot” Norma ammo. Other manufacturer’s 10mm guns did not deliver on the promise the 10 had made. They were harder to shoot than .45 in the same platform and did not hold up well to the very high-pressure ammunition.

So for most shooters, the existing 1911 platform pistol with the powerful 10mm ammo just didn’t offer enough benefits to replace the already-available and time-tested .45ACP.

Springfield Armory 10mm

10MM TIMEOUT
With no viable new gun, the high expense of ammo, and the excessive recoil that made it hard to control and shoot, the 10mm never became as popular as was hoped. And it mostly vanished from the public eye.

But it didn’t die.

Although too hot for most applications for a service pistol, the 10mm with its potentially higher power levels continued [slowly] to make friends in the civilian and law enforcement world. A lot of shooters still wanted a 1911 with more velocity, penetration, momentum, energy, and flatter trajectory than the .45 offered. The 10mm’s devout but small following, by those who recognized its niche, soldiered on.

FBI CONNECTION
The FBI adopted the 10mm after the infamous 1986 Miami shootout, where they unfortunately discovered that they needed more gun, power, and firepower than they currently had.

The bureau soon concluded after the adoption, that existing 10mm ammo was “too hot” and as a result, requested a special lower-pressure load developed for them. This new load didn’t exhibit the same problems the original hot 10mm cartridges did, and proved a good compromise between power and controllability.

This ammo was more inline with the original request. Due to the FBI adoption, the 10 was back in the limelight and major loading companies jumped on the band wagon.

Since then, the 10mm has continued to exist for both gun manufacturers and ammunition companies, albeit not as a best seller. I sense a change in the air though…

SPRINGFIELD ARMORY 1911 TRP 10MMS
Springfield now produces their top-of-the-line TRP in 10mm in both a 5-in. and long-slide 6-in. model.

But wait, what about all the 10mm problems of gun wear and tear and hot ammo?

Better materials, 10mm-particular specifications, and improved manufacturing capabilities allow us to produce superior, more-durable 10mm pistols. Specifically, one that will withstand the force of the “hot stuff” and still work with the lower pressure “standard ammo.”

Flat out, the Springfield 10mm pistols are better than any previously available models from any manufacturer.

The only thing that could make our 10mm TRPs better, is if they were easier to aim. #OldEyes

springfield armory optic 10mm

MEET SPRINGFIELD’S 1911 TRP 10MM RMR
With the Trijicon ACOG® RMR® optic sight, this 1911 offers the ballistic advantages of the 10mm round in a strong, accurate, durable package with the latest in optical sights.

For many shooters, aiming is difficult. Some eyes just don’t see that well. While vision issues can be resolved with glasses or contacts, there is almost always a compromise. You can correct vision to either the sights or the target, but one of them is NOT going to be in focus.

Optical sights allow focusing on the target. You never have to refocus back to the gun to align the sights. Seeing all the elements of a good sight picture clearly is no longer difficult. Look at your target and the dot is superimposed, showing the potential impact point of the round. The old argument of whether to look at the sights or the target no longer applies. Everything is in focus.

The 10mm is the most powerful round commonly available that fits the 1911 platform. It can be a viable “all things to all people” chambering.

For you speed junkies, the 10mm offers high velocity. Some loadings have bullets going upwards of 1300 FPS. This guarantees high energies and flat trajectories.

For the big-and-heavy-is-better guys, the 10mm bullet is .400 inch in diameter and regularly available in 200 grain weights. So it’s a perfect fit for those who like the old saying, “I don’t care what caliber it is as long as it starts with 4.”

So thanks to all you stalwart 10mm fans, a purposeful caliber has survived and will continue to thrive into the future.

Check out the new gun HERE

 

CCW: Avoiding Reloaded Ammo?

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Many handgun owners reload, but is it wise to count on that ammo for defensive carry? Jason Hanson says “no.” READ WHY

handgun bullets

Jason Hanson

During war, one of the most common tactics used to fight the enemy is to disrupt their supply lines.

During the Vietnam War, U.S. soldiers did this in a different way than just simply stopping supplies from getting to the enemy.

This specific operation, code named “Project Eldest Son,” was carried out by U.S. Green-Beret patrols, who captured enemy ammunition stashes that were typically 7.62 X 39mm ammo cartridges, which were used in the AK-47’s regularly carried by Communist forces.

Once the U.S. captured the ammo stashes, the cartridges would be disassembled and then put back together with different components.

For instance, the powder in the cartridges was replaced with a high explosive powder that would generate five times the pressure in the firearm.

The high explosive powder inside the cartridges would typically cause the AK-47 receiver to explode sending bolts and pieces of the gun backwards towards the person holding the rifle.

Once the sabotaged ammo was ready to go, U.S. forces would return the ammo to the stashes and would usually put one bad round in a container full of good rounds.

Basically, this would put doubt into the enemy’s mind regarding the safety and reliability of their ammo.

In addition, most of the Communist forces ammo was coming from China so this also was done so the enemy would question the ammo they were receiving from China.

The fact is, our firearms are obviously worthless without ammunition that works.

I’m sure you’ve heard how many gun activists want to make ammo harder to come by and there is no question that depending on where you live, it’s becoming more difficult to walk into your sporting goods store to buy ammo.

This has led to a continuing growing popularity of reloading your own ammo. Now, I know people who have done this for years and are very good at what they do.

On the other hand, I have a family member who spent countless hours reloading thousands of rounds, only to find out the powder was a little off and the ammo was unusable.

This is why if you reload ammo you have to take your time and know what you’re doing. This is not something you want to watch one YouTube video about and then think you’re a pro who knows it all.

So, if you are considering getting into reloading ammo, keep in mind the factors below and make sure you invest the time to do it right.

Reliability.
As I mentioned, I had a family member who reloaded his own ammo and was slightly off with his measurements.

Of course, no one is perfect, but the thing is, the big ammo manufacturers clearly have numerous safety inspections in place that make their ammo much more dependable, which is why quality ammo rarely has any issues.

Cartridge gets weaker.
Unless you keep your eye on every cartridge you use for reloading, you never know how many times the cartridge has been reloaded. The more you reload a cartridge, the weaker it will become over time.

Essentially, as it becomes weaker, it will be more prone to failure and malfunctions.

Legality.
I realize this is a big “what if,” however, if you were ever involved in a self-defense shooting would you really want to explain your reloaded ammo?

Again, I realize this is a stretch, but it is one more thing an aggressive prosecutor or civil attorney could use to try and blame you for what happen. During a trial, the best thing you can do is show the court a box of ammo from the manufacturer and say contact them with any questions.

When it comes to ammo, some of my favorite brands are Speer, Hornady, Remington, Winchester, and Federal. These are all quality and dependable brands that won’t break the bank.

I do realize a lot of folks reload ammo for the huge savings cost. If this is the case, I see nothing wrong with reloading rounds for simply target practice at the range or shooting with friends.

However, I would not use reloaded rounds in my self-defense weapon and I would spend the extra money to make sure you have a reliable round when your life depends on it.

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: 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.

SKILLS: Carrying a Back-up Firearm

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Lessons learned in an infamous shootout say “yes” to carrying a back-up firearm. But why, which, and how? Here are thoughts from Jason Hanson. READ MORE

miami shootout

Jason Hanson

One of the most famous gunfights of the 20th century, occurred on April 11th, 1986 in Miami-Dade County, Florida. On this day, 14 FBI agents met in the morning at a local Home Depot to plan their search for a stolen vehicle that was believed to be driven by two suspects who had carried out multiple bank robberies.

Around 9:30 A.M., two agents spotted the suspect vehicle and began following it until more agents were able to join them. In total, eight FBI agents were on scene when the lead vehicle attempted to make a traffic stop, but instead, the suspect vehicle veered off the road hitting a tree.

Subsequently, the other agents surrounded the suspect vehicle in an attempt to arrest the two males behind the robberies.

The two suspects, identified as William Matix and Michael Platt, were armed with a shotgun, a Ruger Mini 14, as well as .357 revolvers. The FBI agents involved in the shootout were armed with shotguns, .357 revolvers, 9mm’s, and .38 Specials.

During the firefight, FBI agent Ed Mireles was severely wounded when his left arm was hit with a .223 round, rendering that arm useless. Mireles stayed in the fight and fired his 12-guage shotgun until it ran dry.

The two suspects were still moving and attempting to get away from Mireles after he emptied his shotgun so he drew his back-up weapon, a Smith & Wesson 686 revolver, and advanced on the suspects. Mirleles fired all six rounds from his revolver with five of the rounds striking the suspects, hitting each of them in the face, ending the five-minute gun battle.

Sadly, two FBI agents died in the firefight and all but one agent was wounded. Over 145 rounds were fired during the exchange and there’s no doubt that had it not been for the actions of agent Mireles more lives would have been lost.

The fact is, even though Mireles was injured he stayed in the gunfight and transitioned to his back-up weapon to ultimately end the threat. Now, most people probably expect law enforcement to carry back-up weapons, but have you ever considered carrying one as part of your EDC gear?

Here are some pros and cons for carrying a back-up firearm.

CONS
Uncomfortable.

If you are like me, you probably carry a gun, tactical pen, knife, flashlight, wallet, cell phone, and a keychain. My point is, your EDC gear can quickly add up so adding an extra firearm might be too much to comfortably carry for some folks.

I know a lot of people who like to carry their back up gun in an ankle holster. While this isn’t a bad idea, make sure you train and practice drawing from the ankle because if you do it wrong you could easily get hurt. Personally, when I carry a back-up gun (it depends on where I’m going) I carry it in my front pocket.

3 shots, 3 seconds, 3 yards.
Studies have shown that most gun fights involve an average of 3 shots being fired, lasting 3 seconds and occurring at a distance of about 3 yards. In other words, in a self-defense situation you hopefully won’t need multiple weapons to stop the threat.

Of course, as illustrated earlier, anything is possible. So, while you should be good to go by carrying a spare magazine only, you and I know that life is very unpredictable.

Practice.
When it comes to carrying a back-up gun, you need to spend as much time practicing with this gun as you do with your main weapon.

I know a lot of guys that carry a back-up on their ankle and they often train to draw the weapon while falling backwards on their butt, while engaging the threat. Be prepared to train with your back-up weapon and consider choosing a back-up that is similar to your regular carry so you are familiar with it.

back up gun

PROS
Options.
One of the biggest advantages to carrying a back-up weapon is that these days there are so many different back-up guns to choose from including the Ruger LCP and Sig Sauer P238. So, almost anyone can find a back-up gun that works for them.

Arm a family member.
Let’s say you are out to dinner with your spouse when you spot an active shooter. Well, if your spouse or other family member is trained in the use of firearms (and doesn’t often carry) you could simply give them your back-up gun to help you confront the shooter.

The bottom line is, it can never hurt to have extra firepower on you. This is especially true if you’re heading into place that it might come in handy such as dangerous areas of town or through a city that’s experiencing violent protests at the moment.

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.

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.