Archives January 2021

Dry Fire

If the past years of panic buying have taught us anything it’s that ammo is one of the first things to go. People see the writing on the wall and start buying up everything they can find. Most will sit on this and never use it. Leaving those of us that train leery of spending our precious metals. Unless of course we have prepared accordingly.

So what can we do to keep our skills fresh and not spend any ammunition? We can dry fire. If you have not been doing this already, dry firing is an EXCELLENT way to keep your skills up to date without actually shooting. The idea here is to take the skills that you obtained through training and use them without live ammunition. Write down what you want to focus on each session, shooting with both eyes open, strong hand only, support hand only, trigger reset, something specific.

You may have heard that dry firing is bad for your firearm. While this may be true for certain older model, rimfire, and 1911 firearms, almost all of your modern day striker fired pistols are fine to dry fire. I like to get a set of snap caps for all my calibers. These are used as training tools and aid in my dry fire drills. I am 100% confident in my daily carry firearm’s ability to dry fire without issue.

So here is how you get started. Find a location in your home that would be considered a safe direction if something bad were to happen. Meaning you don’t clear your firearm correctly and put a round through your wall. I like to use the foundation wall in my basement as my safe direction. Take ALL the live ammunition out of your firearm and remove it from the room. I like to hang my target up on the wall and practice my drills. I suggest working on drawing from the holster, move and present the firearm, and pull the trigger on your target in a safe direction. From here you would navigate to any specifics you wanted to focus on. I like to go through the same drills I would in a live fire session.

This is a great way to work out kinks in your setup or try new things. Change up the position where you carry. Find out what works and what doesn’t. Use different clothing. Try your summer clothes, winter clothes, or maybe a heavy coat. Have you ever practiced drawing your firearm from inside your vehicle? You could park in the garage but this may be an issue for some who don’t have a safe direction there. You could always grab a chair and bring it to your designated safe location. This is a great way to safely workout the mechanics of drawing from inside your vehicle.

Dry firing is a great way for everyone to become more familiar with their firearm. This is something that everyone should be doing. From your everyday carrier, your weekend target shooter, to your seasoned police officer.

I hope you all have a great day. Be safe, be comfortable, be confident!

Preparedness Part 2 (Defense)

Now that we have the food and water taken care of let’s take a look at another crucial aspect of preparedness, defending yourselves and loved ones. In my great commie state of Illinois we have this thing called a FOID (Firearm Owners Identification) card. This is required to possess or purchase firearms and ammunition. If you don’t live in this state you might be thinking, “that is insane”, and you would be correct. But that is a topic for another day. Long before the times of this virus and civil unrest, if we spoke about firearms I probably asked you if you have your FOID. I would then go forth to suggest you get it and we go shooting. Previous to all this chaos getting your FOID card was a pain in the ass, but you usually received it in a somewhat timely manner. Even if you didn’t plan on buying a firearm I still suggested that you get your FOID and Concealed Carry cards.

Now let’s fast forward to today. Unless you have been living in total isolation you are aware of the events that have happened and what continue to happen. A declared pandemic and civil unrest is a really bad time to start trying to stock up on firearms and ammunition. Just like we saw with the food supplies, firearms have dried up and prices have increased a good amount. Ammunition is nowhere to be found unless you really work hard and prices for that have just about tripled. Now, all of a sudden you want to make friends with the guy that orders his bulk ammo supply for the year, or in case something happens…like ammo becoming extinct. FOID card delays are all over the place. Some people are waiting 90 days, some MUCH longer than that. You know what that means? They are unable to legally purchase firearms or ammunition. They have literally been handicapped to legally acquire the means to defend their lives. Renewals for FOID and Concealed Carry cards have been placed on the backburner and a note has been sent out that it is ok until they are able to catch up. Issues with presenting expired FOID cards to buy anything still present themselves despite the notes. At this point if you have not obtained your FOID and Concealed Carry you are at the mercy of the state to legally purchase items to defend yourself. That is something you may want to remember for the rest of your life.

Let’s move on here. These are a few basics that I suggest having to defend yourselves and your loved ones. First off, I suggest getting yourself a reliable full size pistol. I am not going to go into great detail right now, just stay away from the cheap shit and stick with major name brands. Glock, M&P, Canik, and Ruger are all good manufactures to look at.

Spare magazines are a must. Use the food model we discussed in the last post and just started grabbing a few magazines here and there. If you find a good deal on something, buy a bunch.

You are going to need a holster for this pistol. An outside or inside the waistband holster will do. Again, I’m not going to get into specifics as I will do an entire write up on gear at some point. Just make sure it’s some type of hard kydex plastic that covers the trigger and is designed for your specific model. Do not get these soft one size fits all holsters. They suck and they are not safe.

You are going to want to get yourself a long gun. My recommendation is an AR (which stands for Armalite, not Assault Rifle) style platform chambered in 5.56 or .223 wylde. This is the most common long gun in the United States. If it came down to needing to borrow and share magazines, the chances of you finding someone with the same format is very high. Another benefit is that this firearm is very easy to shoot. Each member of your family will be able to manipulate this with little trouble. A sling is necessary, this is not an option. You will need multiple magazines as well. I tend to favor the Magpul 30 round variety. If you are unable to afford or find an AR platform rifle, I would look for a pistol caliber carbine or shotgun. This in no way substitutes a rifle but it is better than a pistol.

You will obviously need ammunition to go with your firearms. At this point, if you do not have ammo, you will need to pick up whatever you can find. This means you will more than likely be buying a box or two when you find it. Which was a good practice prior to all this chaos. Buying in bulk has always been my recommended way to go. You will usually get the best deal this way and picking up 1000 rounds at the beginning of the year will have you set for your training season or the current situation we have found ourselves in. Bulk orders at this time are rare. The handful I have found sell out in under 1 second, that is not an exaggeration. 1000 rounds per functional firearm is an excellent goal. I don’t mean the firearms you have sitting collecting dust, although you should have ammo for each of your firearms. Right now I am talking about the firearms you would use to defend yourself and your family.

None of this will matter much if you don’t train. Going out and spending $3,000 on firearms and ammunition won’t do you any good if you don’t know how to use them. Find some training. With how scarce ammo is now you may be hesitant to take a class. Save the ammo up and take the class! You will learn skills that you can take with you and pass on for the rest of your life. It is worth it!

So after you acquire the firearms, ammunition, and training where does that leave you? A plan or multiple plans need to be developed. I would suggest starting with your home. Set up a defense plan similar to an emergency response plan for a fire or tornado. Where will you go? Where will your family go? Who will call 911? Who will render medical aid if needed? This is something you should talk about with your family. Once you have a function home plan in place you can start thinking about your block/neighborhood. Talk to friends and neighbors about what you would do in the case of violent crimes and no police response. How will you communicate with each other quickly if the need comes? What are each of your neighbors strengths? If you haven’t done so already, it is time to start building your local community.

Think this is all ridiculous and over the top? Take a look at any of the multiple examples of riots and civil unrest we have seen over the past few years. When those towns were burning to the ground what was the response time of police for something like a home invasion a few miles down the road? There wasn’t one! It is best that you start to learn that when bad shit is happening, no one is coming to save you. You are your own first responder.

Be comfortable, be confident, and stay safe!

Preparedness Part 1

If you brought up preparedness a year ago people would have looked at you like one of those preppers with an underground bunker and 10 years worth of food. If that is you, call me, we can be friends. Things are different now. The idea of being prepared in case of some kind of disaster is something a lot of people are thinking about. Talking to friends, family, and clients, it seems like this can be a bit overwhelming when first starting out. Anxiety levels rise when people see the potential of something like civil unrest rearing its ugly head and they are not ready. So where do you start? Like anything else I would suggest to start small. I wouldn’t start a new shooter out with some complex and stressful drill their first day on the range. Why should you subject yourself to the same stress when starting something new? So let’s break down where to start with preparedness.

Food and Water

Without food you are roughly 3 days away from doing some really shady shit for a Klondike bar. Don’t believe me? Imagine seeing your kids crying and screaming how hungry they are after 3 days of nothing to eat. Now what would you do to feed them? We live in the greatest country in the world and this is still a possibility. Let’s take the events that unfolded at the beginning of the pandemic as an example. For some reason, people decided that toilet paper was the most important asset in existence so they bought all of it. People hoarded cleaning supplies and obtaining these things became very difficult. How were the food supplies in your local grocery stores during that time? I know in my neighborhood meat sold out, bread and milk were scarce, and if you found any of these items there was usually a limit of one. All of this and we were still getting regular truck shipments to resupply stores. Take away just one resupply truck and what happens? How long do you think it will be before you can buy groceries? Don’t put yourself in this position.

Where should you start? Well, 3 days is a great place to start. The average person needs about 2000 calories a day to function well, rough estimate I know. So a family of 3 would need 6,000 calories a day. 3 days worth of emergency food would be 18,000 calories, yay math. One way I like to go about it is when doing your regular grocery shopping, buy a little extra. Think about long term dry storage foods like flour, rice, and canned foods. But make sure that it is something you actually eat. Store what you eat and eat what you store. Another option is actually emergency storage foods. Mountain House has been around for a long time, I’ve used these while camping. Just add hot water and eat. Then we have the original military MREs. Each meal is complete, just add water. These emergency storage options can last up to 30 years. You can usually get around 12-24 meals for $100. After you get 3 days down, bump it up to a week, then 2 weeks. The end goal here would be at least 3 months to whatever you are comfortable with. Just make sure you are getting foods that you actually eat from time to time and replace. Don’t get stuck with a cabinet full of expired food.

For water I would suggest starting with some packages of bottled water. Healthy humans usually consume about half their body weight in ounces. I like the 5 gallon water containers. You can get these at your local grocery store. I would suggest having a way to clean and/or filter water if need be.

I will be breaking this down into a few different categories. The next few topics that I’ll be writing about will be home defense, medicine, and power. As always, be comfortable, be confident, and stay safe!

Train Outdoors

I cut my teeth on indoor ranges. After I bought my first pistol, I spent almost all my free time, and money, at the local indoor range. I learned a lot about marksmanship and had fun learning the trigger of my firearms. When I say learning your trigger, I mean getting a feel for the pull and the reset. Indoor ranges are a solid place to start for beginners, those looking to brush up on some skills, and a great way to have fun while exercising your second amendment rights.

As I became more interested in defensive use and concealed carry, I started to look for training. This is where I learned that indoor ranges suck. Now I say that with a little tongue in cheek but if I am being honest there are a ton of limitations at an indoor range. Most ranges in my area, and I know this will be different depending on where you go, have a lot of restrictions. Not permitting shooters to draw from the holster is at the top of the list, seconded by the dreaded no double taps or rapid shooting. Now I get it, we need to keep safety at the forefront and there are A LOT of new shooters out there right now. But these skills need to be practiced, especially by those that plan to carry.

After taking my first defensive pistol class, which was outdoors, I realized that things just work differently. It is a complete shift of environment so let me touch on a few big benefits of shooting outdoors.

Weather: We don’t get to pick the weather conditions when we are attacked so I suggest that you train in the shittiest weather you can stand. Shoot in the rain, snow, cold, and heat. Figure out where your downfalls are. Manipulating your firearm in these conditions is not the same as a temperature controlled range.

Drawing: Drawing from the holster is THE baseline in defensive firearm shooting. If you can’t manage to get your firearm out of the holster, you are out of the fight. This is something that can be done during your dry fire practice at home. But you need to be getting some live fire draw and shoot practice.

Moving: I don’t know about you, but my local indoor ranges don’t allow for much movement. You are going to want to move when learning to shoot to save your life or the lives of those around you.

Shooting: A defensive shooting will happen fast, and you will need to learn how to shoot as fast as accurately possible. Learning your limits of speed and accuracy as well as distance is huge.

Now these are just a handful of reasons to get outside and shoot. Lucky for you, all these things are possible by taking a reliable defensive pistol training course.

As always, please reach out to me if you have questions or would like to get some training. Be comfortable and confident!

We are all beginners once…

Everyone has to start somewhere. This applies to any skill based activity. Some of us are lucky to have a parent or relative to guide us in the great endevor of firearms. I was not one of those people. Growing up my Dad had a shotgun that I never touched. I didn’t even get into firearms until later in life. There is nothing that says you cannot become a great shooter if you were not born with a pistol in your hand. Like any skill, with enough proper training and dedication, you can become good at it, but you have to start.

Start with a friend taking you to the range. Or even better look around your area and see what formal training is available. The firearm community is very welcoming to new comers. I remember shooting my first IDPA (International Defensive Pistol Association) match and feeling very overwhelmed beforehand. I told them it was my first match and they seemed very excited to steer me in the right direction. Your first class should be the same way. Your instructor should be eager to have you there and eager to point you in the right direction. Do not accept anything less. Vet your instructors. Ask them what they do, what training they have, what motivates them, get a comfortable feeling with them.

Don’t think that a basic pistol or concealed carry class is enough. I look at firearm training as a martial art, as should you. It is a defensive skill that that is always changing with the times. I suggest that you continue your training and always look for ways to get better. You have to start somewhere, so please, for the safety of yourselves and your famlies, START!