Good Instructor? Do your homework before taking a firearms course.

I’ve never been one to brag about myself and I’ve always been one to want to improve and get better. I’ve also been around the shooting sports and firearms long enough to know that I provide better training than most of the instructors out there. That’s not to say there aren’t many GREAT instructors who have done this longer than me and are better than me (both with their instruction and shooting prowess), but there are a LOT of instructors out there that have a lot to learn. My competition shooting and military backgrounds, especially my time as the Battalion Commander of the Army Marksmanship Unit, provided me a tremendous opportunity to gain knowledge and experience in the shooting sports that many other instructors lack.

When I got both my NRA Rifle and Pistol instructor certifications and my Texas License to Carry and School Safety instructor certifications, I was pretty shocked with a lot of the candidates in attendance. More than just a few could not meet the qualification requirements and many did not appear to have much, if any, experience presenting and teaching material to a group of people. How can you teach a skill you can’t adequately explain to others nor perform yourself?

It’s also important to know your clients, know their goals and be able to provide the service they are looking for. I pride myself on providing personalized firearms training and it’s why I keep my classes small. I saw an organization close to me that “limits” their LTC class to the first 40 people! Wholly smokes, I’d love to have 40 people knocking on my door every weekend to take a class with me, but there’s no way they get the individual attention and quality instruction they deserve nor the training they need. I realize my location may not be the most convenient, but I’m confident that people have found (or will find) my classes and the environment I provide, to be better than most other facilities. Indoor ranges are nice when it’s really hot or really cold, but let’s be honest, they are ridiculously loud and it is difficult to communicate on the line, even to small groups. This is especially not the environment in which a new shooter will feel comfortable.

Small classes, great location, personal attention….I’m confident you will have a good experience with me so check out my classes or get with me for private training.

Texas Run & Gun

Had a blast today at the RWR Run & Gun as part of the Old Eighteen Defense ( Rivals competition. First time for me at one of these and it’s been way too long since I’ve shot a competition of any kind. I’ll say I was pretty impressed with the organization of the match, logistics and ROs. All seemed to be great people. Also met a couple people from the TexAgs Outdoor board and ran into a West Pointer I first met in 2007. We had several other run-ins along the way but I hadn’t seen him since 2015. Small world.

My prep for the match was really in 3 areas: equipment selection & setup, cardio, and shooting from non-standard positions. I should have put cardio first.

The run was mostly flat, but enough up and down to give a good workout. The final 200yds was uphill and I was pretty smoked. My biggest takeaway on cardio was that I should have done more runs where I’d stop (for up to 10 minutes) along the way. Waiting to shoot is nice for catching your breath, but my legs tend to get tight quickly so starting the next leg was harder than I expected. I would not have been ready for the 10k.

Equipment wise I had most everything I needed except a chest rig and a new belt. My approach was to stay pretty light. I carried 3 AR mags loaded with 55gr ammo and 1 loaded with 77gr. Planned to only take 4 Glock mags (20 rds ea), but threw one more in the gun before I started because I didn’t know what to expect. I also carried a collapsible water bottle that I’d toss in my pocket while shooting. Just enough water for a cool day and 5k run. Initially, I didn’t plan to take water, but I’m glad I did. I went through several holster setups leading up to the match. Took me a little to configure what worked for me and made a few returns too. Settled on the Safariland ALS, but I still really don’t like it that much. It’s a LOT of holster, but I like their active retention. Not knowing what obstacles there could be, I went with more holster than less. Running in full kit as part of training was critical. I run with rifle slung on my back. Much easier to run IMO, but I had to make various adjustments to equipment. Definitely paid off today as everything felt good.

Shooting went better than I expected. I wasn’t worried about pistol work, but rifle was much more of an unknown for me. Glad I got some practice at 300 & 400yds. Fortunately there was only one stage with targets that went out to 400ish.

Overall, this was a great event. Wish I videoed some, but didn’t want the distraction as a first-timer. I’m going to jump on wait lists and hope I get another chance this year. If not, I’ll be ready to sign up next year. I finished 3rd overall today.

Start the New Year off with a bang!

Don’t put it off any longer. Sign up for a firearms training course. It takes effort to get better. It doesn’t just happen. Dry fire practice a few times each week, accuracy work to start live fire sessions and take a class with someone. Work on things you know you aren’t very good at…like strong and weak hand shooting. Make every round count. If you carry (and you should), be an asset, not a liability!

YouTube Channel

I started a YouTube Channel to put out a few videos from time to time. Take a look and subscribe. I plan to keep things short and to the point. I’m not about shock and awe, but rather, useful information for the average gun owner. I’ll review things from time to time, demo various shooting drills and whatever else seems like a good idea. So, check it out, subscribe, share with friends and send me suggestions for things you would like to see.

Should I still get my License To Carry (LTC)?

People ask this question a lot more ever since Texas passed permitless or “Constitutional Carry” last summer. Since then, additional states passed similar versions of permitless carry and the current count is 25. Whenever someone asks me if they should still get the LTC, I always say “yes”. Not because I’m looking to fill my next class, but because the average citizen does not take the time to read the laws. As gun owners, we must understand the law and be responsible gun owners.

Top 3 reasons

There are several significant reasons why getting your LTC is beneficial. First is Reciprocity. You can carry in 35 other states with a Texas License to Carry; 10 more than have Constitutional Carry (CC). Additionally, not all CC states allow for non-residents to carry. These reciprocal agreements are formal recognition between states.

A second reason to get the LTC is that you no longer have to undergo an additional background check when purchasing a firearm from a Federal Firearms Licensed (FFL) dealer. Additionally, many private party sellers (at a gunshows or through other advertised means) prefer or require that you have a LTC. This very reasonable requirement shows the seller you are “vetted” and not a prohibited person. The LTC serves as your background check.

Third, the LTC gives you additional legal protection in the event of an honest mistake. For example, if LTC holder mistakenly carries passed a 30.06 or 30.07 sign, is told to leave, and immediately departs the prohibited location, they have a defense to prosecution. Unlicensed carry passed a 30.05 sign does not have the same forgiveness.

Additional reasons for the License to Carry

The federal “Gun Free School Zones” do not apply to a LTC holder. Federal Law prohibits guns within 1000 feet of schools. If you have your LTC, this does not apply. However, if you choose Constitutional Carry, have a gun in your car, and pick up your child at school, you are breaking the law!

Training. As a gun owner, our training should never end! I can almost guarantee you will learn something during the classroom portion of the LTC course. Laws constantly change and we must stay informed. Ignorance is no excuse.

Having the LTC is almost always positive when dealing with Law Enforcement. The police have an incredibly difficult job and as a responsible citizen, I want to make their job as easy as possible. Traffic stops are the most common encounter with LE and immediately notifying them that you have a firearm and your LTC tends to put them more at ease. Again, they know you’ve been vetted.

I could go on with many more reasons, but you probably won’t read much more! Bottom line, get your LTC. You won’t regret it.

Shooting from Cover/Concealment

Shooting from cover or concealment is another important defensive skill to train on. Minimize exposure, train both strong and weak side, and always maintain an acceptable level of accuracy.

Sign up for the Defensive Pistol Skills course on 7 May 2022.

Defensive Pistol Skills

Minimize your exposure to the threat

Handgun Training with Limited Ammunition

Lots of people have written about how you can train with your handgun given the current ammunition situation. As a result of limited availability and higher prices, we’ve all had to cut back to some degree. I will primarily focus on the first time gun owners (over 13 million in the last two years) and novice shooters, who perhaps have had a gun for a while, but rarely train.

Dry-fire training can accomplish a great deal and requires no live ammunition. It cannot, however, entirely replace time at the range. Every time we go to the range to actually shoot, we should have a plan for that training session. A goal in mind. It’s kinda like going to the gym. Without a plan, you likely won’t improve. You’re not going to get better if you don’t have some structure to your workout. As a new shooter, you can accomplish a lot with 100 rounds. Here’s a simple plan for 100 rounds that can be done both indoors and outdoors. Slight variations may be required depending on the rules of your particular range especially as it pertains to drawing from a holster.

Warm Up

10 rounds slow fire: Focus on the fundamentals. Think of this as your warm up. Sight alignment and trigger control are the most important. Properly align your sights on the target and make the gun go “bang” without disturbing that alignment. It IS that simple. One shot at a time and return to the low ready. Assess each shot. Refine your grip and stance as you go, but accuracy is the goal. At 7 yards, you should be able to stay within a 4 inch circle.

Primary Training

10 rounds from the holster (or picked up off table). The vast majority of new gun owners either do not carry on a daily basis or have chosen not to carry at all. If your intent for owning a handgun is to have it at home for protection, drawing from a holster is a skill you may not need to work on at this point. If you choose to keep the gun “in the nightstand drawer”, I recommend practice retrieving the gun from a table or shooting bench and engage a target. Taken one step further, if you don’t keep the gun with a round in the chamber, practice retrieving the gun, chambering a round and then engage the target. This drill primarily focuses on acquiring a good, consistent grip on the gun. Again, maximize the training benefit from the limited amount of ammunition we have.

20 rounds, controlled pairs. This drill allows you to learn to manage recoil while still maintaining accuracy with each shot. Two, well aimed shots at one target. Don’t sacrifice accuracy for speed. Increased speed typically follows improved accuracy.

20 rounds controlled pairs and target transition. Continuing to build on recoil management while also incorporating transitioning to an additional target. Two separate targets is preferred, but you can also use a single target by attaching two smaller targets (for example, at an indoor range where you are limited to a single lane). As above, don’t sacrifice accuracy for speed. Two well aimed shots on the first target, transition to the second target and two more well aimed shots.

10 rounds strong/weak hand. Five rounds each strong hand and weak hand only. Nobody likes shooting one-handed, but it is absolutely a skill to work on. Dry-fire helps a lot here.

18 rounds of the 2 x 2 x 2 drill. Two rounds freestyle (both hands), two rounds strong-hand only, two rounds weak-hand only. Three iterations for 18 total rounds. Incorporate the draw or retrieving the gun off the table with this drill as well. A timer works well to gauge progress with this drill.

Cool Down

12 rounds slow fire. Finish up with the last 12 rounds just as you started. Think of this as the cool down. Slow fire is all about accuracy. Force yourself to slow down and focus on the task at hand. As your accuracy improves, so will your confidence.

Start at a distance that challenges your accuracy. Increase the distance over time. Use a timer if you have one. A timer helps us measure progress. I shot the targets above at ten yards with my Sig P365XL, from the holster. Next time I need to push harder and increase speed.

First Time Gun Owners

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) recently published data for 2021 gun sales. Based on dealer surveys, there were approximately 5.4 million first time gun buyers in 2021. This is on top of the estimated 8.4 million first time buyers in 2020. So in the last 2 years, there are likely over 13 million new/first time gun owners in the US.

Thirteen million new gun owners, exercising their Second Amendment Rights, is a great thing for sure! First, however, those 13 million need to get training. Get training somewhere, from a reputable instructor that has, at a minimum, reasonable credentials. Not all instructors are equal, so do your homework.

Every gun owner has a different “journey”. I started mine at a very young age. I still remember when I got to carry a BB gun in the woods for the first time when I was 5 years old. My dad taught me safety and the fundamentals. 40+ years later, I’ve shot a lot of ammo! Some learn through military service, a friend, or take classes. Regardless of where you are in your journey, all of us, as gun owners, have a responsibility to become proficient in the use of the firearms we own. Additionally, shooting skills are perishable and taking one class does not make you an expert. We all can get better. Get out and practice. Dry-fire at home. Take another class. Push yourself to learn more.

As a side note, 13+ million new gun owners in 2 years….most purchased handguns. Let’s be conservative and estimate they each bought 100 rounds of ammo….that’s 1.3 BILLION rounds of ammo the industry was not really prepared to produce. Add on to that the increase in ammo purchases by “old” gun owners and you can quickly see why the shortages still exist today.

Happy Birthday John Browning

Today is John Browning’s birthday. Arguably the most important gun designer in history whose legacy continues today. Just a few of the guns he created: Colt M1911, Browning Hi-Power, M2 50 cal machine gun, and the M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle. He’s also responsible for the development of numerous cartridges, including the 45 ACP.

One of these days I’m going to make a trip to the Browning Firearms Museum in Ogden, Utah. In the meantime, I guess shooting a couple of his inventions will have to do.

Winchester Model 1897 12 Gauge “Trench Gun”, Remington Model 8 chambered in .32 Remington, Colt Woodman .22 Long Rifle, and Colt M1911A1 .45 ACP

Pistol Belts

I can’t emphasize this enough.… If you choose to carry a handgun on a regular basis (openly or concealed), spend a little money and get a purpose built gun belt. You’ll be far more likely to actually carry all the time if you have a properly designed belt.

My favorite is the black Nexbelt above because it has a fast, ratchet-like buckle adjustment which makes putting a holster on and taking it off very quick. It also provides a wider range of adjustment than a standard belt with established holes. Most importantly, however, is the stiffness of the belt. These belts carry the weight of your gun much better than a standard belt. The leather Magpul belt above has a stiff plastic liner sewn to the leather to create the rigidity. There are many other brands with similar construction and features, and, much like holsters, shop around and find what works for you.

Just like I wouldn’t recommend using a flimsy nylon holster with a thumb strap as a carry holster, I won’t recommend a flimsy belt that doesn’t hold your holster in place and carry the weight. If you carry, comfort is important. If you’re uncomfortable, you won’t carry. Buy a decent belt and don’t be a sheep.

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