Category Archives: Thoughts

Dry Fire Revisited

Previous thoughts on DF:

…So that’s where I was.  The pistol stuff was comprehensive and factored in a lot of one handed draws and reloads.  Currently my range time is sparse and so I’m thinking I should refocus on the basics.  Rifle work was way overkill.  In my daily life the chances of me using a rifle are somewhere below winning the state lottery.

The current regime is

  • 10 shots SHO from high ready
  • 10 shots WHO from high ready
  • 30 shots Freestyle from concealment
  • 10 reloads

I’ve been running the twice a week and I can subjectively state my reload has improved immensely.  There was enough slop in my reload technique that the improvement was noticeable.  Draw-stroke wise we’re looking at shaving off .20 and getting back into the 1.5s headshot range.  I run video every once in a while to get another view and watch the time stamp.

Here are some hardware tweaks to make regular dry-fire easier to engage in and improve ROI:

I’ve dedicated a gun to DF.
A NY-1 trigger (11lbs) spring has been installed.  If I can break a clean shot at 11lbs, I can do so at the 5.5lbs on my carry guns.
This gun has a Blade-Tech training barrel in it.  This gives me immediate visual confirmation that this pistol is clear.
I have two magazines set aside for dry-fire.  They have no followers or springs installed.  This allows me to run the slide in conjunction with the training barrel.

For reload drills I set a cardboard box containing a cotton tactical training enhancement magazine retention shemagh on my chair.  Reloads  are performed over the chair, the “empty” magazine is caught in the box (doesn’t bounce out because of the shemagh.)  This decreases the time between reload drills.

On the software side of things the short nature of the dry-fire session makes the attention to detail that much more important.  On the one handed work I pay close attention to trigger finger placement.  There’s been some talk about having “deep” trigger finger placement.  I’ve played around a bit and what gives me a consistently clean break is still the “tip” of my finger placed at the bottom of the trigger.  This keeps the rest of my finger off the frame of the gun, provides the best leverage on the trigger and keeps the sights steady through the trigger press.

During my draws I run my first five or so at moderate speed, focusing on hitting each of my index points cleanly.  The next 20 reps are done at speed, attention is paid  after each shot breaks to hold the front sight in view after the shot breaks.  The last five reps are done as fast as possible, remaining focused on the index points noted above and minimizing the “go fast” flailing.

Rifle dryfire, reloads and more dynamic pistol practice is done adhoc.




Pistol Modification Justifications

Just about forever, I’ve been a “keep the gun stock” sort of guy.  My introduction to pistolcraft was at a Modern Technique type range.  Mike Dalton and “Uncle” Scotty were the godfathers, and I worked with their Apostles.  Everyone carried 1911’s strong side in a Avenger style holster.  It was a good, solid foundation to have and a great group of guys (and gals.)  Now regardless of the fact that damned near everyone’s 1911 “Hogue” electropenciled on some interior surface I was instructed to keep my gun stock and learn to shoot it well.  Scratches and worn bluing were a sign of character.  Ammo was cheap and I was blessed to have a job that both paid well and was results oriented.  As such, I spent a lot of time at the range.

In retrospect, I did a lot wrong.  The money I turned into noise and sent downrange is shameful.  The firearms purchased chasing the hot new fad, just as rough.  All of this experience drove me to where I am today.  One of the key pieces of advice was to not customize a gun – learn to shoot it well stock.  One of the first pistol matches I went to the difficulties I had hitting a half an exposed IDPA target at maybe 10 yards was insightful.  An action job and new sights would surely… No.  It’s not the bow, it’s the Indian – and then old timers would prove it to me.  Ironing out my problems meant that I could manage most any pistol unhindered.

…and yes, it worked out.  While typing this out I questioned if my pistol skills have degraded since these golden memories.  While I may be suffering a temporary “winter set back” I can say with the authority of a shot timer that I am as good of a pistol shot now as I ever have been.  Now, on to the common reasons not to modify your pistol:


This is a totally valid reason not to modify a firearm.  If your firearm doesn’t function reliably, it’s worthless.  Trigger and firing controls may result in legitimate accidental discharges (hammer following slide) or light strikes.  Safeties may be unintentionally disengaged, engaged or fail all together.  Extended magazine releases may cause magazines to be unseated or dumped unexpectedly.  Oversized or extended slide stops/catches/releases may result in a failure to lock back.  Even miniscule changes may negativley impact performance.  The after market slide-stop in a Glock that causes the gun to fail to go into battery, the grip sock that retards the magazine release, adjustable sights that loosen up.

Masking Shooter Deficiency

Of questionable merit.  The standard line is that modifications that make the gun “easier to shoot” will result in poor fundamentals.  I agree with this to some extent.  If a shooters ultimate goal is a comprehensive understanding and deep skill of the pistol, then a stock gun will perform just as well as a “riced out” gun.  If the shooter has limited interest (or time) but still needs to be proficient then make their equipment as easy to operate as possible.

Under stress…

Under stress you will be unable to operate (choose your favorite:  slide release, safety, magazine release, trigger.)  Of questionable merit.  You hand someone whose never shot a gun with an external safety a Beretta 92 and they’ll fuck it up.  I’ve seen jackasses fail to execute a double action trigger pull and start down the “Dis aint werkin!” decision tree.  Again, this comes down to the shooters desire.  Being able to execute a robust, “works with anything” response to a weapon failure is a strength.  If you have the time and dedication, executing weapon specific responses can reduce that “down time.”

I’ve strayed from the core intent of this article.  It is clear a dogma/Manual of Arms post will need to be written in the near future.

Like F1 racing, there’s a point where minimal increases in performance involve enormous costs.  Or, alternately, you start breaking some rules.  I have some “soft” requirements for when this path was traveled on:

Concealment, for me, means concealed.  You’ve seen those folks who consider a shirt over a firearm “concealed.”  My expectation of concealment is that under a “I’m looking for a gun” inspection and inadvertent “bump” frisking I’ll pass unnoticed.  Tactics and techniques to minimize exposure will be taken.  Life is not the IDPA’s “scarecrow” rule.

All purpose usage.  Night, day, home, camping, summer, winter, et al.  I want to run one gun.  This is an organizational simplification.

With some encouragement from the peanut gallery I’m going to pursue the following:

A G19 with the grip reduced to a 26 length.

Pro – Conceal-ability of a G26, sight radius of a G19, rail accessory capable.
Con – Situational; reduced magazine capacity (15 rounds to 10.)Risk – Feeding and reliability*

A “tuned” magazine release.

Pro – Ability to maintain master grip without having to shift grip**
Con -None
Risk – Inadvertent magazine dump.

A TLR-1 (this is why G-19 frame is butchered)

Pro – WML, additional weight.
Con – None
Risk – Feeding and reliability*.

Frame Stippling

Pro – Increased traction under all conditions.Con – None
Risk – None

The immediate inconsequential risk is the guns resale value.  This is irrelevant to me, should this work this will be the gun I carry, low profile, ever day.

*Feed and reliability concerns.  I’ve chopped a G17 to 19 length and hung a TLR-1 on it and tested it.  There would be a period of time where I would be interested in proving the G16/26 w/ TLR1 would be functional with G26, 19, 17 and 33round mags.  This concern stems from an abundance of caution and some understanding of the Glock 22’s difficulties with particular WML’s and standard capacity magazines.

**Typically there’s some grip shifting on a magazine change on a G26.  The pinky has to uncurl from underneath the magazine.  Will a tuned magazine release assist with this?  I don’t know, but I’m willing to test it.

I will strive to verify reliability, expect the gun to be as functional as a G26 under stress and feel that this franken-glock has the possibility to become the one gun, with me all the time.  More to come as the project proceeds.

YIR 2013

In a nutshell, I got fat and I got lazy.

The BEST of 2013:

FAST – 5.72
Bill Drill -2.99

IDPA Classifier Marksman, SSP!

That’s right, I packed on 40 some seconds to my Classifier score.  Three things,  I didn’t dry fire enough, I didn’t live fire enough (4 range trips in 2013) and I got lazy.  That last range trip was the same one we ran the classifier.  I shot no clean Bills or FASTs.  It might have been an off day – but performance on demand is one of those traits I very much appreciate.  Shooting is very much a perishable skill and it doesn’t require so much upkeep as to be inconvenient.

For my 13 in 13 I had listed:

  1. Ham Tech License
  2. GSW 1st Aid training
  3. Physical Fitness (Cont.)
  4. Long Range Marksmanship
  5. Reloading
  6. Orienteering
  7. Cleaning and butchering game (Chickens, I’m looking at you.)
  8. Deer Hunting
  9. Sewing
  10. Joinery and Finish Carpentry
  11. Playing the Harmonica
  12. Playing Pathfinder (the Wife is making me, honest.)
  13. Fermentation and Cheese Making.

Of which I accomplished… nothing.  Now – I did do some carpentry, but no joinery and nothing coming close to “finish.”  A lot of rough, but functional stuff got done.  I also flirted with fermentation and canning, mostly helping the wife.  Some things not on the list:

Knife making.  This activity stole my heart and attention, and it’s a skill I’m going to continue to develop.  There will be some posts in 2014 about the progression of knife design I’ve gone through.

I’ve replaced switches and outlets – standard home owner fare.  This year I also changed an electrical breaker.  Not a huge thing, but one of those tasks that I feel accomplished for having done.

The pocket FAK was carried every day I wore pants.  It does take up an entire pocket.  Amazon has listings for Z-fold Combat Gauze that isn’t $80 – so I’m going to jump on that wagon and see how a slimmed down FAK does.  I did take the time to re-familiarize myself with SWAT-T, CAT-T, TK4 and the Israeli Bandage.

Goals for 2014?

Raise up another batch of Chickens.  (There will be a story on that in late February.)

Get down to 200lbs.  210 and might be more reasonable, but I might as well shoot for the moon.

Break 5 seconds on a FAST.

Classify Expert in the IDPA Classifier.

Get harder, better, faster, stronger.

Extend food and water stores.

Getting back into a shape. (Not round…) 2013-08-11

Work is squared away.  All is well in the world again.  For the first time in a while I got some exercise in.  Body weight squats killed me, and I feel slow on the bag.  For dry fire I worked just on trigger pull.  I’ll get some baselines in, and then set some goals.

Yeah, I’m still here. 2013-07-07

It’s been a rough few months.  Nothing exceptionally bad other than 8 hours a day spend doing work I cannot stand.  Instead or self improvement, I’ve spent my time doing nothing worthwhile other than providing momentary satisfaction.  That’s not entirely true – I’ve started making my own knives.  Once I get my personal shit squared away we’ll be back to full time posting.  In the mean time:

Weekly Catchup 2013-02-22

Still holding my breath on the new job.  I’ve been ruminating on it.  Half rationally – understanding the needs of the organization and their selection of who they feel the best candidate would be.  The other half is all ego and pride.  I know I outperform the other folks at my level, and I know I bring unique skills to the table.  I do feel taken advantage of and to some extent that’s okay.   I’ve put on my show, ball’s in their court.  All of these thoughts, lying awake at night, grinding my teeth in silence, are self defeating.  I’ve spent so much energy exploring how I’ll feel and what options are available should I not be selected I don’t know what I’ll do if I am selected.  Way to plan to fail.

I’ve been alternating exercise between heavy days of KB exercise and heavybag work, and then recovery days with just Turkish get-ups.

The cat has no sense of smell.  Catnip does nothing for her and treats need to be visually indicated.  She plays half of catch – she’ll chase down anything you throw, but isn’t so sharp at the retrieving.  Me and the wife had talked about training her to retrieve – because playing “catch” would be a lot better than playing “throw.”  We’ve started with a clicker and treats to get a positive association built.  More information as the project continues.


Weekly Catchup 2013-02-04

New format.  Instead of the low content/daily updates I’ll just do a weekly update.

This week was the end of a long project at work.  I did a lot of OT.  What will I do now that this project is complete?  I honestly don’t know – but I’ve started sending out resumes.  My goal is one a night, and should no suitable positions be posted then polish can be applied, cover letters built and T’s crossed while I’s are dotted.  There’s another phase of the project starting and I hope to get picked up for it – but I’m not willing to wait in the salt mines until (and if) that happens.

Committing to a year with a two point sling.  It’s easy enough to convert to a single point if the situation dictates.  Why the change?  There’s  a bunch of really switched on people who run 2 points, and they don’t have any complaints.  I still like the convertible slings, but most of them behave well as a single point but fall apart in the 2-point/quick-adjustment category.  I’ve been a pretty staunch single point guy – but maybe just because I haven’t found the right two point sling.  The sling pattern used in January proved good enough that I made 7 more (from good quality webbing and ITW hardware) for the cost of  a single popular name brand slings.  Three went to E, the remaining I have use for.

Speaking of E, fight club on Sunday.  Worked on boxing defense, in-fight weapon access and striking.  I need to find a good mat solution so we can get back to the ground.  Take-downs are something lacking in the tool box.  Kettlebell weight bumped up.  Today I did a tabata with it and I’m feeling that good soreness.   Need to work on getting into and out of positions with the rifle.  I also plan on stitching up a summer holster, subcompact season will be here before I know it.

My darling is dreamer of spring.  This week I have to make a soil blocker.  Chickens are doing good.  The cat is back to chasing her tail and enriching my life.

Car Carry

With regards to guns and cars and being seated etc:

Here’s why you don’t need to draw a gun while in a car:  You have no mobility and no cover.  Carjackers are looking to get into CAR.  Carjackers are not looking to get into a GUN FIGHT.  Carjackers, like all great criminal masterminds, will seek to attack from a position of strength.  This means they intend to capitalize on your lack of mobility and visibility.

The best way to deter a carjacking? Be a hard target.  Lock your doors.  It’s tough to get into a car if you can’t get the door open.  Leave room to maneuver.  It’s tough to get into a car that drives away from you.  Maintain awareness.  Use those mirrors.  When homeboy is doing the math on which car he’s jacking, the 23yr old high and tight with the Oakleys and OIF bumper sticker is getting passed over for the 16yr old wearing earbuds and texting.

Awareness.  Awareness with a capital A.  Know your fellow drivers, you’re going to have to make up for their deficiency.  The guy behind you weaving, driving at 3am with his lights off, vomiting out his window?  Find yourself a different street to drive down.  Stay out of other drivers blind spots.  When you hit that stop light, make like mister bobble head.  What are the other drivers doing?  Where are they looking?  Is the passenger door that just opened on that pickup a problem – or is he checking the load?

About that vehicular mobility.  Double tap those breaks when you start to slow down – the guy behind you may leave you a little extra room.  Stop before cross walks.  If a pedestrian has to walk around your car they may take offense to that.  Know your turning radius.  When the light turns green, give it a three Mississippi (incidentally about the same amount of time it takes to check left and right) before stepping on the gas.

At the gas station, when you’re pumping gas don’t be channelized between the pump your car and the hose.  Wash your windows or at the least move to a spot you have better visibility and mobility.  If you’re waiting for someone, find a parking spot that gives you that minimizes your blind spots and channelizes approaches to you.  When you back into a space your keep your visibility on the area that’s most likely to give you grief and you minimize your unknown space.  When you park headfirst in a space you’re maximizing your unknown space and minimizing your visibility.  If you’re lazy (or efficient) pull through and you get the best benefits of both.  If something gets your spider sense tingling, get a move on.  You’re driving a climate controlled, entertainment system laden magic carpet – go drive around the block a few times.

Back to what got us here – the best gun/way to carry when your driving and in and out of a car all day?


#1.  It’s got to be comfortable.  If it’s not comfortable, you aren’t going to wear it, and then it’s no good to you.

#2.  It has to conceal.  I’m not worried about concealing it when I’m seated, I’m worried about it staying concealed when I get out of the car.  If I have to blouse and do a fashion queen spin every time I get out of the car I might as well open carry.

Why isn’t a second holster in the vehicle a good idea?  Complexity.  You’re committed to performing a draw/reholster cycle in a tight, challenging environment twice every time you get in the vehicle.  This ties back into comfort, because you’re going to start leaving the gun in the truck.  It’s only a quick trip to get a cup of coffee at the 7/11, right?  Your on body holster is going to have to be rigid or things get even more complex (fingering open a holster while trying to get a gun in there while seated?).

Why isn’t an easy on/off holster a good idea?  I love me J-Hooks and soft loops.  I’ve put my gun on in a car frequently.  There is still the occasional botched holster install, and final blousing and belt line eye fucking has to occur while standing.  Also, you look like your fighting a mongoose in your pants while you put the damn thing on in the parking lot.

The Late Unpleasantness

Good posts springing up everywhere on recent events.  Of everything I’ve read, the one getting the link is Kyle Defoors (

Do not forget to think about what happens right of bang.  Sheepdog hard.

Tomorrow, we’ll return to our regularly scheduled program.

The 13 in 13 Challenge

Over at TSP, Jack’s been talking about this “13 in 13 Challenge.”  A commitment to learn or refine 13 skills in 2013.  There’s a link to a spiffy website that’s been setup if you want to play along at home: While digging up the link for that I found Save Our Skills (  Their podcast looks like an interesting and episodes are downloading now.

For my 13 skills I’m looking towards:

  1. Ham Tech License
  2. GSW 1st Aid training
  3. Physical Fitness (Cont.)
  4. Long Range Marksmanship
  5. Reloading
  6. Orienteering
  7. Cleaning and butchering game (Chickens, I’m looking at you.)
  8. Deer Hunting
  9. Sewing
  10. Joinery and Finish Carpentry
  11. Playing the Harmonica
  12. Playing Pathfinder (the Wife is making me, honest.)
  13. Fermentation and Cheese Making.