Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Tuesday Tips

Marking Mags-
By Pudge

Mack and I were talking the other day about different AR style magazines and which ones we like/prefer. This then lead down the road of using different style or color magazines based on ammo type. I know a few years back Magpul released a .300blk magazine that was supposed fight against magazine related malfunctions. But even so, the magazine looks the exact same as its brother. So now that I have GI (standard and tan) and Pmags, I decided to coordinate my mags to my guns so I never have to worry about grabbing the wrong magazine.
I’ve realized after running Pmags for a long time that I prefer standard GI aluminum magazines. I like the Pmags but have had more issues with them in comparison. Because of this and the amount of GI mags I have vs Pmags I have chosen to use Pmags for .300 blackout only. If you use both sub and super .300 blk then having different colors for each is an option. For 5.56 I use the standard GI magazines since my go to gun is an AR in 5.56. I have these in both tan and grey. I keep my tan ones loaded with hollow points and the grey with FMJ. I do this so that way when I pick up any one of my AR magazines, I instantly know what they are loaded with and whether they are for 5.56 or .300blk. Not a huge deal for FMJ or hollow points but can spell a bad day for 5.56 or .300blk if the wrong mag is grabbed and attempted to be used in the wrong gun. I’ve seen guys annotate which mags are for which in an assortment of ways. You can paint them, wrap them with tape, purchase multiple colors, etch different designs, or a whatever your mind can come up with.
The other thing that I like to do with both my rifle and pistol magazines is mark them with my initials and then number them. I use a green paint pen to mark them and label them all in the same location. The green and my initials help me always grab the right mags if I drop them during reloads or in a class with a bunch of other shooters. Anything to keep me from losing mags! Some guys mark theirs with certain colored tape or etching. I like a green paint pen because it is easy to see and holds up pretty well. I like to number them for a couple of reasons. If I start having malfunctions, I can easily keep track if it is the same mag because of the number. I will annotate the mag number and ammo type every time I have an issue. That way if I start having multiple malfunctions, I can diagnose whether it is mag, ammo, or firearm related. I also number them to keep track of how many I have of each type.
Just a couple mag marking options.
These are just a couple quick tips to help keep track of magazines and mitigate any accidents from mixing calibers.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Tuesday Tips

Threadlocker Tips
By Pudge
If you are going to be running a red dot sight on a handgun or use thread locker for any reason then today’s tip is for you.
Let’s start with the best type of thread locker to use for a MRDS (miniaturized red dot sight). Vibra-tite VC3 comes highly recommended by Aaron Cowan of Sage Dynamics. This guy should know as he has used and abused about every MRDS there is out there. This thread locker will keep your screws in place but will let you take them out without having to worry about using heat to get them loose.
Next, I also learned that I haven’t been applying the thread locker I’ve been using correctly. I’ve been just putting it on the screw and then screwing it in. This can actually cause you to overtighten your screws because the liquid acts as lubricant until it is cured. This will make it even harder to get out your screws even if inserted with the right amount of torque. So, the best way to do this is: push the screws through a piece of paper so the threads are up, then apply the thread locker and wait about 15-30 minutes. After letting it cure for a little bit, pull the screws back down through the paper. This will wipe off any excess thread locker so that you have the correct amount on the screw prior to using. Then you just screw them in like normal and you will have much better luck if you haven’t been doing it this way. This little tip came from one of the engineers who helped create Loctite. I figured he probably knows what he is talking about.
Another thing I started doing is making a timing mark on my screws and the optic so that at a quick glance I can see if anything has come loose. (Figured this one out after I was having some zero shift due to a wiggly optic.) For this I've been using a red paint pen. It makes it easy to see and is pretty durable but can be cleaned off easily and remarked if I take the sight off and then reinstall later. This will help you know everything is where it should be and keep away some head scratching.

Marking the screw heads to make sure at a glance nothing has moved.

This tip can be used for any situation you would normally use a threadlocker.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Tuesday Training

Sage Dynamics RDS Instructor Course Review
By Pudge

In case you don’t want to spend the time to read this, all you need to know is, if you have the ability to take a Sage Dynamics course with Aaron Cowan then don’t hesitate and do it. I have been through a decent amount of courses, not all firearms related, and Aaron is one of the most professional and competent instructors I’ve seen. Just watching him teach was worth almost as much as the content that he was putting out. Let’s get down to the course itself.
Day 1 was all classroom. Lot’s of PowerPoint was involved but it was extremely informative. We first discussed how long humans have been target focused vs using sights on weapons and how red dots on handguns can help us get back to a more natural way of aiming. “We are using technology to shoot more naturally.” Lot’s of videos where shown demonstrating the main benefit of a red dot allows you to better see everything around and not get so sucked in to your front sight. It allows you to focus on the threat the entire time vs having to remove focus from the target back to your front sight. Like anything, there are tradeoffs with red dots as well. We discussed the cons but after the next couple days of shooting I’m willing to take the bad with the good.
Day 2 was out at the range all day. We zeroed all of our optics at 25m. This is the usual zero distance on manufacturers iron sights. After lots of testing this has proven to be the best overall distance to zero for the least amount of holdover at the majority of typical engagement distances you’ll use a handgun for. We tested parallax and found that even out to 25m with the dot in the extreme corners of the window you can still keep hits in the A-zone of an IPSC target. Obviously you would prefer to shoot with your dot in the center where you zeroed it but this drill showed that it doesn’t have to be a perfect sight picture to be effective. Cadence drills are very crucial in driving home the importance of grip. Since we are on the topic of grip. This may sound blasphemes but you can grip your handgun differently based on what you are trying to accomplish. We do it with a rifle depending on whether we want speed or accuracy so why can’t we do it with a handgun? The main focus of the day was getting a proper grip, allowing each person to find their red dot upon drawing from the holster, after each shot, and after reloads or malfunctions. The key here is using proprioception to line up the back plate of the pistol with your nose. This will get the red dot right where it needs to be in front of your eyes. Also, make sure you are focusing on the target and not the dot.
Day 3 began working through the different types of optic malfunctions you may experience. A front lens blockage is the easiest to deal with. If you are keeping both eyes open your brain will automatically superimpose the dot on the target. (Some people require a little extra practice to make this natural but it can be very effective.) This was actually how the OEG (Occluded Eye Gunsight) used in the Son Tay raid worked. Next, we went over rear lens blockage. If this happens you can use the optic body as a rough aiming point. You should try this at different distances to see at what point it becomes unusable. If using the RMR you can use the body of the optic and guillotine the target. A couple other options are putting a mark on the top center of the optic body and using it similar to a shotgun bead or even super gluing a fiber optic rod in this place. Another malfunction is an issue with the emitter. Usually this will result in a much larger dot being projected or multiple starbursts. It is not ideal but can still be used like a normal dot (just larger) up close. Lastly, if the battery does or the dot disappears but the window is still clear then just revert back to your iron sights. Almost no excuse not to have backup irons on your handgun. We then worked through multiple target engagements and added in some movement. Lastly, we shot the qualification to make sure everyone applied what they had learned throughout the training.
I used my work belt and my SPACENAG (which is working amazingly).
As I stated at the beginning, this course was worth every bit. Aaron’s professionalism was unmatched. He is a “why” guy. “Why” am I doing something this way? Being able to answer that will almost always lead to the best way of doing things. I also want to give a shout out to the Coweta County Sheriffs and Fulton County School Police. These two agencies are where the rest of the class members came from and they were all great guys. It was odd but nice being the lone military guy in a class. It allowed me to see and hear different perspectives and viewpoints. The class was definitely geared towards law-enforcement but I still took a lot away that can be used both in my current job and also as a civilian.
I know I recently wrote about why you should compete and I believe getting good training goes right along with that. If you carry or ever think you will have to use a gun in defense of yourself or loved ones then you owe it to them to be as proficient as you can. Take classes when you are able. Spread the love and try different instructors. Sometimes even if the instruction is the exact same but the instructor uses different words, that is all it takes for some new information to sink in. Now get out there and train.

Monday, June 8, 2020

Military Monday

By Pudge

Nothing crazy today, just a few pictures from the last few weeks that I thought I would share just because. Hopefully next week I'll have some more thoughts and stories about red dots on handguns to share with everyone. Go be a warrior today!


Thursday, May 28, 2020

Thursday Thoughts

Why I Compete
-By Pudge

There are arguments from both ends of the spectrum when it comes to firearms competitions. On one end people will say there is nothing better than competing. One the other you will hear people say that competition shooting will get you killed in the streets. My thought, I recommend competition shooting. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.
There are many benefits to be taken away from shooting in competitions. When I say competition, I mean everything from bullseye to hosing down targets with handgun, rifle, and maybe even a little shotgun thrown in there. In my opinion, the biggest takeaway from competing is the added stress. Some people lose their minds when the buzzer goes off at the beginning of a stage. This helps replicate, to some extent, the rush of adrenaline you’ll get in a possible shoot scenario. Unless you have been through a gunfight, it is impossible to replicate so you need to find the best way possible to prepare yourself for one if you carry a gun for self-defense. Being timed and having others’ peer pressure of watching you will usually cause you to subconsciously speed up. This can lead to mistakes that otherwise would have seemed impossible.
Some people have told me, “I’m not going to compete because I will never win against so and so with their decked out $4,000 pistol.” That’s great but I’m not asking you to compete against them. I’m asking you to find ways to better yourself. If you’ve been to an IDPA match lately you’ve seen at least 75% of the competitors wearing ‘shoot me first vests.’ So what. For them that may replicate a jacket or button down they normally wear. Or it may just be a way to better their chances of a faster time. I have shot IDPA for about 15 years and I wear my normal day to day attire with my normal concealed carry holster and my every day carry handgun. Will I potentially be hindered compared to some of these other competitors? Yes, but I’m becoming more proficient at self-defense skills that may one day save my life. With that said, there is nothing wrong with being the guy who has ‘gamer guns.’ Even with these you still have to apply the fundamentals to be successful. And guess what. A lot of add-ons such as red dots and compensators that used to be reserved for competition handguns and low powered variable optics on carbines are now finding their way into many peoples’ daily carry holsters or on the duty handguns of local law enforcement and the weapon systems of elite military units.
That brings me to another benefit that competitions are a very good place to test out gear. Even on Army SFOD-A teams we will have our own little competitions any time we want to try a new piece of gear or weapon system to verify its capabilities. We like to deem these as, ‘gear shakeout competitions.’ A lot of accessories that I have used during my military career have made it onto my home defense/competition carbines. Through low-light competitions I have found better ways to attach my flashlight and more efficient ways to access my pressure pads for lights and lasers. Competing with my bolt action has taught me more efficient ways to carry and load rounds when in a hurry. All these skills translate into real world benefits.

Gear shakeout competition.
Many people don’t have a local range or backyard where they can shoot while moving or just move in general. This is where a lot of competitions shine. It gets you moving. It also gets you thinking on efficiencies. Anyone that knows me knows that I am all about efficiency in all aspects of my life. Add all that together with having to fire rounds faster than the one per second you’re allowed at the local range and there is no way you can’t take something positive away if you try.
There are many, many benefits to all disciplines of competition shooting. However, you do have to keep in mind the differences between competition and real life. Always try to be moving or finding cover. Don’t drop magazines with bullets still in them. (You never know when you wish you would have held onto those four extra rounds.) Don’t be used to having a speed draw holster or your rifle at the ready. Remember these differences and take away the positives. Even in life, bad situations can bring about positives if looked at correctly.
Those are just my thoughts on competing with firearms. Competitions are not the be all end all. I still recommend attending firearms courses with vetted instructors when possible but competitions are a good way to help maintain your proficiency. They are also a great place to get out and meet people with similar interests. If you have never done one and are nervous to try. Just go. Most competitors will even let you borrow guns and equipment if you don’t have enough or the right stuff. I’ve seen shooters lend out gear just to be beaten by the guy that borrowed it. It is a great community and if you have questions this is the place to be. Identify yourself as a new shooter and everyone will help you out any way they can. If you already compete, keep on doing what you’re doing and maybe even look into different competitions. The only way to increase your abilities is to get outside your comfort zone and push yourself. Now go have fun and learn some potentially lifesaving skills in the process.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Memorial Monday

Pudge writes:

I'm not the most eloquent so I will merely say, thank you, to all those that have laid down their lives for the rest of us. Many of us here gave Uncle Sam a signed, blank check knowing what it may cost, and some have had to pay it in full. To some, this is just another weekend to party. To others, it is a day that we hope people can stop for a moment and see how much freedom costs.

For me, I'm going to fire up the grill, grab some good beer, and celebrate. I'm not going to mourn the loss of my good friends. No, I'm going to celebrate the lives they led, the lives they touched, and the memories made together. That is the best way I know how to honor my brothers and sisters. I'm going to try and carry on the light they brought to this world and make sure it is never extinguished. I'll raise a glass for all of you until we meet again. Thank you and well done my friends.

Mack writes:

There are beers to drink and dead animals to throw over fire. I'm banging this out right before we head off to a day of drunken shenanigans. I've found that it is best for me not to dwell or be somber on Memorial Day. I start thinking about how Jack I can drink in one sitting.

Honor the fallen however you choose. It's what the died for. Cause we are the greatest country on Earth.

My good friend Danny would be piss drunk at the lake right now. Danny was my turret gunner. I miss him everyday.

So, tonight I'll drink a beer (or eight) for him. And picture him in a folding camping chair next to the fire.

He'd like that.

I know when Cart showed up at Fiddler's Green that Danny was there. And he was happy to see "Mister Cart" as well.

I know in our circle of readership just about everyone has a friend that fell for the flag.

So, go honor them however you choose.

Thanks for stopping buy.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Film Friday - The Highwaymen

Today we review another Netflix offering. "The Highwaymen" concerning the hunt for a couple of worthless outlaws by Frank Hamer and Maney Gault. For more information about Frank Hamer, whom was one of the better gun fighters in the early part of the 20th century, I recommend reading "Texas Ranger" by John Boessenecker. A great read.

Pudge writes:

86 years ago tomorrow, a ruthless killing/crime spree carried out by a daring duo was ended by a couple
of old Texas Rangers. I love history and I really like historic type movies when they get it right…. or
mostly. Today we are going to discuss ‘The Highwaymen.’ It is about Frank Hamer and Maney Gault
chasing after the notorious Bonnie and Clyde and the ultimate demise of the wannabe gangsters.

There were some fairly obvious inflations to the story for dramatic effect. However, even most
historians agree that the overall details are correct. The biggest one showing Bonnie and Clyde in a non-
heroic view. Many films on this subject and some retellings of the story paint the criminals as modern-
day Robin Hoods and make the law look inept. (Not that they always need help with that.) This one
however, showed how bad Bonnie and Clyde were and they were not to be romanticized.

Again, some of the details about Hamer and Gault were inflated. But both of them truly did have fierce
reputations as lawmen not to be trifled with. And I don’t mind the way both men were portrayed by
Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson.

Now on to the important reason we wanted to talk about it. Mack and I were messaging each other and
it started with Mack attempting to make fun of the best creation given to man, the 1911. And this got us
going down the rabbit hole of what we would have carried as a lawman in the 1930s. Which brought up
the Colt Monitor. This gun is an awesome variation of the M1918 BAR. After much discussion of the guns
we would have carried we thought about their roles in history which lead us to ‘The Highwaymen.’ I
really enjoyed this movie because there is something about a couple of old Texas Rangers still carrying
their six-shooters chasing after modern outlaws that appealed to me.

I also don’t know how many times
I bugged my wife about how I wish I could just walk into the local hardware store and walk out with the
firearms that Hamer did early in the movie. And since I’m very partial to my 30-30 I especially loved that
when Hamer bought his assortment of guns he added in a Winchester ‘94 in 30-30 just to make sure he
had a reliable rifle that wouldn’t jam.

Mack writes:

I like Kevin Costner. I like westerns. I like some (most) old guns. The other day I was attempting to show Pudge the error of his ways and bring him into the 21st century in regards to combat handguns. Which some how led us to discussing what a well to do lawman of the early 1930s would carry. For the record, the correct answer to that question is: Remington Model 8 in .35 Remington, Winchester '97 in 12 GA, and a S&W Heavy Duty in .38/44 High Velocity.

Anyway, on to the movie. I thoroughly enjoyed it. And Jackie did as well. It is well paced but doesn't feel like an action film. Kind of has a melancholy vibe to it.

And I can't overstate how much I enjoy the fact that it makes Hamer out to be the hero that he rightfully was.

Frank Hamer was partial to a Colt Single Action that he called "Old Lucky" and was also a fan of the Colt Government Model in Super .38 Automatic. Now, the .38 Super is what John Browning said the 1911 Government Model ought to have been chambered in.

Another thing I thoroughly enjoyed in said movie was the fact that it shows the FBI to be, well, incompetent.

If you deep dive into the guys that really brought down the infamous gangsters, they were old timey lawmen. Even if they wore a Justice Department badge. Hoover was an idiot. And well, that seems to still be the case for the Federal Bureau of Idiots.

And a minor quibble, in 1934 the Winchester '94 would have been referred to as being chambered in "thirty w-c-f" and Frank Hamer loved him some BAR. No worries about the reliability of Browning's second best design.

Six out Six Long Necks. Thanks for stopping buy.

Tuesday Tips

Marking Mags- By Pudge Mack and I were talking the other day about different AR style magazines and which ones we like/prefer. This then...