Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Gun Misconceptions

Every time there is a mass shooting it seems to set off gun ignorance throughout the media. The media’s ignorance about guns is compounded in the general public.
The other day I had a relative, who’s husband has hunted his entire life, she who owns a defense gun and is licensed to carry, says to me about the AR-15, “We have to do something about these fast guns.”
The highest velocity data out there gives the velocity of a .223 factory loaded bullet under certain loads as 2750-4000 feet per second. I don’t think “slowing” down the bullet would help. I don’t think she meant “fast”…
I guess she meant automatic weapons which have been used in active shooter events in this country…like never. Maybe with Bonnie and Clyde.
This is someone who watches a lot of TV. And THAT is her problem. There is very little you can learn about guns from the news media or from Hollywood. There are some knowledgeable writers out there, but my guess is there is probably 1 in 1000 reporters that have real gun knowledge and less with experience.
I am pro-gun. But I don’t believe that someone who is not sure about guns or someone who does not agree with my opinion can have an intelligent discussion with me about guns without some knowledge. I’m not saying they need to be instructors or gunsmiths, or even “gun guys.” But how can I have an intelligent discussion about something I just have no experience with and even less knowledge about?
Don’t get your knowledge from someone ignorant of the subject. Don’t get it from polls or surveys, or statistics. I don’t want to sound a like a gun snob, but I would not discuss sewing with my wife, who is an exceptional seamstress, without having a little knowledge of what I’m talking about. I’d look like an idiot. When it comes to sewing I really AM an idiot.
This is what anti-gun people and the media look like when they try to give an intelligent argument for gun control and have no idea what they are talking about!
A while ago I had a co-worker of mine come to me completely frustrated. He had some gun training and carried a gun legally. His wife was so against guns, especially guns in their home, that this issue was affecting their marriage. He was frustrated and really wanted guns to not break up his marriage. He was going to sell his guns and forget about them rather than put his marriage in jeopardy. I told him I admired his devotion to his wife and his willingness to get rid of something important to him just to please his wife and have it not be an issue in his marriage. He was willing to sacrifice. That is commendable.
I told him to find time for me to give him and his wife a class. I started by not having a gun on the table. We sat down and I basically told them their story as I understood it. They agreed with my assessment of their situation. I then asked his wife what problems she had with guns.
The following is the misconceptions she had about guns, and what many people believe to be true about guns. This is because many people believe what the news tells them, even if the news is dead wrong. I don’t know why reporters and editors/producers are so OK with that type of integrity, but they seem to be.
Misconception #1: Guns are not safe.
This is a very general statement. When I asked what exactly she meant, she said guns kill or hurt people. I asked her if she had a power tool in her shed or a sharp knife in her kitchen. Of course everyone has these things. Having a gun is just as dangerous as everyday household items. Is it more dangerous to let a child play with a gun, or a knife? Both are equally dangerous in the wrong hands. Yet we don’t lock up our knives, power tools, or stoves even though our children can be hurt by them. I’m not suggesting not securing guns, I’m just suggesting that if you give kids proper training, and take away the taboo mystery of guns your kids will react the same as they do with other dangerous things in your house.
I have taught each of my kids, at an appropriate age, gun safety and gun handling. I did it often enough to where it was ingrained into them. I used to test them. I would get a new gun, one they had never seen before, and place it before them and tell them to make it safe. They would pick it up according to the safety rules and clear the weapon. They could do it almost every time. Once I had my son not be able to open a guns action to see the chamber because the safety wouldn’t let you open the breech without being off safe. But that is just knowledge of the gun. Once you know gun operation, it all has to do with the safety rules and handling.
I told this good wife that if we follow safety rules, every time a gun is handled, it will be safe.
I went over the rules with her and had her repeat some of them to me. Then I brought out a revolver. I showed her the basic operation of the gun and then told her to think of the rules, pick up the gun and ensure that it is safe. This she did. I then told her that guns don’t just “go off”. They are incorrectly handled and go off negligently. People are unsafe and dangerous, not the inanimate object.
There are no “accidental” discharges. There are, however, negligent discharges. Gun safety rules followed 100% of the time reduce negligent discharges to 0%.
Modern guns don’t “go off”. Without the trigger being touched, you can play hockey with a loaded gun and not worry. (Not a recommendation. That’s no way to treat a gun!)
Misconception #2: Automatic and Semi-automatic are the same.
An automatic weapon only needs to be loaded and then the trigger pressed for it to empty the magazine. A semi-automatic requires one trigger pull per round to shoot.
Automatic weapons are already heavily restricted. They are not used by very many criminals because they are not easy to come by. The average gun owner would not be able to afford an automatic. Not only that, an automatic goes through ammunition quickly. That can be expensive. Military weapons can be semi or fully automatic. Contrary to Hollywood and TV spraying bullets doesn’t do much but keep the enemies heads down. It’s very hard to control an automatic weapon and even harder to actually hit your intended target. Controlled fire is shooting that has a specific target. You can expend your ammunition with an automatic pretty quick. (700 to 970 rounds per minute for the M4A1)
Not too many people own, or shoot an automatic for the above reasons. The average gun owner is not licensed to buy an automatic and the average gun store isn’t licensed to sell them. They are very uncommon even in criminals and terrorists.
Misconception #3: Law enforcement are gun experts.
I asked my friend’s wife why she thought she trusted police with a gun. She said “Because they are the experts”.
Now I don’t want to be misunderstood. I like law enforcement (LE). I think this country has the best LE. I’ve shot with many from the LE community and many of them are excellent with a gun. Those that are serious about their shooting are usually good. It’s a low percentage of LE.
New York City police statistics show that simply hitting a target, let alone hitting it in a specific spot, is a difficult challenge. In 2006, in cases where police officers intentionally fired a gun at a person, they discharged 364 bullets and hit their target 103 times, for a hit rate of 28.3 percent, according to the department’s Firearms Discharge Report. They killed 13 people that year.

In 2005, officers fired 472 times in the same circumstances, hitting their mark 82 times, for a 17.4 percent hit rate. They shot and killed 9 people that year.

In all shootings — including those against people, animals and in suicides and other situations — New York City officers achieved a 34 percent accuracy rate (182 out of 540), and a 43 percent accuracy rate when the target ranged from zero to six feet away. Nearly half the shots they fired that year were within that distance.
Those that want to be good shooters usually do become good. But like anyone else, being good requires many hours and many rounds. Unfortunately, police budget constraints make this type of training unfeasible for most departments.
Misconception #4: Popular terms are not really correct terms.
The evil black gun, an AR-15, is really not evil. The AR in AR-15 does not stand for assault rifle. It stands for Armalite, the company that developed the shooting platform in the 50’s. Colt bought the trademark rights to the AR-10 and AR-15 in 1959. The term “AR-15” often is used to describe just about any type of conventional M4 or M-16 looking variant rifle. (M4’s and M-16’s are fully automatic)
A clip holds bullets and feeds them into a magazine. A magazine feeds bullets into the gun. There are a few exceptions to this. When they are interchanged you know you are dealing with someone who doesn’t know guns. It’s really not a big deal. But when someone uses correct terminology then I know that I’m dealing with someone with some knowledge.
Misconception #5: High capacity magazines kill too many people!
First, who decides what the definition of “high capacity” is? Law makers? Gun experts? The public? It seems that the media and lawmakers have come to a conclusion that over 10 rounds is too much.
After Columbine Colorado made laws that closed the “gunshow loophole”. I’m not quite sure what the gun show loophole is, but they tried to stop future mass shootings like Columbine. Never mind that those two clowns had 47 minutes unopposed in the Columbine school. Who needs large magazines when you have 47 minutes! Columbine did change how LE reacts to active shooters, which is good. The Colorado kneejerk laws didn’t seem to stop the Aurora shootings.
With very little practice you can change a magazine in about 4 seconds. That is relatively slow. I don’t know if that amount of time would make that much difference in an active shooter situation. If anyone has seen the 50’s-60’s series “The Rifleman” they would learn that a lever action rifle can fire rapidly. It holds 15 rounds and is tube fed. Limiting magazines to 10 rounds causes the active shooter to change magazines more often. It does nothing. I used to compete in crazy competitions when I was in the military. We did a shoot-off that we called “Bolt Thunder” every year. We would compete for time with bolt action rifles. It was very fun and a good challenge. It got to a point that our bolt action weapons were as fast as a semi-automatic. Tube fed, and lever action is as fast as any semi-automatic. It’s the reloading that takes a little longer.
I don’t know why educated, seemingly honest people would just believe the lies of the anti-gun and the ignorance of the media. But they do. I like the quote from a gun advocate:
“I’m not trying to convert you; I’m trying to educate you. If you’re going to be anti-gun after the fact, so be it, but do it with the requisite facts.” Colion Noir
Most Americans are not really anti-gun. Most have shot a gun or own one. They are not necessarily “gun guys”, but they are not anti either. Getting the correct information is essential.
I am a gun advocate. I think guns are an important part of our heritage. But I don’t fight with anti-gun people. What I try and do is educate people. Most of the time if someone is educated in gun truth, they won’t be anti-gun.
Semper Paratus
Check 6

Overwatch: September Drill Of The Month


Weak Hand Shooting
Both police and high-speed military operators have reported in a Close quarters combat (CQB) scenario where they were fighting for their lives that they resorted to what they do fastest and best, which was strong side shooting. It's human nature when the enemy is upon you. But shooting with the weak hand is something we also need to consider and teach, as injury may necessitate weak hand/side shooting.
In the old West, ammunition was not to be wasted, and young gunfighters would spend hours practicing drawing and dry firing. Today there are many types of lasers and bore lights to show us where our guns are pointed. We can use these tools in dry fire drills until we validate our confidence with live ammunition. Most criminals don't practice. Studies show their successful hit rate is about 10%. Law enforcement officers need to qualify about four times a year. Their successful hit rate is about 20%. One study indicated that of all the felons that are shot each year, only one out of five is shot by law enforcement. Guess who shoots the rest?
This drill focuses on weapon manipulations and technique. It can be practiced with limited ammunition. Most weak side shooting drills are static—they're limited to the standing position from a designated distance.
Have your student shoot from the weak side in various shooting positions, including standing, kneeling, or prone. Try various non-traditional positions. Use a four-step barricade to facilitate unorthodox positions.
Instruct students to use their weak hand to change and load magazines. Work on clearing weapon malfunctions by using dummy rounds. Have students practice transitioning from rifle to handgun too.
Once the shooters have done these tasks from static positions, instruct them to do them while on the move. Don't burn a lot of ammo.

See “Overwatch: Drill of the Month” page

Scenario Of The Month For September

September Scenario - Suspicious Men Around Your House

You are in your driveway washing your car in the afternoon and you happen to look up and see two young men dressed in black with rifles in their hands and they are headed your way. These armed men are only 60 feet away so you have little time to make a decision about how to handle this potentially very dangerous situation.

You are alone but armed. There are no children or neighbors around.

What do you do?

Check out the "Scenario Of The Month" Page for scenarios and possible solutions. Comment with your solution.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Managing Recoil During Self-Defense

I’m not big on stance when it comes to shooting. I used to be. In shooting competition, you are usually concerned about how you present to the target and how you are standing. I no longer stress over that. I will probably be doing most of what is recommended, but if you shoot from your knees, or laying down, or from around cover there is not much room for worrying about much but maybe your grip, trigger press, and hopefully aim.
But if you are to handle recoil like a pro, there are certain things you can do. Here they are.
A proper grip aids in controlling recoil. It also allows the shooter to obtain a second sight picture more rapidly. Hands must have a 360-degree grip around the weapon. This allows the shooter to engage more rapidly.
Ideally, the weapon should be placed in the hand so a straight line is formed with the barrel of the weapon and the forearm. The webbing of the hand should be fully under the tang of the back-strap. The weapon must initially be gripped with sufficient force to cause shaking and then gradually released until the shaking stops. The support hand applies pressure in exactly the same fashion. The idea behind the two hand grip is to completely encircle the grip of the gun in order to be in control of recoil. The support hand thumb will be on the same side of the gun as the weapon hand thumb.
The grip must be consistent for each shot because a good grip enhances accuracy.
Grip high on the back strap.
Finger must reach the trigger.
High grip will reduce muzzle rise and lends to faster recoil recovery.
Grip should be just as firm as a handshake, no firmer.
Weak side fingers should be wrapped around the strong hand.
Wrists should be close together.
Supporting hand heel should be in contact with the weapon grip.
Thumbs should rest one on top of the other.
Fingers over fingers—thumb over thumb.
Grip is acquired in the holster, prior to draw and presentation. The web of the shooting hand must be in the top of tang on the back-strap and no higher. If you are too high the slide will bite your hand. If you are too low with your grip you allow the gun to move more with recoil making sight recovery and follow-on shots more difficult and time-consuming.
A key point is to have both thumbs pointing at the target. The heel of your non-shooting hand should cover the area on the grip that is exposed.
This is a “perfect world” grip. In a self-defense situation you may not be able to do all these things. But if you practice them, your hands will listen to muscle memory and go where they need to be. I would recommend shooting some one-handed. That may be your only option if your other hand is incapacitated or busy. As you practice the above, eventually you will not need to think about these steps, you’ll just do them.
Trigger Control
In either double action or single action mode, trigger control is defined as steady pressure exerted on the trigger straight to the rear to release the hammer and fire the weapon and immediately allowing the trigger to return, so the weapon can be fired again. Descriptive term here is a press and not a squeeze. The trigger finger continually maintains contact with the trigger.
When pressing the trigger, the shooter should use the tip of the index finger. I like in front of the first knuckle, but not exactly centered on the tip. This should be accomplished by utilizing a smooth movement isolating the trigger finger only. All other fingers must remain still during the trigger press. Another important part of trigger control is trigger reset. Once the trigger has been fired, slowly release pressure on the trigger until an audible click is heard and felt. At this point, the shooter need not release any more pressure on the trigger to fire again. This maintains a proper sight alignment and sight picture more easily.
Trigger Manipulation
Speed at which the trigger is pulled —a single gear, one smooth continuous motion at a single speed… not increasing as you apply pressure.
Motion in which the trigger is pulled—a smooth continuous motion, not a jerk, not a little at the time.
Always remember that you press or pull a trigger; you never squeeze or jerk the trigger.
The finger is placed so that the trigger is halfway between the tip of the finger and the first joint. “The trigger is pressed straight to the rear in a smooth continuous manner without disturbing sight alignment.” You should not be able to predict the instant the gun will fire. Each shot should come as a surprise. Note the trigger finger continually maintains contact with the trigger.
To begin proper trigger control, the shooter must first properly place the index finger on the trigger. The index finger is placed in the middle of the trigger at the most rearward curved portion, to apply pressure to the trigger. The trigger should cross the finger approximately halfway between the tip of the finger and the first joint, over the swirl of the fingerprint.
Trigger Press
After attaining proper placement of the finger on the trigger, proper trigger pressure can be applied to the trigger. There are three parts of trigger pressure each time the weapon is fired. They are slack, press, and follow through.
All three parts are important to proper trigger control.
1. Slack—The shooter must first take up the slack at the beginning of the trigger movement by applying slight pressure to the trigger. The trigger will move slightly to the rear until the internal parts of the trigger mechanism come into full contact with each other, and the “softness” in the tip of the finger is eliminated.
2. Press—The trigger is then in the press portion of its movement, which is when the internal parts of the weapon are being disengaged from each other to allow the hammer to fall. The pressure should be a smooth, constant, and even pressure, applied straight to the rear so that the sights are not misaligned at the instant the hammer falls. Once the hammer begins to fall, the follow through portion of trigger control begins.
3. Follow Through—Follow through is the continued steady pressure applied to the trigger until the trigger reaches its most rearward point of travel. If the shooter does not continue to apply the constant, even pressure during follow through, it is possible that the impact of the round could move on the target, thus spoiling an otherwise good shot.
This is a textbook description of these actions. In combat, or self-defense, you rarely get an opportunity for textbook form, but like grip and aim, practicing over and over will make doing it right become part of you. Practice does not make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect. Do it right and continue doing it right and you will manage recoil and hit what you’re aiming at.

Semper Paratus
Check 6

Why Do You Need An AR-15?: Knowledge Over Hype

“Why do you need an AR-15?” I got asked that question from someone who has no knowledge of guns. I know that we are all ignorant, just on different subjects. But when someone usually asks that question, they are not really curious, but usually combative. And usually my combative answer is “Because I’m not licensed for an M16!” My fun answer is "AR15s are like LEGOs for grownups."
I told them that I spent some time in the military. But the AR was not the first rifle I shot or learned about. The first rifle I shot was a Ruger 10-22. I shot it for fun, for sport. My first hunting experience was with rabbits on my Uncles ranch. That year he was raising cucumbers and the rabbits were thick. So we “culled “ the herd and ate the rabbits. I can tell you right now that I was grateful for a full capacity magazine. If you’ve ever shot a .22 rifle for fun or varmints you know that loading magazines takes time. Time I’d rather be shooting!
As most people with gun knowledge know AR stands for Armalite, the first maker of that platform of gun. It doesn’t stand for assault rifle as many think. The first AR I ever shot was a select fire (fully automatic) Colt (Armalite sold the design to Colt) M16A2 (I always liked the fast 1:7 twist in the barrel). It is a military battlefield weapon. The civilian AR15 was also first made by Colt in the semi-automatic version in 1964.
The AR-15 is the most effective weapon I can take into a fight by myself. I don’t want a fight, but if I was in one I would want every advantage. When someone asks the why need an AR-15 question I know at least one thing about them, they have never had to fight for their lives.
I will repeat a story that I will probably use over and over. It is a perfect illustration of why more fire power may be necessary.
Masaad Ayoob has been a weapons instructor since the 1970’s. He has written several books and articles and is considered a gun expert. Check out this article:
I think it’s interesting that some politicians and others believe I shouldn’t have more than 10 rounds but the police, who they think are highly trained and skilled in arms, should have double that number. Some Law Enforcement (LE) are very skilled at arms and some just do what they have to do to qualify and have a job! Not only that, if the need for more rounds is just simply not needed then why don’t LE still have .357’s? LE should have everything and anything that will be a force multiplier to ensure that they go home every night. That is why they carry auto-loaders.
There is an officer in Skokie, Illinois north of Chicago, population 65,000, who had an experience that changed his “load out” from 47 rounds to 145 everyday.
The story he tells to Police goes:
“I didn’t have time to think of backing up or even ramming him,” Gramins said. “I see the gun and I engage.”
Gramins fired back through his windshield, sending a total of 13 rounds tearing through just three holes.
A master firearms instructor and a sniper on his department’s Tactical Intervention Unit, “I was confident at least some of them were hitting him, but he wasn’t even close to slowing down,” Gramins said.
The gunman shot his pistol dry trying to hit Gramins with rounds through his driver-side window, but except for spraying the officer’s face with glass, he narrowly missed and headed back to his car.
Gramins, also empty, escaped his squad car — “a coffin,” he calls it — and reloaded on his run to cover behind the passenger-side rear of the Bonneville.
Now the robber, a lanky six-footer, was back in the fight with a .380 Bersa pistol he’d grabbed off his front seat. Rounds flew between the two as the gunman dashed toward the squad car.
Again, Gramins shot dry and reloaded.
“I thought I was hitting him, but with shots going through his clothing it was hard to tell for sure. This much was certain: he kept moving and kept shooting, trying his damnedest to kill me.”
In this free-for-all, the assailant had, in fact, been struck 14 times. Any one of six of these wounds — in the heart, right lung, left lung, liver, diaphragm, and right kidney — could have produced fatal consequences…“in time,” Gramins emphasizes.
But time for Gramins, like the stack of bullets in his third magazine, was fast running out.
When the suspect bent down to peer under the car, Gramins carefully established a sight picture, and squeezed off three controlled bursts in rapid succession.
The whole shootout had lasted 56 seconds, Gramins said. The assailant had fired 21 rounds from his two handguns. Inexplicably — but fortunately — he had not attempted to employ an SKS semi-automatic rifle that was lying on his front seat ready to go.
Gramins had discharged 33 rounds. Four remained in his magazine.”
Would this ever happen to you?
“3 Armed Men Wanted In Connection With Home Invasion Robbery In Sherman Oaks”
July 27, 2016 in California? Apparently these 3 men didn’t know about the toughest gun laws in the nation in California…
“Two men face several charges after armed home invasion”
June 14, 2016 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Also with tougher gun laws than the U.S.
“Man shot in early morning home invasion in Oak Park”
June 28, 2016 in Chicago with some of the toughest laws in the nation.
I chose these 3 stories randomly in a Google search. I did not look for home invasions in areas where gun laws are considered strict, that’s just the way it ended up. This article is not really about gun laws, although laws are an undertone here.
These articles and many others are reason enough for me to want as much advantage as I can over these parasites. Talk to someone who has been in a firefight. Ask them what they think about 10 rounds over 30 rounds.
Why shouldn’t I have the same advantage as a LE officer? I’m as well trained as they are and in many cases, better trained. I’ve instructed LE and military yet there are those who think I should not have an AR. Basically, what it comes down to, those who would take away these so called “assault weapons” from civilians know little or nothing about guns or gun fighting. They cannot envision themselves in a fight for their life. They think “This will never happen to me.”
To them I give them a quote from Colion Noir, a gun rights advocate:
“I’m not trying to convert you; I’m trying to educate you. If you’re going to be anti-gun after the fact, so be it, but do it with the requisite facts.”
Too many give an emotional response after a Sandy Hook or an Aurora incident. These incidents are horrible and tragic, but out lawing criminal’s guns is already on the books. Burglary, robbery, and murder are already against the law. I can see these home invaders discussing their future crime, “Should I buy this $900 AR or this $200 handgun? AR’s are illegal, I guess it’s the handgun then.” It doesn’t matter if it’s a legal purchase at a gun dealer, a gun show, or an illegal acquisition, an AR-15 would not be on the list.
Of the actual 8,583 gun murders committed in 2011, 323 were committed with “rifles.” And that’s all rifles, including bolt action, deer hunting rifles and all the rest. The number committed with so called “assault rifles” were a fraction of that. When you ask how dangerous those rifles are, compare that to nearly 1,700 who were stabbed as well as nearly 500 murdered with blunt objects and more than 700 beaten to death by somebody with their bare hands.
This is data from the FBI report on crime in the United States.
Don’t tell me I don’t need an AR because they are too wild and dangerous or military. That is simply not true. Don’t tell me I don’t need 30 rounds because I may. You don’t know and you certainly don’t have the experience to show me different. As usual, political rhetoric and media lying has influenced this country. ("If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” Joseph Goebbels, Nazi propaganda Chief.) But the internet has changed some of that. The rest of Goebbels quote is: “The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie.” In other words a lie can perpetuated as long as the truth is hidden.
What I give you here is the truth. Some may say it’s only “My” truth. It is not. Truth is truth and is not subject to interpretation. As Mr Noir said in the above quote, get educated with the truth. I saw an interview with our Vice-President Joe Biden. Someone asked about a gun for self-defense. He said you don’t need an AR-15 or 30 rounds. This is coming from someone who never served in the military. He has been a Senator since he was 29 and a lawyer before that. I don’t really know, but I think his gun experience is little to none. I don’t know how he could dole out authoritative advice on a subject he knows nothing about. That’s the way most ant-gun people operate. Most are not interested in the truth, but only in their agenda.
I hope you will perpetuate truth and education. The more people that are educated with facts, the safer we will all be.
See blogs:
How comfortable is your ammo load-out? (How much ammo do you carry?) Mar 21, 2014
Load Out: How Much Ammo Should You Carry? Mar 4, 2016
Semper Paratus
Check 6

Monday, August 29, 2016

How To Improve Shooting

I was at the range the other day….. what a surprise! I was listening to a couple of young guys and they were discussing each other’s handgun shooting. One was shooting consistently yet he was low and to the left. He was positive his sights were on target. They were going back and forth and teasing each other as guys do. They were at a loss as to what the problem was and really had no idea how correct it.
I looked over at them and said “Flinch.” They had a weird look on their faces and I said again, “You’re flinching.”
They walked over and I explained this common occurrence. This type of thing can even happen to a seasoned shooter.
Back in the 70’s the singer Cary Simon had a song titled “Anticipation”. That’s the song I sing when I talk about this shooting mistake. If you are a right handed shooter and you are consistently shooting left and low (lefties will shoot right and low) you are probably anticipating, or flinching. The cause is the shooter anticipating the noise and motion of recoil just before it happens. A related problem, what can be called “attacking” the trigger, or pressing it too hard and fast, is often the cause of shots going low—though sometimes your grip is too tight.
There are several ideas to fix this. Here are a few.
Dry fire with an empty case balancing on the sight or barrel. Be sure the firearm is unloaded and the slide is closed. Get in position to shoot, sights on target, safety off. Have a buddy balance a spent shell casing on top of your front sight. Press the trigger until it clicks, such that the casing stays put. If your sight is slanted and won’t balance the case, put it as far forward on the slide as you can. It’s not quite as effective, but if you’re a major masher, this will still be a challenge.
A dime works, but not quite as well, for this drill if you’re practicing at home. Of course, you’ll need to reset your slide between every trigger press.
The ball and dummy drill.
Invest in a snap cap or two, available at most shooting supply stores. Snap caps are dummy rounds made for dry firing. Plain plastic dummy rounds, with no metal “primer” in the base, are okay for occasional practice but watch for deterioration and always inspect the barrel after using them.
Load up, or better yet have a buddy load up, a magazine that alternates real and dummy rounds at intervals you aren’t aware of. Load up and start shooting. The idea here is that, especially for people who don’t understand what they’re doing when they anticipate, that closing of eyes, clenching of jaw, and slight lurch forward suddenly isn’t rewarded with recoil. For shooters willing and able to connect the dots between dummy and real firing, they’ll self-adjust to maintaining stance during the shot.
This drill does involve knowing how to clear malfunctions, and as such is free practice for that as well.
Leaning into the gun, or forward slightly, helps you to control recoil. As larger calibers are used the more need leaning in is. Leaning back puts you off balance and the gun controls you. In self-defense you may not be able to have a perfect stance, but you never know. It’s good to practice for the instance when you may. I think leaning into the gun helps in you looking like you know what you’re doing and that you’re serious. This may actually make a difference.
The way you draw or pick up a handgun shows what kind of recoil control you will have. Grip is managing recoil.
As you pick up a semi-auto pistol keep the web of your firing hand as high as safely possible into the back strap of the gun. Be careful that no part of your hand is over the “ear” or the part that sticks out to protect your hand from the slide going rearward. Closing the fingers of your non-firing hand around your other hand, be sure that you feel direct contact with the trigger guard above your index finger. Keeping your fingers next to one another, not spread out, nestle the bottom joint of your support-hand thumb into the cradle created by the bottom joint of your firing thumb. When done correctly, the thumbs will both point in the direction of the target and be nested together like spoons. Don’t stack the heels of your hands on one another; the support hand’s heel will be in front of that of the firing hand. You want as little of the gun’s grip exposed as possible.
Some people like to hook the index finger of the support hand around the front of the trigger guard. It’s not a fatal flaw, but it will induce uneven lateral pressure on the muzzle. In other words, it makes you less accurate, especially as distance increases.

These are only a few of the common mistakes that are made. They are also ways to improve your shooting. You may do one or all of these or even part of some of these. Re-evaluate how you shoot. In fact, if you can, do a video of yourself shooting, you will learn a lot.
Shooting accurately or just correcting problems is not hard. But you must know you have a problem before you can address it. Seek out good instruction and as always, practice, practice, practice!
Semper Paratus
Check 6

Thursday, August 25, 2016

AR Build Tips

When I was a kid I liked to build models. The more parts and detail the better. I had models of cars, planes, spacecraft, and even an aircraft carrier. I loved to build with my Toggel set, my Lincoln log set, and an erector set. You’d think I’d be an engineer but that doesn’t interest me. Naturally I built an AR-15. In 1955 when Eugene Stoner first built an infantry rifle for the Army, I’m sure he did not envision that his gun would be the most prolific civilian sporting rifle in modern firearm history.
The design is a natural for being customized. With so many manufacturers of parts and accessories, it is so easy to build a one-of-a-kind firearm. Remember "AR15s are like LEGOs for grownups."
Here are some tips for your first rebuild.
First, why are you building the gun? What will it be used for? Competition? Plinking? Self-defense? Will it be multi-purpose? Making these decisions will help you to start your first step.
Next pick a realistic budget. You can build a good quality AR for little money or you can get very detailed and spend $2,000! Once you decide your budget keep to it as best you can. Your first gun should be what you want, but you shouldn’t wonder how you will pay for it while you’re building it. Beside the parts specialty tools should be considered in your budget.
“The right tool for the right job” is a saying that is worth minding when building AR’s. Along with standard tooling such as brass punches and hammers, a bench vise and a torque wrench, you’ll need AR specific tools and equipment including a takedown wrench and receiver action blocks. A clutter free work area with a gun maintenance mat is highly recommended. Keeping the work area floor space clean will prevent long stoppages in the build process as you search for a single spring that rolled off the bench.
Experimenting with uncommon parts from specialty manufacturers should be kept to a minimum in your first build. Save that for your fifth gun.
Consider buying only “Mil-Spec” parts from a reputable retailer. Mil-Spec designated parts are in compliance with the dimensional and material requirements of the military, ensuring compatibility across manufacturers. Avoid custom variations; these parts might need extra fine tuning for proper fitting.
On your first build don’t go nuts. The aftermarket parts and accessories are very tempting. There are some parts that are works of art. You can also have lasers, flashlights, optics, tripods, and grips hanging off your gun. Remember not only your budget, but the role you want for your rifle.
Another thing to consider is how important accuracy is. AR15s vary in accuracy by quite a bit. They can range anywhere from ¼ MOA to 3 MOA. A lot of the accuracy obviously has a lot to do with the barrel you choose. A barrel does not have to cost $500.00 to be a good, accurate barrel. You can achieve a sub 1 MOA with a mid range cost barrel. And contrary to popular belief, a longer barrel is not a whole lot more accurate than a shorter barrel in most cases. What you may gain in accuracy will be lost in mobility and weight.
When thinking about how accurate you weapon needs to be, remember again the role of the weapon.
Reliable feed is another area that needs to be addressed. There are a lot of low cost lower receivers on the market that are very good. There are a few that are only good for paper weights. A good lower should either be forged or billet. Never use a cast lower receiver. They can be unreliable and weak. Polymer is a good alternative. You can get an 80% lower, which you would have to finish (they send the jig and tools) or build from scratch.
Remember, you can always build another one!
When I built my first AR it was in a fully stocked armorers shop. He had machine shop tools and everything a gunsmith would want or need. It was sooooo easy. It was not reality. Be careful that you don’t get sucked into a build. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with it, on the contrary, I encourage building guns! Just don’t get in over your head. Building rifles is a hobby within a hobby. It can take a lot of your money and a load of your time. Be sure you’re in a position to do this. On the other hand, if are ready for it, it is a rewarding and money saving project if done right. Start off slow, ask a lot of questions from people who know, watch You tube, and check out websites… like this one.
Semper Paratus
Check 6

Getting Out Of Dodge: Evacuating The City

I grew up in the suburbs of a fairly large city, surrounded by large cities. It was different time and cities were a little safer. I don’t think all cities are unsafe but as usual, there are bad places in cities. Most people that live in cities know the bad places and avoid them successfully. But society can be fragile.
There are some hot buttons that can spark tempers and erupt into serious outrage. The outrage among the people spreads like wildfire and before you know it, you have angry mobs tearing things up and making life dangerous. This year alone have been several riots in Milwaukee, WI, and Baltimore, MD, and Cleveland OH. These are cities that lately have not seen this type of activity. They are not without their crime or problems, but riots?

Generally, the government sends in police and military forces to try and control the uprising, but this typically makes things more dangerous for a while. The rage blinds the people and they can no longer tell the difference between friendly, peaceful people and those who wish to take them down.
If you happen to get caught in a city where social unrest is quickly escalating and it is no longer safe to be in the area, you have to bug out. The danger comes from all sides.
The unruly mobs are a risk as are the military and police who are trying to control the situation. Your life is in danger and you have to get out. Evacuating the city without being noticed is going to be tricky. Getting noticed could be deadly.
The following tips that will help you quietly get out of the city relatively unscathed.

Be Inconspicuous
You need to get out of the city without anybody realizing what you are doing—on either side. It will be important you stay out of sight as much as possible. If you are with a large group of people, it is best to travel in a single file line. The military teaches this. Also consider interval (how far apart each one in line is to each other). This is not as important in a non-combat situation.
Always travel in the wee hours of the morning, between about 2 and 5. This is when it is likely to be the quietest. It also gives you the cover of night.
Stay in the shadows and near buildings. The buildings will provide you with some cover and help conceal you. Wear dark clothing that blends in with the night.
Obviously, being as quiet as possible will be a must. If you have young children, make sure they are well aware of the need to be quiet. Make it a game if that works better.
Never travel during the bewitching hours, which would be anywhere from dark until about 2 in the morning. Looters and rioters are going to take advantage of the cover of darkness too.

Go with the Flow
If you are caught up in a mob or there are large crowds brewing, you can use them as cover. Stay along the fringes of the crowd. Don’t get caught up in the chanting or any other violent actions that may be happening. Keep your head down and avoid making eye contact with the participants if possible. When it is safe to do so, casually step away from the group.
If you are with a group of people, you don’t want to all leave the mob at the same time. A few at a time who casually slink away will be less likely to be noticed. Move to the edge and pretend to tie a shoe or simply hide behind a car or building.
Avoid getting caught between a fence and the mob or a wall of any kind and the mob. You could easily become trapped and even crushed.

Avoid Commercial Areas
When you are planning your route out of the city, do what you can to stick to residential neighborhoods. Looters and rioters are going to be more concentrated in commercial areas where they can loot goods.
Grocery stores are not going to be a top priority in the beginning, but eventually the looting will get there. Electronics stores, the mall, department stores and convenience stores are going to be the most at risk. Avoid those areas and you will likely avoid the majority of the crowds.

Know what buildings are empty and prepare to hide in them if a mob happens to form or make their way down your evacuation route. If you can avoid detection, you will be better off. Keep in mind; police are not going to be a lot of help if they happen to see you skulking about. They don’t know who is a part of the angry mob and who isn’t. They are more likely to attack first and ask questions later.

Avoid Crowded Areas
It only take a few people to start a riot. They will encourage others to stand with them and before you know it, a crowded shopping center or a busy street in the city has become a very dangerous place.
Riots are more likely to break out in areas where there are a lot of people. If you have an idea things are tense, avoid those areas at all costs.

Be Prepared
Because you never know when civil unrest may erupt, you should always be prepared. Have an evacuation plan in place. You don’t want to take the most obvious routes out of the city. You want to stay off the beaten path as much as possible.
Running into others who are fleeing the city could be dangerous. You never know if they share your same moral values and will not harm you or your group.
Part of being prepared means having bug out bags packed and ready to go at a moment’s notice. A bug out bag should contain the supplies and gear you need to get out of the city and into a safe place that will not be effected by the unrest. Have a place in mind where you plan on seeking refuge.
This can be a relative’s home, a retreat or under the open stars in a safe place. Have at least two routes planned out of the city, just in case the first is blocked. You will also want to communicate plans to every member of your family. Have a place to meet up so you can all evacuate together.
When civil unrest begins to brew, that is the time to evacuate the city. Pay attention to what is happening in the city as well as across the country. Often times, riots can be predicted. If you hear or sense something isn’t right, it is time to react. Don’t wait until the city is literally going up in flames before you get out.

Being inconspicuous, as stated above, means not being obvious. I like camouflage but sometimes that sticks out in a city. If you want the best of both worlds have a cover for your camo backpack that is not military looking. Be careful about guns. While around others, especially police and military, keep weapons out of sight. Hide that rifle so it doesn’t look like a rifle.

Knowing when to leave is tricky and a little scary. But even if you jump the gun and leave, things calm down quickly and order is restored, you can come back. You can call in sick for work and school. Leaving doesn’t mean you quit your life and can never go back.

Testing your bug out plan is not a bad idea. Be very careful about carrying guns in times of order unless you are licensed and/or it is legal to open carry. Either way, you may not want to look like the VonTrapp family leaving Austria in “The Sound Of Music”! Maybe just walking your route without bug out bags would at least test your route. Or maybe it would not be odd to look like you are hiking for the day on your chosen route. Either way, practice can show the flaws or areas you may need to improve in your plan.
Semper Paratus
Check 6

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Great .223-5.56 Debate

What’s the difference between civilian round Remington .223 and the military NATO 5.56mm? This is a question that has been asked many times. Sadly, many “facts” out there are not facts at all. There’s a lot of inaccurate information out there.

I’ve taken my information from an article written by Andrew from Lucky Gunner. Here’s the full article.
After reading his article I researched my own to find out if his information went along with mine. By and large our information supports each other though Andrew went into a lot more detail than I have.
His information will be summarized here:

“My findings, and the opinions of many experts in the industry who deal with the topic every day, were not exactly what some might expect. In fact, many of them had already discovered what I am reporting, although my research was conducted independently.

This article is not a recitation of previously existing information. It is quite long and complicated; if you don’t have the time or inclination to read everything, a (bold ) summary may be found at the end of most sections. However, I attempted to write it in a manner which should be easily understood by all – so if you want to read the whole thing, you will come away with a more complete understanding.”

I will reprint his summaries and then comment myself.

“Summary: While .223 Remington chamber dimensions and maximum pressures have been standardized by SAAMI, 5.56mm NATO dimensions and pressures have not. Partially because of this, ammunition pressures are measured differently between the two, and cannot be easily compared. Still, it is generally agreed upon that 5.56mm ammunition may be loaded to higher pressures.”

I believe this to be true in my own experience. In reloading terms we call a higher pressure load as a “hot” load. 5.56 is generally hotter than .223.

“Summary: Velocities and pressures for 5.56 ammunition in a .223 barrel were not significantly higher than the same ammunition in a 5.56 barrel; in fact, they were in between the two 5.56 barrels. This doesn’t mean that your barrel will have the same results, and you should always be aware of pressure signs when holding metal objects containing 50-60,000psi of pressure only a few inches away from your face.”

“Summary: The majority of the experts I consulted over the course of my research did not feel that there was a major difference between .223 and 5.56 chambers in terms of pressure.”

My findings matched his in this area too. I only talked to two gunsmiths that shoot a lot and have extensive gun collections.

“Summary: Hammer forging chambers can help ensure that they are dimensionally correct, but so can a skilled and careful machinist with a reamer.”

“Summary: Buy a well-made rifle with the chamber you want based on your needs, shoot the right ammo in it, and have fun. For most people, especially those not sure of what type of shooting they’ll be doing, a 5.56mm chamber is the best all-around choice. It is my fervent hope that this article has helped you better understand the topic at hand.”

At last…

It is safe to fire a .223 round from most 5.56 mm firearms, but it is not safe to fire 5.56 mm rounds from a .223 firearm. Because these two rounds look very similar and have the same size case, always check the head stamping on your ammunition before loading your firearm just to be safe.
There are all sorts of considerations that go into deciding what caliber of firearm to purchase. Your shooting style, what type of shooting you prefer and many other variables will impact the decision about which caliber is right for you.
Be careful shooting. The act of shooting is dangerous enough, when you throw in various ammo and reloading you add other dangers. Be smart and don’t do stupid things with dangerous things.
Semper Paratus
Check 6

Friday, August 19, 2016

Thyme For Herbs: Basics and Terminology

In this Thyme for Herbs article I am going to go over some terminology that will be needed in gaining knowledge in dealing with herbs. Before I go over some of these terms and preparation, let me give some explanation of how herbs work in your body.
Herbs have many functions in the body. One of their functions is to cleanse the body. The human body has the ability and power within itself to safeguard against invaders and to repair damaged tissues. When we are exposed to invaders that will cause many diseases and illnesses, our body takes charge of the situation by using the built-in immune system. If we are injured or cut, our bodies start immediately to repair the damages. Our bodies will bleed to create a scab that will protect the body from foreign invaders. In time the scab is gone and the body is healed.
Twenty four hours a day the body is working to eliminate and gather waste products. The body is always working at cleansing, healing and rejuvenating the body. Herbs help with these processes instead of interfering with the body’s natural systems. Drugs can cause the system to be sluggish, cause allergies, and kill friendly bacteria or present other side effects that cause more damage to other systems of the body. The body then has to deal with these problems as well as the original disease. Herbs have no side effects as pharmaceuticals.
Herbs can help to regulate the systems in our bodies. Herbs help to strengthen and normalize the glands. It is surprising to find that the same herb can help many problems in the body. Herbs regulate and tone the glands to return them to their normal function.

Herbs are also nutritional. Herbs are high in minerals, vitamins and other nutrients that nourish and build the body. They help to feed the body. Oftentimes a sick and weak body will accept nutrition from an herb when foods are rejected or unassimilated.
Herbs stimulate the levels of energy within our bodies. If the body has increased energy levels, it helps to heal itself. There are herbs that stimulate the body’s immune system and promote good bacteria.
Here is a list of types of herbs.

Alternative- Herbs used to change existing nutritive and excretory processes to regulate body function.
Analgesic-Herbs, when taken orally, used to relieve pain.
Anodyne-Herbs, when applied externally, used to relieve pain.
Antibiotic-Herbs used to kill or stop growth of harmful micro-organisms.
Antihydropic-Herbs used to remove excess body fluid.
Anti-inflammatory-Herbs used to relieve inflammation.
Antipyretic-Herbs used to reduce fevers.
Antiseptic-Herbs used to prevent, combat and neutralize toxic bacteria.
Antispasmodic-Herbs used to calm spasms, cramps, or coughing.
Antisyphilic-Herbs used to allay venereal disease.
Aphrodisiac-Herbs used to correct problems of impotency and strengthen sexual power.
Aromatic-Herbs that have fragrant, spicy, taste, and stimulate the gastro-intestinal mucous membrane.
Astringent-Herbs used to contract tissues and halt discharges.
Calmative-Herbs used to calm the nervous system.
Cardiac-Herbs used to strengthen the heart.
Carminative-Herbs used to expel gas from digestive system.
Cathartic-Herbs used to stimulate purging from bowel.
Cell Poliferant-Herbs used to promote rapid new cell growth and healing.
Cholagogue-Herbs used to increase flow of bile into the duodenum.
Demulcent-Herbs that are soothing and provide a protective coating to irritated or inflamed internal areas.
Depurant-Blood purifiers that stimulate eliminative processes.
Diaphoretic-Herbs used to promote perspiration.
Digesting-Herbs that contain enzymes, amino acids, etc. to aid digestion of food.
Diuretic-Herbs used to increase urine flow.
Emmenagogue-Herbs used to encourage suppressed menstrual flow.
Emetic-Herbs used to induce vomiting.
Emollient-Herbs used to soften and protect external surfaces.
Expectorant-Herbs used to expel toxic mucus from respiratory system.
Febrifuge-Herbs used in reducing fevers.
Hemostatic-Herbs used to stop bleeding.
Hepatic-Herbs used to strengthen, tone liver, and increase flow of bile.
Hormonal-Herbs containing hormonal properties.
Laxative-Herbs used as mild laxative to bowels. They stimulate bile and secretions rather than acting as irritants to bowel.
Mucilaginous-Herbs that have an adhesive, coating, expansive property and contain soothing qualities for healing.
Nervine-Herbs used to heal and soothe the nerves.
Nutritive-Herbs that promote growth and nourishment.
Purgative-Herbs used to cause purging from the bowels. Usually used in combination with other herbs to control action.
Relaxant or Sedative-Herbs that soothe or quiet and have the property of lessening excitement, irritation, or pain.
Stimulant-Herbs that increase energy and activities of the body, or its parts or organs.
Stomachic-Herbs used to strengthen and tone stomach and increase appetite.
Sudorific-Herbs that invigorate or increase perspiration.
Tonic-Herbs that invigorate, stimulate, tone, and energize the body.
Vermicide-Herbs used to destroy parasites or worms.
Vermifuge-Herbs used to expel worms.
Vulnerary-Herbs that promote healing of wounds.

Politically Correct Disclaimer
This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or sickness. Information is intended for personal use only. Please consult competent professional advice in treating yourself or others.


Basics Of Bullet Casting

This article is one I found years ago. I do not know the author but it is a good description of bullet casting basics. He or she says it much better than I could. I appreciate their knowledge and thank them (whoever they are) for this article. My casting experience is limited. Burn

"The economics of bullet casting
I suggest you do this for learning and enjoyment, because the economics don't justify it. Except for some obsolete and heavy calibers, you can buy cast bullets cheaper than you can make them if your time is factored in as a cost. For example, 500 .38 special cast bullets cost about $22 at the local gun shop. And that's pretty close to the delivered price from a mail order shop. Casting, inspecting, sizing and lubricating 500 bullets ourselves is going to involve several hours of labor. Using any reasonable labor rate, it makes no economic sense to make the bullets.
Casting bullets is part of a hobby. Let's throw out the idea of valuing our time! This is fun and we can fine tune cast bullets to specific guns for better shooting. What more justification is needed?
Safety, safety, safety
We'll be dealing with molten lead alloy, as well as some other obnoxious substances (more on that in a moment). You must take care to avoid toxic fumes as well as minimize burn hazards. I do all my melting and casting outside, under a covered porch, with plenty of ventilation. I have a set of inexpensive tools dedicated to this process, and they get used for nothing else. If you have young ones around, you need to be even more cautious, because lead ingested by kids can cause harm to their developing bodies. Keep youngsters away from the casting process until they are old enough to participate responsibly. When done casting, clean up your work area so that nothing is left behind for them to get into trouble with.
Our society has demonized lead in the last thirty years. The goverment would have you believe you'll fall over dead at the very sight of lead. It's not as bad as that, but common sense is required. Wash your hands frequently, and always before you are about to eat or drink after handling lead. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth while handling this stuff. If your clothes get contaminated during the casting process, change them before resuming your normal family and work routines. No reason to put other people in jeopardy for lead exposure just because it's part of your hobby.
Minimal safety gear:
• A work area with good ventilation; outside would be best
• Safety glasses (eyeglasses or range safety glasses will work)
• A pair of heavy work gloves
• A sturdy surface to hold your burner and lead pot
• Closed top shoes
Optional, but a good idea for some folks:
• Long sleeve pants and shirt
• Respirator mask
Sources of lead
Lead can be purchased from scrap yards, plumbing supply houses, and mail order companies that sell reloading supplies. However, the easiest source of lead for basic casting is used wheel weights, available by the bucketfull at any tire shop or auto dealership. Bring your own bucket, stop at the service manager's desk, and politely ask if they'd be willing to part with some used wheel weights. More often than not, they will gladly give you as much as you can carry. Some places may say no because of liability concerns or because someone pays them for the scrap metal. I've visited four tire shops in my area, all were happy to let me take as much as I felt like carrying.
Wheel weights are ideal for casting basic bullets. They contain a small amount of tin (about 0.5%), as well as antimony (about 5%). The tin makes the molten alloy flow better, and the antimony makes the alloy harder. Bullets made of wheel weights typically come out just right for moderate handgun velocities, and work well at modest rifle velocities if you add a gas check to the bullet. Casting experts have developed expertise in varying the alloys for different purposes. Specific amounts of tin and antimony can be added to create very different working properties for cast bullets, for specific uses. We'll leave the advanced metalurgy for the real experts. There are many resources on the Internet for such wisdom, and I've included a few references at the end of this article.
What you need to begin casting
The list of equipment is minimal, and actually rather primitive by the standards of our modern, digital age. After all, this process is hundreds of years old, and the equipment of yesteryear (a campfire, an iron pot, a ladel, etc.) still works.
You can buy equipment specific to bullet casting. Or you can go the economy route, as I did. The cookware section at the local Walmart provided most of my gear. Here's my list and what each item cost. As you can see, there isn't much investment to get started.
• Electric, single burner stove with variable temp control, $9
• 1 quart aluminum saucepan, $3
• Stainless steel condiment cups (used for molding ingots), 2 packs of 4 cups, $1/pack
• 10x10 aluminum cake pan, $3
• 3 pack, 10x10 aluminum foil cake pan (disposable kind), $3
• Metal spoons, six for $1
• Small ladel for scooping and pouring molten alloy (I use a Lee ladel from MidwayUSA), $3
• Fluxing material: Used candlewax, old crayons, bullet lube, pretty much anything that is wax-based will work.
• A bullet mold (more discussion on mold selection a bit later). From $16 to $60, depending on type.

Getting started
We'll start out by making ingots. While not absolutely necessary, it's a good way to clean your wheel weights, and get some practice pouring the alloy before we start casting bullets.
It is critical that you have good working space. Outside and covered is ideal. We need to avoid the fumes, and we also need to avoid having any water near our melting pot. You must make sure that no moisture comes in contact with the molten alloy. A drop of water in the molten lead can cause a steam explosion, splattering molten lead all over you and anything else nearby. Water and molten metal do not mix!
Some people advocate washing the wheel weights before melting them down. Not necessary, in my opinion. All the crud is going to come off in the metal soup when we flux it, so leave it dirty. If you do wash the wheel weights, let them dry for several days. It all has to be dry when it goes in the pot.
For basic casting, use only the wheel weights that have the steel clips. The stick-on, adhesive backed wheel weights are pure lead; too soft for modern bullets. Save them for another day if you shoot black powder and want to cast your own muzzle loader balls, or you want to custom mix alloys by adding other casting metals.
Put about 5 or 6 pounds of wheel weights in the pot and turn the electric burner on full power. Go find something to do for 20 to 30 minutes. Come back every five minutes to check the pot, but don't hang around too long. The crud on the wheel weights (road grime, tar, dog piss, etc.) will start to burn off, and the smoke is about as foul as anything you'll ever smell. Reminds me of the New Jersey Turnpike, near Port Elizabeth. If you've been there, you know what I mean. Foul.
Many casters use a lead thermometer to monitor the alloy temperature. I haven't graduated to that level yet. A good lead thermometer is $30 or more, and being the cheap SOB I am, I don't want one. The 1100 watt Walmart electric burner needs to be left on high to keep 5 to 8 pounds of wheel weight alloy in liquid form. I just set it there and leave it. It's just hot enough for eiffcient pouring. For more advanced casting with harder alloys like Linotype (printer's lead), a stronger heat source is needed.
Once the alloy is molten, the steel clips and a whole lot of other crud will be floating on top of the mix. Skim it off with a spoon. Dump the skim into one of the baking pans. Remember, all this stuff is very hot, so handle it with care. Don't put it in the trash until it has cooled off. Once you've taken the debris off the top, you are left with a dirty soup of liquid metal, somewhat silvery in color, but with some black, ash-like stuff floating around. Those are impurities we will take out with flux.
Sounds far more complicated than it is. Simply put, we're dropping some wax (or bullet lube, or fluxing compound) into the mix. It's role is simple: Make anything that is not lead alloy stick to the flux material so we can easily scoop it out. Take a few wax shavings, drop them in. It will smoke, and may even burn. Wait until the smoking stops, then slowly, but thouroughly, stir the mix with your spoon or ladel, scraping the sides and bottom of the pot. All of the gray, black, flakey crap that forms at the top, we want to try and corral and skim off. You should be left with nice, silvery looking molten alloy when you've finished fluxing. Don't drive yourself nuts seeking perfection on this step. There will always be some crud left on top of the mix. But it should be minimal. More will show up later, and you can flux again anytime you feel it is worth getting more crap out of the mix. Small amounts of impurities won't hurt the mix, but we don't want chunks of garbage in there, either.
Pouring ingots
With nice, clean wheel weight alloy in liquid form in the pot, it's time to pour some ingots. Take the stainless steel condiment cups and place in one of the cake pans, on a level, sturdy surface. Make sure that whatever surface you use will stand up to the heat. The alloy is somewhere between 625 and 700 degrees, and will apply considerable heat through the cups to whatever they are resting on.
With your gloves on, pick up the pot and pour the molten alloy into the cups, until they are about 2/3 full. Pour carefully to avoid spills and splashes. Let the cups sit undisturbed for about two minutes, so the alloy can harden. After that, you can pick up the pan and move it if you are concerned about where it is resting. I usually put it on the ground (concrete) after the lead has returned to solid form. The ground helps dissipate the heat more quickly.

After about ten minutes of cooling, with your gloves still on, turn the cups over and gently tap them. The ingots fall right out. They will still be hot, and so will the cups, so be careful handling them. After about 20 minutes, they are cool enough to handle. Here's what you get:
Now we have nice, clean, nearly pure lead/tin/antimony alloy ingots that are perfect for casting bullets, in a handy size, easy to store, and easy to melt. A pound of nicely cast wheel weights goes for about a buck on eBay, so if you really want to go to town, you can sell your excess ingots for a little cash.
We're ready to cast bullets.
Casting bullets
You'll need one or more bullet molds, based on the caliber, weight and style of bullets you like. Bullet molds are available from many online sources like MidwayUSA, Brownells, Midsouth, etc. Used molds can be found on eBay. There are two major types of molds: Aluminum and iron. I have several Lyman iron molds, and they work very well. I also have some Lee molds that took me a while to get the hang of; once I mastered using them, I started to produce some nice clean bullets. Aluminum and iron have different casting properties and dictate slightly different approaches to casting, and involve a small learning curve. The molds commonly come in single, double, quad and six bullet configurations, which impacts how quickly you can cast bullets. Some of the bullets will be improperly formed rejects. They just go back into the pot for another try. The molds have to heat up to produce good bullets, so it may take some practice casts until you get good bullets. Lee molds are inexpensive, typically less than $20 for a two cavity mold, and should last for 10s of thousands of bullets. The iron molds, properly cared for, can be passed to your grandchildren. Unless you abuse them, they don't wear out. Lyman sells rebuild kits that contain washers and screws, for replacing the parts that most likely will wear out before the mold.
Each mold needs a handle (some molds come with handles, others require they be purchased seperately). The sprue plate is a hinged plate with a hole for each mold cavity, through which the molten alloy is poured. When the alloy has solidified, the sprue plate is opened, which cuts the excess lead from the base of the bullet. The mold is then opened and the bullets should fall out, or fall out with a gentle tap from a block of wood. It's best to have a piece of cotton cloth for the bullets to land on, or the aluminum foil bake pans can be used. The bullets are just below molten temperature when they come from the mold, so they are soft and can be dented easily. Some casters drop them into a bucket of water (with all of the safety caveats that come with such a practice...remember what I said about water near the melting pot). This is called quenching, and produces a considerably harder bullet than just air cooled bullets. Most shooters will be well served with air-cooled cast bullets, but if you want harder bullets, quenching is an easy way to get them using wheel weights.
The process isn't much different than the ingots we just poured. Follow the mold manufacturer's directions for mold prep, which may involve lubricating parts of the mold, and smoking the mold with the smoke from a lighter or matches.
When your lead alloy is molten, scoop some into your ladel and pour it into the mold until a puddle forms on top of the sprue hole. Wait until it hardens, about 3 to 5 seconds, then open the sprue plate and drop the bullets out. Sometimes a tap from a wooden dowel is needed to free the sprue plate or get the bullets to drop out of the mold. With some experience, you'll learn how to efficiently do all of these steps. Close the mold, pour more alloy in, and keep it up until you have the quantity you want. Keep an eye out for poorly formed bullets, which could indicate problems with alloy or mold temperature, or foreign debris in the mold. The mold has to heat up to a good working temperatue before you get consistent results, so your initial casts may produce quite a few rejects. You can put those back into the pot. Be careful not to splash molten alloy on yourself or your work area. A few minutes on prep will minimize the number of rejects.
Sizing, Lubricating
After casting, one or two operations remain. We may have to size the bullets. This depends on a couple of things: The size of your gun's bore, and the size of the bullet the mold casts. If you can fit a bullet into a case without bulging the case, it does not need to be sized. For example, the .314 caliber wheel weight bullets from my Lyman 311495 mold fit into a flared .303 British case. My Enfield's bore size is .312. A cast bullet that is .001" to .002" greater diameter than the bore is good. If the bullet is undersized, the bullet may not fully engage the rifling, resulting in poor accuracy. If the bore is too small, the bullet may generate excess pressure and leave lead in the barrel. Lee makes inexpensive sizing dies that cost about $12/caliber and work with any reloading press that takes standard dies. Lyman, RCBS and others make more sophisticated, one step lubricating/sizing tools, and these are often preferred by casters who want the finest. The Lee dies work. The sizing step is also good time to put gas checks on bullets intended for high velocity loads. A gas check is a small metal cup that fits around the end of the bullet. It is typically press fit at the same time the bullet is pushed through the sizer die. The gas check protects the bullet from the high pressure and heat of the powder burn, and reduces or eliminates barrel leading that would otherwise occur at high velocities.
Lee sizing dies come with a liquid bullet lube that is easy to apply. You put the bullets in a plastic tub, add the lubricant, and tumble the bullets around until they are coated. You then set them out on wax paper overnight to dry. Cast bullets must be lubricated, or they will leave lead in the barrel of your gun, making cleaning a real bear.
I've experimented with different loads, bullets, and lubrication, and I've gotten some of the tightest groups I've shot with my guns.
That's basically it. Advanced bullet casting is simply additional detail or processes on top of what I've described. Using the above info, you can experiment and custom match bullets to your guns for excellent accuracy. Or you can just make a big pile of bullets that are accurate enough to kill tin cans at 30 yards. As with other aspects of shooting sports, what you get out of it is up to you.
*Edit: Since writing this article, I purchased a "previously enjoyed" Lee bottom pour lead furnace. Well worth the investment. It greatly eases the bullet pouring process. I still use the saucepan and hot plate for making ingots, and those tools are still adequate for making bullets if you are on a strict budget."

Again I thank the author for this brief "how to". Prices may be a little higher as this article is from about 2008 I think.

Semper Paratus
Check 6

Buy Ammo While You Can

Here we go again… In 2013 I found myself in a large chain sporting goods store. I was staring at shelves, empty shelves, on the ammo aisle. What was I looking for? Any of the caliber that I was shooting at that time. What was available? 38 special and 357 mag. At the time I did not have a gun of that caliber. As I was staring at the empty shelves with 3 other guys I said, “I wish I had bought that Colt Python I saw at the gun show last month.” They all looked at me and nodded an understanding nod. Then started the search for ammo, almost any ammo, that only stopped last year. Now I go to Walmart and they even have .22 LR. I just went to a Bass Pro and bought a pound of powder and 100 each of small pistol and small rifle primers. I’ve been doing that occasionally for about a year now. I get the feeling I should step it up a little. November is an election (as if you didn’t know). I get the feeling that you should have the bulk of what you feel you need to have in the wake of a massive assault on guns. For the life of me I can’t understand why liberals can’t wrap their mind around the fact that criminals are not interested in what is legal or not, they do what they want. Let’s say that we say as of today that you must have a license to just own a gun. Any firearm. Would criminals just turn in their guns or become licensed? Of course not. The same goes for the mentally ill. They are probably not interested in the fact that their possession of a gun is not legal. Tougher laws do not make a difference. And if liberals think tougher laws do control crime, then why doesn’t the death penalty stop murder?
President Obama intends to “rule from on high” and “intend(s) to keep trying, with or without Congress, to help stop more tragedies from visiting innocent Americans in our movie theaters, shopping malls, or schools like Sandy Hook.”
As I have said before, what the President proposes will not stop another Sandy Hook. He keeps appealing to common sense gun laws. The problem is, these laws are not common sense. Common sense tells you that no law can stop someone determined to kill. I just can’t see a mentally ill person, a criminal, or a terrorist saying “Darn, I can’t buy a gun legally, guess I can’t fulfill my evil plan.” These laws are already in place and have failed in other countries. The only way to stop something like Sandy Hook from happening is to confiscate ALL the guns. Then you might stop it. Unless the determined nut job decides to use a bomb, or a knife, or a car, or a hammer. Outlawing AR-15’s won’t slow this down, but confiscating them will. That is if you can get them all. If you can’t, don’t try and make anyone believe you will stop it OR even slow it down. That is a pipe dream. Making things illegal or hard to get won’t make a difference to someone determined. I’m not advocating confiscation, because I don’t think you can. Even if you could, it would be wrong.
On February 13 of 2015 the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATF) proposed reclassification of "5.56mm constituent projectiles of SS109 and M855 cartridges" from the category of "primarily used for sporting purposes" to that of "armor piercing ammunition."
It’s interesting to note that lots of rifle bullets have the capacity to pierce armor.
ATF AP Classified Rounds
• All KTW, ARCANE, and THV ammo
• Czech made 9mm Para. with steel core
• German made 9mm Para. with steel core
• MSC .25 ACP with brass bullet
• BLACK STEEL armor and metal piercing ammunition
• 7.62mm NATO AP and SLAP
• PMC ULTRAMAG with brass bullet (not copper)
• OMNISHOCK .38 Special with steel core
• 7.62×39 ammo with steel core bullets
Why pick on 5.56 ammo? I think it’s because of the steel tip in “green tip” ammo, though the ATF has exempted this ammo. And does anyone expect us to believe that President Obama and the White House did not know this was happening? I’m not saying the President was behind it, although I’m pretty sure he knew about, supported, and was for the BATF testing the waters. I think that’s what this was. Let’s see what would happen if we reclassified some ammo of the gun we want to ban.
What does all this mean to you and me? It means that there are powers out there conspiring to disarm the general populace. I don’t know if it is as obvious as President Obama, but if it’s not, it’s someone who can influence liberal minds and hearts. It doesn’t really matter who it is, but it matters that we fight it and prepare for it.
If you don’t have a food storage program for your family you should have one. If you don’t have a bug out plan then you should. If you don’t have a defense plan you should also. If guns are not part of that plan that is fine. But if they are, you should be “stocking up”. Now please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not advocating going nuts and buying 5,000 rounds of whatever. What I am saying is you should have a target number. If you have a hunting rifle and a shotgun for self-defense you should determine what you want to store in the way of ammunition, accessories, and parts for those weapons you have.
On March 10, 2015 the BATF released a statement confirming that the reclassification proposal was stopped indefinitely due to overwhelming public commentary opposing it. Really? What a surprise… Well that test was successful. They now know it was the wrong time to try and take away ammunition. But with this debacle came a reality that we must be vigilant. I bought a .223/5.56 bullet mold during that time. I want a way to not render my .223 a club. I have plenty of components to reload because I have been doing it for years. My suggestion to you is to do the same.
Reloading kits are not extremely expensive. Buy a press and the necessities to reload. Start with getting the die of the caliber you feel you will need the most. Slowly get the equipment and learn how to reload.
I gather brass from shooting ranges that allow this. Free brass is a plus. I have slowly amassed a goal number of pounds of gunpowder, bullets, and primers. You should do the same.
I would also suggest that you have a plan to store ammunition. It is legal to store as much of reloading components and ammo that you want in most places, but be aware that these things are flammable. Ammo will not spontaneously explode and neither will primers or gunpowder, but they should be cared for as you would other dangerous materials such as propane or gasoline.
I have guns for preparedness. Food with hunting. Defense. I don’t think I’ll ever have to go against this government but that is always possible. So is fighting an invading force. I’m not really planning on a combat situation, but it is possible if not probable.
Someone has asked if I would give up my guns? I’m not sure. I’ll know when faced with it what to do. Would I ever advocate breaking the law to keep your guns? No, I would not. But you need to decide when your government has over stepped its bounds. There may come a time when you need to resist by saying No! Be very sure and be very careful. There have been many “militia” movements that have not ended well.
In the end, I want to only encourage you to prepare for a time when ammo is scarce or difficult to obtain.
If you are not familiar with Clive Bundy and his grievance with bureau of land management take a look. I’m not real familiar with it but it seems that Mr Bundy had a problem with paying grazing fees on federal land in Nevada. I’m not sure why there is federal land in Nevada, maybe it’s connected to a park or a base. Anyway, there was even an armed stand-off with this. I admit the federal government is over reaching and has done some bone-headed things, but don’t become a Clive Bundy. I can see fighting this out in court, which it now is in the process of going through. That’s what he should have done all along. Being armed against an armed BLM was stupid. You’re only asking for it. Standing up for our rights or protesting should never turn violent. That gets you nowhere.
Prepare as best you can, as soon as you can. Don’t go to extreme, follow counsel and the Spirit. Do not panic!
Semper Paratus
Check 6

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

A Few Songs and Some Thoughts On Preparedness

Lately a few songs have been going through my head. I've sorted out what I think are the reasons.

Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is A Season)

To everything, turn, turn, turn.
There is a season, turn, turn, turn.
And a time to every purpose under heaven.
A time to be born, a time to die.
A time to plant, a time to reap.
A time to kill, a time to heal.
A time to laugh, a time to weep.

To everything, turn, turn, turn.
There is a season, turn, turn, turn.
And a time to every purpose under heaven.
A time to build up, a time to break down.
A time to dance, a time to mourn.
A time to cast away stones.
A time to gather stones together.

To everything, turn, turn, turn.
There is a season, turn, turn, turn.
And a time to every purpose under heaven.
A time of love, a time of hate.
A time of war, a time of peace.
A time you may embrace.
A time to refrain from embracing.

To everything, turn, turn, turn.
There is a season, turn, turn, turn.
And a time to every purpose under heaven.
A time to gain, a time to lose.
A time to rend, a time to sew.
A time for love, a time for hate.
A time for peace,
I swear it's not too late. (This is really the only part of the song that is not scripture.)
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Except for the “turn, turn, turn” this is a portion of scripture. In the scripture it is said that there is a time for everything. I notice Soloman, who was the son of David, acknowledges war and hate in this scripture. Even God says there is a time for these things. War should only be fought when God deems it necessary. We should only hate what God directs us to hate. Sin, unrighteousness, but not people. We should love everyone even though we may not like what they do.
This next song was from the 80’s by Mike and the Mechanics

Silent Running

Take the children and yourself
And hide out in the cellar
By now the fighting will be close at hand
Don't believe the church and state
And everything they tell you
Believe in me, I'm with the high command

There's a gun and ammunition
Just inside the doorway
Use it only in emergency
Better you should pray to God
The Father and the Spirit
Will guide you and protect from up here

Swear allegiance to the flag
Whatever flag they offer
Never hint at what you really feel
Teach the children quietly
For some day sons and daughters
Will rise up and fight while we stood still

Can you hear me, can you hear me running?
Can you hear me running, can you hear me calling you?
Can you hear me, can you hear me running?
Can you hear me running, can you hear me calling you?

According to Mike Rutherford, the song is about a guy who's traveled light years away, out in space somewhere, and he's ahead in time. Therefore he knows what's going to happen to his wife and kids back home, on Earth. And he's trying to get the message to them to say what's going to happen, the kind of anarchy, the breakdown of society, to tell them to be prepared.

Each of these songs speaks of possible future outcomes for our country and for this earth. Though these are just music, I can believe that some of these things could happen here in our beloved country. It doesn’t seem to take much to cause civil unrest in a city in the U.S. these days. In 2016 alone:
New York, NY
Chicago, IL
St. Paul, MN
Baton Rouge, LA
Milwaukee, WI
Albuquerque, NM
Costa Mesa, CA
Washington DC
Salt Lake City, UT
Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, OR

There were only 10 incidents through-out the entire decade of the 1990’s! But 2016 has 10 so far. So we see that this is escalating. We must be ready and prepared for what the times we live in have to offer.

Do I believe there will be a complete break-down in society? I can tell you that I don’t rule it out. But I can see a pattern emerging that I don’t like. Will it become war? I hope not. A break-down in society can be caused by many things. So far it’s only been for specific reasons, a shooting, or someone with a grievance with the government. But economic down-turn can cause this or break-down of infrastructure. Electricity for instance. That would probably cause civil unrest.
Between all of this and the current political climate, I would recommend you buy what guns and ammo you need now. I’m not talking about going crazy or extreme, but I am talking about slowly, methodically getting what you need before they are outlawed or impossible to find. Get trained while you can too. Take courses that will help you better understand how to use weapons. Practice while you can. As I said before, it’s not panic time, and I would not recommend causing any panic by talking about the world ending. Don’t do illegal things either. It’s still against the law to make bombs! Don’t do it, it’s not worth it. Besides, you could blow yourself up! Don’t go into debt for guns, ammo, food, or any other preparedness items.
Prepare a plan. Work that plan a little at a time. Get out of debt, have a food storage program, have a bug out plan, have a family defense plan. Don’t forget first aid materials in your preparation.

I am not being “gloom and doom.” I believe our prophet when he said: “Be of good cheer. The future is as bright as your faith.” Faith is the opposite of fear. I like the scripture that says:
“…but if ye are prepared ye shall not fear.” D&C 38:10. I like to turn it around and say: “If ye are not prepared ye shall have fear, but if ye are prepared ye shall have faith.” Preparation is the key to faith whether it is temporal, spiritual, physical, or mental preparation.

As my beloved Boy Scouts say, “Be Prepared.”

Semper Paratus
Check 6

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Being A Shooting Instructor

Many years ago I had an opportunity to train military pilots how to shoot a pistol. After going to a gun show last weekend I was reminded of some of my experiences training pilots.
I love to teach about guns and shooting. I love to learn about guns and shooting. Regardless of my years of experience and age I know that there is many, many, many things I don’t know. Shooting is very personal. You can teach basics of grip, stance, breathing, trigger control, etc. but it really can come down to personal style. I’ve seen people shoot well in ways that if it was me, I could never hit the broad side of a barn with those techniques. When I was younger I played a lot of basketball. I was an adequate player. I remember watching Rick Barry shoot free throws underhanded. Underhanded in the NBA! We called that “granny” style when I was a kid. He led the NBA in scoring for many seasons and when he retired in 1980 held the record for free throw percentage with .900. Learning the basics and finding a successful way of doing things is not wrong or bad, it’s just what works for you!
As I was at this gun show looking at guns I ran into many personalities. Some were very friendly and did not talk down to anyone. Others were know-it-alls with a narrow view of what is and is not. As I was talking with a particular guy we did not agree on a particular point. I tried to explain that this particular shooting style has been adopted successfully by many young shooters. He insisted it was wrong and that with his “experience and vast knowledge” of shooting that he knew this particular point. I told him I disagreed and as we talked we realized that many years before he and I competed against each other. We figured out a particular match that I used the style we were disputing and beat him and won the match. We should always be careful about “what we know.”
Anyway, in teaching pilots to shoot I ran into some real hot shot go-getters who were arrogant and over confident. They thought they knew best in how to shoot without yet mastering the basics. Often they would fail their qualification, which would stop them from flying. Flying was their lives and I was the cause of their not being able to fly. It wasn’t until they had been humbled a little, would acknowledge some weakness, accept constructive criticism, and make the corrections that would re-qualify them.
There are few jobs in the world as influential as a firearms or combat instructor.
Unlike any other subject, the teaching of dangerous or even lethal force carries a responsibility like no other topic. Add to that the fact that students in these courses could be called on to use the information provided within hours. This is a serious dose of reality and a reminder that lives can be at stake.
Teaching can appear to be an easy gig. You just stand there and tell people how to do things. While this is an oversimplification of the attitude, it is essentially true. Few will see the methodology used to pass on this critical information in a relatively short amount of time. While the core of this section could fill an encyclopedia, there are certain areas we can focus on, and they are known as the three “P’s.”
The Three P’s
Presentation of the given material must follow a logical and methodic path. Skills and principles should build successively on each other until the student has been exposed to
multiple layers of information. A great way of putting it: Make the pieces of information bite sized so they are easily taken in.
Professionalism has become a cliché in much of life, but it is a cornerstone to building solid shooters. Unless it is a military course, boot camp is over. Yelling and screaming accomplishes nothing other than boosting your ego. Treating students as professionals is the best way to develop a solid product. Be firm, consistent and develop a strong rapport with students.
Performance is the final part of this trilogy. As a professional instructor, you should be able to do anything you ask your students to do cold. This means that, without any warm-up, you should be able to walk to the line and perfectly execute whatever it is that you are teaching. This is a standard that I hold myself to, as does every other serious professional in the training business.
Keep Your Edge
The refinement of technique and philosophy should be at the forefront of every instructor’s mind. Times change, weapons improve and society evolves. What was very good information 20 years ago can in many cases now be antiquated. It is important to make sure you are teaching students the most current and relevant information available. To do that, you must continue to train yourself. We need to park our egos and put our “student hats” on as much as possible. Seek out training by a variety of respected instructors around the country. While there are many big names on this list, do not be quick to dismiss smaller instructors who quietly provide world-class training. In many cases these instructors will be much more current on related techniques and tactics.
These skills are perishable and must be maintained. Even beyond taking part in other courses, master instructors need to practice the craft that they are teaching. Once again we will look at one of the “P” principles: performance. This does not happen magically. It can only be managed through serious training and repetition. Holding yourself to a high standard will not only put you in elite company, but it will also make you a strong role model for students in your classes.
Be Constructive
There are many schools of thought on teaching methodologies. Regardless of what style is being used, it is essential to provide the students with feedback. If your students are professionals to begin with, you will rarely gain any ground with them by being demeaning and loud. These people have already been through their basics and should be treated as such. As you work the class through drills, you must provide students with feedback on their performance and how it rates in comparison to what you require of them. Make corrections and keep them on track for success. Be quick to praise and slow to punish. The mistake you just saw a student make may have been the only one they made up to that point, but you happened to be there to witness it. If it becomes a pattern, make corrections. Students undeniably respond better to positive contact than negative. Do not confuse this with coddling students, which is equally as destructive and builds a false sense of confidence. But, in simple terms, let them know when they are doing it right. Set high expectations and show the students how to meet those expectations.
Run It Right
When you run a training course, you must be serious about what you are doing. Having set beginning and end times as well as lunch breaks is essential to building a sense of professionalism in the class. Once again, you are setting the standards that many of these students will emulate. Being late to class, having extended lunches or running late is simply unacceptable. A phrase I consistently live by is, “If you are five minutes early, then you are ten minutes late.” Instructors need to be in the class long before the first student arrives. This not only sets a good example, but it also allows the instructor time to get everything set up for the class. It can also prove to be a very useful time to get your head in the game. While some will just “wing it,” you will be better served by taking time to review the curriculum and revisit your game plan to get it covered.
Follow Up
Take time to follow up with your students when possible. More importantly, make yourself available for questions after your students move out into the training field. You can be an exceptional resource for them in dealing with challenging students and situations. By offering this assistance, you once again put yourself at a level of professionalism that can be rare in today’s world. More importantly, you could end up helping an instructor teach a student that may have never succeeded without you.
What you say as an instructor matters. While you may think it is an off-the-cuff remark, people will remember it. The standards that instructors are held to are much higher than anyone, and rightly so. The consequences for poor instruction can cost someone their life. Be thoughtful and humble about your techniques. Always remember that a student might be called on to fight for their life with your training. This should never be forgotten.
Last but not least is safety. This is what I do. I have a chart with the safety rules that I go over when I start the class. I have the students repeat the rules several times. These are the rules I use:
1. All guns are always loaded. Act accordingly with them.
2. Never let the muzzle cover (point at) anything which you are not willing to destroy
3. Keep your finger OFF the trigger and out of the trigger guard until ready to shoot
4. Always know your target and beyond
I talk about those rules a little. I explain that rule 1 is the most important. The other 3 rules are in support of rule 1:
“Why do you keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to shoot?” “Because rule 1.”
“Why do you keep rule 2?” “Because of rule 1.”
Then randomly through the class I “quiz” students on the rules. I make sure that during that class they know, and follow, all 4 rules. Some instructors add rules to this. I do not. I want to keep it as simple as possible so they can actually remember and apply these rules. I have certain policies that I emphasize. Use the proper ammo. Maintain your guns. Never shoot and drink. Use eye and ear protection always. These are some of the policies I use and some can be linked to the safety rules. “Always keep your weapon pointed downrange because of what rule?...”
“Rule 1 and 4.”
To help them to understand the seriousness of the rules I give what I call the “3 Strikes plus.” I will give you 3 infractions of the rules, after the 3rd you’re out of the class. The plus is up to the range safety officer or instructor. If I deem your violation to be of such serious disregard or negligence, you may be asked to leave right away without discussion. Generally, rules 2 and 3 are the ones that are broken, which of course breaks rule 1. If I see someone breaking a rule with total disregard for their or their fellow students I will expel. I’m not a jerk about it, and I’m not crazy strict, but sometimes you see people who are adults, and I know they know better, being stupid and dangerous. In my time of instructing I’ve only ousted two people for not being safe. Only a few more have received 2 strikes, and many have received 1 strike. Of the 2 expelled, 1 thought they knew it all and the other just didn’t care. I was actually caught once breaking rule 3. In my defense I had been handed a gun unsafely and was trying to manipulate it to be safe.
I try to inject as much humor as I can into the class. I’m serious when it is serious but having a professional humor puts people at ease and makes them want to stay.
Being an instructor of something that enables others to take care of themselves is very fulfilling.
If you're interested in becoming an instructor contact the NRA. They have a very thorough training program for instructors.

Semper Paratus
Check 6