Thursday, May 8, 2014

Cousin Wallace Keeps it Simple.

As one of the Firearms Instructors at my agency, I get a chance to see a wide variety of duty sidearms and how they perform the various drills/exercises we conduct to advance each officer's skill sets. ( That's a nice way of saying "getting them out of their comfort zones"....hahahaha). Long gone are the days of comfortably standing in your shooting lane and casually poking holes in an oversized sihlloette (sp) paper target that just stands, in the wide open, waiting to get shot.  Realizing this isn't anywhere close to "real world" (and, there's no way to really simulate "real world" stressful shooting scenarios), we strive to ramp up the pressure and difficulty of our drills and therefore "wake-up" the officers and let them know they NEED to get out of that comfort zone and TRAIN doing shooting drills more difficult than casual "target practice" on a paper target standing directly in front of them, fully exposed."  

Some examples of those drills include timing them as they draw from their security holsters, from the Sul position and from low-ready/high-ready positions....the noise they make doesn't count...only time to hits matters. We also make them draw and shoot from "compromised" positions such as on laying on their left/right sides, from their backs and prone....or, any & all of these mixed together. These drills quickly identify and separate not only the shooters with superior skills but what types of sidearms typically perform best in the hands of "AVERAGE" Officers. I say average because, most officers are not "competition grade" shooters...they are typically folks who didn't grow up shooting and don't have a burning interest in guns & shooting. When we, as instructors, are tasked with teaching these folks to shoot well enough to defend themselves, to fight through adversity and to do immediate action drills to clear/fix a malfunction, it DOES start to become very clear why simplicity of operation is huge!

I'll probably ruffle feathers of those (and, I was one of "those" before seeing these things over & over in training) who favor their own particular brand/action type/calibre sidearm but, hear me out. You might just see what I'm talking about if you will honestly assess your choice(s) of weapon. We see the same mistakes, misses and shooter induced stoppages week after start to see a pattern and form opinions of what is the best overall choice of sidearm if you actually get caught in a bad situation.

DA/SA type auto pistols such as the Sig Sauer and H&K...we saw this several times just yesterday....when drawing from a security holster (that can also be a problem if not practiced a bunch), we required the shooter to complete the draw and hit a steel IPSC shaped taregt about a foot wide and 15" tall @ 10 yards within 3 seconds maximum. The shooter only had 2 rounds to accomplish this. Time after time, the Sig and H&K shooters missed their first shot and nearly all missed their 2nd shot. The long and heavy initial DA pull is tough and the transition to the light/short SA pull on the 2nd shot really screws up the shooters. Now, I've got a Sig P220 & love it...I'm not picking on the brands, just the two types of trigger pulls a shooter has to deal with...throw in stressing them with a draw and short time limit & the majority of Officers won't fare well. It's even hard for a skilled shooter that is familiar with his pistol even though they know it's coming.
Here's where the striker fired autos such as S.A. XD's, Glocks and S&W M&P's prove superior...the trigger pull is consistently the same time after time. You may not like em but from my point of veiw, they are easier to train the troops on and do what they were designed to do very well. They aren't "target" pistols but shoot plenty good for their intended use. I call them "working guns."
The less "gadgets" the of our officers, an experienced and good shooter, drew his H&K yesterday and failed miserably because it was "on safety"....would be a bad deal if this wasn't "training." When stressed or "multi-tasking" extra gadgets & gizmos can cost valuable time ( or, get you killed! ) Murphy's Law nearly always shows up at the worst time.....Again, the striker fired service pistols mentioned above make more sense for the average officer or citizen in self-defense scenarios. Every week we see multiple cases of the "operator" figguring out a new way of "screwing up." Makes a good case for K.I.S.S.
Shoot a calibre you are capable of shooting effectively. With the wonderful selection of high-performance modern ammunition we have today the performance gap between duty calibres has narrowed. Long gone are the days of being restricted to FMJ bullets or, the ineffective designs of yesteryear. It's a very competitive market anymore and the ammo companies have really been doing their R&D on bullets. Even the 9X19mm is pretty danged potent with the new +P+ W-W Talon rounds we issue....way, way ahead of where a 9X19mm used to be. A couple of veteran officers have recognized this and have gone to the 9X19mm in favor of a couple of extra rounds per magazine. I can see their reasoning. I'm not ready to switch from my beloved .357 Sig but to each his own...IF he can shoot it to good effect!  A common problem, and, one that we have been addressing in the last couple of academys, is officers wanting to shoot more gun than they can shoot effectively. I've never been a huge fan of the .40 S&W but it is about the most potent round the AVERAGE officer can shoot effectively. Some officers can't even shoot the .40 so we restrict them to the 9X19mm until they can demonstrate proficiency with something bigger....they are probably going to need all the capacity they can get too!  A couple of veteran officers are carrying .357 Sigs but, they are marginal with that calibre and would probably be doing themselves a favor by backing off to a lesser calibre.     

As always, these are MY opinions and observations based on training 190+ officers twelve days out of every year. I'm sure other's may differ. I'd like to hear the opinions of others, good or bad. Let's get some discussion going!


Monday, May 5, 2014

Scientist Wallace McDaniel evaluates cast bullets.

Recently aquired a Lee .358" mould to cast 158gr SWCGC bullets for .38/.357 loads. Went w/the gas check design as it prevents leading, something I've experienced in these calibres quite frequently w/commercial cast plain base bullets. There's a lot that can contribute to leading (metal hardness, obturation, lube, velocity, etc, etc...) but the gas check solves the problem right off'n the bat.

These bullets look good...I like the design. I had some old .35 calibre gas checks I got in a trade deal w/lots of other stuff...why not put em to good use? I weigh all the bullets to cull out the ones that might have air pockets & other the best of my ability. Close inspection will most of the time reveal the ones that didnt fully fill out the mould. I am "quality control" of my ammo. With all these steps, I havta say I'm very disappointed in the initial attempts to find a load that will deliver acceptable accuracy. All loads were assembled in .38 Special cases & primed with Winchester small pistol primers.
Test revolvers were three S&W's, all in .357 Magnum...a 4" M19, a 6" M19-3 and a 6" M27-3. All groups were 5-shots from sand bags @ 25 yards. None of the 3 loads I tried were any where close to what I was hoping for.
First load was with 4.0grs Bullseye.  Groups were 5" (4 in 2.5") .... 6.5" (4 in 4.25") .... 6" (4 in 2.75") ....even without a flyer, these groups were not what the revolvers normally shoot.
2nd attempt was 6.0grs BlueDot. (didnt try these in the 4") ... 3.875" (4 in 3.75")  .....  5.813" ( 4 in 4.938")
3rd load was 3.8grs TiteGroup (not tested in 4"bbl) .... 6.06" (4 in 2.375") .... 3.94" (4 in 3.75")
Looks like these bullets may never shoot, no matter the powder charge used. Anyone got any ideas? So far I'm disappointed.       

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Panola Regional Weekend, 2014.

Team day on Friday The 80-shot Regional on Saturday and a rifle LEG Match and a Pistol LEG Match on Sunday.  David and Ken made the plan, did the paperwork and crunched the numbers.

John Ilzhoefer.

Lauren Lecren

Roger Lankford.

Emily Hogg.


First relay firing offhand in the Regional Match on Saturday.

Rol Coggins firing his bolt gun.




Randy, Highpower Rifle Champion and Distinguished Rifle.

Jerry Illiff.

Roger Lankford during the Regional Match.

Jerry Illiff and Emily Hogg.

Dan Pate firing during the Regional.

Tom Ayers.

David Keys.

Roger Lankford.

Darren Chapman.

Rol Coggins.

Dan Pate at 600.

Dave Wilson.

Ken Gaby, Phillis Wilson, Dave Wilson crunching the numbers.

Zeke and Jeff.

Winning four-man team.

First, Second, and Third Regional medalists.

Kyle firing in Pistol Leg.

Sjane Hefner.

Dan and Roger, the newest Distinguished Riflemen.

20 Distinguished Rifles in a row.

John Zubach.

Team Day.

Panola Pits during first relay of the Leg Match on Sunday.

John Ilzhoefer firing in the LEG match.

Clay Hefner and Clay Hefner.

Roger Lankford, Distinguished Rifleman.

Mitch Hogg getting points during the LEG Match.

Clay and Shane Hefner.

Ben Sepaugh.

Randy Schiebel.