Archive for July, 2010

M4 Configurations and reticles

rifle scopesIt seems that the M4 AR15 variant is hands down the most popular carbine in existance in the United States.   There are plenty of AK and European military style rifles out there, but the accessorized M4 is king.    When I first stepped into the high speed tactical carbine school, I was going there from previously owning only Kalashnikov variant rifles.   The biggest promotion I heard from all of those owning an AR15 was how accurate they were.   It is true that the M4 and AR15 family of rifles ARE the most accurate combat rifles, but that doesn’t make them the most effective.   Ever since the Iraq invasion, the notion of just sending in a group of guys with M4 Carbines or M16s without a 7.62 DMR is not common.   There was a lot of hype about the military digging up M14s and giving them this role, but now that several years have passed, the military has been working with newer models of 7.62 rifles to eventually fill that role.
Along with the return of pistol driven guns, the 5.56 is being put in its place and other caliber rifles are being deployed.  The 5.56 and 50 Caliber rifles are doing their jobs quite well, but is some environments the 50 caliber is an over kill and something in between 7.62 and 50 Cal was needed.   The 338 Lapua seems to be filling that role very well.   The combat optic has also been evolving due to the fact that engaging enemies from 100-600yds is not very common and many of these rifle scopes are too much magnification for close quarters combat.    Eotech has a mangnification scope that allows you to go from 3x to zero magnification with the slip of a switch.    Trijicon ACOGs are hands down the #1 combat rifle optic, but red dots and various color and configurations of reticles are being used.   Each has it’s given purpose and it’s up to the operator to determine which application is best for them.


How many mags do i need for a handgun?

pistol magazinesBack when the 1994 assault weapons ban was into effect there were more headaches in the gun world due to the fact that factory handgun magazines were so expensive.   People cut corners with other brands and had issues.    When it comes to owning a handgun, especially an auto, I highly recommend having atleast 3 magazines.    Not only can guns malfunction,  but magazines do wear out and break at some points and its always good to have some extra comfort if one goes down.    Most of the time it’s the floor plates that come loose and a loaded mag will just dump rounds on the ground.   I’ve seen it happen with rifles and handguns.    If you ever run a Carbine course, you’re defanitely going to want to have atleast 3 mags for your pistol, too.

It’s very rare these days that I work as a firearms instructor but I still work with a lot of people that are just getting into carrying firearms for the first time. I must admit that I made a lot of the novice mistakes in buying holsters and accessories when i first started carrying, and sometimes its nice to give first hand accounts of what NOT to do.    I’ve seen a lot of people pick up a good quality handgun and then completely ruin the firearms reputation by using 3rd rate pistol magazines that jammed the gun  up.   The 2nd most common thing I see are people shooting with cheap ammo.   I don’t get the whole Wolf handgun ammo thing.   I own and shoot many Com-block rifles and the Wolf ammo works flawlessly, but I have never had good experiences with their handgun ammo.



backup options for combat optics

rifle scopesIt’s always up to the operator to determine which configuration works best for him, but with the reliance on battery operatored optics and high mounted optics, it’s really a good idea for a user to consider the what ifs.   What do you do with your Eotech if the batteries die?   What happens if the optics come loose ?   Scope mounts can come loose and even break,  I’ve seen this happen on M1A rifles, AK, FAL and AR15s on several ocassions.   Sometimes its a good idea to train  yourself to be able to  hit a target without even a rear sight.   There have been several times where I actually forgot to flip up my rear sights on my co-witness configuration and just used the sight picture from my Eotech optic and the front sight post.   I never missed what I was aiming at and it was actually good practice for me.

If you can get a good cheek weld, and you know approx. where your poi is, you should be able to hit a man size target out several hundred yards with just a front sight post.   I’m sure you’ll burn through a few more rounds to hit your target, but it is possible.    Many Trijicon ACOG rifle scopes are being used with red dots mounted on the top or have iron sights mounted on the top of the scope.   The TA01 NSN seems to be the popular configuration I am seeing around.  This will give you fast transition from CQB or long range engagements,   It also gives you more than one targeting system incase one goes down.


Deep cover, to secondary holster options

gun holstersIf I am carrying a j-frame in a paddle holster, I’m usually carrying a speed loader and about 3 reloads.    J-frames work very well for deep cover and my primary mindset it to shoot and move and not expect to put up a fight for very long when I’m starting out with 5 rounds.   I can increase my firepower and comfort by carrying the same gun, but with an OWB holster that can easily be reloaded.   I strongly recommend that everyone considers having a paddle holster for every handgun they own.   They also come in handly when going to an outdoor range where you don’t have to worry about putting the gun down on the table after every cease fire.


Sometimes smaller guns can work very well in pocket carry, but there are some situations where carrying in the pocket can be cumbersome in certain physical situations.   If you are going to an environment where you don’t want to have to carry another gun,  sometimes it’s a good idea to carry IWB or OWB with a paddle holster.  Galco gun holsters has a paddle holster that can work very well for even a small 2 inch j-frame.   I use one as a secondary holster option if I don’t want to pocket carry.   We can always practice to improve our performances in drawing our guns, but there are certain methods of carrying that are defanitely easier and most likely faster.



Carrying full size handguns

gun holstersComfort is very important for those that are carrying 8-10hrs or more a  day.   I’ve carried various firearms over my life and sometimes it’s fine carrying something Monday-Friday, but if I’m still carrying it on Day 6, I can really feel it.   I’ve found that driving in a car for long periods of time can really make IWB and paddle holsters feel annoying after a couple hours.    I can use an ankle holster is some situations, but I’ve found that the most comfortable way to carry a full size auto for long periods of time is in a should rig.   Leg holsters are probable a 2nd favorite, but that’s not going to work for concealed carry purposes.   One thing to always be aware of is not sweeping body parts when pulling  a firearm in the seated position while wearing a should rig.

There are so many methods of carrying a gun, but no firearm or holster is going to do it all.   Nobody carries a airweight 38 special in a leg holsters and it’s not a very good idea to carry a Beretta 92FS in your pocket, even if you can.   I’ve changed my thinking when it comes to CCW and the caliber debate.   Some of the best self defense instructors I know carry the smallest caliber firearms because they know that situational awareness is the best defense and if they have to deal with a threat, a good shot in the right spot is all that counts.   One method of carry that seems to be bashed a little too much is the shoulder holster rig.   These  gun holsters may not work very well for some body types and for warm weather because I admit it is easy to pick out the should straps if the appropriate clothing is not worn.



Summer wedding options

gun holstersI was trying to think about how to describe the situations that many in the 20-40 age range tend to deal with in the summer months that they don’t normally deal with when carrying.    I’ve found it very difficult to carry a fiream to weddings because there is usually so much human contact from dancing to pats on the back and hugging.    Many reading this might think it is not a concern at all, but you have to realize that not every social environment is going to be gun friendly and considering that there is usually heavy drinking, it is something to think about not bothering to carry.

The biggest issue that I always dealt with when going to weddings was not being there and what gun to carry, but driving through urban environments where it’s a good idea to be carrying.   I think I can name more robberies that occurred to friends when they were dressed up and going out to dinner.   That’s when women are wearing jewelry and when guys are carrying more cash than normal.   The problem is that carrying IWB or OWB is virtually impossible.   Pocket carry is probable the most practical but there is another option.   Ankle holsters are very good for driving situations, but not very good for walking around too much.   Some of the gun holsters that I have tried all varied.   The best I’ve found was the Uncle Mike’s ankle holster.   You really have to make sure you are carrying a lightweight firearm though.  You will feel uncomfortable if the firearm has much weight because it may feel like it’s sliding down  your leg even though it’s not.


Firearm retention and applications

gun holstersThere is another consideration in choosing a holster that you may not be that concerned about at first.   Many in the CCW world may frown on having any kind of thumb break or locking system, but there are good reasons for thinking about this.   I would have to say that many of the thumbreak holsters that I have used in the past were nylon and although they worked very well for their intended purposes, I would never recommend them for CCW.   I am also going to state that I am not going to tell you which holster you should use because that is a personal choice and you should put some thought and research into selecting for yourself.   I have trained with 1911 pistols and although they are my favorite 45acp pistol, I have missed the thumb safety too many times during self defense training that I do not consider it for CCW.   I’m also aware that putting a thumbreak on the holster may compound the problem for such a firearm.

Glocks vs. 1911s is an argument I try not to argue about anymore because people are going to carry what they feel comfortable even if it has its drawbacks.   The one thing I still don’t understand though is the argument against 1911s and the slide safety and then people that lock their Glocks up in a Serpa holster.   IMHO each puts one step in front of pulling the trigger and if you don’t feel that you can comfortable pull a CCW firearm from under cover without missing the release, then do not carry with any gun holsters that have a locking system.    If you are carry on a leg holster or OWB and not under cover, then I think the situation can change.


Summer carry options

gun holstersThere have been many changes in the materials being used in modern sidearms.   Many of the polymer firearms have a huge advantage over their previous counterparts primarily due to their corrosion resistance.    Along with corrosion resistance, many of these firearms also depend on lubrication far less.  Gun holsters have progessed as far as being made in materials that can handle sweat and dirt resistance.   I’ve heard plenty of stories about people ruining the finish on various blued firearms just from one or two harsh weather environments and people not getting around to cleaning them in time.   I’ve personally seen a few revolvers end up being horrible pitted after an operator sweat up a storm and never bothered to clean the sidearm.

Many of the revolvers that I saw end up with this corrosion would have survived if used in a non-leather holster.   People have to realize that even though the gun may be off their body, some holster materials will actually absorb sweat and transfer that through the  holster and on the sidearm.   There are plenty of gun holsters out there being made for your Smith & Wesson, Taurus or Ruger revolvers, so don’t think that just because you mostly see Glocks and M&Ps in kydex type holsters doesn’t mean you  get get one for your six shooter.  I have a nice Fobus holster for an SP101 and it holds up very well whenever I am expecting to sweat a lot.

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