My Blog List

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Getting Stressed Out On The Range

Last week, I had a wonderful lunch (wonderful because they're good folks, and the lunch was was on their dime!) with some friends in Reno.  Since I was up in that neck of the woods, I decided to hit one of the indoor pistol ranges.  It had been way too long since I'd done any sort of pistol training.

I brought 3 guns with me, a Glock 19, Glock 26 (my primary concealed carry gun) and a Smith & Wesson M+P Shield (my secondary concealed carry gun).

My regular routine is to run one magazine through them just to re-acquaint myself with the sights, then go into "stress mode" training.  More on this in a second.

Since it had been a while since I'd been to the range, I put two magazines through each pistol.  I did one at 7 yards and one at 10 yards.  Everything was in the bullseye or no further out than the 9-ring.

I'm all, "you a bad, bad man" thinking it had been so long since I was in the range, and I'm still tearing out the center of the target.

Well, that glow of self-congratulations didn't last long!

It's difficult - ok, impossible - to replicate the stress one would be under if you were using a weapon in self-defense.  The best you can do in an indoor range where you can't move around (because of the other shooters) is to add some timed "games" to your practice routine.

One I was using goes like this:  You set a timer on your phone for 5 seconds.  Your 2 x 3 foot target has 4 of the 6 inch "Shoot-N-C" targets - one placed in each of the 4 corners of the larger paper target.  If you're not familiar with these targets, they have a black background that shows your hits instantaneously.  As an example, here's one of their 12 inch targets I used to zero a rifle.


When the bullet tears through the target, it instantly leaves a yellow ring so you can see where you hit.

I load my magazine with 6 rounds.  I number the targets 1 through 4, starting with the upper left hand target, and going clockwise.

First time through, I've got the gun in my right hand pointed down range, I hit the "go" button on my phone with the left hand, and shoot all 4 targets in numerical order within the 5 seconds.  If I miss a target (no yellow ring), I must fire again, hitting the target before moving on to the next - and knowing in my mind I only have 2 extra shots.

Why do this - limiting myself to only two extra shots?  Getting in the habit of "spraying bullets" doesn't stop bad guys, and puts any potential bystanders at risk.  I want fast, accurate shots.

After successfully doing the shots in 5 seconds, I drop it to 4 seconds, then to 3 seconds.

I'll then mix up the order:  I'll do a "Z formation" - 1,2,4,3.  Then a reverse Z - 3,4,2,1.  Then an "X", then a reverse X - you get it.

OK, so I start off with my Glock 26, and get through the drills in fine fashion.  Yeah, baby... bad, bad man....

Next up is the Smith and Wesson.

"Humility has just entered the building!"

I take the first shot at target 1 and miss entirely.  WTF?  I take the second shot and hit low-left on the target.  I move to target 2, same thing, miss then low left.  Buzzer goes off.

WHAT THE HELL JUST HAPPENED?!?!?

I do the drill again, with virtually the same results.  It must be the gun, right?  Did I drop it, and mess with the sights?  No, no dropped gun.  Barrel must be dirty.

I bring in the target, and put on one of the 12 inch Shoot-N-C targets.  I load the magazine with 5 rounds, and shoot them all in rapid fire fashion.

All 5 are down at the 7 o'clock position - lower left side of the target.  And then it dawns on me:  I'm over-squeezing the  grips when I'm shooting under stress.

To see this for yourself, grab an empty pistol, or anything that is gun shaped, hold it out in front of you, and squeeze your grip.  You'll see the muzzle pull down and to the left.

Wait, wait, wait!  Pump them brakes there, cupcake!  How come this didn't happen with the Glock?

Hmmm, good question.

Well, it's all about the grip... and lack of practice.

First off, here are the two guns in question - Smith and Wesson on the left, Glock 26 on the right.



Size and weight wise, they're just about the same.  It's the differences that count.

The Smith uses a single stack magazine.  Each cartridge sits right on top of the one below it.  This gives you fewer rounds per vertical inch (which is a negative), but also gives you thinner grips (which is good or bad, depending on your hand size).

The Glock uses a double stack magazine.  Each cartridge is slightly offset from the one below it.  This gives you more rounds per vertical inch (good), but fatter grips (same good or bad as above).

The Smith can carry 8 rounds in the magazine (or 7 if you use the standard magazine) and the Glock holds 10.

Here's what they look like side by side - Smith on left, Glock on right -


It doesn't look like much of a difference, but in the hand, it's very noticeable.

There's a BIG difference how the grips fit in my hand.  First is the Smith -


And the Glock -



Notice that the back of the Smith grip nearly fills my entire palm, and the Glock stops at my "life line" (interesting.....).  At the front of the grips, my fingers fit well with both guns (it looks like my pinky is off of the Glock, but it is being held by the grip extension).

At this point, it seems as though the Smith should be giving me better control than the Glock, but the exact opposite is what's happening in the real world.

I think these pictures explain it.  Natural placement of my trigger finger on the trigger.  You want the center of the pad at the tip of the finger to be centered on the trigger.  First the Smith -



And the Glock -



First, compare the angle of the middle knuckle on each hand.  The Smith has a sharper angle - more distance between the inner finger surface and the side of the pistol - than the flatter angle of the Glock.

Then notice the angle of the knuckle at the end of the trigger finger.  The Smith is bent inwards, where with the Glock, the finger tip is flat.

So, aside from the better "fit and finish" of the Glock to my hand, I train like crazy with the Glock.  As this "stress test" showed, I must have NEVER done any rapid shooting with the Smith.  Just lobbing slow and easy shots down range.

This seriously pisses me off at myself.  I have been semi-regularly concealed carrying the Smith for the past few months ASSUMING I was proficient and accurate with it.  We all know about assumptions...

Accept The Challenge

Get thee to the range, and do some stressed out shooting.  The drills above are even better if you do them with a buddy where he/she randomly calls out the numbers rapidly after each shot.  You're getting both the stress of timed shooting AND competition with another person ('cause you KNOW you want to win!).

Obviously, you can do even more life-like exercises if you're at a range that allows holster draws (most indoor ranges frown on such things), or if you go out into public lands and set up IDPA-like drills.

More practice is more better!
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Oh, and keep the targets small - no larger than 6 inches for pistols.  And keep the distances similar to "gun fight" distances - no more than 10 yards or so.

Lastly, if you're setting up a scenario, be sure that as you're moving from shot to shot, try and incorporate moving away from your targets, not towards them.  If you're getting closer to the bad guys, you're making yourself easier to hit.  No bueno.

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Copyright 2017 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates. www.BisonRMA.com

Monday, April 3, 2017

Apples, Rabbits and Cinder Blocks

We've been having some decent weather, so the outdoor jobs are making it into the queue.

First, though, my last post had to do with this illegal (in my eyes) bill that had been set forth by a socialist Nevada state senator.  She wanted to make the entire state a Sanctuary State.

I wrote the rotten piece of flotsam a letter.  Apparently, I wasn't alone.

Using all of the expected ass-covering language, her bill was withdrawn from consideration.  F**ckin' A, the good guys won one!

Just like the Terminator, though, I'm sure she'll, "be back".  Me too.
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The current projects:

In mid-March (a little late) I pruned one of our two apple trees.  The previous owners of the property hadn't done squat with them for years and years (this is a recurring theme), and the trees produced shitty little apples.  I pruned a good quarter of the growth on the bigger of the two trees to open it up for sunlight, and to get bigger apples.

The smaller of the two was left as-is.  It's over-grown even worse than the other tree, but the fallen apples are like a drug to the cotton tail and jack rabbits on our property.  The little guys gotta eat, so they'll get the dropped apples from this one.

One of our many yard jack rabbits, scratching himself like a dog
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I think I previously bitched about the tumble weeds when we moved here last July.  The previous owner hadn't sprayed the property, and we had over a half acre of tumble weeds to deal with!  I was not happy.  Had to rent a Bobcat to scrape those bastards up, and burn them.

The guy told me to contact the county in February, and they'd come out and spray for $300.  Money I'll gladly spend.

Well, February rolled around and we were covered with snow or it was raining most of the month.  After things dried out, I called the county, and they were all booked up!

I cursed.... just a little.

Well, I'm not going through that crap again, so I've started doing the spraying myself.  Three gallons at a time with a hand sprayer.  I knocked out 6 gallons worth today, which took care of perhaps 20% of the half acre.  I'll hit it each morning we don't have any wind for a couple of hours until it's done.
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The old owner - God bless his soul - fancied himself a wood worker.  Yeah, not so much.  Not even the basic stuff.

He put up a pair of doors that enclose an 8 foot opening in the woodshop.  Well, the doors were not up to snuff.  OK, they sucked.

And now they're falling apart.


As you can see, the bottom of the door rests directly on the cement floor of the shop.  When it rains and snows, the prevailing winds blow right at these doors.  Rain/melted snow hit the bottom of the door, and wick up like a mo fo - as you can see from the staining.

Everything rotted, and the hinge side of the door 2x4 has rotted and split.

Oh, and he did't do any (decent) cross bracing to stop the latch side of the door from sagging.



Oh, and he used shitty, under-sized hinges, which are coming apart.


Each door is approximately 4 foot by 8 foot.  I've got the wood and the hinges, just need to pick up the skin for the exterior.  It will likely be pieces of weather-proof siding - not quite sure yet.
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A fun project I'm working on is a desk for my office.  I'm making a trestle table/rustic farmhouse table.

I've got the glue-ups done for the two halves (3 boards each).  I'll be gluing them together later today.


I milled the rough 1x6 boards to 5 inches wide, then used biscuits to join the individual boards together.



When I'm done with the desk, I'll do a post on the whole building process.
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The last project in the works is for 4 raised garden beds.  I had 4200 pounds of cinder blocks delivered today.


Over the next couple of weeks, I'll be laying out the beds and their exact locations, then my two sons will be up after that to help the old man build them.

They will be 4 foot by 8 foot by 16 inches high.  Bastards will last forever.

Here's an example of ,"with age come wisdom":  So, these 4 beds will take 150 cinder blocks.  My first inclination was to take my 3/4 ton truck for a 45 minute trip up to Carson City, buy the blocks and do 2 over-weight runs, or 3 proper-weight runs to get them home.

It dawns on me that this means I will have to lift every single one of those blocks four times - once off the the store floor onto the cart, once into the truck, once out of the truck, and once putting it into place.  Rinse and repeat.

I'm bitching and moaning about it, and my wife asks, "Don't they deliver"?  I check it out, and OH HELL YES they deliver.  $79!

I couldn't spend that money fast enough.  I've got an 8 foot gate into the area where the beds will reside, and the guy dropped them off 30 feet from their final destination.  He got a nice tip for saving my back and sanity.

Schwing!  See?!  There was a benefit to marrying an older woman!  (I know, I'm now a dead man...)
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And before someone points it out, yes, I have already designed my, "keep the hell away from my garden, you wascally wabbits" barrier system for the beds.  I'll share some pix after it's up and running.

That's all I got.  I'm running around like a chicken with it's head cut off (note to self:  start redesign process for existing chicken coop....).  Updates and some political stuff in the works.....

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Copyright 2017 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates. www.BisonRMA.com