Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Shadow Military: A Military Channel Fiasco

About a week ago I saw a promo on Facebook for a documentary called The Shadow Military.  I've always been intrigued by private military companies and Travis Haley was in it talking about his time with Blackwater so I thought it would be worth DVRing and giving a look see.

What a fucking fiasco.

It probably would have been a great documentary except for 'the inside look at a real PMC' segments. The interviews with former and current contractors, journalists, and pmc executives were great. Most of the footage was also really good. Everything gave what I thought was an exciting and informative look into the world of military contractors.

The inside look stuff, though. Damn. Talk about destroying the documentary's credibility.  They had this moron instructor from some unnamed, supposed pmc standing down range WALKING DOWN THE FIRING LINE BEING SHOOT AT TO SHOW HOW MUCH CONTRACTORS HAVE TO TRUST EACH OTHER.  I get that in a combat engagement you might have to send some lead close to an ally. I can see that being necessary, but to deliberately walk down a line of fire while rounds are impacting the berm scant inches in front of and behind you is insane.  And this guy wasn't even wearing body armor. Holy fucking Christ.

Later they are doing a live fire extraction maneuver and not one person is wearing ear pro and most are not wearing eye pro.  In so called 'training.'  That's just stupid and unnecessary.  This company was a total joke.

To give Haley due credit all segments with him were great. Hell, it showed footage of him in Iraq with Blackwater during an actual firefight where he was acting in the sniper role. He had his eyepro pushed up on his head while looking through the scope but I could see the orange squishies in his ears. IN FUCKING COMBAT.  If you can wear ear pro and eye pro in combat there is no reason those jokers couldn't wear it in training.

So, yeah. The Military Channel took a perfectly good documentary and edited in extraneous footage of a bunch of clowns trying to look like badasses and totally ruined it.

Check it out if you get a chance. It's worth it just for the groan factor.

Monday, July 29, 2013

On The Range #90: NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program

Until a couple of months ago I was unaware of the NRA-Winchester Marksmanship Qualification Program.  I first saw something about it on Facebook Facebook via Claude Warner of Roger's Shooting School fame, looked into it, and then forgot about it. Our training counselor reminded me of it in my NRA pistol instructor course.

It covers just about every type of shooting there is, the most recent addition being Defensive Pistol.  The courses of fire are relatively easy, but do require a certain amount of skill.  It's run on the honor system except for the highest rank, Distinguished Expert, which requires an NRA member witness.

The ranks are Pro Marksman, Marksman, Marksman 1st Class, Sharpshooter, Expert, and Distinguished Expert.  Each rank must be earned consecutively.  There is no shooting for a higher rank until you've earned the previous rank. You can take as long as you wish to earn each rank.  NRA membership is not required to participate.

Today I shot my way to Expert with my Glock 17 in Defensive Pistol I.  

Rushed my last string of fire so I reshot that, hence the flyers.

This will be cakewalk for veteran shooters, but it's still fun to do. There are patches, pins, skill level rockers, and certificates for each rank so this is a great way to hook new shooters and keep them shooting, especially kids.  

I'm going to shoot my way to Expert in Defensive Pistol II, and then get a friend to witness me shoot Distinguished Expert in both. I think the certificates and patches will make nice wall hangers and conversation pieces. I'm also going to try to get as many of my friends involved as possible. It'll get them out to shoot, anyway!

Check this out if you haven't already. It's a great program that the NRA should really push harder.

Friday, July 26, 2013

A Doctor's Perspective on bullet wounds.

Here is a long, but interesting video on bullet wounds. I'll warn you that some of the pictures and video is in the doc's presentation are quite graphic.


Monday, July 22, 2013

On The Range #89: Defensive Ammunition Test (9mm)

Recently, I was told, in a nutshell, that my choice of 9mm as a defensive caliber was wrong and that if I knew anything I would switch to .45 ACP.  I replied that the differences among the various common self defense calibers using modern hollow point ammunition were negligible.  I also pointed out that every self defense expert out there will tell you that when it comes to self defense with a handgun that shot placement is everything and that one shot stops are a pipe dream.

Needless to say this was not convincing.

In all honesty, I don't care what handgun caliber you want to defend yourself with. They ALL suck.  However, I did see an opportunity to do a little practical testing of my chosen carry calibers:  9mm, .45ACP, and .38 Special.

I started with my primary defensive ammunition, Winchester Ranger 127gr. 9mm JHP +P+.  I was very impressed with the results.

Bearing in mind that no test short of firing a particular round into a particular attacker under particular circumstances will determine if it is truly adequate I decided on the best test I could easily put together. I decided a approximately 5.5# bone in pork shoulder that I would wrap in an old sweater to simulate an attacker's clothing would be an adequate test medium and I fired one round from my Glock 17 through it from about three yards.

Going hot!

Entry wound.

Exit wound.

The round completely penetrated the meat, making a neat entry hole and a nasty exit wound before lodging in the the sweater material after exiting.  I fired it into the pork shoulder along its longest diagonal, around 8" (also roughly the depth of my chest).  The round struck the large bone inside and kept going.  Using the entry wound as a starting point I cut up and along the length of the bullet path to get a look inside.

Wound channel seen from entry to exit.

Wound channel from above.  Notice the white bone fragments from the shattered bone.  Also, the dark red masses towards the  center are also bone and bone fragments.

As you can see from the pictures the bullet destroyed both meat and bone along its path.  It hit the large bone almost in the center of the meat, shattered it, and kept on going until it exited the meat.  The damage is, to me anyway, impressive.  So, let's take a look at the bullet itself to see if it functioned as designed.  

Look, I made a flower.

Side view.

Rear view.

As you can see the 127 grain JHP petaled open just as designed and held its shape even after passing through bone and tissue.  I have no doubts that this would have a devastating effect on an attacker if proper shot placement were achieved and that effect would only be multiplied with more shots if they were necessary.  Most self defense training emphasizes multiple shots because the 'one shot stop,' though it happens, is rare and can not be counted on where your life is on the line so everything you see here could be expected to multiplied in the body of an attacker without the danger of over-penetration. 

Top left is the bullet right after shooting before being cleaned up.

After seeing how this round performed I have no doubts about it's ability to save my life as long as I do my job and place my shots correctly.  I really had no doubts before. All of the rounds I will be testing have been putting people in the dirt for around a century in their various iterations.  Taking the time to actually fire into flesh and bone and see the results really brings it home though and gives you a real world example you can touch and feel.

I hope you've found this informative, or at least interesting.  I certainly have and I look forward to repeating this exercise with my other defensive ammunition.  

Next up, .38 Special.  

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Achievement Unlocked: NRA Pistol Instructor

Today I completed my 17 hours of NRA Pistol Instructor training.  The paperwork is in the process of being submitted and I expect to have my electronic credentials in the next couple of weeks.  Paper credential will probably take a couple of months.

This is a huge step for me.  I'll now be able to offer individuals NRA certified instruction on the basics of pistol shooting.  I'm really excited about that as I think it will open up a lot of opportunities for me to train new shooters.  I've still got a lot to do, but I was given a lot of helpful information by the NRA Training Counselor Mark Cubine of Alabama Firearms Training Services.

Mark is the man I received my first formal firearms training from and I was very happy to be able to train with him again.  He went beyond the NRA material and also gave me and the other students some pointers and guidance for teaching firearms as a business and offered himself as a resource in the future.

I'm hoping to take some further training from him in the near future.  I really would like to take the NRA Personal Protection in the Home course and also become certified to teach that as well.  Since I will have the option of becoming a certified NRA Range Safety Officer via correspondence with my pistol instructor certification I plan to pursue that as well.

This was a great experience and I feel like I really learned a lot and was provided with everything I need to get started on the path to becoming an effective instructor.

Carry ammo test teaser.

Many more photos and a detailed explanation of the test to come.  I hope you'll enjoy it.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Qoute of the Day: Massad Ayoob

From Mas Ayoob's most recent blogpost on the Zimmerman verdict:

Within the totality of the circumstances presented in court by the prosecution itself, it would seem that saying “Zimmerman started it” is like saying that a woman was raped “because she asked for it.”

Friday, July 19, 2013

Your daily dose of insanity.

Brought to you by Second City Cop.

On The Range #88

I have not done any serious live fire practice in a few weeks so yesterday I made a point of getting outside and running through some drills.  I started with Dot Torture, scoring 47/50 at the three yard line.

After I finished up with Dot Torture I set up to run some El Presidente drills.

I used the white sheets of paper as my target zone but otherwise stayed true to the drill by shooting from concealment at 10 yards and starting with my back to the targets and hands  in the air.

I shot four El Prez's, three clean. Best time was 12.53 with 4 misses.  Next best time was 14.44.  I had all of my first rounds on target in under 3 seconds, but none faster than 2.58. I would like to get that down to between 2 and 2.5 seconds. I'd also like consistently shoot the drill clean in under 13 seconds.

I really enjoyed myself. The weather was surprisingly nice and I had no major flubs.  I need to do this more often.  I also decided I need a range bag. I shoot less than 50 yards from my back door but after my third trip inside to get something I forgot I was getting peeved.  I need something I can leave ready to grab and go.

Today I did a little practical test with my carry ammo and I had some very positive results. I should be putting up something about that soon.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Passed the pre-test!

The NRA Pistol Instructor pre-test was quick and easy.  I made better than 90% on the written, 58.5 on the shooting, and lost a couple of points when I failed to get the SA revolver into half cock. 

I'm really looking forward to the full course next weekend.  I've taken one class with this instructor before and he is as personable and competent as I remember.

I  plan on doing an AAR at some point after next weekend.

Blaming the victim.

It's kind of pissing me off.

Everybody keeps calling George Zimmerman an idiot for getting out of his truck and thus causing what followed. It was a benign decision spurned on by a dispatcher's request for information. So can we stop?

Or do I get to tell rape victims they shouldn't have dressed that way, or walked down that street, or been out that late?

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Not guilty!

George Zimmerman has been found not guilty of all charges.

I predict he gets raped in in civil court, but  has at east avoided jail time.

Angela Corey should be fired for abusing her office for political gain.


Today I'll be taking the NRA Pistol Instructor pre-test. I'm a bit nervous about it, but I believe I will pass.

This morning I'm going to do some shooting.  I've been meaning to shoot Dot Torture with the new revolver and I also want to shoot the shooting portion of the pre-test to get a feel for it.

If all goes well you should be seeing a celebratory post this afternoon.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Robert's Picks


Above Reproach by J.D. Kinman (good)

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card (very good)

The Last Detective by Robert Crais (good)

Memory by Lois McMaster Bujold (very good)

The Girl Who Cried Wolf by Robert Ferrigno (good)

Komarr by Lois McMaster Bujold (very good)

A Civil Campaign by Lois McMaster Bujold (very good)


The Two Jakes

Killer Joe (excellent)

World War Z (good)

The Sand Pebbles (very good)

A Good Day To Die Hard (good)

Gangster Squad (good)

Friday, July 5, 2013

Not so happy Independence Day.

Yesterday was never going to be great since the forecast was for 100% chance of rain all day long.  I decided I was going to make the best of it anyway.  I put a cylinder of 125gr. +P .38 Special through my new revolver to function test it (and just for the fun of it), and my evening plans included Captain Morgan Private Stock and a My Uzi Weighs A Ton cigar.  I was even going to blog about the good times so that I could have some kind of positive post for the 4th.

Then I read this, about government thugs kicking in doors so they can 'borrow' a law abiding citizens house without consent.

And then I went over to Tam's and learned that TJIC was surrounded by MA government thugs, who, on the FUCKING 4TH OF JULY had come to seize his lady's guns.  On Independence Day.

I decided at that point that there was nothing to celebrate.  We live in a police state that far surpasses anything King George ever did, and we are only 'free' in comparison to people whose governments are fucking them even more than ours.  "Better off than that poor sucker over there" is better, but it's not independence and it is not freedom.

So fuck it.  I decided I'd enjoy what I have while I got it.  I shot my ATF approved gun, smoked my ATF approved cigar, and drank my ATF approved booze.