Thursday, May 28, 2009

Reloads for self defense?

With the skyrocketing cost of self defense ammo, I’m starting to re-think the issue of using reloads for carry ammo. The traditional mindset has always been that this is a no-no. Many years ago I had a long conversation with Massad Ayoob on this subject and he convinced me that it just wasn’t worth it to use reloads for a self defense scenario. His logic was that if you did happen to shoot someone, you did not want some prosecutor saying something like this: “Your honor, this crazed individual was not happy using standard, commercial ammo – no he had to concoct his own very own brand of super duper killing ammo”.

So I understand the argument, but does it really hold water? What if I carefully construct ammo that duplicates commercial ammo as best I can? My current favorite self defense ammo for the 9MM is the Cor-bon DPX with the Barnes all copper bullet. It penetrates deeply, expands reliably and defeats barriers better than anything else. The bad news is that it runs $35 to $40 per 20 round box – if you can find it. My cost to reload it is about $16 per box. I have developed a reload using this bullet that essentially duplicates the ballistics of the commercial load.

So my argument in court would be: “Your honor, because of the high cost of commercial ammo and the poor availability I chose to duplicate this load on my own. I would be happy to submit these reloads to whatever testing you deem appropriate to substantiate this claim”.

So what do you think? Am I being naïve and perhaps too logical, or am I on to something here?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

One in the chamber

For some unknown reason I have had a fair number of students in recent classes that are deathly afraid of carrying a gun with one in the chamber. Typically what they tell me is that they have heard too many horror stories about accidental discharges and are willing to sacrifice some speed for security.

On one hand I kind of have to applaud them for their devotion to safety. On the other hand, this philosophy just might get them killed. About 60% of law enforcement shootings are done with one hand. This is because the officer is either doing something important with his other hand or he does not feel that he has enough time to get his support hand in the proper position. Do you think he might have enough time to rack the slide first?

I believe that if you carry a gun for protection that it ought to be carried with a live round in the chamber. If you somehow feel uncomfortable with this then I would recommend the following drill.

Unload your gun, check it twice, rack the slide or cock the hammer and holster it. Draw the gun and pull the trigger. Cock and holster. Repeat as many times as it takes for you to feel comfortable drawing and re-holstering a "loaded" gun without inadvertently pulling the trigger. It may take awhile, but increasing your confidence is what the drill is all about.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2009 Forecast

Okay, I'm going to step way out on a limb here and gaze into my cloudy and snow covered crystal ball and make some predictions for the coming year:
  1. Energy costs - they have nowhere to go but up. Kiss the buck and a half a gallon gas goodbye, you'll never see it in your lifetime again. Oh, we may have a couple more dips down to this level in the coming months but check back at the end of the year and let me know what you are paying then.
  2. Inflation - well, the current trend is that we are in a pretty strong deflation. The prices of almost everything have dropped this year. But the truth of the matter is that the U.S. government can not operate in a deflationary environment. I mean, holy crap, how can Uncle Sam pay off a $10 trillion deficit with dollars that are actually worth more? Besides, they are now throwing trillions of dollars more to buy out anything that is deemed "too big to fail". Who says the Federal government is not too big to fail? I see us back to double digit inflation by the end of next year. If you own any government bonds or T-bills now is the time to sell.
  3. Unemployment - we haven't even come close to the bottom yet with maybe even double digit numbers the U.S. by the end of the year.
  4. Real estate - yep, still a long way to go on this one as well - probably another 20 to 30 per cent reduction from here.
  5. Food - the prices will go up and the availability will go down. There will be more cases of tainted produce as more corners are cut. If you don't have a garden yet, this summer would be a great time to start and organic is the only way to go.
  6. Crime - 2008 saw crime generally decrease across the U.S. but I think this is turning around as we draw to the end of the year. Look for much higher burglary, robbery and home invasion rates next year. If you do not have a gun safe this would be a good time to purchase one and trade in some of those soon to be worthless FRN's.
  7. Stimulus checks - Oh boy, this will cause a real firestorm. According to my copy of Turbotax, the $1,200 "stimulus check" that I got last year is now causing my 2008 income tax to be $1,200 more than if I had not received it. What this means if Turbotax is correct (and I have not been able to refute it yet) is that Uncle Scrooge did nothing more that give us an interest free cash advance that it now wants back!!
Yes, that's a lot of gloom and doom for 2009. My mantra is the 3 G's - "gold, guns and gardens".
I believe that once we flush the poison from the system that the medium term future looks pretty darn promising. I look for techology to make some significant advances in the next few years to start to turn things around.

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Book Review - Gun Digest Book of Concealed Carry

I highly recommend this book for anyone who carries a gun. It is written by Massad Ayoob who is one of the top trainers and gun writers around. I have taken his LFI-1 and LFI-2 courses (both are 40 hour classes) and I admit that his philosophy has molded a good portion of my thinking on this subject.

I certainly don't agree with him on everything (for example, he recommends the heavy "New York" triggers on Glocks and I don't) but I guarantee you'll learn something from this book. Also, I don't think we need to wade through 30 cases to prove that ball ammo overpenetrates.

His treatment of the whole issue of carry holsters is by far the best available. And his section on open carry is certainly one of the more fair looks at this very sensitive topic. There have been many changes in guns, holsters and ammo during the last few years and Mas does a good job of reviewing all of these.

For the cost of a box of ammo these days, this book is a real bargain. Don't pay $24.99 though, click on the picture and order it from Amazon.

Monday, December 1, 2008

BHO administration

Many people are concerned that the Barack Hussein Obama (BHO from now on since I really don't want to even type his name) administration is going to be very anti-gun. I don't know if it will happen or not, but the reality is that today the perception is that it will happen.

My CPL classes are running about triple the rate of a normal year the last couple of months and most "assault" type of guns and standard capacity magazines have just about doubled in price. Most common pistol and rifle ammo is very difficult to find.

OK, so what is my prediction? First off, the personnel form that all BHO appointees must fill out has a question (number 59 out of 63) that asks if they or anyone in their immediate family owns a firearm - (see for more info ).
This tells me that he is very concerned about guns despite all his rhetoric about believing in second amendment rights. And he has gone on record that he is in favor of the assault weapon and high cap magazine ban that was on the books during the Clinton administration. However this requires an act of Congress so it probably wouldn't happen during 2009 - especially since he has a whole plate of much more serious issues to deal with.

But, he has quite a bit of lattitude in regards to Executive Orders. I do think their will be a flurry of these soon after he takes office with most of them concerning importation of guns, parts and ammo. My recommendation is that if you have any interest in foreign made guns, magazines or ammo - you need to have these in your possession by January 20th. I'm thinking that anything AK-47 related will be hit hard. Also, things like Glock magazines (made in Austria), anything for the FN-FAL and foreign surplus ammo will dry up as well.

The good news is that we learned a lesson the last time and many of you have stocked up already. I'm guessing that there are literally tens of millions more standard capacity Glock magazines in the hands of Americans than during ban years. I would like to personally thank the BHO crowd for perhaps arming more good old red blooded American patriots than the whole Bush regime.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


The topic has come up several times recently if the "combat handgunning" type of competitions are good training for self defense shootings. After shooting both IPSC and IDPA for many years, here are my observations:

First, both of these disciplines are good at teaching you how to run your gun. Drawing, sight alignment, trigger control and mag changes must be done correctly in order to do well.

After that, I have some huge heartaches. One thing I found myself doing out there in the real world was agonizing about my 180. In a law enforcement situation you must constantly be aware 360 degrees and my competition training was hampering that.

Another bad habit that the competition teaches you is to start on an auditory beep - something that doesn't happen in the real world.

Drawing with your hands relaxed at your sides (or in a surrender position) also is not likely. How about sitting in your car with the seat belt on? How about dipping your hand in water to simulate sweaty palms? Or drawing with your support hand because your strong hand is injured? Or pushing away your attacker so you even have room to draw your weapon?

The competitions use 2 dimensional targets (that are invariably broadside to you) and of course human targets are 3 dimensional and are often in contorted positions. You must develop the ability to see the depth of your adversary and place your shots so they hit the critical organs.

And lastly, my number one reason for not liking IPSC/IDPA for realistic gun training is that it teaches you week in and week out, month in and month out, year after year - that when you draw your gun you need to shoot. It's like that old cliche that if all you have is a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail. In these competions EVERY SINGLE TIME YOU DRAW YOUR GUN YOU ARE SHOOTING. Yes, I know that you are smart enough to know the difference but I'm telling you if you do it enough it becomes part of your psyche. I firmly believe that this affect your shoot/no shoot decision in the real world.

If you want to go out and have fun shooting, then by all means enjoy the competitions. Just don't think it will really help in a self defense shooting and will more likely hinder it.

Friday, July 4, 2008

4th of July

The 4th of July has always been one of my favorite holidays. The barbecues, the parades, the craft shows and of course the fireworks have all been longstanding traditions of mine on this day. Of course, shooting is another one of those traditions I stick to as well.

After the parade today my brother will be coming over and we'll do a bit of shooting. I am proud of the fact that I live in a country that allows me to do that. At least so far.

Recently the Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment was an individual right and all of the gun people are happy. Quite frankly I'm scared as hell. If you remember, the vote was 5 to 4. We were just ONE vote short of overturning the whole right of Americans to keep and bear arms! This is way too close for comfort and is a good indication of what lies in store for us in the future.

Since the Supreme Court justices are on the bench for life (and are appointed by the President) I am very concerned about what this court might look like in a few years if we get a Democratic President. There is a good chance at least one new justice will need to be appointed by the next President.

My recommendation is to vote in August and November as well as stock up on guns, ammo and standard capacity (no they are not "high" capacity, they are just what the manufacturer designed in the first place) magazines.