Saturday, August 9, 2014

Scott Edvin is a Massachusetts firearms trainer

  Have any idea how I know this?  Because Scott likes to spam or more aptly, astroturf gun related blogs and websites like.....this one.

  On my 5.45x39mm AR15 article, Scott took it upon himself to share this nugget of knowledge:

Whether it is a handgun, rifle, or even artillery, they have to go through periodic maintenance. In my class, I teach my student not just to use handguns but also how to keep them and maintain them properly. Regards, Scott Edvin MA Gun License

  Far fucking out.  You teach how to use and maintain handguns?!  That's amazing and completely pertinent to my article on how I put over twenty thousand rounds through a 5.45x39mm AR15!  I mean, all I did was train with and spend thousands of dollars becoming proficient with that weapon and documenting the whole process.....for free to whoever wants to read the damned article.  You're quite welcome for the free advertising, Scott.  

  My "gun gamers" post merited this bit of arcane wisdom, no doubt learning from copious hours of training, Scott?  Feel free to post your experiences; I mean I've only trained with the US Marine Corps, Pat Rogers, Larry Vickers, Kyle Defoor, Todd Green, and Jack Leuba.  

Good training class is required for all person who wants to learn perfect shooting or to improve their firearm shooting skills. Expert trainer helps them to cover and learn all techniques of shooting, which help them to become a good shooter.

  MIND.  BLOWN.  You mean you should get training?  WHO FROM, Scott?  Pray tell.  Do you know of some "expert trainer"  Maybe that guy could comment on blogs everywhere and offer some sort of completely unrelated drive by advertisement, along with a link to his website.  Don't mind everyone doing the work of building an audience and maintaining a blog/site, that's what other people do for YOU.

  So if you're looking for a lazy firearms trainer who lacks the wherewithal and work ethic to build up his business online, look no further than Scott Edvin.  Scott, nice bio you got there.  Oh wait, you haven't posted one.  In the off chance you actually competed with a firearm, I googled "Scott Edvin" and UPSA.  No match results but at least you're spamming someone else's blog.  Good work, Scott!  


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Periodic maintenance on a 5.45x39mm AR-15

Well, this is sort of pointless after the truly pointless ban on surplus 5.45 ammo but I neglected to put this in my definitive article on the 5.45x39mm AR-15 so here goes.

Every 2,000 rounds or so, you need to remove the flash hider or muzzle brake  on your 5.45 AR-15.  Use a 19mm wrench and steady pressure.  Then put it forward end down and take a look.

That's not supposed to be there!  Light tapping with nearly any tool will show you that is indeed built up carbon.  Do note that I've never seen this actually cause a problem in 27k rounds.  I assume the rounds exiting the flash hider self regulate the carbon wall from obstructing the bore but might as well spend 10 minutes chipping this away and then soaking in my favorite penetrating oil and repeating the chipping process.  You don't have to get it perfect; just knock out most of the wall of carbon with a flat tip screwdriver or any other tool you have laying around.

Gratuitous pics!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Navy Captain awarded Silver Star in absentia

***Disclaimer***  This is satire aimed on shining the light on the demonization in the media of military veterans and the patent absurdity of naming a US Navy ship after a mass shooting victim who's never served in the US military over one of the literally dozens of fallen heroes from the last decade.  The slap to the face to these fallen heroes by the US Navy cannot be overstated.  For more information on Extortion 17, look at this book that was in part written by the father of one of the fallen SEALs.  Please feel free to email Chris Adams regarding the McClatchy PTSD article and tell him what you think of his map.  Kathleen Belew may be reached here if you have thoughts on her insinuations regarding veterans being or becoming white supremacists.

  In a daring daytime operation, apparent domestic terrorists have lured US Navy Capt. Joseph Tuite, Supervisor of Shipbuilding (SUPSHIP) Gulf Coast into a local Denny's where they are holding him hostage with unlimited coffee refills and complimentary Moons over My Hammy.  Captain Tuite is a mission critical asset to the official keel laying ceremony for the USS Gabrielle Giffords.  Reacting swiftly, the Obama administration awarded the now POW Captain Tuite with the Silver Star, the POW medal, and announced that Vice President Biden is ready to negotiate for the Captain's release.

  Mystified Navy public relations officers could be seen puzzling over the ransom note which made cryptic references to the "Fallen Heroes of Extortion 17" , "Ryan Job," and a "Christopher S. Kyle" being "more worthy" of a US Navy vessel's name.

  The baffled public relations officers reached out to the civilian press for help identifying the sinister kidnappers whose ransom note was attached to the keel via a trident.  So far, the hypothesis is that veterans who are now white supremacists launched a raid from a notorious hotbed of crazed PTSD afflicted combat veterans known as "Little Creek."

  Support from celebrities has been overwhelming as Piers Morgan (@PiersMorgan) and Michael Bloomberg (@MikeBloomberg) announced a campaign "for common sense gun laws to free every town of armed veterans."

  The NRA; a "grass roots organization of armed veterans and white supremacists," had no comment at press time and neither did the vessel's namesake.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Know how I know you open carry?

Springfield XD?  Eh.....not the best of choices but OK.  SERPA holster?  Shit choice, crap holster.

XD + SERPA = Open Carry, 90% certainty.  So many open carry guys carry this lower tier crap gear and guess what?  They don't shoot enough to see why it sucks and therefore, it is good enough for their usage which mainly entails shopping and eating fast food whilst sporting their crap gear.  Don't believe me?  Peruse

Also, just because the USMC adopted the SERPA, doesn't mean it's good.  See the MOLLE pack fiasco or watch this video from SouthNarc's training.

Seriously, if you MUST open carry with a retention holster, get a Safariland ALS.  If you are happy with the SERPA/XD combo. remember this Biblical verse:

Boobolitz 4:13 - yea verily, the shepherd of the sheep shalt go forth into the flock of the Lord, and thy shalt wearith thine Croatian divining rod of retribution upon thine body within the shell of holy kydex. Though the evils of the world, the neckbeards of Satan congregate at Walmart, the sons the Lord need not fear, as they shall be sheltered by the holy sheepdog. I say verily unto you, woof.

Below I have thrown together a quick list of trainers and organizations that recommend against or have disallowed the SERPA holster:

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The smoking solar powered gun behind the Bundy Ranch situation?

I'm sure you've heard all about how there was a "failed" or defunct solar power deal in line for the BLM land that is currently in the subject of dispute between the federal government and the Bundy Ranch.  One line of thought takes the approach that Harry Reid has some sort of solar power deal lined up with the Chinese.  At first, I believed that this was a red herring because of this article.......

Then, this was brought to my attention.  I'll quote directly from the now disappeared announcement at  Read carefully.

  • Non-Governmental Organizations have expressed concern that the regional mitigation strategy for the Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone utilizes Gold Butte as the location for offsite mitigation for impacts from solar development, and that those restoration activities are not durable with the presence of trespass cattle.

I'm sure you would like to see the original's been disappeared from

Is Cliven Bundy's real problem that he's not Bechtel?  Follow the money, folks.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Las Vegas Metro cop fantasizing about shooting a citizen

Officer Russell Laws of TacOne Consulting likes Facebook.  He also likes thinking about killing citizens, specifically the citizens that showed up to support Cliven Bundy and he doesn't mind telling the world that via public webpage.  I saw the below transpire in real time on the evil Book of Faces and then contacted author JL Bourne about permission to relate what had happened.  Happily, he saved the below screenshot.

If you disagree with what you see below, make your voice heard.  Is this the kind of policeman you want in your community?  Funny how this cop is from the department notorious for killing citizens.  Odd, that.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The EPA as a political weapon

  We've already seen the antigun efforts from the Crimean conflict.  Now, the other political secret police arm of the government (the IRS being especially active as of late) the is assaulting gun owners with a raid on a Montana ammunition manufacturer.  Yes, a "raid."

  This is how we will lose more and more rights and not just gunowners but landowners.  The EPA.

Friday, March 28, 2014

A Crimean coincidence or 5.45x39mm is rumored to have been banned by the ATF

It all started with a Facebook post from the infamous James Yeager.......

And by this afternoon, the panic had set in.  Military surplus 5.45x39mm has been flying off of the shelves (though I have a bit, I bought some more myself).  The formidable hivemind at researched the hell out of this.  One guy even called the BATFE and confirmed what folks were saying; that apparently once some, anyone builds a "pistol" (AR or AK pistol in this case) that can shoot imported steel core ammunition or "Armor Piercing", that steel core ammunition will be banned.  You see, that's part of the "for sporting purposes only" language in the Second Amendment, folks.  The BATFE is operating on some sort of reality distortion field where steel core ammo made in the US is fine but imported steel core ammo is evil......

  Copes confirmed the sad reality of this as did AIMSurplus (both posting on

  Reports abounded like the below:

AIM sold 440 cans within 1/2 hr. 

USAC, who claims to be the retail arm of a major importer, had well over 1500 tins listed this morning and now show out of stock.

Folks, this is bad.  The non-logic of this hurts the head.  I can name at least one good dude (a friend) who was planning to build a small business around 5.45x39mm AR15s.  Ask yourself "what is the point of this?  Is it not just a back door towards disallowing more firearms and ammunition to the American people?"

I know it sounds paranoid but I don't think this happening on the wake of the Crimean crisis is a coincidence......  However, following the letter of the law as seen below, the BATFE is technically right except, did anyone tell them that 5.45x39 is .21 caliber?

(B) The term “armor piercing ammunition” means—
(i) a projectile or projectile core which may be used in a handgun and which is constructed entirely (excluding the presence of traces of other substances) from one or a combination of tungsten alloys, steel, iron, brass, bronze, beryllium copper, or depleted uranium; or (ii) a full jacketed projectile larger than .22 caliber designed and intended for use in a handgun and whose jacket has a weight of more than 25 percent of the total weight of the projectile.
The prohibition that this definition applies to is:

It shall be unlawful:

(7) for any person to manufacture or import armor piercing ammunition, unless--(A) the manufacture of such ammunition is for the use of the United States, any department or agency of the United States, any State, or any department, agency, or political subdivision of a State;(B) the manufacture of such ammunition is for the purpose of exportation; or(C) the manufacture or importation of such ammunition is for the purpose of testing or experimentation and has been authorized by the Attorney General;(8) for any manufacturer or importer to sell or deliver armor piercing ammunition, unless such sale or delivery--(A) is for the use of the United States, any department or agency of the United States, any State, or any department, agency, or political subdivision of a State;(B) is for the purpose of exportation; or(C) is for the purpose of testing or experimentation and has been authorized by the Attorney General;

Right now, is on a witch hunt to see which genius manufacturer "manufactured" a 5.45x39mm pistol and have zeroed in on JBI Armory, who sure enough advertises 5.45x39mm and 7.62x39mm "pistols."  

Thursday, March 27, 2014

03/24/14 tab clearing

  Not sure what the union representation board NLRB is going to do when demands for legislative action on fast food worker pay (you SHOULD be able to work fast food and pay for a nice house and live the American dream after all!) encourage companies to invest in robots.  Maybe the NLRB will take some more decisive action and ban robots.

  The NSA's DNS record attack tool that is of course, only used with a warrant on bad people.

  Too bad this guy wasn't an NBC "journalist".  This case should scare people.

The 25 conical-shaped, .45 caliber bullets, made by Knight out of lead and copper, sat on the judge’s desk. They do not have primer or gunpowder so cannot be propelled. 

  The affidavit (PDF) against Leeland Yee shows that he really was only trying to drive up prices for the guns he was selling....I think.  However, let's quote the good Senator on automatic rifles from the affidavit:

"People need whatever they want to get.  Do I care?  No, I don't care.  People need certain things."

 You know, it seems hackneyed but damnit, Orwell was a prophet and that's sad:

"All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others"

  Anonymous FBI agents are calling into radio talk shows and saying that the recent Leeland Yee revelations are the tip of the iceberg.  I heard a rumor that it's more Democrat politicians.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Your morning Orwell

  This Winchester Model 86 45-70 rifle is a family heirloom of my family's.  It is pictured below above the mantel of my father's house in Wyoming.  The rifle is in working order as it should be.

  This rifle has spilled blood in the infamous Johnson County Range War and that's all I know.  I asked for more details and was told "you don't want to know."

  Anyway, here's your fix of that visionary Orwell.  It's hard to read Orwell and to not think of Snowden, Feinstein, and the NSA.  It's a bit depressing to think of the land of the Magna Carta (George Orwell's land!), the land where certain inalienable rights many Americans take for granted originated, having been disarmed like it is now.

That rifle on the wall of the labourer's cottage or working class flat is the symbol of democracy. It is our job to see that it stays there.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

On the growing epidemic of disability claims in the South

  I was talking with a good friend who is native of Appalachia about this and he had the following words that struck a chord with me.  Kinda reminds me of LBJ singlehandedly destroying the poor family unit, giving us our fifth generation welfare "families"  we have today.  I'm currently reading LBJ's biography at the suggestion of a good friend and it's truly revolting how slimey he (LBJ) was.

  Anyway, below are my friend's thoughts on the topic of the disability epidemic in the South.  Consider these words as a "report from the front lines."  Also, said friend is a bit of a thinker.  A self made man, he said he ponders this disability epidemic and sees parallels in F.A. Hayek's work "A road to serfdom".  My friend allowed me to use his words in hopes of getting more to think about what's happening to the self reliant culture of Appalachia.

"It's like this: 
Hard times hit the people barely getting by (see Appalachia) first and hardest and then you dangle that government tit out and once you are addicted, you're fucked.  All you can afford is the 99 cent cheeseburger instead of the salad, and once you get maladapted to that line of thinking, or nonthinking, even if you wanted to change, it is illegal to have a garden and the woodstove doesn't meet EPA standards
Yo dawg, the first hit's free"

Monday, March 24, 2014 Ruse, real, or a tax dodge?

  Ostensibly a real organization, is well laid out but kind of missing a message other than we need to do something about gun safety.  OK, well and good.  You could post the NRA Safety Rules and call it done, maybe with a caveat of "lock your shit up when it's not on you."  There you go, that seems to be the gist of this site's message.

  The FAQ leads me to think that this organization wants to address "gun safety" through more laws.  However, here's their "code" (said with suitable reverence).  You have to wonder what the heck is the point in pushing this "code."  To say that these practices need another party outside of your local firearms trainer/the NRA/etc to be advocated is bit silly and also redundant.  It also makes you wonder what a "ManhattanMommy" (Rebecca Bond, founder of this organization) actually knows about firearms and firearm safety.  I engaged the ARF hive mind and lo and behold, Mrs Bond is a DNC donor on top of giving to Gabby Gifford's PAC!

Rebecca Bond Contribution List in 2014

Name & LocationEmployer/OccupationDollar
Contibuted To
Working Assets/Political Director$50005/01/2013PCOLOROFCHANGE.ORG PAC
Architectural Digest/Contributing Editor$2,50001/11/2013PAMERICANS FOR RESPONSIBLE SOLUTIONS-PAC

  Any gun owner that is quasi interested in gun rights knows that a "gun safety" organization based out of New York City should be automatically red flagged.  Then you throw in her article at the Huffington Post and then this bit about the oh-so important story of her schooling decision for her child and something tells me that this marketing professional isn't a Bloomberg drone like the other "Mommys hate guns and mommys know better than you even if it's Bloomberg telling them what to say" organizations but rather a house wife looking to make some bank working for a "cause."  In case you didn't know, non profits are a nice way to make some money "helping" people.  Marketers gotta market.

  I will update this post if I learn more about this organization that's sure to disappear in the next year or so.  Watch the interview she did with Piers Morgan (!) here for some true vapidity and oft repeated platitudes.

  Here's the earth shattering "code" that won't be seen anywhere.

  I'll tell you what, Rebecca Bond.  You're not going to do anything about gun violence.  You don't seem to be the slightest bit interested in getting down to the true socio economic causes of violence (like all of the anti gun movement) and your organization is a waste of time but hey, it should be a sweet tax writeoff.  I mean, it beats wondering why places with strict gun control have high murder rates and realizing that outside of a few rotten inner cities, the US is actually safer than the UK.  If you want the facts, go to Billy Johnson (video below).  You know, try doing....research.  Or just prattle on about you're doing good work and tell me not to be irresponsible with my guns.  Real compelling message, that.  Currently, she's arguing with me on Twitter.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

USPSA as a competitive environment for AIWB (appendix carry shooters)

This excellent article began life as a thread at SouthNarc's forum TotalProtectionInteractive.  The thread's author "OrigamiAK" graciously allowed me to post it here.  The content here easily outclasses that of nearly all gun magazine articles.  Speaking for myself as some who competes here and there as time allows, the time has come to be more realistic about what people are actually using in the real world, USPSA and especially IDPA leaders!  Please note that "AIWB" means "Appendix Inside Waist Band."  I am not at the level that OrigamiAK is with pistol shooting but I'm in firm agreement with him with regards to choice in concealed carry style (AIWB), folks should train like they carry, and that USPSA offers one of the best venues for self improvement in pistol shooting.

Someone asked that I post an account of the ongoing journey that has led to competing in USPSA with my carry gear from concealment.

Heresy, I know. Competing in USPSA, the Gamer Game, with carry gear and concealment? That’s crazy!  Yes it is, but also very challenging and rewarding.

I used to just be a tactical guy doing defensive pistol training.  Several years ago, my training partners and I thought we were pretty good.  We eventually became aware, via informally shooting the IDPA Classifier, that we weren't actually that good – for a long time none of us was even able to shoot Expert.

I carried fourteen pounds of gear every day for years and all I got was this Sharpshooter-level score!

The skill level necessary to score Master or even Expert on the IDPA Classifier was alien to our minds. We had not seen anyone shoot that well, and were only dimly aware that some people could do so.  We were insulated and isolated in our little tactical training community and had no real contact with shooters of the higher skill levels found in competitions.  We didn't even really think much about competition because even thinking about it would probably get us kilt in da streetz.  We just didn't know what we didn’t know.

There's no timer on the street!

But clearly those higher levels of skill were attainable – the score cutoffs were right there in the rankings on the Classifier score sheet.  And I thought of how awesome it would be to reproduce master-level performance with my carry gear from concealment.

So a few of us started to practice more than we had been. I started dry firing in earnest, every day, for a few minutes or a few hours.  I was using a challenging trigger at the time – the NY1 with standard connector – trying to find out if Mas Ayoob was right that a heavy trigger could be run just as well as lighter trigger.  I didn’t end up in precise agreement with him, but after a month of pressing that 10.5 lb. trigger, I had taken around twenty seconds off my Classifier time through increased accuracy and had almost reached the Master class cutoff.

Did some work, realized some benefit, and it made me want to do more.

Over the next few years, I practiced and practiced and practiced. At some point I switched from strong side IWB to AIWB carry, first using a modified Blade-Tech Nano, then later the most excellent Keeper, made by TPI brother Prdator, owner of Keepers Concealment.  I immediately became addicted to the crazy draw speed that can come from a good AIWB rig. 

This…  (AIWB)

helps me do this…

I came to actually enjoy dry fire. I found that it was not enough to want to hit.  I had to learn to enjoy, truly enjoy, that which leads to hitting.  I learned to really like drawing the gun and seeing the sights in alignment on target and pressing the trigger.  I liked it because it represented hitting.  Once I learned to enjoy dry fire, finding time and motivation to dry fire became easy.  This was my own realization of focusing on the process rather than on the outcome."

I happened to have the chance to start my competition endeavor with GSSF first and was fortunate to find success right away, which only motivated me more.  GSSF is great, but I also wanted to get into more dynamic competition, like IDPA or USPSA.

At first glance IDPA seemed like a natural fit.  My core interest being self-defense, and my interest in competition being as a way to induce pressure and improve my shooting and gunhandling for self-defense, IDPA seemed like just the competition for me.  Yet, in an incredible turn of irony, my real carry gear isn't welcome in IDPA.  Appendix carry is not allowed. I would have to wear what amounts to gamer gear for me to shoot IDPA.  So, no IDPA for me.

I can't go back to this!  I won't!

Appendix holsters are allowed in three divisions of USPSA, however: Open, Limited, and Limited-10.  I shoot Limited since I judge that division to most closely comport with my carry gear.  I can use my real holster, my real mag pouches, my real full capacity magazines, my real clothing, and I don't have to wear any additional mag pouches or anything extra to compete.  I just switch out my carry gun for my nearly identical practice/comp gun and I am ready to go.  More on that later. 

Shooting competition with my carry gear from concealment gives me a lot of confidence. When I leave the match, I leave carrying with me exactly the same potential technical ability that I had during the match. 

Dressed for the street and dressed to compete…

This is the gear underneath the t-shirt…

Since I carry a Glock 34 in 9mm, I am shooting Minor caliber in Limited division, which means I get less points per non-A-zone hit and certainly makes placing well more difficult. Concealment makes draws and reloads harder too.  So does shooting what is essentially a stock gun in Limited division, where I am up against race guns without the optics and compensators.  My gun is not even optimized within Production division rules, which is where my gun actually belongs.

These are the hits I need for a good score. Can’t waste any time getting those hits either...

These aggravating factors are not for making excuses about score, but instead exist as positive pressures on my shooting development.  I have to shoot A-zone hits. I have to get almost all the points available if I want to do well.  I cannot coast on fast C-zone hits with Minor caliber scoring.  My draws and reloads have to be that much better to keep up with others’ open-carried race rigs.  My shooting has to be that much better to keep up with others in the division.  Using a legit carry rig, but being measured against the standards set by the best shooters using the most advantageous gear in the division creates an uphill battle to classify well and that is a big additional pressure for me to be disciplined and shoot accurately at speed.

I can get away with this about once per stage, and sometimes not even that…

I know that at least a few of the top pro competitors have tried and dismissed shooting Minor caliber in a division allowing Major caliber scoring and remaining competitive at the highest levels.  When competitors are that close, the extra points from Major scoring seem to win out.  That’s ok.  I am not trying to disprove their findings.  Simply having the extra pressure imposed on me to shoot good hits with a very low rate of error is hugely valuable by itself.

This will sink my score very quickly.

It has been suggested to me that I ditch the carry gear and concealment, and just put on a gamer rig and shoot Production, which is where my gun belongs.  Some have pointed out that the draw is actually a very small part of score in USPSA, and that is true.  People have also said, quite correctly, that using a pure game rig during competition will not degrade my skills with concealment gear.  No doubt that is true.  But I do think that I would be robbing myself of the benefit of drawing and reloading from concealment under match stress."

In my short time in USPSA, I have learned how real match stress is.  I am not making a comparison between match stress and the stress of a real violent encounter, but I can unequivocally say that shooting a match is a much more stressful environment for me than simply practicing alone on the range.  In my non-going-in-harm’s-way life, match stress is one of the few honestly stressful situations available to me.  So I don’t want to miss out on using that environment and pressure to enhance my concealed carry skills.

Slow draw, slow movement, slow makeup shot.....

USPSA is much more complex and mentally taxing than self-defense drills.  Drills in self-defense training are very short and simple in comparison to many USPSA stages.  The lengthy serial tasking of USPSA is quite demanding compared to what I am used to, and requires a level of mental agility in directing technical skill execution that I had not previously developed.  USPSA is hard!  Look how much slower and more disorganized I am in a long USPSA course compared to a short drill on the range.

All kinds of errors in this one. Inefficient entries and exits, standing reload, and more…

I’ve seen that, at least at the local level, my carry gear from concealment is very competitive as long as I do my part well.  I don’t think the gear holds me back much at all.  I've won my division over half the time so far (warning: small sample and local competition only – I hope to get to a couple of major matches in the coming year and see where my gear and skills stand against stiffer competition.) 

Gear choice is a big factor in this.  I would characterize my stock G34 and the Keeper holster as a "race rig for concealed carry."  No doubt things would be much harder if I tried to shoot Limited minor from concealment with, say, a Kahr PM9 (which would be better off in L-10 anyway.)  This is just another version of the discussion about doing what’s necessary to carry the most capable equipment that fits into daily life.  For me, that’s a concealment race rig and I enjoy the potential technical ability it allows.

Over the last four years or so, I have done the following to increase my skills:  Switched from strong side IWB to AIWB. I saw an immediate improvement to my draw times.  When I switched from a modified Blade-Tech Nano to the most excellent Keeper, the consistency of my draw increased noticeably because of the Keeper’s superior ride height options.  If you like AIWB and haven't seen the Keeper yet, you should check it out.  You can see details of the Keeper in my review here, as well as many others’ positive comments: 

I’ve practiced drawing and firing an accurate shot an awful lot.  This is probably the skill I have developed the most in the last few years.  Speed gains came almost immediately when I switched to AIWB, and since then I have been working to improve accuracy and consistency at that speed.  I’ve further explored my old basic four-count draw, the muzzle-level and muzzle-tilted press-outs, the hybrid press-out (arguably what I do now), and even experimented a little with the straight-line competition draw.  Before I made a concerted effort to improve my skills, I could draw and shoot an 8” circle at 7 yards in about 1.6 seconds from strong side IWB.  I can now do so in around half that time from the Keeper carried AIWB.

Several drills and standards have served as benchmarks during these last few years and have allowed me to track my progress and recognize tangible improvement.  I personally find that important because nothing makes me want to improve more than seeing evidence of improvement.  Success begets more and greater successes.

A year and a half ago, I was trying to break five seconds consistently clean on the FAST, and now I’m trying to break four seconds consistently clean. 

I tried to get below two seconds on the Mozambique/Failure to Stop, then I started working on beating 1.5 seconds.

Being a little careful.....

Pushing it....

I tried to get below two seconds on the Mozambique/Failure to Stop, then I started working on beating 1.5 seconds. 

The IDPA Classifier has been the longest-running benchmark of performance I've used.  My times have gone from around 160 seconds when I first shot it years ago, down to a current personal best of a little over 72 seconds.  Very valuable was finding Dave Sevigny’s, Ben Stoeger’s, and Bob Vogel’s times on the IDPA Classifier and filling out score sheets with their names and their times.  All of their scores are a little under 60 seconds.  That became a road map to drive toward their skill level on the short drills that make up the Classifier.  Over time, the gap between their scores and mine on those short drills has narrowed.

A road map to champion-level performance on short-form drills.

I carry less gear but am much more skillful with what I carry now.....

I’ve intermittently chased a perfect score on the Hackathorn Standards but not made it.  I've come close with a 296.  Best run on video is a 292.  I tend to use the IDPA Classifier rather than the Hack since they are so similar.

292 on the Hackathorn Standards

The Manly Man Hackathorn Standards (Ben Stoeger version) features radically reduced PAR times and is a lot harder.  Best on that one is a 274.

252 on the one I recorded.

The Rangemaster Core Handgun Skills Test has been an interesting benchmark because it is scored very differently from the Hack, the IDPA Classifier, and the FAST.  It is scored the same way as USPSA, so accuracy and speed are more on an even balance.  This run is somewhere between 198 and 209, depending on which is the right way to score it.

Probably the most key thing I have learned to do, that was truly pivotal to all that improvement, was to shift my visual focal depth at will, and without the necessity of a physical object – the front sight – being present.  This has allowed me to realize faster and more reliable sight-focused shooting.  The specifics of how to do this are a separate discussion, but this single factor has led to a lot of improvement for me because it led to a drastically increased level of visual awareness of the sights and ability to call shots and track my sights.

About a year and a half ago, I quit lurking and started posting on Pistol-Forum and then later started a training journal there.  I did this to put myself out there and make myself publicly accountable in my practice.  You can see my training journal here, which details the last year of practice.

Here is what it looks like before I transcribe it to the electronic training journal.

Todd Green and the Pistol-Forum community’s priority for consistent performance has been an important moderating influence on my need for speed.  Todd’s influence was very helpful to me when I hosted his AFHF class last July.  He is all about consistency and that’s something I have sorely needed to improve in this ongoing process.  Shooting GSSF for about $800 in cash and guns against a national top-20 GM helps a lot too since penalties are huge and bad shots will screw my score big time and rob me of, well...... cash and guns.

Those influences toward consistency were important factors in this success.

The USPSA shooters I’ve met in person and on the internet at Doodie Project have been hugely supportive of my quest to classify and compete using my concealed carry gear.  I have yet to face anything but respect, encouragement, and good natured ribbing and discussion.  Everyone in the competition community has been way cool to me despite my various tacticalities.  They even affectionately challenged me to go head-to-head against an M-class Production shooter in reenacting a scene for the Miami Vice Video Showdown, one of the most amusing things I’ve done this last year.

The original scene from Miami Vice with commentary from the PACT timer company. The Miami Vice part starts at 0:50.

My reenactment. In addition to the funny stuff, the shooting in this video was done in one honest attempt.

Without all the silly theatrics, I tried a second time to improve my score. This is the best of numerous attempts.

In shooting competition to support self-defense training, decisions have to be made about where to retain defensive firearms training doctrine and where it’s reasonable to abandon it.  I've kept some elements of my previously-sacred tactical training doctrine and discarded other elements of it.

I'm no longer convinced that overhanding the slide is better than closing the slide using the slide stop lever."

I remain committed to using my carry gear from concealment.  A sidenote here: the one and only difference between my carry gun and my practice/comp gun are the sights.  The carry gun has night sights and the practice/comp gun has black sights.  I haven’t been able to get totally comfortable with black sights on a carry gun, but the black sights are like reverse training wheels – they don’t assist me in disciplined sight-focused shooting – they require disciplined sight-focused shooting and help me ingrain good visual habits. 

FULLY BLACK for the visual awareness win!

The only non-stock aspects of my pistols are the strip of grip tape on the backstrap, the customized mag catch, and the sights.

I don’t want to sacrifice the no-look reload, preferring to keep eyes on threat/environment.  Strangely, I’ve repeatedly failed to perceive the usual increase in reliability of magazine insertion by "looking the mag in."  I guess am just weird on this one.

I also prefer to stick with some variation of an inverted-L drawstroke, rather than going to the competition-oriented draw straight from the holster to the final firing position. This is because of the usual self-defense issues accounting for confined-space draws and incorporation of some kind of retention position into the overall drawstroke. And I have become a believer in running the horizontal line of extension at least partially in the true eye-target line.

But competition is just a game! And I’m an odd duck in that game. I'm a little surprised at how comfortable I am being half-in, half-out of the USPSA game. I want to score and place as well as I can. I don't want to compromise certain aspects of defensive technique, as noted above. I want to use my carry gear and concealment even though it puts me at a competitive disadvantage. I have no problem approaching USPSA purely as a game that does not represent reality at all. No game will. I do the walk-through with everybody else, I plan stages and plan reloads, and I make no pretense of tactics or use of cover. I am actually happy at this point that I don't have to deal with rules that require certain tactics be used, which may or may not be valid in any given situation. It’s a game and I play it that way, I just use a certain set of equipment and clothing to play the game with. And that game is very challenging and fun…

My goals in the coming year of USPSA and beyond are to increase my classification and to do well in major matches. I just got my B card in the mail and would like to classify M or GM using my concealment gear. Frankly I was lucky to make B class for my initial classification since I screwed up a couple of classifiers big time. There is undoubtedly a mountain of work needed to reach those goals, but I refuse to believe it cannot be done.

Missed the first shot…This was almost a D-class run. USPSA is not easy!

Anyone who carries AIWB and wants to get the benefits of competition using their concealed carry gear should consider USPSA. I’m only a short distance into the journey and it is a ton of fun and has been a powerful force motivating me to improve. 

One year update:

It's been just about a year since I started this thread, and have been continuing to shoot USPSA, albeit less than I would like to.  Work and family demands increased partway through last year and I have been struggling to make it to one match per month.

I'm still shooting USPSA the same way and really enjoy it. No plans to change equipment. Sights remain the only equipment I really experiment with very much. I did go from a plain black front to a FO (Fiber Optic) front sight, which I really like, and doesn't seem to be undermining my visual discipline. I think all the time with black sights was really important for me.

The one technique change I made last year was to start looking the magazine in on reloads.  What it took for me to see the benefit of doing so was being driven under a lot of time pressure to reload faster in some of the dry fire drills in Ben Stoeger's dry fire book.

Advancing in classification is happening, slowly - I managed to move up to A class toward the end of 2013, and I'm sure excited about continuing to build skill, learn to apply it under match conditions, and move up further in classification.

The next few months of 2014 are getting full fast.  Not directly related to USPSA, but it looks like I will have the good fortune to attend the Rogers Shooting School in April, which I am really looking forward to. I' m retaking Ben Stoeger's USPSA class in May, since he's going to be out here where I live.  I'm hoping to further my understanding of USPSA. I suspect this is one of the those classes where I will learn more the second time though that might have gone over my head the first time.  And my biggest USPSA match to date is coming up a little later in May - the Area One Championship.  I can't wait!

Video is a good way to see where I am right now.  Shot a local match last Saturday. I screwed up a little here and there - a few Cs, a few extra shots, a few slightly bobbled stage plans, shot too carefully in one instance.  But no penalties or gross errors.  I got beat by a Limited M, an Open M, and an Open GM.  I feel like I shot a pretty good match for me, but am kicking myself for losing the Limited match by 0.016%.  I was 2nd overall in Limited, 4th overall in the Combined standings.