Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Flying With Firearms

I was recently asked to participate in a survey in regard to flying with firearms.  The survey group specifically wanted to know if I were ever hassled or detained when flying with my firearms.  Below is the response I E-mailed to them.

"Since the terrorist attack on 9/11, I have flown with firearms (both handguns and long guns) on three separate occasions out of O'Hare International Airport in Chicago.  One trip was to Maine through Boston's Logan Airport.  One was to Memphis, TN, and the other to Boise, Idaho through Denver.  I have never had an incident with any airline, airline employees, or TSA http://www.tsa.gov/ personnel.  Nor have I ever experienced any kind of problems with the local law enforcement.  Ironically, most of these connecting cities that I've flown through, and my city of origin are considered extremely liberal politically.

Maybe I've just been extremely lucky so far, but I am one of those individuals who do not mind the added security and the delays, nor do I mind the pat downs if required.  As a former Deputy Sheriff I understand the need for the additional security concerns.  As a point of clarification, I never display any type of law enforcement credentials nor do I ever inform the airlines that I am former law enforcement, so I can assure you that I am not getting any sort of preferential treatment from them. 

I do believe most of the hassles can be avoided by presenting a positive attitude towards the TSA folks, and by doing a pre-flight assessment of yourself and your belongings.  I always wear slip-on shoes when flying.  I do not wear a belt of any kind.  My car keys are packed away in my luggage.  I do not carry any loose change in my pockets.  My watch is small and unobtrusive and easy to remove.  I also turn my Cell phone off before boarding.  Lastly, I thoroughly inspect all of my personal items before packing to avoid any possible contraband.  This is just good old fashioned common sense.  Something that most of America has lost as of late. 

I know it's probably just a matter of time until I'm hassled, but if and when I am, I'll just grin and bare it.  Truthfully, I try to avoid flying with firearms at all costs if I can help it.  I drive to most of my shooting matches and hunting destinations whenever I can.  As a big man, I also hate sitting in the extremely small seats on planes and paying the checked baggage fees so why should I bother flying if I really don't have to.  In my opinion, air travel has become nothing more than a Greyhound Bus http://www.greyhound.com/ with wings".

We should keep in mind that as members of the gun fraternity we are always open to public scrutiny.  When we are in posession of our firearms we should conduct ourselves in a professional manner and respect anyone we come in contact with.  We are basically ambassadors for the shooting sports whenever we're in the public eye.  Whether we like it or not, that's just how it is! 

Monday, December 12, 2011

The .357 Remington Maximum.

I just purchased a like-new Ruger Super Blackhawk in the much maligned .357 Remington Maximum cartridge.  The .357 Remington Maximum cartridge was originally designed by Elgin Gates for the International Handgun Metallic Silhouette http://www.ihmsa.org/ crowd.  This wildcat round was quite potent out to 200 meters and would knock steel Rams down with authority.  In 1983, the round was introduced into commercial production as a joint-venture between Sturm, Ruger & Co. http://www.ruger.com/index.html and Remington Arms http://www.remington.com/  Ruger released the Super Blackhawk in .357 Maximum and Dan Wesson Arms http://www.cz-usa.com/about-dan-wesson/ came out with their Model 40 revolver. 

The big-name gun writers of the era wanted to see just what this round could do, so they stuffed as much gun powder as they could in the 1.6" case, and launched the lightest .357 bullet weights they could find.  Needless to say that the velocities they were attaining were astronomical.  These gun scribes began to notice a phenomenon called Flame Cutting began to appear on the top strap of their revolvers.  Almost as quickly as it was introduced, the .357 Maximum was branded as too overpowered and unsafe because of the Flame Cutting issue.  Ironically, the Flame Cutting would only cut into the top strap to a certain depth, and after approximately 2,000 rounds or so, the cut would not deepen.

Flame Cutting is commonly found on any revolver that is fed a constant diet of hot, magnum loads.  Flame Cutting results from the hot gasses formed by the burning gunpowder as it escapes behind the bullet as it leaves the cylinder and jumps into the forcing cone of the barrel.  Its the nature of the beast.  Well, the .357 Maximum was unanimously pooh-pooed by the gun scribes, and because of these so-called experts, and excellent cartridge and the guns chambered for it fell by the wayside.

The .357 Maximum was always better suited to heavier bullets weights.  The 158, 180, and 200 grain bullets were preferred by Silhouette shooters and handgun hunters.  The .357 Maximum really found it's niche in the Thompson/Center http://www.tcarms.com/ single shot pistols.  These single shot's have barrel lengths up to 14" and are not prone to the Flame Cutting phenomenon.  The .357 Maximum cartridge really excels in the T/C.  You can stoke the T/C furnace up to 1,800 FPS or more.  It truly is a hand-rifle.  The man to see about T/C barrels and custom work is Mike Bellm of Grant's Pass, Oregon.  http://www.bellmtcs.com/store/

Because most pistols chambered for the .357 Maximum were discontinued early on, factory ammunition is almost non existent for this round as are unfired brass cases.  I was surprised to see that Starline Brass does not offer any .357 Maximum brass.  Remington still makes a run of brass a couple of time a year.  There are also a couple of specialty ammunition manufacturers that make ammo for the Maximum but their prices are quite steep.  I did find an outfit that reloads for the .357 Maximum.  They are Tug Hill Cartridge, Inc. in upstate Camden, New York http://tughillcartridge.com/home 

I have placed an order with Tug Hill for 250 rounds, loaded with the 180 grain Hornady XTP bullet.  This load out of a 7.5" barrel should generate around 1,400 feet per second.  My goal for the Ruger Maximum is to hunt Deer-sized game and Coyotes.  This load should generate more than enough power for my intended purpose, including game up to large Black Bear.  I haven't decided if I'm going to scope the Ruger Maximum yet.  Being that I already have a couple other scoped hunting handguns, I may run the Ruger with iron sights for the time being. 

The .357 Maximum project will keep me busy through the winter and it should be ready for the hunting trip that I'm planning to south Texas to handgun hunt a couple of the Super Exotic species this spring.  I'm looking to hunt Fallow Deer, Axis Deer, and Blackbuck Antelope this time around.  There is no doubt that the .357 Maximum should easily be up to the task at hand.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

ATTS Handgun Hunting Clinic Coming.

As as avid Handgun hunter and Certified NRA Hunter Clinic Instructor http://www.nrahq.org/hunting/clinic/hunterclinic.asp for Wild Turkey, White-tailed Deer, and Western Big Game hunting, I've been waiting for several years for the NRA to come out with a Handgun Hunting Clinic.  I have been told by the brass at headquarters that the next hunter clinic the NRA is in the process of releasing is on Waterfowl Hunting.

Well I've decided to take the bull by the horns and put together my own Handgun Hunting clinic that I will offer through my training company.  I believe I have enough handgun hunting experience and trophies under my belt to produce and teach a clinic such as this, so as soon as it's completed I'll list it on my web site and possibly in Handgun Hunter http://www.handgunhunt.com/ magazine.

This clinic will cover the various game animals that can be hunted with a handgun, firearm and ammunition selection, equipment preparation, shot placement, judging handgun hunting distances, field dressing and trophy preparation.  This clinic should give the budding handgun hunter the knowledge, skills, and attitude necessary to get into the sport of handgun hunting safely and efficiently.

Keep watching my web site for further developments and upcoming clinic dates.  

My Love Affair With Handguns.

Where do I begin.  Well, back when I was a young boy, I used to read all of the gun magazines, especially those on handgunning.  I was afflicted with handgunitis at the tender age of thirteen when I used to go Pheasant hunting with my Uncle Louie.  Uncle Louie was a Greek immigrant and a story unto himself but we'll leave him for another entry.

During our hunts we would stop for lunch along a farm road.  After lunch, Uncle Louie would produce a High Standard Citation .22 caliber target pistol and we would have a go at the empty soda cans.  I caught on quickly to the attributes of sight alignment and trigger control and I'd send those cans flying.  In his broken English, Uncle Louie would tell me that I was a very good shot with handgun.

When I was fifteen, a customer of our family's grocery business asked my Mother if it was okay for me to accompany him to a Moose Lodge Road and Gun Club swap meet.  My Mom agreed so he picked me up on a Honda 750 equipped with a sidecar.  That alone was pretty cool but when we hit the swap meet I was mesmerized by all of the guns for sale.  While walking along the tables filled with goodies, I spied a Smith & Wesson Model 1917 revolver chambered for .45 ACP/Auto-rim.  The revolver has seen it's better days but with a price tag of only $30.00 I wanted it.

I asked the man who took me to the swap meet what I had to do to buy the revolver.  He explained that in the People's Republic of Illinois I needed a Firearm Owners Identification Card (FOID) card and be at least 21 years of age.  I assured him that my Mother would allow me to have it so we called Mom and after some keen negotiation and pleading on my part, the Big S&W was mine.  The man bought the revolver and then transferred it to my Mother the next day.

I shot that old hog-leg for a while and when I was sixteen, I had the chance to pick up a new-in-box Colt Python with a 4-digit serial number from a Chicago Police Officer I knew quite well.  The gun was built in 1959 and it was now 1972.  The Python was cool for a while but the old S&W made me realize I was a "Smith" man for life, or should I say a "Smith" boy.

Now you're probably thinking why would a Mother allow her son to have handguns at that age.  It was a different world back then, kids were far more responsible and mature than those Text-sending, video game playing, mindless, effeminate Zombies that are walking around today.  It was common practice for me to load up my car with several firearms and head to the the firing range by myself or with a few gun buddies.  Now 35 years later I'm still at it.  I'm just a bit more shrewed at wheeling and dealing. 

Over the years I've come to utilize certain calibers more than others.  Between managing one of the largest police pistol clubs in the region, and running my firearm training company, I probably shoot several thousand rounds of rifle and pistol ammunition every year.  I like to keep my caliber selections fairly small.  The bulk of my training and competitive shooting is done with the .38 special, the 9 Millimeter, the .223 Remington, and the .308 Winchester.  But as a handgun hunter there is one caliber that I really cherish and that is the .41 Remington Magnum.

The .41 Remington Magnum first hit the scene in 1964.  It was designed to bridge the gap between the .357 Magnum and the mighty .44 Remington Magnum.  It was also touted as being the ultimate law enforcement caliber, which it may have been had the factory loading been better suited for police use.  Being that the .41 Magnum was pushing a 210 grain bullet at over 1,300 feet per second, it was apparent that it was far too hot a load for rank and file police use.  At the same time several gun scribes had their own pet projects in the mix so the .41 Magnum was pushed aside and became sort of a Red-headed stepchild.

Now as a handgun hunting round it has very few peers.  Granted the .44 Remington Magnum, the .454 Casull, and the newer .460 and .500 Smith & Wesson Magnums far outshine the .41 Magnum in many ways, these aren't the easiest calibers for the average person to handle comfortably.  The .41 Magnum is actually a joy to shoot, even with hotter loads and is extremely accurate to boot. 

Currently, I have several .41 Magnums in my inventory.  My all-time favorites are a Smith & Wesson Model 57 with a six-inch barrel.  A semi-rare Smith & Wesson Model 58 with a four-inch barrel, and a scoped Ruger Super Blackhawk Hunter with a 7.5" barrel.  All of these revolvers shoot extremely well.  The Model 58 was the Red-headed Stepchild that was supposed to replace the police revolvers of the 1960's.

The .41 Remington Magnum will easily take Black Bear.  Several years ago, I hunted Black Bear in Maine with Wayne Bosowicz http://www.foggymountain.com/ of Foggy Mountain Guide Service.  Wayne told me he has killed a slew of Bear with the .41 Magnum.  During my handgun hunt for Mountain Lion in Idaho, the .41 Magnum was at my side.  Shot placement on game is critical when hunting, especially with a handgun.  For most people the .41 Magnum will be much easier to shoot than a .44 Magnum, and that alone will give a shooter the ability and confidence required to make a lethal hit on a game animal.

Now that doesn't mean you can pick up a .41 Magnum and run out into the field and be proficient with it.  On the contrary, all big-bore handguns take time and practice to master.  That means you have to burn up some expensive ammunition to achieve your goals.  You must spend time on the range sighting in your hand-cannon for various distances.  Know where your given load will strike at 25 yards, 50 yards, and possibly 75 yards.  I've seen a lot of hunters who think bore-sighting their firearm means it's sighted in properly.  That is the furthest thing from the truth.  You owe it to yourself and the game your after to become a proficient marksman and handgun hunter.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Utah Concealed Firearm Permit Course

On Sunday, December 4, 2011 ATTS held it's largest Utah Concealed Firearm Permit course to date with 33 students in attendance.  Interest in the Non-resident Utah CFP has increased dramatically due to the State of Wisconsin finally adopting concealed carry on November 1st, and because Wisconsin recognizes the Utah non-resident permit from Illinois residents. 

ATTS will be scheduling at least one class a month in 2012 to keep up with the demand for the Utah permit.  ATTS offers a complete training package to all of it's students which includes all necessary documentation, state mandated training, instructor sign-off and fingerprinting service.  If and when Illinois ever adopts concealed carry, ATTS will be ready to begin teaching those courses as well 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

ATTS "Black Rifle Basics" Course Granted NRA LEAD Approval

On November 23, 2011 ATTS was notified by the NRA Law Enforcement Activities Division that our ATTS "Black Rifle Basics" course was a registered and approved course with the NRA LEAD.  This is exciting news.  The "Black Rifle Basics" Course is an indoctrination into the AR-15 platform of rifles.

This now makes a total of two ATTS courses that have been registered and approved through NRA LEAD.  Our first was the ATTS Tactical Shotgun course, which was approved in September of 2011.  Getting course approval was a very tough process but well worth the effort.  Several-hundred hours of hard work and dedication went into putting together the training curriculum's, the corresponding Power Point presentations, the instructor lesson plans, and the final written exams.

The next courses we are preparing to submit to the NRA LEAD are the ATTS Tactical Pistol Course.  This will be closely followed by the ATTS Precision Rifle (Sniper) Course.  Keep watching the ATTS web site and this Blog page for course updates.    

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

.45 GAP Handgun Safari in Tennessee

While returning from the IALEFI Master Firearms Instructor Development Course held in Chattanooga, I decided to stop off at the Caryonah Hunting Lodge in Crossville, Tennessee http://www.caryonah.com/ and do some Handgun hunting.  The Caryonah Lodge has the distinction of being the oldest family-owned hunting lodge in the United States.  It has been operated by the same family for over sixty years.  I had hunted at the Lodge once before, so I knew what to expect.  Excellent food and lodging, and a great hunting experience with my favorite guide, Doug. 

On this trip, I was going to hunt several species of the Exotic Rams and Goats with the Glock Model 37 pistol, chambered for the .45 Glock Action Pistol (GAP) round.  For ammunition, I would be using the Corbon 200 grain JHP bullet.  These hollow-points resemble the old Speer "Flying Ashtrays."  I chose the .45 GAP cartridge because it is my favorite Home Defense and Concealed Carry pistol/cartridge combination.  My research also showed nobody had yet to take any game animals with it, so essentially these would be the first game animals harvested with this round in the United States.

We started the day off with an excellent breakfast and then Doug and I headed afield.  Three days prior to my hunt, eastern Tennessee had experienced several days of torrential rainfall so the game seemed non-existent.  We finally found a very nice Painted Desert Ram high up on a ridge.  Doug and I formulated a plan, so I took off to stalk this Ram and get within iron-sight handgun range.  I got to within thirty yards of the Ram but the brush was too heavy for a clear shot so he ran off.

Doug and I regrouped and came to the conclusion that the heavy rain had pushed the animals to deep cover, so we'd have to push the heaviest brush we could find on the 2,400 acre lodge.  An hour or so later, we were making a push through some heavy brush when we spotted a herd of Rams sneaking ahead of us.  I took off to the right of the herd and spotted an exceptional Barbarossa Ram in a clearing.  One shot from the Glock dropped the Ram.  He sported a very nice 32" spread on his horns.  After taking some photos and dressing out the Ram I took off to stalk the group.

The next Ram I spotted was the same Painted Desert Ram I saw on the ridge earlier that morning.  He saw me and immediately took off.  After several minutes of stalking, I managed to cut him off and dropped him with the .45 GAP as well.  The Painted Desert Ram is one of the most beautiful of all the Exotic Ram species.  This one was no exception.

Doug showed up so we took some more photos, dressed the Ram out and I went after the group once again.  Sometime later, I spotted a very nice Black Hawaiian Ram sneaking through the brush.  I acted as if I didn't see him and continued on past him to set up an ambush point.  The Ram appeared right where I expected him to show, but sensed I was there and started to run.  Another one of Corbon's "Flying Ashtrays" found it's mark and the Black Ram was mine.  We performed the customary photographic ritual once again and dressed the Ram out.  We headed back to the lodge to hang our quarry and have a fine lunch.

After lunch, Doug had mentioned that he had seen a fine Jacobs (4-horn) Ram in some high Swale grass in another corner of the lodge.  We proceed off to the spot and started to walk through the area.  I saw a patch of white to my right and then saw the outline of a very nice Spanish Goat.  The Goat turned to leave, but the 200 grain Corbon JHP caught him behind the left shoulder and down he went. 

As I was walking towards the Spanish Goat, I saw a set of horns sticking above the swale grass.  I turned and stalked the Ram to within seven yards or so.  The Jacobs Ram was standing deep in the high grass, so I figured he probably didn't think I saw him, so he'd stay put until I passed by.  That was a mistake on his part.  I shot this Ram and he just looked at me as if I had missed.  I shot him twice more before he finally fell.  The Jacobs Ram is a thick, and extremely woolly beast, so I believe some of that thick wool may have plugged up the hollow-point bullet so it didn't expand as expected.  All three shots were well placed and lethal.  We took our final photos and dressed out the two animals.

We drove back to the lodge and hung the game with the other three Rams.  All in all, I harvested five excellent animals.  They will all make wonderful wall mounts.  The taxidermist arrived and took possession of them.  This hunt has all but completed my Grand Slam for the Exotic Rams species.  Several years prior, I had taken a very surley Wild Boar, an excellent Texas Dall Ram and a beautiful Corsican Ram.  The final Ram I need for the Grand Slam is the Mouflon Ram.

I was leaving very early the following morning, so I bid goodbye to the staff at Caryonah and to my guide Doug that evening.  With such as successful hunt under my belt, the ten-hour drive back to the Chicago area didn't seem so bad.        


Sunday, October 9, 2011

What's New Isn't Exactly What's Best

I received an E-mail depicting photographs of a very ugly firearm mishap.  After reading the shooter’s tale of woe, there is no doubt in my mind that the cause of this incident was operator error.  It seems this guy was preparing for the hunting trip of a lifetime and was sighting in his .300 Remington Ultra Magnum. 

While he was shooting, he inadvertently placed a .325 Winchester Short Magnum round into the chamber and pulled the trigger.  Since the .325 WSM is a much shorter round than the .300 RUM, the .325 chambered.  The .325 WSM is a shortened version of the now defunct 8 M/M Remington Magnum.  Essentially, this guy was trying to push a .323 bullet diameter through a .308 diameter barrel, so he is lucky enough just to be alive.  The chamber pressures had to be off the scale.  Mixing ammunition is a recipe to disaster.  If you’re sighting in several rifles during one range outing, it’s a prudent idea to move any other rifles and ammunition off of the shooting bench.  Then check and double-check your ammunition prior to shooting it or when storing it away.  Don’t mix various calibers of ammunition in the same storage containers.

Now maybe it's just me, but when the firearm industry introduced all of these Super-duper, Super-short and Super-long Magnums I thought they were trying to reinvent the wheel to revive a stagnant industry.  Most, if not all of these so-called "Modern" hunting cartridges have already gone the way of the Passenger Pigeon.  Maybe I'm old fashioned but I'll stick with the tried and true rifle rounds.  I personally like the .223 Remington, the .243 Winchester, the .308 Winchester and the .30-06 Springfield.  All of these afore-mentioned rounds have harvested boatloads of game of both the two and four legged variety. 

Now don’t get me wrong, I also like several of the magnum cartridges as well.  It’s not a secret that I'm quite fond of Weatherby rifles, so I do cherish my .257 Weatherby Magnum, my .300 Weatherby Magnum, and my .378 Weatherby Magnum.  My .257 WM has accounted for several Pronghorn and a Mule Deer or two.  The .257 WM is my top choice for Deer and Antelope.  It has never failed to drop any animal I shot with one round. 

I also think the .300 and .338 Winchester Magnums in their original forms are both wonderful performers on big, heavy tough animals.  I once owned a .338 Winchester.  It was quite a rifle.  An acquaintance of mine has taken several large Moose with the .338 in Alaska and a large Bull Elk.  I’ve also taken a very good Bull Elk in Wyoming with a .300 Winchester Magnum. 

I know, I know, belted magnums are supposedly passé but so what!  I once owned a 7 M/M Remington Magnum for about 30 years and shot the snot out of it.  The Big 7 was a great performer on targets as well as on big game, but I did feel severely under-gunned with it when I went to Alaska in 1988 and saw Grizzly prints as big as my head.  On that trip I shot a Caribou on a dead run with the 7 M/M Magnum at over 230 yards.  It fell as if a bolt of lightning had struck it.  When I got home from Alaska I bought a .375 H&H Magnum.  I was never going to travel into big bear country again without a major fight stopper in my hands.  The .375 H&H Magnum was like a good insurance policy.  I hoped I never have to use it but if I did, I was well covered.    

Belted magnums have been around since at least 1912.  That was back during the Holland & Holland days and Cordite stick powder.  The .300 and .375 H&H Magnums killed thousands of head of African game throughout the years with excellent results.  The belted magnums became even more popular with big-game globetrotters when a man named Roy Weatherby began building rifles out of his garage in South Gate, CA in 1944. 

Winchester then introduced their own line of belted magnums in 1958 with four stellar rounds.  The .264 Winchester Magnum, the .300 Winchester Magnum, the 338 Winchester Magnum, and the .458 Winchester Magnum.  The .264 WM was a real screamer and barrel life suffered greatly because of it.  You were lucky to get over 1,000 rounds out of a .264 WM barrel.  I once knew a man out west who burned one out in about 700 rounds.  But up to that point it was a Mule Deer and Pronghorn killer deluxe.

The point I’m making here is that we’ve had a slew of excellent tried and true Magnum and standard game-getters available to us for decades.  So why the fuss over these new rifle rounds?  Ironically, most if not all of these new flash in the pan rounds are already dead and buried.  I think the only ones that seem to be holding on are the 7 M/M and .300 Remington Ultra Magnums. 

The only new magnum rifle round that I believe to be relevant is the .338 Lapua.  Now that’s one Hell of a cartridge.  Ask any British or American military sniper in Iraq or Afghanistan what they think of this long-range death ray.  It can drive a 250 grain bullet at 3,000 feet per second and still remains supersonic at 1,000 yards.  That is awesome killing power.  The .338 Lapua doesn’t sport a belted case so it headspaces on the shoulder like most standard cartridges.  Because of the military’s high regard for this round and its growing acceptance in the law enforcement community, I believe the .338 Lapua is definitely here to stay.   


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

ATTS Receives NRA LED Approval For New Tactical Shotgun Course

I'm proud to announce that the Academy of Tactical Training & Security, LLC finally received it's long-awaited course approval letter from the NRA's Law Enforcement Division (LED) for our new ATTS Two-day Tactical Shotgun course.  ATTS is now in the process of securing ranges to host this exciting new course offering for our students. 

Since most firearm confrontations happen after dark, the live-fire portion of the class will also include low-light training and shooting drills.  I believe this class may very well become one of our most popular course offerings to date.

ATTS is also in the process of submitting it's Tactical Pistol and Tactical Carbine courses to the NRA LED so we can gain approved status for them as well.  Our ultimate goal here at ATTS is to have all of our courses approved by the NRA.     


Monday, September 12, 2011

My Reflections of 9/11.

Like many of you probably did ten years ago, I watched with horror as two planes collided into the World Trade Center Twin Towers.  My first thought was that both of my Half-sisters in New York were dead.  One worked in Building One, and the other worked in Building Seven. 
I frantically called for hours trying to get word of their status, and it wasn't until 11:00 PM that my older sister called me back and told me of her ordeal.  She watched with disbelief as people plunged to their death from the windows of the WTC.  Those images still haunt us both today.  I can't think about those people without weeping openly as I am doing now.
That was also the first day I ever gave blood.  I went to Lutheran General Hospital and the line to donate blood started at the main entrance and wrapped around the building.  As I waited, I saw a gentleman walk in solemnly.  He kept his eyes to the ground the whole time he was in line.  This gentleman was of Islamic background.  He had the typical middle-eastern type beard, clothing, and head covering.  At first, I looked at him with rage in my heart, but then I realized, what a great amount of courage it took for him to venture out to donate blood on that terrible day.
He could have easily been beaten savagely by the crowd or killed.  It was at that exact minute I decided that if he had the Intestinal Fortitude to stand in line to give blood, I'd defend him to the death if necessary.  His presence in that line, at least to me, proved that he too was an AMERICAN!  Thankfully, nobody tried to bother him, and nobody said a negative word to him.
That is the memory I will carry with me to the grave about the attack on America on September 11, 2001.  The quiet Middle-eastern man who came to give blood for the victims of 9/11.  As far as I'm concerned, he too was a hero in my book.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Greatest Battle Ever Waged.

I don't know if you remember what I consider the greatest Football game EVER played in the history of the sport.  That was the AFC Divisional Playoff Game between the Miami Dolphins and the San Diego Chargers on January 2, 1982.  It was touted as "The Game No One Should Have Lost."  On that balmy Miami evening, the determined combatants gave every ounce, every scintilla of their being to win this game.  If you were born after 1982, I strongly urge you to find a copy of the game and watch it without any interruption. 

As I watched my TV, I wept with pride.  I no longer cared who won or lost because of the epic struggle that was playing out before my eyes.  The battle was finally decided in overtime after 4 hours and 5 minutes.  The score was 41-38 in favor of the San Diego Chargers.    

After the game, several of the players were so severely dehydrated, they had to have IV's inserted in their arms.  Several were bloodied, and couldn't walk from the terrible cramps they endured.  A couple couldn't even speak.  This was a total all-out war, pure and simple.  Neither side would give up.  It was ultimate combat.  Like watching a Gladiator school. 

This game was an excellent example of the true warrior spirit.  Of never giving up the struggle, and fighting to the death if necessary.  We as instructors of martial weapons can learn a lot from the unbelievable effort that Chargers Tight-end, Kellen Winslow, put forward on that fateful evening.  We should try to instill this "never say die, never give an inch" attitude into every student we train.  It may save their life someday.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Ball & Dummy Drills Work Wonders

Yesterday, I took three members of my shooting club to the ISRA range in Kankakee so we could work on their pistol skills.  One member was a fairly new shooter to the League and had shot one season of our Off-duty matches with us.  This member has the makings of a top notch pistol shooter but she struggled with a being consistent shooter.  She would shoot a couple of X's in a row and then shoot a low eight.  She also couldn't make a lot of her head shots last season.

I started the group out by letting them fire a few rounds to get back into the swing of things and then got them on doing Ball & Dummy Exercises.  For those of you who don't know what Ball & Dummy exercises are, or have never done them yourself, they really work wonders to improve your shooting, and the results are immediate.  Basically you have someone else load your magazine with live and inert (dummy) rounds staggered throughout the magazine.  When the shooter pulls the trigger on a dummy round the shooter will actually get to see and feel if they flinch or have poor trigger control.  Until some shooters see this for themselves, you can tell them until your blue in the face what they're doing wrong but it may not sink in.

Within three or four magazines this particular shooter was shooting one jagged hole in the 10 and X-ring at regulation Off-duty match distances.  The improvement was rapid and remarkable.  These drills also made the entire group focus on weapon malfunction clearance skills (Tap-Rack-Assess).  If you doubt that these drills work, try them for yourselves.

We then started working with the Remington 870 Tactical shotgun.  Since we were being pressed by others for use of the range, I had to have this group fire the NRA Law Enforcement Instructor's Shotgun Qualification course cold.  I had drilled them on the operation of the Remington 870 in my classroom for a couple of hours with dummy rounds.  This was a couple days prior to our outing in Kankakee, so this was all the training they basically got on the shotgun.  I wanted them to warm up shooting some drills with light Trap loads but no such luck.  On the first attempt all three passed the Rifled Slug course with a 100% score.  When I took the LE Instructor course back in June, several LEO’s failed the course on their first attempt, and one instructor candidate quit without even trying to qualify.  Sad really, considering that two of my group in Kankakee were women who had never fired a Tactical shotgun or Rifled Slugs before.

By the way, the Hogue Over-molded shotgun stocks with 12" LOP work great for students of smaller stature, and for shooters wearing body armor, of which we had both. 

We then worked on the AR-15 rifle.  Again, these shooters were drilled in my classroom for about an hour on the nomenclature and operation this great rifle.  The range wasn't conducive to tactical shooting so we had to fire from a bench without support.  Even though all three shooters were new to the AR-15 they all fired fairly tight groups at 50 yards.  One was routinely making head shots.  For a powerful, high-capacity rifle, the AR-15 is a joy to shoot, especially for new shooters.  

The entire group did exceeding well and everyone present enjoyed themselves.  We were all ecstatic with their performance.

The point of this story is that Dry Drills do work wonders!  You don't need to fire live rounds to become a proficient weapon handler, especially at first.  On the contrary, I believe new shooters need to learn how to operate whatever firearm platform they are intending to use, dry with dummy rounds long before they ever step foot on a range to fire live ammo.  Dry practice will give them the confidence required to operate the firearm safely, efficiently and exceed as marksman and top-notch gun handlers.

At least that's my opinion.  

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Society Unravelling Quicker Than Expected.

After the "Wilding" attacks on the Chicago lakefront, at the Wisconsin State Fair, and the civil unrest that's going on in the UK, there is no doubt that the fabric of society is unravelling.  It's also unravelling faster than I had predicted.  We are in the downward spiral of a decaying society and our current Presidential administration's policies isn't helping matters at all.  With all that has happened to our economy and the recent downgrading of our credit rating, I believe we're in for some very ugly times ahead.  When the Stock Market finally melts down, I pity those who are not prepared.

This is not a time to be investing what spare money you may have in the stock market or low interest CD's.  It's the time to invest in bottled water, long-term food storage, and survival equipment such as Wool blankets, candles, stick matches, flashlights, batteries, and trauma first aid supplies.  It's also a time to stock up on firearms, large quantities of ammunition, and quality defensive training.  I recently purchased several months worth of freeze-dried food from http://www.foodinsurance.com/  Hopefully these emergency rations will be enough for us to ride out the initial hail storm that we may be facing.

I do believe in my lifetime (and I'm 56) we will see civil unrest like never before.  I believe we will see roving bands of Have-nots looting and pillaging not only from your Main Street strip malls, but from average people's homes such as your's.  If you and your loved one's cannot defend yourselves and your food cache, you'll be in serious peril.  I'm sorry to say but I feel that women who are on their own will be in for the worst of it, if you get my meaning.  In a full scale upheaval don't be under the delusion that law enforcement will be able to help you.  They will already have their hand's full on the street.

Now if you also think that a few boxes of shotgun shells for your trusty Duck Gun will suffice in warding off evil, then you are sadly mistaken.  You'll need to whack the barrel off of your Old Brown Bess, remove the plug, and purchase several cases of shot shells.  You should also consider the absolute bare minimum to be 1,000 rounds of ammunition per defensive firearm.  Also, if you own any magazine-fed firearms, they are only as good as the number of loaded magazines you have on hand during an attack.  So plan on having at least 10 magazines per firearm.

You will be under enormous amounts of stress if this type of situation ever occurs, and under stress, we tend to regress to our lowest level of training.  If you have no training whatsoever, how do you think you'd fare in an all-out Zombie attack?  Poorly at best.  Seek out a quality instructor who will teach you and your loved one's how to operate firearms tactically and under stress-induced conditions.  This will be money well-spent if you ever become the focus of a mob set on looting your home and ravaging your women-folk.

An inexpensive option for people who are not gun savvy is to shop for used, short-barreled shotguns in their local gun shops.  Many of these used shotguns are police trade-ins and can be purchased for less than $250.00 a copy.  At this price you can afford to outfit your whole clan.  Try to purchase the same type of shotguns so everyone in your home gets trained on the exact same weapon platform.  I've just purchased five Remington 870 Police shotguns for my company.  They were all department trade-ins.  I got the bunch for under $1,000.00.  Add a couple cases of shotgun shells to that mix and your family becomes a formidable opponent for even the most determined band of looters. 

The key to surviving any upheaval is proper preparation and training.  Seek out the training you'll need, spend the money, and gain some tactical knowledge for you and your loved ones.  I truly hope that you and your family will never have the need to utilize this type of knowledge, but if you do, remember that you read about it here.      


Monday, August 1, 2011

Hogue Over-Molded Synthetic Stock With 12" Length of Pull.

Some of you know that I've moved away from the Knoxx Spec-Ops stocks.  While they helped control recoil (something that didn't bother me much in the first place) they were very hard on the cheek bone, and they added a lot of weight to an already loaded down shotgun.  I found that I liked the Knoxx stock best when I shot it in one of the shorter Length of Pull settings.  The setting I preferred was one notch above the fully collapsed position.  That was also the setting I used at the NRA LE Pistol/Shotgun Instructor course in Missouri, and it proved to be deadly fast and accurate. 

I just purchased a Hogue Over-Molded Synthetic Stock with the 12" LOP.  Yes, it's very short, but when you're shooting a shotgun tactically, or when you're wearing body armor, a standard 14" LOP stock is far too long.  The 14" LOP stock was designed for shooting Trap and bird hunting, not for hunting men. 

The installation took about five minutes tops and the stock feels good.  The only adjustment I'll have to make is in my shooting hand position.  I'll have to shoot with a Thumb-forward grip like when I'm shooting a Service Rifle, as opposed to the standard grip of the thumb wrapped over the wrist of the stock.  That's so I don't smash my thumb into my nose when shooting heavy loads such as 00-Buck, Rifled Slugs, or my personal house guest offering of Federal Premium, 3" Magnum, Copper-plated #4 Turkey loads.  Now if I do forget to use my new thumb position, it will probably only happen to me once.

This should also be a good stock for smaller-framed shooters like women and young adults.  They're also inexpensive.  Midway USA sells the Hogue Over-molded stock and forend set for about $55.00.  With an 18.5" barrel my house gun is now much easier to maneuver with a total OAL of only 36.5". 

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Remington 870 Shell Lifter (New vs Old Type)

Yesterday at my club's Three-gun match, we were discussing the differences between the new and old style Remington 870 Shell Lifters.  The new style lifter came out around 1985-86, around the same time as the Rem-Choke system.  The newer style had a three-sided, rectangular cut-out in it.  This was known as the Flexi-Tab Shell Lifter.  Remington also made changes to the Bolt and the Carrier Plate to accommodate the new lifter.

The reason for the changes was because Remington received complaints that if you Short-shucked an 870, or didn't fully seat the shells into the magazine tube, a shell could inadvertently pop out under the bolt, and on top of the lifter, which would jam up the shotgun.  The old style Lifter was made of heavier material so it was far more rigid and wouldn't flex.  Now if you loaded an 870 properly and didn't Short-shuck the action this wasn't a problem.  I've owned and used several (old type) Remington 870's since around 1975 and I've never experienced this problem.  I currently have five of the old style 870 police shotguns in my inventory. 

Now if you do experience a jam of this nature there are a couple ways of clearing it.  You can take a pocket knife and slide it along the Shell Lifter, pushing the round back into the magazine tube (another reason to always carry a knife).  Or you can hold the Slide Release lever in and strike the butt of the shotgun on a hard surface like the ground (muzzle pointed in a safe direction of course) and that should clear the jam.  If I was fighting for my life, and I had cover available to me, this would be the technique I'd use. 

Now Remington sells a conversion kit consisting of a new Bolt, Shell Carrier, and Carrier Plate.  Depending on where you find them, the update kit runs from $65.00 to $99.00.  Either Brownell's or Midway USA probably carry this conversion kit.  Personally, if you have an old style 870, I'd say save the money and use it towards shotgun ammo so you can learn how to run the gun properly.

Of course, if you do experience a jam on any long gun and you don't have available cover, then you should be transitioning to your handgun.  Now if you're carrying a long gun into a armed encounter and you don't have a handgun to transition to, then you've just stepped into another pile of dog dung.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Gun Cleaning: Facts and Fantasy.

There has been much discussion over the subject of cleaning firearms.  For those of you who are still under the assumption that you must clean your firearms after each and every range session, or after some prescribed number of rounds, then I urge you to please read an excellent article titled "A Clean Barrel" on page 66 of the November issue of the American Rifleman, by John Barsnsess. 

I agree with John on many points.  The Black powder era is indeed long gone.  We have been shooting smokeless powder for well over a century now.  There is no reason to fear that your barrel will rust away if you don't clean it.  Many new shooters who come into my shooting club are under the assumption that they must clean their firearms after every range session.  Nothing is further from the truth than this misconception.   

Rifles: My Savage match rifle chambered in .308 Winchester goes a full shooting season before I clean it.  That's approximately 600+ rounds of Federal Gold Medal match ammunition fired through the bore without me doing a thing to it.  The Savage will routinely shoot its best scores somewhere between 300 and 450 rounds.

My Remington Model 700 VS Varmint rifle fired well over 1,000 rounds on a four day Prairie Dog hunt in South Dakota, and was only cleaned twice.  Once during the hunt, and then when I got home.  We dispatched an awful lot of Pasture Poodles on that trip and not one of them complained about a dirty barrel not shooting well.  

In 1994, I attended the FBI's Sniper/Observer School.  I used a Springfield Armory Super-Match M1-A rifle and never cleaned it once during the 5-day course.  We shot well over 400 rounds during the class and on the final day, I shot a perfect qualification score and placed second overall in the FBI’s shooting drills. 

I shoot the Savage a lot, so when I do decide to clean it I’m not very persnickety about it.  I brush the bore several times with a plastic bore brush to loosen any powder fouling in the barrel.  Next, I'll push a wet patch through the bore followed by a few dry patches to wipe most of the fouling out.  Finally, I use a wonderful product called Outer's Bore Foam.  The Bore Foam looks like shaving cream and was created to remove the dreaded copper fouling.  I spray the foam into the bore from the breech end until it comes out of the muzzle.  I let the foam sit in the bore overnight.  The next day I’ll push the foam out with a couple more dry patches.  At this point, I'm done cleaning the bore.  What's that old Hippie saying?  Better Living Through Chemistry.   

I’m also not in the habit of running a slew of patches through a bore until they come out squeaky clean because personally, I’ve never seen that happen.  There will always be some discoloration left on a patch.  Anyway, I'm going to foul up the barrel again fairly soon so I don't sweat it too much.   If you can run a dry patch through a clean rifle bore that comes out without a speck of discoloration on it then you're definitely a better man than I am.
Barrel Break-in: As far as the barrel Break-in procedure goes.  I've done the barrel break-in procedure on a few rifles and I've also shot a lot of them right out of the box.  Both the Remington 700 VS and the Savage Model 10FP were not broken in.  I just shot them as is.  I personally never found any appreciable difference in accuracy to ever waste my time with that process again.  Now that may raise the hackles on some of you die-hard riflemen out there but that's the plain and simple unadulterated facts of life.  If you insist on doing it, then have at it!

A lot of riflemen I know are still futzing around breaking-in their rifles, tweaking this or tweaking that.  Three of my club’s F-class seasons have come and gone and some of these guys have yet to fire a single round down range.  Let's face it folks, this isn't a NASA mission.  We aren’t sending men to Mars here!  I believe the best advice I can give a guy like this is for them to clamp on their scope, bore-sight their rig, and go out to the range and start shooting the damned thing already!  We can always work out the particulars on the firing line.  A few minor scope adjustments and an Allen key and you'll be zeroed for 300 yards in no time flat.    

Pistols: The handguns I use in match competition also shoot far better dirty than they do when they’re clean.  My PPC revolvers and my Smith & Wesson Model 52-2 target pistol all go a full season between cleanings.  That's approximately 1,000 rounds per revolver and about 500+ rounds for the Model 52-2.  Granted, I'll run a Bore Snake through them once in a while, and wipe off the feed ramp on the Model 52, but I'm not dissembling them during the shooting season unless I absolutely have to. 

My Glock 34 pistol has gone through a couple seasons of Three-gun matches and a tactical training course or two without being cleaned and that amounts to roughly 2,000 rounds, give or take a hundred.  My AR-15 has also fired several thousand rounds between cleanings without a hitch.  My good friend, and master instructor, John Krupa of Spartan Tactical Training Group couldn't believe that my AR-15 still worked after he inspected it.  

Over the years, I've known several shooters who have done major damage to their firearms by silly, over-zealous cleaning rituals than by shooting them.  I've seen the Crowns on several Smith & Wesson revolvers totally ruined by Nimrods wanting to thoroughly clean their revolvers.  Beware of Aluminum cleaning rods.  They can damage firearms.  Use a Brass rod when cleaning a firearm or better yet, purchase the new Graphite or Carbon Fiber cleaning rod if possible.  The one-piece models are best.  There are no sections to unscrew during use.  If you're cleaning a bolt action rifle you should definitely be utilizing a cleaning rod guide while scrubbing your bore.   

Now, I'm nowhere near the best shooter in my shooting club.  There are several members who are far better than I, but I do feel my level of ability speaks for itself.  I didn't get to where I am today by constantly cleaning guns.  I got here by sending thousands, upon thousands, upon thousands of rounds downrange.  I'm sure if asked most of our top shooters don't scrub their guns after every range session either.   

If you like to clean guns often then God bless you.  You can then come to my home and clean mine if you'd like?  I absolutely detest cleaning guns!  It's too much like work.  It stinks, it's messy, and it's time consuming.  I feel that the time I have left on this good Earth is far better spent sending a lot of rounds down range, thus trying to become a better shooter than by constantly cleaning my guns.

One Word of Clarification: These are NOT duty weapons we're talking about here.  Duty and Self-defense weapons a completely different animal unto themselves.  Duty and Self-defense weapons should be thoroughly cleaned and inspected after each and every use.  Your life or the life of a partner, or loved one may depend on it.


A Gem in the Rough: Remington 870 Police Shotgun Trade-ins.

I recently purchased several Remington 870 Police shotguns for my training company.  These 870's were police department trade-ins, which featured the Remington Deer barrels with rifle sights.  Like most LE firearms, the finish may be a bit rough, but the internals are usually in excellent shape.  That's because most law enforcement shotguns are carried often and fired little, or they sit in the department armory for years.  Police trade-ins are normally priced to sell fairly quickly.  The one's I purchased ranged between $200.00 and $240.00 depending on their overall condition. 

As I expected, the finish was rough with some surface rust.  The stocks were also pretty well worn and beat up.  I carefully polished all of the metal surfaces with 0000 Steel Wool and some Gibb's spray lubricant.  That removed all of the surface rust and any accumulated crud.  When I was done, the gun's bluing looked almost new.  While surfing the Internet I then came across some genuine Remington black synthetic stock sets from Scattergun Technologies (Wilson).  These were brand new sets and in the Police configuration that I wanted to retain.  The best part of this find was that the stock sets were only $37.00 a piece.  I bought up six of the sets so I had a few spares on hand, in the event I found a couple more 870's that needed new hardware. 

Since these guns were going to be used as trainers, I also changed the standard Shell Followers with the Lime Green variety also sold by Scattergun Technologies.  That way, any of my student's or adjunct instructor's could tell at a glance if the magazine tube was indeed empty.  I also swapped out the magazine tube springs while I was at it.  Wilson sells a complete set (spring & follower) for only $12.00.  I then added a standard, two-point, black nylon sling from Uncle Mike's and these guns were ready to rock!

When training students on the defensive shotgun, I want all of the guns to be as box-stock as possible.  I want  to see a standard type sling on the shotgun, but I don't want dot-sights, side-saddles, flashlights, light-rails, mag-tube extensions, or any other accessories in my class that will add unnecessary weight, or distract the student from the job at hand.  They can add all of that stuff later on, if they so desire.  Over the years I have found that less is more.  Personally, I've done away with a lot of the after-market accessories on my defensive shotguns.  I now add a standard sling and a small flashlight, that's it!

If you're looking for a good home defense shotgun, you don't have to spend a lot of money to get one.  Search out your local gun shops that deal with law enforcement agencies, and you may just find a gem in the rough for well under $300.00.    


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

ATTS to Offer Tactical Shotgun and Rifle Courses.

The Academy of Tactical Training & Security, will soon be offering training courses for the Tactical Shotgun and the Tactical Carbine.  The Power Point presentations and lesson plans have been created and are all set to go.  We are now in the process of finding an outdoor range facility to stage the live-fire portions of the class.  As soon as that's finalized, we'll post the courses on the ATTS website.

The two-day Shotgun course will be heavily geared towards the Remington 870, and the Mossberg 500/590 pump shotguns.  The two-day Rifle course will focus primarily on the AR-15 rifle platform. 

Based on the NRA Law Enforcement training standards, anyone interested in learning how to defend one's self, home, and family with these types of firearms will be hard-pressed to find better training anywhere.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Kolovos Wins Sixth NSPPL Three-Gun Crown!

I'm very proud to announce that I won my Sixth Three-Gun championship with the North Suburban Police Pistol League.  The League has been running Three-gun matches during the summer for the last seven seasons.  I missed having seven consecutive championships by 1.5 points in 2007.

I also set the League's record high score and record high average in 2010, by firing an 1145.50 average and posting a 1150-64X high score out of a possible grand aggregate of 1160.  I have already broken the record high score by posting a blistering 1154-71X this season.

The NSPPL Three-Gun matches are geared towards night fighting and entry work.  These matches are fired in extreme low light conditions and target exposure times are very short.  To compete, you need a duty-type pistol, a carbine and a tactical-type shotgun.  Weapon mounted lights and night sights are almost a necessity for these matches.  Distance range from 4 to 25 yards.  If you think that sounds easy, come on out and try it.

My choice of weapon platforms for these matches are the Glock 34 pistol, a Rock River M4 type carbine, and a Benelli M4 shotgun.  For shotgun ammo I use Federal's Reduced Recoil Tactical 00-Buck Shot and Rifled Slug loads in the Benelli.  They are both extremely accurate loads.  The 00-Buck loads shoot very tight groups at 15 yards, and 100% targets are not uncommon with either load.  I run night sights on the Glock and EoTech's on the AR-15 and the Benelli.  I use both Surefire and Streamlight illumination systems.

I feel my reign as champion may not last too much longer as we have some great up and coming Three-Gun shooters nipping at my heels.  I'm rooting for them, because for competition to remain keen, it requires new blood and new champions.       

Training, Training, and More Training.

I haven't posted anything in a while because I've been out of town training.  Yes, even instructors go to training classes.  Since February, I've successfully completed three of the NRA's Law Enforcement Instructor courses.  I first attended the Precision Rifle (Sniper) Instructor's course at the Memphis PD's training academy.  What a great facility and what a great bunch of officers.  Memphis PD is a top notch department and quite professional.  Needless to say I was very impressed.  Qualification day brought dark skies and pouring rain.  I was soaking wet and could barely see through my rifle scope, but I still managed to fire a perfect score on the qualification course.

April, found me in Salt Lake City, Utah to attend the State's mandated refresher course, so I could renew my Utah Concealed Firearm Permit Instructor's certification.

Then in May, I completed the Patrol Rifle Instructor's course held in Ford City, Pennsylvania.  This was a physically demanding course that truthfully tested my limits of endurance.  At 55 years old I'm proud to say I made it through and shot another 100% on the qualification course.

June found me in Mexico, Missouri at the Audrian County Sheriff's Department, for my third NRA school.  This one was the Pistol/Shotgun Instructor's course.  It was very windy but the weather was beautiful.  I am very proud to say that I fired 100% on both the pistol and shotgun qualification courses.  The Audrian County Sheriff's Department were also great hosts.

I have one more NRA Law Enforcement school I want to attend in Kansas, this coming October.  That is the Tactical Shooting Instructor's school.  This is supposedly the most grueling of their instructor courses so I'm hitting the gym now to get myself ready for it.

Whether you are an instructor, a seasoned shooter, or a novice, you can never get enough training.  You never stop learning and you're never too old to learn.  I've always said that even if you just pick up one tip from an instructor you've gotten your money's worth.  That one tip may just save your life someday.         

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Women's Introduction to Firearms & Self Defense Class Very Successful.

The Academy's first-ever Women's Introduction to Firearms & Self Defense class was a big success.  Twenty-two women signed up for the course held at the Holiday Inn-Elk Grove.  The ladies were introduced to four of the most prolific firearms found in households throughout the United States.  The Smith & Wesson revolver, the Glock striker-fired pistol, a Mossberg 500 pump shotgun, and an AR-15 carbine.

As with all ATTS courses the first topics covered in the class was home firearm safety, safe storage of firearms, and proper gun handling techniques.  We constantly stressed the importance of keeping their finger off the trigger until they are ready to actually fire a round, and to never point a firearm at anything they are not willing to destroy, including their own body parts. 

The ladies then went hands on and learned how to load and unload a revolver with loose rounds and two different types of speedloaders.  They also loaded and unloaded the Glock pistol until both drills were done to our satisfaction.  The ladies were also shown the safe and proper handling techniques for the long guns including the loading and unloading techniques for the pump shotgun and the AR-15 carbine.  About a third of the ladies present went hands on with the long guns.

We then discussed self defense with a firearm in their home and if they were out of town with a valid concealed carry permit and the legal ramifications that could occur.  A well-designed civilian Use of Force Continuum with accompanying Power-Point slides covered this topic thoroughly.

All in all this eight-hour block of training was a huge success.  The ladies came away with a couple of new skills and the self confidence of knowing that they are capable of defending their home's, their family members and themselves if the situation ever presents itself.