Saturday, December 29, 2012

The .357 Maximum Project Lives!

Well the .357 Maximum project is finally moving on.  Tug Hill Cartridge, Inc., in upstate New York must have forgotten about my standing order, so luckily I just found and ordered 500 pieces of brand new Remington .357 Maximum brass, and 500 Hornady 180 grain XTP bullets from Midway USA this week.  I also obtained 800 of the CCI 450 primers I wanted to use for the project from a friend, so the last step is to buy a couple of pounds of IMR 4227 powder and then I'll be loading up my first batch of .357 Maximum hunting ammunition for my Ruger Super Blackhawk revolver.

The load I'm looking at is 20.0 grains of IMR 4227 powder over a CCI 450 primer, utilizing the Hornady 180 XTP jacketed hollow-point bullet.  This load is supposed to be superbly accurate, easy on the gun and the brass, and still pushes 1,450 feet per second.  That's more than enough for Deer-sized game animals. 

I found this particular load in an article written by Glen Fryxell, and published on the Los Angeles Silhouette Club's website.  I'm not a big experimenter when it comes to cartridge reloading.  If I find a load that is accurate, and it works well for me in a particular rifle or pistol, I'm done tinkering around.

As soon as I get some rounds loaded up and I get to send some bullets downrange, I'll report back on my findings.  I'm fairly sure that Glen Fryxell's load will work perfectly in the big Ruger Single-action.

Friday, November 23, 2012

EMT Certification Near Completion.

As an instructor I am always looking for ways to add more knowledge to my repertoire of instructor certifications and to improve service and provide a safer training environment for my clients.  While I had a background in CPR and Trauma First-aid for quite sometime, I've wanted more knowledge on the subject. 

Always a student at heart, I registered for an Emergency Medical Technician's course on August 20th and began to study for my EMT-B license.  I am now near the end of my journey and hopefully I'll take my licensing exam before the end of the year.  I really learned a lot and thoroughly enjoyed the training course.

When I complete the EMT-B course and obtain my state license, the next course I'd like to complete is one of the Tactical EMT certification courses I've seen offered.  I also have an interest in obtaining the Wilderness EMT certification as well.


Monday, July 2, 2012

A Tip for Conducting Warm Weather Training and Operations

About a fifteen years ago I read an article in Police Magazine about conducting training and/or operations in extreme hot weather which has served me well ever since.  It pertained to hydration and keeping your troops hydrated throughout the mission.

While water is an excellent source of hydration we tend to lose essential salts and minerals when we perspire and expel waste fluids.  I hope I don't have to explain that last part?  We need to replace those elements if we want to keep our body up and running in extreme hot weather.

Gatoraide and similar sports drinks are an excellent source of hydration and for the salts and minerals our bodies need, but we can expel most of those before our body can absorb them.  A great way to ensure that your body absorbs these salts and minerals is to cut your Gatoraide with water by 50%. 

Back in the day when I did Surface Operations with the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary on Lake Michigan, I used to take a half-gallon container and pour a quart of Gatoraide and a quart of water into it and refrigerate it overnight.  That mixture kept me going on the boat even when temperatures were extremely high and there was barely any wind blowing across on the lake.  A stifling situation to say the least.

Next time you're going to attend or conduct hot weather training give this hydration tip a try.  You may find yourself performing better, especially at the end of the day.

Friday, June 22, 2012

What is Dynamic Force on Force Air-Soft Training?

What is Dynamic Force on Force Air-Soft Training?  It’s essentially “Gun-Fighting 101” with Air-Soft pistols as opposed to actual firearms.  It’s probably the closest as you’ll ever get to a deadly force encounter without actually shooting someone or being shot yourself.  Air-soft has rapidly become one of, if not THE best tool on the market for this type of training application.  

Air-Soft is far safer than Simunitions and also much quieter so training can be held virtually anywhere, indoors or out.  Air-soft pistols fire a plastic BB at approximately 250 to 450 feet per second.   Other than a slight stinging sensation on bare skin Air-Soft is also an incredibly safe training tool.

If you’re in law enforcement, armed security, have a concealed carry permit, or are concerned with home defense, then this course is definitely for you, your co-workers, or your significant other.  As a student of the gun, you’ve probably attended several tactical training courses and have certainly put in a lot of trigger time on a static range.  But are you truly prepared to face an armed, violent aggressor who is Hell-bent on killing you in armed combat?

During this course, you will be subjected to various training scenarios geared for both law enforcement and civilian applications.  These scenarios are staffed by our highly skilled instructors and role players.  These scenarios may quickly degenerate into a deadly force encounter, testing your ability to persevere and overcome violent, armed assailants.  

While participating in this extremely realistic training, you may also experience one or more of the Physiological affects that high levels of stress place on the human body.  These are loss of fine motor skills, Tunnel Vision, Tachypsychia, and Auditory Exclusion.

Your performance may be well below par in some of the scenarios but I promise you that you will definitely learn from your errors in this class.  The term “better to bleed in training than to bleed on the street” is quite accurate.  Make your mistakes in a class where at the end of the day you go home sore but alive and in one piece.  Remember, you’ll always digress to you level of training under stress.  So if you train hard to fight hard, hopefully if that fateful day ever comes you’ll survive.

Our Air-Soft training course is highly mobile so if requested, we can bring the course to your location.  All Air-Soft firearms and mandatory safety equipment is furnished to the students during this class.  Tuition is only $150.00 per student.        

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Dynamic Force on Force Air-Soft Course a Huge Success!

Our first Dynamic Force of Force Air-Soft course was a huge success.  Ten students attended our first class on Saturday, June 16th, and from their E-mails, they were most impressed with the quality and realism of the training.  I played the bad guy, a role I was told I played very well. 

The students were brought into the training area one by one, and were explained the drill prior to the start of each scenario.  The drills placed the students into extremely realistic, guttural, in your face scenarios.  Some of which quickly degenerated into violent, deadly force encounters.  Most scenarios were also played out in low light conditions which greatly added to the student's already elevated stress level. 

Several students failed some of the drills but the purpose of the training was to let them see their reactions to violent encounters and how they dealt with these stress induced situations.  I believe the course was an eye opening experience for everyone involved but I'm sure they all learned from their mistakes.  The old adage of "better to bleed in training than on the street" was in definitely play on Saturday. 

Several of the alumni are eager to attend the next class we do which should be in October or November.  If you carry a firearm as a law enforcement or security officer, or carry because you have a CCW permit then this course is tailor-made for you.  It's also a great learning tool for those who own firearms for home defense.     

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

NRA Advanced Pistol Instructor's Certification

I am proud to say that I was informed on June 13th by the NRA's Training Division that I am one of the first instructors in the nation to have the new Advanced Pistol Instructor's Certification bestowed upon them.  This new certification will allow instructors such as myself to bring civilians who are new to defensive shooting up to speed on tactical pistol work.  I applaud the NRA for taking a giant step in the right direction. 

Monday, May 28, 2012

.45 GAP Handgun Safari

While returning from the IALEFI Master Firearms Instructor Development Course held last November in Chattanooga, I decided to stop off at the Caryonah Hunting Lodge in Crossville, Tennessee to 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 owned and operated by the same family for over sixty years.  I had hunted at the Lodge once before, so I knew exactly what to expect.  Excellent food and lodging, and a great hunting experience in the Eastern Mountains of Tennessee with my favorite Caryonah 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.  Exotics are specialty game animals that have been imported into the U.S. from foreign lands that most hunters can only dream of going to.  For ammunition, I would be using the Corbon 200 grain JHP bullet.  These hollow-points resemble the old Speer "Flying Ashtrays" of the 1970’s.  I chose the .45 GAP cartridge because the Glock 37, equipped with factory night sights, and a Glock tactical illuminator is my favorite Home Defense pistol, and the Glock 38, in .45 GAP is my personal Concealed Carry pistol.  My research also showed that no hunter had yet to take any game animals with the .45 GAP cartridge, so these Critters would probably be the first game animals ever harvested with this round in the United States.

We started the day off with an excellent breakfast at the main lodge.  After eating far too much, my guide Doug and I headed afield.  Three days prior to my hunt, eastern Tennessee had experienced several days of torrential rainfall, so the game seemed to be non-existent.  After a couple of hours of hunting, we finally found a very nice Painted Desert Ram high up on a ridge.  Doug and I formulated a plan of attack, so I took off to stalk this Ram and to hopefully get within iron-sight handgun range.  I got to within thirty yards of the Ram but the brush was far too heavy for a clear, ethical shot, so the Ram caught sight of me and ran off.

Doug and I regrouped and came to the conclusion that the heavy rains had pushed these animals into deep cover, so we'd have to push the heaviest brush we could find on the 2,400 acre lodge.  About an hour or so later, we were making a push through some fairly 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 stepping into a clearing.  One shot from the Glock dropped the Ram solidly.  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 remaining group of Rams.

The next Ram I spotted was the same Painted Desert Ram I had stalked on the ridge earlier that morning.  He saw me and immediately took off.  After several minutes of careful 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 came up and we took some more photographs, and dressed the Ram out, so 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 hadn't seen him and continued walking past him to set up an ambush point further up the game trail.  The Ram appeared right where I expected him to show, but sensed I was there and turned to run.  Another one of the Corbon "Flying Ashtrays" found its mark and the Black Ram was mine.  We performed the customary photographic ritual once again and dressed out the Ram.  We headed back to the lodge with our quarry and had 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 to the location and started to hunt the area.  A short time later, I saw a patch of white off to my right and then saw the outline of a very nice Spanish Goat standing broadside.  The Goat turned to beat a hasty retreat, but the 200 grain Corbon JHP caught him behind the left shoulder and he went down in a heap.

As I was walked towards the downed Spanish Goat, I saw a set of horns protruding well above the Swale grass off to my left.  I studied the grass intently and made out the outline of a large Jacobs Ram.  I stalked the Ram to within seven yards or so.  The Jacobs Ram kept very still in the deep, high grass.  I surmised that the Ram probably believed that I hadn’t seen him, so he'd stay put until I passed him by.  That was a mistake on his part.  When I finally got a shot on this Ram, he just looked at me as if I had missed.  I couldn’t believe it!  I shot him twice more before he finally fell.  The Jacobs Ram is a thick and extremely woolly beast, so I believe that some of that matted wool may have plugged up the hollow-point bullet so it may not have expanded as expected.  All three of my shots were very well placed and lethal.  We took our final photos of the Safari and then dressed out these two fine animals.

We drove back to the lodge and hung these animals with the other three Rams that I had taken earlier.  All in all, I harvested five excellent animals on this Tennessee Safari.  They will all make wonderful wall mounts for my training room.  The taxidermist soon arrived and took possession of these five magnificent beasts. 

This hunt has all but completed my Grand Slam for the Exotic Rams species.  Several years prior, I had taken a very surly Wild Boar, an excellent Texas Dall Ram and a beautiful Corsican Ram at Caryonah.  The final Ram I need for Grand Slam status is the Mouflon Ram.  The Mouflon Ram is traditionally found in the Balkans and in the mountains of northern Greece.  Being that I am of Greek decent, a nice Mouflon Ram is high on my list of trophy game animals. 

I planned on 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 awful.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Two-day Tactical Pistol Course Registered & Approved with NRA LEAD.

First, let me apologize for not posting anything in a while, but I've been very busy with training classes, creating new Power Point presentations, lesson plans, and written examinations.  I finally had time to finish up the ATTS Two-day Tactical Pistol Course and the course is now registered & approved with the NRA LEAD. 

The fourth course we are anxious to get registered and approved by the NRA's LEAD is the ATTS Two-day Precision Rifle (Sniper) Course.  I've already finished up the Power Point presentation and have almost completed the lesson plan and written exam.  I'm sure this course will be well received once it's completed. 

I attended the ILEETA Conference in Wheeling, Illinois this April and picked up several more instructor credentials.  The most important being the Force on Force Air-Soft Instructor.  ATTS will be offering it's first Dynamic Force on Force Air-Soft Training course on Saturday, June 16th, in Elk Grove Village.  Air-soft is an excellent tactical training tool and is about as close as you can get to actual gunfighting.

ATTS will be holding the first of it's two Black Rifle (AR-15) Basics courses on June 2-3, 2012, and the first of it's two Tactical Shotgun courses on July 14-15, 2012.  Please check the course schedule on our website for additional dates.