Should a flashlight be part of your daily carry?

Aaron Little makes some compelling arguments in favor of making a flashlight part of your daily carry in this video- check it out:

Quite a bit of trouble can be avoided if you can:

  • Avoid going places victims go
  • Avoid doing things victims do
  • Avoid acting like victims act
The flashlight is a handy accoutrement for avoiding these behaviors – and a quality, high-lumen flashlight can do wonders to incapacitate a bad guy long enough for you to escape a situation. You should seriously consider one for daily carry if your lifestyle is conducive to doing so. So many options exist today that you should be able to find something that is conveniently sized and powerful at the same time. 
 
Sometimes situational awareness doesn’t equate to identifying a threat. By not acting like a victim you can often disqualify yourself from becoming a target for a crime. And it doesn’t matter if you have a flashlight or not in that case.
 
Have a safe weekend. 

Close Quarters Engagement : a few things to keep in mind in your home

There are a few fundamental concepts everyone should understand about engaging a threat in their home. Your strategy for handling the situation will differ depending on if you live alone or with loved ones. Let’s start with the basics of handling a doorway.

The infamous Fatal Funnel is the grey area depicted above. Any bad guys who are expecting you are going to focus their attacks on the doorway since that is the way you are most likely to enter. Therefore not respecting the funnel is an easy way to get shot or otherwise injured. Note that the funnel runs in both directions from the doorway. Managing the Fatal Funnel is actually pretty simple: 

  • avoid this area around any doorway
  • if you must move through it do so as quickly as you can

The blue lines show the progression of movement you can use to look for threats in a room while minimizing your exposure. You should step laterally to follow the path and could start from the left side and move right if you came up to the doorway from the left. This technique is called Slicing the Pie. 

  • be sure to move fast as you cross the Funnel
  • visually scan from floor to ceiling as you clear each slice – but don’t linger in the Funnel
  • note that you need to leave space between you and the doorway (at least an arm’s length) when you’re at the start/finish positions- it’s dangerous to crowd the doorway but many people want to do this
  • don’t hug or lean on the walls- that’s another common beginner mistake. Staying quiet is critical and stepping out gives you a better field of vision 
All this is great if you live alone. But what about a situation where a loved one is in the house? When this happens you have a new priority- getting to your spouse/child. Spend 2:50 on this video and get some advice from Asymmetric Solutions on how to navigate a hallway and a few points on managing a defensive situation if your children are home:
Got all that? If you are defending loved ones the key concepts are:
  • get to them as quickly as possible
  • cover the point of egress from the deep corner
  • call the police. It’s ideal if someone else can handle the call while you worry about your firearm and that point of egress
 
 

Pistol Retention in Close Quarters

Listening to Grady Powell break down some of the finer points of close quarters pistol technique is an excellent follow up to the kR-15 brief intro to the topic. He does a super job of showing what will help you win in close quarters confrontations. In about 2 minutes he delivers a lot of information.

Some things to consider after watching this include:

  • THAT’S A SIMUNITION GUN- don’t go try this with your pals and a live pistol. Simunition guns fire only non-lethal ammo and are designed for training and simulation of live fire
  • Your mindset should always include getting your gun into the fight as fast as you can. It’s important to practice this to because most square pistol ranges don’t allow or aren’t set up to allow you to fire from hip level or the close quarters ready position demonstrated in the video
  • If you want to pracitce these techniques with a buddy and don’t have the cash handy to go simuntion, you can either invest in an airsoft pistol or a training gun (blue gun). The additional level of safety you obtain by not practicing with a pistol capable of firing live ammo is well worth the small investment – a blue gun can be had for $20 and even less if you shop around

Intro to Close Quarters Pistol Techniques

Using a pistol for self defense at close quarters is about as far from a square range experience as you can get. The dynamics of each situation are likely to be unique- so there are few hard and fast rules you can rely on.  A good way to start to wrap your head around this is to consider the basic goals of escaping a close quarters situation. Learning to not act like a victim can help you avoid many dangerous situations (this document from Safeism is a great read on managing unknown contacts in public) but unfortunately not all of them. So here are some things to consider if you have to defend yourself at close quarters ranges (less than 3 yards): 

  • Your main goal is to escape if possible. If escape is not an option, your immediate goals should be to create distance and neutralize the immediate threat- preferably in that order. To that end double taps or even worse, single shots are not the answer here. You should be planning to fire as many shots as it takes until you see the threat collapse
  • In order to create distance (if the threat is too close you may not have enough space to draw and fire) you may need to strike the threat to permit you to move away far enough to draw. Dave Spaulding showcases a few nice techniques in the video above and self defense secrets like the Tactical Testicle Tap are mentioned in this recap of a Sig Sauer course
  • As noted on the video above, don’t think for a moment you will be able to draw and assume full arm extension into your isosceles stance when fighting in close quarters. The Third Eye technique as explained by Bryce Towsley (of Triple-T fame) is a sound technique but you may not even have time to bring your pistol up that high
  • The technique Dave Spaulding covers in the video above where he holds his pistol tight to his side with his thumb creating clearance is faster than the Third Eye. With a little practice you can even tuck your weapon hand to your hip or abdomen and get a shot off even faster
In real life you will probably end up improvising and putting these things together. That’s the goal- be sure to practice for it to help sharpen your reactions.

 

 

 

Home defense tip: Low Ready vs High Ready for you AR

Using your AR-15, a shotgun or any long gun for home defense requires some different techniques than those used with a pistol. If you have an AR platform rifle (or any other long gun) as your designated home defense weapon you need to be absolutely certain to use proper defensive ammo and pay close attention to Coopers 4th law. That is, always be certain of your target and what lies beyond it. Many of us have neighbors close enough to our homes–always remember that when a projectile leaves your gun you own it until it stops moving.

There are two weapon-ready carry techniques the US Army teaches for close-quarters combat: low ready and high ready. High ready looks like this:

 

 

 

  • Butt stock under the armpit
  • Front sights under direct line of sight but within peripheral vision
  • Barrel pointed slightly upward
  • Eyes forward- keep your visual focus downrange

 

 
To engage a threat from this position: drive the weapon forward and slide the stock onto your shoulder. Be sure to aim properly by looking over the rear sight.
 
 
 
 
Low ready rifle carry is nearly the opposite (hopefully that’s not a surprise) and looks like this:
 
 
 
 
  • Butt stock resting firmly on shoulder
  • Barrel pointing downward at about a 45-degree angle 
  • Eyes forward- keep your visual focus downrange
 
To engage a threat from this position: raise the front of the weapon to acquire a close quarters sight picture. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Low ready is the most commonly used carry method and is the safest way to carry a rifle while remaining ready to take a reflexive shot if a threat is encountered. There are a couple other notable advantages to low ready for home defense:
  • You can fire as you bring the rifle up to your sight picture and get rounds on target
  • The rifle is in a more stable position offering a greater level of control and stability
  • Fewer steps required to get your rifle into the fight 
  • The muzzle is pointed in a safer direction for most situations (unless you have loved ones or neighbors below you)
Unload your rifle and remove any mags or ammo from the immediate area at home and double check the chamber to ensure it is clear. Practice both methods a few times and you will quickly realize which is more comfortable- at the -15 residence it’s low ready all the way. 

Extreme close quarters aiming with your pistol

Recently I was perusing the latest catalog from HiViz and discovered that they offer a wide range of shooting tips from a wide range of contributors. One tip from retired SEAL Mark Hotaling stood out- a technique for aiming your pistol in close quarters.

At ranges of 3 yards or less it is not optimal to extend your arms forward into a full isosceles stance. Doing so costs precious time and puts you in a bad position for weapon retention. In these situations you should:

  • Extend your arms
  • Keep both eyes open
  • Look over the sights while using the front sight to use for aiming reference

This isn’t the only close range pistol technique being taught today and is not a hard and fast solution to every situation- I’m not saying that this is the only way to defend yourself. However I am a proponent of learning many techniques–who complains about having too many tools in their toolbox? Practice this a little bit at the range and at home (double or triple check to confirm the pistol is empty) to see how it works for you and your style of carry. 

2014 will be a crucial year in the fight to preserve gun rights

After holding off an unprecedented assault on the 2A throughout 2013 gun rights supporters should feel proud of their accomplishments. Despite a nearly perfect storm of MSM (aka journolists) coordinated narrative, an emboldened second-term president and a perfect tragedy to exploit public sentiment, the Universal Background Checks Gun Registration scheme stalled in the US Senate.

However it is up to every supporter of the 2A to stay engaged in 2014. Here are a few compelling reasons why:

  • Americans have the right to defend themselves. Can you live with yourself knowing that you stood idle when he enemies of Liberty destroyed this disabled man’s right to defend himself from the heartless criminals who tied him up and threw him into his yard while they robbed him? 
  • Bloomberg’s MAIG and Moms Demand Action Disarmament are ramping up efforts to invest large sums of money into elections and lobbying for anti-gun policy at the state and federal level. The balance of power in Congress is precarious and it will only take a couple votes to pave the way to pass sweeping gun control laws if we are not active participants in the midterm elections. The UBC bill only failed by a few votes and that is well known in the beltway
  • Congress plays a part in approving the appointment of Supreme Court Justices. The split on the nations highest court is razor-thin on the 2A and if you think the POTUS won’t nominate a Civilian Disarmament supporter you’re a fool. There is a lot at risk if The Dems and RINOs gain the slightest bit in Congress. 
  • Losing ground in midterm elections will almost certainly push the Overton Window even farther left and result in extreme gun control policy. The cartoon above is disturbingly accurate (although slightly out of season)
Don’t get me wrong on trashing the Democrats – I’m not a blind supporter of the Republicans either– the last GOP Administration trampled the rights of Americans too. However the Dems are the party of Gun Control and overall they are too bold and extreme with their policies. It’s up to everyone who enjoys their Freedom to be an active participant in the political process. There is too much at stake to be asleep at the wheel in 2014.

What were the worthwhile SHOT week debuts?

Glorious SHOT week. Every year the depth and breadth of new product announcements gets a little bit bigger. Drinking from the firehose of flagship product debuts can be nearly as overwhelming as walking the endless SHOT show floor. There are so many shiny things to catch your attention it’s easy to miss a few along the way. So here you go- the kR-15 list of notabke new products for SHOT 2014

ATN X-Sight Day/Night Riflescopes

This optic looks awesome- switch from daylight to infrared on the same scope. HD video out, smartphone remote viewing app and more- for less than $700 retail. They are offering 3-9 and 5-12 power models to start but these will be hot items.

 Tri-Star Cobra Marine Shotgun

Stainless steel to repel corrosion, spring-loaded forearm that claims to speed cycling (I’d like to try head to head with a Remington 870 or Mossy 500 to validate this one-but it sounds good), picatinny rail and more for $360 retail . 

TacSol 300 BLK upper receiver


Tactical Solutions makes some awesome kit. Their aluminum barrels and receivers are accurate, attractive and well designed. It’s about time they tossed their proverbial hat into the BLK caliber. At $1100 retail it’s pricy just like all their stuff but if it is intriguing- the upper is ready to rock, includes a BCG and features a free-float handguard, barrel shroud that covers either your own suppressor or the tacticool fake suppressor that comes with it. They hint that the fake suppressor is required to attain a 16″ barrel length– not a big deal but be advised.

Tac-Con 3MR Fire Control Group

I remain on the fence for this one but it’s getting lots of smiley reviews from initial testers. It is basically the bump-fire concept encapsulated into a drop-in fire control group that includes a giggle switch for the rapid fire mode. The thing I like most about this is the 3rd selector position. From initial reviews it seems that the rapid fire mode shrinks the trigger reset to about 1/16″ and has a 2.5lb pull. At the end of the day bump fire isn’t accurate so is it useful? Maybe not but full auto isn’t accurate either and people seem to enjoy it- try to find a video of someone using the giggle switch where they aren’t smiling if you don’t believe me.

A different approach to firearms maintenance

While polling some like-minded enthusiasts on how often they give their carbines a thorough cleaning, someone offered a different approach to maintenance intervals that’s worth sharing. Nobody mentioned procedures for clearing tank guns as pictured above, but the photo is pretty cool. OK, back on topic: according to my informal research, people typically use a round count to define the interval for cleaning, maintenance and inspection of their firearms. 1000 rounds is a popular number for pistols and rifles. 

Some people prefer to clean their firearms after each use- there is nothing wrong with this but it’s not the most efficient use of cleaning supplies and time. The one exception to consider is using a BoreSnake after every use. It’s fast and in most cases doesn’t require any disassembly. A clear bore helps the next shot fly true – and we can all benefit from that.

One thing that may not be easy to keep track of is the round count on a given weapon since it’s last cleaning. It doesn’t matter if you caught the black rifle bug (where you end up owning several black rifles after becoming enamored with your first one) or not– most people have more important things to keep in mind than how many rounds have gone through your 10/22. 

Why worry about the round count at all? The brilliant suggestion I heard was pick a regular time interval and clean your firearms- every 90 days, every 60 days or whatever time interval aligns with your usage. This way you can set a reminder on your phone calendar, wall calendar, sun dial or however else you track the things you need to do. 

 

Increasing the Reliability of your AR for Extended Use

The AR platform has a reputation for not operating reliably without regular cleanings- every 1000 rounds is a common interval. While this can be true with off-the-shelf configurations, a few simple drop-in upgrades can strengthen the rifle to ensure reliable operation for at least 80 standard capacity mags (2400 rounds) running the rifle dry. With a modern lubricant that will run dirty you should be able to get closer to 3000 rounds or beyond. Let’s start with the explanation of the problem source…

The popular myth is that the direct gas impingement system causes AR platform rifles to foul up by leaving powder and gas residue in the action (take a look at how it works and you can see how that seems plausible). Over time this supposedly results in fouling of the bolt and bolt carrier which manifest as failures to eject or to go into battery. Installing a heavier buffer, stronger action spring and a stronger extractor spring will take care of these problems by keeping the action working properly even as fouling occurs. The cost of these upgraded items is under $30 (plus shipping) if you go with the Sprinco enhanced reliability kit and a cheap H2 buffer from Amazon.

An H2 buffer and the Sprinco blue spring from their enhanced reliability kit are what I used in my rifle. That part doesn’t really merit photos- press the plunger down to release the buffer and spring and replace in the opposite order. The extractor spring was more interesting photo material so here is what you need to do to install it.

Disassemble your bolt carrier group the same way you would for maintenance:

Disassemble the extractor from the bolt like you would for normal cleaning (ignore the cam pin or set it next to the bolt if you insist on following directions to the letter):

Use a pliers to remove the O Ring from the extractor:

Now carefully remove the extractor spring and insert by twisting it counter clockwise and pulling:

Set the old extractor insert, spring and O ring aside and insert the new extractor insert, wider side down, into the extractor. Place the spring on top of it and press both into place using a pliers (wrap the ends in electrical tape to soften the grip area- even though the photos tell a different story).

Now replace the O ring and reassemble your bolt and the BCG (Bolt Carrier group). You may need to use the pliers to hold the extractor down now to replace the extractor pin- and that’s good because you now have a stronger extractor spring working to eject empty cases from your rifle. Here is a side by side comparison of the springs (Sprinco on the left and standard on the right):

This upgrade and a high performance lube like Frog Lube should be all you need to keep your AR running reliably through any extended use period. If you need to run it for more rounds without maintenance then there are bigger problems underfoot than a dirty rifle.