There isn’t much time left (deadline for making your voice heard is Monday, March 16) to do your part to fight the ATF’s attempt to impose gun control on law-abiding Americans. The proposed M855/SS109 ammo ban is a flagrant overreach by a federal agency with a history of lawlessness and hatred of the very citizens they are supposed serve. If you don’t know what this is all about here is a quick summary:
Thanks for doing your part. We have to keep fighting and building on the momentum we have achieved – the enemies of Liberty have another year and change to keep eroding our great nation. And we will succeed.
A flash can is a muzzle device that first appeared on Soviet-era rifles like the AKS-74U (pictured below). This rifle is known in The States as a Krinkov but the reason for that term isn’t clear. If you look closely at the flash cans in the photo above you will notice a blast chamber toward the end of the barrel right before the cone. The purpose of the blast chamber are primarily to help increase back pressure (the amount of gas directed back through the action). The cone-shaped end has some interesting benefits too.
You see, with shorter barrels on carbines, SBRs and some pistols, the bullet leaves the barrel before all the powder is consumed, resulting in a flash visible to the shooter (in some cases bright enough to temporarily impair a user’s vision) caused by the ignited powder leaving the barrel behind the bullet. Another common issue with shorter barrels is the concussion that people next to the user (and sometimes the user) feel. Try standing next to someone firing an SBR in a small indoor range or even some outdoor ranges and you will quickly understand.
AK platform firearms cycle more reliably with the additional back pressure the blast chamber creates. AR platform firearms don’t need the extra back pressure in all configurations and calibers but the other benefits are substantial enough that you will see them in the wild from time to time. A fairly wide array of flash cans is available these days – like the Flaming Pig from Noveske. The device is essentially the same as what you see in the first photo except there is a tube around the cone, or baffle:
After a few sessions working on speed reps, riding the reset is the more natural technique to push for faster rates of fire with my Glock. Taking your finger completely off the trigger is a method commonly recommended for speed it’s not optimal for my EDC. That technique is useful for triggers you aren’t familiar with and long, heavy DAO triggers. If you like the endless trigger pull and eternal reset of your LC9 you may end up hating the ride the reset approach. That makes sense because the reset is almost all the way at the end of the travel, so there is little to gain for the follow-up shot. A natural feel is important for your daily driver – no matter which approach you prefer.
The Glock trigger makes it easy to ride the reset. The trigger press from the reset point to fire is smooth and short– it seems like a natural fit for the way I shoot. Now that we have the initial technique identifed it’s time to focus on refining the details to keep building speed without sacrificing too much accuracy. Here are the areas I need to focus on now:
Focus on recoil management by maintaining a higher and tighter grip.
Pushing myself to get rounds on target as fast as I can while maintaining 80% A-Zone hits at 7yds.
So far the learning curve has been minimal. But optimizing the reset during recoil will make a big difference – right now there is too much follow-through happening in my own technique. It’s great for accuracy but is slowing splits down. Stay tuned for more info on this- these tips should help save time and reps as you improve your own pistolcraft.
TacCon does stand behind what they make 100%. If you are not happy with it, just call them, they will make it right.
Jim from Trinity Bay Tactical is serious about this endorsement. He will host a range day featuring the 3MR on 4/16/2014 (which was not mentioned in our email conversation) and that adds credibility to the email reprinted above. Not to mention the fact he felt strongly enough about the product to contact me after reading the article.
I’m going to have a word with the guys at my LGS (local gun store) to see if they want to give this another try. If the 3MR can fulfill its promise who wouldn’t want to have one? 90 rds to learn isn’t a big training curve. It’s a perfect spring project – or at least that’s the cover story for The future Mrs. -15.
Other than safe handling skills, accuracy is probably the most important fundamental of practical shooting skills. Speed can overcome accuracy though, so it seems to me that a high level of proficiency includes some mixture of both (along with other skills of course- more to come on those). My own pistolcraft has been focused on accuracy for some time and I’m satisfied with the results. So it’s time to set new goals. It’s time to work on pushing myself to improve my speed shooting skills.
Accuracy and speed have some elements in common but also require some different skills. For the next few weeks I’m going to see how I can improve my speed. So far these tips I found from Caleb at GNM are the 4 things I plan to work on for a designated number of rounds each week- split with accuracy practice for some of the live fire reps:
Stance- leaning into the isoceles to help with recoil control.
Stronger grip to increase recoil control (muzzle flip if you want to get really specific)
Trigger control- Caleb recommends the Miculek – endorsed trigger slap sweeping approach (taking your finger off the tirgger between shots). With a glock I may be able to use its distinctive positive reset to learn to “ride the reset” without the problems described in Caleb’s TFL post- essentially a compressed break approach– so there are two approaches to experiment with.
For now the perfect draw can wait- that can be added into training reps after an acceptable level of proficiency has been achieved and maintained in both speed and accuracy.
A good measure for training is to practice pushing yourself up to speeds where you can’t keep more than 85-90% of your hits inside an 8″‘ A-zone. A shot timer is helpful for tracking your progress but I’m not using one yet. So that’s the plan and you can watch here to see how it goes. By the way, the woman in the photo above is rocking her pistol- when was the last time you had 4 empties in the air at once?
Being able to diagnose your pistol groups is a key part of refining your technique as you progress toward mastery of the skills. Even as you accomplish good A-Zone groups you will still see opportunities to refine your technique to move your hits towards your exact point of aim. One common error is grouping hits in the 5:30-6 o’clock zone of your target- essentially directly below the point of aim.
The most common cause of this group is anticipating the shot. More specifically the user drops the gun downward in anticipation of the shot breaking- iow breaking their wrist or flinching. Sometimes people will drop their arms downward and get the same groups but the problem is most commonly the wrists. A good way to confirm this – even by yourself- is to load an inert training round with live rounds in a mag. If you’re watching the front sight (as you should be) you will see the sight dip down when the striker or hammer falls on the training round.
Some good tips on correcting this are in this article. Regular dry fire practice focused on quality reps (front sights doesn’t move) will help you too. Remember that your eyes are a huge part of this problem- if you can keep your eyes open throughout the shot this will quickly go away. Here are some clues that you are successfully keeping your eyes open through the shot:
Do you see the muzzle flash?
Do you see the brass eject?
Do you see the slide move?
Do you see the front sight rise?
Don’t get frustrated if your targets look like this- it won’t take much to move your group right to the point of aim. Practice and focus on every shot at the range – there is no shame in loading 2 or 3 rounds in a mag for practice to slow yourself down.
Recently some friends at my LGS (local gun store) asked me if I wanted to get in on their group buy of Tac-Con 3MR triggers. Regular readers may recall my initial assessment on the 3MR – basically it looks cool but I wasn’t sure. Next came SHOT 2014: Tac-Con did a superb job marketing and getting high profile media onto the range to try it out and (naturally) write about it.
If you keep even a little current on new and intriguing AR platform enhancements it was hard to miss the media onslaught on this trigger. It has some cool features like a 3rd fire mode that acts like a slow giggle switch: 400-500 rounds per minute vs. the 700-900 round per minute rate of fire a full auto M4 provides (which is why it’s called a giggle switch). Right around the time MAC did his review on the 3MR I was warming to the idea. So I joined the group buy. And like most group buys, it was now time to wait…
A couple days ago the update came in: the first 3MR had arrived. Someone ahead of me in line took it home to install it. 10 minutes later it was installed (which is why drop-in triggers are superb) and a few of the guys went to try it out. Which was good for my bank account: they hated it, sent it back and cancelled the buy. One of the best shooters I know- who is actually pretty good at bump fire- said the trigger was “too heavy”. These guys stand behind everything they sell and are great with returns. They are an NFA dealer so they are also no strangers to full auto. If they say that something isn’t worth the money you can trust them.
Still it makes me wonder if they got a bad unit like the one MAC describes at SHOT? Probably worth a mention next time I visit the LGS. One would hope that Tac-Con is the type of company who would stand behind their products,and I have no reason to think otherwise. At the same time what are the odds that this company, who has done an impressive job building hype on their product, carelessly tossed a dud fire control group (FCG) out on the demo range at SHOT??
This underscores the initial concerns raised here about the 3MR- the assisted reset could be adding a lot of stress to the FCG. Is it worth the risk of having your $500 3MR fail on you? At a minimum the -Fifteen household will wait for the 4MR or whatever TLA TAC-CON launches next.
If you carry your pistol on a daily basis you should plan and practice the unique considerations for having to draw while in your vehicle. This video covers some good things to think about, courtesy of Adam Painchaud.
Adam gives us lots to think about. Here is the kR-15 breakdown:
an ankle holster is still a nonstarter- and Adam didn’t even mention that you should wear an extra sock over your kit on the holster ankle
all that focus on drawing and firing through the windshield – don’t you think that the driver or passenger window is a far more likely direction for a bad guy to engage you? Like Adam says, hitting the gas is probably going to be a better option if a threat is in front of you
if you appendix carry you need to practice an extra step- release the seatbelt first, next clear the cover garment, next draw
another good place to practice your in-vehicle draws is with an unloaded weapon(no ammo in the vehicle with you) , in your own garage with the vehicle off and garage door closed. Be discrete at all times and don’t risk having a passerby call the police on you
Part of advancing your Observation skills to notice the normal and recognize the abnormal includes learning common pantomimes criminals use that telegraph ill intent. Recognition will give you more time to determine your next action- mere seconds can make a big difference. Remember that most criminals are not very smart (they typically telegraph intent) and they are looking for easy prey (someone who acts like a victim). Strong situational awareness skills can help you avoid presenting yourself as easy prey.
Here are some common indicators that someone is sizing you up to be their next victim:
Staring at you for way too long (i.e. you notice it- always listen to your instincts)
Flanking (multiple bad guys will often circle a victim before they attack)
These are just a few possible cues – some can be recognized from a distance, others are typically observed if you end us speaking with someone. Regardless you should be watching for these cues as you process inputs from your environment. The faster you recognize potential trouble the easier it will be to avoid unplesant encounters. All of these cues should drive you to a rapid response- don’t be paranoid but don’t sleepwalk into a buzz saw either. Being able to recognize the things that don’t look right- and often give you a guy feeling that doesn’t feel right- will help you avoid trouble.
Last weekend was jam-packed with learning. By the end of it yours truly became an NRA-certified Basic Pistol instructor. The marksmanship qualification is serious: shoot a 6″ group of at least 16/20 shots at 15 yards. Leading up to this qualifier I developed some problems in my own technique. This video from Rob Pinicus’s Personal Defense Network would have helped resolve most of the trouble- check it out:
Get the heels of those hands touching. Haley explains the mechanics very well- bones create strong support! Other fundamentals to keep in mind include:
You don’t need to use a crush grip – even though it was a big Ayoob teaching point this makes it difficult to operate the trigger smoothly
The pressure exerted on the grips of the pistol should actually be on the front and back of the grip- the sides need very little pressure. This may be unintuitive at first but try it. You may just find that follow through improves because now your grip is holding pressure against the direction of the recoil.
When problems pop up in your technique resist the urge to solve the problem with extra reps. This actually causes more harm than good if there is a flaw in your technique- extra reps just burn them into muscle memory.