Pocket Notebooks

notepad1There are quite a few things that I carry daily. One of which is my handy pocket notebook. You have tons of choices when it comes to a pocket notebook, it doesn’t have to be a trendy Moleskine, Rite In The Rain or Field Notes. What it does have to be is small enough to fit in your pocket and actually be in your pocket when necessary. I started carrying a small pocket notebook while I was in the military and have ever since. This practice was only reinforced by my time as a police officer.

In law enforcement you have to write everything down. If you didn’t write it, it didn’t happen. Every single detail of every single encounter is recorded. This can be a  pretty time consuming practice but it’s vitally necessary when it comes time to write your reports and to help you recall details in court. In the military, it serves to help recall vital mission details like targets, rally points, hard times, as an expedient range card and even a quick and dirty language guide. On the civilian side of life, they can be very useful for recording a license plate number, address, description of a suspect in a crime you witnessed, details of a traffic accident you saw, strange events or collecting your thoughts after a use of force incident. Even if you aren’t trained in report writing, a small notebook can be indispensable in recalling small important details that you may need to go over with your lawyer. Mostly though, a pocket notebook is extremely useful in normal every day uses.

RIR.201-2Since I’m not currently in the employ of any government agencies, the contents of my pocket notebook are vastly different these days. Mostly my notebook contents consist of ideas for posts, phone numbers, class dates, grocery lists and the list goes on. At this point you may be asking why I actually use pen and paper in this “digital age”. I’ve got an iPhone that has an acceptable note taking application but when it comes to notes, a good old fashioned notebook just can’t be beat. Not to mention I just don’t think that typing on your phone presents a very professional image when taking notes. There’s just something about having something tangible to physically write on to help you remember. I use a few different kinds of notebooks depending on weather and space available in what I’m wearing. One of which is just the standard Mead spiral notepad. These notebooks are the main work horses of my notebook collection. They work very well and are very cheap, which are two very great things. I couldn’t even tell you how many of these I have filled to date. The second kind of notebook I generally use is a Rite In The Rain Tactical Bound Book which is 4.5″ x 7.25″. That can be a wee bit on the large side for some folks but it fits in my back pocket opposite my wallet, and is easily slipped in the center console of my Jeep when I’m on the road for any period of time. Rite In The Rain makes a whole host of different sizes of notebooks so chances are good that you’ll be able to find something that suits you well. There is one thing to consider when using Rite In The Rain products and that is you can’t just use a regular old ball point pen because of the water resistant coating on the paper. You need to either use a Fisher Space Pen or a pencil. I’ve opted for the pen option personally.

When I am complete with a notebook, I date it on the front cover, put a rubber band around it and place it in a .50 cal ammo can in the closet. You never know when you will need information from a couple years ago, or want to write your memoirs. I’ve known some people to scan the pages of their notebooks onto their computer. I’m not that detailed with it, if it’s information that is that important chances are good that I’ve already transcribed it into some other kind of document or have written a narrative report and have it saved on an external hard drive and a thumb drive (when it comes to electronics, I always have a backup). If you’re the kind of person that likes a little style, even with the standard cheap Mead notepads, you can get some nice notepad covers to help keep your notes in tact while riding around in your pocket all day long. I’m partial to the thick, stitched, natural leather varieties that get softer and darker with age. But that’s just me. There are multitudes of covers available to suit your tastes.  I hope this gets you thinking about always having something to write on, the advantages are endless.


Aegis Armory Shield Holster-first thoughts review

913774_254930447980636_1421284563_oI own another holster from Aegis Armory and was very impressed with the fit and finish so we decided to contact them for a full review. This my friends, is the exact holster that Stephen graciously sent from Aegis Armory for review. Yes, it is purple, and there are two reasons. First, I have seen very drab almost washed out colors in Kydex that just look cheap, and second, I don’t wear two full sized guns daily. So I wanted a holster that could be used by my wife as well. I’m really in love with my old duty weapon, but also have a Smith and Wesson M&P.  My wife wears this as an OWB holster and I wear it as an IWB. The holster is pulling double duty and serving multiple purposes. One of my favorite features of this holster is that you get a lot of bang for your buck as it can be carried both in and outside the waistband.

My first impression when I opened the package is that this holster is definitely high quality. The materials and hardware are better than a lot of the more expensive holsters that I own. If you are anything like me the smell of top quality leather is intoxicating, and it hit me the moment I opened the packaging. This is not a low rung budget holster, it’s as good or better than anything on the market, period.

The color is extremely vibrant and actually matches my wife’s mildly customized M&P perfectly, (can you say brownie points?) which was a great bonus. Another thing that I noticed is that the leather has been finished very well. The color is deep and the edges are beveled. The finished edges of the leather are a big deal in my book. It makes a massive difference in the comfort level when carrying an IWB holster. I own another similar holster that I actually had to sand the edges of the leather and use a black Sharpie to recolor them! Oh, and it cost $20 MORE!IMAG2926

My first impression is that Stephen and his crew really know what the heck they are doing. I’ll be back with a more as I continue to use this holster, so look for an extended review in the near future. Until then check these guys out at http://aegisarmory.us/ or on Youtube and Facebook.



As you know, we have grown Laymen’s Tactical considerably in the last few weeks. To that end we want to get the word out to as many people as possible that we offer low pressure, friendly firearms training. So, we’ve decided to offer a free class to one LUCKY person chosen at random once we reach 500 likes on Facebook. No strings attached! All you have to do is like and share our Facebook page, That’s it.

images m8

Just Right Carbine

jrc2I’m in love with pistol caliber carbines. They are a very special product in my book. They fit the role of home defense and general defense firearm better, for some people, than a centerfire rifle caliber carbine does but for some reason are overlooked by many. You gain a lot of positives when you run one as a defensive firearm. Commonality of magazines and ammunition is a pretty huge plus to me. You also gain a fair amount of velocity and energy increase from the longer barrel on a pistol caliber carbine, well into the 1100FPS territory for the .45 ACP model I tested. There are a few options on the market for those looking for a pistol caliber carbine (PCC). Kel-Tec and Hi-Point make a couple of the most popular and highest selling PCC’s out there, both are also about as ugly as original sin. There are also a few makers of AR patterned carbines that make pistol caliber versions which will run you a few bucks for sure. Today however, we are going to focus on the Just Right Carbine.

Just Right Carbines is an American manufacturer located in New York. They are producing a pretty exciting and innovative product, the JR Carbine. The JRC is a totally ambidextrous and modular firearm that allows for a fair amount of customizing. The ejection of the shell casings can be changed from left to right as well as the bolt handle. You can change caliber and magazine used with very minimal effort as well. Calibers offered are 9mm .40S&W and .45 ACP (there are no plans for them to make any other calibers) All models but the .45 also exclusively use Glock magazines currently. The model I got my hands on was a .45 ACP version that fires from Glock 21 magazines. The .45 offering also is able to be converted to use GI patterned 1911 magazines.

photo 1You will notice two things when you have a JR Carbine in your hands, first thing is the very familiar controls and form factor. The manufacturer went to great lengths to make this carbine very easy to use for those that are intimately familiar with the AR platform, although the magazine release is not where you would expect it. It is located on the left side of the carbine and magazine changes are effected by depressing the mag release with your left thumb and removing the magazine. The second thing you’ll notice is the weight of the thing. The JRC is a blowback operated semi-automatic which is the standard for PCC’s. When things are blowback operated, mass of the bolt is what’s used to counteract the force of the round being fired from the carbine, as opposed to using some of the gasses and spring pressure to cycle the bolt through a gas tube that is connected to the barrel towards the muzzle, like in an AR-15. One of the things I preach constantly to anyone that will listen to me is that lightweight is key. If a firearm is simply too heavy to carry around then you won’t carry it. The 17 inch barrel is very thick on these and from my shooting, it affords very acceptable accuracy, although with it being a 17 inch barrel the velocity of rounds isn’t as spectacular as it could be if the barrel was shortened by just one inch. Powders that propel pistol rounds are very fast burning, when the powder is all burned up in the barrel and the round still has some distance to cover it will start to slow down from the friction against the rifling in the barrel. This is less than ideal.

The particular model I shot had a few aftermarket features installed on it by the owner that should be mentioned. It had Magpul MBUS sights (which I hated so much, they made me want to kick puppies) and a Lone Wolf muzzle brake as well (Which was very cool on this carbine). The model I tested was also finished in a digital desert camo. The finish was nice and well applied, I am however not a huge fan of camo patterns on firearms. The stock was also replaced with a Magpul ACS.

The owners manual tells you a couple things that you will need to know about this carbine. There is no last shot hold open, which isn’t uncommon with a PCC. The JRC is also sensitive to over insertion of magazines and resting the carbine on the magazine. There is no mechanism to stop the magazine from being over inserted other than the magazine release itself, so they specifically inform you to not slap the magazines in place like you would on an AR. The buffer tube on the JRC is going to look very familiar to those of you with AR platform rifles. Do not under any circumstance try to use AR buffers or buffer springs in this carbine, also make certain to use the rubber bumper and nylon disk in place in the buffer tube as well. You will damage the firearm if you don’t follow this instruction.

photo 4The JR Carbine was a joy to shoot. Recoil was extremely manageable (read non-existent) making controlled pair shooting and follow up shots very easy. The controls and pistol grip are straight from an AR (as is the entire trigger group from what I understand) so it was a very comfortable and familiar firearm for me to shoot. The trigger wasn’t anything special, about what you would expect from an off the rack AR. The trigger reset was very short which made follow up shots very quick. One thing to mention is that since the carbine is ambidextrous, it has a channel cut on the left side of the receiver for the reciprocating bolt handle to ride in. This channel also is fairly efficient at blowing gasses into your face. Don’t let this sour you on this great carbine though, it’s not that bad at all. The carbine is sold without sights on it which allows you to choose your own or run glass of some kind. This carbine also uses a standard AR barrel nut which allows for using aftermarket free float AR handguards. Disassembly is not very easy with this carbine, actually it’s pretty involved and requires removing screws. Pistol ammo does tend to run dirty so you will become intimately familiar with the disassembly procedure. As I said in the first paragraph, this carbine is very easy to customize. It is sturdy and runs well. I feel as though this carbine has made a very nice place for itself in the PCC category. They can be found pretty easily for sub $700 and the abundance of Glock magazines on the market makes for easy access to feeding devices(JRC recommends factory Glock magazines). Pistol ammunion is generally cheaper than rifle rounds and is easier to find than most rifle calibers are as well. If you are contemplating a purchase of  a carbine of some sort and haven’t made up your mind yet, the JR Carbine is certainly deserving of your consideration. One is definitely in the running for a spot in my gun safe.

How To Survive A Gunfight


Most people would assume that I would have just one word in this post, TRAINING. That would be quite incorrect. Don’t get me wrong, training is an essential part of survival, but training alone will not keep you alive. There are many other components that go into your survival in the real world.

SPEED? There are  competition shooters that have national and world titles under their belt that would quickly fail in a real world encounter. You may say. “How is this possible?” Yes, I understand that these guys can put hits on targets in times that are mind numbingly fast.  Fast doesn’t win a gunfight and those targets aren’t shooting back.

Ok, so speed and skill don’t win a gunfight! Really? Nope, I’m not kidding, they won’t keep you alive.

Well, it must be the ability to stay cool under pressure and make decisions quickly. Right?  Again, no that isn’t it.

Having a survival mindset? No, again this alone will not make you a gunslinger.

The truth is that you need all of the above to stay alive in a real life shooting scenario. The first and most important aspect to survival in my opinion is your mindset. All the training, speed, and skill in the world won’t keep you alive if you aren’t mentally and emotionally ready, willing and able to pull that trigger. The idea that a dead victim is morally superior to someone that has the  courage to fight back is a load of crap! The most important question is, can you pull the trigger when the time comes? If you can’t, sell your gun, there is no reason for you to have it. Biden’s suggestion to fire warning shots will get you arrested in most states, and won’t stop someone intent on doing you or your family harm. Think long and hard, pray, do whatever you must to determine if you can really do this. Taking the life of another human being is an experience that changes you forever. The fallout and after effects can be long lasting and life altering.

Secondly,  you need the ability to be cool enough under extreme stress to make clear and concise decisions. After you pull the trigger there  is  no recall button that brings a bullet back. Is the shooting legal? Was the area behind the aggressor clear of innocent people, or heaven forbid  a child. The fact is that things happen very quickly, and you have to be able to keep pace with your situation. To share a personal experience, I was working in a government subsidized housing complex a few years ago when a shooting occurred. It was my job to keep these people safe, so I did just that, I pursued the shooter. He took several shots at me from a position of concealment  where I couldn’t get a clear shot. One of the bullets was close enough that I felt the air as it passed my head. That’s an odd feeling to say the least. This wasn’t the first time I have been shot at, but honestly I was extremely angry. This person had shot a resident, and attempted to shoot me! The bottom line is that I didn’t have a safe shot and I waited for the local Police K9 unit and support officers to arrive. You have to make the decision of when to shoot and when not to pull the trigger as well.

The third most important aspect in my opinion is training. If you can’t hit the target, then all if for naught. You need endless hours training you body and mind on all aspects of the shooting arts. From your stance to your after shot follow through it needs to be drilled into your muscle memory and into your mind. When the time comes, only training will make your actions second nature. Under extreme stress you can’t think about what your next step is, you must react without thought to what your body is doing. Everything you do affects your marksmanship, so get it right and keep doing it until you can do it without thought. When I was on patrol, as part of my routine I dressed for my shift and practiced while in uniform. Yes, I unloaded my gun in another room, stood in front of a mirror and practiced everything from my stance to my trigger pull. Is it extreme? Not in my opinion. Fifteen days a month I was able to dry fire practice without the use of a range and you’d be amazed how much it changed my ability when I did get to the range. I suggest looking into some of the many training systems on the market these days. It works!

Finally, the last thing one needs to survive a gunfight is speed. What actually keeps you alive in a shooting situation is your ability to put accurate shots on target quicker than your opponent. You may ask “how exactly do I get faster”, and my answer to that question is easy. Go slow! Wait, what, go slow? Yes, go slow!  If you have ever been around really solid shooters then you have heard, “slow is smooth and smooth is fast.” There is a lot of truth in that adage. If you try to go too quickly you forget the basics and cut corners in order to get the shot off faster. For new shooters you form horrible habits that will then haunt you for years. I personally don’t like shooting competitions because of the habits that are formed with so much focus on speed. Being fast is only important after all other aspects of your training are taken care of. Fast will get you killed if you don’t have a solid foundation. It truly doesn’t matter how fast you can miss a target. Steve always preaches speed and violence of action in a shooting situation which is training left over from his military days. His supervisors at his police department would cringe every time he said it.

I’ve given you a lot of food for thought and some homework to do. Only after you address all aspects, mind, body and spirit can you be ready. Yes it’s a bit Karate Kid, but it’s true. With that in mind, put some lead down range and I’ll see you soon!



Back To Basics

draw-concealed-carryThese are the fundamentals of shooting survival. We like getting back to basics here because without mastering the fudamentals, you can never progress in your skills. Buying a gun doesn’t make you Wyatt Earp anymore than buying a fast car makes you Dale Earnhardt. Unfortunately too many people don’t get this concept. The problem is that people buy guns, and then let them sit in the closet or drawer until that bump in the night comes. What’s worse is that the people that actually practice go to the range and do everything wrong causing them to form terrible habits. I can’t tell you how many times I have just cringed watching some people shoot next to me. Let’s talk about what you really need to do every time you shoot to develop muscle memory and skills that will save your life.

I. Situational Awareness

situationalawarenessKnow what is going on around you. If you are off in “La La Land” then you will never see danger coming. Scan your surroundings, watching the actions of those around you. It doesn’t take much to recognize suspicious behavior. What takes skill is remaining vigilant enough to continually scan your environment. This and this alone may save your life! You have to know when to draw your weapon before it is too late and you are unable to defend yourself. All the training in the world is useless if you never see the threat coming.

II. Stance

ISO-TOP-LYour stance needs to be a stance that you would throw a punch from. This isn’t a speed shooting competition and over exaggerated shooting poses don’t work in the real world. The great debate is between the Isosceles or Weaver stance.

The Isosceles stance is standing with your feet shoulder width apart with a slight bend in the knees and leaning slightly forward with your arms extended  straight in  front of you.  You are squarely facing the target in this stance with both arms equally supporting your position.

The Weaver stance has the body bladed partly sideways in relation to the target rather than squared towards it. Again you have a slight bend in the knees and lean slightly forward. The elbow of the weak arm is bent and tucked supporting the strong arm which is slightly straighter .  The shooter pushes out with the gun hand, this produces a push-pull tension which is the chief defining characteristic of the Weaver stance.

III. Draw

handgun-drawWe understand that many ranges don’t allow you to shoot from the draw, this is where dry fire training comes in at home (with an unloaded firearm and without the presence of any ammo). Your draw starts with a firm grasp and proper positioning of the hand on your weapon. Never draw your weapon without having the proper grip established, because if you do everything that follows will be incorrect. If you are drawing from the most common position,the 3 o’clock, then your draw needs to come directly up with your arm close to the body. Your elbow should be extended to the rear so that you can literally punch the weapon forward and into your line of sight.

IV. Shooting Grip

hgcombatg_100206dYour grip on the handgun needs to be as high on the back strap as possible to control recoil, particularly if you have a handgun with a high bore axis. Limp wristing is a common cause of malfunctions because of improper grip. You are in control of the gun, not the other way around.  Sixty percent of your grip strength needs to come from your strong hand while forty percent needs to come from your support hand. There is another school of thought that preaches a “death grip” while training because that’s how you will grip the handgun in a stressful situation. We are fairly inclined to go along with that school of thought as well, if fact this is Steve’s chosen method (having been in a couple gunfights in the military I’m pretty inclined to go with him on this). Your thumbs need to be aligned forward and away from all controls and moving parts with your support hand fingers solidly placed on the lower rear of the trigger guard.

V. Sight Picture / Sight Alignment

Credit: christiangunowner.com

Credit: christiangunowner.com

Always bring the gun to your line of sight and never adjust your head positioning to the placement of the gun. Align the front sight in between the the rear sight posts with equal distance on either side of the front sight. A proper sight picture will have the actual target, and rear sight posts slightly blurry. Concentrate on the front sight. Your front sight dictates where your bullet will impact, while the rear sight dictates the vertical alignment of the front sight. Both your draw and grip effect your ability to gain proper sight alignment. I’ll say it again, concentrate on the front sight!

VI. Trigger pull, or more appropriately Trigger Squeeze

In my opinion trigger pull is the single most important part of the shooting process. Without the proper trigger pull, every shot will be a non life saving action. For such a simple step, many people don’t get it right.  A proper trigger pull starts with proper finger positioning on the trigger. The pad of your finger or just above the first joint needs to be what actuates the trigger.The pull needs to be a smooth movement to the rear without a jerking action. You then release the trigger allowing it to remain in contact with your skin until it properly resets and can be pulled again for follow up shots. This is called trigger reset and it is probably the most important part of the follow up shot, you only let the trigger out until you hear the “click” of it resetting. The key here is smoothness, and not being overly slow nor overly quick in your movement.

VII. Follow Through

You may ask what you really need to do after the shot that really matters. Well in real life a threat usually doesn’t cease to exist simply because you pulled the trigger. In the lisp laden but immortal words of Mike Tyson, “Everyone has a plan until they get hit”. The one shot stop is a myth that you never want to stake your life on. Follow up shots will more than likely need to be made and all the above steps may need to be repeated. You never stop shooting until the threat ceases to exist. If you do fire your weapon to protect life, scan the area for further threats and remain aware of your situation.

I hope this helps in your training and gives you some food for thought. Until next time, be safe and put some lead down range!


A Primer on Everyday Carry

Maxpedition Mini Pocket Organizer (Credit: Maxpedition)

Maxpedition Mini Pocket Organizer (Credit: Maxpedition)

Everyday Carry (EDC) is a philosophy and practice that has grown exponentially in popularity lately. There are entire online stores and forums dedicated to it but it’s really very simply the act of carrying useful items and tools with you on a daily basis. Today I just wanted to cover the basics of EDC and get you thinking about what you may want to add or remove from your EDC setup.

I have practiced the EDC philosophy for almost as long as I can remember. It didn’t have that fancy acronym when I started doing it though. Starting out I carried a Victorinox Tinker as a kid and that was about it but, I always seemed prepared for whatever came my way as an 11 year old kid traipsing through the woods with my friends. Since then I have refined my gear and gotten some more experience underneath my belt.

These days I keep my EDC load out fairly light by many standards but that’s the beauty of the philosophy. You carry what is useful to you and your needs. My daily load out looks like this (assuming I’m wearing jeans):

  • Wedding Band (my lovely wife would want me to list this first!)
  • Casio G-Shock DW-9052 (left wrist)
  • Apple iPhone 4S in Magpul Executive Field Case and Zagg Invisible Shield HD front and back. (left hip pocket)
  • CRKT M12-14G (clipped to right hip pocket)
  • Leatherman Wave Multi-Tool in nylon belt sheath (left side of belt @ 9 o’clock)
  • Streamlight Stylus Pro Flashlight (clipped in left pocket)
  • Spec-Ops Brand Recon Wrap (left back pocket)
  • Spec-Ops Brand T.H.E. Wallet J.R. (right back pocket)
  • Beretta 8040 in Don Hume 721OT  Pancake Holster (right side belt @ 4 o’clock)
  • Don Hume Single Magazine Pouch w/magazine (left side belt @ 10 o’clock)
  • Black Fisher Space, Bullet Pen (clipped to right coin pocket)
  • Cheap spiral bound notepad or Rite In The Rain 4 5/8″x7 1/4″ Bound Notebook (left back pocket)
  • ~10′ of Gorilla Tape wrapped around an old hotel key card. (left hip pocket)
  • Blackhawk! Rigger’s Belt (around my waist of course)
Maxpedition Typhoon Gearslinger (Credit: Maxpedition)

Maxpedition Typhoon Gearslinger (Credit: Maxpedition)

At first glance that list looks like a lot of stuff but I can assure you it’s perfectly manageable. This is generally my bare minimum amount of stuff that I’ll leave the house with. I use a Maxpedition Mini Pocket Organizer to carry most of the gear listed above for times where I’m not in jeans and a t-shirt or if I’m out with my son and have a really good excuse to carry my Maxpedition Typhoon Gearslinger as my “tactical diaper bag” which allows me to store all my essential stuff in one place that is easily accessible and frees up my pockets and belt. Carrying that bag also allows me to carry my small, Linux OS running, Acer Netbook everywhere with me. Having an actual computer you can carry everywhere with you is pretty useful when you’re running a website.

If you’re not yet initiated into the EDC community, welcome! I hope this gets you thinking about all the possibilities of what to carry and how to do it. There are folks that eat, sleep and breathe EDC that carry all manner of things that are very cool and very expensive. I have outfitted myself at a pretty reasonable cost, though not all at once. All the gear that I have, I’ve had for quite a while now and is well worn and often used. There has been trial and error in this process of course but that’s part of the fun. Learning what you really need and how to carry it is the best part. As for now stay safe, train and have a good un’.

AR500 Armor


Credit: AR500 Armor

Body armor is one of those pieces of gear that can be vitally important to your life, training and preparation, but it’s also very often overlooked. One of the main reasons it’s overlooked is just the immense cost of it. You can easily spend a couple thousand dollars for a vest rated for rifle protection with no extra features and that’s not including any soft armor. That’s where the guys over at AR500 Armor come in. They have a product that maximizes protection and value.


Credit: AR500 Armor

Recently I got my hands on a 6×6″ AR500 armor plate. I didn’t get the large chest plate since I already had ceramic plates in my inventory and my intention was for this plate to serve as a trauma plate in my Point Blank concealable body armor vest for enhanced handgun and rifle threat protection. When I held the plate I was struck by the weight of it. It’s only 2.5lbs but it’s heavy for it’s size as very dense materials often are. The coating on the plate is very well done, AR500 coats all of their armor plates with Line-X coating to help reduce spalling. Spalling is the rapid fragmentation and spread of the bullet after impacting the plate. Spalling presents a fairly serious issue in that you may survive the actual round impact but the fragments of the round may penetrate vital areas of your head and neck. In the testing that I have seen, the Line-X helps greatly with the problem. They also offer a thicker build up of Line-X on the armor plate as well for increased protection from spalling at an increased cost of course, but that also equals increased thickness and weight.

photo 2(1)The plate I got was just a little bit large for the trauma plate pocket in my vest but with a little careful forcing it fit right in and won’t be going anywhere any time soon. The plate weighs in at 2.5lbs which does add weight to the front of the vest but if you have your vest correctly adjusted and it’s worn correctly, the small increase of weight is noticeable but has no negative impact. This size of plate is sold as a “side plate” but is made from the identical material and is the exact same threat level with multi strike ability. My intention for this plate is to serve as a trauma plate for mostly defense against the handgun threats the vest itself is rated for however, having my vital organs covered by stand alone level III rifle protection is a huge plus in my book.

Credit: AR500 Armor

Credit: AR500 Armor

Now for the best part of all, the cost of this plate comes in at $30 for both it and it’s 6×8″ brother. If you look at other trauma plates available for concealable body armor, the prices are more for far less protection. The Protech Impac line of plates comes to mind. For far less protection you pay $40 more for your plate. They also offer rifle threat plates in a similar size at a whopping 10x the cost of the AR500 plate. For me the choice is very clear. If you need armor that isn’t going to bankrupt you, all I can say is give AR500 Armor a look. I’m certainly considering replacing my ceramic plates with the AR500 large plates to cut down on bulk in my gear. As for now stay safe, train and have a good un’.

Gun Store Guys

The many personalities you will run into hanging out in a gun shop:

If you’ve been gun shopping in a legitimate gun store and spent any time there then you have surely run into some interesting characters. I was out earlier today and ran into a few myself. So I figured I’d talk about a some of the personalities that I have run into more than once over the years. One is your run of the mill “Gun Shop Rambo” type. All he wants to look at or discuss is the biggest and baddest weapons he can find.  He then proceeds to repeat verbatim what he has read in a magazine or seen on TV. Basically he makes himself look even more ignorant and self conscience than he may be. Guys, your gun isn’t a way to make up for what you lack in other areas that don’t require a holster. Sure, you can carry a 454 Casull as an everyday carry piece, but it isn’t practical nor is it tactical. Please don’t be this guy! He is annoying and no one wants to be around him because ruins your shopping trip.

big-gunThere is also the guy that knows everything about everything that is related to guns in any way shape form or fashion (yep, I ran into “that guy” today). I really enjoyed how he proceeded to explain to me how my gun was exactly like two other guns. Spoiler alert, IT ISN’T! He considers himself an intellectual authority on all things firearm related, everyone else considers him an asshole! Only his favored manufacture is acceptable and worth buying. Ok, so he has a favorite gun company, so do I. What I don’t do is completely discredit all other companies or consider them garbage. I have a top 5 favorites list that most of my semi automatic handguns have come from. If you’re interested, they are Heckler & Koch, Sig Sauer, Glock,  and Beretta. Why these manufacturers you may ask, well I have carried guns from each of them on duty as a police officer and found all of them to be of extremely high quality. Are there other companies that are just as good? I’m sure there are, but those are my favorites. My personal opinion is the best gun on God’s earth is the one that you have on your person that is working without malfunction!  Guns have been a daily part of my life for nearly two decades, but I am in no way an encyclopedia of gun knowledge. I learn new things everyday and enjoy doing so. No one is the final word when it comes to what gun is best or will work best for you. You are the final word on that, because you are the one carrying it.

gun-storeThe final personality is probably the most annoying to me. It’s the guy who is completely lost but wanting to be cool. Most of the time this guy is actually very successful in other areas, but knows next to nothing about guns. He usually is decked out in the most expensive gear, wearing high speed equipment, and can’t hit the broad side of a barn. In many cases he is a person that wanted to be police or  in the military but took a more financially rewarding and less dangerous path in life. Hey, if I’d had any sense I would have done the same thing and avoided broken bones, etc. Just be you, there is no need to put on a fashion show or recount the time that this or that happened. So what you don’t have real war stories, no one is judging you for that. If this guy gets the training he really needs then he will be respected. Bullcrap stories, a $4,000 1911, and no skill just pisses people off.

3pd424You are going to run into all walks of life at all income levels when gun shopping. Some of my best friendships have been made standing around talking about guns in local shops. Gun shops are just a microcosm of society. I’m extremely passionate about guns and the culture that surrounds them. The best advice I can give anyone is feed your hunger for knowledge about guns. Seek out the guys that really know their stuff and pick their brains. Don’t get caught up in the trap of being any of the personalities above, because you are not going to get the knowledge you need to be proficient with the one tool that can save your life and the lives of your family. Train smart, train hard, and train with the best (us!).

What’s Your Major Malfunction?

Common handgun malfunctions and how to clear your weapon:

Dummy Rounds

Dummy Rounds

If you shoot a handgun, it’s only a matter of time before you experience a malfunction. It may be caused by your weapon, your ammunition or even you (the shooter). How you handle these malfunctions can mean the difference between life and death in a real gunfight.

By taking the time to buy dummy rounds and simulating malfunctions you can be prepared when the moment of truth comes. This isn’t something that is difficult to do, so go train!

Type I: Failure to fire/feed

The shooter pulls the trigger and the gun goes “click” instead of “bang”.


  • The shooter forgetting to chamber a round
  • The magazine not being fully seated
  • A bad magazine, bad round, or broken firing pin.

Malfunction drill:

  • TAP- the bottom of the magazine to ensure it is fully seated
  • RACK- the slide to extract a bad round and/or chamber a round
  • BANG- fire, if the situation still dictates use of deadly force

Type II: Stove pipe



This is the failure of the expended round to clear the ejection port before the slide comes forward. The result is a case sticking out of the ejection port looking like a stove pipe.


  • Limp wristing is one of the primary causes.
  • A worn extractor can also cause this to occur.

Malfunction drill is the same as above:

  • TAP- the bottom of the magazine to ensure it is fully seated
  • RACK- the slide to extract a bad round and/or chamber a round
  • BANG- fire, if the situation still dictates use of deadly force
Double Feed

Double Feed

Type III: Double feed

The round in the chamber is not extracted and the nose of the next round in the magazine is pressed against the rear of this chambered case.


  • A broken or worn extractor is the most common cause.
  • This can also be caused by a bad magazine.

The Type I & II malfunctions drills will not clear this.

Malfunction drill:

  • LOCK – the slide to the rear
  • RIP- the magazine out of the weapon. The magazine spring is putting pressure on the top round, which is being pressed against the chambered case by the slide. Locking the slide takes off the pressure, however the magazine will not drop free, which is why you grasp it and yank it out of the weapon.
  • RUN – the slide several times to make sure the chambered case is extracted.
  • RELOAD – a fresh magazine back into the weapon.
  • TAP- the bottom of the magazine to ensure it is fully seated.
  • RACK- the slide to extract a bad round and/or chamber a round.
  • BANG- fire, if the situation still dictates use of deadly force

All of these malfunctions take a lot of training to learn how to clear. It takes repetition to build muscle memory. We are very happy to help you learn these skills in the training we offer.