Monday, April 14, 2014

The Tale of Two Textures: The non-Stipple Option

If you go to a firearms related forum and search "stippling" you will find stuff like this. Some of it is pretty good, some of it isn't, it all probably works for what it is intended for, which is to improve traction on the firearm. I have done a little bit of stippling (and here, and here) and I learned one thing really fast, it is tedious and takes a lot of time to do well. Because of the time involved, some things I just didn't stipple.

You also have to be careful about how you stipple because when carried against the skin, or certain types of fabric it can be abrasive. It wears out the body, or whatever fabric it is rubbing against.

So I starting thinking that there has to be a better way. Something that isn't as time consuming at the very least. A while back, I found it. It is called Marine Tex. There are other products out there that from my understanding you can do the same thing with, and some I hear are even better at it, but this is what I have used. Marine Tex is a two part epoxy that is intended for the repair of boat hulls. So it is a fairly resilient epoxy.

The way this works is you make up a little batch (it doesn't take much) and spread it fairly thin on whatever surface you want to add texture to (I recommend cleaning the surface before hand) and let it set for 20-30 minutes depending on air temperature, humidity, etc. Once it has become a little tacky, you can use a sponge, rag, or whatever you want to tack the surface of the epoxy. It ends up looking like this.
There will be some sharp peaks, that is okay for now. Once you have all the texture you want/need, let it sit for about 24 hours until the epoxy is completely cured. Once the epoxy is cured, use a piece of sandpaper to take off the sharp peaks and get it to the texture you want. Once you are satisfied, hit it with a little water to wash all the dust away and the grip is done.
Depending on what you use to "tack" the surface you can go really gnarly like this.
Chopped G22
Or something more subtle like this.

Gen2 G21
Remington R1 w/Mako Magwell Grips

If you end up not liking the end result, just sand it off and start over. Unlike stippling, if you screw this up, odds are you aren't going to ruin your gun in the process which is what I think scares a long of people away from stippling with a heat tool. I have also found that even though you can end up with a very aggressive texture like the chopped G22 pictured above, it doesn't abrade the skin like normal stippling tends to when worn in a holster against the skin or grab clothing. But when you grip it to shoot, you definitely notice a difference.

As for the Magpul grip pictured above, this is the finished product. Total working time start to finish is about 30 minutes with 24 hours or so of curing time.


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Yes, I am that cheap part 2

So, I have this bad habit when I am running a gun mostly just for kicks and giggles I use the cheapest gear that will get the job done. Reference this blog post.

Since I have been messing around with the PT-22, I have been playing around with different methods of carry that I typically wouldn't use (i.e. pocket carry). After trying it out some, I decided I didn't like pocket carry, but I had a pocket carry holster...oh what to do. Answer: make it an IWB holster.

So far it has worked well enough for what I am using it for.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Importance of Exposure to the Competitive Side

A few days ago I read an article from Frank Pocter published to Soldier Systems Daily as the Gunfighter Moment. The article is actually about double taps and is a good read just for that (so go read it), but the part that jumped off the screen at me was this:
At this point I considered myself a pretty good shooter, humble but competent. 
I decided to go shoot a USPSA match and promptly discovered what I didn’t know about shooting.
This mirrors my own experience in a way. While my exposure to competitive shooters wasn't at a match but at a class, it was pretty much the same sort of deal. I saw someone who was an exceptionally good shooter because of their involvement in competition and it opened my eye's to what being good at shooting a gun really looks like. I can now trace most of my skill development back to that moment.

It is important for people who take defensive shooting seriously to expose themselves to competitive shooting not just because of the competition aspect like a lot of people say, but because of the pure skill some of the other competitors have. Seeing that skill in person, and having a direct comparison to your own skill by shooting the same stage or same drill in my experience is a huge motivator to improve because it shows us where we actually are with our skill level and what is possible.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Shooting-Performance/Mike Seeklander Defensive Handgun level 1

This past weekend I had the opportunity to Mike Seeklander's Defensive Handgun Level 1 for the second time. The first time through was almost exactly a year ago. It was interesting to take it again and see where I had improved, it was also interesting to hear, see or try something for a second time and have it make more sense or work better than it did before.

For those that don't know Mike, he is an exceptional shooter with an interesting background that has two very distinct branches. On the one hand he has federal law enforcement instructor experience with the FAMS and FLETC. He essentially ran the FAMS firearms training program for a while before moving to a senior instructor position at FLETC. On the other he has a fairly successful competitive shooting background. He was the Speed Shooting World Champion (read: Steel Challenge) in production division in 2011. He took 2nd spot in this years IDPA BUG Nationals behind Jerry Miculek. He finished 3rd in his division and was in the top ten overall at the IDPA Indoor Nationals. So you end up with a shooter who can execute shooting at a very high skill level and also has the instructional background to be a well developed teacher. Mike is big on program design and takes a lot of care in designing and building his classes so that students get the most bang for their buck possible.

Day one of training starts off with the customary introduction and safety brief, followed by a short discussion of equipment and what Mike uses and why. He is a big advocate of training with what you carry (at least for his defensive classes), and he isn't afraid to call out bad, or less than ideal gear. The rest of the morning is spent working skills in dryfire. The reasoning according to Mike is why waste the ammo and by extension the $$ training and learning skills that don't necessarily require a round to be fired. We spent close to 2 hours learning and refining grip technique and the draw process prior to lunch. After lunch, the bullets came out. The rest of the day was spent working the same skills we had learned during the morning session, just with bullets.

Day two started off a quick safety refresher just to make sure everyone was still in the right mindset, then straight into live fire. We hit on everything from training day 1 real quick, then moved into stress testing the skills through one on one heads up competition. We then moved into off line movement, pivots, use of cover and shooting around another person, using barrels as our "other person". The instructional part of the day wrapped up with one handed shooting, but the shooting wasn't over. The range was still open, and shooters were allowed to spend the next few minutes practicing whatever they felt needed practice while Mike watched and gave individualized pointers where needed.

After all the smoke had cleared, Mike passed out certificates, said his thank yous to the guys at Last Resort Firearms Training for allowing us to use their range and we wrapped up with a class picture. This class was not on average as skilled as last years class and the course material was paced appropriately for the skill level represented. That being said, I didn't feel as though the class was boring, or the pace was too slow, and I had seen it all before. That speaks to Mike's ability to motivate the more skilled shooters in the class and keep it interesting when everyone else is a few steps back still. That experience has not been mirrored in other classes. I ended up shooting about 800 rounds, another shooter running a single stack gun shot less than 500, and a third shooter was pushing 1,000 so the round count can be controlled by the shooter a little.

The highlight reel is below. Stay tuned for some thoughts on specific things in the class that I think deserve a little more attention.


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Return of the Glock

So the Gen4 Glock 22 that I was using in the first Catch 22 post (here), is back from Glock. For a while it had been having issues with the exact same type of malfunction (pictured right). It is a beast of a malfunction to clear because a simple tap, rack won't get it done. You have to strip the magazine, then rack and so on and so forth. Much like a double feed/fail to extract. I sent the gun off to Glock because it just seemed to be getting worse despite my best efforts to figure it out.

I got a call from the Glock technician 2 weeks ago saying the gun was on its way back. I asked what had been done to it and he explained that the Gen4's have been "updated" from the earlier production versions, which I think is pretty well known. The parts replaced were the extractor, ejector and connector. The extractor visually appears just the same as what was already in the gun. The connector is the "dot" connector, no big surprise there. The ejector is where I see the difference. The profile is significantly changed from the old style ejector, which to my knowledge has been the same on .40 S&W guns for quite some time.

I have about 1,000 rounds through the gun since it came back and so far so good. Ejection is much more consistent than it used to be. In the past, I would have brass going all over the place, now it is fairly consistently going to my 4 o'clock. Time will tell if the fix actually keeps the gun fixed.
New ejector in front, old style ejector in rear.


Saturday, March 29, 2014

Dot Torture and the PT-22

Dot Torture is one of my standard drills. Anytime I am starting out with a new handgun, it is a drill that I use to measure my performance with that specific gun. I can typically easily clean Dot Torture from 3 yards, can get it from 5 yards with a little more work, but have yet to get a 50/50 at 7 yards. So I know that if I struggle at 3 or 5 yards I need more work. Or if I clean it at 7 yards I am shooting better than I normally would.

I recently had the opportunity to shoot Dot Torture with the PT-22 and scored a 49/50 at 3 yards. I am disappointed in the one miss because it was completely my fault. One of the problems for me with shooting Dot Torture at a distance that it is relatively easy to accomplish is that I tend to go faster than I should be. Because I know I can get the hits at 3 yards my training focus shifts from "just get the hits and clean the drill" or "how fast can I get the hits and still clean the drill". That is okay if I am not using the drill as a measuring stick, but in this case it came back to bite me. The one miss on dot # 3 is from trying to go too fast on the presentation and breaking the shot just a hair too early. Otherwise it would have been a 50/50.

I think the gun is capable of cleaning the drill at 5 yards at least, maybe 7 with a little more practice. Even though the trigger is DAO, it is relatively smooth and matches my taste in triggers pretty well. So far my only complaint about the gun is that is a .22. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

PT-22 at Distance

I finally got the opportunity to get the PT-22 past 10 yards a few days ago. I fired 2 rounds at 3 yards, 2 rounds at 7 yards, 2 rounds at 15 yards and 3 rounds at 25 yards. Everything stayed inside the 8" target zone except for the 3 rounds at 25 yards. I am not sure if I am influencing the gun and causing it to shoot left (most likely) or if it is the gun itself. I generally would not have any problems hitting the 8" circle from 25 yards with a full-size gun, but things change with a gun this small. Because of time constraints I didn't have a chance to work out what the issue was. The gun is running pretty well, but the round count is still insignificant.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The .22 Update

So the idea that I would spend much time dedicated to learning how to shoot a .22 caliber pistol for defensive purposes has perplexed even myself at times. I am generally not the guy who would carry such a gun, and have even ribbed people in the past about carrying "small" guns. Not because I think small guns are bad or won't get the job done, but because I think bigger guns will make getting the job done easier.

ToddG posted on about The Passion of the Gun. Basically the point being that somehow certain handguns have extra appeal for certain people and the enjoyment from shooting those guns causes the act of practice to be less mechanical, or taxing on the shooter. All this in turn leads to more shooting, more practice and in the end a better shooter. It is an insightful read.

Pretty much that is what this gun is. For a long while I have been "bored" with shooting Glocks, or 1911's, or whatever else I might have been shooting at the time. For me, the guns that I enjoy shooting are guns that people typically don't try to shoot to any meaningful level of performance like a small "pocket" gun (and AR-15's, I like AR-15's for some reason too). Basically the PT-22 is my break from the norm (or at least my norm), to try and do something different and challenge myself in new ways.
Five rounds at 7 yards with 40gr Lapua HV

I managed to get my hands on some more .22 ammo and now have about 250 rounds through the gun (really inconsequential). The Remington Golden Bullet has run pretty well, just a couple hiccups. The RWS R50 had a few failures to eject. I attribute it to the light load. Lapua 40gr High Velocity HP has run fine. The other issue was the gun shooting insanely low at just 3 yards. It was off by about 3". I had to file down some of the front sight to get the POI/POA to match. More to come when I can get some more ammo.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Catch 22

On there is a drill called the Catch 22. It is designed to help with draw speed (one of my weaknesses) and trigger control. I have been wanting to try it for a long time, but for whatever reason never got around to it...until a couple weeks ago. (Also note the number of malfunctions with the G22, more on that later).

I obviously need lots of work. 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Long Gun Recoil Management

In the post previous to this one I mention how I control recoil with a carbine. In a nutshell, this is it.

I initially picked it up from that youtube video as a way to shoot a shotgun better, then I verified the technique talking to some other shooters who all used it. I then cross applied the technique to the carbine, even though that isn't where it is intended to be used. For me it has worked well, especially so when wearing a plate carrier and getting a good purchase with the butt stock can be difficult.