Brushbeater’s “First Call”

Brushbeater hits the nail on the head once again. Anyone who has served knows what “First Call” is, and what it means. You better get you’re ass up double quick and in a hurry because you don’t want to be the guy that the “Platoon Daddy” says, “WAITIN’ ON YOU!” to. It’s gonna be a long day.

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Reveille in America

reveilleFirst Call, Americans. Out of your bunks. For a good portion of you out there, a year ago you went to sleep. That attitude driven by a very real fear of government out of control over eight years produced diamonds. For many, it meant getting serious about preparing yourselves, family and neighborhoods for uncertain times. And then, you went to sleep. Your guy got in, and he’d make it all right. Everything would be fixed, time to rejoice and rest on those laurels. He’ll undo all the wrongs and the lever pullers of power would truly yield to vox populi. And then, you went to sleep.

While you were sleeping a lot went on. The Left in America, pushed into a corner, has armed up. Keep telling yourself you’re better…after all, it’s entertaining to watch a kid posture in front of a camera with a half-cocked Nagant. Keep in mind, that same kid has all the fire you had 2008-2016, except that he’s half your age and has none of the aversion to violence that you do. That’s right. He has no social capital; no mortgage, no three kids and an SUV. All he has is a lifetime of debt and little hope for any future. Socialist revolution seems good, because after all, the same institution which holds the keys to history groomed him.

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Symbology tells a story. Tell yourself again they’re not serious.

Those with no hope often make great suicidal fighters for a cause. AntiFa and all the little fingers of the Communist Party is not quite there yet…give it time. And while you might look at the traveling street show as a joke, understand that the losers posing on front of the cameras are only one arm of a much, much larger body. The media and entertainment arm is busy grooming the minority blocks based upon the ‘social research’ of academia, upping the ante nearly daily and reinforcing the notions that their way is the only way. There have been no ramifications, so why would they stop?

A country music concert was mowed down and we have no plausible story. None whatsoever. Two churches have been shot up. The first one was a blip on the ticker for a day, because it fit no useful narrative. The second is being diverted as a ‘mental health incident’, grossly overlooking the reality that the guy was a militant and virulent atheist, with a Facebook page that listed him as more than a passive supporter of several Lefty causes. Of course, you’ve heard nothing of ‘Together We Rise’, a Socialist group he was a member of, amid the standard talking points. In each case, as a man who judges terrorism by the target, I’d say the story is that one group, Conservative, White Christians, is wanted dead. Before the last shooter became a non-person and online presence scrubbed, his social media indicated that he was at least a passive supporter of Bernie Sanders and CNN. sutherland-springs-t.jpgAnd sure, his ex-inlaws may have went to the Church once or twice, but that’s hardly an explanation for the calculation and callousness exhibited aside from being an easy target. It took two armed observers to stop him. Where are the demands for real answers? Where are the boycotts, the rallies, the riots? Why is the CNN sign not being torn down in Atlanta? Why is there not a demand for Senator Sanders to relinquish his seat for his rhetoric and link to the shooter? What are the ramifications for a Left that cannot accept anything short of revolution? What has been gained by ‘compromise’? The list of ‘celebrities’ who spared no opportunity to mock not only Christianity but the victims themselves based solely upon ethnicity, long being the rally cry of the Left itself; what of them? They are a reflection of a social faction which explicitly wants us dead.

They are not going to stop. They have no incentive to do so. The power structure which exists should be vibrantly apparent to you now, as it understands the challenge to which it faces.

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William Ayers told you what they planned to do. Did you not listen?

depugh.jpgIt will not go quietly; when such a challenge is issued, an exertion of force must be applied to re-assume control. And the Republicans would abdicate any and all power to restore the hands which feed them. How quickly are they folding on nearly every issue? They serve not your interest or mine- no purpose but a foil for the advancement of the Communists. And where does that leave you, American?

Rekindle that fire you had a year ago. Your five minute breather is over. Pick up your rucks and start walking again. You don’t have enough food or ammo for what’s coming. Prep harder, train harder. Go back to your Churches. And while your at it, seek out training from experienced folks even if you think you know it all- because I promise you, that outside viewpoint or different opinion may make a big difference. You can’t learn it by only reading a blog; you have to go and do. Your enemy is training, and they want you dead. Reveille is sounding, American.  Do you hear it?

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Well said.

JCD,

American by BIRTH, Infidel by CHOICE

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We Are Expanding The Training Available From MDT.

 

For the last seven years, MDT has concentrated on teaching Wilderness Survival and Rural Buddy Team and Small Unit Tactics. I have been teaching the majority of the classes at Echo Valley Training Center  near Winchester VA. for the last six years. I am pleased to finally be able to announce that the live fire shoot house is complete, and while we’re at it, we can talk about the 650 meter range they built at EVTC this past year, and the long range marksmanship course we will be offering.

EVTC now has a live fire shoot house, so I will finally be able to conduct live fire room clearing training at that facility. Although the primary direction this class will go in is to help the individual or Buddy Team learn how to properly clear a building, we will probably have small teams/groups who also want to learn this important skill in a realistic, but safe environment. I think it is important to “Do it for real” with close quarters training, just like we do with the SUT training. Most facilities don’t have the ability to do live fire in a shoot house. We do.

EVTC now also has a 650 meter linear range to teach a long range marksmanship course (I’ve had a number of inquiries over the last 7 years). The intent behind this class is to teach the long range (anything beyond 300 meters is long range) marksman how to accurately engage a target with a high probability of a first round hit. Teaching how to select proper equipment, learning how to use that equipment, and understanding it’s general and specific internal and external performance and the affect different environments has on that performance will be part of the course.

The fieldcraft that goes hand in hand with realistic, long range shooting (for instance, position selection and development), will also be a part of the course that is being developed, but this course is primarily about teaching long distance shooting and how to get the most out of what you are using.

This is not a “How to be a sniper” course. It will be geared towards the Survivalist who wants to learn how to connect at long range on a small target first time, every time. Whether it is a deer needed for the freezer, or an “IDENTIFIED” bad guy who is taking pot shots at your group is not the important focus of this class. One of the things that will be discussed is “how far is too far?” for the cartridge you are using. For instance, I personally will not shoot a deer past 650 meters with my .308Win because of all the variables that can affect that bullet’s flight and can cause a miss, or worse yet, a wounded animal.

Both of these classes will start to be offered in 2018, and you will know they are available when they appear on the Mason Dixon Tactical website.

JCD

American by BIRTH, Infidel by CHOICE

 

The Protector And His Fighting Rifle

MDT Patches1-1As I watched the coverage of the tragic church shooting last Sunday, my initial thoughts covered how impossible it would be for me to even imagine being in that small town and losing that many friends at one time. My secondary thoughts automatically went to how this event would be used by the MSM and tyrannical politicians to try and push the anti-gun, anti-protection agenda that they are huge proponents of.

Then, something epic came out of that tragedy. A civilian plumber named Stephen Willeford, a guy with no military or law enforcement background was the one who had grabbed his rifle and engaged the killer outside of the church and ended up being the reason the bad guy died and killed no one else. Why is it important that Mr. Willeford was not prior Mil or LEO? It’s important because the media is a big fan of saying, “Well, the guy who took down the bad guy used his prior Mil training to do it.” or “The guy who stopped the shooting was an Off Duty/Retired Cop.”, and they try to use this as a qualifier for  why he was able to engage the bad guy and win.

Although Stephen had plenty of training on using a firearm from the NRA, he was not what one would typically call a “Sheepdog” in his every day life. As a plumber, I’d imagine his everyday mindset is not directed towards protecting those around him. From what he said in interviews, he has been an NRA Instructor for a while, and this goes back to one of the key points in why it is important that he was the guy to take down the bad guy.

Immediately after the shooting, politicians were calling the NRA “terrorists”, but as Stephen proved, the NRA was one of the reasons the bad guy didn’t kill anyone else once he was engaged by a good guy with a rifle. The training that Stephen received from the NRA gave him the tools he needed to be successful in stopping the bad guy. Stephen had no Mil or LE background, so there is no other place for the media to point concerning the training he had and used in this incident.

The media immediately made it about the AR-15 that the bad guy used in the shooting, and thug politicians immediately (before the bodies were cold) started calling for a ban on AR’s and their type of rifle. Unfortunately for the Media and politicians, Mr. Willeford was also using an AR-15 with an EOTECH sight, which he had pulled out of his safe in his home when they started to hear the shooting a block and a half away. Good guy with an AR trumped the bad guy with an AR.

Stephen said he ran out of the house with his rifle, a magazine, and a handful of ammo he had just emptied into his hand as he went out the door (so I’m guessin’ he had 20 rounds from the box he emptied). This man was so intent on saving everyone he could, that he even forgot his shoes and was barefoot. He said he was loading ammo in the mag as he ran to the sound of the gunfire (he mentioned every time he heard a shot, he thought it was probably a life of a friend or neighbor, thus the urgency of his departure).

Besides the complete “body slam” of the media and liberal politicians over their typical “NRA BAD!”, “AR-15 BAD!” reaction in this incident. Another point that this situation shows is that a typical 20 or 30 round magazine is not only something that might be nice to have, but that it is a NECESSITY!!!! An AR-15 or any other rifle designed for a martial or protective role is not for duck hunting. It is designed for reliability, durability, and extended firing and it is geared towards hunting down and stopping bad guys. A 20 or 30 round magazine is it’s normal capacity BECAUSE IT IS FOR HUNTING DOWN AND STOPPING BAD GUYS!

Stephen mentioned that if he had just had a handgun, the situation would probably not have turned out as well, and more people might have been killed. The accurate and powerful rifle cartridge (Most any centerfire rifle cartridge is more accurate and powerful than a pistol cartridge) was able to be accurately aimed at a small spot on the bad guy’s side that was not covered with protective plates or kevlar.

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Two typical fighting rifles with factory 20 and 30 round magazines. Note: Both rifles have low powered optics (Top is a 4x, bottom is a 1-4x). Optics at pistol range can make a huge difference when you are under stress and need to make that precise shot.

Something else I would add is that if Stephen had only had a five or ten round magazine (which he would have had to reload multiple times), the situation he was in might have turned out a lot worse (remember that the next time they talk about wanting to restrict mag capacity!). Although I understand most people keep their magazines unloaded when in storage, I think this is a good example of why you should at least have a few loaded at all times. This kind of a situation is why I am a fan of the three mag bandoleer and slip on or side zip boots.  My Buddy John at UWGear makes the bandoleers I have for all my semi auto fighting rifles, they are pictured below.

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If Stephen had had a loaded, three mag bandoleer in his safe with his rifle, he could have been out the door that much quicker.  I am not disparaging Mr Willeford actions or preparations at all, but I know from what he said in the interview that he was in mental agony every time he heard a shot because he knew what it probably meant, and he probably felt like it was taking him FOREVER to load that mag.

Takeaways from this situation.

  1.  Stephen Willeford showed what a trained, good guy can do with a rifle against a bad man with a rifle.
  2. Stephen Willeford showed the importance of having a fighting rifle, and how important a standard 20 or 30 round capacity magazine is in a fight.
  3. It’s hard for the media to demonize the plumber, NRA Instructor, and “Santa on a motorcycle”, Stephen Willeford, and his actions have given us someone to point to as a role model and reason to not restrict fighting firearms and to also stress the importance of training.
  4. It’s hard for gun purchase restrictions to work when a Federal entity like the Air Force can’t even do their job and enter things like “Dishonorable Discharge” and “Domestic Violence” into the FBI’s criminal database to block things like gun purchases. The Killer’s ability to purchase the firearms he had rests solely on the shoulders of the incompetent AF data entry personnel who dropped that “ball”.
  5. If someone is a shooter in a mass shooting, they are more than likely a liberal, a Democrat, not a Christian, and are probably on some type of psychotropic medication, because…..Nuts…. Just sayin’….
  6. Stephen Willeford and Johnnie Langendorff are what the true unorganized militia is, and is supposed to be. Those multi cammed, “Want to be in a fight” moolisha groups we saw at Charlottesville VA just make all of us who have prepared for the fight THAT COMES TO US, look like a bunch of aggressive, wannabe, ne’er do wells trying to start shit.

Hopefully, unlike Stephen Willeford, the fight will never come to you, but the question you need to ask yourself is this, “If a situation like this does happen to me, can I respond in the same manner as Stephen, and what can I take away from this tragedy and his response to make my preparations more squared away for that eventuality?”.

P.S. I purposely did not mention the name of the dead POS bad guy who committed the murders of all those innocent people. I will not acknowledge who he is, and by doing so, give him any more fame than he has already garnered.

JCD

American by BIRTH, Infidel by CHOICE

 

 

 

 

 

Decisive Factors: Ego And Mindset

Everyone has an ego, whether you want to admit it or not. Everyone has a mindset that has usually evolved throughout their life based on their training, experience, or system of belief. More than likely, your mindset is a combination of all three.

EGO

A properly controlled ego can be be a huge help to someone who aspires to do great things, but an out of control ego, similar to what many have seen in the “Tactical Trainer” arena, the moolisha scene, or from the “Lone Wolf” who is  always talkin’ about “Getting it on” , can be detrimental. Not only is it detrimental to those intimately involved with the guy, but it can be detrimental to anyone who is thought to associate with them or be of that “type”.

On the trainer side of things, we have all heard the bluster and bullshit of those who think they are the “Be All, End All” of the “Tacti-cool” world. “I’m the Best”, “I have the most You Tube views”, and the “I’ll make you into a Light Infantryman in a weekend” are all things we hear from egotistical trainers who try to sell their “product” to those who never served in the mil so those students can then say, “Well, now I’m just like a grunt”. Thinking this can get them killed when things  become real.

When their class sizes start to drop, and you hear they are bitchin’ on You Tube or at classes for 30 minutes or more about their former students not promoting them enough, or they are questioning why the “morons” aren’t knocking down their “Tacti-door” to attend their “Best in the world” classes, you might want to realize that if you weren’t there, you’d be the “Moron” too.

My favorite example is when you see enticements like “If you take enough of my classes, you can be OpFor for the ‘X’ that I ‘train’ (sure you do….).”. If you hear this, you should probably question why he has to sell it that way, and is what he saying a manipulation of the truth. When tactical trainers have to come up with a gimmicky name to try and get people into the “sport” of tactical training, they have lost proper perspective on the reason we train and why we train others. It’s not a Damned game, and that mindset will get people killed.

These guys don’t understand that most of the people wanting to get real SUT training don’t want to play games, are usually adults in their 30’s or more (mine are usually 40 or more), and due to one old injury or another or from being overweight, might not be anywhere near the physical shape or ability of the “20 year old Infantrymen” those trainers worked with in the military.

When I meet students for the first time, I usually do a quick, personal assessment of what I think they can do, and compare it to what they put on their class registration “about you” section. I will not turn anyone away from a class for their physical condition. What I will do is restrict someone who is obviously overweight or physically restricted due to prior injury from participating in physically demanding things like a ruck march (I have only had to do this once), but the individual still gets the full blocks of instruction everyone else does. Regardless of whether they “Did” it, they still “learn” it, and “Know” it.

Part of what I teach is about dealing with the realities of TEOTWAWKISTAN. In TEOTWAWKISTAN, we leave no one behind. If we do, it’s probably a close friend or family member and that’s just not happening.  Are we teaching a school for mercenaries (you know, the guys who will be raiding all the neighborhoods), or is it a school for everyone of the preparedness mindset? I see that Southern Prepper One is  stepping into the training arena, and I applaud him for it, the more the merrier I say.

If you are looking for a school that is not about preparedness, but will actually give you a good foundation for being a light Infantryman and some good leadership courses to boot, I suggest you contact Dr. Christopher Larsen at “One Shepherd”. I have had nothing but good feedback from people who have taken courses there, but as I said, they are of the military mindset, not the civilian Survivalist one.

On the Moolisha side of the ego issue, we have the “I know what I’m doing because ‘KERNAL and KOMMANDER’!”. right? I just read a rant from a Moolisha Kernal talkin’ about “See I told ya so!”, concerning the November 4th rumblings. Back in September he had said nothing was gonna happen on November 4th (I guess his crystal ……. ball told him so), and that you had no common sense if you believed bad things could happen. This is a case of his “Sperm whale mouth/ego over riding his hummingbird ass”. Do you have to panic people that look to you for direction? No. Should you look at historical examples to see what your priorities of work and specific preparedness actions should be? Yes. Should you err on the side of caution when giving out advice about a possible threat? Yes.

Anyone who didn’t take this crap seriously is doing a disservice to those who they are responsible for or who might look to them for guidance. Living a lifestyle of preparedness gives you the benefit of no last minute rush on supplies, and your only concern is to see where the trouble could be, and maintain the situational awareness that you should always be exercising anyway.

A response I gave to someone on social media concerning the possible November 4 events was, ” It pays to be aware and prepared. I can go about my day normally because I am both”. The “Kernal” I spoke of above is simply not in control of his ego. His concern was to say, “Look at me, I’m always right and I know better.”. Funny thing is he can’t decide whether he wants to be a “Cunsteetooshunal moolisha Kommander” or a cop (big difference and he’s not an LEO) and he’s having a terrible time determining who the enemy to this nation really is (Hint: Commies, and anyone who identifies with them).

His decisions are made by how much attention something can get him, not what the proper role of someone claiming to be part of the “Unorganized Militia” is (because “unorganized militia” is all he’ll ever be). Below is an excerpt from something I received in an email from a “militia” forum on Friday. This is how you tell your people to be aware. This is not the time to try and impress people with your “Prophetic skills”. Just give it straight with the facts and reality.

 

“The time now facing us is why we have advocated for so many years for you all to get your group as a part OF your community instead of apart FROM.  Our ONLY mandate as Militia, is to protect and defend YOUR community.  This means right where YOU LIVE.  Things get really rough, you will need your community in order to survive as much as they need you.  Not to worry compatriots, things get really bad the opposition will be coming to your hood as soon as they can.  Not to worry as you wont miss out on anything or be overlooked.  Remember, while your out running around saving the world in areas other than your own that your community is left wide open.  Let that sink in…

There is a time and a place to take it to them…

Now for the real groaner…

You and your group are NOT the first line of defense of your community, county and State.  At best we are the 5th line of defense. 

The order of defense is as follows:

1. Your city LEO

2. Your county Sheriff

3. Your State Patrol (Police)

4. Your States National Guard

   and lastly…

5. Your group

I strongly urge you all to read the comments to these blogs as there is a lot of good insight to be gleaned.

Our only duty and responsibility is to our Community, our County and our State in that order…”

In the third “Ego” category we have the guy who is always talking about taking action or pushing others to take action. Kit Perez wrote about this recently at TPHS. I’ve seen a number of people like that guy, and what I have noticed is that they usually have a few of the same traits. Usually, they have an ego that drives them to embellish or just outright lie about their past. They try to make it appear that they have been part of “The game” for a long time. Another trait, is usually they have not been in the military at all (they’ll hint towards “secret” backgrounds or alliances though), and for the small group of these guys that were, they are usually not combat veterans.

The last trait they usually have in common is their willingness to try and drive others to commit the acts that they are unwilling to do themselves. If you have been reading my blog for a while, you know who the glaring example of this type has been over the last couple years, because “Jumpin’ off the porch” himself just isn’t HIS thing.

MINDSET

Having a proper mindset about life in general and preparedness in particular is developed through a maturing process that usually destroys the fantasies we had when we were younger. This “destruction” is due to a realization of what is “reality” and makes sense, versus what is “fiction” and just sounds good in a paperback. I believe that having a “Preparedness” mindset is the responsible one, whether it’s in life in general or anything else. I believe this because first and foremost, we have a responsibility to the protection of our families. Being prepared is the most sure way you can protect the ones you love.

Many of us that are Vets or in law enforcement have a mindset that was developed through our training and experiences in those occupations. Many also have a mindset that is generated from our spiritual beliefs. Many that are into Preparedness have come around to that mindset either because they were raised in a “Self Sufficiency” type home atmosphere, or  they simply have come to realize that something just isn’t right, and want to be prepared when things go sideways.

If your daily mindset is not that of the prepared and trained individual, odds are, you will eventually be caught in a situation that escaping from unharmed will be just dumb luck, and not because of your reaction. I wrote a post in September about the rumors floating around about the November 4th “war games”, and although I thought the chances of it going sideways were small, I still realized there are those out there who might look to what I’ve written for guidance. Saying “Nothing to see here, move along …” in that instance is inappropriate, immature, and unethical.

I have no crystal ball, and neither does anyone else. Hell, the “moolisha” guy I was speakin’ of earlier used to have a habit of listening to what knowledgeable (of which he was not one) people had to say in one conversation, then he’d put it out to his minions on Face Book an hour later like it was his personal epiphany, just so he could see the “Well said Boss” responses.

Not taking these real world situations as a chance to “War game” and conduct “PCC’s” (pre combat checks) and “PCI’s” (pre combat inspections) of your gear and your plans is the mark of an inexperienced Survivalist/Prepper or a “Wanna be” militia member or commander. There aren’t many real scenarios that present themselves, so why not use it to your advantage? Hell, there’s a reason the Feds were doing the Solar Flare/EMP drill this weekend. They did it because they do drill all the time. That’s how you get or maintain proficiency. Take Rahm Emanuel’s sayin’ of “Don’t let a good crisis go to waste”, and shove it up their collectivist asses by applying it to your preparations.

The prepared don’t live with fear, we live with confidence. If you have someone in your group that has a serious ego issue, or has the “playing” mindset and is not serious about what your group is doing, you have some choices to make. Ask some serious questions. First is,”Is their ego detrimental to the overall groups preparedness status and cohesiveness?”, and second is, “Is the mindset of the individual that of someone not taking what the group is doing seriously?”. If you answer “Yes” to either question, you need to figure out who you need to talk to about it, and then, how do you address it with the group or individual. As to the trainers who have an ego like the Grand Canyon (we see it on YouTube all the time among other places), that’s a simple answer, find someone else. Getting training from an egotistical retard who tries to make you believe they will make you are something you are not will get you killed when the bullets are real.

Big, unchecked ego’s get people killed in a crisis. A lack of a serious mindset initially get’s people killed in a crisis. These are facts that are historically irrefutable.

JCD

American by BIRTH, Infidel by CHOICE

 

Pistol Advice From The Brushbeater Blog

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Here’s some good advice on pistol choices from “Secret Squirrel” over at Brushbeater’s blog. SS gives some excellent advice on some outstanding choices. Although I am a fan of the .45ACP as a “Survival Caliber” for a handgun (most effective auto round in the least effective bullet design and material. that being the cast lead, round nosed bullet), I also know that for normal daily applications and as an overall group standard (men, women, and children), the 9mm is the way to go as long as effective bullet designs are available, and you’re not having to cast your own over a fire. SS’s thoughts on the 40Cal. mirror my own, even though my issued duty gun is a 40Cal S&W M&P. 
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A .45ACP selection from left to right. Glock 30 (regular “Off Duty” carry pistol), Glock 21, and an AMT Back Up 45. The AMT BackUp was not very reliable out of the box (I’ve had it a long time), and needed the addition of a Wolff recoil spring for 100% reliability. The AMT BU 45 is know for being the most compact .45ACP auto made.

Although I am not a fan of the HK’s and SIG’s (the quality to money ratio is not as good as other brands), but I will admit they shoot very well. Glock’s are my “Go to” in any auto caliber you care to mention, and I am a fan of the Beretta M9 (92FS), and the S&W M&P pistols, (but would go with a 9mm or .45ACP if given the choice with the M&P’s the .40’s are fracturing the locking block at less than 5,000 rounds). The CZ’s SS mentions are also one of the most robust and accurate pistols I have ever fired (right behind the BHP in accuracy for me).
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9mm pistols of choice left to right. Keltec PF-9 (smallest and lightest 9mm auto on the market), and a Beretta M9 with Crimson Trace laser grip (originally bought for my issued M9 on my last deployment). Some people don’t like Keltec’s but with all the Keltecs I’ve owned (SU-16C, P11, PF-9, P3AT, P-32), I’ve never had a bit of trouble either in parts breakage or malfunctions, and I’ve put a ton of ammo through the SU-16C, the PF-9, and the P3AT.  

To go along with what is written below about handgun selection, here are some posts I have written about belt mounted holsters and shoulder/chest mounted holsters .
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“Go ahead, skin that smokewagon and see what happens” by Secret Squirrel

As you might’ve guessed, this is a post about handguns. I asked a very close friend and accomplished handgunner to write a piece specific to it’s own and he’s what I would consider a subject matter expert. If there’s one topic that might be worse than the “whut carbine is bestest” nonsense, it’s people squabbling over handguns. But since a handgun is going to be the most likely used firearm in close or unexpected contact, and takes a higher amount of training to master, it warrants discussion.

I would like to first say I have the distinct honor to call the man that is NCScout my best friend. Not just a friend but a brother in all but blood. I know of no other person I would be more apt to follow to hell and back (again no less) than he. So to say it is a huge compliment for him to want to publish any of my babbling is no small matter. Thank you brother.

I try my best to keep up with the Brushbeater blog as much as possible but sometimes I get behind. Most of the time we are talking about the various topics over a craft beer and good homemade food anyway. But I did catch the “So You Want A New AR, Huh?” story yesterday and as with many conversations in the past the same kind of discussion came up about handguns. I told him I’d be happy to do a similar piece on handguns so here we are. What he is with rifle and carbine I am with handgun in our fold. My background aside from military includes prior Law Enforcement, Private Security, and my fair share of IDPA, USPSA, IPSC, and other various handgun competitions. I am by no means a handgun god but I do know a thing or two of what I’m talking about. This is also an account of my experience, observation and opinion so take it as you may. This post will be about defensive and/or fighting handguns, anything else like handgun hunting is a whole different can of worms for a different time and place. Let’s jump in.

First things first, yes I love my handguns and have the ability to stretch their limits, but do I think a handgun with ever replace a main weapon like a rifle/carbine or even a pistol caliber carbine? That answer is a very resounding NO. But I do think every person’s kit is not complete without a proper handgun, even their everyday kit. I can’t recommend enough to get your concealed handgun permit (in areas where you can) and carry as much as the law allows. Always better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. As a backup to a main weapon I feel it is an indispensable tool to have especially after personal experience of being in a situation where M4 could not be used and hand to hand was extremely dangerous but a sidearm would have been the Goldilocks of the situation. Alas the Army did not see fit to issue a sidearm to all of us and luckily I was able to get out of that situation unscathed. But that situation made me further solidify in my belief of a sidearm backup. [Green on Blue incident, on case anyone is wondering- BB]

To kind of follow the AR post, he speaks of not getting into a caliber war. This will not either as there are only really three calibers to focus on; 9x19mm, 40 S&W, and 45 ACP. Yes I know there are plenty of revolver cartridges that are plenty effective but unfortunately the capacity argument will beat revolvers every time with today’s available handguns. I say today’s available handguns because inevitably the argument will come up about revolvers reliability over an auto. Years ago that was a viable argument but not so much anymore. In my life I have had revolvers fail, and not just cheaper ones, we’re talking S&W and even a Colt. Also in my life there are a few manufacturers of autos that have NEVER failed me aside from ammo related stoppages. I’m not bashing on wheelguns, I’m honestly a huge fan with possibly a unhealthy obsession with pre lock S&Ws and Colt snakes, I just feel in today’s world they are outclassed as a fighting or “combat” handgun.

So we have 40 S&W. Wonderfully effective, inherent natural accuracy and higher capacity than 45 ACP in comparable frames. Something along the lines of 65 to 70% of law enforcement agencies use the 40, I did, being issued one in the Glock model 22 flavor as a Sheriff’s deputy. But that is starting to change. More and more agencies are dropping the 40 in favor of other calibers. Reason being other calibers previously thought to be ineffective are not so anymore. More about that later. Not to mention it has never standardized as an issue round to any standing military in the world. Logistically, sure you can find 40 on most shelves just about anywhere, but for how much longer? Not just LEOs are dropping 40 but I am seeing many private individuals dropping it as well. I did, with my last 40 being traded off several months ago. The problems with 40 are not just what I see to be a pending logistics problem (think 357 Sig) but also the recoil. That may sound funny but 40 is a bit snappier in recoil whereas 45 ACP and 9mm more push. That all has to do with muzzle rise and how quick one can get back on target for follow up shots. Also in my experience 40 tends to beat the weapon up a bit quicker than others, so less of a potential round count out of a given weapon. 40 is good without a doubt, still hits hard on the business end, but I feel it has run its course and is starting a slow road to die.

Next is an oldie but a goodie, 45 ACP. Not much needs to be said about the 45, most anybody knows its pros, its huge and hits like a sledgehammer at velocities as low as 450 fps. Everybody knows that one guy that always says “If it ain’t got a 4 and a 5 in the caliber I ain’t carryin it”. But the 45’s biggest advantage is also its biggest disadvantage, its sheer size. The cartridge itself not just the diameter is pretty massive and requires a huge frame to fit it in and not everybody can wrap their hands around one. Unfortunately the easiest to comfortably grip for most ends up being a single stack magazine frame, and that of course drops capacity. Logistics of it are great, it can be found pretty much anywhere. It also still sees widespread use in LE and various armed forces around the world. It’s been a reliable cartridge for over a century, always been more than accurate enough, surprisingly mild recoil for its size and you won’t be under gunned by any means but you may need to practice mag changes more than others.

Now we have 9mm; or 9×19, 9mm Luger, 9mm Parabellum, your preference of what to call it. I once talked to a guy that refused to own a 9mm because it was a “Nazi German” round, which yes is true and the popularity of 9mm rose in no small part to the Luger P08 and Walther P38. Whatever. We fought Japan too in the same war but that doesn’t make Toyota trucks any less reliable or hard to kill. The fact is it works. The argument was made for years that 9mm only punched holes with no real stopping power. If it didn’t work it wouldn’t have endured up to this point. Plenty of “good” rounds went the way of the Dodo because they weren’t effective but somehow the 9mm endured. And same with any good enduring thing it has evolved. Fast forward to today and now 9mm is the king of auto calibers. With modern expanding ammo it has been found to be plenty effective on soft tissue for stoppage, per the gold standard of ballistics testing the FBI’s ballistics lab. Hence why the FBI is looking to go back to standardizing the 9mm for its agents. Don’t believe it’s becoming king of the auto world? Take a look at the amount of LE agencies going to it or going back to it. Look how many militaries around the world still have it standardized. Go to your local range and see how much 9mm brass is lying around. I frequent a public range local to me and every time I go I go clepto on the range brass cans. For every 45 ACP case I get I get at least 50 9mms. For every 40 it’s at least 100 9mms. Logistics behind it are endless. It’s everywhere and it has gotten insanely cheap. It’s pretty fast, it’s naturally accurate, it’s low recoil and you can pack a serious amount of rounds into a pistol frame. It is here to stay, and for a long time.

So let’s look at the guns themselves. Much like the question asked to NCScout about ARs, I get asked about handguns the same way all the time. “What’s the best handgun” or “What should I get” comes more frequently than I care to count. There is no holy grail. Sorry, just ain’t going to happen. What I tell most everybody that comes to me about it is this: Go to a well-stocked gunshop or to the next local gunshow and get your hands on different ones. Find one that fits your hand and feels good. Then, if you can by any way possible, give it a test drive. If it feels good, buy one. Now with this discussion I will say there is one caveat, and that is if you are within a group it is VERY wise to get standardized across the board for ammo and mag commonality. But for an everyday carry potentially anything could go. I have my personal favorites and for good reasons; they are Glock, CZ and H&K in no particular order. The venerable 1911 still seems to be the standard for 45s. I know I will probably get blow back and hate mail for this by some but the 1911 ain’t that great anymore. Don’t get me wrong, it is still a wonderful piece and it will always hold a place in my heart and in my safe but there is more advanced 45s out there now. I still have a Springfield Trophy Match that has seen an ungodly amount of rounds and untold number of matches, and the old girl still shoots great. But for a fighting 45 my H&K USP 45 runs circles around any of my 1911s. For me it’s been 100% reliable no matter what, honestly more accurate than I am, and the biggest thing is a standard 12 round mag vs 1911s 8 round. Those extra 4 rounds will keep you in the fight that much longer. The downside for most is that it is a BIG pistol. That doesn’t affect me so much because I have big hands and actually find the big frame comfortable. Same can be said for the Glock 21. Not everybody can fit a double stack 45 so the go to if one wants 45 is the 1911. Some will say “OK, what about the double stack 1911s, the 2011s?” They are fine if you intend on competition or maybe even carry but they have not been combat or field proven by anyone I know of like H&Ks, Glocks, Sig 220s or similar. Even in competition they can be finicky beasts, needing constant tweaking and magazine tuning. Not reliable enough for me to trust it in the field. So for me H&K gets the nod for fighting 45s. In the 9mm realm my personal favorite is the CZ 75 series, with Glock a close second. In the beginning I actually hated Glock. I didn’t want Tupperware in my holster. The grip angle was funny. The trigger was weird. Then I had to carry one as an issue weapon. After I learned a bit more about it, got more trigger time on them, they really started to grow on me (taking the Glock armorer course helped too, highly recommend it to anyone contemplating taking it). My hatred turned into a humbling respect for them. It is really hard to kill one, I’ve tried. Accurate, simple, AK of the handgun world reliable, they are a no brainer. The biggest point of Glock to me is the magazines. The compatibility amongst same size frames. It’s nice to carry a 26 with a flush fit stubby IWB and have a 17 round G17 mag as a spare for the 26. Well done Gaston. Not to mention ammo and mag commonality with how many millions of people in the US and around the world? Can’t swing a dead cat anywhere without hitting a 9mm Glock. I just still can’t see spending $3000 plus on a customized Glock when a $500 factory will do more than what the average shooter is capable of anyway. I’d dare just about anybody with a $3k Salient to go up against Dave Sevigny with a box stock G34 and see how far that 3 grand got them. My absolute favorite by far though is the CZ 75 series. The ergonomics, the natural accuracy of the design, the toughness, all of it is hard to beat. One of its biggest criticisms is the weight being all steel or steel/alloy mix. That doesn’t bother me, it still carries great and the little extra weight helps negate felt recoil. Top of the list is the CZ 75 SP-01. It’s even a little heavier than the standard 75 due to full length dust cover with rail but after you start shooting it all the negatives go away. The felt recoil is almost on par with say, my Browning Buckmark 22 LR. The accuracy of this thing is somewhere between a laser guided smart bomb and a James Bond harbinger of death super sophisticated ray gun. NC Scout was a witness to it dumping a mag full (19 round mags by the way, take that Glock 17) of 147 grain handloads into a group that could be covered with a quarter at 25 yards. It’ll ring a 15 inch gong at 100 yards with such frequency it gets boring. At $650 out the door it’s amazingly affordable and to date has never failed once. Obviously I can’t speak highly of it enough. All that is just an example of my findings and personal preferences. There are many others that work very well that others can shoot just fine. Sig for example is a fine company that makes a fine weapon (albeit overpriced but fine nonetheless). The recent hype over the non-German made Sigs being worse in quality has some truth to it but in my experience has been blown out of proportion. I recently had an Exeter made P226R with the newer E2 grip and it was just as good as any German made Sig. Alas, I don’t run Sig because no matter how hard I try or how many I get that I want to let my big hands leave my thumb sitting on top of the slide lever, inadvertently engaging it when it should last round lock. That is a no-go for me in the field or in defensive situations. But they still shoot great and many do like them. Other companies make fine products like Ruger, S&W and FN to name a few I just don’t run them for personal reasons. I still own/have owned many of them just regulated to range or match work. The point is, try some and find what works for you. Then train with it.

Which bring me to the next and probably the biggest point of them all, practice and training. Get out and shoot the things. 9mm is cheaper than 22 LR per round in many cases right now so that’s not an excuse. Rainy day and can’t get to the range? Sit in front of the TV and do dry fire practice to on screen “targets”. There’s no excuse to not train. It’s not always practical (or legal) to carry your fighting rifle or carbine every day, and if you are using handgun as a backup to it things have gone bad to worst fast so there is a very big chance you may need to rely on that handgun for your safety and the safety of those around you. So training with that weapon is a must. Learn to point shoot for close range targets, I teach that and it is extremely effective and fast once learned. I mentioned earlier that I have done quite a bit of competition in the past. Competition can teach you some good practices for handgun but DO NOT take it as gospel. I always found competition to be fun and it did help train me to be a bit faster but after real world experience I found it is lacking for real world scenario. The biggest way is that it can ingrain bad habits. Let’s look at IDPA. It was originally created by Bill Wilson and friends to be a defensive minded set of competition. So started with excellent intentions it has fell off a bit. My biggest gripe with IDPA is the course of fire. You never have a set course of fire in the real world. There is no rangemaster saying “you engage this target then this target then this target with X number of rounds in each etc. etc.” when you have the unfortunate circumstance of having to defend yourself in an actual shooting. So I wonder why IDPA doesn’t run its course of fire by means of say engaging the worst threat first and going down the ladder of threats from there when IDPA is supposed to be a “defensive” organization. That can set bad habits that can confuse a shooter when presented with legitimate real world threats. Maybe I’m picking nits but that is something I have always looked at and deemed a problem. I also feel that some of the strict rules can get in the way of practicality. Like if a particular holster that I like is not on the “approved for competition” list. If that’s what I like and what I use then I should be able to use it. I completely understand some not being allowed for safety reasons, like a crossdraw that could potentially flag bystanders or range officials on the draw but that is a little different. If you want to try competition then by all means do so, it is a helluva lot of fun and you get the chance to meet some truly wonderful people. I don’t compete at the moment, mainly due to life happenings, but I won’t say that I’ll never compete again. Just don’t take it as the things to do for the real world. I could probably write a book about handgun training so for sake of sanity I will keep it simple here. Bottom line is get out and use it, don’t let it become a paperweight on the nightstand or a permanent addition to the sock drawer.

I feel that I am starting to drone on about a topic that I could talk about for days so I will wrap it up. Handgun is an oft overlooked tool that should be just as important as anything else in your kit or in everyday life. No, they aren’t the end all be all but all tools have a job to do and I feel that the handgun’s job is an extremely important one. Find one that fits you. If need be acquire similar pieces to others within your fold to keep commonality. Then train. Then train some more. Do drills, do buddy drills, then train some more. Make that hawgleg become an extension of your arm. It could potentially save your bacon one day or even more important someone you care about.

Everybody be safe, watch your backs, and have a wonderful day!

-Secret Squirrel

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JCD

American by BIRTH, Infidel by CHOICE