Cheap Bags for Bringing Ammo to the Range

I had been looking for an inexpensive way to transport a day’s worth of ammo without having to buy more clunky .30 or .50 ammo cans. I had some of these inexpensive dry bags from a previous camping trip, and it turns out they’re great for toting ammo. They’re tough, cheap, and they conform to the space available in the range bag. I’ve used all the bag sizes to hold ammo from .22lr through 7.62×39. Depending on the bag and caliber, you can get 300-400 cartridges in them pretty easily. No need to buy an expensive custom bag system like the Ammo Sac or the G-Code Bang Box, which I would happily use instead if it were given to me.

Just dump the loose rounds into a dry bag, roll the top, and clip it. Give them a try, I think you’ll find them useful.

Dry Bags for Ammo

That’s it. Keep your ammo organized for maximum fun and profit.

Mark



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Discreet Long Gun Carriage Options

 

Many (read: most) of us live in urban areas where we are constantly being scrutinized by our neighbors. I have lived in crowded Atlanta apartment complexes and neighborhoods for over a decade with plenty of sidewalk traffic, and currently I’m in a suburban neighborhood full of nosy dog walking neighbors. I don’t need those people to know that I’m carrying thousands of dollars in weapons and ammunition when I’m going out for a day at the range. I also don’t need to draw attention to myself when travelling for conferences or classes when I enter the motel with a pelican case full of gear, if I can help it.

My modus operandi has always been misdirection and camouflage in the transport of my firearms.

There are plenty of purpose built “discreet” weapon bags on the market, almost all of which are out of my price range. I have personal experience with getting a car broken into in West Midtown Atlanta for a backpack in the rear of my hatchback. So I know that even if a bag doesn’t look like it contains guns, it still might draw unwanted attention.

I want to disguise my guns to whatever extent possible AND make them unattractive to passersby in the event they are unattended for a short time. If I know the guns are staying in the car, I’ll use a cable and padlock.

Commercial Options

Here’s a few commercial and purpose built discreet gun cases. Click the photos to check them out.

This UTG bag, $56, looks a lot like an overbuilt tennis racket bag to me.
Battle Steel Discreet Bag $53 (Literally I think this is a repackaged Tennis Racket Bag)
Hazard 4 Battle Axe. $189 This is great in theory, but guitars are also easy to steal and sell, so that turns me off to guitar cases.

The Cheaper Way

So what are our options for discreet rifle bags that won’t raise undue attention, and aren’t a target for theft themselves?

So far, I’ve considered and used:

I personally will immediately discount the tool bag and guitar bag because even though you might not get made for carrying a long gun, you’re still a target for people wanting to steal a bunch of tools or an instrument. Though this is less of an issue if you always are in control of the bag and don’t leave it unattended or in view in a vehicle. I’d be fine with either if I had a trunk. Personal situations will determine.

I figure that no one wants a camp chair someone has been farting in, nor do they want a sweaty yoga mat. Also, who plays tennis? It just so happens that the yoga mat bag fits my new Mossberg Shockwave, and WASR10 with magpul zhukov folding stock pretty well. I have to keep a 30 round mag for the AK in the on-board storage pouch, but that’s no big deal. A simple 6″ pvc end cap stuffed at the bottom hides the sharp muzzle and keeps everyone calm, until it’s time to not be calm.

I’ve carried full length shotguns and even a mosin-nagant in a folding camp chair bag. You can buy just the bags for not much money and in various lengths.

*Always check the dimensions of your chosen long gun against the bag you’re about to buy. This bag I’m using is 26″ long, but the fabric will reach around the 26.4″ overall length of the shockwave. There’s a bit of stretchy play in there.

My used tennis bag can easily hold the shockwave (albeit sloppily), or the AK with a mag in, stock folded. When I got into the training game, the only ammo that was affordable was 7.62×39 and 5.45×39, so AKs were the ticket. This bag will also fit my AR pistol with 10.5″ barrel, and arm-brace. An AK is my usual travel rifle. You could also easily store a full length AR broken into upper and lower halves. There’s also enough room for a battle bag of mags/medical/etc in the tennis bag.

So as you can see, with a little imagination, and some patience on E-bay, or $11 on Amazon, you can have discreet travel rifle setup that won’t cause old Mrs. Saperstein across the hallway to get nervous.

What are your discreet long gun transport methods?

Aligning some Chakras with my third eye open,
Mark


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Meta : Critical Skills and Goals for Personal Protection

I am VERY fortunate to have had the opportunity to train with and listen to some of the brightest minds and greatest thinkers of the personal protection game. Over the last few years, I’ve listened to several of these well respected trainers and researchers present skills they believe really win gunfights based on their personal experiences and research projects. After hearing 4-5 of them, I started to pick up on the overlap. If 5 people from separate backgrounds are saying the same things, that’s a clue that those skills might be worth prioritizing in our training. The first two segments are summaries of regular people’s documented fights, whether reported to the NRA or on CCTV. The remainder of the summaries are  lessons taken from actual gunfighters and the training of successful gunfighters. I think there are very powerful lessons when we observe the overlap between the real incidents with what high-level trainers are teaching their students. Here we go.

Realities of Real Gun Fights – Statistics and Lessons

Photo Credit: Claude Werner

I’ll start with my friend and mentor, Claude Werner – The Tactical Professor. Claude annually compiles the skills that private citizens needed to succeed in their confrontations from The Armed Citizen reports. Here’s his list of needed skills from the first half of 2014:

  • Average number of shots needed 1.43 (most – 2)
  • Retrieve from Storage (handgun) 32%
  • Move safely from place to place at ready 22%
  • Draw to shoot 20%
  • Challenge from ready 15%
  • Intervene in another’s situation 15%
  • Draw to challenge 12%
  • Engage from ready (handgun) 12%
  • Hold at gunpoint until police arrive 12%
  • Retrieve from Storage (unknown) 10%
  • Shoot with non-threats downrange 10%
  • Draw to ready (seated in auto) 7%
  • Engage multiple adversaries 7%
  • Challenge with non-threats downrange 7%
  • Shoot menacing animal 7%
  • Shoot in midst of others 7%
  • Draw to ready 5%
  • Struggle 5%
  • Retrieve from Storage (shotgun) 5%
  • Draw pistol from wife’s purse 2%
  • ID with flashlight 2%
  • Shoot animal from grounded position 2%
  • Shoot with shotgun 2%
  • Retrieve from Storage (rifle) 0%
  • Reload 0%
Photo Credit : ASP

Next in the list of great analysts, is John Correia of Active Self Protection. He has made a business out of analyzing and watching CCTV gunfights and robberies. He has watched over 10,000 incidents on video and recently made a presentation on it. Short Barrel Shepherd did a summary about it here. I’ll drop some bullet points to summarize below.

  • Most gunfights aren’t entangled. Once the gun comes out people tend to separate. Pre-firearm access, empty-handed skills are critical
  • Attacks happen in transitional spaces (parking lots, cash registers, ATMs, upon entering or exiting building or vehicle, etc)
  • Lack of awareness (task-fixation in public) creates big problems
  • 1/3 of the incidents have multiple attackers, with usually only 2 getting shot at before the rest scatter.
  • Whoever lands the first shots, wins
  • In a gunfight, the pistol has to be ready for action NOW due to time pressure (no empty chamber)
  • Cops initiate contact-Criminals start fight vs. Criminals initiate contact – Citizen starts the fight. A plus for us citizens.
  • Tom Given’s ‘car length’ gunfight distance seems to be the norm, though some have been as far as 22 yds.
  • Multiple shot strings are needed to get bad guy to stop
  • Lots of one handed gun usage (for better or worse)
  • After the gun comes out, people move
  • People tend to use concealment and cover interchangeably, and people don’t seem to shoot at what they can’t see, even if their bullets could easily penetrate
  • The desire to close distance with an adversary is hard to resist
  • Malfunctions happen
  • Knife attacks are brutal and rapid, and don’t take skill to pull off.
  • Weapon Mounted Lights haven’t played a significant role in the documented shootings

Training to Dominate Your Gunfight

John Daub of KR Training and his HSOI Blog made a great post about this as well. Here it is. He did an EXCELLENT and well reasoned summary on this very topic as it pertains to ‘average trainees’. I’ll repost his summary below. Take the time to read that full post.

  • drawing from concealment
    • And perhaps moving on that draw (like a side-step then stop; not shoot-and-move)
  • getting multiple hits
  • in a small area
    • 5″ circle? 6″ circle? 8″ circle? consider human anatomy
  • from close range
    • Within a car length, so say 0-5 yards
  • quickly
    • 3 seconds or less
  • using both hands, or maybe one hand (or the other)

Next I’ll cover Darryl Bolke and Wayne Dobbs of HiTS out of Texas. I had the pleasure of listening to their presentation What Really Matters at the Range-Master Tactical Conference this year. I wrote about it here. I’ll recap below.

  • “Train for maximum efficiency at an assessment speed on an acceptable target” -HiTS. The speed at which you can see, interpret, and choose where to hit a target. Asking yourself, “Is my target still there? No? Stop Shooting. Yes? Keep shooting”
  • Acceptable target- Is a target about the size of a grapefruit (The black of a B-8 bullseye target) Heart and brain are both about this size.
  • Always be thinking you’ll need a failure drill (ending with a headshot) and practice with that in mind.
  • Draw but don’t touch the trigger until you have a good sight track. This isn’t good for shooting, but it’s good for people management.
  • Don’t touch the trigger until you have satisfied these three. Target ID, Objective reason to shoot, and your firearm is aligned with that shoot target.
  • Train what is hard (50 and 100 yd pistol shooting, for instance)
  • Train to an accuracy standard, not a time.
  • You WILL be able to see movement of your target peripherally while maintaining a hard focus on your sights. Use your sights.
  • All you REALLY need in a carry gun is sights I can see, a usable trigger, and reliability
  • LAPD trains to a .5 second split time, their shootings are shot WELL.
  • If your splits are faster than .3 seconds, you’ll fire unintentionally until the signal to stop makes it to your hands. (force science)

Lastly, I’ll cover John Hearne’s excellent lecture Who Wins, Who Loses, and Why: Understanding Human Performance When Death Is On The Line. He presented this at Paul-E-Palooza in Ohio this year (and will again at next year’s Tactical Conference at DARC) John’s research has lead him to a summary list of necessary skills for dominating wins in gunfights. I’ll give the synopsis.

  • Our goal should be to remove novelty, if we have seen it before, we will be able to act more quickly. Always seek exposure to novel stimuli, and war-game scenarios.
  • Build valid mental maps, develop emotional bookmarks to positive outcomes, Force On Force, video simulators, thinking and shooting, address physiological effects of stress
  • Develop robust motor programs. Break tasks down into steps, start slow, build speed, find failure points. Build new pathways in mind for motor programs (myelination)
  • Primary Pistol Skills – Failure drill from holster, failure drill from ready, moving off-line, minimal reloading
  • Secondary Pistol Skills – Type 1/2 clearing, one handed shooting, precision work
  • Tertiary Pistol Skills- Type 3 malf. clearing, shoot and move, one handed malf.
  • Allocate resources based on probability of need, focus on primary skills until overlearned
  • Keep skills and mental maps refreshed. It’s about recency over volume. (dry-fire at least weekly, life-fire at least quarterly)
  • Make People Think with a gun in hand.
  • Train emotional control via books, visualization, combat sports, rock climbing, talking with gun-fight survivors, etc.

In Closing

This post is plenty long, but it should be pretty clear which skills are needed often, work well, and are worthy of your precious practice time. I hope you found this summary of summaries worthwhile.

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Paul-E-Palooza 4 – 8/19-20/2017 DAY 2

Day 1 review here.

Day two I attended Greg Ellifritz’s terrorist bomb response block, Eli Miller’s EDC Medicine block, and helped Dr. House with his Living with the Snub Revolver block. Here’s a summary and the high points.

Sunday Block 1 – Greg Ellifritz

Greg’s block on Armed Citizen Response to the Terrorist Bombing was a real eye opener. He starts the block with a very detailed look at the history of the use of bombings with active shooters since 1928.The two have always gone hand in hand, apparently. The motivations of most bombers was also discussed. He then moves to a relatively detailed look at the components and methods used to make explosive devices (initiators, booster, payload). The ease of manufacture of homemade devices, commercial explosives, and what this stuff actually looks like (no recipes though). Following were some videos of terrorist bombers seconds before (and after) detonating their devices, and the blast radius and average times (Israeli study) you have before a suicide bomber chooses his target and detonates. Greg has written pretty extensively on this topic on his blog and I encourage you to seek this info out. Here’s the high points:

  • Do not touch a suspected device
  • If you can see the bomb/explosion, you’re too close.
  • 50% live/die line for most man carried devices is 50ft (is your shooting up to the task for a headshot? body shots can set off unstable home-made devices), 200-400m deadly frag zone
  • You won’t know how the bomb is triggered
  • You won’t recognize the bomb
  • Plan on a secondary device
  • Be aware of the bomber’s handlers
  • You’re (I’m) likely not good enough to see it coming, so be prepared to just get away from the primary bombing site AFTER it detonates.
  • If you want to help, the best thing might be to move the injured to an open space, away from vehicles and parking lots, where you can assist in the aide. Be wary of obvious places that are crowded with lots of hiding places for secondary devices
  • Within pistol range is within bomb range and you might die.
  • Staying at the primary detonation site opens you up for the secondary, and you might die.
  • This sort of thing will get more frequent stateside in the coming decades.

Sunday Block 2 – Eli Miller – EDC Trauma Discussion

This was an informal discussion of EDC and vehicle trauma kits. Eli fielded questions and invited the students to get their personal and vehicle trauma kits for critique. He recently returned from a stint in Iraq in a field hospital and has a lot of recent and relevant trauma experience. I’ll sort of blast out a bunch of notes that I wrote.

  • Ceasing major hemorrhage should be priority
  • Tourniquets go high and tight, most failures of application of TQs is from it being too loose before the windlass is wound.
  • ‘sterile’ and field medicine don’t really jive. The patient just had metal tear through them. Let IV antibiotics care for that, just get the bleeding  stopped.
  • TCCC tactical combat casualty care.
  • Deep packing and direct pressure
  • Gorilla tape and wrappers make great improvised chest seals. wrap 10′ around an old credit card to have a flat pack of versatile tape. White medical tape doesn’t stick to dirty, bloody, hairy stuff so don’t waste your time.
  • chest seals work. So do the wrappers of other medical items with gorilla tape.
  • For most lay first-responders , the chest decompression needle is not worth the risk.
  • Tourniquets are only worth a damn if they have a windlass. SOFTT-Wide, or the North American Rescue – CAT are the only two he’s comfortable with recommending. The RATS and SWAT are rubberbands, and not TQs.
  • He likes the Frog.Pro ankle rig for EDC carry.
  • He likes the small rescue hook for clearing clothing. NEVER use a pocket knife because stabbing your patient isn’t ideal.
  • Israeli Bandages or OLEAS bandages for vehicle kits, and the H&H mini compression bandage for ankle carry.
  • Combat Gauze, Celox or the other impregnated hemostatic gauze are great. If they expire, they’re still gauze.
  • despite what you heard, tampons still aren’t good for stopping leaks. Tampons are built to absorb blood, packing a wound is a way to get direct pressure to the vasculature AT THE BLEED site and give something to clot onto. Those are not the same thing. A bullet wound can take 2 rolls of gauze.
  • A sharpie in your kit can help you pack wounds if the holes are too small for a finger.
  • Gauze is cheap, carry a lot.
  • Always pack a wound without losing contact with the gauze. It’s easy to accidentally rip the gauze you’ve packed out of the wound if it catches on a piece of velcro or something.
  • Most hemostatics are good 2-5 years beyond their stated shelf life, though eventually they WILL expire.
  • Boo-Boo kits and trauma kits should be distinct and separate.
  • Civil War era ‘binding’ is still very much a useful technique for junction wounds (Hip and shoulder, think blackhawk down). You basically pack as much as you can, then put a big wad of gauze on top of that, then bring the knee up to the chest to increase pressure at wound site. Use ratchet straps or rope to keep that limb pinned to the torso and increase local pressure at wound site.
  • Always pack a wound, even after a TQ, to prevent further tissue damage and immobilize locally destroyed bone.
  • Buy quality medical shears. They’re worth the expense.
  • Headlamps in your trauma kit are invaluable.
  • “Life over Limb”

If you want to support Eli,  you can buy his poster (see FaceBook inlay)

Sunday Block 3-4 – Dr. Sherman House – Living with the Snub Revolver

To round out my weekend, I volunteered to help Sherman run his ‘Living with the Snub’ block. In it he gave some wisdom on keeping small revolvers running and some building block drills to run them efficiently.

  • The Dejammer and an old tooth brush are two tools to take with you when you shoot your revolvers. Keep un-burned powder from under the ejection star, and poke out expanded and stuck brass.
  • Revolvers are tolerant of neglect, Semi-Autos are tolerant of abuse. The revolver that’s in Grandma’s drawer likely still runs like the day it was put away 40 years ago.
  • Some ‘best practices’ with revolvers regarding reloads and manipulations
  • Building block drills, shot the retired LAPD course, and a class walkback drill on steel to build confidence.
  • Don’t worry about ammo as much with a snub, be concerned with if the ammo hits to the top of the front sight post.
  • WadCutters make great defensive ammo

The weekend was over too quickly. It was a whirlwind of bonding, brotherhood, and celebration. I’m truly honored to be a part of this, and inspired by my peers. Thank you to everyone who came and supported the cause. If you didn’t come, hopefully I’ll see you all next time around. There isn’t a more noble pursuit. Train Hard and Be Dangerous.

Mark

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