Picking Your Carry Gun Based On Shooting Metrics

In the interest of practicing what I preach, as well as giving me something to do, I have decided to pick the ‘best’ carry pistol for me from my current small collection. This journey is mine alone, but I encourage you to think about what you value in a carry gun, do some research, and then shoot your short list side by side with a few drills that highlight the skills you’re likely to need.

Rather than rely on changing fancies over different guns and brands, and to avoid the collector trap (which I can’t afford), I want to pin down what is ‘best’ based on actual numbers, and then go with that choice for a while.

Like Chris at LuckyGunner, I’m going to start compiling my own scoreboard of guns by shooting the same few drills and getting comparison numbers. This is something I talked about in my youtube article.

If you’ve been with me for a bit, then you know that over the last couple of years, I have had a shift in priority for my carry guns. To quickly reiterate, my priorities are, in order:

  1. Not shooting myself
  2. Not shooting what I don’t want to shoot
  3. Shooting what I want to shoot

Mechanical Requirements and Features

I’ve spent a lot of skull sweat weighing the relative importance of shooting the gun accurately, shooting the gun at speed, day to day handling, threat management, one handed manipulation ease, weight and carry comfort, concealability, magazine capacity, accessory and magazine cost and support, and company reputation.

I’ve taken a honest hard look at the number of negative outcomes from things like NDs (negligent discharge) from sloppy administrative gun handling, trigger checking in high stress situations, sympathetic hand movement, and support gear failure/wardrobe malfunctions. It became apparent that I should acknowledge that I’m probably not as good as I think I am, and that leaning on a mechanical feature to add an extra layer of safety isn’t a sign of weakness.

A post shared by ENDO (@everydaynodaysoff) on

 (ouch for this guy. Keep an eye on your gear)

Here’s a short list of what I currently value in a carry gun, all things considered.

  • Reliability. I use the ‘2000 round challenge‘ that TLG outlines. Though an initial 200-300 round break-in and subsequent testing with carry ammo is a good start down that road.
  • No manual safeties. No extra buttons to get the gun into action. I’m not against guns with safeties, I just have chosen to go down the path buying guns without them. I like decocker only for DA/SA guns.
  • Ability to monitor the trigger with the thumb while holstering via either an exposed hammer, tactile striker indicator or Striker Control Device (The Gadget) on a Glock
  • Double Action Only. I was on a DA/SA kick with the Beretta PX4c, but I decided that I favor the shot-to-shot trigger consistency of a DAO. The long deliberate trigger press helps with people management and mitigates a few of the possible negligent situations mentioned above. I also feel like I pay more attention to my sights through the longer trigger press, which I realize is a personal problem. Claude has mentioned that this phenomena is not unique to me, however.
  • Overall concealability for my current living situation and needs.

The Drills

I chose three drills. One is pure speed, one is pure accuracy, and the last is an integration of speed and accuracy at varying distances and is used by the LAPD. Claude Werner chose and modified the LAPD course to rank some guns and I glommed on with him.

The drills are:

  • The Bill Drill from a Low Ready at 3 yards. 6 shots from a low ready on an target I can’t miss allows me to find my split-time/speed limit with that gun. The low ready starting point means I don’t have to have support gear for the gun I am testing and can shoot at a range where drawing from a holster isn’t allowed.
  • 25 yard, 10 shots slow-fire on a B-8 bullseye, unsupported. Calculating the score. Pure accuracy. Sights and Trigger.
  • (TacProf modified) LAPD Combat Course (Page 11 of this PDF). This one includes various ranges, par times, emergency and speed reloads, shooting from cover, drawing the gun, shooting from a low ready, target transitions, and some headshots. It’s a challenging course of fire that is scored for points, so there is some scoring resolution at the higher skill levels.

The Guns

  • Glock 19 (My ‘control’ firearm that I’ve carried for 9 years). Striker fired, 15 round magazine. .120″ Ameriglo fiber optic sights, 3.5# connector and 6# Trigger spring.
  • Sig Sauer P250 Compact with a medium-subcompact grip module. 12 round magazine. Double Action Only with a trigger like a smoothed out revolver. Ameriglo Orange front sight.
  • H&K P30sk with V1 “Light LEM” trigger. This is my newest pistol. 10 round mag. Double action only. The LEM trigger has long light travel up until you get to a 6lb or so trigger break. It feels like a marriage of the weight of a Glock trigger with the trigger travel of the P250.
L to R: P30sk 10 round, Sig P250 12 round, Glock 19 15 round. I don’t know how HK can’t fit 2 more rounds in their mag, but who am I to ask questions?

The Results

Ammo: Freedom Munitions 124gn reloads.

  • Glock 19

Avg. Split Time: .25 seconds

25 yd B-8 Scores: 48/100, and 60/100

LAPD Combat Course:*

  • Sig P250 Compact

Avg. Split Time: .29 seconds

25 yd B-8 Scores: 46/100, and 70(1x)/100

LAPD Combat Course:*

  • HK P30sk

Avg. Split Time: .228 seconds

25 yd B-8 Scores: 76(2x)/100, and 76(0x)/100

LAPD Combat Course:*

*I haven’t had an opportunity to shoot the LAPD combat course yet, but will add to the post when I do.

The Conclusion

I really don’t have a logical explanation for why I could shoot my new sub-kompact HK better than a pistol I exclusively shot and trained with for over 9 years. The only excuse I can think of is that I shot the Glock early in the session, and as I warmed up, my scores improved. Alternatively, I simply shoot this HK better than my G19.

If I go strictly by the numbers, the HK gets the nod. If I go by what features I have the warm and fuzzies about, the Sig or HK get the nod. I’m glad my perceived needs aligned with my test scores.

I’d admit that the results are close enough to probably not matter. It’s really a wash. I also realize I have a slow trigger finger. I’m also not a high volume shooter, with most of my practice coming in the form of dry-fire. Ultimately, my visual and mental processing speed and decision making ability will be the speed limit of my shooting, not the physical manipulation of the gun.

As a result of my findings, I’ll be strapping on the P30sk in the morning for the foreseeable future. The Sig will get a X300U and a Safariland ALS Holster for House Gun Duty. The Glock19 will cry in the safe.

I encourage you to do similar testing for yourself. You won’t know which of your guns you shoot best until you run the numbers. Don’t get married to specific gun based on ego, time invested, stubbornness, or blind trust in an instructor’s recommendation. Also, don’t change guns with the wind. Consistency and dedication to the grind is the key. Almost any gun will do, if you will.

Thanks,
Mark

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Review: Combatives For Concealed Carry: Clinch Fighting Volume 1

I’m always looking to improve my grappling. I do my Jiu Jitsu and get together with training partners and integrate grappling with weapons whenever I can. However, it’s very difficult to find instructional media that deals with grappling in a weapons based environment. Justin White of Mad Science Defense has a series of DVDs about this topic.

In case you don’t have time to read this: I recommend this DVD.

Chapters and Topics:

  1. Introduction – An explanation of why we might need to deal with a standing contact range fight with weapons.
  2. Dummy Guns
  3. Weapons Access- Discussion of accessing a weapon while in an entangled fight. Discussion of a universal draw stroke.
  4. Posture/Angle/Level- A solid discussion of the fundamental requirements to have sharp grappling.
  5. Clinch from Strikes – Achieving the clinch from a Cover and Crash or off of a striking blast.
  6. Clinch from Grabs – Front, side, and back
  7. Offside Underhook – Options for when your weak arm has an underhook
  8. Strongside Underhook – Options for when your strong arm has an underhook
  9. Overhook – Options for when you can’t achieve an underhook.
  10. Skill Development – Drills to work at home. 1-2-3 dominance drill, slo-mo drill

Extras:

  • Choosing Dummy Weapons
  • Using a Training Dummy
  • Striking With a Handgun
  • Scenario Training

Things I loved:

Expert grappling instruction. It is obvious that Mr. White is a talented grappler and instructor. His teaching progression is logical and starts with the fundamentals of posture, angle, and level and he then introduces techniques that will allow you to close distance and achieve a clinch. He progresses from a solid clinch (underhook and far-side wrist control) to either a tie up, or taking the back of your opponent. He finishes the progression with accessing weapons from these dominant positions.

His details cleared up a few sticking points I have been having while standing. I’ll be taking them to our training group. His emphasis on doing the work was much appreciated. He urged the viewer to seek training and emphasized that this stuff won’t just happen if you don’t practice it. He even gives some exercises to work with a partner to get better at this stuff at home.

Good stuff.

Minor Gripes:

I don’t envy anyone who has to try to cram a topic as dense as standing weapon-based grappling into an hour presentation. There just isn’t enough time to mention all the details. For the person who hasn’t seen this material before, I would have loved to see a brief discussion on why the clinch is such a viable fighting platform for an extreme close range problem. Why we don’t want to get in a speed draw contest with our opponent at close range. Mentioning the importance of monitoring hands while in a clinch to prevent the other guy from getting his weapons, as well as a discussion of why underhooks are such a dominant position just in case the viewer doesn’t glean that from the instruction. But of course I understand why it was omitted, those ideas were inferred in the material and we only had an hour.

The other gripe I have is in one of his tie-up positions from an overhook. He advocates shooting from this position while pointing his gun at himself (43:00 of video). I know (from simunition experience) that it’s easy to shoot yourself if you’re not super careful about your muzzle-target line. I talked with Mr. White about this and he recognized that it was a bit of an oversight. This was the only flub like this I noticed.

In conclusion:

This DVD would be a solid buy whether you have experience grappling or not. If you have trained with any of the Shivworks collective, this will be a good reminder of your options in the clinch. If you haven’t, you’ll get an idea of what this topic is about. I hope I get to train with Justin one day, as he has a lot to teach. I need to pick up his ground fighting DVD next. Recommended.

Be Safe,

Mark

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Order of Operations: The Safest Unloading Procedure

One Simple Trick to Never have a Negligent Discharge when Unloading Your Gun!

(Why the Order of Operations Matters)

If you’re like me, you are regularly administratively loading and unloading your firearms. I usually discourage people from excessive administrative handling of guns (e.g. gun selfies, pocket dumps, moving gun from belt to some car holster contraption), however sometimes it’s necessary. Whether it’s for nightly storage, cleaning, or for daily dry practice, I seem to be constantly unloading/loading my guns.

Better at hashtags than guns.

There is no shortage of people who have had negligent discharges (ND) while unloading, usually while cleaning guns that require pulling the trigger to disassemble. It goes like this (or a similar variation):

  1. Be distracted
  2. Remove magazine to remove source of bullets
  3. Be about to rack the slide to clear the chamber when something interesting comes on the TV…
  4. Pull down take-down levers and try to remember if you racked the slide, decide you probably did.
  5.  press trigger…*ears ringing*…Whoops…

Order of Operation Matters

I never gave much thought to the process of unloading. I’d just take the magazine out, rack the slide a few times, then look for an empty chamber and empty magwell, and I was done. That had worked well for me for a long time because I try to not be complacent. Then Claude Werner asked me a question.

CW – “What is the source of ammo into the gun?”

Me – “the… magazine?”

CW -“Everyone thinks the magazine feeds the gun. It doesn’t. The chamber does. Until the chamber is rendered safe, the gun is loaded.”

Me – 

Unload and Show Clear

As a small aside, I have also adopted Claude’s method of marking the bottom of my chambered cartridges after unloading with a sharpie. A single line next to the primer. Rotate a cartridge with 5 marks to the bottom of the magazine. When the whole magazine has cartridges with 5 marks, shoot that magazine. This allows 80 unloadings in a 16 shot gun. This technique will prevent projectiles from pushing into the case from countless chamberings and keep your defensive ammo more reliable.

A small alteration in technique can pay dividends over the course of your shooting career. I’ve made the switch to this more robust and foolproof method.

Let me know what you think. Thank you for reading.

Be Safe,

Mark
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Technique: Draw from a fanny pack

The fanny pack is the universal sign that A) You just emerged from your mom’s basement because you’re out of cheetos, or B) You’re man enough to recognize the utility and comfort of a bag worn about the waist. I happen to be a combination of both.

If I weren’t married, I 100% would rock the fanny pack more often. As it stands, it is my dog walk, yard work, ruck walk, occasional around the house, and (if I’m not with my wife) grocery store companion. I think it’s a sign of maturity. At least that’s what I tell myself.

relaxed
No Ragrets.

My fanny pack serves as a holster, mag pouch, and trauma kit when I’m out and about.

Whatchu Got in that bag?

My cover story is it contains my insulin and blood sugar monitor. Pick a story that works for you. Especially if you wear it in a gym or somewhere where it could draw more than passing interest.

Set Up

max octa
My well loved Maxpedition Octa

My fanny pack is the Maxpedition Octa Versipack. While it’s not a purpose built gun bag, it holds a glock 19 easily in the main compartment. If you have a striker fired gun, consider a trigger guard holster like the MIC for protecting that trigger. Tie that holster through a grommet hole so it tears away when you draw. You should also consider cutting away all internal mesh/dividers in the intended gun compartment. No obstructions, nothing to hang on.

The front pockets can carry spare mag, a small LED light, TQ’s, dog poop bags, etc.

Only keep the pistol in the main pouch, with nothing else in that segment of the bag. It has 2 zipper pulls on the main pouch. I removed one, and on the other I hung a longer segment of green paracord as a pull. Consider also a bead or woven pull tab so you can distinguish the gun zipper from the others without looking.

The Draw-stroke is the Draw-stroke

That’s it. Are you man (or woman) enough to rock a fanny pack?

Here’s photos of the VERY GOOD KG Products BeltBag. I took mine to the range recently and put myself on the timer with it. I was working draws and 1,2, or 3 shots on a 6″ circle at 5 yards. I was getting draw times from 2.5 to 3.0 seconds (concealed from holster puts me at 1.5 seconds or so from beep to first shot). If I were buying a new one, I’d definitely get a KG Products.

There are tons of fanny pack options:

Thanks for reading.

 

Gear Featured:
Do The Work/Memento Mori Bracelet
Silicone Wedding Bands
Marathon TSAR watch
Beretta PX4C

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