The Worthless Youtube Gun Review And My Proposal

I take issue with how most popular youtube firearms channels conduct their gun reviews. It’s like the hollow, superficial gun magazine reviews have bled onto the internet in long form video. I get it. Guns are guns. They’re generally boring and you have to pretend there’s something fancy and new about this specific gun you’re reviewing to fill time and have something to post every week. However, I think it could be done better. Reviews in gun magazines when I was reading them in the early 2000’s went like this:

  • “This pistol well balanced and feels good in the hand”
  • “Ate all 100 rounds I tested flawlessly”
  • “Here’s a shot grouping with XYZ defensive ammo”
  • “Innovative features” that are minor variations of features on all other guns
  • …more drivel…
  • The End

The blatantly bought and sold gun reviews in print media became the laughing stock of the internet. Fast forward to the mid-2000s and we saw independent folks started having a voice with forums, blogs, and eventually YouTube. Once Youtube took off and people realized they could monetize views, we started to see these semi-professional independent gun reviewers gain popularity. Arguably, today these folks are the most recognized people in the industry at large.

Good for Plinkin’, but completely lacking in substance

Tips for Spotting Useless Information

Here’s some things to keep in mind if you’re relatively new to guns and are watching one of those YouTube gun celebrities review a gun on their home range with all the steel targets and soda bottles.

    • “Feels good in the hand” is completely subjective and is totally dependent on the person holding the gun. It also doesn’t matter what it feels like at the gun shop, it matters how it feels while it’s being shot. Some guns that feel good, shoot poorly. For instance, a very comfortable framed gun can be like a bar of soap in recoil that has no index points when establishing grip in the holster. This results in inconsistent presentations on target. Some that “feel blocky” in the hand, actually allow a more repeatable hand index and presentation.
    • “Follow up shots are really fast!” Show me a timer. Show me a grouping on paper. If they don’t have a timer and corresponding holes in a target, you can safely disregard that comment. Here’s a clip of Ernest Langdon talking about his ‘lie detector’ (Shot Timer):

  • “The Trigger is great!” Another subjective comment. More useful information is the method of operation, trigger weight, length of pull, and a description of the feel of the trigger press throughout the shot cycle.
  • “This gun is really accurate” For me, watching someone shoot a 10″ piece of steel at 10 yards isn’t proof of accuracy. Most guns are mechanically more accurate than the shooter. I’d like to see benched 25-yard groupings, which show mechanical accuracy, as well as off-hand 25 yard groups which factor in trigger, sights, and operator ability all together.
  • “This gun is a hoot to shoot!” Maybe. All guns are. I personally am after reliability and performance. Does this pistol allow the reviewer to do something better, worse, or the same as he can do with any other pistol. What? Why? How? This is what I want to know.

Without quantifiable data, you’re just shooting bottles of soda. Look at it as entertainment, not an actual review. Subjective reviews have certain limited value, but numbers matter. Only Performance counts.

What Does The Perfect Gun Channel Look Like (to me)?

If I ran a youtube channel, one of the main features would be to start a performance board similar to how the BBC Show TOP GEAR would review cars around their home track, and rank them on a chart. Think of all the possibilities for quantifying a gun’s attributes! I would pick a few drills that I decided would best demonstrate all important attributes of a gun’s operation by removing outside variables as much as possible, put them on a timer, and rank them by the numbers. The shooter’s ability doesn’t have to be world class, it just needs to be the same shooter for all the tests (me in this case). The viewer would have a direct comparison between any guns I ran through that battery of tests. Scores, Times, Weight, Size, Caliber, reliability are all quantifiable. There would be some subjective input, but I’d keep it minimal. I realize that might be boring to the casual gun person. It’s probably a dumb idea. If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go back to watching Hickok45 shoot steel rams and chuckle at the *GONGGGGG*.

 

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Review: High Noon Holsters – Mister Softy

A few years ago, I was looking for a holster for my Glock 19 as a temporary setup to hold me over until my custom kydex order showed up. Several of my trusted friends recommended the Mister Softy from High Noon Holsters. Even after receiving my high-speed kydex stuff, I’ve found myself going back to it again and again. Here’s a brief review.

Glock 19
Glock 19

Things of note:

Price – At $30, it’s a really good value. It is also in stock and ready to ship. Mine has held up really well. I’ve got my money’s worth. The price point means that if I have a friend who is carrying in an Uncle Mike’s nylon job, I wouldn’t feel bad giving them this one as a solid upgrade from nylon.

Sig P250
Sig P250

Multiple Gun Fit – It fits all of the G19 sized guns I own. I have successfully carried the Glock (26,19,17), the Beretta PX4 Compact, and now the Sig P250. The pliability of the cowhide allows slightly different guns to fit the same holster. I usually would poo-poo a ‘universal holster’, but this one does a good job of doing what a holster needs to do, while accommodating several guns. It’s like a quality gun sock. That’s a win.

Beretta PX4 Compact
Beretta PX4 Compact

Belt Clip – The stout spring clip snaps over belts with ease, and stays put. I have used this in force on force and in a lot of range trips and competitions. Never a hiccup. It DOES require a belt though.

Belt Clip
Belt Clip

Concealment – This is a good carry holster, but not a great training or competition holster. It’s a basic holster with no wedges or claws to tuck the grip into your waist, but still does a fine job. You can see where the top of the clip meets the grip/trigger guard that the holster rides low in the pants.  This is great for concealment, but requires you to tilt the holster as your fingers slide into position to establish a full firing grip before drawing. Retention is provided via friction by the rough side of the leather. I carry this at 1 O’clock. It is a straight drop holster.

Construction – The small gripe I have with the construction is that the mouth of the holster is not reinforced besides a second layer of cowhide. I’d love if it were steel or kydex reinforced, but that adds to price significantly. While it’s new, you can still holster the gun easily. The lack of reinforcement means the mouth of the holster closes a bit once you draw. The more sweaty and worn it gets, the worse this issue will get. This is why I say it’s not a great training or competition holster. For daily carry, it’s perfectly serviceable.

No reinforced mouth
No reinforced mouth

That’s pretty much it. It’s a holster that I have no problem recommending for an off-the-shelf option.

Thanks for reading,

Mark

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Review: Defensive Applications of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu DVD

Today I received a package from Cecil Burch of Immediate Action Combatives. Cecil sent me both of his PDN produced DVDs. I’ll briefly talk about Cecil’s training pedigree, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) as a superior combative system on the ground, then about the material contained in the DVD.

pdn_dvd_cover

Cecil has been training in BJJ since 1994 under Megaton Dias. He is a black belt and has extensive competition experience and success. You can read his full bio on his website. I only mention it to let you know he is a subject matter expert when it comes to grappling. He also is one of the major innovators when it comes to the integration of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu into a weapons based environment. BJJ is tremendous for self defense against a single unarmed opponent. More importantly, as Cecil and his colleagues teach and demonstrate, it is probably the best delivery system for denying your opponent access (and enabling your access) to weapons while grounded. It just takes a critical eye, some adaptations, and pressure testing techniques to see what works.

cecil-burch-hip-escape-header2

The DVD has the usual excellent production value you’d expect from PDN, with the DVD broken down into chapters with summary notes at the end of each. If you get this DVD, have a buddy (or understanding spouse) with whom you can practice. You’ll NEVER own the material unless you get down on the ground and do the work. Most gun people are resistant to the idea and “carry this gun so I don’t have to wrestle”. The reality is rarely that tidy. You might end up rolling around in the mud, piss, and broken beer bottles in an alley over a knife. Having at least a modicum of ground skill is crucial for all gun owners (everyone really). Even better would be joining a local BJJ school and putting in the work. I digress… the DVD…

Topics Include:

  1. Hierarchy of Intent
  2. Conceptual Escape Formula
  3. Survival Posture Unarmed (and against a weapon)
  4. Hip Bridge
  5. Hip Escape
  6. Complete the Escape
  7. Guard Fundamentals
  8. Getting to the feet
  9. VS a standing attacker, when grounded

What makes Cecil a great teacher is his ability to distill two decades of knowledge into an easily digestible ‘essentials’ list that he can fit into a weekend seminar for NON-GRAPPLERS! This video is even more condensed at only about an hour. The Hierarchy of Intent and Escape Formula give a bird’s eye view of ‘the fight’ on the ground. It’s about as old school Jiu Jitsu as you can get, but it’s totally applicable to a weapons based environment.

Cecil has told me that he approaches his teaching to start from a worst case. The reason being that if you can dig yourself out of the deepest hole, everything else is easy. So the instruction starts from the assumption that you have been knocked to the ground, possibly by a sucker punch, and goes from there. The Survival Posture denies even a relatively skilled grappler immediate access to submissions against you, and therefor works well against an untrained person.

Once you’ve survived the initial assault, you need to be able to move while there’s someone on top of you to make enough room to put more of your body between yourself and them. Enter the Hip Bridge and Hip Escape. This gives you a vertical and horizontal escape route to reorient and gain a more favorable position. Once you’ve done this, you can finalize your escape from the bottom and escape or fight as needed.

Cecil then goes over Guard basics. Both closed guard and long range open guard. He then covers getting up.

That’s a lot of stuff to go over in an hour. However, I really think that even an unskilled grappler using this material, and practicing with a partner regularly, can get a functional understanding of these positions and will have a better chance.

I would recommend this DVD to any ‘gun guy/gal’ who recognizes the need for basic ground fighting survival skills.

Next Up: I’ll review his “Surviving the Knockout Game” DVD.

Mark

 

 

 

 

Review: Secrets of the Snubby DVD

A few weeks ago, I had a range trip with my good friend and mentor, Claude Werner (The Tactical Professor). He surprised me by giving me a copy of his new DVD “Secrets of the Snubby” published by Armed Response Video Training Series. This DVD has been in production limbo for several years and Claude was finally able to wrap up the filming and editing. I’m really excited about this DVD as it sums up nearly all of the snub nosed revolver tricks and tips that I have gleaned from Claude over the years. Production value is high, the demonstrations are well illustrated, and all of the explanations are clear and concise. I expect nothing less from Claude!

IMG_5133

Here’s some of the topics:

  • Trigger manipulation and grip
  • Choosing the right stocks/grips
  • Improving the sights and the usefulness of lasers on Snubs
  • Presentation of the pistol, explanation of sighting and fundamental shooting skills
  • Discussion of close quarters shooting and index shooting
  • Draw stroke (belt, pocket, ankle, belly band)
  • Reloading (loose rounds, speed loaders, speed strips)
  • Spot shooting
  • Point of aim/impact of various weight projectiles and considerations
  • Range drills (shooting dots, Armed Citizen based scenarios, and back up gun drills)

I have to say that between this DVD and Claude’s article Teaching the Snub Nosed Revolver, he has nearly put himself out of business for teaching the snub. This DVD contains the majority of the classroom portion of his snub class. Combine that with the above blog post and you will have a lot to work with for improving your snub shooting skills. The only thing missing is Claude’s watchful observation and course correction. Which, in all honesty, is a huge part of it.

My least favorite portion of the DVD was the range session with the other instructor. However if you watch him closely, you’ll see the difference between taking a snub to a level of mastery (Claude) and treating the snub like a bad breath distance gun only worthy of rapidly dumping the cylinder. Watching him shoot his snub you can see his lack of consistent fundamentals, sloppy reloads, and ‘volley of fire’ shooting style.  He also does the outdated ‘speed rock’ retention shooting position which tends to rapidly fall apart under pressure testing. I’m sure he’s a nice guy and very good shooter, but Claude is the one you should pay closer attention to in this production. Luckily, it’s only a few minutes long.

Anyway, if I’m as objective as I can be, I’d say this is a solid buy for a snub enthusiast. Since Claude has sworn off of teaching the snub, it might be the only way to get these tips moving forward. The cool thing is that the tips, drills, and techniques are 80% applicable to ANY handgun. There’s a lot of pistol wisdom in this DVD.

If you’re interested, you can buy the DVD for $19.95 at http://www.freewebstore.org/Personal-Safety-Training

For the first 100 DVD purchases, Claude will also include a CD in which he narrates all 70 of 2014’s Armed Citizen stories. Listening to these stories will help you frame your training and practice based on what people actually face in their armed encounters. It’s a valuable tool to teach you how shootings, gun fights, and gun battles unfold for armed citizens like you and me. These stories are part of what prompted my Bell-Curve shooting post. After this introductory offer, the CD will go for $12.95 plus shipping.

I hope you pick it up and enjoy it!

DD