SB Tactical Gets Pwned

A company that makes pistol braces gets its customer database breached. There are four possibilities here:

  1. ATF was doing a little illegal sneak and peek so they know whose dogs to shoot
  2. ATF had one of their partner informants do it for them
  3. A freelance SJW is planning on outing everyone
  4. Criminals are just doing what they do

I am betting that the incident is either 2, above. Some lefty is going to anonymously notify the ATF that they have a list of lawbreaking owners of SBRs. Since the new rule outlawing unregistered pistol braces was published today, you have 120 days to register your (now) SBR or become a felon. Isn’t that a sweet little coincidence?

The miscreants got away with each user’s credit card number, expiration date, CCV code, cardholder name, address, phone number, and email address. If you have ever done business with SB tactical, you should consider all of that information as being compromised and in the possession of people who mean to steal your money, your life, or your freedom.

We know that the feds are now enlisting people in the private sector to do their unconstitutional dirty work. It can’t be too much longer before the informers are everywhere and people become vzyali.

On a side note, as of today I will no longer be in possession of a pistol brace equipped firearm. I am not registering shit.

Dry Firing

One of the people who comments here made the comment that no shooter should ever dry fire a firearm. I would say that if you are not making dry fire a part of your training regimen, you are missing out on an important training tool that will make your trigger control much better.

It isn’t just me who says that. The shooting instructors at the Sig Sauer academy recommend it:

“The key to shooting is manipulating that trigger to the rear without adding movement to that front sight,” says SIG SAUER Academy instructor Allison Glassick. “That’s the secret to shooting.”

For beginners, the blast and recoil of a live round often causes a natural human reaction to flinch or anticipate the shot which can disrupt their grip and trigger manipulation. But taking away those live fire distractions and working through some drills with an empty handgun can pay dividends when it’s time to head to the range.

“The bang inevitably will disrupt my senses and my ability to focus in on what’s important—that slow, deliberate process of pulling the trigger from front to rear while managing that sight alignment,” says SIG SAUER Academy instructor Justin Christopher. “The best possible way to train your body how to do this is without any bullets in the gun.”

Even the people at the US Concealed Carry Association recommend it, as long as it is done in a safe manner. When I dry fire, I make sure that there is no live ammunition in the same room. That way, you are less likely to have an ND (I learned that one the hard way- I once shot my dresser when dry firing) because you aren’t tempted to load and then pull a trigger on a loaded firearm. From the USCCA, dry fire safety rules:

1 No interruptions! Turn the ringer off the phone and make sure the front door is locked. If you are interrupted, start again from the beginning rather than picking up where you think you left off.

2 Unload your gun.

3 Check that the gun is unloaded. Use both your eyes and your fingertips. Lock the action open and then run your pinky into the empty chamber to be sure it’s really empty. If you have a revolver, run your finger across each hole in the cylinder. Count the empty holes to be sure you touched them all.

4 Remove all ammunition. Get it out of the room and out of sight. I even go so far as to lock the door to the room where the ammunition is kept so that it takes several deliberate steps to get the ammunition back together with the gun.

5 Choose a safe backstop. A backstop is anything that will reliably stop a bullet from the most powerful load that your gun is capable of firing. Never dry-fire without a solid backstop.

6 Place a target in front of your backstop. To avoid a “just one more” mishap, do not dry-fire directly at anything that will remain in the room. Use a target that will be taken down when you are done.

7 Double-check that the gun is still unloaded.

8 Mental shift to practice. Say to yourself, “This is practice. I have checked and double-checked the gun. Ammunition is not present. This is only practice.” Say it out loud, and if you find yourself wondering if it’s really true, go back and check again.

9 Dry fire. Ten to 15 minutes is as much dry-fire practice as most people can safely handle. If your mind begins to wander, stop immediately. That’s a sign that you are not paying attention to what you are doing — an important red flag.

10 Take the target down immediately — before leaving the room and before reloading the gun. Never leave the target up after you are done practicing. As you take the target down, say aloud, “Practice is over. No more dry fire. Practice is over.” This helps you make the important mental shift back to the real world and prevents the infamous “just one more” mishap.

11 Put your gun in the safe or if you are unwilling to lock your defense gun away for an hour or two, at least get yourself out of the practice room. Stay out of that area until your conditioning to pull the trigger there has been replaced by conscious thought.

12 Reload out loud. When do you reload the gun, say aloud, “This gun is loaded. It will fire if I pull the trigger. This gun is loaded.” Say it three times and say it out loud. This allows you to think, speak and hear that the gun is no longer in dry-fire condition.

If you want to do it on the cheap, balance a coin on your front sight. Pull the trigger without losing the coin. It’s a good way to learn to pull the trigger without moving your point of aim. Once you see the improvement, you can try a training system like MantisX.

Once you are proficient with dry fire from a prepared stance, you can advance to trying it while drawing.

In summary, dry fire is an important part of my firearms training. Maybe you should make it a part of yours.

It Gets Worse

On the Brevard county deputy ND homicide. He pointed the gun at the other deputy and pulled the trigger. When it didn’t go bang, he racked the slide and did it again. The second time he pulled the trigger, the pistol functioned as designed.

One thing that makes it worse is what the Sheriff got from the entire event:

he still believed the firearm was unloaded but should have known the magazine containing ammunition was possibly in the firearm by the weight of the gun,

Just like the Baldwin shooting, the shooter in this case deserves to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I would also suggest that the entire Sheriff’s department be forced to undergo a 4 hour firearm safety refresher course. This incident is a sure sign that training is lacking and attention to firearm safety is not being taken seriously.

Carbines

Yesterday was shotguns. Continuing the series on defensive firearms, we explore carbines. I’m going to use this definition for carbines as opposed to rifles: A carbine is a a compact, short-barreled rifle that has a barrel length of less than 20 inches.

It’s my opinion that rifles are not effective as self defense weapons because they are too long to be wielded in close quarters. However, if you were to tell me that I could only pick one firearm to own for all purposes for the remainder of my life, I would go with a carbine. They are the Swiss Army knives of firearms.

Carbines have rifle-level muzzle energy, good accuracy out to hundreds of meters, and can effectively used inside of a building, or from inside of a vehicle. The most popular of all of these in the US today (by a fair margin) is the AR patterned carbine- the M4gery. Parts and accessories are widely available. You can still even roll your own with an 80 percent lower, and they are relatively easy to repair and maintain. Lightweight, low recoil versions in .223 or 5.56mm are handled well by both women and children. Ammunition is light enough that a large amount can be carried.

I build my ARs with a 1:8 twist rate. That way, the rifling is optimized for bullet weights of 55, 62, or 77 grains, giving me a fair amount of latitude on ammunition selection. If I am planning on using the AR mostly in close quarters, I mount a holographic sight on it, like an EOTech. Those are good sights out to 100 yards or so and are fast to use. If I am anticipating medium to long range work, then there are other options like an LPVO or ACOGs.

Another mention is what I referred to as my “skirmish rifle.” Using the definition of carbine from above, the rifle that I built to this spec is a carbine. It’s on an AR10 receiver and chambered for .308 with an 18 inch barrel. Weighing in at only 7.65 pounds without a scope, it is lighter than many of my AR15’s. It shoots like a dream with a LPVO scope on it, I am getting 3 inch groups at 100 yards. Not bad from an 18 inch barrel. The bonus is that, being .308, it will defeat most body armor, especially at close range.

I once owned an M-1 carbine. I am sorry I got rid of it, because it was fun to shoot.

I am going to also include my Scorpion EVO in this category, even though the ATF says it’s a pistol. Mostly because it shares with carbines the disadvantage of being too large to conceal. Pistol caliber carbines, even though they are less powerful than their rifle caliber brethren, share many of the attributes of other carbines. I regularly mount a suppressor on mine, and when firing it with subsonic ammunition like 147grain hollowpoints, it’s report is about as loud as dropping a large book on the floor. Sure, there is less power at those muzzle velocities, but I have the 32 round magazines for it, so I plan on making up for that with fast, accurate follow on hits. Three or four headshots with 147grain 9mm hollowpoints will do a number on a home invader.

Of course, the disadvantage to any long gun in a self defense situation is that it cannot be concealed and is difficult to carry everywhere. Still, if I had to be in a gunfight, I would not feel undergunned with a carbine and a couple of magazines.

These posts are not intended to be a complete discussion of all of the merits, but are intended to be food for thought. There aren’t enough pixels on the Internet to completely discuss every facet of every type of defensive firearm.

Shotguns

This began as a single post, but quickly became too long for one post. So let’s make it a series.

Yesterday’s post talked about stopping power and how it is a myth. Today I want to tackle the topic of what you should be using for self defense. Remember that a bullet is simply a means of transferring energy from gunpowder to target.

Lets start with shotguns.

Shotguns are a great self defense weapon for short to medium range, say 10 to 50 feet. They aren’t the cone of doom that many people think they are-the rule for shotgun patterning is that you usually get about 1 inch of spread for every yard from the target. So at 50 feet, you get a 16 inch pattern. In the distances involved inside of an average house, say 21 feet, you are looking at a pattern that is only about 7 inches.

In shotguns, the most effective self defense loads are not birdshot, as many people claim. The problem with lighter shot is that it frequently doesn’t penetrate. To me, the lightest shot that is suitable for self defense work is number four shot. So let’s take a look:

  • Number 4 buck has 20 grain pellets that are 0.24″ in diameter travelling at ~1300 feet per second.
  • #0 shot has 49 grain pellets that are 0.32″ in diameter and travelling at ~1200 feet per second.
  • #00 shot has 70 grain pellets that are 0.36″ in diameter and travelling at ~1100 feet per second.

My opinion, #0 buck is the best for home defense, especially when being fired from a 12ga with a 3″ chamber. Why?

Remember that our goal is to cause one of three things: a hit to the CNS, massive and rapid blood loss, or disabling shots. #0 buck offers enough penetration to reach vital organs, and 15 of them means having a high enough pellet count to punch lots of holes in the vascular system.

If you are going to consider slugs, I think that a rifle or a pistol caliber carbine is a better choice. We will talk about this in a later post.

The main disadvantages to shotguns are that they are long and difficult to work in tight spaces, and are not precise in the event that you need to shoot at targets that are located in close proximity to non-threats unless you are using slugs.

I prefer pump actions, but I can easily imagine the pure shock and awe of firing a semi-auto magazine fed 12 gauge. I will admit that I don’t own a mag fed semi-auto shotgun, but I have thought about it from time to time. Still, for home defense, a shotgun is a great choice for home defense, but I would not use a break open in that role. I would go with either a pump action or a semi-auto.

Where I tackle a sacred cow

Stopping power is a myth. There, I said it. Every time there is a shooting, some yahoo comes forward to talk about how this gun or that one would be better because stopping power…

It’s bullshit. There are only four ways to stop a determined attacker:

  • A catastrophic hit to the brain or spinal cord (CNS)
  • Lower his blood pressure to the point where his brain is incapable of operating
  • A ‘mission kill’ where his body is so damaged that it can’t continue the attack (for example: damage his pelvic girdle so an attacker armed with a melee weapon can’t close the distance)
  • Convince him that he is out of the fight

Hitting the brain or spinal cord will usually end an attack. A hit to the head that misses the brain will not work. I can think of seeing at least three shootings from my years as a street medic where a bullet hit a person in the head, but didn’t penetrate into the brain. One of them was a suicide attempt. A good example of a head hit NOT taking someone out of the fight is Navy SEAL Matt Axelson. He took a bullet to the head that left his brain matter exposed, yet continued the fight.

Punch enough holes in someone’s vasculature, and they will lose blood pressure to the point where the brain is no longer being supplied with oxygen, and the person is rendered unconscious. Even a lucky shot with a small caliber like a .32 is capable of doing this- say if it hits the aortic arch and causes a transection. Sometimes it takes several hits. I have seen people take multiple hits to the torso from a .223 and stay in the fight.

A mission kill is where you damage a person’s body severely enough that they physically can’t continue the fight. Say, a hit to the pelvic girdle preventing someone from chasing you down. An excellent example of this was Kyle Rittenhouse shooting Gaige Grosskreutz in the arm. The hit not only rendered that arm as incapable of firing shots, but also made it impossible for that arm to release the handgun it was holding.

Then there is simply convincing someone that they are done. This is a well documented phenomenon where a person will be shot, and the wound is far from incapacitating, but the person simply lies down and is out of the fight.

There are people out there, however that still insist in the magical properties of this caliber or that bullet. Bullets are simple tools. They are a tool that delivers the chemical energy stored in the gunpowder to the target in the form of kinetic energy. The force with which a bullet hits the target is equal to the force that’s directed back into the shooter. It’s one of Newton’s laws- every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Any bullet that has enough power to “knock down” the target will do the same to the shooter. It is at this point that many will point to Marshall and Sanow’s work, and I will admit that I was a follower and believer in this study when it first came out.

The Marshall and Sanow “study” was fatally and egregiously flawed. The most basic flaw was “selection bias” in that the study excluded any shooting where it took more than one shot to halt the attack. So if I have a situation where I shoot someone and he doesn’t go down, so I shoot him three more times before he does, that shooting would be excluded from the study, even though that shooting demonstrated a complete failure to stop the attack.

What a bullet does is simple: the chemical energy in the gunpowder is converted to kinetic energy that is transferred to the bullet. That energy is then transferred to whatever that bullet strikes. If the object struck is a person, then physiology takes over from physics there. The damage done is dictated by how much energy was transferred to the targeted person, and what body parts of that person where targeted.

So there are a couple of things that are important in stopping an attack: the amount of energy transferred, and what part of the body that it is transferred to. Suffice it to say, you want a bullet to have enough energy to damage the body system that it strikes, and that means you want it to penetrate far enough to transfer that energy into something physiologically important. You don’t want a bullet bouncing off of the grizzly’s skull or getting stuck in a denim jacket. It does not do any good if that happens. You also don’t want that bullet to over penetrate. What ever energy that bullet has left after passing through the target is useless in stopping the target from doing things that you don’t want them doing.

You also want to work on shot placement. Hitting a right handed shooter in the left arm isn’t going to do you a bit of good.

Buy yourself a gun that you can shoot well, then spend time practicing. Load it with some high quality defensive ammunition, make sure the firearm functions well with that ammo, then practice.

Why? Because you want to keep shooting until the attack is over. That means if you have to shoot him to slide lock to stop the attack, then shoot him to slide lock. Make sure that you can hit a person-sized target 100% of the time at 10 yards, rapid fire WHILE UNDER STRESS. Make sure that you can hit a person sized target 80 percent of the time at 20 yards while under stress. Sounds easy, but studies show that shooting to this level is rare while experiencing the stress of an actual gunfight.

If you do carry a handgun, use a .38/9mm or larger if you can. If you can’t carry something that large, carrying any firearm is better than not carrying one at all.

Put good quality defensive ammo in it. Don’t worry about finding the perfect latest and greatest ammo, but do get something that is modern as well as being accurate and reliable with your chosen firearm.

Practice. A lot. At least 100 rounds per quarter at a minimum. Shooting is a perishable skill. The more you do it, the better you get at it.

To all of you 10mm or .45ACP fans: If you really believe in stopping power, then provide the physics or physiological basis for stopping power. How does it work, what causes it, why do you think your caliber is different from all of the others?

Dispersal of Forces

Now that there is a Red Flag law that will soon be signed by Biden, there are some realities that must be faced. Think about what the left has been doing and saying for the past two years: anyone who disagrees with Fauci is crazy, anyone who argues with a leftist is a fascist, and other arguments intended to make you an unperson. How easy has it been to get banned from social media? That same moron that complained about the meme you posted on Facebook now has the ability to send an armed SWAT team to your house to have you killed. SWATting on steroids.

Of course Red Flag laws will be abused. Divorce attorneys salivating at this idea.

Those attempts at destroying your First Amendment rights will soon be applied to your Second Amendment rights. The Disinformation Bureau will soon have a counterpart for guns, bet on it. The agents of the ATF have a collective boner at the thought of new budget money. Government informants will soon get rewards for turning you in.

I have experienced this first hand. A couple of years ago, I was made into a prohibited person, thanks to an ex-girlfriend who used allegations of domestic violence to get a domestic violence injunction from a court. It took me weeks to clear my name, thousands in legal fees, and was a real inconvenience.

The first hint that you have of this is there will be a knock at the door, and you will open it to find the cops standing there with a court order to take your guns. Now in my case, they were stupid. I handed them a couple of token firearms and the left without searching. I don’t expect cops in these future red flag cases to be so casual. So here is my suggestion:

The military has had a policy of “dispersal of forces” ever since nuclear weapons became a thing. The idea is not to put all of your forces in one spot, thereby ensuring that all of your weapons won’t get caught up in one giant fireball. We can do the same thing.

  • Make sure that you cache some of your weapons and ammo in locations away from your property. Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.
  • Bury some in the backyard. You do have some 6 inch CPVC, don’t you?
  • Have others at a trusted friend’s house.
  • If you get a visit from the confiscation police, don’t immediately go retrieve your cache. They will likely return, looking for you to do exactly that.
  • Best if those cached weapons are “ghost guns” or guns bought on the secondary market, so there is no record of you having them.

Be paranoid, because as we have explained here on this very website, someone IS out to get you. If you DO get raided, get the word out. Make sure others know that they are taking guns. Maybe you can keep it from happening to someone else.

Gaston Update

As regular readers know, I recently completed project Gaston– an 80 percent Glock compatible pistol frame. Today was the day that I finally got to take it out to turn some money into noise.

I got to put a single magazine through it. Accuracy was fine. Here is the target from 10 yards, rapid fire.

The problem was reliability. Out of 16 rounds, there was one stove pipe, three failures to feed, one round with a dented primer but no PEW!, and one where the fire control group didn’t reset.

I didn’t even get a chance to troubleshoot before the RSO came over and forced me to stop shooting because my ammo was steel cased.

I am wondering if the problems were caused by too heavy of a recoil spring. The slide is a lightweight one, and perhaps changing out the standard 15 pound spring with a 13 pound one will work.

In the meantime, I need to buy some brass cased ammo and save the steel cased stuff for the outdoor range. More on this later.

Staples

I recently became aware of a Supreme Court case from 1994, Staples v. United States. This case involved a man who had been arrested for having an AR-15 with more than a few components of an M-16 fire control group installed inside of it including the selector, hammer, disconnector, and trigger.

Suspecting that the AR-15 had been modified to be capable of fully automatic fire, BATF agents seized the weapon. The defendant was indicted for unlawful possession of an unregistered machinegun in violation of the NFA.

At trial, BATF agents testified that when the AR-15 was tested, it fired more than one shot with a single pull of the trigger. It was undisputed that the weapon was not registered as required by the NFA. The defendant testified that the rifle had never fired automatically when it was in his possession. He insisted that the AR-15 had operated only semiautomatically, and even then often requiring manual ejection of the spent casing and chambering of the next round. According to the defendant, his alleged ignorance of any automatic firing capability should have shielded him from criminal liability for his failure to register the weapon.

The trial court disagreed, and the man was convicted and sentenced to five years’ probation and a $5,000 fine. He appealed the conviction, and the appeals court agreed with the trial court, affirming his conviction. It was appealed and wound up at the SCOTUS level. Justice Thomas wrote the majority opinion, and let me tell you, there are some great quotes in that opinion.

The opnion says that the language of the statute provides little in the way of guidance in this case. The NFA is silent concerning the mens rea (intent) required for a violation. It states simply that “[i]t shall be unlawful for any person . . . to receive or possess a firearm which is not registered to him in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record.”

Nevertheless, silence on this point by itself does not necessarily suggest that Congress intended to dispense with a conventional mens rea element, which would require that the defendant know the facts that make his conduct illegal.

Staples v. United States, 1984

The Government argued in that case that Congress intended the NFA to regulate and restrict the circulation of dangerous weapons. Consequently, in the ATF’s view, this case fits in a line of precedent termed “public welfare” or “regulatory” offenses, in which SCOTUS understood that Congress sought to impose a form of strict criminal liability through statutes that do not require the defendant to know his conduct was illegal.

One money quote that I saw was this one:

The Government does not dispute the contention that virtually any semiautomatic weapon may be converted, either by internal modification or, in some cases, simply by wear and tear, into a machinegun within the meaning of the Act. 

Give the case a read, and see what you can find.

You’re doing it wrong

A city worker was injured after being struck by debris from a blank that had been fired during active shooter simulation training. Did we learn nothing from the Alec Baldwin disaster? Even with blanks, projectiles still leave the barrel, and using real firearms to fire blanks is just asking for live ammo to work its way into the training scenario. All it takes is one forgotten spare magazine in an officer’s pouch, and tragedy results.

When engaging in gunfire simulation, there are a few rules, the first of which is that you don’t use real firearms. There are plenty of alternatives. From high realism/low danger like simunition, to Airsoft, paintballs, blue guns, or even simply fireworks.

There is no need EVER for pointing real firearms capable of firing actual bullets at people in a training situation. You have set yourself up for a scenario where a single point of failure is all that stands between safety and serious injury.

Look at this picture from another version of the story and tell me what this is accomplishing:

Slide lock, magazine inserted, in holster? Don’t get me started on the flimsy belt or the bunch of fabric that can get caught in the safetyless Glock trigger.