Month: April 2020

Down the Practical Hole: Part 4

Well, 10 months have passed since I wrote the first installment of Down the Practical Hole.  It was a fun exercise, but ultimately, I convinced myself that my original conclusion was correct and that the AR platform is the most practical platform currently available.  In fact, I picked up a brand x upper in 6.5 Grendel for use in critter getting.  The smart play would be to stick with what I have, but much like Henry Fonda wanting that fourth carrier (shame be upon those not getting the reference), I still find myself wanting a turn bolt rifle.

It didn’t help matters that somebody who brought his latest practical rifle project to the range this past week…

Erik Lund of AllFire Dynamics shooting his practical project rifle

It’s only fair as I got him started down this path with my ramblings.

With the aforementioned 6.5 Grendel upper in hand, my thoughts have wandered to the Ruger American Ranch rifle in 5.56 caliber.  The reason for this consideration is the straight-up compatibility with AR mags and ammo.  With 10-round mags, it would be legal in most states but scavenged mags could be used in a pinch (pandemic thoughts, you know).  Heavier ammo, such as the Barnes 70 grain TSX rounds would give it more punch; however, I concede that it wouldn’t be as much punch as originally desired.  I’m still annoyed that the rifle isn’t available with a compact stock from the factory.

Ruger American Ranch


Then again, along comes an interesting contender in the Remington 700 CP:


While it probably doesn’t have the reach as initially envisioned, it is intriguing.  For now, the beat goes on.

A Study of Ready

So there I was… a cadet in the police academy, on the firing line during range week and having paid due attention to the safety briefing and wondering why they told us to never point a firearm at anything we had not decided to shoot, but I was pointing my firearm at the target in a “low ready” giving verbal commands which were indicative of my not having decided to shoot. I was flummoxed.

Along the line came one of the instructors; so, I posed a question to him: “Sir, if we are not supposed to point our gun at something we have not decided to shoot, why are we pointing our guns at the target while giving commands?”

His answer was an emphatic, “Stop jerking the trigger!!” because that was the only response he had for any question that might arise on the range.

Low ready, **in that class**, was presented as the firearm being pointed at the threat with the muzzle being depressed low enough so as to be able to see a suspect’s hands. Follow on training from the same doctrinal source presented the low ready in the same manner.

**That** definition of low ready is arguable.  The term has numerous definitions with each entity being convinced that its particular definition is correct.

In a recent conversation with John Hearne, he pitched the concept of safety positions and ready positions.  He defined the terms as the following:

Ready position – placement of the gun in a manner that a shot can be immediately delivered once the decision to shoot has been made. The muzzle is diverted just enough to gather the information necessary to make a decision. A full firing grip, especially locked wrists, is maintained on the weapon.

Safety Position – with the caveat that the safest place for the gun is in the holster, a safety position intentionally “unplugs” the weapon from the fight in order to facilitate close proximity, typically movement by or movement past, to a non-threat. The ideal two-handed shooting grip is compromised by breaking the wrist, removing the support hand, etc. Safety positions should be viewed as temporary with the ultimate goal being to return the weapon back to a ready position as soon as safely possible.

Dave Spaulding uses similar terminology.  He told me,  “I look at the definitions of the words: Ready: prepared to act or take action. Prepare: to make ready.”  He further stated that he sees them as levels.  Furthermore, he stated, “I think of ready as the gun between you and the threat and the muzzle averted.  Preparatory positions are like Sul and the like.”

My position, and my teaching, on the issue is that any definition of a ready position must include that the muzzle must not cover any portion of the target/threat.  In my classes, students are evaluated, coached, and tested on muzzle discipline.  The reasons for this are to one, reinforce the lifestyle rules of possessing a firearm, and two, documentation for court purposes.  

Since the “Sul” position has been brought up already and will be discussed again in the other videos, an explanation of the position from one of its co-originators is in order:

Dave Spaulding explains his “Arc of Ready” concept:

Paul Gomez discussed Positions for Muzzle Aversion:

Do We Taste Like Chicken?

According to numerous reports, firearms sales are at an all-time high due to the pandemic. My friends in the firearms sales industry tell me that many of the current buyers are first-timers. Unfortunately, the current situation also greatly reduces the training opportunities for these new gun owners. They have the tools, but they don’t know how to use them.

Chris Baker is among those who have stepped up to provide digital content in an effort to help such people as much as possible given the limitations of the format. I applaud Chris for his efforts.

I know Chris personally. We’ve crossed paths on the training circuit numerous times. He is extremely well trained, and he puts out very good content.   Here is a video that he put together for new shotgun owners:

I posted the video in a few places where it would be seen by supposedly experienced gun folk so that they would have a readily available resource to provide to friends, family, colleagues, etc, who may reach out to them for help.

What followed is all my fault as I should have known better than to post anything to the internet and expect it to be received as intended..,

For example, one individual who possesses not one iota of Chris’ training and experience seized on one minute portion of the video and has embarked on a crusade against it. A few of the other responses have been complete misinterpretations of Chris’ content. Yet another opined, “I sure would hate to admit that I learned to shoot from a video.” I hope that his actual accuracy is better than his point-getting.

I will further accept responsibility in that I should have known better than to try to converse on the topic with such people. Apparently, it is wrong to seek to ascertain the training and experience of those commenting so as to judge the credibility of their assertions.

For the record, Chris has roughly 100 hours of formal shotgun training from names such as Tom Givens, Randy Cain, Rob Haught, Tim Chandler & Ashton Ray, and Daryl Bolke. I’ll be blunt: if one does not know who the aforementioned people are and/or one has not trained with them or their peers, one simply is not qualified to form an opinion on the topic of defensive shotgun usage much less offer it with any credence.

I shall now climb atop my soapbox and begin the sermon portion of this particular pontification:

Circumstances have resulted in large numbers of gun owners who may never have been gun owners otherwise. We, as a so-called community, and we, those of us in the business of training, should be embracing these first-timers. Unfortunately, the nitwittery that may confront them as they search for information is likely to be a turnoff.

I mentioned the above to long time friend who happens to know his way around a shootin’ iron, and his response was, “We eat our own.”.

I wonder, do we taste like chicken?