Author: J. Lee Weems

Chief Deputy of the Oconee County (GA) Sheriff's Office GA POST General & Firearms Instructor, FBI Police Firearms Instructor, Instructor of Political Science

Down the Practical Hole

I was fourteen years old or thereabouts when one of the elders in my family handed me an old Glenfield Model 30 and told me I had proven ready to receive it. I’ve maintained a steadfast loyalty to the levergun in the decades since that day. I grudgingly accepted AR platform rifles when my teaching responsibilities required me to do so.


The author during his Social Levergun presentation at TacCon19. Photo credit: Tamara Keel

Still, I have maintained a firm grip on my levergun roots. I presented a block on leverguns for defensive use at the 2018 and 2019 Tactical Conferences, and I offer a Social Levergun class.

After my presentation at TacCon19, one of the attendees commented on the need to keep social bolt action rifle skills alive. That comment stuck with me.

I will digress here to mention that about that same time, my buddy, Erik Lund, told me about his adventures in hog hunting out west and taking hogs at distances up to 400 yards.  I love it out west.  I like shooting hogs.  Therefore, I’d probably enjoy shooting hogs out west.  One problem became readily apparent though in that I don’t currently (at the time of this writing) own a rifle suitable for taking wild sausage humanely at such distances.

All of this, of course, was a clear sign that I need a general purpose turn-bolt rifle.

Source material for the “practical rifle” is not scarce as the great Jeff Cooper wrote prolifically on the topic.  Two extant courses that are keeping Col. Cooper’s material alive are Gunsite’s 270 Rifle and Randy Cain’s Practical Rifle.  Aside from those two schools, however, rifle training has taken a marked turn in a Stoner-ly direction since Col. Cooper’s days.

Chris Baker of Lucky Gunner Ammo has addressed the topic in several of his excellent videos such as this one:

Chris delved into modern bolt action rifle equipment here:

The software solution is out there should one choose to look for it.  The hardware solution is actually more difficult.  I rolled out the above mentioned levergun class in early 2013 at the height of a politically induced buying surge that resulted in a dearth self-loading rifle availability.   The current situation is the reverse.  AR-pattern rifles are readily available in a myriad of configurations.  Current bolt and lever rifle production quality is a shadow of what it once was (on a craftmanship scale) whereas AR-pattern manufacturing is in its golden age.

The most simple solution for a western hunting excursion would be to buy a new upper in a caliber such as 6.5 Grendel and use it with one of my current lowers at half the cost of a new rifle.

Finding a from the factory bolt action rifle in the configuration and caliber that I want is proving to be difficult.  While some of the available rifles could certainly be modified accordingly, such modifications would greatly add to the cost of the rifle.   

I set out to specifically to not go the AR route, but it turns out that it is actually the most “in common use” rifle platform currently available on the American market. 

It’s simply the most… practical.  

FPS-2 Target

I previously shared the FPS-1 Target here.  I have now added the FPS-2 Target to my line up of targets that shooters can get printed locally.

The small circles are two-inches in diameter.  The slightly larger circle has a diameter of four inches, and the other part of the target is the 10-9-8 rings of a B-8 repair center.

It is printable on 11″x17″ paper.





FPS-1 Target

I wanted a target that could be printed cheaply and easily at local print shops thus cutting out the delay and expense of ordering targets from the online suppliers.  I created the FPS-1 Target in Microsoft Publisher.  A talented coworker who would only relent to sign her work after repeated cajoling drew the eyes, nose, and heart on it, and then I scanned it.  (Thanks Beth!!).  I’m making it readily available to those who like it and want to use it.

The FPS-1 Target should be printed on 11″ x 17″ paper.  The face area is 5″W x 4″H with an inner oval that is 4″W x 2.5″H.  The chest area is 7″W x  7″H with an inner heart box that is 3″W x 5″H.






Lifestyles of the Armed and Dangerous: Defensive Pistol Skills and Social Shotgun with Lee Weems of First Person Safety

Here is a review of a pair of classes I taught in Waverly, TN.


img_0319 Chief Weems, with his Benelli M1 Super 90.  Federal Flite Control was emphasized for it’s ability to keep the pattern on an IDPA target (in the, “down zero,” ring) which means that with practical application of accuracy, keeps the shooter accountable for all 8 or 9 (both quantities of buckshot are available in the Flite Control configuration) pellets, and (wait for it…) complies with the Chief’s dictum of full compliance with the 4 FIREARMS LIFESTYLE RULES!

I recently had the pleasure off hosting and attending a weekend of training with Lee Weems.  Lee is a Rangemaster-Certified Instructor, as well as running his own training company, First Person Safety.  Lee is the Chief Deputy for the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office in Georgia.  And although Lee embodies the archetype of the quiet, Southern Lawman, he has quite a bit to say about the lifestyle adaptations required to be a competent, safe, thoughtful…

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Rehabbing Targets

Don’t throw those cardboard IDPA or IPSC targets away.  You can easily extend their useful life.  All you need is some quality spray adhesive and some paper targets as shown below.


On the left is the San Jose Repair Center from Action Target.  The cost is $0.21 each plus shipping if you order at least 100 of them.  I’ve started using these in my classes.  I like the scoring areas for several of my drills and courses of fire, and a new repair center can be put up quickly.  This also saves a lot space in my truck.

On the right is a paper “Langdon Cut” IDPA target from National Target.  An order of 100 is $37.00.  You have to specify the “Langdon Cut” when ordering.

Claude Werner of The Tactical Professor brought these repair centers from the to my attention; so, I am updating this article to include them as an option.

That fine gentleman of the range, The Magnificent Steve, came up with a nifty target stand design.  He was kind enough to make some for me that will work for both 18″ and 24″ width targets.

The plans for the stands are available here:

Steve Stackable Stands



Review: The Complete Combatant (and Sundry Others)

That Weems Guy

I first became aware of The Complete Combatant due to their hosting Caleb Causey of Lone Star Medics for one of his medical courses.  Caleb is a a regular presenter at the Rangemaster Tactical Conference, and that is how I met him.  I attended the course, that is how I met Brian and Shelley Hill, the owners of The Complete Combatant.  This introduction resulted in Brian and Shelley hosting two of my Police-Citizen Contacts courses.  They have another class with Caleb coming in September; so, be sure to check their schedule IF you aren’t planning to spend that weekend with me at Social Levergun.  Quality medical training should be a part of your personal safety plan, and Caleb has a solid program.

Another example of the classes that they are bringing in to augment their own offerings, they hosted Andrew Branca’s Law of Self Defense course.  Andrew’s material…

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Campus Carry: What you need to know.

That Weems Guy

In the 2017 legislative session, the Georgia General Assembly passed House Bill 280 amending state law regarding the carrying of handguns on Georgia’s college campuses.  The bill was signed by Governor Deal, and it goes into effect on July 1, 2017.

The purpose of this post is to share information about the bill.  It is not to debate the merits of the bill, pro or con.

The first distinction that needs to be discussed is that this bill allows for Georgia Weapons Carry License (GWCL) holders to carry concealed handguns in certain places on campus.  It is important to stress the word “concealed” as otherwise, the GWCL allows for open and/or concealed carry, and yes, the GWCL is required for open carry.

The bill did not amend 16-11-127.1 O.C.G.A. as it pertains to other weapons.  So, if you are a GWCL holder, you will be able to carry a pistol…

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Pistol Clinic with Qualification Courses, 10/24/2015

I will be teaching a pistol clinic at the Red Hill Range in Martin, GA, (Franklin County) on October 24th. The clinic will culminate in the shooting of the FBI and GA POST qualification courses. Students who pass the courses will receive a letter of documentation to that effect. I am a certified FBI Police Firearms Instructor as well as a GA POST certified Firearms Instructor.

The qualification courses are roughly the skill level of what a decent MM level shooter should be able to do. While certainly not a legal requirement, for a person who carries a firearm, having documentation that you have passed both a state and federal level qualification course could prove beneficial.

For more details and to register for the class, click here.

Class Review: Rangemaster Advanced Instructor Course

Another great course from Tom Givens and Rangemaster

That Weems Guy

“We want to shoot as fast as we can guarantee hits.”  –Tom Givens

Broward County (FL) is home to one of the most modern indoor shooting facilities in existence.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t available, and our class was held at an indoor range built in the 1940s.  It made for a very interesting shooting experience. The class consisted of 12 students; all graduates of the Rangemaster Instructor Development Course (IDC).

Tom Givens Tom Givens

The class began with a review of some of the material from the IDC particularly that we need to reject the notion of an “average” gunfight in favor of the term “typical” in that training programs should be designed around the things that we see occurring regularly.  Tom also stressed that shooting shouldn’t be a contest of a speed versus accuracy; it should be a blend of speed AND accuracy.  As he says, “There is a finite amount of time…

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Review: Rifle/Pistol Low Light with Erik Lund

That Weems Guy

“If you are going to take the time to look, take the time to see.” -Erik Lund on scan processes

This was my third formal class with Erik Lund having previously taken his Dynamic Fighting Rifle and Performance Shotgun courses.  Erik was assisted in this class by Todd Lit.

Erik Lund Erik Lund

The class consisted of 11 students and began in the mid-afternoon and went well into the evening.  We began by practicing various handheld flashlight techniques in conjunction with our pistols.  We then practiced handheld light techniques with our rifles.  All of this was done while we still had daylight so that we could focus on the techniques.

2014-11-29 15.07.41 Erik demonstrating the Harries Technique with a pistol

2014-11-29 16.33.41 HDR Erik demonstrating the Harries Technique with a rifle

Of note, Erik recommends having some sort of retention device on a handheld light to aid in weapon manipulations.  He personally used a lanyard and would…

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