Tactical Tips for Defense – 6/17/16:
How many of you have been thinking about getting a gun (or adding another to your collection) lately? Today I’m going to address weapon selection and identification. In this weeks blog I’m going to focus on rifles. Specifically the AR platform.
The AR was originally developed in 1957 in the United States. It is a shoulder fired, magazine fed, gas piston or direct impingement operated, semi automatic rifle. That’s it. Despite what some may say, it’s not machine gun, it’s not a weapon of war, it doesn’t sneak out at night in search of innocent souls to steal. When you pull the trigger, it fires one round, no more, no less.
I’m going to burst a few more bubbles. The AR does not stand for “assault rifle”, it stand for Armalite. The designing company (please reference Kalshnokov and AK-47) Armalite was the first manufacturer to produce this style of gun. The patent was later sold to Colt. When most people use the term assault weapon, they simply confusing the term Assault Rifle. An Assault rifle is generally accepted as a select fire rifle capable of firing on full auto or 3 round burst. The AR may have visual similarities but the functionality is very different so don’t get too excited just yet. If you want those functions you have to jump through a LOT of government hoops and spend a whole bunch of money.
One of the things that makes the AR so popular with gun enthusiasts is its versatility. They come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. There are almost as many attachment options as there are opinions in Hollywood. Any shooter can customize his or her AR to fit their needs. Yes, there is even a Hello Kitty AR available. On top of being able to customize the AR, you can find it in just about any caliber you wish to shoot. The more common calibers include .22 LR (fun for the whole family), .233/5.56mm, and .308. A 9mm version is also very popular due to the cost and ease of access to ammunition. There are many more options and a simple Internet search will show you what’s available.
So now the question, why would someone buy an AR? Here are a few answers I came up with off the top of my head:
* Self defense
* Competitive and recreational shooting
* Home security
* Disaster preparedness
* Assertion of Constitutional rights
* To learn about safety and responsibility
* To learn about mechanics and the interworking relationships of moving parts
* Marksmanship builds self-confidence
* One has an appreciation of finer things
* Financial investment
* Conformity is dangerous
* It’s a piece of American history
* And unless you’re a journalist, shooting one will always leave a smile on your face! It’s fun!
So now that you have the facts, do some research on your own. Remember, the number one consideration when purchasing any firearm is the purpose of that firearm. Decide which AR fits your needs and wants then train and build your comfort level with that gun. As always, we have a class for that if you need some guidance. Until next time, stay safe and keep shooting. – Kris
Tactical Tips for Defense – 5/30/16:
Do not thank me for my service! Now that I have your attention, please allow me to explain. No combat veteran wants to be thanked for their service on Memorial Day. Many times people view this day interchangeably with Veteran’s Day… And it’s not.
Originally as Decoration Day, memorial day dates back to the years following the Civil War. On this day people would gather and decorate the graves of both Union and Confederate soldiers. This is still a very common practice today as you see by the thousands of flags placed at Arlington national cemetery every year. Today is a special day in Memorial Day history as May 30, 1866 was the original official Decorations Day. This year memorial day happens to fall on May 30 again although now it’s typically recognized as the last Monday of May. May 30 was chosen because it does not represent the anniversary of any specific battle in any war in which the United States has fought. This was done so that there would be no appearance of favoritism to the veterans of any particular battle.
It is on this day that we remember those who sacrificed their lives for the freedoms that we enjoy as Americans. Combat veterans understand this far more than most. Many of us have lost friends, family members, loved ones, brothers and sisters. Every lost soldier has a story. They all had a home, they all had a family, and they all gave their lives for a cause greater than themselves. Memorial Day is a day for them. It’s a day that we honor their sacrifice. It’s a day that we as a nation say thank you and pay tribute to those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms.
I am frequently flattered and humbled by the appreciation shown by Americans for servicemen and women. Whenever somebody thanks me I always reply in kind and say “thank you for your recognition”. But on Memorial Day, all of our thanks needs to be to those men and women who cannot reply. I always feel guilty when a thank you is given to me on Memorial Day as does every other veteran. There are many who gave far more than those of us who got to come home.
So when you celebrate this weekend, and celebrate you should, please take a moment to honor their sacrifice. It is still a joyous day. The standard adage is that our freedoms were paid for with blood. I prefer to say that they were paid for with love. They were secured by those who’s love of country exceeded their love of self. It was paid for by those who loved the Nation and Flag that they represented. So enjoy your day, enjoy your family, enjoy your friends but remember, on Memorial Day, don’t thank me for my service. Stay safe and keep shooting. – Kris
Tactical Tips for Defense – 5/18/16:
Welcome to the first installment of our weekly blog series. In this series you will get highly opinionated commentary from the common sense perspective of our senior instructor, me! To give you guys a little bit of background, I spent 10 ½ years in the U.S. Army serving in various Special Operations units. After the military, I became a police officer and worked as a patrolmen for several years. I now instruct full time and I’ve found it to be the most rewarding job yet. I get to help people learn how to take care of themselves instead of having to wait for the response of others.
I’ll caution you ahead of time, some of these blogs will be satirical, some will be serious, some will be scientific, and some will be blunt. Just remember, I’m not a journalist. I’m just a guy who loves God, Country, and GUNS! So let’s get started. Given that this is the first blog in the series, I think that I would be negligent if the first topic I addressed wasn’t about training. For those of you who have attended our training, you’ve heard us preach over and over about the need for your training to become instinctual. We have to build that muscle memory.
Looking back on the earlier years in my military career I can remember spending countless hours on the range and other training areas. The hours seemed to drag on with no end in sight. We went by the motto of “train to standard, not to time”. The English translation for that is “we’re going to be here for a very long time”. Soaked in sweat, muscles aching, knees feeling like they were about to burst as we drudged though repetitive drill after repetitive drill, I constantly asked myself “why the hell am I doing this”. The answer of course was muscle memory. It never really hit home to me until my first combat deployment. That is when the line between training and real life was erased. I quickly learned that in a combat situation your thought process goes right out the window.
When the bullets start flying you only have time for one fight at a time and if you have to fight your own body’s reactions to a high stress situation instead of fighting the enemy, you lose. It was that muscle memory training installed by those long arduous drills that gave us the ability to stop threats with speed and accuracy. It gave us the ability to move seamlessly with little to no communication. It gave us the ability to evaluate the entire scene at once. All of those things combined to give us the needed advantage to win the fight.
Sun Tso gave us the wisdom to know our enemy. While that is true, I think that it is more important to know yourself. Nothing will highlight your strengths and weaknesses like training. It’s in those hours of repetitive muscle memory drills that we truly learn what we are good at and what needs work. Once we have identified what needs work we can seek deeper fundamental training in those areas. Just focusing on our strengths does nothing to prepare us for a life threatening situation because those who wish to do us harm will look for the weaknesses. Until next week, stay safe and keep shooting! – Kris