<![CDATA[Shootlogic.com - Tim Elmer\'s Blog]]>Thu, 01 Mar 2018 03:39:51 -0500Weebly<![CDATA[Course Review: ¬†Craig Douglas AMIS]]>Mon, 17 Apr 2017 20:04:33 GMThttp://www.shootlogic.com/tim-elmers-blog/course-review-craig-douglas-amisThis review is for a class that I took with the one and only Craig Douglas, also known on social media as “Shivworks”.  If you are a concerned citizen that wants to train hard, with reality-based scenarios, and learn to think and not just shoot, then you need to train with Craig Douglas.  This course was called AMIS, which stands for Armed Movement in Structures.  This course is specifically for the armed citizen, police officer, or any individuals that may find themselves forced to navigate a building single handedly while potentially armed threats may be present.  This was a tremendous opportunity that I was fortunate enough to partake in, and it was one of the finest classes that I have ever attended.  There are very few reputable force on force, tactics, and communication classes across the nation, and Craig managed to roll all of them into one great class.  As Shoot Logic has broadened it’s curriculum into the world of Force on Force by becoming a certified Simunitions facility, we were excited about learning from one of the Masters in this field.  Here are just some of the lessons that I learned over the weekend.
The Facility:
This course was hosted here at Shootlogic in our Simunition shoot-house.  This part of our facility was specifically built to host, teach, and safely train in all manner of force escalation curriculum.  With building a shoot-house, we’ve created a training environment that will help us explore the endless variables of any situation to managing the complications that involve being in and around vehicles.  Our goal is to test what we learn on the standard square range when someone is shooting back at you.  It allows us to see what works, and what is just typical Internet conjecture (i.e. nonsense).  There is simply no better testing ground than facing off against a determined opponent that has a vote in what happens to them versus cardboard or steel targets blankly staring back at you.  In conjunction with our classroom, this compliments these types of courses for the “learning lab environment”.  Craig was able to use our moveable walls to genius effect, thereby crushing any “home field advantage” that Brian McGriff and I might have had in our own facility.  Considering we built and designed the shoot-house, it once again proved why he is one of the best that I have trained with.  We will certainly use his lessons on making better use of our own shoot-house classes. 
Thinking First:
One of the main aspects of Craig’s classes is that he wants to create tacticians first.  He is very open in regard that there is a plethora of top tier shooting instructors in the market place, but he would rather put his energy and experience into developing his students’ abilities in making smart choices before, during, and after any violent encounter.  He actively trains his students to look for options outside of a gunfight, and sees using deadly force as the absolute last option (another reason firearms should be trained to a subconscious level - see other posts for further thoughts on this).  This was one of the most mentally draining classes that I have ever taken due to the lessons on movement, angles, light use, and confronting the boogeyman in your home.  Throughout this class we were taught how to analyze our environment, movements, actions and words, and how they can and will affect the outcome of any dangerous encounter.  We must be cognizant of the thought processes that will affect our safety, our loved one’s safety, and can be the difference between life and death should you have to move within a structure by yourself.  While we worked through the exercises during the course, we had to examine every angle, foot position, and even handheld light movement.  This is a class for those that are alone when things go bump in the night, and it brought the stark reality of surviving, winning, or losing based on the choices made to the forefront of the students’ psyche. 
Tactics (per dictionary.com):  the maneuvers themselves, or any mode or procedure for gaining advantage or success. 
      This is the meat and potatoes of the course.  Every action must be an intentional decision to create a safe passage and environment for ourselves, and those who we are responsible for.  Throughout the day we were taught, pushed, and painfully reminded (through the pain of an airsoft/simunition marker) that one small misstep can mean the difference between success and failure.  We must be ever conscious that conflict is truly a chess match, not only between you and your adversary, but against yourself as well.  Students began to realize that you are never truly “safe” if you must move room to room by yourself.  During the lessons of tactics, Craig made sure to remind us that each room individually can be “cleared”, but any “cleared” room that you leave is no longer safe, and you must painstakingly recertify that it is still safe should you return.  So, if you think your bedroom is “safe”, and you check the bedroom next door, your bedroom must now be considered unsafe, and you must slowly recheck it or assume the consequences for your assumption.  While not physically demanding, the mental focus that this requires even for a 15 minute segment is mind-boggling. 
       Before the true Force on Force segment of the class, Craig walked us through the “murder board” and had an interactive walkthrough of a structure on a white board.  Every student took part of the floor plan, came to the front of the class and communicated their portion of the walk through of how to approach an angle, hallway, room, and entryway while other students expressed what they deemed wise or downright foolhardy.  Craig stood next to each student in front of the class through all of this and made corrections, gave advice, and explained each mistake that every student made.  This is one of those coveted moments in a class, and I was truly reminded that I “don’t know what I don’t know” regarding the tactics portion of shooting.  With 100% student agreement, the hard lesson is that not only is there no perfect and safe tactics when clearing a building by yourself; but that solo room clearing is incredibly dangerous and should be performed only when absolutely necessary.  Craig continuously reinforced this commandment during the weekend and we were reminded every time someone got stung (by being shot) from a mistake.  There is no safe way to clear a building (even your own home) by yourself.  This ended the fairly accepted idea of investigating trouble in your home, when in fact; building clearing should not be attempted except when absolutely necessary or with a team of your well trained friends, with long guns, and a lot of ammo. 
It’s a 3D Environment out there:
The issue of angles and movement is a delicate one.  We were reminded that there are multiple planes that we need to be aware of and how to approach and conform to those planes.  The planes of approach illustrated were horizontal, vertical, and diagonal (stairwells), and they all have their pros and cons in strategies to navigate them.  We learned to be able to use the plane in front of us to as safely and effectively as possible search for or engage a threat..  We must also be aware of the depth of an angle, such as entering a long hallway or large room.  The proverbial “don’t hug cover” comes into play here, and Craig plainly explained the nuances of each situation.  Another aspect that Craig highlighted for us is that we don’t realize that cover can also be an anchor, and that can be deadly.  As we have observed in our own Sims courses many people let “cover” become their security blanket of doom when their opposition stays mobile.  Movement is survivability, especially when you are alone in a building with a threat.  An interesting take away from this class is that the more distance that you have from the angle of impediment the greater field of view that you will have beyond the plane that you are trying to navigate.  In short, edging up on a corner is not a useful tool, and only limits your information and mobility.  Because of the 3D environment, we were constantly reminded of angles and to seek depth, not just cover/concealment along with a spacial awareness of potential threats at literally every corner.  This constant need to analyze your surroundings, and choose the best angles only reinforces that a person’s firearm skills should be fundamentally grounded, as you will need to conform to your environment and as a result, this will change your shooting platform on top of the fact that you need to be 100% tuned in to what you are doing.   If you struggling with drawing, reloading, or just finding the front sight…then Handgun 201 may be a better fit for you.  This is not the time to try and figure out your shooting technique, but be so well versed in your gun handling, that modifying what you are doing to fit the situation should be second nature. This is what Craig calls, “change your geometry”.  Movement in a building is an exercise in geometry due to the depth, angles, and visual acuity needed to due to as safely as possible. 
      Assuming you are left no choice, and that you are going into a building by yourself, what happens if “that time” comes?  The time that you run into the adversary and the end of what any red blooded American male enjoys…the hunt.  Do you let your pride get the best of you?  Do you immediately shoot?  Do you let them know you are there?  Do you stop, and make that 911 call thereby taking your full attention away from the situation?  Is everything truly what it seems?  You must make all of these decisions in an instant and these questions are sorely overlooked in most force on force style classes.  Craig gave us a crash course on what he calls MUC (managing unknown contacts).  Just because we are armed and legally able to shoot we may still need to communicate with the person we assume is going to do us harm.  So many people are eager to shoot, but we were reminded that it just might not be necessary as there is information unknown to us.  This is where communication comes into play.  Craig teaches the how, when, and why we must communicate with our “intruder” and how to do so to our utmost advantage.  Should we have to shoot, how do we communicate with law enforcement clearly, concisely, and to our advantage (tactics) within the law of our respective state? 
Light Usage:
       This is quite honestly one of my favorite subjects.  Let’s be honest, many defensive situations occur during a low light situation.  This doesn’t necessarily mean a pitch-black situation, but you truly need to have a proper tool to assist you in searching, identifying and aiming accordingly.  We cannot overlook the completely different dynamic that a low light situation entails from a tactics perspective.  Many of the skills we build in the name of proper defensive techniques take on a new dimension when we are now adding a light to the equation, and learning the proper implementation is a vital addition to our toolbox.  Craig is a fan of both WMLs (weapons mounted lights), and handhelds, and more light can never hurt when in a low light situation.  The low light portion of this class (held after sunset) was also an eye opener as Craig allowed role players to have random objects in their hands such as cell phones, sticks, or any other random object to confuse the “good guy” trying to discern targets during particular evolutions.  This training scenario was a clear lesson in target discrimination and target identification (there is a difference).  This nighttime based training may just change some perspectives if anyone wants to criticize others of shooting someone “just grabbing his wallet”.  What was also interesting was Craig’s use of the handheld flashlight to use the light to confuse, search, and even use it in an offensive manner.  Again, the recurring lesson to me is the more options in your toolbox, the better.  This was mainly done with a handheld light with as many lumens as possible and it drove home the point for me to not only have a good EDC light (which I do) but to have one bedside and to continue to practice with its use.  Being on the other end of Craig’s demo of light discipline and usage, I can see how disorienting proper light usage can be.  There was no dogmatic approach of neck index, Harries, any other named and “famous” techniques.  The main premise behind his tactics and use of the light would be to flash and move, flash and move.  Think of yourself as Muhammad Ali and every time you shined your light either you or the light needed to move.  This being my first force on force class in a low light situation, this class was worth its weight in gold for me.  This was the part for me where there is so much more to managing a situation than just shooting and low light only compounds the problem that you are trying to solve. 
     Out of the many, many classes that I have been fortunate enough to take over the years, Craig Douglas is quite honestly one of the finest that I have learned from.  He was incredibly patient with everyone in class, especially during the “problem solving” exercises.  I’m not kidding…the man has the patience of a elementary school art teacher, while putting scholars to shame with his ability to reference where he received the knowledge that he was imparting to us while never being condescending.  Craig Douglas is one of the most clear and concise instructors that I have had the pleasure of working with.  Once a person has a solid understanding of shooting fundamentals to include drawing and reloading from concealment than a base of reputable force on force classes should be in any one’s toolbox and Craig Douglas and any one of his classes should be at the top of your list.  His teaching style alone along with his ability to immerse students in an unforgiving learning lab is enough for me to want to get my rear end handed to me at the Extreme Close Quarters Combat course later this year.  Look out for that review after I’m beaten, bruised, and bloodied. 
<![CDATA[Winning the Mind Game]]>Sun, 27 Dec 2015 14:46:48 GMThttp://www.shootlogic.com/tim-elmers-blog/winning-the-mind-game              Just a couple of weeks ago I was at a local competition and my scores fell short of what I know I am capable of.  I take my training and practice seriously and I am aware of how what I am capable of.  I defeated myself by concentrating on what not to do instead of concentrating on what I know how to do.  While this happened during a competition it dawned on me that embracing and focusing on negative thoughts can pervade our lives, and dictate the outcome of any endeavor…I am writing this to share my learning experience in regards to how powerful our thoughts really are in determining our successes or failures.  Thankfully over the last year I have done a tremendous amount of reading on how the mind works and have particularly explored the philosophies to help elite athletes perform at their best.  I say thankfully because I have uncovered how to identify my mental mistakes quickly, therefore I can correct them and move forward in a positive manner instead of wallowing in self-destructive defeat. 

                As I walked away that afternoon dejected with myself I had to remind myself to “lose fast”.  To clarify, should you make a mistake(be it at the range, links, or free throw line), is to get over it and get back to work with the mindset of doing the next rep vigorously and as perfect as possible.  Don’t dwell on the past because you can’t get it back.   What would be better?  To worry about what you just did, or to make the next shot the best shot you have ever made?  We don’t have time machines so we can’t call the bullets back into the gun so all we can do is “lose fast”.  Get your head back in the game with the realization that we are not perfect and if anything, during training it is ok to be less than perfect.  Training is our time to make mistakes with the intention that we learn from those mistakes.  Train hard and train harder to lose fast.  In summary the author of Mind Gym, Gary Mack, puts it succinctly. 

“Fretting about the shot you just made will get you another just like it” 

--Gary Mack

             What I have learned is that it is more important to concentrate on the task at hand and not the goal at hand.  Want to make a certain par time on a drill or course of fire at a match?  All you can do is shoot to the best of your ability and work on getting better from there.  Sports psychologist Gary Mack wrote, “The probability of achieving the outcome you want increases when you let go of the need to have it.” This is one of the cornerstones of our teaching here at Shootlogic and it corresponds to performance vs. outcome based training.  The summary of that being quit thinking about the goal (only bullseye hits) and concentrate on what will get you there (proper application of the fundamentals).  We at Shootlogic prefer the “Performance” approach.  There is a skill set discrepancy among all shooters so it is important to realize where you are in your own journey and work to improve.  A great example would be a standard such as the 8 second clean El Presidente drill.  Someone like Bob Vogel can clean it in 6 sec.  Many people begin chasing the 6 second ability of a world class shooter who has put in decades of work instead of simply improving themselves a little at a time and putting in the work.  A road trip only lasts longer if you keep looking at the miles left on the GPS so sit back and enjoy the drive.  This is an easy trap to fall into and stay in; it takes constant vigilance and effort to stay in the right frame of mind.  I had a specific goal in mind, my final score, and instead of simply working towards it I showed up at a match with only that in mind.  Match day is the wrong time to be thinking about a particular goal; just like when it’s time to defend yourself is the wrong time to question your ability or your firearm. To put this in a more self-defensive perspective, think about it like this:  Would you be better off thinking about simply surviving the encounter, or executing the necessary steps you need to take to survive the encounter (even if that just boils down to remembering to focus on your front site).  See the difference?

“Give yourself permission to win, but then let go of the idea of winning and focus on execution and the process.” 

--Gary Mack

              I put a lot of pressure on myself for no useful reason.  My fear of failure was stronger than my desire to succeed; it needs to be the exact opposite from here on out.  I drive pretty hard in my day to day life and it is magnified for me when I am on a range.  I literally got into my own head and was possessed with, “don’t miss this shot.”  Can you guess what happened?  Yes, I missed or was not as accurate as I needed to be because that was the last thing in my head when I took my first shot on a stage.  Then I allowed myself to get amped up and continue making other sloppy mistakes because the fear of failure grew like a weed in June.  Failure is feedback…nothing more. 

            On a positive note I know that I am a dedicated person and dedication is simply turning desire into action.  I know what to improve, how to improve, and have a plan in place to improve.  Moving forward, I have learned from these mistakes and can control them because I know and have demonstrated the physical ability before with witnesses.   In the grand scheme of things it really doesn’t matter because my wife still loves me, Mike Hogan is still one of my great friends, both Brians still rib me, and so all is right with the world.  Hopefully sharing these mental mistakes will help you in your own training and help you conquer your own mental shortfalls.  Now all I have to do is take my own advice. 

Some great books to read should you want to help further a winning mindset no matter what your endeavor is:

The Champion’s Mind:  Jim Afremow

With Winning in Mind: Lanny Bassham

Mind Gym: Gary Mack

The Little Book of Talent: Daniel Coyle


<![CDATA[Staying a Student]]>Sun, 04 Oct 2015 17:53:37 GMThttp://www.shootlogic.com/tim-elmers-blog/staying-a-student      As I sit here typing this, I am reflecting on my experiences over the years in the defensive and competition shooting world.  I have been very fortunate throughout the years to have come in contact with great teachers who have not only taught me how to shoot well, but people that have become close friends and mentors.  I am thankful that they have guided me to remain passionate for improving as a well rounded shooter.  I have noticed a tendency in these people over the years, which brings me to my point; they have not just managed, but thrived in remaining a student of their chosen endeavor. 

      I have learned that it is imperative that those of us who want to continually improve to remain humble and increase our knowledge by both seeking it out and by hard won experience.  To this day one of the biggest reasons I still enjoy taking classes is that I continually learn that I “don’t know, what I don’t know.”  I still have weaknesses, and quite frankly have learned to tolerate if not enjoy the taste of humble pie during the learning process.  No, humble pie doesn’t taste like chicken.  I am still aware that it is still my RESPONSIBILITY to seek out reputable instruction in strengthening my weaknesses.  It behooves all of us to remain humble in the search of that knowledge and that includes instructors more than most.  I have no shame in saying that I have taken the same classes from the same instructors to make sure that I have improved upon the lessons given and to test myself against my prior performance.  I believe there are lessons to be learned in testing yourself against your own previous performance and sometimes the best way to do that is in the self imposed pressures of a class or local club match.  I implore anybody that takes their skill progression seriously in any endeavor to always remain a student; nobody knows everything so keep learning.  

<![CDATA[The Second Time Around]]>Sun, 14 Jun 2015 13:24:27 GMThttp://www.shootlogic.com/tim-elmers-blog/the-second-time-aroundThe Second Time Around 
Covert Carry:  The Second Time Around

      The weekend of May 23-24, 2015 I once again had the distinct pleasure to train with Mike Pannone of CTT Solutions.  I took the Covert Carry course once again which is a course specifically designed how to manipulate a firearm in a defensive use completely from concealment.  It is one that I can’t stress enough for anyone who carries a firearm concealed on a daily basis how important this is.   This is something that I truly believe is missing in many defensive pistol courses that concealment is not required as that is how the vast majority of us carry.  My first run through of this class was an eye opener, and I can honestly say that the second time around was even better than the first.  It was with this in mind that we brought him down to Shootlogic to give some local shooters an easier opportunity to learn from him. 

      Like most weekend classes we began with a very basic fundamental exam.  This was done to make sure each student was safe, and give Mike a chance to evaluate skill level.  The second approach to this is that there is no advance shooting; there are only the fundamentals.  As we progressed through day one it was apparent that Mike looks at things differently regarding to how the body moves and works.  We did this on day one so that we could continue to build on this foundation being laid.  While familiar with this concept, I paid particular attention this time around because the instruction not only made sense, but I wanted to truly learn and put into practice the lessons we were receiving.  I came to this class fully prepared to “take one step back to take two steps forward.”  I’m looking forward to taking the two steps forward. 

      The biggest reason that the second time around was better is that Mike has clearly refined his curriculum by continuing to seek out instruction himself and passing on that new knowledge to fellow shooters.  As of this year Mike earned his Master rating in several USPSA divisions and spoke at length of his work and the process involved to achieve such a respectable rank.  Mike did this by seeking out and training with other competitive shooters that he was ranked behind and that also had a discerning eye for critiquing.  I was able to tell that Mike brought some of their techniques into the curriculum and he was not only more knowledgeable about shooting, but more passionate about shooting and teaching.  That passion showed throughout the weekend and was infectious to the student looking to learn to improve.  It was a refreshing and yet humbling experience to have a teacher of his caliber show that there is always something to learn, and also his desire to pass that new knowledge along.  The approach he took this time was definitively more “academic” and his goal to really bring out the “little things” in the various students for a demonstrable improvement.  This wasn’t just a shooting class, but a thinking class.  We were expected to keep an open mind over both days as we progressed.   

      Not only did I learn new drills, but I learned how to better approach my own weaknesses…and boy do I still have a long way to go.  One of the things that I have been trying to work on throughout my competitive endeavors is target transitions.  Mike not only covered that in class but spoke at length with me about approaching the issue and how to think through my practice.  This alone was a huge “light bulb” moment for me and I am thoroughly looking forward to putting the concept into practice.  I’m very grateful to Mike for speaking with me on approaching this aspect of my shooting and he spared no advice with whoever had specific questions about their shooting.  I think this speaks volumes of the caliber of the kind of teacher Mike is as he was not only approachable, but had a specific answer for those who asked, and he was enthusiastic about helping others improve!  Sadly, too many “instructors” have a canned response to questions or don’t care if their students are working hard to improve.  They run the gamut of “drills”, say goodbye and leave with no feedback for learning.  Not Mike!  He wanted us to ask and wanted us to leave no stone unturned.  Questions were answered in a clear and intelligent manner without ever making the student feel small or dumb.  This is the difference between a teacher and just an instructor.  The more I train and learn the wider the gap I notice between the two; I specifically look for teachers now when looking to improve my shooting or mindset. 

      A common concept throughout both training days was how much time Mike has studied how the human body moves and works.  While no stranger to reloads, Mike explained the reload in a way that literally made every student say, “how did I not think of that?”  We were taught to embrace a simple philosophy of working with our bodies’ natural movements, and letting go of the techniques that ask us to work against ourselves. It was that simple, and set the tone of Mike’s philosophy regarding not fighting the body when manipulating the firearm or shooting.  Many concepts that are still being taught do just that and waste our scarcest resource with anything…time.  It’s time that we won’t have in a fight or at our next match. 

      As far as improvement, there was no dull moment as Mike effortlessly kept the class moving at a brisk pace.  This is not a beginner or even intermediate course and I would recommend it to at least a slightly more experienced shooter.  We were constantly challenged mentally as we would go through a block of instruction working on speed then immediately change gears and have to work on basic marksmanship.  This is a mental challenge as it is tough to make yourself have to slow down to shoot a tight group after being throttle down.  A perfect example of this is shooting at 7yds from concealment trying for a zone hits in sub 1.5seconds, then immediately moving back to 20yds to shoot 10 round B-8 targets for groups.  This messed with many shooters minds at first but when the process was explained, and throughout the weekend all students were shooting faster more accurately it all made sense. 

     One of our favorite drills of the weekend was Mike’s “rabbit drill”.  This is a competitive exercise where one shooter is the “rabbit”, and the other the “coyote”.  The rabbit starts in a position and the coyote must mimic it.  The rabbit can draw at any time, and the coyote can only take action once he sees the rabbit moving.  The goal is for the coyote to get faster and beat the rabbit with a hit on target.  Being an accuracy intensive class, only hits count so if the rabbit misses with a clear time advantage it gives the coyote time to make the shot.  This can be done with either a one shot draw or a one shot, reload, one shot drill.  What was made apparent is this is THE drill to do if a person is really looking to get faster in a hurry.  It forces a person to be fast, but efficient.  There is no room for fast and sloppy as a shirt can get caught in the draw, or hands may not be able to achieve a master grip.  Pride was put on the line as some shooters were very evenly matched (which is actually a bonus for this drill). 

      Another thing I learned that I want to improve on is group shooting.  While I by no means am terrible, I now know that is something that I really want to get better at. This class showed me that trigger control and consistent sight tracking as that is a skill that is overlooked while shooting groups at 25yds.  It is something that I believe is sorely overlooked and something that I will no longer neglect.  We shot enough groups to improve upon this concept during class, but to learn what our mistakes were while doing them.  Were the students not pressing the trigger correctly?  Was the front sight not being tracked correctly?  Was there inconsistency in a master grip?  This directly relates to Mike constantly changing the tempo of the class (remember the vexed students?).  By switching things up, we could take a step back and analyze the “why” behind particular flaws in each shooter, particularly myself.  Exposing this weakness was humbling, but motivating as I enjoy the new revelations of correction and putting that into practice.  That’s why we train! I anticipate lots of wall drills in my future dry fire practice.  Looking at the consistency of Mike’s groups and a couple of other students groups, this is something that needs improvement.  I once again cannot wait to work on this challenge. 

      A big concept that I took from this class once again is looking at my practice from an academic point of view.  Truly learning how to not only diagnose and identify weak areas, as that is the easy part, but being able to put in the work to improve upon them.  It is the “know how of self correction”.  Mike spoke extensively about his competitive experience and that it is the little things that separate the great from mediocre.  Mike said, “The big things are easy to see, the little things are where you will win or lose, in a fight or sport shooting”.  This is something that too many shooters overlook with the “good enough” mantra.  I am not a fan of this low standard at all and sets me to seeing red when shooters want to “get better” then allow “good enough” to drive their thought process and thereby their practice.  Mike doesn’t allow this is his classes or personal practice.  It is this concept that beyond all of the shooting, one handed manipulations, and the 600(yes, that is 600) draws from concealment in two days that I took away the second time training with Mike Pannone.  It takes hard work, with an “I can do better” attitude to see the next level of improvement, no gimmicks or special gear.  I stepped away from the firing line more motivated than I have been in a long time to continue to train and practice in a long time.  I look forward to the opportunity to train with Mike again.  Let’s see what happens at my next match. 

<![CDATA[Our Thin Blue Line]]>Sun, 21 Dec 2014 17:02:03 GMThttp://www.shootlogic.com/tim-elmers-blog/our-thin-blue-line Disclaimer:  I’m well aware that the vast majority of people are pro-law enforcement.  I am also well aware that my thoughts will not change the minds of people on either side of the fence.  These are my thoughts, and only my thoughts based on my perspective and observations of random comments based on no experience, training, or the honest fear that myself and other loved ones of officers deal with on a daily basis.  They aren't all heroes...but most of them are doing a job the best they can; just like the rest of us. 

       Due to recent events across our country along with the instantaneous nature of the internet and social media there is a growing trend of anger and distrust of law enforcement.   As a self-confessed badge bunny I find some of the conversation and talking points truly disturbing in regards to how we view our law enforcement personnel.  While I understand like most people that they aren’t all great or even supermen, I felt the need to speak on this as I have a special connection to it from a perspective some don’t see.   There is no doubt that there are disturbing trends in regards to laws and the enforcement of such in certain situations, but I believe that there has been a fundamental shift in how we as a society view our law enforcement officers as a whole and in my humble opinion it is not a good shift. 

       People have forgotten the job that our officers do day in and day out. I understand that police officers are the enforcement face of government so historically they are the ones to bear the brunt of disdain, distrust, and intense hours of scrutiny of their decisions made over seconds in an environment ever changing.  Never mind media and special interest groups of all agendas that only add fuel to an already uncontrollable bonfire of badly written laws or policies.  Have we forgotten about the intense hours of a man hunt for the cop killer or the child trafficker?  Have we forgotten about the officers that were badly hurt or killed just for stopping to help a stranded motorist?  Have we forgotten about the inherent danger of simply putting on a badge for the day?  Is today just a routine day of paperwork and report writing or will some sick psychotic delinquent decide to make his mark on history?  Too many people today expect police officers to protect the community in its entirety, at all times, and through all situations but deride heavy body armor and AR-15s as too military looking, then crucify an officer for missing a shot, or not being trained to move like a ninja.  

       People talk about the cop versus police officer, them versus us, and a myriad of divisions that is just that…divisions.  We as a society have forgotten to stand with our police officers united as a whole.  We have forgotten to work with our local law enforcement in policing our communities instead of laying the entire burden on their shoulders.  That weight cannot be borne forever.  Our police officers aren’t always in it for the rush; it’s the knowledge that they are the dunes that break the waves of crime and violence from sweeping away the appearance of civilized society.  The vast majority of them across the country know that their families and friends are a part of that society and that society is slowly if not already turning its back on what keeps them safe whether they appreciate it or not.  Yet our “boys in blue” continue to suit up and do an awesome job with a crappy situation. 

       Many friends and close people in my life are or were police officers, these friends include several of my fellow instructors here at Shootlogic.  My most significant connection to the blue line is my wife.  She is a SVU detective at one of the largest and most violent agencies in the state and I get to see the weight of her and her co-workers chosen careers that they carry on a daily basis.  I know what it’s like to help her get her gear on at 1am because she is on call and got the call to respond to another child rape.  I know what it’s like to have her be constantly armed, not because of “sheepdog” status, but because we have come across several people that she arrested the hard way in our day to day life.  I know what it’s like to have my wife come home with a black eye because she caught a wanted serial rapist that decided he didn’t want to go to jail.  I know what it’s like to invest time and money into her training and equipment to ensure she comes home to me.  This is a personal fear of mine that I live with every day.   I bear witness to the high cost that they pay on an almost daily basis.  You see, the Police are not some nebulous, faceless, armed force that wanders the streets.  They weren’t spawned in a lab, produced on an assembly line, or are a part of sky-net.  They are your neighbors, your customers, they go to the same grocery store, and send their kids to the same school that you do.  It feels like people forget this as they thoughtlessly comment on about “the pigs” or “stupid cops”.  Things people don’t think or forget about in regards to what they ignorantly comment on about “the pigs” or some variation of violent drivel spewed from a smart phone is that LEOs have families too.  These families live with the fear of the likelihood of injury or death of their loved ones as they walk out the door.  This is why it matters when the ignorant make comments on a random article. This is part of the reason it is simply hard to ignore anymore.  I fear this is an unintended consequence of social media and the internet.  Not only do I find this type of vitriol incomprehensible, but it seems that it’s OK to second guess, or judge the actions of people no matter your color or political affiliation.  There would be national protests if people said the same things about groups of people as they do cops.  It seems socially acceptable today which is why I feel that we have forgotten as a society what our police officers really do.  It speaks to the mindset of our communities that only drives the wedge further between people. 

       As you have noticed my very close friends also happen to be law enforcement…hence the self -depreciating joke about being a badge bunny.  I have realized that there are jokes that people will never get, as they haven’t shared the LEO experience, and honestly, neither have I.  However, I have come to understand that when it comes to dealing with violent situations 2+2=5.  It is almost never clean, there isn’t always a clear “good guy/bad guy” paradigm, and sometimes the good guy doesn’t just walk away to do it all the next day. 

       An experienced officer will tell you that use of force properly applied is to stop violence. Yet people are experts on dealing with violence based on a part of one dash-cam video.  People tend to forget LEOs miss birthdays, holidays, work weird and insane hours along with a job that will almost guarantee a bad back, knees, feet, and a stress level that only accelerates the aging process.  People forget that our law enforcement isn’t just working in a dangerous and violent place but they see the very worst of humanity on a normal day.  Heaven forbid we get a glimpse of their bad days.  People forget that the thin blue line isn’t for them…it’s for us.  I think it’s time we remembered that. 

Paul Harvey sums it up nicely with this 3 minute commentary.

<![CDATA[Dry Fire: The What, How, and Why]]>Sun, 02 Nov 2014 14:55:35 GMThttp://www.shootlogic.com/tim-elmers-blog/november-02nd-2014       Dry fire, one of the most underrated yet most useful tools in regards to not only maintaining shooting skill, but actually increasing it.  Dry fire has the ability to take a dedicated shooter to another level in their abilities.  It is widely regarded in most reputable training circles as a tool that is either misunderstood or underutilized in skill development.  Shooting skill is shooting skill whether your goals are to be better able to protect yourself or if you are training for your next local match.  Gentlemen such as Bob Vogel, Ben Stoeger, and Rob Leatham attribute much of their success at the national level to hundreds of hours of dedicated dry fire practice.  Bob Vogel publically states that for every live round he puts down range, he has pulled the trigger 6-8 times in dry fire!  That’s a lot of practice while never being at the range.  More defensive oriented shooters such as Mike Pannone and Pat McNamara often speak and write about the value of dry fire to progress as a shooter and to practice the lessons learned in class while not having to always to go to the range to measure progress.  Let’s explore the what, how, and why this tool can expand your skills. 

The What:  Dry fire is taking an empty firearm (hence the term, “dry”) and practicing the vast majority of skills that a shooter would practice on at the range.  The draw, grip, sight picture/alignment, reloading, trigger control, movement, use of cover, malfunction clearance, and target transitions are all fair game during dry fire practice.  Range time is spent doing things that require me to confirm what I have been doing with dry fire practice.  The goal is to mimic drills and skills development while doing it in the comfort of one’s own home.  Dry fire is free, effective, and the possibilities are endless just as they are at the range in regards to skill development and working on various concepts.  Some of the things that we need to keep in mind are as follows: 

     · Safety is always our number one concern so when dry firing there should be NO AMMUNITION in the room when a person is engaged in dry fire practice.  My loaded magazines are left on my kitchen counter. 

      · Also, a safe direction and muzzle awareness is paramount.  If there are children or other people in the building it would behoove you to not practice your trigger control while pointed towards the next room over.  For myself, my dry fire room is generally my spare bedroom and I’m aware as to where my wife is in the house. 

    · Your firearms handling skills should be stricter than if you were at the range.  This will only help reinforce good habits, and prevent you from getting sloppy from handling an “unloaded” gun.  We all know they are ALWAYS loaded right?

     · A good safety tip: I treat my dry fire room like a “sanitized” area.  I have a gun that I have already checked, but before I walk in I stop at the doorway I rack the slide several times, lock the action open, visually and physically inspect the chamber and then I proceed in.  If I holster up and leave that room for ANY reason, I then repeat that process from the beginning.  This is reinforcement of good habits, and to ensure that I maintain that “sanitized” room. 

      · Dry fire is also an exercise in discipline. In regards to grip: A shooter cannot only work on the consistency of their grip such as during the draw, but anytime during dry fire the shooter needs to make sure they are gripping the gun as hard as they would during live fire.  It is very easy to get complacent and then have no recoil control during live fire practice.  This will help with discipline, hand strength, and hand muscle endurance so there is less fatigue during live fire. 

The How:  Treat your dry fire practice just like your range practice.  I generally break my practice up into accuracy or speed days with some movement or course work thrown in.  If need be I can break these days down even further into something specific that I need to work on.  Like many, my time is precious so I try to make my practice as effective as possible…do I go to the range and practice weak hand double feed malfunction clearance drills? No! Why, when I can easily do something like that with copious amounts of dry fire practice?  This helps to concentrate on one aspect of shooting that I can improve upon and keeps my practice fresh and new every time.  It’s no different than going to the gym and doing legs and back all in one day.  It isn’t nearly as effective or fun as doing them on separate days.   It also helps to keep a journal to keep track of what was practiced, what you learned or noticed, par times kept, dates, and how long you practiced.  Always go by measured progress and not just by “feel”.  The numbers on a shot timer don’t lie. 

    · Just because you are indoors doesn’t mean that you can’t set up courses, set up multiple targets, and once you are at a certain level or are working on speed you bust out the shot timer just like at the range and set par times.  With this in mind make sure your repetitions are deliberate and correct versus just going fast to go fast.

   · Targets should be at a reduced size.  This is to reinforce “aim small, miss small” and remember that most people’s homes are going to be shorter distances than they are used to at the range.  Not to mention the complete lack of recoil. There are multiple sources of scaled targets available for free online.  They are incredibly useful for increasing accuracy at both speed and range.

    · My favorite targets for dry fire are 3x5 index cards with a repair dot from a shoot-n-see target.  They are cheap, very small, and can be used for multiple purposes for both dry and live fire.  This way my practice stays consistent.  It is consistent, disciplined practice that allows people to improve.  Rome wasn’t built in a day.

    · When practicing target transitions or speed drills…make sure that actions are done deliberately.  Make sure that you are actually getting your “hits”.  Simply blasting away at your wall to make par times is no different than a simple hose fest at the range. 

    · Trigger control is paramount!  Learning trigger control is probably the biggest benefit of dry fire as it directly translates into not only accuracy, but speed if practiced correctly.  If that front sight is moving when there is no loud bang then slow down and make sure the trigger is pressed in a controlled manner.  I will outline trigger control dry fire drills in a later post. 

    · Dry fire is part of the reason why I advocate having multiple firearms of the gun that you normally carry and/or compete with.  One to carry and one to train or compete with; or basically beat the tar out of.  Dry fire does increase repetitions on the trigger return spring, recoil spring, the firing pin block, and you can beat the gun up depending on what you are practicing. I know what it’s like to break a trigger return spring due to copious amounts of dry fire.  It’s a good thing that it was my “training” gun and I could put my other gun in the holster and walk out the door.   

    · It is also beneficial to have magazines dedicated to dry fire practice.  If this is not possible then keep these magazines only for training and practice.  During reloading practice and you are pushing hard these magazines will get beat up.  The number one cause of a malfunction for a semi-automatic is a faulty magazine, so to reduce the chance of one occurring keep your training and carry magazines separate. 

    · “You can only do so much with dry fire.”  I disagree vehemently.  Even recoil control can be improved due to hand strength increasing if the person is disciplined in their grip while dry firing.  Not to mention the vast majority of skills that can be improved by dry fire as mentioned above. 

    · Make it fun!  If it is fun you will naturally enjoy doing it more.  I enjoy the process of dry fire as it allows me to see what I’m doing, not to mention I’m handling my gun and practicing which I enjoy, and when I see the improvement translate to the range it only confirms that dry fire is working.  I don’t always stand static and practice one thing…I mix it up!  Add movement and practice two things with one drill such as drawing and then reloading from concealment.  Even drills such as the El Presidente are fun to practice dry. 

The Why:  Because we want to improve that’s why!  Shooting is an endeavor that we all have something to improve upon and that is half the fun.  Out here at Shootlogic, we aren’t just instructors, we are students first.  Fun to us is measured improvement every time we get to the range.  We rarely target shoot and since shooting is our passion dry fire helps us improve upon, practice, and expand our knowledge of that passion.  The path of self- improvement is a never ending one so it benefits everybody looking to do so to use every tool available to them to prevent stagnation.  Struggling with a concept that you learned in a defensive firearm class?  Walk yourself through it slowly with dry fire practice.  Struggling to get out of a classification in your chosen pistol shooting league?  Add in dry fire practice to break through the plateau that is plaguing you.  There is a reason that reputable instructors also use it for very advanced classes such as tactics and home defense courses…because it is safe.  It is much safer having students walk through a technique or skill with weapons empty than to do it for the first time with a live firearm.   It is amazing how much of an improvement that just 15 minutes a day of practice can benefit us.  Everybody has 15 minutes a day it is just having the self-discipline of taking that time to practice and improve.  Don’t neglect this important tool and allow yourself to wonder why you have stagnated as a shooter. 

<![CDATA[AAR: Frank Proctor August 16-17 2014]]>Wed, 03 Sep 2014 13:00:23 GMThttp://www.shootlogic.com/tim-elmers-blog/aar-frank-proctor-august-16-17-2014Picture
I recently took Frank Proctor’s Performance Pistol on August 16-17 and thought I would attempt to share some of my thoughts on the class. These are basic thoughts and some of the ideas that I took out of the class.

Gear used:
HK P30 LEM 9mm
JM Custom Kydex AIWB(I ran from concealment)
JM Custom Kydex Single Mag Pouches: Type 3
Ammo: Mix of 124gr Aguila, 124gr Freedom Munitions
Lube: Rand CLP with a light application after TD 1

Students: 9 total


        Frank began the day with teacher/student introductions and how he defines “performance shooting”.  He took the time to ask what we were looking to get out the class individually whether that was target transitions, multiple strings of fire, or efficiency of moving through competition stages.  He was very clear that he didn’t want us to just go into “drill mode” this weekend, and really explore the lessons he had planned for us.  The main thing that I wanted out of this class would be target transitions as I have been struggling with this and “seeing what I need to see”.  Considering what was going to unfold over the next two days, I would not be disappointed.

        When we hit the range Frank began breaking down his core principles and wanted us to dry-fire it out.  We started learning his interpretations of focus and awareness, and expressing these ideas through some good old fashioned dry-fire repetitions.  Frank walked up and down the line giving one on one instruction and also reminding the class to quit going into “drill mode” and just doing mindless repetitions.  I really enjoyed the dry-fire and how he literally built upon a foundation which was laid out in the classroom. He reminded us that dry-fire is when we should begin to figure out his philosophy, then we will see some “real magic happen” this weekend.  Our targets were 8”x11” sheets of paper glued to IDPA targets and we worked on focus/awareness exercises up to lunch.  These were bigger targets than what I am used to training on, but he didn’t want us to concentrate on tight groups. 
        He was much more interested in teaching the class a situational awareness; a very fine split of focusing on the target, our sight picture, and being aware of everything that our eyes could see.  He was very conscious to remind us that eye speed is the true key to fast shooting.  Even if we missed or yanked a shot on a drill/exercise he would walk up and ask, “What did you see, what did you learn from that?”  It was unusual, in that accuracy was not the point of many of the drills, but more of a relearning to interpret the data that we collect while shooting.  He had a constant theme through the class that stemmed from the first morning, and his idea is that we can process vastly more information visually then we realize.  Our eyes and brains are faster than we think they are, and as we understand that, we then learn how to manipulate this new data stream into higher shooting skill.  I thoroughly enjoyed this approach and it was apparent that Frank is a thinking shooter.  The whole process should have a purpose and learning should always be occurring regardless of what you are working on at the range.

        After lunch we began to speed up ever so slightly and Frank spent a considerable amount of time on grip, recoil control, and why he believes in strings of fire greater than 2 or 3.  Like most instructors, Frank believes that with shorter strings of fire you do not gain the true experience of recoil and how to control it properly.  With fewer shots it is easier to “run” with a less than optimal grip.  What I also liked about this part of class is we didn’t stand at the 3-7 yard line like is common.  We backed up and worked on fast hits anywhere from 10-15yds.  We shot these exercises first on paper than began bringing out the steel.  We were asked to push like we were at the 5yd line to prove to ourselves that you can “go fast” with less than optimal sight alignment even at those distances.  This is where Frank also brought out the Ricky Bobby analogies like “going fast”, putting the “car into the wall” etc.  Being from Alabama he loves him some Talladega Nights.  When a shooter “connects with their gun” they are calming the cougar and letting the gun shoot itself.  There was also a little Shake N Bake thrown in for good measure.  We also touched on target transitions with the targets being various widths apart.  We worked through these through the blistering August South Carolina heat and then called it a day. 

TD 2:

        We started day two just like day one…with copious amounts of dry-fire with a particular emphasis on focus and awareness.  Of course, it was even hotter than the day before so we were dripping by time we go into live fire.  I love the summer!  We then began shooting steel with Frank’s version of a “trigger stripe” drill.  The “trigger stripe” exercise will fundamentally challenge what we all think about the often dreaded combination of sight alignment, movement, and accuracy.  This was a true “aha!” moment for me and will be the one of the defining things I take away from the class.  This is the one piece that we all look for in classes that is worth the price of admission alone.  Take the class…that’s all I’m saying about the “trigger stripe!  Throughout the rest of the day (especially with target transitions) the trigger stripe would rear its head as we progressed throughout the day. 

        After lunch Frank began setting up several different courses of fire, and thanks to our range setup we were able to set up multiple shooting stations at once. Students could rotate between the stations, and it was like having a gun class and carnival all rolled into one!  Frank was conscious to watch every student at various points in each course to critique and offer encouragement.  To keep us on our toes for the rest of the day we would go back and forth between shooting stations along with Frank stopping the class to reiterate a point, demo something, or slightly change a course of fire to keep us thinking about what we were doing and the purpose behind it.  This kept us alert and out of the mode of mindless repetitions.

        Finishing up, I really liked how he has a strong foundation in both tactical/competition shooting and was able to poke fun at "tactical" guys, especially himself.  Frank is an affable and funny character, and has a pleasure to spend two sweltering days with.  Looking back at the class I came away a more enlightened shooter. I’m more aware of what of happens when I pull the trigger, and my ability to comprehend and diagnose my shots has greatly increased.  This also goes for both dry-fire and live-fire practice.  As I mentioned a weak point in my game was target transitions and I have something to build upon now.  I can’t speak highly enough of Frank’s professionalism and his desire to keep evolving as a teacher.  I can say that Frank is one of the best teachers that I have had the pleasure working under and I would not only bring him out to our range again, but would train with him again in a heartbeat (his carbine class is literally calling to me).  The guy truly cared about our learning and wanted every student to not only leave a better shooter, but see us grow into better shooters for the rest of our gun slinging days.

<![CDATA[The "Perfect" Gun: It exists!]]>Sun, 10 Aug 2014 19:47:54 GMThttp://www.shootlogic.com/tim-elmers-blog/the-perfect-gun-it-existsOf course this is just a joke...but if you haven't seen the Dynamic Pie videos you are missing a part of your tactical soul.  Keep up the good work guys! 

May not be safe for work due to some language.
<![CDATA[Class Review:¬† CTT Solutions Covert Carry]]>Tue, 01 Jul 2014 14:55:07 GMThttp://www.shootlogic.com/tim-elmers-blog/class-review-ctt-solutions-covert-carry                 While I thoroughly enjoy teaching, there is something that I enjoy even more…learning.  I am a training junkie and my thirst for knowledge knows no bounds if I’m interested in the subject.  One of those subjects just happens to be handgun shooting, particularly if it involves defensive or competitive elements.  I recently had the supreme pleasure of attending the Covert Carry Class with Mike Pannone who is the owner/lead instructor of CTT Solutions.  This was a 2-day class that was specifically geared for the employment of a firearm from concealment that was incredibly challenging, fun, and a great learning experience. 

                A simple Google search will show you the background of Mike Pannone and his company, CTT Solutions.  To keep things short, outside of his impressive military career, Mike spent time instructing the Federal Air Marshals Service (FAMS), which is what attracted me to the class.  The Federal Air Marshal Service requires officers who can engage in a firefight from concealment, where hostages and obstructions define their workspace in sometimes very confined spaces.  I believe these skills are not just beneficial, but mandatory for anybody that chooses to conceal carry a firearm.  In my experience, too many people simply do not practice or train with their daily equipment much less from concealment.  However, at this class, bringing your daily carry gun in your normal carry attire was part of the prerequisites!  Tommy Judy (my mentor and lead instructor for Shoot Logic) has always spoken highly of the Air Marshalls shooting abilities after spending time with them, and I’ve wanted to experience that for myself ever since he piqued my curiosity.  Well, I learned about Mike Pannone’s Covert Carry class and the rest is history. 

Training Day 1:

                Class started at 9:00am sharp with Mike introducing himself and describing the course outline. He shares what is expected of the students’ skill level (this was NOT a level 1 course), and what he expected the students to get out of the class. Then we got to work.  The shooting part of the course started with a simple diagnostic at 5 yds.  That was one of the few times that we would find ourselves at the 5yd line on day one.  The rest of the day was spent on marksmanship at everywhere from 7-25yds including strong hand and weak hand only shooting.  Mike is a firm believer in stressing fundamentals at distance as nobody will tell you to shoot faster if you need to. If you can shoot accurately at 25yds on demand, then you can do it at 5yds at a much faster pace.  Every drill was shot on NRA B-8 Repair targets taped over a cardboard IPSC target, presenting the students with targets that required their best focus, as well as allowing us to keep casual score of our performance.  It was amazing to see student’s respond to the simple premise of “keeping score” to hone their accuracy.  Of course, some students either knew each other before hand or became friendly during the day, so some good-natured competition started to bring the best out of students throughout the weekend. 

Very little “speed work” was used on day 1 and time was only used as a PAR to push students to find their own balance of speed and accuracy.  Another aspect that I thoroughly enjoyed was Mike’s teaching style.  To say Mike explained and demonstrated every drill would be an understatement.  He made sure that the class understood the why, the how, and the origins of what we were learning.  It was clear that Mike spoke from experience on what works, and what doesn’t in the real world.  Of course, his demos were all from concealment.  While not physically demanding, the class took shooting fundamentals to a whole new level for me as small precise targets at distance were the norm for this class . We ended with a simple walk back drill on a reduced IPSC steel target.  I dropped out at 75yds with the winner shooting and hitting at 80yds.  I ended the daylight portion of day one mentally exhausted.  Good thing I take good notes. 

We shot through lunch and ended early afternoon with Mike asking if we wanted to finish up with some one-handed drawing techniques or take a break and come back for some low-light instruction.  The class gave an overwhelming consensus to low-light instruction.  As it stays light longer this time of year we took an extended break and came back to be introduced to the flashlight techniques that Mike trusts.  We started these techniques with it still being daylight in the interest of safety.  Firearm training is a completely different animal in low light conditions and Mike wanted to be sure that everybody was being safe and had a grasp of the techniques before dark set in.  Truly, I was surprised how different shooting and weapon manipulations are in the dark.  Adding flashlight management into the mix was more complicated than I expected, especially when reloading. This was a true “light bulb” learning experience for me.  I sincerely believe that if you have a flashlight as part of your defensive equipment, you need to learn the proper tactics for incorporating it into your toolbox.     

During this time we were introduced to several techniques including the Harries, neck index, head index, FBI technique, and the push index (sometimes called “syringe”, this is where the light is held in-between two fingers like a syringe).  We were shown these techniques, and we were shown the pros and cons of each with Mike finishing up with the two that he feels are the best overall.  Those two being a head-index, and wait for it…Harries technique!  Wait, that isn’t high speed!  That’s some Miami Vice 1980’s crap!  Who teaches Harries anymore?  Well, Mike does, and when we started moving, and using it properly, the Harries proved itself a viable technique. It was easy to use and allowed all of the students to shoot accurately while moving and still being able to effectively use the flashlight for both identification and search and assessment work.  Harries and the “head index” compliment each other well for the drills we worked on.  It never fails to amaze me when range time proves what really works in the real world, and what “looks cool” but fails to deliver.   The low-light portion concluded day one.

Training Day 2: 

                Training day two started at 9:00am.  Mike started with a safety brief, recap of the previous day’s events, and how he thought class performed.  Then once again, we got to work!  I say, “work” because not because it was laborious, but because Mike runs an incredibly efficient class. You are expected to have an open mind, and push yourself to be better than you were when you arrived.  This takes a willingness to put in above average effort.  This is my kind of class, and this is the experience I want my students to have!  Day 2 was “speed” and “awkward” day.  The ”awkward” part was where we had to leave our comfortable stances and grips behind us and live in the world of one handed and weak handed shooting.  The “Speed” portion of the class was based around lowering everyone’s time, but sacrificing as little accuracy as possible.  Mike demoed everything at full speed (to show us what was possible), then again at “half speed” so we could understand how to meet his standards.  Stringent speed standards were enforced, and for example, the class was expected to draw from concealment, make a head shot at 5-7 yards in less than 1.5 seconds.  Students were expected to do this consistently throughout the day.  We were tested several times after Mike demoed and began drills. 

                Mike demoed and explained indexing your front sight in a different way than I had been before.  I have had instructors explain indexing, but never go further than “see what you need to see” (what the hell does that even mean?).  Mike explained the neurologic mechanics of how your mind works, and how to translate the information you get from your vision to properly perform this skill. Of course, he demonstrated to prove that it was humanly possible. He then literally said, “Ok, it’s your turn.” We began indexing by really pushing the speed at 5-7yds and making sure we were doing it correctly before we began to move back to see what would happen at 12-25yds.  It was pretty cool to actually see this done at distance and then be able to do it yourself as a student.  Honestly, this was HUGE for me as I had been introduced to this concept before but never understood how it worked.  I’ve seen that most “instructors” keep the distance at 3-7yds but never move further out.  I literally started laughing when we were doing this drill because it was awesome having something finally “click”.   Isn’t it amazing when everything falls into place and it becomes almost “easy”?  I had a one of the biggest “aha” moments during this drill and it has forever changed how I spend my time at the range.  It was awesome learning this much in one class. 

                We then went into drawing and reloading one handed and again given the pros and cons of different techniques.  Mike stresses that choosing proper technique is often context based, meaning that we can’t dogmatically glue ourselves to one way on manipulating our equipment.  Instead, we need to keep an open mind to problem solving based on what will work best in a particular situation.  This led us into shooting from various positions from both the left and right side.  All of this was part of the “awkward” part of the day.  Again, eyes were opened as we shot kneeling, around barricades, lying down on either side of our body, and how to quickly and safely get into and out of position.  As far as the one-handed techniques are concerned, I don’t think it would be fair to try and encapsulate them in written word.  If you are interested, please contact me, and I will do my best to explain it at the range and live up to Mike’s high standard, or even better, take the class from the man himself. 

                To wrap the day up we were again tested on the one-shot draw times that we started with in the morning.  There was a marked improvement in not only everyone’s time, but in everyone’s weapon manipulation at the end of the day.  As always, Mike likes to end each block of instruction with a walk back drill.  This time I dipped out at the 80yd mark which is OK with me.  This was quite honestly one of, if not the best classes that I have ever attended.  Goals were met and I went home with more than enough to keep me thinking on the drive home.  I cannot recommend it enough and I look forward to training with Mike in the future, and I would honestly take this class again (or any of his other offerings) in a heartbeat.  I hope Mike gets back to the NC area in the near future. 

<![CDATA[REVIEW: JM Custom Kydex AIWB Holster]]>Mon, 02 Jun 2014 14:43:54 GMThttp://www.shootlogic.com/tim-elmers-blog/review-jm-custom-kydex-aiwb-holster
       As a law abiding, concealed carrying individual I am a huge proponent of AIWB (appendix inside the waistband) carry.  This “style” has made a comeback in popularity in the last several years and I am unashamed to say that I jumped on the bandwagon.  I had always bounced back and forth between IWB and OWB carry and while I could always find comfortable holsters, they were not always the most concealable, or accessible from the various positions I found myself in in day to day life.  After much research I came across a small custom holster company that according to myself and many experienced people produces one of the best, if not the best AIWB holster on the market.  The JM Custom Kydex AIWB holster is a holster that I feel I need to proclaim my everlasting love for.

       Appendix holsters should be purposefully designed for carrying in the appendix position due to the area that the firearm will be carried in and to maximize comfort and concealment.  A simple 00 cant IWB holster either will not work, or be incredibly uncomfortable for this position as the design is different compared to a purpose built AIWB.  The JM AIWB holster does this magnificently by being incredibly well thought out and thoroughly tested with various experienced shooters of all shapes and sizes.  Like most custom kydex manufacturers you can choose the thickness of the holster, belt loops, and of course firearm.  What makes JMC stand out with the plethora of kydex holsters is the attention to detail that it has.  There are no rough edges, the bulk is minimized, and the tension is where it needs to be to properly retain the firearm.  There is no “stickiness” or death grip with this holster which is something that not all kydex holster manufacturers can claim.  This holster is also incredibly strong for weapon retention classes and various hard use activities that a person may find themselves doing on any given day.

       This is not your average IWB holster as JMC also offers an “extra tuck” feature which is an extra wedge of kydex at the muzzle end of the holster designed to push the grip of the firearm further into the body to increase conceal ability.  I believe that this is a “must have” feature as the purpose of this style of carry is to maximize concealment.  Many holster makers will only attach a foam wedge to the holster to accomplish the same thing.  I can’t speak highly enough of the extra tuck feature as it is so cleverly designed into the holster as to hardly be noticed unless compared to a holster without this feature. 

       Did I mention comfort?  If my pants are on my gun is on.  The JMC AIWB holster is one of the most comfortable holsters that I have ever worn.  Combined with a good carry belt it makes it about perfect for all day comfort whether that is just working in the yard, driving, training, or running errands.  I have worn this holster to a training class, and while it did heat up slightly more than normal (the kydex is SLIGHTLY thinner than the other kydex I have) it was never uncomfortably hot.  Of course it being made of kydex I never have to worry about it collapsing for re-holstering.   I have also driven 6hrs to a class while wearing this holster and there was never any discomfort. 

       Something that a potential buyer needs to be aware of though is that AIWB is actually more comfortable with and designed for mid-size to full-size guns.  Smaller guns such as sub-compacts or short single stack guns may be uncomfortable as a full size gun actually serves to fill in the natural “gap” at the appendix position and a shorter barrel will dig in to the body easier (such as bending over) than a larger firearm.  So if you carry something along the lines of the Glock 19, then it may be beneficial to buy the Glock 17 holster.  Two holsters for the price of one right?

       Another potential drawback and one that is obvious is the position of the holster itself.  Some gentlemen may not like it as the muzzle is pointing right at our manly bits and those with ahem, extra padding, may have comfort or accessibility issues with this holster.  My opinion on the position itself…this should be treated like any other holster when putting your heater up; that whole finger off of the trigger thing REALLY comes into play here; please for the love of nylon drop leg holsters, learn to PROPERLY re-holster especially if you choose to carry in this position.  Hint, hint: get training.  There is a wrong way and a right way and a definite wrong way is to speed re-holster.  For a proper re-holstering (for all holsters if you ask me) take your time!  As for other drawbacks of this holster and position, I cannot think of any.

       This holster screams quality as there is a definite difference in the craftsmanship compared to most kydex out there, and it is produced by a person that stands by their work from order to delivery.  Tony Mayer, owner and proprietor of JM Custom kydex is very responsive to emails and questions.  This is always a plus as it is my goal to not only purchase good equipment and accessories, but to do business with good people with great customer service.  He is constantly learning and adapting various designs to make them better for customers such as his AIWB holster.  This is a company that produces a higher standard for those looking for it.  If you are looking for a strong, minimal bulk, comfortable, concealable holster than I can highly recommend the JM Custom Kydex AIWB holster. 

There is more to come as I like OWB holsters and of course his mag pouches are some of the best out there.