Archive for June, 2013

Shooters Legion just passed the 10 thousand member mark and that means only one thing!!!!


Somebody is getting a new rifle courtesy of Head Down Products. They are giving you until July 1st to get all you family members and alternate personalities signed up to increase your chances.

Good luck and I hope that the winner is one of my loyal readers…. if it isn’t me.

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A New Jersey woman suffered a horrible beat down when a home invader kicked in her back door as she watched cartoon with here young child in their living room.  As you would expect the video is hard to watch but I will add it anyway….

What can we take away from this? Well first I think a big thank you is in order for NJ on their great gun laws to keep scumbags like this guy in business. Taking guns away from people creates a great environment for thieves and criminals to thrive. NJ is well on their way to pushing for a state of complete victims. Just read her quote,

“I knew that if I started screaming, my daughter would, too, and I was afraid she would get hurt,” the young mother told News 12. “I took it. I didn’t cry the entire time.”

(Emphasis added by me) If she would have had a way to properly defend herself against a 5’11” 210 pound attacker she wouldn’t have had to take anything.

Another take away from this story is when you are home do you keep your gun close by? As I type now my Glock is within arms reach of my computer. When I head to bed it follows me up the stairs and sits on my night stand (unless I am a moron).

If you have lived under a rock and the only avenue to the outside world is through this blog (thanks btw) you might not have noticed that home invasions, thefts, and breaking and enterings are on the rise around the nation. This means two things: first, trends like this usually are preambles to future economic instability; and secondly you need a damn gun with you at all times. One place I read when researching this story is that this attack was such a surprise because it occurred in such a nice neighborhood only blocks away from a school. So, bad shit can happen in good neighborhoods huh? Who knew!

One thing they did do right was have a baby cam. If you don’t have one you should even if you don’t have kids. For the most part they are an inexpensive security system that can be used to help catch the culprit of someone does break into your house. I can honestly say I wasn’t thrilled when my wife brought home an Izon 2.0 Wi-Fi video monitor but I now can say I like the possibilities it has brought with it. You can remotely monitor your house with as many cameras as you want just with a simple smart phone app. It will also record when it detects movement and send you a mobile alert. I will do a more in-depth review later but this gives you an idea for now.

In closing, I just want you to watch the video and remind yourself how hard NJ legislators are working to keep this woman unarmed because it is clear she doesn’t need it. Keep your enemies close but your guns closer is another way we could end this right?

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On Facebook and Shooters Legion there were some questions tossed around at me about the START Basic Urban Tactical Pistol Shooting Course and I thought I would touch on some of those questions.

First off, I want everyone to know that not every class that attends the basic will have the opportunity to make it to the shoot house and to the Simunitions like my class was able to. For Frank and the rest of his team, SAFETY is paramount. My class was full of a great group of shooters that caught on quickly and throughout the day displayed not only the shooting skills to perform in the shoot house, but also the safety awareness that is also required. START’s 4 safety rules that Frank adopted and are as follows:

1) Treat all weapons as though they are loaded.
2) Never point it at anything your not willing to destroy.
3) Keep your finger off the trigger until you have an identified threat.
4) Know your target’s foreground and background.
If you can follow these 4 simple rules you should never have a problem.
There were also a couple of things about the facility I wanted to touch on that I forgot to mention in yesterday’s post and Frank asked me to make sure that everyone thinking of joining START for a class knew. First, their break area has the ability to provide food. They have an entire kitchen that can be used to prepare food after the class or during if needed. The other point he wanted me to make was the ability to accommodate clients for overnight camping if they are making a long trip to train with them.
I would be willing to go down again and join some of my readers that missed out on the first class because I feel this class was worth every penny.
If any of my readers in Ohio or West Virginia area are interested in doing this class please contact me or START and hopefully we can get something se up for you.
Thanks again to the START team for a fun SAFE and memorable weekend. Be sure to head over to Facebook and Shooters Legion so you can link up with me.
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I have been to a number of classes this year as you all have read. I was coming into this class at the S.T.A.R.T. wondering if I was making the right choice in spending my hard earned money on a “Basic” class after doing a couple advanced classes recently. I have absolutely no problem with going back and taking a basic class every now and then to get back to the basics and brush away bad habits that easily form, but after coming out of a VSM Pistol 2 class I was worried about being bored and feeling held back by some of the newer students in the class. BOY WAS I WRONG!

S.T.A.R.T. (Special Tactics and Rescue Training) was founded by Frank Hoagland in 2005 in Steubenville Ohio, and is a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) dedicated to bringing jobs and business opportunities to the Ohio Valley. S.T.A.R.T. is prepared to train anyone from the new Concealed Handgun License holder to the battle vetted tiered warrior.

Frank Hoagland (second from Left) Founder and CEO of S.T.A.R.T.

Frank Hoagland (second from Left) Founder and CEO of S.T.A.R.T.

The owner, founder, and lead instructor is Frank Hoagland. Frank served 20+ years with the Navy with most of that time Operating as a SEAL with Teams 4 and 6, he retired with the rank of Senior Chief Petty Officer. Frank has trained government agencies such as the D.O.D, worked closely with the Federal Air Marshals, and was handpicked to develop and administer courses of instruction for the U.S. Department of State Crisis Response Team and the U.S. Navy’s Maritime Mission Vessel Boarding Search and Seizure Mission. Frank is a man of many talents and specialties and brings a world of knowledge to the firing line with his students. Hopefully, I can sit down and talk more with Frank and get a little more information to pick his brain a little for a future article. (Frank I hope you are reading this.) One other fun little fact about Frank can be found in the March 2013 issue of Guns Magazine on page 103. SSK Industries and Frank partnered up and came up with a very interesting AR style rifle appropriately named “The Hoaginator”

The START facility is top-notch. There is a small pro shop, a couple administrative office rooms, a kitchen area, and an excellent top of the line classroom. I can only dream to some day to be able to teach in a class room of this caliber. In a day full of shooting and gun play you would think that the quality of the facility would be the last thing brought up and talked about among the students, but I kept overhearing everyone making comments about how great of a facility START was offering up. All too often when a range is being built most of the focus is on the shooting areas and the classroom is mostly overlooked. My hat goes off to START for building such an amazing facility that not only provided plenty of opportunity on the range to learn as well as in the classroom.

The class I signed up for was labeled as the Basic Urban Tactical Pistol Shooting Course. As I said earlier I was a little leery going into the class because of the title. The class starts out like every class should, a short classroom part to discuss safety, take the money, sign the liability release forms, and a brief summary of the course outline. As Mr. Hoagland was writing the course outline on the dry erase board I was laughing because I actually thought he was kidding. We had a rather large class of 17 students and we were divided up into 2 groups. Adam from NUoSU concealment and I were put into group one with Frank leading our group. The other group was led by Jamie, one of the many assistant instructors there to assist you with any tips or tricks to help you improve your shooting.

We headed out to the range and started off with 20 1″ dots on the targets. This was all on command slow fire to get a good warm up in and for the instructors to gauge the level of the students accuracy wise. From there we moved on to drawing and reloading. We went through a lot of one bullet magazines. Reloading to me is a huge skill set that I don’t believe is touched on enough at some of the other classes I have attended and I was happy to see so much time spent in this area.

By now the temperature was up around 90 degrees and it was time for a water break. After the water break we covered malfunction drills and detailed the different levels of malfunctions and the proper way to address each one. Frank’s easy way of teaching made understanding very easy for the newer shooters of the group which showed during the drills when everyone was cussing and swearing at their guns trying to clear all the real world malfunctions we were able to achieve. After that, it was lunch time and we headed back into the AC for a cool down and discuss some of the questions we might have had from the morning session.

Up until this point the class–besides the malfunction drills–was what you would expect out of a basic class. The way the lead instructor presented and explained the drills while giving reasons as to why he feels it should be performed those ways kept everyone engaged. There were two others there from the first VSM class I took and we were able to talk over lunch about the similarities of the curriculum and the differences in the presentation that made it more engaging and easier for the newer shooters to understand. Between the three of us we came to the unanimous conclusion that already the class was well worth the tuition and the bullets so far and we were only halfway through the day.

After lunch is when the class started picking up skill level wise. If you remember the summary of the VSM Pistol 2 class I attended recently I talked about some of the drills we performed. START’s Basic Urban Tactical Pistol Shooting Course covers above and beyond what skills I learned in that class. The afternoon session started with stepping to cover. After students were comfortable with that we were moved into turns.

Real life is a lot different than a square range where the threat is always in front of you, there may be a time where you have to engage a target from your right or left and possibly even from your rear. Turning around is something we do on a daily basis so it is commonly overlooked as a natural thing to do with a firearm. Just by adding a turn and a draw into shooting opened a lot of eyes to the newer shooters. Doing the turns was one of my favorite drills of the day along with the reloads. Frank again had a very simple way of teaching a complicated technique that had the newer shooters very fluid and comfortable quickly.

After the lesson on turns we covered shooting forward and side to side. When we covered moving rearward there was a unique way of moving your feet that I have never been shown at any of the classes I have attended. It was more of a sliding motion over a stepping motion in order to keep from stepping on anything or falling over any objects.

At this point in the class most students were assessing their ammo levels. The class was a 300 round count class and by this time we were going onto 500 rounds. I can honestly say those were 500 unwasted rounds. There was never a drill that I felt that was over done or just a time waster. I have been to classes where you are pulling the trigger and feel as though you are not accomplishing anything, this was not the case on Saturday. The instructors knew we were well over the round count for the day and huddled every one up and took us back into the classroom for another briefing. This is the part of the class outline where I thought Frank was joking.

START has just added a new shoot house to their facility. The layout was thought up by Frank himself and is very challenging and complex. Every inch you move changes the entire dynamic of the situation you are in. Every student was able to go through the house once dry to get a feel for it and then live to get the whole experience. This created some down time so to keep everyone going, Simunitions were brought out and the duels began. If you have never been able to use Simunitions I highly recommend you find a place to give it a go. Think of it as a more intense game of Paintball. There were a few people in the class that were very uneasy about having a gun pointed at them. It really is a test of putting all your skills and knowledge to the ultimate stress test. Not every class gets to experience these two parts of the class because it is based on the skill level of the students as a whole. I was very fortunate to be in a class with a great group of shooters that set the bar very high for a basic class. After everyone had run through the shoot house and used the Simunitions, we met back in the classroom for our debriefing and to receive our certificates of completion.

I can’t recommend Frank and START enough. After talking with three other students over dinner afterwards everyone made the comment that this class was the best class they have ever attended. I know for me, hands down this class fit every bit of criteria that I hope to fill when attending a class and choosing an instructor. Another aspect that was agreed upon by the four of us at dinner was the cost. In the world of firearms you get what you pay for. In this case you are getting a hell of a deal. I would expect a class like this with the skill level of the instructors, the state of the art facility, and the course material to cost 2 to 3 times more than it did. This is the best money I have spent all year towards training and I did not hesitate at any moment coming home to make sure that my readers know and understand this. On a side note, we also found out over dinner that with all the Oral I.V. controversy being discussed on the internet right now there is only a certain amount of salt you can add to a persons drink before it becomes unpalatable. Who knew?

Thanks again to Frank and his team for the great day. I am already looking forward to contacting them and getting into the next class. Again I hope all my readers contact START and get into a class as soon as possible. When you finish that head over to our Facebook page and like us over there. Don’t forget about Shooters Legion also where you can win a chance at a Head down Products AR if you sign up before the 10 thousand member drawing happens. As always thanks for reading.

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Sounds like a stupid question right? Well not to Republican Senator Lindsey Graham. With the main stream media becoming less relevant and more of the way of the dinosaur in recent years, it seems that more Americans are turning to the Internet for their news and facts. America has been without a free press for  some time now and within the last 5 years it has been more and more clear as time went on. It took awhile but America seems to be realizing that we no longer have a mainstream of free press. Our “Free Press” is issued talking points with press releases and like good lap dogs run out and shout from the rooftops exactly what the big government machine wants them to shout. If you can stomach it, take 10 minutes for each main news network and pay attention to the commentators.

It is no surprise to me that this issue is coming about. With the recent scandals and controversies surrounding this Administration I am surprised it took so long. Let’s look back at the Fast and Furious blunder. The mainstream media vastly ignored it, the real info getting out was from podcasters such as Michael Bane and lowly bloggers like myself. If we go back further we see it was a small fish in the large internet ocean named Matt Drudge that broke a story about a White House intern by the name of Monica Lewinsky and we all know how that ended. The biggest threat to a large out of control government is an actual Free Press.

The question asked by Graham,

“Who is a journalist is a question we need to ask ourselves is any blogger out there saying anything — do they deserve First Amendment protection? These are the issues of our times. You can sit in your mother’s basement and chat away, I don’t care. But when you start talking about classified programs, that’s when it gets to be important. So, if classified information is leaked out on a personal website or [by] some blogger, do they have the same First Amendments rights as somebody who gets paid [in] traditional journalism?”

Traditional journalists are punished now for conducting real journalism Mr. Graham, just ask some of the ones that have gotten out of step with the talking points.

Graham walked back his questioning and stated that it was only directed at revealing classified information. He has tried to make kissy face with the Blog-0-sphere in recent days, but in reality did the question ever need to be asked?

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Mr. Graham, this is at the top for a reason.

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I usually do some running on the treadmill before I sit down to start my evening writing and  researching. I have this weird habit of watching COPS while I am on the treadmill. For some reason it makes the monotony of running enjoyable. In between segments a commercial for ITT Technical Institute came on…

The first thing I thought of was where was your gun? Maybe I am that crazy gun guy or something but if I am robbed at gun point my initial thought isn’t going to be “Damn, I need to go to a shitty technical school.”

Thoughts? Let me know over one the Facebook page or on Shooters Legion.

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So I had an interesting experience on Saturday night that had gotten me thinking as usual. My wife and I met up with some friends in the evening at a restaurant for some pizza and wine at a quiet little bar in a historic part of town that is in a good area. When I say my wife and I it really means I drank wine since she is 7 months pregnant at this time. So knowing we were meeting friends and I was more than likely going to have a glass of wine, I left the firearm at home. Ohio law states that it is legal to carry in a place that sells alcohol as long as you are not drinking. It was a good night with lots of laughs but every night has to come to an end. Our friends went the opposite direction to their car as we went our way. The street was very dim and we had quite a walk to our vehicle so we were talking about the night and our plans for tomorrow when suddenly from the tree we were walking under is a shout “HEY WATCH OUT FOR THE TREE!” and a person leans out of the tree toward us. What happened in the split seconds following was the topic I wanted to touch on today.

We humans are extremely advanced creatures that have made great discoveries, sent people to space, and continue to solve scientific mysteries, but we are still a primal animal with primal instincts. No matter how advanced we are we still resort back to those natural instincts regularly. When we are startled it is our bodies natural reaction to lower the center of gravity while at the same time shielding the face or head. It instinctual to protect our eyes, throat area, and most importantly the main computer sloshing around inside our head. Think about a time when you have been surprised or startled, what did you do? It might have just taken a split second but your shoulders came up while you lowered your center of gravity by bending your knees, but as soon as you realized it was just your little brother jumping out from around the corner and there was no mortal threat the reaction stopped and you sprang into action of kicking his ass.

Rob Pincus teaches around this concept in his Combat Focused Shooting and his Counter Ambush book. Here is a short video breaking down what happens to give you a better visual example.

Back to the dark quiet sidewalk where we left off in our story, my wife screamed and jumped off to the side. I felt my shoulders go up, my left hand come up about chest high but I did something that surprised me. My left knee bent and I stepped offline and turned towards the threat. Last week we covered training and it is no secret that I spend  a bit of time on the range with my buddies running drills and different scenarios. The time it took me to recover from the initial flinch to action was very minimal. Understanding the responses your body is naturally going to revert back to no matter how much training you have had is also a big help. Training cannot beat instinct it can only minimize it. You will always flinch but it is how quickly you recover from the flinch is where the training comes into he equation.

In the video we saw the student take roughly 3 seconds to flinch, recover, and react to the threat with a draw. Last night I realized incorporating your body’s natural reaction into your draws and other training is important. Instead of starting your drill with a hand beside your gun, how about we start with them up high where they would be in a flinch situation or incorporating a stepping of the X? Just a thought.

Before my wife was done screaming I had flinched, stepped off the X and had my CRKT M-21sf halfway out of my pocket. The high school aged kid hanging out in the tree with his buddy probably thought it was a funny prank and most likely got some good laughs out of startling people at 12:30 at night while people made their way to their cars. Heck, they might have even got some videos because I am still pretty certain that the one was videoing with is cell phone. That would have made great evidence for a jury when they pushed the prank a little too far and caught a case of lead poisoning or a face full of mace from a terrified passerby or a startled gun carrying citizen.

What do you think? Will this be something you try to focus on in the future? Let me know on the Facebook page or over on Shooters Legion.

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