Sunday, June 22, 2008

June Desert Shoot Event Report

Sometimes, things don't go according to plan. In this case, I think that probably ended up being a good thing. We'd planned to go out to Skull Valley and do some 360 degree pistol shooting (using a canyon that provides an all around backstop) and take advantage of the longer ranges to do some rifle stuff that we can't do at our usual shooting range. The pistol scenarios ended up going by the wayside, as did two of the rifle exercises we had planned, in favor of a lot of basic rifle stuff. However, I think the stuff we did do will pay big dividends in the carbine events we're doing at our regular monthly shoots. Robert's going to be teaching carbine stuff again at our July event and I think what we did out in the desert got us well prepared for that.

We all met up out at a truck stop west of Salt Lake for some breakfast. There were only five of us for this event, all regulars at our monthly events. I think the small group of people helped make the day a lot more productive, as did the fact that we all knew and trusted each other in terms of safety, gunhandling and the like. After breakfast we headed out to Skull Valley. It was pretty hot and dry out there in the desert. We all slathered on the sunblock and I'm glad we had some shade available so that we could get out of the sun. We also went through a lot of water and soda to keep ourselves hydrated.

We had a wide variety of different rifles on display. I spent the whole day shooting with my Robinson Armament XCR. I also brought my .223 Norinco AK, but it never made it out of the case. The AR system was well represented with two regular rifles and one HK 416. Robin Hood switched back and forth between his Mini-14 and the AK that he just finished putting together from a flat and a parts kit. He also put a few rounds through a pump action .30-06. One interesting difference I noticed when the rifles were lying side by side on the table was the details of the AR style magwells. The regular AR had a little flare at the mag well, my XCR had somewhat more, and the HK practically had a huge funnel to help guide mags in. While it didn't make a difference today, there were a fair variety of different muzzle brakes/flash hiders on display: two birdcages, a Vortex, a ban-era bare barrel, and a slant brake on the AK. We're planning on having a carbine stage during our night shoot next month and I'm looking forward to seeing how much of a difference the various flash hiders make.

This was hardly a high-volume stress test (we spent more time talking than shooting), but all the guns ran just fine except the 06. Robin only shot about ten rounds through it and about half of them had extraction problems (one of which required banging the butt on the ground while pulling down on the fore end). The primers in the spent casings were completely flat, so this rifle seems to have a tight bore, leading to very high pressures.

Robert and I ran EOTechs on our rifles. The reticule was still plenty bright, even in the very bright sunlight with a light colored background, though I was on the two brightest settings all day. The 416 had an ACOG, while the other AR and the Mini were fitted with low power variable scopes. The AK and the 06 were iron sights only.

I carried my spare mags in my Hawkepack Rifle Bug Out Bag. I've used it as a range bag before but this is the first time I've really used it as a fighting bag. It generally seemed to work pretty well. It was a bit hard to find the magazine when reloading while prone, but some practice ought to fix that. The only real problem I ran into was when flopping down prone (rather than descending to prone more slowly and carefully) the bag had a tendency to end up underneath me. People have suggested attaching the bag to the belt with a carabiner or short length of bungee cord to help keep it in place, and I think I'm going to try that. I also found that the pad on the shoulder strap tended to end up right where I wanted the stock of my rifle to go, making it difficult to keep the stock in the right place. The pad got shoved to the back for the rest of the day and it came off the strap entirely as soon as I got home. Robin Hood had a shoulder bag for his AK mags. Other folks used a belt carrier, a three mag thigh rig, or just stuck their mag in a pocket.

I used my MagPul PMAGs all day and I'm really happy with them. I just ordered a big batch to build up my supply. The 416 ran the steel HK mags, while the rest of the AR shooters used aluminum GI mags of one description or another. Robin shot his AK using some nifty transparent plastic mags.


We started out by sighting in at 25 and 100 yards. I found the hundred yard sight-in kind of difficult with my EOTech. Even with the EOTech's relatively fine center dot compared to some other sights, it still complete obscured the square in the middle of the target we were using. The guys with magnifying optics were getting much better groups. I need to get out and do some more longer ranged shooting.

Once everyone was sighted in, we moved all the targets to 50 yards and started going through the basics. We spent quite a bit of time talking about slinging and unslinging rifles. Partly this was preparation for next month's event. There were a couple of instances of careless gunhandling last month, so we're going to emphasize keeping rifles cased or slung, and for some folks this is clearly going to require some education on proper techniques for slinging and unslinging without muzzling everybody with their rifle.

When you get down to the nitty gritty of safely slinging and unslinging a rifle how the rifle sling is set up really makes a difference. Slinging a rifle with a two point sling mounted to the side is somewhat different than slinging one with the sling mounted to the bottom. Three of us had Vickers' slings on our rifles, two on the side and one on the bottom. The other AR had a simple carry strap and the Mini sported a leather shooting sling. The newly built AK was still slingless.

After that we moved on to some simple shooting drills from various ready positions (low ready, high ready, indoor low ready, and field ready). Honestly, I'm not really seeing the usefulness of field ready (butt on the hip and muzzle up at eye level). High ready is very fast, low ready slower but easier to maintain and indoor low ready good for operating in confined spaces. A good two point sling like the Vickers makes it easy to maintain indoor low ready for a long time since you can just let the gun hang there with your hands on the grips. The EOTech is pretty forgiving about an inconsistent cheek weld, but I still ought to do some dry practice to mount the gun more consistently for iron sights. Also I found that 50 yards is getting a little long for offhand shooting for me (another place where more practice is required), but I could still shoot minute of man at that distance. Even for a relative novice, rifles are a lot easier to shoot and more forgiving than a pistol.

After breaking for lunch (Harold Green cooked up some nice steaks) we moved from offhand to more stable sitting positions (squat, kneeling, sitting, prone). One thing that we found was that not everybody could shoot all of the positions. Squating, in particular, was difficult for some people. Kneeling, sitting and prone were considerably more forgiving. All of these positions make hitting targets at range a lot easier. Prone at 50 yards even headshots are fairly easy (particularly since a rifle zeroed at 200 is about dead on at this distance). If you can get lower and more stable, get lower and more stable!

For these drills, we also switched from everyone shooting at once to one person stepping forward and shooting at a time. The initial impetus for this was to keep those of us down at the right end of the line from getting pelted with brass, but it also provides more opportunity for non-shooters to observe and critique the shooter's technique.

One of the things we noticed watching each other shoot was that there was a tendency for some of us to use the shooting hand to lower ourselves into or boost ourselves out of the sitting and prone positions. We tried out a little impromptu drill to combat this tenancy: You start out prone and fires two shots at the target. You then start getting up. As you get up, the RO calls out 'fire' and you have to shoot from whatever position you can settle into quickly (double knee, kneeling, offhand). It really makes you think about maintaining a fighting position at all times, rather than just moving from one position to another.

Overall, what we covered out in the desert was more limited and basic than we had planned, but I think it's going to pay dividends down the line when we're trying to do carbine stuff at future monthly shoots. Not only do we have a pretty good idea of what we're doing next month, those of us who were out there in the desert know enough to really help Robert out when it comes to teaching folks carbine stuff. Now all we have to do is stay one month ahead of everybody else and we'll be set.

Mother's Day Class

A couple of weeks ago I helped teach a Mothers Day Course for novice female shooters. This isn't exactly a Utah Polite Society event, but it was kind of interesting and I thought I'd write it up here anyway. It was organized by Weldon Anderson, one of our members who teaches Utah CCW courses though his company, Self Defense Solutions. We get a lot of our new shooters through Weldon, since he highly recommends getting more advanced training in his CCW classes. Weldon asked his friend Paul, Harold Green, and I to help out with this class. I really enjoy teaching people to shoot. Lately I've been spending most of my time at our events running drills and scenarios. Running the stages does involve quite a bit of teaching, but it's usually somewhat more advanced stuff like using cover or making tactical decisions. Harold Green and Robin Hood have been handling most of our new shooter instruction. While I like teaching the more advanced things, I enjoy teaching new shooters as well, so I jumped at the chance to help out.

The astute among you will note that Mother's Day was over a month ago. The class was held on Mother's Day weekend in years past, but the weather in early May isn't always nice (Hendrickson Range is just down the road from Park City, so it's at a fairly high elevation). Doing this in June makes pleasant conditions more likely. Nevertheless, the Mother's Day name stuck. The class was for women only, to give them a chance to shoot without having their husband/boyfriend/father looking over their shoulder while they're learning to shoot. It's aimed at novices, but the level of experience varied from those who have never shot a gun before to those that had a fair bit of shooting experience, but no formal training. There were a little less than 20 ladies in the class.

Weldon spent about half an hour going through range safety procedures, basic shooting skills and operational procedures for each type of gun. He also gave Harold and I a chance to shill for the Utah Polite Society. Some of the ladies seemed fairly receptive, but some of them were looking at us a bit askance. That's to be expected, I guess, many of these ladies were generally quite new at this and I'm not sure some of them were really ready for our emphasis on defensive handgunning. After the lecture portion of the evening was finished we split up into two groups, with half the class staying with Weldon and Paul and the other half coming with Harold and I. Harold is an experienced revolver shooter (though he carries a Glock these days) so we took all the ladies with revolvers (some of whom also brought semi-autos) plus a few more to balance the groups.

We started out by explaining the operating procedures of their guns to the ladies that needed some instruction in that area. Quite a few did. Even those that had shot before didn't necessarily know how to load, unload, or otherwise operate the pistol they had brought. Guys, if you take your gal out shooting, don't just put a loaded pistol in her hand, teach her how to operate the gun.

There was quite a variety of guns on display. Everything from Single Action Army clones in .22 long rifle to a S&W M&P semi-auto. Probably the most common single type of gun was the .38/.357 caliber snubnose revolver. This is, unfortunately, rather typical. There is a tendency to push novice shooters, particularly women, towards snubnose revolvers because they are fairly simple, small, and easy to carry. I think this does them a disservice, however. The snubnosed revolver is an easy weapon to learn, but a difficult one to master. There's very little to learn as far as operating procedures and not much that can go wrong, but the long double action trigger pull and short sight radius makes them very difficult to shoot well without a lot of practice. In the right hands, it they can be effective self defense tools, but it takes a long time to get to that level. As I said in my article on Choosing a Defensive Handgun, I think new shooters a much better off with a point and shoot semi-auto, like a Glock, XD, M&P, or similar gun.

Explaining the operational procedures for most guns was fairly easy. The one really odd one was a Phoenix Arms .22 semi-auto. This little mechanical wonder has two separate manual safeties (one on the frame, one on the slide). More disturbingly, you can't rack the slide unless there is a magazine inserted, meaning the standard procedure for clearing a semi-auto (drop the magazine, lock the slide back, inspect) is impossible, since there has to be a magazine in the gun to rack the slide and the magazine cannot be ejected with the slide back. This just seems like an invitation to a mistake during the unloading process that could lead to an ND.

A few of the ladies had arrived at the course without a pistol. Harold got them set up with a Walther P22, which they seemed to enjoy shooting. These gals also expressed interest in shooting his Glock 22, so he let each of them run some rounds through it, which they also seemed to enjoy quite a bit.

Once everyone knew how to load and operate their guns, we got started shooting. Some of the ladies were a little hesitant at first, but we eventually got everyone shooting. Muzzle discipline was very good, finger discipline somewhat less so. Shooting abilites varied pretty widely, as some gals had nice tight groups at about 5 yards, while other's had trouble staying on the 8.5"x11" paper the bullseye was on.

One of the ladies was consistently placing her shots no higher than 2" below the center of the target. I figured this was a flinching problem, so I had her dry fire through a cylinder, then shoot another cylinder with mixed dry fire and live. Every time she pulled the trigger on a dry chamber, you could see the gun jerk downward a little bit. The flinch was pretty obvious. I perscribed lots of dry fire practice and mixing dummy and live rounds in her gun at the range.

One of the ladies brought both a box of .38 Special and one of .357 magnum for her revolver. After she shot her way through the .38, she switched over to the magnum loads. Even standing next to her, the difference was notable. At her urging, I shot a cylinder full of the magnums, and I have to say that the recoil was pretty brisk, even in a steel framed gun. I can imagine that magnum loads in a scandium gun would be downright painful.

I hadn't gotten a chance to put any rounds through my own gun the whole night, so after most of the gals had left I decided to run a mag through my Glock. I drew and shot 14 rounds of fairly rapid sighted fire. When I went to slide lock, I did an emergency reload, got back on target, then reholstered. As I did so, I heard a voice from the other end of the firing line say, "Woah, that was cool! I want to learn how to do that." She was evidently quite impressed by the reload. So, I think we may have gotten one or two of them interested enough to show up to a Utah Polite Society event in the future.

Overall, I had quite a bit of fun. I always enjoy teaching and it's very rewarding to help introduce novice shooters to the discipline. All the ladies seemed to enjoy it and I think the all were able to get something out of the experience. As for me, the big grin that tends to appear on the face of someone who's just been introudced to something as fun as shooting is it's own reward.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

June Event Report

This month's Utah Polite Society event was a bit different from our usual fare. Generally, we do two drills and two scenarios with pistols. We're usually done by around noon or one o'clock. This month we only did one pistol drill and one scenario, but added some training on hand to hand disarming techniques and the first of several carbine classes. With all these activities, the event was planned to last all day, rather than just the morning.

This month's even was also rather unusual in the number of people who attended. A typical Polite Society event will draw around ten people. Anything over fifteen is considered a fairly big crowd. This month we had 38 people show up. Part of this was probably because of the stuff that we were offering this month, particularly the carbine exercise. People interested in this who may not have shown up for one of our regular events probably accounted for five or ten of the additional people. We also had a very large number of new shooters this month. Around fifteen people who'd never shot with us before (most with relatively little shooting experience) showed up, which is probably the largest contingent of new shooters we've had except for one or two of our new shooter classes. Some of these folks were fairly inexperienced, and they probably would have benefited from a full-on new shooter class, but given the amount of things we had going on this month that wasn't really practical. Harold Green took them aside and gave them a little basic instruction. While their inexperience showed a bit, most of them did fairly well in the pistol exercises.

Because of the unusually large number of people, we had to reorganize things on the fly. The plan was to run the pistol exercises first, followed by the disarm drills, break for lunch, and do the carbine stuff in the afternoon. With the huge number of people we had it would have taken all morning and part of the afternoon just to run everyone through the pistol exercises. Instead we rented the 25 yard range next door and took over part of the road up to the range for the hand to hand stuff so we could run all three events in parallel, rather than serially.

Any Which Way You Can

Both the pistol drill and the scenario this month were built around the idea of shooting while lying down. Getting knocked down in a fight is a very real possibility, but we practice most of our shooting standing, or occasionally kneeling. Being able to shoot from the ground is an important skill. These drills focused on shooting from the ground at up-close and personal opponents. Prone positions are also useful for using a pistol against a long range adversary, but that's an exercise for some other month.

For this month's drill, you start by lying down about four yards from the target (we put down some cardboard so you're not lying on the range's rather uncomfortable grave). The first string is fired lying on your back with your feet pointed towards the target. This string is shot from the holster, so it's important not to sweep your let or feet when drawing. It's also important not to shoot your feet, but this is less of a problem than it might seem. Unless you’re shooting something very distant or very low (say, about the size of a cat) the line of fire is going to pass several feet above your toes, even if you have size 14 skis like I do. Because of the risk of sweeping the other shooter or people behind the line, none of the subsequent strings are shot from the holster. Instead you ground your gun, pointing down range before you get into position. For the second string, the shooter rotates 90 degrees, putting the target to their right. You roll over to the right so your body is facing the target, pick up the gun, and shoot. People's instinct is to try to hold the gun upright, but twisting your arms around to do this tends to inhibit accuracy and recoil control. The better technique is to hold the gun horizontally, so it lines up with your body. Just imagine your normal two-handed shooting stance and tip it over so you are lying on your side. The third string is basically the same as the second, save that the target is to the shooter's left. The fourth string is the fun one. Your head is pointed towards the target. You look up at the target, pick up your gun and shoot it upside-down. Some people don't realize that the pistol will function perfectly properly even when inverted.

Shooting from the ground, even sideways or upside down, can be just as accurate as shooting from a more normal position. However, it does require concentration. When shooting from conventional positions, we have the advantage of muscle memory to help keep everything lined up right. Shooting sideways or upside-down is not something most of us are really used to, and it takes more concentration to keep the sights lined up from these unusual shooting positions. As long as you keep the sights in alignment it's possible to shoot quite accurately, at least at close ranges. At longer ranges, however, differences in the alignment of the sights and the bore will come into play when shooting sideways or upside down. The only other caveat involves recoil control, which can be more difficult from these positions, particularly upside-down. It's probably best to slow things down a little bit.

I'm Not Going to Take This Lying Down

Our scenario for this month builds on the ground shooting drill. Basically, you answer the door in response to what turns out to be a group of home invaders. One of them kicks the door in, knocking you on your keister. You have to draw your weapon and solve the problem. We set up barricades about three feet apart, representing the door and put one target right in the middle of it. Several more targets represent additional robbers, passers-by, and pursuing police officers, depending on the presence or absence of threat indicators and badges. As usual, a few people ended up shooting the sheriff. Before the scenario we talked about the difference between cover and concealment and just which these barricades represented depending on the construction of your home.

People shot this drill in two very distinct ways. Some shot it entirely from the ground, engaging all the targets from their original position. Some shot only the initial target (representing the assailant who kicked the door in) from the ground then got up and shot the rest from the cover/concealment of the doorframe. Each of these has advantages and disadvantages. Getting up made it easier and quicker to shoot, but the act of getting up tended to take a long time, particularly due to the need to carefully keep the gun pointing down range. Shooting all the assailants from the ground obviated the need to rise until all the threats had been dealt with, but engaging each individual target, and transitioning between them, tended to be slower than shooting from your feet.

As usual, I was able to watch quite a few people shoot the scenario before shooting it myself. Based on the difficulties of both shooting from the ground and getting up with gun in hand, I decided to pursue a different strategy. Instead of drawing from the ground, I immediately rolled over behind concealment, got up without needing to worry about managing my pistol, then drew my weapon and engaged all the targets from concealment. I was probably out of the line of fire quicker than someone choosing to shoot from the ground could have neutralized the initial target. I ended up neutralizing all the threats, but had some shoot throughs on some of the non-threat targets. It's important to keep your background in mind.

With our large contingent of new shooters, we did see a lot of new shooter mistakes. In addition to the usual failures to neutralize (primarily due to shooting too low or not shooting enough), doing after action scans with an empty gun, and putting guns back into holsters without reloading a lot of the newer shooters also crowded cover and/or used the "Charlie's Angels" ready position. Many of the new shooters tended to get very close to the cover, even extending their gun beyond the doorway. This is not only an inviting setup for a gun grab if someone is standing on the other side of the wall, it also telegraphs your position to anyone on the other side. If the wall is concealment rather than cover, a smart opponent may just shoot you through the wall. If it is hard cover, they can either shoot your hand, or just know exactly where you are going to pop out and be lined up on that spot before you even move.

The Charlie's Angels ready position (also called the "Sabrina" after a character on that show) is a lousy idea for two reasons. First, it makes it easy for someone to take the gun away from you. All they have to do is prevent you from bringing the gun forward with one hand and twist the firearm out of your grip with the other. In a low ready position, if they try to grab the gun and shove it downward, all you have to do is fall backwards and the gun will come up on target. The second reason for eschewing the Sabrina is for safety purposes. We're on an outdoor range and there is no backstop in that direction. What goes up must come down, and when it does it's gonna hurt.


I spent all morning running the pistol scenario but after an excellent lunch (provided the range manager's wife and her sister) I managed to sneak over to our disarming exercise. Brianna and Lizette have been shooting with us for a couple of months and they've come to us (Brianna in particular) with martial arts experience. One of the purposes of the Polite Society is for members to share knowledge of self defense techniques with each other, so we drafted them into teaching some disarm techniques.

Hand to hand skills are certainly a hole in my skill set. One of the things the Interactive Gunfighting class we took from Gabe Suarez last year made evident to me is that an opponent is only really a gun problem if he's beyond about three yards. An opponent within arms reach is a hand to hand problem rather than a gun problem (assailants out of arms reach but within three yards are in a sort of grey area where there are no really good solutions, merely "die less often" techniques).

I have to say right off, Brianna and Lizette did a really good job. They did an excellent job explaining what you needed to do and critiquing your technique during practice. I'm really glad we were able to get them to do this. Harold Green also put together some nice wooden practice guns for us. You can use red guns for this kind of thing, but if anyone leaves their trigger finger inside the trigger guard there's a good chance it's going to end up broken or sprained.

Some of us learned some disarm techniques when we took a class from Gabe Suarez last year. The techniques Brianna taught were similar in their general principles, but somewhat different in detail. She taught three techniques, one for when you are facing an adversary who has a gun pointed at your torso, one for an adversary with a gun pointed at your head, and one for an adversary pointing a gun at you from behind. While there are differences, all three have common elements and all three follow the same basic steps.

The first step in this is to put your hands up, whether or not the assailant asks you to. This may put him at ease and give a feeling of power, but it also gets your hands into position for what's going to happen next. It can also be a good idea to start talking to the attacker, particularly asking him a question such as, "What do you want?" Answering this will degrade his reaction time, and even the smallest delay could make a difference.

The next step is to get the gun pointing at something other than you so that when it goes off (and it must be emphasized that the gun will almost certainly go off sometime during this procedure) it's not going to hit you. For an assailant pointing at your torso or behind you this involves stepping to the outside of the assailant's gun hand (so for a right handed shooter you want to step to his right/your left) and knocking his arm aside with your forearm. This is more difficult to do with someone behind you since it's harder to know where the gun is. You can glance over your shoulder to see which arm is holding the gun and even step or lean back to feel how high he's holding it. For an attacker pointing a gun at your head, instead of knocking the gun sideways, it will be easier and faster to knock it upwards using both hands.

Once the gun is no longer pointed at you, your outside hand (the left hand if you are confronting a right-handed shooter) goes to the wrist while the other grabs the gun and twists it up and back. This works best if you step into the attacker, bringing the gun close to your body. That way you can put your entire body into this maneuver, whereas the assailant is essentially trying to resist with three or four fingers and a thumb. Even if the assailant is a lot bigger or stronger than you, his fingers probably aren't going to be strong enough to hand on if you can put your whole body into it.

As I mentioned earlier, Gabe Suarez taught some disarms in his Interactive Gunfighting class a year ago. While it was fairly similar, Gabe's techniques emphasized going directly for the wrist with your hand, rather than knocking the gun out of the way first. I think I prefer the forearm. It leaves a lot bigger margin for error, which is particularly important in a low light situation or when the assailant is behind you.

We're going to be continuing these exercises in the future. The next set is going to emphasize getting control of the gun arm then attacking the assailant directly (going for elbows, knees, eyes, ears, and other nice vulnerable spots) rather than trying to take the gun away directly.


Our third activity this month was the first of what will be a series of rifle/carbine exercises. Several of our members have recently acquired black rifles of one description or another (ARs mostly) and expressed interest in some long gun training. We asked Robert, one of our members who is very well versed in rifle shooting, to do some instruction for us. Unfortunately, I missed part of his lecture because I was still doing the disarm training. During the part I was able to listen to he gave a very solid explanation of the operating procedures for the AR and AK. We had a nice discussion about the merits of different rifles and calibers, getting good rifle magazines that will work with your gun, and flashlight techniques (which should come in handy next month). Robert had to run off to get ready for a wedding, but after the discussion was done we had a chance to do some shooting.

There was a fair amount of rifle trading going on during the shooting period. It's always nice to get a chance to shoot some different guns. One of our members had let me shoot his AR on a previous occasion, so I returned the favor by letting him shoot my Robinson Armament XCR. He seemed to like it, and later commented to me that it had less recoil than his AR, which surprised me a bit. I recently finished the break-in period, and last time I brought it up to the range I adjusted the gas system from full bore to a much lower setting. This reduced recoil noticeably, but I'm surprised that it was actually less than a gas impingement AR (not that either of them has a lot of recoil shooting the .223 round).

I also think shooting my rifle convinced him of the merits of a vertical foregrip. I have to say that I resisted putting a foregrip on there for a long time; it just seemed way too "tacticool" for me. However, reading Kyle Lamb's book Green Eyes Black Rifles made me reconsider. He's definitely a guy who knows what he's talking about and he makes several good arguments for a forward pistol grip. The one that finally pushed me over the edge was its benefits in weapon retention, but I've found that it really does help in countering muzzle rise for follow up shots and driving the weapon from one target to another.

We did have one serious malfunction. One of our members shooting steel cased Wolf ammo though his M&P AR suffered a stuck case. It was stuck well enough that no amount of racking the bolt was sufficient to remove it. Eventually he disassembled his rifle and we used a cleaning rod to knock the case out. This did give me the opportunity to show a member who was considering getting into black rifles the difference between the AR bolt (lots of little lugs, spring loaded ejector, little extractor) and the bolt from my AK (three big lugs, fixed ejector, big extractor).

Later on I also had a chance to watch Brianna and Lizette shoot an AR. Neither of them have a black rifle of their own, but we were able to talk them into trying one out. From the smiles on their faces I think they enjoyed it quite a bit. The look of the AR can be intimidating to someone who's never shot it, but thanks to their low recoil .223 rifles are a real joy to shoot and very friendly to new shooters.

Despite the unexpected number of shooters I think this month's event went fairly well. We had to adapt a bit, but plenty of our more experienced shooters were willing to pitch in and help run things. I'd really like to thank Brianna, Lizette, and Robert for contributing to this month's events. All three of them did an excellent job. I think they really helped us expand our toolbox into some new areas.

The Utah Polite Society has a very full calendar coming up this month and next. On June 21st we're going to be going out the desert in Skull Valley, west of Salt Lake. We've got three major activities planned for while we're out there: We're going to be doing some 360 degree pistol scenarios (there's a nice bend in the canyon that provides an all-around backstop). We'll also take advantage of some of the extended ranges out there to do some longer ranged carbine work. Finally, we'll be doing some Box O' Truth style penetration testing of things like drywall, windshields, and car doors. Our next regular event will be on the 5th of July. We'll be doing the carbine class again, probably focusing on slings and transition to the pistol. Less than a week later, on the evening of Friday, July 11th, we will be having our yearly night shoot. We did this last year and I think it was a really big success. Shooting at night is a very eye opening experience if you've never done it before, and something few of us get enough practice at.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

June Event


There’s a Utah Polite Society event at Hendricksen Range Saturday, June 7.

We plan to have two handgun exercises, a demonstration of handgun takeaway
techniques, takeaway exercises, and a set of carbine exercises.

Prior to the handgun exercises, we will demonstrate techniques for
shooting from the supine position. These will include shooting forward,
left, right, and upside-down and backwards.

The demonstration will be followed by a skills drill that has you shoot in
all these directions. If you’ve ever wanted to shoot upside down and
backwards, here’s your chance.

The second handgun exercise will be a simulated defensive encounter that
has you respond to a home invasion while flat on your back (as if you were
knocked down when your front door was forced open).

After the handgun exercises, Brinna will demonstrate several techniques
for disarming and/or disabling an adversary that’s holding you at
close-quarters gunpoint.

After the demonstration, we’ll team up with training partners and practice
these techniques with training guns.

We’ll break for lunch after the takeaway exercises. The kitchen at the
range has several menu options available for lunch in the $5 range. They
make a very good burger as well as other very tasty items.

After the lunch break, Robert’s going to start teaching us how to run our
carbines. If you don’t yet have a carbine, this would be a very good
chance to handle and/or shoot a few different kinds.

Here’s what Robert has planned.
Safety, establishing a working zero (the shooting part of the afternoon);
the pros and cons of zeroing at various ranges with the caliber of one’s
choice; problems created by a high line of sight over the bore line;
manual of arms for AR, AK and M1. The intent is to help someone, even if
they are starting from scratch, to get their rifle up and running.

When you bring your carbine to the range, please either keep it in its
case or place it in one of the rifle racks until Robert’s had a chance to
go over safety and range procedures with the group. There will be no
handling of carbines while others are downrange until carbine safety and
range procedures have been formalized.

Please bring your handgun, carbine, and related equipment. Bring 50
rounds of pistol ammo, and 80 rounds of carbine ammo (bring extra, if you
would like to shoot additional exercises or shoot steel after the

Set up starts at 8:00 a.m.

New shooter orientation starts at 8:30 a.m.

Registration starts at 8:45 a.m.

Handgun shooting exercises start at 9:00 a.m. followed by hand-to-hand

Lunch break will be at about 11:30 a.m.

Carbine exercises start after the lunch break.

Event fee is $12.00.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Thanks For The Help

Thanks to everyone who whelped with the workday project at Hendricksen Range on May 24.

We were able to rebuild the roof over the safety area on the fifty-yard range. It turned out to be a bit more work than expected because we had to completely dismantle and then rebuild the roof. With help form all who participated, the project went very smoothly.

Again, thanks to everyone who helped with this project.

UPS membership card

Ha Ha!

June Event

I thought I’d give you an early heads up for the June 7 Utah Polite
Society event and some other things we have in the works. For the June
event, we have pistol exercises, disarming exercises, and carbine
exercises planed. As we have quite a lot planned for this event, we’re
anticipating running the event into the afternoon. As always, the event
fee will be $12.

The pistol exercises will focus on shooting from the ground, as if you
were knocked down in an altercation prior to engaging your target(s).
These exercises are still in development, but we plan on demonstrating
ground shooting techniques, running a skills drill to reinforce them, and
then running a simulated defensive encounter that exercises them.

After the pistol exercises, Brianna is going to teach us some martial arts
techniques that can be used to disarm and/or disable a close-quarters
adversary holding you at gunpoint. After she’s demonstrated these to us,
we’ll each work with a training partner and a dummy gun to get a little
hands-on with them.

After the disarm exercises, we plan to take a short lunch break. The
kitchen at the range is now serving lunch, and will have a menu of lunch
dishes available in the $5 range. We took advantage of the lunch dishes
available at the range during last month’s Gunsite class, and they were
very good.

After the lunch break, we’ll start the first in our series of carbine
exercises that will run through the summer months.

Here’s what Robert has planned for the first of the carbine series at the
June event.
Safety: Establishing a working zero (the shooting part of the day); the
pros and cons of zeroing at various ranges with the caliber of one’s
choice; problems created by a high line of sight over bore line; manual of
arms for AR, AK, and M1. The intent is to help someone, even if they are
starting from scratch, to get their rifle up and running.

Here’s what he’s planning for the carbine exercises in July.
Marksmanship: Basic skill drills (the shooting part of the day). The
other subjects he would like to cover here are support systems: slings,
mags, mag carry system, sights, and maintenance. On day 2, a person can
use the sights that came on the rifle, a simple web, no sling, and load
from a back pocket. However, from here on, one needs to start building a
support system.

In the succeeding months.
Future subjects: Transition to pistol, low-light, the effects of cover on
various calibers, operation of a carbine with one hand only, and whatever
else the group would like to cover.

Keep in mind the carbine exercises aren’t exclusively for those with
“black rifles.” If you have a Ruger 10-22, a lever-action 30-30, or even
a bolt-action rifle that you would like to learn how to use defensively,
bring it to the event in June.

Also in June, we’re planning to do some longer-range carbine shooting in
Skull Valley. As part of this, we plan to do penetration tests on car
doors and windshields, as well as on sheetrock wall sections. In parallel
with the carbine exercises, we plan to run a 360-degree pistol exercise in
an adjacent canyon that offers 360-degree backstops. The tentative date
for this is Saturday, June 21.

In July, we plan to run a night event that will include both pistol
exercises and carbine exercises. This will be in addition to our regular
event, and is tentatively scheduled for the evening of Friday, June 11.

More later,
Harold Green

Mother's Day Event

Welden ( ) of Self Defense Solutions is
offering a free, ladies-only shooting class on the evening of June 9.

Please take a look at the message, below and at the attached document.

Harold Green


Once a year when the weather turns mild, Self-Defense Solutions, LLC
offers a free pistol clinic for women. Even though it is after the
official Mothers Day holiday, the clinic is to provide a venue for women
to be introduced to firearms use in a relaxed environment.

Ladies, this FREE class is FOR YOU AND ONLY YOU!
No boyfriends, no spouses, no significant male friends at all this time.

(OK guys, listen up. This class is NOT for you, but the one you love! So
do the right thing and see that she is registered to come. Mothers, wives,
girlfriend(s), sister(s) and daughter(s) are welcome)

For the woman who would like to be shown correctly how to shoot a pistol,
but doesn't want to have someone (you know who) looking over your shoulder
or making comments, I'm giving a free class on how to shoot. That's
right, here's your chance to receive
Free Instruction and Free Range time!

I will personally teach you about firearm function and safety and how to
shoot. We finish up with my live-fire self-defense and tactical
demonstration for those that would like to stay.

This class is not being held on Mother's Day, but it is my contribution to
the safety of all women during the month of May.

Class will be held Monday June 9th at the Hendricksen Range. We start
promptly at 6:30pm and run to 8:30pm

If you have a handgun of any type, bring it and some ammunition with you.
If you don't have one, I will provide a .22 pistol and the ammunition free
for you to shoot.

Please call or email me if you have any questions.

You MUST REGISTER with me to be included in the class. I want to be sure
that you have a good experience, so I will keep the class small. We only
have room for those who register and are told that they are accepted in
the class.

Mothers Day Special Firearm Instruction for Women Only -
Who: Welden C. Andersen 801.272.8949
Former Marine with Expert ratings in Pistol and Rifle , Utah Certified Firearms Instructor. NRA Certified Instructor in Pistol and Personal
Protection in the Home. Nationally Certified IDPA Safety Officer, Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Citizens Police Academy graduate, FBI
Citizen’s Academy graduate, Suarez International trained in Pistol Marksmanship, Combative Pistol Concepts I, II, Close Range Gunfighting,
Interactive Gunfighting/Force On Force, Front Sight Firearms Training Institute Distinguished Graduate in Defensive Handgun, Rifle and
Tactical Shotgun, Provo SWAT (Threat Management Group) trained in Edged Weapons Defense I, II, Counter-Terrorism Institute of
America trained in Tactical Pistol, Jeff Tueller Defensive training in Hostile Control and Weapon Disarmament, Utah Polite Society board
member. Free Instruction and Range time
When: Monday June 9th Starts promptly at 6:30pm to 8:30pm Welden will personally teach you
about firearm function and safety and how to shoot. We finish up with my live-fire selfdefense
and tactical demonstration for those that would like to stay.
Bring: Bring a baseball cap, your eyeglasses, safety glasses or your sun glasses, hearing protection,
and your handgun and some ammo. If you don’t have your own gun, I will provide a .22 cal
revolver and a semi-auto pistol for the Range Exercise including the ammo. Those wishing to
shoot my Glock can bring .40cal 165Gr or 180Gr NEW boxed ammo or pay $5 per 15 shots.
Location: Directions to the Hendricksen Range
• Hendricksen Range is east of Salt Lake City in Parleys Canyon.
• From I-15, take the I-80 East Exit towards CHEYENNE.
• Merge into I-80 East.
• From I-80 East, Take Parley's Canyon Exit 134.
• Keep RIGHT at the fork on the off-ramp.
• Turn RIGHT.
• About 50 yards from the off-ramp, you will see the sign PMAA Hendricksen range.
• Follow the road up the hill to the range house.
• Park on the right side of the range house by the stairs

Lichtenberg Research

Yesterday, we spent the day building rifles with Rodger from Lichtenberg Research. I had a great time. Suggest that everyone check out their site. They have some cool AK 9mm conversions.

Good people
Good guns

Check them out.

Lichtenberg Research Link

Check out the Handguns sales page.

Robin Hood


Utah's Personal Protection Laboratory