Practical and Tactical

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One Shot DNovember 7, 20187min2120
By One Shot D and Erik Wenzel
I’m going to start off by saying that without a doubt, I am an AR15 guy. I am a firm believer that Eugene Stoner must have been touched by a beam of light through a thunderstorm, sent by none other than whatever deity in the sky, and blessed him with the design for the AR platform. The ergonomics can be changed indefinitely, the caliber can be infinitely changed, and best of all they can be assembled with basic tools and items owned by any self respecting person with nothing more than a little practice and a working YouTube account. However, there is a time in every rifle lovers life where an AR15 becomes just another AR15. The love is there, but the mind starts to wander to life outside the safe, what strange and foreign alternatives may be available. For me the fascination turned to, “What can I find that nobody else has? What have I never seen at the range?” After scouring the inter-webs and lurking my favorite haunts also known as the gun shop, I was finally intrigued in…..Bullpups.
If I still have you here by this point in the article, I am going to assume that you are past the phase of laughing so hard you spilled your bourbon, and on to being just a bit interested in why my curiosity strayed the way it did. Long story short it boiled down to a few reasons for me. The first and most prominent one is the dilemma of overall length to projectile velocity. In most cases, when the barrel length decreases, so does the velocity. This effectively neuters the effectiveness of most rifle calibers, and it is extremely noticeable in the 556 loading. Bullpups solve this problem in its entirety. As the action is in the rear of the rifle, it lends itself to maintain a full length barrel, thus retaining all of that precious velocity while attaining overall lengths usually reserved only for SBR or pistol alternatives. This was extremely appealing to me.
Off to the races I went, and my newfound infatuation became a full on affair. For me there were two rifles that captured my attention. The venerable Tavor, and the Kel-tec RDB. While both are bullpups, they are both very different in operation, features, and also in the determining factor of price. While the Tavor was definitely the more proven of the two rifles, the RDB was straight unobtanium, and I liked the ability to have a more versatile adjustable gas system. I also liked the fact that by all accounts, the RDB has a better trigger from the manufacturer, and the idea of spending $1600 on a Tavor and then being forced to spend $250 on a Geiselle trigger was rough on the palate. By this point I can assume that you know which way I went. After making countless offers on gun broker, I was to be the proud owner of a shiny new RDB.
Upon retrieval of my new rifle, there were several things that I noticed right off the bat. Firstly this thing was light.  I mean really light. It’s not that the rifle itself was amazingly light when put on the scale, but it was more about the feel of the rifle when it was shouldered. All of the weight was to the rear, that’s where the action, bolt, steel safety plate, and the majority of the barrel reside. This also happens to be where the rifle contacts the shoulder, leaving a polymer hand guard, and half the barrel and piston system out front. This makes the rifle feel much lighter in the hand, and it is very quick to stop when transitioning the rifle from target to target.
The second thing that I noticed quickly was the versatility of the adjustable gas piston system. Being honest, tuning the system was a little bit of a pain. Do yourself a huge favor and read the manual. When completed successfully, I was very pleased.  The recoil is very mild, and the recoil impulse is different in a very good way. Its almost a two stage affair, and after a brief transition from the AR15 it is very pleasant and easy to manage recoil. The addition of a SilencerCo muzzle brake makes recoil virtually non existent. This set up when tuned properly is very smooth shooting, with extremely low recoil, and very easy to shoot very quickly. I was able to deposit large quantities of brass in neat piles due to the downward ejecting pattern of the rifle, and I found myself ringing steel with near reckless abandon.
I have been nothing short of extremely satisfied with my venture into the bullpup world. I have heard the occasional disparaging comment in regards to Kel-tec as a company or their customer service, but I have not found this to be the case in my sample size of one RDB. What I have found is a very sweet shooting rifle that draws both attention, and complements when I take it to the range. It may not be a Steyr Aug, nor is it an IWI Tavor, but it is in my opinion and experience competitive in every way to either. Also of note is that it is half or better the price of both, and for approximately $700 it should at the very least be given a shot at impressing you the way that it has impressed me.

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One Shot DNovember 7, 20182min1640

Something I always run into at public ranges is the lack of weapons safety. I could be like a lot of other people and have the common opinion that these individuals are unsafe because they are “new to the rules of the range”. More times than not however,  I find out this is not the case. I was out shooting at a public range the other day. After witnessing several dangerous functions the shooters were doing, I found myself having a conversation with them to try to find out what their history with weapons were. After several minutes I found that 95 % of the people I spoke with, stated they have been handling weapons for years and quit a few had according to them “ been thru classes” to help them learn gun safety. After I politely made a few suggestions, I found the common response was that they felt they knew enough and didn’t need any guidance. Due to the nature of their unsafe acts and the fact there was no assigned staff to this facility, I moved to a different location. Safety should always be first and foremost in operating a firearm. This will make for a more enjoyable outing for you and those that might be around you.


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One Shot DOctober 26, 20187min1470
By One Shot D and Erik Wenzel
There was a time in the not so distant past where AR15 platform pistols were looked on with nothing short of disdain. They were the subject of ridicule and relegated to nothing more than a range toy. They were said to ineffective, useless, and complete nonsense. Those days are over now. Gentlemen the age of the braced AR15 platform pistol is upon us, and it’s here in a major way.
So what changed? Why has the trend began to swing to the complete opposite side of the pendulum?  People could make a strong argument for the renewed interest of pistol pattern platforms being due to new chamberings in cool guy calibers; .50 Beowulf, .458 SOCOM, .450 bushmaster, and 300 blackout ring the immediate obvious bells. Others could make a case for the myriad of new stabilizing braces that are available to the market. I align with the latter and for good reason. Simply put a pistol brace on an AR15 platform makes it a completely different animal, and I have two contenders for the best braces available as of the time of this writing.
The two braces that I am going to outline for consideration today are going to be the Sig brace SBA3 and the Gearhead Works Tailhook Mod 2.  As we move forward with the article, lets assume that everyone is aware of the white letter the BATFE published outlining their opinion on the definitions of use in regard to the occasional shouldering of the braces “from time to time, as necessary.” and look at both the intended use of the pistol braces and the “time to time” use. Up first in the Tailhook Mod 2.
The Tailhook Mod 2 is, in my personal opinion, the more sturdy of the two. I’m going to spare you the details of weight, positions available, and total extended length, as I am a firm believer in everyone’s ability to complete a google search, but I will tell you about the feel of the brace. When used strictly as a stabilizer, there is an arm that releases via a button on the side of the brace next to the length adjustment which bottoms out making a contoured 90 degree angle. This arm is then placed under the forearm of the person operating the pistol and used as a means to counterbalance the weight of the pistol. I have found this method of operation to be extremely stable and serviceable. When shouldered, the brace is extremely stable and very easy to adjust. I was easily able to find a length of pull that accommodated both a correct cheek weld and eye relief. I found the brace to be a smidgen on the heavy side, and with a shorter barrel and rail length up front the brace lent itself to a little rear heavy on the balance. When that weight placed on the shoulder however, it had the pleasant effect of making the pistol easy to swing and more importantly easy to stop when on target.
The SBA3 is different in some aspects and similar in others. The big differences are in the composition of the brace material, and the weight. The SBA3 is made of a sturdy rubber composition as opposed to the Tailhooks solid polymer. When used strictly as a brace, there is a strap that is intended to tighten around the forearm of the operator when the hand is placed in the brace. Being lighter weight, this brace has the opposite effect in regards to the balance point of the pistol. It tends to lend itself towards a forward balance point and without it shouldered, all the weight feels like its on the end of the barrel. On the other hand, when shouldered it feels strikingly similar to a traditional carbine stock. The biggest differences with the SBA3 and the Tailhook Mod2 is in the attachment of the brace to the actual pistol itself. The SBA3 uses a standard carbine buffer tube, and has another position of adjustment. I found this to be advantageous when finding the perfect fine adjustments to my eye relief and cheek weld. Another advantage comes if and when the owner of the pistol chooses to pony up the bacon to Uncle Sam and register their pistol as an SBR. This simply requires $200 and a wait of up to 9 months, and when your stamp is safely in place, affixing your choice of carbine stock.  I find this to be an interesting capability, and something that I may consider doing in the future.
So which one is better? Quite simply put, I am going to take the easy answer and say, “Depends on what you want to use it for.”  For me as it sits today, I have the Tailhook Mod 2 on a 300 blackout pistol with an 8.5” heavy contour barrel. I find it to be very capable at balancing the weight of the stocky barrel up front, and it makes for a very compact and well balanced pistol. Conversely, I have an SBA3 on an 11.5” 556 pistol. I find that paired with the thinner contour of the barrel, and the skeletonized forend the SBA3 is sufficiently heavy to balance the pistol while refraining from adding to the overall weight. In summary, both braces are different in their characteristics, but you’d be hard pressed to find a better alternative to complete your AR15 Pistol.

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One Shot DSeptember 22, 20181min1560

On my off time I teach kids how to competition shoot. Parents always ask what kind of firearm they should purchase to help their child be a better competition shooter. It’s not the firearm that makes a person a good or great competition shooter. It’s the person and the training. I am and always will be a huge advocate of talking parents into letting their kids try different models and brands so we can figure out what works best for them. Then once we figure out what they are comfortable with, we build on that. Everyone is different and handles firearms in different ways. The same is said for adults. There is not a “one type fits all”. There are several rental ranges out there that are in place for this purpose. In the long run you will be glad you tried a rental before you spend all that money on something you hate.


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One Shot DSeptember 4, 20182min1810

I went shooting with a friend the other day. When we got into some training drills I was reminded that old drills still need to be used once in awhile. He set up a drill I have not used in almost 20 years. Once he set this course up and we were shooting it, I realized the value in using drills I used to consider obsolete. There is always room for improvement. A fatal move is thinking you know everything and can’t learn anything new. There is always a way to do something better. If your open minded enough to accept that, then you will gain something from every school you go to. I constantly look for new schools to go to. A few months ago I went to another NRA school. A lot of the stuff they were teaching was years behind the times but I still managed to get something out of the class. Never stop training .


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Architekt JessMay 1, 20183min1570

I was in traffic the other day and passed by a police officer on a roadside traffic stop. I happened to glimpse his gun belt and couldn’t believe how much equipment was on there. It made me think of the past when most officers were only equipped with their duty weapon, spare ammunition, handcuffs, baton, and their common sense, good judgment, and communication skills. The equipment available to the street officer today is astounding. I’m not anti-technology and some tools have made the job safer and easier, however, I also believe that it has profoundly affected the interaction between police and the public. Take for example the stun gun. It was originally designed as a less-than-lethal tool but seems to have transmuted to a compliance tool. I believe that in some cases it became overused and replaced sound tactics and good communication skills. That of course led to the increased scrutiny of the device by the public and the media. All you have to do is access “You Tube” and you’ll find it replete with videos of alleged stun gun misuse and abuse. Again, I think technology has increased efficiency and safety in policing, but it has also created apathy and communication issues among officers in regard to public relations and community trust. Look, I get it. Everybody is busy, but at some point we have to look at what we’re doing and take more time to relate to each other. The payoff is big. The guy you spent a few extra minutes with talking into the back seat of your patrol vehicle versus increased time doing paperwork, supervisory scrutiny, and civil litigation because of a use-of-force incident. The scenarios are endless and obviously everything is situational. I’m certainly not implying that all police officers use poor judgment, have poor communication skills, or are apathetic. I do believe that many police departments need to increase training in communication skills and professional conduct, and hold their people accountable when there is a gross deviation from those standards. We need to bridge the gap between technology and human interaction if we are to foster respect and trust within our communities.


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Architekt JessApril 2, 20188min8570

Let me sound off first by saying I have never been a tactical wizard with pistols. Hell, we
barely even trained with them in the Marines until you were an NCO or above, or in MARSOC.
My first professional training with a pistol was the Beretta M9 on an impromptu range in the
middle of the artist formerly known as Khorasan. It was weird because Marines train and qualify
with the M9 and MSOB (Marine Special Operations Battalion) were running 1911’s in the field. I
guess that’s what happens when you are the brand new bastard child of the Special Operations
Community… Adapt and overcome. Anyway let’s get back to the point: I originally had minimal
pistol training or pistol systems exposure until later on in life, and I still consider myself a student
in pistol work. However, I do have enough experience now to bring you a stellar pistol
recommendation that I’ve seen dropped into a novice shooters hands that made them shoot on
the next level.

My first pistol purchase out of the Marines was what I was familiar with, so I picked up a
1911 chambered in .45. I later swapped the 1911 for a Glock 21, keeping that old mindset that
you need .45 for stopping power. I began to really enjoy the reliability and magazine capacity of
the Glock, and was glad I made the swap. Around this time I started to look into different
calibers more, as a by-product of training with more serious shooters. I began to grow
accustomed to the idea of the 9mm, having more rounds in the mag, similar ballistic capabilities
of .45 (with proper rounds), and ultimately less recoil, allowing for quicker follow-up shots.

So I picked up a Glock 43 for concealed carry initially and began to train draws from concealed, as
well as multi-target drills. At that point, I was ready to make the swap to 9mm on all my pistols
because nothing the .45 offered outweighed the bonuses of running 9mm in my opinion.
Once I had made my decision on caliber, the next step was to look for a full size carry
weapon to go with my kit. My Ole Lady was a police officer at the time and we got her a Glock
34 to run on duty, so naturally I used it to train drills in the off time with her as well. Although I
was becoming a better shot, I still wasn’t great. Then one day while training pistols I was offered
to try out a buddy’s H&K VP9, so we swapped holsters and weapons and got to work. I drew
from holster and fired a perfectly centered up head-shot at 25 meters on the first shot. Not a feat
by any means, but what I’m getting at is this gun is so natural to fire, that on the first shot I hit
exactly where I wanted, without ever touching the gun prior. I surprised myself, and knew in that
same moment, that this was the pistol for me.

First off, the VP9 is an H&K so toss your worries aside about its quality because it has all
the qualities. I have short thumbs so I always had to rotate to the side of any pistol to release
the mag, which almost always un-seats a good deep, high grip for firing. This weapon rectifies
that problem and then improves upon it with an ambidextrous mag release lever that you push
down. That means you can release the mag with your pointer or middle finger without
compromising your grip at all. It also feels more natural pointing a lever downward, where you
want the mag to go. The grip is absolutely the most ergo grip of any pistol I have ever held,
period. Not only does it feel great with the default grips installed, but there are six side panels

and three back straps you can interchange out in ANY combination in order to fit your personal
grip better.

It is a striker-fired pistol, which most people complain about the trigger pull on striker
fired pistols but let me tell you, H&K has done wonders on this one. The pre-travel is a flat,
consistent pull and the break and reset are crisp and pronounced. The slide has front and rear,
aggressive milling for grip, as well as what they call charging supports near the rear. These are
great for when you have a weak grip or were unable to obtain a positive grip while charging the
weapon. They will stop your hand from slipping back off the slide, allowing for charging in less
than desirable conditions. The factory night sights are ridiculously bright, surpassing many of
the aftermarket sights I’ve used on other pistols, which makes for one more thing you don’t have
to worry about after your purchase. It comes with quality, P30 steel 10 or 15 round magazines
from the manufacturer and finally, a picatinny rail for accessory mounting.

In my opinion no other pistol I have tried on the market has the VP9 beat on overall
quality, ergonomics, or function. I cannot give this pistol enough praise. However, I have found
that pistols -more so than rifles- are not a one-size-fits-all. I had to go through shooting multiple
pistols from multiple manufacturers before I found something that felt natural for me to shoot. So
while I suggest the VP9 as a great place to start your hunt for the perfect pistol, it may not be
what you end up using when it’s all said and done. Please do yourself a service and try as many
different pistols as you need, to find the one that fits your style of shooting and tactics. Do not
under any circumstances let yourself be chained to a platform or manufacturer by blind loyalty
when there may be another option out there that takes your shooting to the next level.


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Kate KruegerMarch 15, 20185min1430

I’ve often watched my husband Jim Krueger, a natural lefty who can shoot ambidextrous (with either hand), and wished that I could do that too.  I mentioned it to him one day and the response I got back was “Well try it!!”   That chance came when we went back to Gunsite a number of years ago.

Due to an error in communication regarding pre-requisites we needed to start from the beginning with their 250 Tactical Pistol course.  “Well”, Jim says, “this is the perfect opportunity for you to learn how to shoot left handed!  Since we have to start from the beginning you may as well have them teach you the right way!”  There were other reasons voiced in favor of this as well:  “You’ve had lefty’s in your classes wouldn’t it be nice to know how to instruct them!” and “Think about tactics and how this will help overcome some of the day to day obstacles.”  Needless to say after a few more good reasons I went off to Gunsite with my Glock 19, a left handed rig and 1000 rounds of ammunition ready to learn.

At first it was a little confusing for me but after awhile it began to make sense.  Think about it!?!?  Normally you use your strong hand to hold the gun and pull the trigger then you use your weak hand to do all the dexterous tasks.  For example, racking the slide, handling the magazines during tactical and speed loads and in some cases working the safety. But when you work with your offhand you are now doing all the dexterous tasks with your strong hand and the only thing that you have to worry about doing with your offhand is holding the gun and squeezing the trigger.  Makes sense, huh??

Well it continued to make more sense after the first shots were fired.   From the leather, 2 shots to the center of mass … bang! bang!  Right in the middle and right next to each other.  Then again, and again… Results the same.  As we moved back I continued to be pretty impressed but of course I have to admit that this was not timed and my focus was pretty intense.  You see when you try something new like this you automatically go back to the basics:  front sight, trigger squeeze, breath control, grip, stance and safety… safety… safety!! Your focus is incredible.  If it isn’t it SHOULD BE!

As the week went along it became much harder but I never even considered switching over to my dominant hand to complete the course.  The challenge and the learning experience were awesome!  Through the week we ran speed drills and I was actually able to draw and fire 2 rounds from the leather faster with my left hand than my right… 1.6 seconds!  My tactics were slower but not bad and in tactics slow (cautious) should not be a bad thing.  Overall my performance wasn’t too bad and I was very pleased to have successfully completed this type of course.  One of my earlier instructors suggested that “…everyone striving to be an instructor should try taking an entire course with their offhand to put themselves in shoes of a new shooter … it can be a humbling learning experience”.

Besides realizing that I could shoot left handed I also learned how important good and patient instructors are.  With the right coaching, solid basics and a lot of patience this was one of the best training activities that I have put myself through.