Your Hump Day Reading List for Dec. 2, 2015

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Hope you and your family had a safe and peaceful Thanksgiving! I know, we all ate too much and are now forced to do exercise penance, but I’d do it all over again — and probably will next year! The holiday didn’t keep me from collecting some great articles, however, and for your reading enjoyment this week Claude Werner talks about changing his mind; the SIG Academy has a different way to talk about the relationship of sight alignment and trigger control; Melody Lauer has some tips on flying with guns; Ian McCollum takes apart a Madsen machine gun; David Williams takes on 1911 dogma; a look at the M1 Carbine; defending yourself in high heels; and red dot sights for beginners.

What a list — the only thing missing is the cranberry sauce!


This is what integrity looks like.

Claude Werner, known to many as The Tactical Professor, is one of the true thinkers in the world of self defense. There are precious few of his kind in this business, even though there are many who believe they are. Claude wrote a piece last week titled Friday Fundamentals – Biases and Changes, and in it he answers two questions I posed some time ago: “what are your biases”, and “what have you changed your mind about?” It’s a superb article, but I’d like to call your attention to his second answer. Admitting that you’ve changed your mind about something, that your previous position or knowledge was deficient in some way, is the hardest thing for any teacher to do. I know many who will answer that question in a non-committal way, hoping to obfuscate enough that you won’t notice that they really didn’t give an actual answer, but not Claude; he dives right in and identifies exactly how and why he’s changed his mind, and those “in the know” will recognize it as a huge change and an important new way of looking at what we teach. If you’re an instructor and don’t read Claude’s article, you’re wrong.


Moving Point Of Aim, revisited.

In several of my books I’ve talked about the concept of the “moving point of aim”, a way to understand and practice the intersection of sight alignment and trigger control when making precision shots. Like the concept of the balance of speed and precision, moving point of aim is fundamental to shooting (at least, shooting when using the sights.) It’s been dressed up in various guises over the years and I’ve heard it referred to by several names. The SIG Academy, however, has one I’ve not encountered and Kevin Michalowski explains it in his article titled Float the Dot, Shoot the Shot at the USCCA website. While obviously aimed at SIG pistols with their white-dot front sight blades, the concept is applicable to all firearms — including rifles. It’s a good read and worth your attention no matter what your level of ability.


Flying with firearms isn’t as hard as you might believe.

I’ve been known to take a firearm along when I fly, and it’s not as hard as some make it out to be. Don’t get me wrong — it’s still a major hassle and issues do occasionally occur, but if you follow some simple guidelines you’ll find that most of the potential problems are avoided. In this article, Melody Lauer talks about flying with guns and what she’s learned to do and not to do. I don’t know that I’d have been as bold as to call it The Definitive Guide like she did, but the information is pretty good and definitely worth reading.


Ian does it again, only in full auto.

By now you know about Ian McCollum and his Forgotten Weapons website, one of the true internet treasures in the gun world. This time he gets his hands on a particularly interesting, and surprisingly successful, Madsen light machine gun. The Madsen is notable for the short length of its action and very long service life, and getting to handle one — let alone take it apart and show people how it works — is a rare treat. If you’re into interesting designs, machine guns, or just firearms history this is a video you won’t want to miss.


It’s time to make the 1911 people mad, but I’m letting someone else do it for a change. It’s for a good cause.

David Williams is a new blogger, but don’t let that fool you: he’s a retired police officer who’s been around the block a few times and has decided to share what he’s learned with the rest of us. I met David a couple of years back and found him to be a pleasant gentleman who has some interesting viewpoints on the state of defensive shooting. In this first article on his blog, David talks about The Danger of the 1911 Dogma. It’s not really so much about the 1911 specifically as it is about being willing to question what you’re being told, and why. The 1911 incidents are just to illustrate the concept, because there’s no dogma like 1911 dogma!


What’s the big deal about the M1 Carbine?

Of all the rifles I’ve shot in my life, the one which consistently leaves me with a large grin and the desire to shoot more is the humble old M1 Carbine. It’s short, light, has modest recoil, isn’t ear-splitting loud, is decently accurate within its range, and is just a lot of fun to shoot. It’s the perfect “step up” rifle from the .22LR and makes a surprisingly effective home defense tool when loaded with good expanding ammunition. This great article from Tom McHale, titled Storied Guns: The M1 Carbine, is a solid introduction to the rifle, its history, the .30 Carbine cartridge, and where you can buy a new one today. If you don’t yet have a Carbine in your collection, let this article be the motivation you need to get one!


Stilettos for self defense? Don’t laugh.

It had to happen: the combination of high fashion and feeling safe. An article titled Killer Heels: Women Are Now Using Pumps for Self-Defense covers a class given by a ballerina and “combat expert” on using high heels as a defensive tool. Don’t get me wrong; I’m all for getting everyone, men and women, used to the idea of using what they have in their immediate environment to defend themselves. I’m also aware that many people dress not for safety, but for fashion. There’s no value judgement in that statement, only the acknowledgement that people have differing priorities and varying expectations. I think teaching women how to move in heels is certainly a worthwhile endeavor, but where I take a bit of exception is when this type of improvised self defense is presented as desirable, preferable or equivalent to a prepared response and a dedicated tool. As long as it’s being explained as the best utilization of a sub-optimal tool I’m fully supportive, but I suspect from the tone of the article that it’s not. What do you think?


Is a red dot the perfect scope for a beginner?

When my wife first started shooting rifles, I gave her a pistol-caliber carbine topped with a red dot scope (a cheap Tasco Pro-Point, which has held up for about fifteen years now.) She liked the fact that she could keep her focus on the target and that the little red dot showed her where the bullet would go. Fast-forward a decade and a half, and my wife still likes the zero magnification red dot optic. They’re very intuitive for a new rifle shooter, and in the article “Why a Red Dot is a Good First Optic” Keith Wood explores picking a red dot instead of a conventional scope for someone just starting in rifle shooting. It’s a sponsored article, so he does a lot of shilling for Vista Outdoors products, but the information is still useful. And I shouldn’t complain, because that Tasco scope I put on my wife’s new gun all these years ago is one of their products!


As always, if you find the Hump Day Reading List helpful please share it with your friends!

– Grant Cunningham



About the Author:

Grant Cunningham is a renowned author and teacher in the fields of self defense, defensive shooting education and personal safety. He’s written several popular books on handguns and defensive shooting, including "The Book of the Revolver", "Shooter’s Guide To Handguns", "Defensive Revolver Fundamentals", "Defensive Pistol Fundamentals", and "Practice Strategies for Defensive Shooting" (Fall 2015.) Grant has also written articles on shooting, self defense, training and teaching for many magazines and shooting websites, including Concealed Carry Magazine, Gun Digest Magazine, the Association of Defensive Shooting Instructors ADSI) and the popular Personal Defense Network training website. He’s produced a DVD in the National Rifle Association’s Personal Firearm Defense series titled "Defensive Revolver Fundamentals" and teaches defensive shooting and personal safety courses all over the United States.
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