Your Hump Day Reading List for January 20, 2016

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This is SHOT Show week, but that hasn’t stopped me from bringing you another crop of great articles! First, Greg Ellifritz explains castle doctrine; then a PDN video about improvised weapons; after that, a look at shooting rifles to extreme precision; some talk about intuition and why it’s important; Ian McCollum looks at a gun so crude no one wanted to shoot it; I found a great article about flashlights and their beams; and The Tactical Professor talks about gunhandling and complacency. Lots of great information for you to peruse while waiting for the latest SHOT news!


What’s all the brouhaha over castle doctrine?

Castle doctrine (along with stand-your-ground) is the area of most legal confusion to people who have firearms for personal defense. Judging from the comments on social media whenever the topic is discussed, not many people really understand what castle doctrine is and what it means, but Greg Ellifritz at Active Response Training explains it in simple terms. While specific to Ohio (he’s a police officer there), the basics are generally pretty universal. Of course that should not substitute for you knowing your local laws — and that includes court decisions as well as the statute!


What can you use to defend yourself if you don’t have a gun?

There are lots of places that you can’t carry a gun. That’s a fact of life, but that doesn’t mean you need to be helpless! Chris Fry at MDTS training has become on of the “go-to” guys for employing improvised weapons, and in this PDN video he and Rob Pincus answer viewer questions about improvised and low-profile defensive tools. Definitely worth watching!


How do you shoot a .035” group at 100 yards? Well, you need a big warehouse…

One of the biggest issues with developing high-accuracy rifles and loads is the air. More specifically, moving air. On an outdoor range, even in perfectly calm conditions, there are still air currents and eddies which affect the achievable accuracy. If you have a nice, large space where you can control the air, however, you can remove one variable from a huge list. This article talks about a private shooting range in an old warehouse in Houston, where the accuracy fanatics who inhabit the place regularly shoot repeatable groups of .035” — and sometimes better. (One very interesting piece of data from their experiments: the consistency of the powder charge isn’t as critical as everyone believes. That’s going to ruffle a few feathers!)


Intuition can save your life.

The publication of Gavin de Becker’s “The Gift of Fear” brought the idea of paying attention to your intuition — that sense of things being not quite right — to the fore of public attention. Since then the importance of intuition to personal security has slipped off our radar, but as this article at the USCCA points out we should take another look at our “sixth sense”. With some specific examples the author makes a case for paying closer attention to what your body is trying to tell you.


Every gun designer wants a piece of the action. They don’t always get it.

Back in 1907 the U.S. Military held trials to pick a new sidearm for our troops. That series of trials eventually resulted in the adoption of the Model 1911 pistol, but there were quite a number of contenders who threw their designs into the ring in hopes that they’d strike it rich. One of those was William Knoble, whose crude design was apparently so poor that the people doing the testing refused to fire it. There are very few examples of his invention still existing, but Ian at Forgotten Weapons managed to get some camera time with one of the .30 caliber versions of the Ill-fated Knoble pistol.


It’s not how much you have, but the quality. That goes for flashlights, too.

Seen the hashtag #allthelumens on social media lately? It really should be #iamignorantaboutlight. As any decent photographer can tell you, the quality of light is far more important than the quantity — and never has that been more true than with a defensive flashlight. This article at Breach, Bang Clear goes over some of the basics, and why buying brighter flashlights may in fact be counter-productive. (Having trouble with glare from surfaces in your house? You need a better light.)


Complacency kills.

Claude Werner has been focusing a lot on what he calls “negative outcomes” — things that happen which might have been prevented if the involved people had been a little more skilled or knowledgable. In this article, he talks about the importance of gunhandling and why you should never allow yourself to become complacent. It’s a good article and worth reading (though we disagree a little bit about the exact wording of the safety rules.)

-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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