Improve Your Accuracy With These Drills

The purpose of dry firing is to help you develop the proper sight alignment and trigger control without burning up a supply of expensive training ammunition. Dry firing an unloaded firearm can be practiced for hours and will help you develop the most basic fundamental skills that will help you to become a proficient firearms operator.

When you dry fire any handgun you should make sure the firearm is completely unloaded, and you’re in a safe place to train. Once you confirm that your handgun is unloaded, insert an unloaded magazine. It also pays to buy plastic bullets called “snap caps” that allow you to safely dry fire a firearm for long periods of time. Using plastic look-alike bullets also makes it more realistic when training to execute a combat reload.

To dry fire your pistol, find a spot or a specific target on a nearby wall, line up the sights and slowly squeeze the trigger. Learning to focus on your front sight is crucial to properly developing your marksmanship skills. You must keep your sights properly aligned on your target while you squeeze the trigger with just the right amount of backwards pressure required to discharge a round of ammunition. Train yourself to cycle the trigger without pulling the pistol off target.

Learning to rely on your front sight combined with the proper cycling of the trigger is what allows you to keep all shots fired on target. Failure to achieve proper sight alignment and trigger control is the main reason why you fail to deliver the right shot placement on a target during a qualification session as well as during authorized uses of deadly force.

To exert the right amount of trigger control, it helps if you use the right part of your trigger finger to make contact with the trigger. Placing your trigger finger on the trigger of your service pistol, backup gun, or off-duty gun is model dependent in that different types of trigger systems require a different part of your finger to cycle the trigger.

Law enforcement officers who use a single-action pistol such as a 1911 should use the tip of their finger to apply backward pressure on the trigger to discharge this type of pistol. Striker-fired trigger systems such as the kind used on Glock pistols also require that you use the pad of flat skin on the tip of your trigger finger to cycle the trigger in a smooth action. The last thing you want to do is “slap” the trigger.

A double action/single action trigger such as the kind used on a Classic Series DA/SA SIG Sauer pistol requires that you use the area just behind the finger tip where the first digit or joint of your trigger finger is located. This is the same position on the trigger finger that you use to cycle the trigger on a DA revolver. The reason the positioning of the trigger finger is critical to delivering the right trigger control is because you need maximum pressure to cycle a DA revolver, a DA pistol trigger and a DAO trigger while less backward pressure is needed to cycle a striker-fired or a single-action trigger system.

If you have problems keeping your shots center mass, you’re probably “pulling” your shots to the left or right by jerking the trigger to one side or the other. This doesn’t mean you can’t rapidly fire a striker-fired trigger or a DA/SA trigger. All it means is there’s a technique involved that must be properly executed or the bullets you fire won’t be delivered into the right location of your target. Moving your wrist when you pull the trigger and flinching when you react to the force of recoil are other movements that can throw your aim off and make you miss the scoring area by a few inches or more.

To avoid what is commonly called “slapping” the trigger, you should reset the trigger for each shot. The main reason for using a trigger reset is so you can apply the smoothest follow through when you cycle a trigger on a pistol.

“Too many times shooters pull the trigger and then go to a ready position in the same motion,” Deputy Chris Martin, a firearms instructor with the Pinal County (Ariz.) Sheriffs Office, tells POLICE Magazine. “I tell my students they should do everything to fire another shot except pull the trigger. In other words, if the string of fire calls for three rounds, we should be ready to fire a fourth. If we as instructors can instill that mindset in our students we also avoid those shooters that focus on the target, looking to see where their bullet went.”

Deputy Martin and other modern day firearms instructors are training sworn personnel to discharge their firearms with the smoothest trigger pull and ensure the shortest response time possible to facilitate the firing of follow-up shots when necessary.

When revolvers were widely used in law enforcement, firearms instructors taught sworn personnel to use a technique called “ball and dummy” to deliver accurate shot placement without flinching or reacting negatively to the force of recoil and muzzle blast. The ball-and-dummy technique requires that you load several but not all of the cylinders of your revolver before you close and lock the cylinder. When shooters anticipate recoil and flinch, their hit potential suffers. The point of this exercise is to be surprised when your revolver discharges.

Training with the ball-and-dummy technique helps you to develop the proper trigger control when shooting a revolver. When you train, it’s important to use snappier .38 Special +P and .357 Magnum service ammunition.

The same concept applies to semi-autos. Every time you pull the trigger, focus on your trigger control, on your breathing, your sight alignment and even on the speed in which you cycle the trigger. It’s better to be a tad slow and hit what you are aiming at, rather than be the fastest shot in town and miss the target. Many LEOs will blast away when there’s plenty of time left in each stage of fire during qualification. Firing too quickly can create a bad habit and foster a conditioned response that you may take with you into the field when you’re forced to discharge a firearm during an authorized use of deadly force situation.

A “ready up” drill can be one of the best exercises to help you improve your proficiency with firearms. It works with handguns, patrol rifles, sub-machine guns, select fire tactical rifles and shotguns. To conduct a ready up drill, first load your pistol. Keep it holstered while you face the same target you use when you qualify.

For the drill itself, draw your pistol and fire one round as soon as your front sight covers the scoring area of the target. You can repeat a ready up drill until your firearm is empty at which time you should execute a combat reload and return to firing one shot at a time.

A ready up drill helps you to develop faith in the use of your front sight because you pull the trigger in the split second that your front sight covers the scoring area of a man-size target. When you repeat this process over and over again, you develop confidence in relying on your front sight each and every time you go hot to engage targets.

Ready up drills can be modified to prepare you to meet different types of threats. You should have some fun when you’re training, so don’t be afraid to be innovative, as long as you are safe in your execution. Every time you draw your pistol, fire one more round each time before re-holstering. A modified ready up drill helps you to get away from the typical firing of one or two rounds at a time. In real-life situations, you may be required to fire multiple stings of shots that involve different numbers of bullets.

To train for this situation, draw and fire different numbers of multiple rounds. For those targets that no longer score head shots you can fire strings of different numbers of rounds of ammunition into the chest or pelvic area of a man-size target. The point of this exercise is not to develop one conditioned response every time you draw and fire a handgun. The same goes for patrol rifle and shotgun training.

The beauty of ready up drills is that you can see your progress with every shot fired because these drills should be conducted at fairly close ranges not to exceed 15 or 20 feet when engaging paper targets. Shooting at these distances enables you to see where your bullets are impacting the target so you can adjust your fire accordingly.

As a law enforcement officer, it would be irresponsible to be mediocre shot and not try to improve your firearms proficiency. The time has come for law enforcement agencies to hold sworn personnel more accountable by requiring all LEOs to do more than barely qualify with firearms they carry on and off duty.


Review: Kel-Tec Sub-2000

Looking for a dependable, carry-anywhere, pistol-caliber carbine (PCC) for backpacking or the homestead? Look no further than Kel-Tec and check out its Sub-2000.

From GandA. 

Arriving in a box, no larger than one of my kids’ old board games, the Sub-2000 Gen 2 was nestled in and folded up, not broken down. We’re used to getting “long” guns shipped in long, narrow, rectangular boxes. So, it took a few seconds to wrap my mind around a gun that folds into a 16-by-7-inch space.


Picking up the gun, it was definitely heavier than it looked. Not to say a 4¼-pound firearm is heavy, but the strategic use of polymer camouflaged its apparent heft and its performance capabilities.

Even the folding rear sight is synthetic. Which is fine with me, as I’d prefer to have the lightest back-up sight possible, as my plan from the start was to mount a miniature red dot sight. When the gun is folded, the front sight tucks into a recess in the stock and the rear sight is pushed flush with the top of the receiver.


To fold up the gun, you first pull down on the tabs located on the triggerguard that disengages the two halves. Then rotate the 16-inch, suppressor-ready threaded barrel assembly backwards until it is captured by a clasp located on the stock.

The gun comes with a crossbolt safety and a bolt retaining notch that has to be manually set. You’ll have to get used to the safety since it works opposite of most other guns. The magazine release is located on the left side much like on most pistols.


Each carbine comes with one, 15-round Magpul PMAG15 GL-9 magazine that corresponds to the variant you’re shooting. In our case, we had a model that took Glock 17 and 19 magazines. Kel-Tec also makes variants to take mags from the Smith & Wesson M&P, SIG Sauer P226, and the Beretta 92 and 96.

Meeting in the Middle

I practiced unhitching, unfolding and charging to see how fast I could get the Kel-Tec into action. While the pivot point is a bit stiff (who wants a floppy gun biting a finger or damaging itself), it was easy to overcome and told me with a reassuring loud click that everything was aligned. However, charging the firearm was a different story – it was a bear.


Putting on my designer hat, I could understand why it was so heavy. Coupled with the two-piece bolt assembly, they needed to be hefty to compensate for the pressures generated by the pistol-caliber cartridge in a small carbine. You can definitely hear and feel the strength of the spring as the bolt assembly travels forward.

However, this poses a drawback for shooters who may not have the upper-body strength to cycle the action. If the gun had a last-shot bolt hold open function, it would help, but the Sub-2000 doesn’t. You have to rack the action each time a new magazine is inserted.


It wasn’t until I got to the range for testing that a healthy dose of gun oil and 300 rounds downrange made everything loosen up for a more favorable relationship.

Performance Unveiled

I was thrilled with the gun’s accuracy with and without an Aimpoint Comp5 red dot attached. Of the six 9mm loads I had on hand, the Sub-2000 preferred the lighter Hornady 100-grain Critical Defense FTX Lite ammunition, turning in the day’s best 50-yard group of .56 inch. But the heavier 147-grain bullets in the Federal Personal Defense HST and SIG Sauer Elite V-Crown JHP offerings printed groups almost as small at .87 inch and .88 inch, respectively. The Federal load did edge out the Hornady load by .08 inch for best group average of 1.45 inches.


When finding the right load for the Sub-2000, remember bullet drop happens a lot faster than you think. If you were to zero using a 100-grain load at 50 yards, then switch to a 147-grain load without recalibrating the sight(s), you could be inches off from your original point of impact (POI). It’s understandable, heavy bullets traveling at slower velocities will drop sooner. Even from a 16-inch barrel, the average velocities for the 147-grain pistol loads were nowhere near the 1300+ feet per second (fps) set by the lighter bullets.

After our standard 50-yard group testing was done, I decided to see what the Sub-2000 would do at 100. Selecting the lighter SIG Sauer 115-grain JHPs and Hornady’s 100-grain FTX Lites, I shot 20 rounds of each at standard 100-yard rifle targets. Making sure the Aimpoint was zeroed at 50 yards, I began peppering the 8-inch black circles on the targets.


The carbine tallied 15 out of 20 shots in the black with the SIG Sauer ammo. Whereas, with the 100-grain Hornady Lites, it could only score 8 hits, with more scatter. This proves why you should not take your ammo choice for granted. While the 100-grainers were better at 50 yards, they fell behind as the distance doubled. So, test thoroughly.

After a day on the range, I would be very confident engaging targets out to 100 yards as long as I knew the holds for bullet drop. While the trigger pull was tested at just over 7 pounds, I was still able to turn in groups at 50 yards that average around 3½ inches from a sandbag rest with the iron sights. However, with the Aimpoint attached, it was almost surgical, engaging orange clays scattered over the range from 50 to 100 yards. And for the cherry on the top, it didn’t fail once. No, miss fires. No jams. Zippo. Very dependable.



Aside from the hefty recoil spring, the gun’s buttstock could stand a bit of rubber to make it less slick against clothing. I’d also look into getting a cheek pad to fit over the receiver tube and the buttstock to minimize the felt recoil to the face. Check out the Kel-Tec website and other aftermarket suppliers for these items and other additions to make your Sub-2000 special.

Load – 9mm Average Velocity (fps) SD ES Best Group (in.) Average Group Size (in.)
Hornady Critical Defense Lite 100-gr. FTX 1342 20 45 .56 1.53
Federal Personal Defense 147-gr. HST 1099 12 31 .87 1.45
SIG Sauer Elite V-Crown 147-gr. JHP 1076 12 33 .88 2.10
SIG Sauer Elite V-Crown 115-gr. JHP 1320 16 53 1.46 1.88
Federal Personal Def. Hydra-Shot 135-gr. JHP 1129 16 38 1.89 2.19
Hornady Critical Defense 115-gr. FTX 1307 20 56 2.06 2.38

Notes: Accuracy is the average of five, five-shot groups fired from a sandbag rest at 50 yards aided by an Aimpoint Comp5 red dot sight. Velocity results are the average of five shots measured by a LabRadar adjacent to the muzzle.



Kel-Tec Sub-2000

Type: Semiautomatic, blowback

Cartridge: 9mm

Magazine: 15 rds.

Overall Length: 30 in.

Barrel: 16 in.; 1:10 twist

Weight: 4.25 lbs.

Stock: Polymer

Grip: Polymer

Trigger: 7.4 lbs. (tested)

Finish: Black polymer, anodized matte-black nitrite (metal)

Sights: Fixed rear; adjustable front post (elevation and windage)

Muzzle Device: Suppressor ready

MSRP: $500

Manufacturer: Kel-Tec, 321-890-1850,

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Molot Short-Barrel Shotgun – Get them before they’re gone!

The Molot shotguns and rifles are in limited stock due to the U.S. sanctions imposed some time ago. There are already a number of models that are out of stock, and there is no telling how much longer this short barrel shotgun will last.

This semi-auto short barrel shotgun with a folding stock is imported from the Molot factory in Russia. Vepr 12 shotguns are semi-automatic designed for self-defense, hunting, and 3-gun competitions. Based on the RPK standard, the Vepr 12 shares the same legendary characteristics of extreme reliability in harsh conditions as the RPK.

Folding Stock
Featuring a factory short barrel, Left-side folding tubular buttstock with cheek rest and sling loop, competition magazine well, one (each) factory 8-round and 5-round magazine included, RPK style windage adjustable rear sight, hinged dust cover with a Picatinny rail, original AK enhanced safety lever (single finger operation), factory chrome lined barrel, chamber, receiver shaft, and gas chamber, factory last round bolt hold open, factory threaded barrel, factory machined bolt assembly, and gas blocks. US factory made parts: polymer lower handguard and upper handguard, pistol grip, trigger, hammer, disconnector, and gas puck.
James Reeves reviews the SBS!
James Reeves from TFBTV had the opportunity to come and shoot the SBS for a video review. Check it out!



Taking a Dremel tool to a firearm is almost always frowned upon. And I agree.

However, butchering a holster might be entirely appropriate, depending on the reason. The other day I shared a story about how the extremely challenging Air Marshal Pistol Qualification test exposed some opportunities for gear improvement. The need for top speed leaves no room for even the slightest hang-up caused by equipment issues.

Well, that started a dangerous binge. No, I didn’t subject any firearms to Dremel abuse. However, I did complete some very minor and gentle performance modifications to an old Crossbreed SuperTuck Deluxe IWB holster. In other words, I hacked the crap out of it with scissors and power tools.

It doesn't look pretty, but it sure is functional.

Here’s why. This particular holster is for a Beretta PX4, and I’ve dug it out of the drawer-o-holsters to use with a Beretta PX4 Compact Carry 9mm pistol. It’s a smaller gun, so everything is a bit closer together. The grip is shorter, so it’s harder to get a perfect hold while the gun is holstered. If you don’t, you’ll have to tweak your grip while extracting, rotating, and raising the pistol. That’s a bad thing. What I found was that my fingers were being obstructed by the leather back panel and that my middle finger knuckle was jamming into part of the Kydex shell. That definitely fouls up any opportunity for a perfect draw.

Post surgery, both leather and Kydex were well out of the way of my normal grip.

Cut but don’t compromise holster safety

So, feeling industrious, I got some heavy-duty scissors and performed my own “combat cut” to remove leather from under the entire grip area. I then broke out the Dremel tool (gasp!) and ground out a rounded cut to make room for my middle finger. Hey, it’s not as bad as it sounds. I did take care to use the felt polishing wheel to smooth out my surgical cuts after shredding plastic with a sanding drum. By the way, the sanding drum, while not approved by the Leather Workers of America Guild, does a reasonable job of repairing rough scissor cuts on leather. Just sayin’.

Voila! This custom rig now allows a quick and smooth draw with absolutely no interference. The “combat cut” in the leather allows all fingers to go where they need to on the grip and my middle finger knuckle no longer jams into the Kydex shell. It doesn’t look pretty, but I figure it’s concealed anyway, so who cares?

All finished!

The moral of the story is simple. With the exception of pairing Dremel tools and firearms, don’t be afraid to tweak your gear if it will give you better function. Holsters, magazine carriers, belts, and even guns are simply tools. If some surgery (with professional gunsmith assistance for firearm work!) can make them perform better for your needs, then don’t worry about altering the shiny factory finish.


Tactical Red Dot Review: Aimpoint H2 and T2


The first manufacturer of red dot sights was Aimpoint. Today, Aimpoint remains at the top of the heap. Aimpoint’s red dots are proven in harsh conditions and combat the world over. They have been the mainstay for police agencies and professionals that appreciate a quality optic, and should be a top choice for you as well.

While not inexpensive, the Aimpoint costs less than some gear that is far less proven. The design is excellent, and it has a proven track record. While all Aimpoint gear is durable and useful, some are better suited than others to specific situations.

There are a number of red dot sights that I feel offer the most versatility. I think the two Micro sights, the T1 and H2, work best for most of us. Each is a good, durable sight with notable features. They are also suitable for use with a magnifier if need be.

Each has the red dot advantage of extreme speed and allowing the use of the red dot with both eyes open. An advantage of the new Aimpoint is also battery life. They will last for five years on a single battery. That is a great leap from early red dot sights and many that are still in use.

With 1x—that is one power or no magnification—the red dot is intended for the edge at very close range.

The H2 and T2 are both very compact and weigh but three ounces or so, making for a compact package. However, the H2 and T2 are both service grade. The T2 features several settings for compatibility with night vision optics.

The H2 is mounted on my personal AR-15 and a Wilson Combat AR9-9mm handgun. Picatinny or Weaver mount, either Aimpoint may be adapted to the specific firearm. When you order a Red Dot, be certain to specify whether you want a 2 or 4 MOA reticle. The choice is important, and you will need to think about how the sight will be used.

The H2 has 12 settings, but none for night vision use. That doesn’t matter at all to me, but the T2 will be choice for tactical operators. The T2 has less daylight settings but the night vision setting will be pretty important to some users. The T2 is also proofed for a wider variety of climatic conditions.

As for accuracy potential, I recently took the Wilson Combat AR9 to the range and fired over 200 rounds of Federal Syntech training ammunition—150 of the 115-grain and 50 of the 124-grain load. Accuracy was excellent at all ranges, with headshots being carried off at a long 100 yards. Firing from the bench rest firing position, and taking a careful aim, I placed five of the Federal Syntech rounds into less than one inch. This is an accurate AR-type pistol but the Aimpoint H2 Micro delivers the excellent accuracy.

If you are in a situation in which the sight cannot fail, and your life is worth the expense, then the Aimpoint Red Dot is for you.

Read more here…

Do you have a favorite red dot sight? Is it an Aimpoint? Share your answer in the comment section.

Five Best Concealed Carry Revolvers

Manasquan, NJ –-( I love revolvers as they are a tried and true design, simple to use and easy to maintain, with just enough capacity and caliber to get the job done.

As a firearms instructor I am asked all the time by my students, “What is the best concealed carry revolvers?”

My top five picks for the best concealed carry revolvers for reliable self defense include the five following wheelguns:

  • Ruger SP101 357 Mag, 2.25″ Revolver
  • Smith & Wesson 642 Handgun 38 Special Revolver
  • Ruger LCR-LG 38 Spl+P Revolver with Crimson Trace Lasergrips
  • S&W M&P 340 Revolver
  • Taurus Judge Public Defender Polymer Revolver

Ruger SP101 357 Mag, 2.25″ Revolver:

The Ruger SP101 357 Mag, 2.25″ Revolver fitted with the Crimson Trace LG-111 Defender Series Lasergrips are designed to put the shooter on target quickly and accurately. The Ruger SP101 has a spurless hammer for a snag free carry and draw, features 2.25 inch barrel and fixed sights. These 5-shot stainless steel revolvers are chambered for .357 Magnum and can also fire .38 Special ammunition, including .38+P cartridges.

The Crimson Trace LG-111 Defender Series Lasergrips are constructed of hard durable polymer. The red beam laser is activated by a pressure switch located on the front of the grip, making it instinctively usable for right- or left-handed shooters. The laser is adjustable for windage and elevation using an Allen wrench (provided).You Can Never Be Too Prepared. The SP101 revolver boasts the strength to handle the powerful .357 Magnum and .327 Federal Magnum cartridges in a controllable, small-framed double-action revolver. Among the most powerful small-frame revolvers on the market, they are engineered for solid performance. Featuring a recoil-reducing grip, the SP101 is comfortable to shoot and perfect for personal defense or field use.Strong and reliable shot after shot, all SP101 revolvers boast solid steel sidewalls (no side-plates), making them rugged, reliable, and dependable.

Available in .327 Federal Magnum, .38 Special and .357 Magnum (which also accepts the less expensive .38 Special cartridges), you can count on the SP101 when you need it.


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The thermometer in my car read 101°, but that didn’t account for the fact that the humidity level was 3,012%.

Besides picking the worst day in 2018 to do outdoor range work I was still having fun, sweltering or not. I was learning the United States Air Marshal pistol qualification. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s hard. Really hard. It involves shooting and drawing both gun and magazines exceptionally fast while maintaining precise accuracy performance. It’ll challenge just about anyone, and few can run it clean.

So, the bottom line was this. It was hot, scorching hot. It was also humid – recall that 3,012% humidity factor. That means I was sweaty and gear was damp. I was shooting a Sig Sauer P229 that uses steel magazines, and my carry gear was all leather – an outside the waistband holster and a dual magazine carrier. Here was the problem. As the humidity and sweat increased things started to get sticky when drawing from the holster and extracting magazines from the carrier.

Sure, they would still come out, but the draw was inconsistent and tugged here and there as the leather got damp and more flexible. The feel was inconsistent and certainly not fast. Normally, I might not have noticed or complained, but the Air Marshal Qualification does a great job of exposing subtle gear and technique problems because the time limits are so aggressive.  If you’re off by 1/100th of a second on one string, you fail the whole qualification.

Kydex is unaffected by moisture and humidity and my draw inconsistency improved noticeably.

Anyway, those little annoyances like an extra tug required half-way through gun or magazine extractions got me thinking. In some cases, I make gear choices based on convenience. The leather magazine carrier I was using has a wide snap loop attachment, so I don’t have to thread my belt to take it on and off. That’s convenient and supports my laziness factor. It’s the same with that particular holster. However, those conveniences were costing me dearly regarding performance in these heat of the summer conditions.

I love these magazine carriers from Blue Force Gear (right). They're thin, flexible, comfortable, secure, and most important offer a slick and consistent draw.

Other Options?

After blowing a few stages, I switched out my gear and went to a Kydex holster. Not too surprisingly, all of my “moisture-related” troubles evaporated. For the magazine carriers, I switched out to some Blue Force Gear Double Magazine Pouches.

These are made from some magic stretchy material that not only adjusts to any magazine size from skinny single stacks to fat 45-caliber double stacks, but it’s also slick on the draw regardless of conditions. The stretch gives you plenty of security – a magazine won’t fall out on its own, but the material allows easy inconsistent extraction so there won’t be any sticky spots when you go to retrieve a magazine in a hurry.

So, what was the lesson? The aggressive and challenging nature of this drill meant that tiny differences in performance, whether skill or equipment related, were exposed. When a small fraction of a second means the difference between pass or fail, it’s easy to notice what’s slowing you down. In more normal conditions, that leather works like a champ. Everything is smooth and consistent – it was only the unusual combinations of use and conditions that exposed a potential problem. From here on out, I might be evaluating new gear a little differently.

Tom McHale is a committed learning junkie always seeking a new subject victim. As a lifelong student of whatever grabs his attention on any particular day, he thrives on beating rabbit trails into submission. In between his time as a high-tech marketing executive, restaurant owner, and hamster cosmetology practitioner, he’s published seven books and nearly 1,500 articles about guns, shooting, and the American way.

Why Lasers Are Gaining Popularity

ShieldWall Note: We recommend laser usage primarily on AR platform and related carbines, rather than on side arms, simply for the restrictions a laser places on concealed carry. 

Once appearing on the business end of a bad guy’s gun — a la Terminator — weapon mounted lasers and lights have leapt off the Hollywood big screen and onto the pistols of consumers looking to add more capabilities to their concealed carry and home defense pistols.

While training instructors years past discouraged the use of aiming devices, tides have turned and now more and more trainers and schools are coming on board the laser/light train. Why are laser/lights gaining steam in the training community and what advantages do gun owners have in slapping one on their gun?

Laser/light combos are devices that offer both illumination and laser aiming capabilities. The goal is to offer both a lighting solution that enables users to keep both hands on the firearm and a laser that allows users to effectively aim the firearm at the intended target. Laser/lights come in a few flavors but the most popular styles are the rail mounted and grip mounted versions. A rail mounted laser fits snugly just in front of the trigger guard on a rail equipped gun, while the grip mounted device replaces the factory grip on the pistol.

The laser/light market itself has expanded with companies like Streamlight, SureFire, Viridian and Crimson Trace offering more products designed for consumers looking to add-on to their current CC or home defense pistol.

Though instructors have long encouraged the use of handheld lights to identify targets prior to engagement, laser/light combos have had their fair share of doubters. One of the biggest concerns has been that lasers will encourage lazy gun owners who don’t seek out training, solely placing their faith in a mechanical device. A device that some say can easily fail under pressure.

“It’s one more thing to manipulate,” Instructor John Lovell explained while outlining the cons of laser/lights in a video. “You can have it there but you don’t always have it toggled on or it doesn’t have a pressure switch or its another button you have to remember to hit. An untrained person is just not going to remember to do that.

Despite the risk that some users might turn their backs on training in favor of the laser capability many trainers are now advocating for the use of laser/light combo, stating they are more helpful than harmful. In addition to expanding options for gun owners who might not be able to get pistol training right away, laser/light combos also offer the benefit of helping shooters better see their target in low light situations as well as offering a means to better shoot in unorthodox situations.

“It’s great for untrained people who, under stress, aren’t going to look at the sight picture. If it’s built into the grip and they can just point and the laser happens to appear, they have a much higher likelihood of hitting their target —even if doesn’t have perfect zero— than something with iron sights,” Lovell added.

Instructor Rob Pincus said he’s spent the past few decades evaluating and reevaluating his stance on laser/lights and now believes these tools can be a helpful resource for gun owners.

“I currently believe that a laser mounted on a small defensive carry gun expands the circumstances under which you could use the gun for defense much more than a light would,” Pincus said in a post on social media. “For larger guns, having a light/laser combo similarly expands contextual usefulness for the average armed homeowner or CCWer much more than just a [weapon mounted light] would.”

Do laser/lights replace quality instruction and good technique? No. But what laser/lights offer is a fighting chance in low light and unorthodox positions.


Proofing Self-Defense Guns

By Dave Dolbee in Safety and Training


Here is a little tale that teaches a good lesson. While at the local gun show, I found a sweet deal on a new compact handgun. Having plenty of experience with the brand, I decided to offer it a home. The safe where it would primarily reside ensured it would be in good company. Due to its diminutive size, I planned to ensure it received plenty of time in the fresh air filling a role as my BUG (Back-up Gun). My new BUG looked so great, two of my buddies decided they needed to buy its siblings, so after a bit of paperwork and a few days, we walked out with three identical handguns.

malfunction clearance drills

About a week later, I headed to the range with a handful of different loads. I needed to proof the gun before carry. My two buddies showed up, each carrying their new guns—unfired, loaded, and concealed. I did not agree, and wondered (silently) whether that was a smart idea…

Shrugging off the worries of what others were doing, excitedly I loaded up the BUG and started punching holes in the target. I made it through the first two rounds. After that, the gun would fire the round in the chamber, but failed to eject and therefore load a new round. I fieldstripped, cleaned, and lubricated the piece to no avail. I tried my spare magazines as well as proofing my magazines in the other two pistols.

A new pistol with a failure is a shame, but certainly not unheard of. While disappointing, I discovered the problem and quickly shipped it back to the manufacturer for repair. That is not the point of this story though, neither is the particular make or model.

How many times have you heard a friend or relative talk of owning a gun they had never fired, yet relied on it for defense? They bought the gun, loaded it, and locked it away for an emergency. Or, just as bad, they carried the gun for self-defense without function firing it to ensure it would tolerate a steady diet of the intended self-defense ammunition.

Walther CCP handgun showing a failure to feed

In manufacturing, failure rates are a fact of life. In fact, it is such an important part of reliable manufacturing; it is represented by the Greek letter λ (lambda) and calculated during the design process. This is important when we think of carrying a new gun before properly proofing or dumping it in a handgun safe by the side of the bed for home defense.

When the SHTF, you’ll be the one whose carcass is on the line, so be sure you are comfortable with the testing you perform. If you are unsure of how to, or how much, you need to test your handgun, the following regimen is a good minimum.

First, let me back up and caution you to not give up on a new gun too soon. While most firearms today are good to go out of the box, others will require 50-200 rounds to properly break them in and work off any rough edges. For this, I use less expensive range ammunition. It has the quality I need to trust the ammunition, without the added expense. Besides, to be dependable, the gun should shoot inexpensive ammunition as well as it does premium self-defense ammunition.

Practice trigger control at home with dry fire drills, and plenty of live fire at the range to proof the gun and hone your skills.

I start by loading all magazines to capacity with the ammunition I plan to load for defense. I fire the first 10-20 rounds one at a time, and check the gun and my grip after each shot. Next, I fire at least 10 rounds of double taps. After that comes at least 10 rounds fired while rotating the gun from 9 o’clock to 3 o’clock to ensure the pistol fires at any angle. All magazines are tested by shooting each, fully loaded, to ensure the magazine release holds when fully loaded and the last round feeds as well as the first did.

After passing, without a single failure to feed, fire, or eject, I give the pistol a thorough cleaning and proper lubrication. Finally, I fire a couple more rounds, just to ensure everything went back together properly, and before topping of the magazine and relying on the pistol for self-defense. Remember, this is a minimum. You’ll need plenty of practice to ensure you are fully comfortable with the handgun’s controls, reloading and sights. Live fire is always best, but dry fire practice is a critical element to developing these skills as well, and its free!

Have you ever carried or kept a firearm for self-defense without properly testing it first? How do you test your firearms? Share your testing procedure in the comment section.


Every American patriot should own a firearm, especially for home defense.

Your family lives there, you must protect them.

Personally I think every new home should come with a firearm and training manual as standard equipment.

But what kind?

There’s always confusion over whether a rifle or handgun is the right choice in a defense or survival situation.

Some argue that a rifle is more useful. For example, you can hunt with a rifle. Handguns are not designed for hunting due to their shorter range. Unless you’re really a great shot.

But you can’t really use a rifle in a home invasion situation. Or can you? Well, unless it’s an AR-15, as the recent incident in Texas where a young man slew three home invaders with one demonstrated.

Rifle rounds are often too powerful and can be dangerous inside because the round can go through walls and hit things they shouldn’t, like your family and neighbors.

A handgun is by far the better choice for interior home defense, over a rifle.

Easy to control and enough stopping power to drop an intruder before they can reach you.

But if you’re dealing with an onslaught situation where you can see hostiles moving toward you then you’ll need a rifle to defend your home long range.

In reality, all the arguments between rifle or handgun are completely pointless because of one reason.

You should have both.

A rifle for long range defense and hunting, and a handgun for close quarters defense and personal protection.

There is a perfect tool for almost every situation, you just need to have the right one…..

For home defense, a good choice for excellent coverage with less overpenetration is a shotgun. Twelve gauge, pump action, 00 buckshot.

Why not one of each?

Together We Are Strong,

Paraphrased from Robert Taylor for The ShieldWall Network