Aimpoint T-1 & T-2

The new Aimpoint T-2 is making making its way to the market. TheFirearmBlog posted up a video made by Jonathan Owen comparing the T-1 & T-2.

The T-2 looks like it has some nice little incremental improvements over the T-1, and but at this time I wouldn’t recommend throwing out your T-1 for a T-2. I really like the Aimpoint T-1 and highly recommend it.

The T-1 and T-2 cost more then some may want to pay. Then if your going to use one on an AR15 you generally have to drop about another $100 on a taller mount. If money is tight, look at the Aimpoint PRO. The PRO can be had for under $400, and has all the good features of the more expensive Aimpoints.

USPSA – Fast, Affordible Self Evaluation of Your Skills

USPSA match

This last week I went to my first USPSA match with a G19. I didn’t know what to expect out of a match, as all the videos posted online make it seem like everyone you go up against will be a speed freak with a laser like shot to the target. Seeing those videos can really put a dent in your resolve as you may believe that you won’t be able to compete.

First off, your will to get better should be the driving force behind your practice, the gun courses you take, and the competitions you go to. Watching too many videos of the World Class He-Men and She-Ra shooters will make you feel outclassed, so stop watching them and start doing! As pistol is my weakest skill, I *was* outclassed by many shooters… but the reason I went is because I know my pistol hand sucks. Perhaps for that reason, pistols were left behind when I need those skills as much as I need rifle skills.

The USPSA match would put me in the same position as it did when I began to compete with my rifle; it would put me out of my comfort zone and into a field were I could test my mettle against better shooters. It would give me a basis to compare myself and learn what I need to work on to master my sidearm.

“Make Ready and Holster Your Weapon”

I joined up and entered as a production division shooter which amounts to a 10 round magazine capacity limit on a box stock gun. New sights are allowed. I had a holster and a Blade-Tech mag holster and brought a total of 5 mags. The gear you need is really sparse, as a pistol, eyes, ears, ammo, gear bag, a mag pouch, and a holster are all you need to get started.

GLock 17 Rudy Project Shooting
Some good sunnies will help make your targets pop! Rudy Project RX.

Each course was held in a bay with a total of five bays and five squads of shooters. Each course was set up to allow you to problem solve the situation and determine which targets would get your attention first. Two rounds on each target, with steel targets needing to be knocked down to be neutralized were the main COF.

I like to run guns with a more universal approach. I want to be able to compete in any event with the same guns I would use if the deepest, darkest SHTFANTASY erupted. I want my guns to be all the same, and each of them nearly worn out by the time I die. I want to be the man with one gun, or in my case multiple guns in the same platform. So any guns I shoot will be on the practical side… even if they cost me the National Championship. Yea No.

“Is the Shooter Ready? Standby: Beep!”

The courses were a challenge and pushed me and my G19 to hit COM as fast as I could keep in control. My biggest blunders of the day were failing to engage two targets completely. I didn’t see them as I ran the course too fast and I obscured them by moving to a different location. Otherwise, I hit all my steel and generally hit the targets where I was supposed to. The biggest challenge in weapon manipulation was focusing on the front sight in spite of the excitement of the COF.

I find that running my gun in a USPSA match was invaluable, and cheap, way to learn to self correct my deficits. Some takeaways from the day:

  • Your gonna suck, so just get it over with… the suck will go away
  • Your weapon will be well suited to have a malfunction in a USPSA environment
  • You can only improve so much on a static target or if you are static at the gun range
  • The “game” will, at the very least, help you improve your speed on target and follow up shots

“Clear Weapon, Show Clear, Hammer Down, Holster!”

The sport of USPSA will be a great, low cost means to improve my shooting with my CCW and my new *Home Defense Pistol* which is basically a G17 that I will modify for the hell of it. Get your gun working for you, and don’t hesitate to take it to a competition. There is far more to the art of the gun than shooting at a static target at crowded shooting lane on a Saturday afternoon. Avoid the non-member range danger, and try out a well controlled, challenging sport which will push you to master that pistol! It is NOT a complicated sport, and anyone can get into USPSA.

Video Courtesy of Guns1961

As a supplement to my rifle, its going to be a great year of shooting ahead! – The New Rifleman

Auto Ordnance Tommy Gun

There is just some cool about the Tommy gun. The is Thompson submachine Gun is a piece of Americana, something cool and classic like a Harley Davidson. Few Americans don’t feel something when they see one.

Sadly, the day of the Tommygun is over. It is obsolete, as large as a M4 with stock extended(longer if you have a 16 inch barreled Thompson), but much heavier. Expensive and complex to produce, much smaller lighter, newer weapons give much more capability. The original Thompson is a collectable American classic, but new production ones leave much to be desired.

Back around 2002 I saved up and purchased a new Auto Ordnance Thompson. It was a real lemon. Constant malfunctions. I think I once managed to fire 5 shots in a row with out a jam. Both the front and rear sight fell off. When I sent it back to the factory they used over sized self tapping screws to try and hold the rear sight on the soft receiver. Those screws were so large that the rear sight couldn’t fold down properly. Yet the rear sight still stayed loose. It was a piece of junk that I sold at a loss.

Since then Kahr has purchased Auto Ordnance. The wood looks nicer on these rifles, they have a nicer charging handle, and the front sight is pinned on. I have seen several of these newer, slightly nicer, Thompsons at the range and they still tend to have reliability problems, rear sights falling off, and other issues.

Not to long ago, I was at the range sighting in a new AR upper I picked up, and the shooter to the left of me was shooting an Auto Ordnance Thompson. I don’t know when it was made, but it is one of the newer ones with the improvements that happened after Kahr bought them. I had casually mentioned that I had one in the past and had issues. Then while I was sighting in my scope I noticed this Thompson had issues also.

Not much later, the owner of this rifle had a showstopping malfunction, and got a Range Officer for help. That RO got another RO for help, who said to get me. First inspection the rifle showed it was jammed bolt partway open. Previously people tried to drive it back, and it would not move more, so I attempted to move it forwards. It did move, and then I was able to see that the extractor has popped out of its channel and jammed the whole gun up. Fortunatly I managed to get it out, and the weapon was cleared. I gave the owner of the Auto Ordnance Thompson the best advice I could, “Sell it to someone you don’t like.” Then I found out it was also piercing primers.
Auto Ordnance Thompson

The Assault on Vicksburg Part 1

Vicksburg  had a population of 5,000. It set on a 200 foot bluff on the east bank of the Mississippi river  below , the river  jagged into a steep hairpin curve.   Between there and Memphis, TN the bluffs ran far inland and the land around the rive, if it could be called land, was swampy soggy and soft. The ground was often flooded and covered with water and was deemed impassable for an army. The Yazoo river blocked the land approach from the north and in every other direction the a hostile people populated the are. From 1862 the CSA  installed cannon  batteries below the town to command the river approach from the south  and later batteries were added above above the town.    If an invading force wanted to travel the river, they had to run a stretch of river while looking into the bores of the defenders batteries.

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Vicksburg was rightly seen as the most critical piece of the war.  Without Vicksburg and control of the river, federal troops would make no real progress in the war allowing the CSA the full run of their territory. Troops could be moved west to eat and back as well as supplies.  It was key to take Fortress Vicksburg to win the war.

After a brilliant and amazing campaign still studied to this day, General U.S. Grant and his army had closed within  shouting distance of the fortresses works.  With the clock ticking and troops being sent to relieve reinforce and Johnston presumably massing an army in Grant’s rear to relieve the now surrounded fort it was time to take by force the objective of months of  fighting, marching and maneuvering.

the morning of 19th of May, Grant decided to order a general assault.  After the long hard months of fighting, it was thought that with the sudden assault from all direction, the confederates’ will to stand and fight would fail under the pressure of the army that had cornered them after the long campaign.

On the right , Sherman was in command and was to learn that confederate soldiers had not and would not give up as easily as hoped.  Facing Sherman’s troops was a the Stockade Redan complex.  In the front of the complex was a revine  covered with fallen trees  as an obstacle.  The union troops charged into it during the assault and quickly found it had to keep organized. Once caught in the killing zone, the rebel troops poured merciless rifle and cannon fire into them. Men quickly took cover among the fallen trees and were pinned to the ground unable to  move as ball, canister and shell racked them.

Further to the right of the assault on the complex, the men of the 13th Infantry came out from behind a hill hiding them while they had formed up for the attack. Running double time rushed them head long into a beaten zone of rebel fire  of canister and shell fire.  As they attempted to rush forward men fell by the score,  arms torn off by canister while shot blasted ragged holes through chests. Cannon shell removed legs and flung screaming regulars in the air while other men fell dead instantly in a small mercy.   Those that made it across the ravine found themselves caught in a crossfire from the Stockade and men in a lunette on the left of the stockade.

“Color SGT James E Brown was shot through the head and killed. Another soldier instantly piked up the colors, and was immediately killed . In all. five different men were killed or wounded as the sought to carry the colors forward” 

The men closed to within 25 yards of the Redan, succumbed to the blister fire and pressure and fell back to the cover in the fallen trees and timber in the ravine.  After the first assault the 13th’s flag was found to have 55 holes shot through it with the battalion losing 13 percent of its strength. For its bravery  Sherman authorized the unit to insert “First at Vicksburg  into the colors.

vicksburg

It soon became clear the assault in front of Sherman was not going to carry through the rebel works.  The General realized he could not withdraw his troops safely until after dark. The men began to fire by volley to keep the rebels on the parapet down. The rebels showing their usual cleverness took the shells from cannon and cut the fuse short and rolled the shells down the works into the ravine among the Federal troops shattering tree limbs and human limbs. The union troops sometimes catching them and tossing them back, more often the fuse ran out and  tore arms from the men.

As the day wore on into evening, the men’s steady firing had them soon running low on ammunition. Volunteers jumped up and ran and dashed between the fallen trees in the ravine to take ammunition from the dead, dodging ball and shot to fill pockets and hats with ammo to keep the firing up.

Orion P Howe, a 14 year old musician in the 55th Illinois, volunteered to go to the read and order up fresh supplies. While running thought the timber he caught a minnie ball in his leg. undaunted, he staggered on. At the point of exhaustion he reached General Sherman himself and reported the critical ammunition shortage. Sherman called for volunteers to lug heavy boxes of cartridges forward and every man of  the nearby  Company C, 12 th Iowa, stepped forward. Musician Howe was subsequently awarded the Medal Of Honor for his service on that bloody day”

With the ammunition the union troops held off until night and under the cover of darkness withdrew. The first attempted assault to take Vicksburg had been a failure  other than to gain a few advanced artillery and staging positions. But more was to come.

*quotes from Americans at War

DOUBLE TAP and FIGHTING IN STRUCTURES in Calera, Alabama

Article by Mark Hatfield.

A little while back I repeated a course which was this time given by Rick Klopp representing Suarez International, the course was Fighting in Structures. It was my first class with him and I would attend one by him again. The presentation had changed from when I had taken it two or three years earlier under another of the S.I. instructors. With the special facilities of Double Tap the course could be done differently, we did less action than previously but more time on the ‘why’ of what we were going to do and then analyzing what we had actually done.

Double Tap is a privately owned and constructed facility which has an outdoor range designed for tactical training but the heart of the facility is the ‘shoot house’. The ‘shoot house’ is not a live fire facility but designed for use with Airsoft, Simunitions, or even paintball if desired. It is a complete multiroom, two story facility contained within a warehouse type building. There are movable interior walls designed such that the floor plan can be easily changed. There are closets, furniture, and a staircase to negotiate. The lighting can be completely controlled so if you want to simulate approaching the structure at night and room clearing by flashlight, this can be done at any time of the actual day or night. Further, the facility has its own camera and video system so most of the action can be captured then reviewed at the control room. This is a big plus for determining what may have gone wrong or right. There are even ‘catwalks’ for observers if desired.

Another ‘plus’ is the classroom and yet another are the ‘bunkhouses’. Quarters are simple, clean, and have microwave ovens and hot showers. There are both male and female sections. Bedding is provided. This is all in the same building as the shoot house making for great convenience and the cost per night to stay there is a huge savings over that of a hotel. If all students of an activity bunk on site then they can take breaks or use the facility at any time around the clock. This is a big advantage compared to having to stop at five or six in the evening then meeting up again in the morning.

I got to spend some time with the family who owns and operates the facility. They can assist with guidance on how to use the structure and can assist with video or leave you alone as you desire. They built this themselves and with no prior experience with such designs. They are due much credit for this creation.

Most people who are not military or police SWAT team members never get to train in facilities like this. Do it if you have the chance. I can strongly recommend this facility and the class. Note, the course attended, instructor, and the sponsor are independent of the Double Tap facility.

Is Your Red Dot Turning Into Sour Grapes?

I used to have a Comp M4, but I could tell, even at 30, that my eyes were not what they used to be. The biggest and chief concern to me was the gradual smearing of the dot and seeing it lose some of its crispness as my eyes aged. I typically wear corrective lenses, but even that wasn’t able to fully mitigate some of the smearing.

The 2 MOA RDS was still very useable, but I didn’t like the idea that ten years from now my $800 dollar investment might not have the same value to me as a shooter that it once did. Along the way, I learned of some tips and alternatives to help any other shooters with poor eyesight still make use of RDS or similar 1x systems.

DSCF2691

Flipping up the irons is a good way to help increase the crispness of the dot. In this example, I used the large aperture for the picture just as an example, but in reality using the small peep is an effective way to reduce the smearing effect of your RDS and give it a resolution boost. Practically, I used this method to shoot at longer range targets at competitions when I needed a sharp dot and to reduce dot glare. This assisted me with 200-300-400 yard targets as it made the dot incredibly crisp.

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Sighting through your small peep is a band aid solution to a fuzzy reticle, and if your eyes are very bad, it may not increase the sharpness of the dot enough to help. Furthermore, it eliminated some utility of the RDS… but if you have to settle into your sights and concentrate on a distant shot the speed loss might not be so critical. Another alternative to a RDS is a simple prismatic optic.

Prismatics are like a 1x scope that’s fixed at, well 1x. I have had a chance to look through a Leupold Prismatic at the funshop, and have recommended it to others who have experienced a loss of RDS resolution. Since it doesn’t rely on a LED diode and a reflective lens, the prismatic should offer a solution to dot distortion and loss of resolution that can help keep your 1x game up for years to come.

IF

The disadvantages to these systems are, however, a smaller eyebox than traditional RDS and short battery life on the illuminated reticle. On the flip side, these optics will maintain their resolution and still offer the shooter a black etched reticle should the electronics ever fail.

My chosen route, for now, was to go with a variable to eliminate the concern of a fuzzy reticle and give me a more versatile shooting setup. I wouldn’t mind getting another RDS, but I would like to keep the cost on the lower end for something that may decrease in value for my shooting as my eyes age.

I hope this can help some of our older shooters looking for options on their defensive rifles!