Friday, February 1, 2019

It's Long Past Time for Tap-Rack-Bang to DIE!

Or more accurately, it's time for the use of tap-rack-bang as "immediate action" to die. We're going to call it TRB because it sounds stupid and stupid things deserve stupid acronyms. I gave up on the concept of using TRB for anything other than when it is absolutely appropriate a long time ago, in fact, I don't think I ever subscribed to it at all really.

Most people who shoot competitively - and I would think anyone who shoots a lot in general - do not use TRB to solve every malfunction a firearm can have. For one thing, it's a huge waste of time and it seems backwards to me that self defense and combat firearms instructors don't see time as a much more valuable thing when teaching life and death fighting techniques. In competitive shooting if the problem isn't solved in about a half second, the present magazine is completely abandoned, the gun is cleared and the shooter reloads. Anything else is time wasted and if you have spent any time on a range watching people use common "immediate action" drills during live fire (not this silly static, self-induced malfunction clearing exercise nonsense) you have seen how much time is lost performing actions that were never going to fix the problem to begin with.

The root issue is the concept that there are a number of "stoppages" and that they all need numbers and special terms and actions attached to them. Why are we memorizing a bunch of codes for the type of malfunction but we're beating the piss out of the magazine as step number one to fixing all of them? This is brain dead. There are only two things that will happen to your firearm; a dead trigger or a click. It makes absolutely no difference what "kind" of malfunction you just had, it's one of those two choices, forget the rest of the bullshit.

Problem number one; dead trigger. If the trigger is dead the gun did not function properly, period. Most of the time the magazine is just going to be in the way so get rid of it (I don't care what you do with it but use your brain), clear the shit that's stopping the gun from working, put the gun back into action and carry on. The only time a tap will help you here is if a round failed to fully strip from the magazine and enter the chamber. A tap MIGHT bump that round up, and allow the gun to go into battery. How interested are you in "might" and are you then going to rack that round out just because it's step number two? Moreover, this is assuming the empty case got out of the gun or there wasn't a secondary cause involved in stopping the round from getting out of the mag successfully. If there was, it's more likely than not you are wasting time tapping. Next, racking the slide might help, but most of the time it will not. If you take one look at the gun, see that it's simple to fix with a quick rack, do it. Use your brain, look at the gun, fix the problem. Last point here, TRB has as much chance of making the problem worse as it does better. Ask me if I think that's a good line of thinking. You tap the magazine, nothing changed because why would it? You then racked the slide, now you have a double feed or have nudged a round forward enough that it makes stripping the magazine difficult, why are you doing this? A more prudent question is; if you are receiving fire, is there time for any of this shit just standing around? The "immediate" solution to a gun that doesn't work should probably be to get somewhere you won't get shot while you fiddle around with your blaster.

Problem number two; click. If the trigger clicked the gun is working and is in battery. Let's get into that brain thing. If you just fired the first round out of a magazine and you get a click, take a wild guess what the problem is. Yeah, you failed to seat the magazine. So tell me, why do we go through a very specific administrative loading process only to have this happen? It will happen to you because you failed to properly prepare your weapon for shooting. It will never happen to you if you prepare your firearm correctly. Right now you are saying to yourself, yeah but magazine releases get bumped. You're right. And you're right if you think this is the part where I say TRB is the correct action to take. However, my point is, this type of "malfunction" should be extremely rare and certainly not grounds for a standard or "immediate" malfunction remediation action. You should be running a holster which minimizes the likelihood of this happening and you should be constantly aware of the condition of your rifle if you are wearing it as a large necklace.

BUT! You are the type of guy or bad ass chick who takes the preparation of the firearm very seriously and performs a standard and specific administrative loading procedure when preparing that firearm for action. You know that your magazine is ready to go. You also know that the click can be the result of faulty ammunition, or an empty magazine that for whatever reason failed to lock the bolt or slide open. Maybe you ride the slide release because you grip the pistol correctly (yes, I said correctly). You should be asking yourself, what is the real value of the tap? Have you been firing long enough to be empty? You know in your mind that you have fired many rounds, there is no reason to believe the magazine has been released during that time. Why tap it? You're right, you wouldn't and neither would I. I know faulty ammunition happens and my mag is seated. Rack that bitch and get back to work.

So in short for a wrap up; is there any real reason to tap your magazine when the gun doesn't go bang most of the time? No, not really. In fact, if you skip tap and go straight to rack and it doesn't work, have you wasted any more time than you would have had you tapped it first? Probably not in most cases. If you have a dead trigger is there really any value in even racking the gun? Probably not in most cases. So that's two out of three letters from the stupid acronym that aren't very useful, and only two of them have any real meaning anyway. If you change your "immediate" action for all malfunctions to strip mag, clear, reload, have you really lost anything over TRB for every malfunction? I doubt it.

Big take away; familiarize yourself with your firearm and perform specific and consistent administrative loading procedures every time you put that weapon into action. Do this far more often than you practice pointless self-induced malfunction drills. Second, ignore anyone who tells you that you should not examine malfunctions while on the practice range, and insists that they are only opportunities to practice clearing malfunctions. Malfunctions can be the result of many things, consistent and reoccurring malfunctions are the result of a gun that isn't working properly and the more you know about your gun and how it operates, the better shooter you will be and the fewer real life malfunctions you will encounter.

Examples! I felt kinda weird about embedding the video because it is not an example of things done incorrectly, it is just a video with examples of what I consider "evidence" within it. So I will just provide the link. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WEhKqaOLcH4
The video is from Carry Trainer. Their videos are awesome and I love them. You should watch this video and all of their others for the terrific content and learning opportunity that they contain. If you will skip to the 32:50 mark and the 36:05 mark (there might be more like at 37:10) you will witness induced rifle malfunctions. Before I give you the answer watch the video and tell me what else you see happen. In one you see a rack with no tap, in the other you see a tap and a rack. Now tell me in which instance the TRB immediate action worked?
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The obvious answer? Neither instance. The real question is, why would it? To answer that we can say why it didn't. Tap didn't work because it wasn't a magazine issue. It was pointless to start with tap because that shooter experienced a dead trigger, not a click. He had been shooting and had no reason to suspect that he had dislodged his magazine. Rack didn't work because there was shit in the chamber, specifically an empty case free of the extractor's mighty grip. Racking relies entirely on the extractor to clear problems and it relies on the lower portion of the bolt to strip a cartridge off the magazine. Neither of these things are possible with something floating around in the gun. In fact, in both cases the end result was stripping the magazine and clearing the chamber of the offender(s) or lowering the gun in surrender. The second guy had no plan for ACTUALLY fixing the problem. The only tool he had was a stupid acronym. If he had simply pulled the mag, kept or abandoned it, cleared the rifle and reloaded, he would have spent a fraction of the time. We don't get to see how bad it ultimately was but it was bad. Worse still, yanking on the charging handle likely exacerbated the problem by moving a cartridge partially out of the magazine (or further out of the magazine), making stripping it that much more difficult. I'd be willing to bet the video cuts because that shooter never got back to business and had to move off to fix a serious problem that he had a hand in causing. All told, painful demonstrations of the enormous waste of time that is TRB.

As if the sea had parted, at the 38:30 mark TRB is abandoned for higher thinking and the problem is resolved instantly.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

EDC Pic Dump - Zon Knives C-02 and ReyLight Ti LAN v3

My EDC doesn't change much any more. I still love knives and lights and I do occasionally rotate through my collection but it's getting rarer all the time. A year might go by now before I change anything. I think it really just boils down to finding what works and finding other places to spend the dollars that once would have gone to a new piece of EDC gear. I did somewhat recently acquire a ReyLight Ti LAN V3 - back in May of 2018 - because it is as close to my perfect light as I have ever seen. I don't particularly care for Titanium, I think it's a gimmick, but it looks great and keeps the light somewhat lighter than if it were steel. The price also isn't crazy, so it balances out the use of an expensive material, and it's going to be very hard to get this light out of my pocket.

I have also been carrying a Stedemon designed Zon C-02 with jade G-10 scales. I got it before the light if memory serves, but I couldn't for the life of me find my receipt in my e-mail so I have no idea when. Jade G-10 is probably out of style or something, but I personally love it. It's a somewhat large knife but it goes completely unnoticed in my pocket which means it's the perfect size. My only complaint with this knife is the lack access to the liner lock when the blade is deployed. The liner lock side of the knife is slightly proud of the opposite side (as most are), in order to provide the thumb with room to nudge the liner over and close the knife ... but barely. What happens is that the thumb catches little more than the corner of the liner and that's not a whole lot to work with. People with larger hands might actually find it not just inconvenient but difficult to close the blade. I have gotten used to it, and it would actually be very simple to remedy at home by creating a little thumb notch in the scale opposite the lock where there is no liner at all. Overall though, it's a nice looking knife, with smooth ball bearing pivots.



EDC everyday carry, flashlights, flashoholic, pocket gear
ReyLight Ti LAN V3

EDC, jade g-10, knives, pics, sharps, photography, gear








Thursday, January 17, 2019

9mm AR Project; The Space Blaster

Well this gun is over 2 years old now and been through many changes so let's just do a pic dump detailing its history so far.


PCC USPSA, Steel Challenge, competitive shooting
Parts were in place in the summer of 2016; a complete PSA 10.5" upper and a Runner Runner lower (NFA variant).
runner runner guns lower receiver
Assembled with an old Primary Arms red dot which has since been retired.
This set-up worked fine but PSA equipped it with a 12" hand guard and a muzzle device that was something like 3" long, lengthening my 10.5" gun by more than I was happy with. But, I ran it this way, with a standard 5.5oz 9mm buffer for a pretty long time.

This was the earliest issue that took me down the rabbit hole of "fixing" the shortcomings of a 5.5oz buffer - a prematurely worn disconnector which is bad news for anyone who knows.

A complete ALG QMS trigger group replaced the original. It came with a nice sharp disconnector and that issue was solved. It also lead to a 7oz buffer.
Before anyone asks this gun is over 26" so YES, the forward grip is legal. However, I wasn't happy with that either. I began to play with my own home brew spring setup which lead to a rifle buffer tube to provide much more space inside for customization. It also got the space blaster paint job. The comp, a cheap ebay unit, caused a loss of accuracy and quickly went back to where it came from - China. The 12" hand guard went into the parts box and a new 10" STNGR replaced it. It was now the length it was always meant to be.
The garbage comp gone and now replaced with a simple thread protector. A Tyrant handstop, while expensive, looked like the perfect match for the overall appearance of the space blaster. I'm not a fan of all the aluminum "interface" parts that the market is full of. They are sharp, cold and mostly uncomfortable. The Tyrant is no different but not terrible. Don't ask me why I got a gray one - it was probably all that was in stock and I thought I'd paint it or something that never happened.

The moment Odin Works released the mag release for this pattern lower I had one on order. The mag release that comes on these lowers is a hokey plastic unit that only kinda works from what I hear. Mine was pretty good functionally but too cheesy to look at. I like the Odin for a variety of reasons but I actually don't love the extended nature of it. It may seem picky but it changes the mag release process enough that it's not as natural as a typical AR. It's difficult to describe but in the process of a mag change on an AR I have to press the mag release hard enough that my pointer finger is actually doing some work to control the gun as my left hand does its chores. This one changes that slightly.
zev technologies, gearhead works tailhook brace, glock mags, PCC, 10.5" barrel
In its current configuration, now with a tailhook brace and Burris FastFire 3 with a 3MOA dot in a very simple and well designed UTG mount. This mount allows the sight to be directly attached to the mount, eliminating several adapters in the process. This is my second FF3 and they are excellent. It is a great match for the purposes of this gun. Anyone familiar with Borderlands will recognize the DAHL logo which wraps up the space blaster theme. It's got a Taccom buffer system in it right now which works just fine for me. A Zev base pad gets me through higher round count stages with 36 rounds on board, though it wouldn't likely be enough in the crazy high round count hoser stages at major matches. In my view this is just another example of how USPSA is broken (not that I can run this gun in a major match anyway).
This gun, with a standard milspec trigger, has taken me to 94.22% Master class in USPSA Steel Challenge. Its looks reflect my personality, always gets a lot of questions, and is a blast to shoot. For me it's far more important to shoot guns that I enjoy than guns specifically built for competitive shooting and for that reason, combined with good performances, this gun is without a doubt one of my favorites. When I say that I think USPSA is broken this is exactly what I mean. You will always have people looking to simply win, regardless if it's driving a car or driving a gun, the tool doesn't matter to them. But USPSA doesn't reflect the practicality that is found in the name, nor the trends within the gun community at large well at all. PCC being purely Open is just another one in a long list of misses in judgements made in the USPSA rule books.

Monday, December 31, 2018

Multicam Black AR15 Pt2

Last post gave the particulars and now we have the finished product. Couldn't be more happy with the way it looks. I wouldn't try to argue one way or the other about the effectiveness of Multicam patterns in general or Multicam Black in particular because that doesn't matter much to me. What I will argue is that Multicam patterns do make for some awesome looking firearms and that was the goal.

This rifle is a complete home brew unit with an Aero M4E1 lower receiver and BCG coupled with an Anderson branded slick upper receiver, sans forward assist and dust cover because I think both are largely pointless. It's got an American Defense rail with a Faxon 14.5" Gunner profile barrel from AIM Surplus where they pin the gas block - a feature I am a big fan of. Adco pinned and welded the Vltor flash hider for me to round things off. The primary reason I went for the 14.5" Gunner barrel was partially to get a slightly more compact carbine, but primarily to keep the weight down. This particular barrel is very close to the weight of Faxon's 16" pencil barrel but with a slightly thicker profile for most of the barrel's length. Nothing else on the rifle is "heavy" and the slick-sided upper receiver knocks off a few ounces as well making this gun, as pictured with an empty magazine 6 and a half pounds almost exactly.

multicam black rattle can Rustoleum paint rifle carbine ar15

rustoleum multicam black ar15 carbine faxon gunner barrel

magpul slimline multicam black, american defense handguard vortex red dot

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

MultiCam Black Rustoleum Paint Job



Well thanks to some forum enablers posting about the E1 lowers being on sale I snagged myself one and it is sweet. I also talked myself into taking a shot at some camo which felt like muddy waters as I was doing it but I am really happy with the results. I doubt it’s useful but I dunno, black multicam just looks awesome to me and this picture doesn’t really do it justice but I’ll get more once it’s had a couple days to dry and I get it put together.




I used stencils from weaponstencils.com and good ole Rustoleum. Camo black, “Chalked” Charcoal and Satin Oregano. The satin paints are … well they’re satin and I didn’t really want satin on this. However, the green color from the camo line to me is the wrong color of green. The oregano is much more drab and neutral. What I found is that if you put the satin over the ultra matte in a really thin coat, it flattens it out quite a bit. So I laid down black on the whole rifle then applied stencils, then dusted in the green, purposefully getting partial coverage in a lot of areas so the green would look faded. Then I put down more stencils and applied the charcoal, again, dusting some places, fully covering other places. Then I peeled all the stencils and dusted here and there with black from arms length away. I kinda like some of the green showing through so I left some of it showing with very little black dusting. The only thing I think I would have done different is I would have used more of the small shapes for the black. I used mostly the large shapes because I knew I wanted a lot of black showing through, but I think more little blotches of black would have been even better.

lightweight, ar-15 multicam black, ADM, Aero Precision M4E1