Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Bringing them up right: Brought my son shooting.

Christmas eve we got some free time so I loaded up the guns in the truck and took my 8 year old son shooting.  He shot his Winchester 67 .22 some then wanted to shoot my AR.  He did well with it, popping some balloons.  He really likes using the red dot.

Here is the thing:  If we are to keep our rights we have to keep interest alive in them.  The old saying is, If you don't use them, you lose them.  The best way to do that is bring people shooting, especially your family.  If you can spark their love for firearms early then it will stay with them for life.

We had a great time shooting, and then breaking the guns down and cleaning them when we got home.  That is good clean family fun.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Getting ready to train: What to bring.

You have finally decided to get some professional firearm training. You pay your deposit and are waiting for the day to come.  Here is what you should bring.

Check out the school's website. 

They will have a page listing the things you need to bring. Some of the things you may think you won't need, but it is on the list for a reason.


Make sure your gun is in good working order.  Clean and lube it before you go.

It is a good idea to bring a spare gun if you can.  If you don't have a spare gun, bring along some spare parts of the things that may normally break.  Training tends to put more stress on guns and gear than just plinking at the range.  A cleaning kit and lube would be a good idea as well.

If you are not able to bring a spare gun, the instructor may have back ups, although it will probably have a fee attached.


Usually the listed round count for the class is the minimum you will shoot. You should bring at least a couple hundred rounds more than what is listed.  Some people say to bring 500 more, others say to double the recommended amount.

One other thing I do is pour all of my ammo out into an ammo can. You don't have to mess with a bunch of boxes and trays and there isn't any trash to keep up with. 

Eye and ear protection

You should bring some dark glasses, and some clear or yellow shooting glasses as well. 

You should really invest in electronic ear protection if you can afford it. These are ear muffs with microphones that let you hear what the instructor and other students are saying, and then automatically shut off when you shoot. It is so much easier than trying to hear through regular muffs or constantly putting your ear pro on and off. I use the Peltor 6S and they have worked well for me. Be sure to bring extra batteries. 


Most classes will list you need at least 2 or 3 magazines. I like to bring as many as I can. Reloading mags all day is a necessary part of the deal but I like to minimize it as much as possible. The less you have to stuff ammo in mags the better you can be paying attention to what the instructor is saying. 

I will have all of my magazines except for 2 loaded before I get there. I leave the 2 unloaded for the dry fire work at the beginning of class. If you are training with somebody you haven't worked with before it is a good idea to contact them via phone or email and make sure having your mags loaded before hand is ok.  You will probably want your gun to be unloaded when you arrive unless you have information otherwise.

You may also want to invest in a magazine loader such as those made by Uplula if you are going to a high round count course, or just aren't used to repeatedly loading mags with your thumb.

Holster, mag pouches, belt, etc.

Training is a great way to test out gear!  You get to see what works well, what works ok, and what you should probably replace.  You want to bring quality gear.

Your holster should be of a design that stays open at the top to ease reholstering.  You will be drawing and holstering a lot during the class and you don't want to be fumbling with the holster the entire time.  I personally like kydex holsters, but a good quality leather holster with a reinforced mouth works as well.  Another consideration with IWB holsters is the holster should be big enough to cover the entire barrel of the pistol.  Minimalist holsters have become popular for concealed carry but tend to be bad for training because the barrel and slide of your gun will become hot from firing a lot.  You don't want to burn your leg(or worse if you carry appendix IWB like I do!) from sticking a hot gun inside your pants with nothing covering it. 

Your belt, mag pouches, and any other gear used during class should be of high enough quality to not hinder you.  You want to be learning, and practicing all day, not fiddling with your gear.  Bringing a spare holster or two isn't a bad idea as well.

I am a firm believer that you should train how you carry.  But, if your EDC is a little .380 you carry in your pocket, you may want to bring another rig more suited to training.  Learning the fundamentals is the same with a full size duty gun as with a small pocket pistol.  If you go down this road, bring your EDC gear too and run at least a few drills with that setup.  Your instructor may have some tips for your specific method of carry as well, don't be afraid to ask.

One thing that recurred throughout this article is the need for spares.  You should bring spares for pretty much everything feasible.  Training is hard on gear, which is good.  If it is going to fail I would sure rather it happen during a controlled class than in some violent encounter on the street!  But at the same time, you don't want to have to sit the rest of the class out because your gun or a piece of your gear broke.

Again, the school's website should have a list of everything you need to bring.  I wanted to expand of some of the more important things and throw a few tips in there as well.  I hope you found this post helpful.  Feel free to leave comments or suggestions.  You can also contact me by the link at the top of the page if you have any questions I would be glad to help. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

My range update

Did some more work on our range a while ago and did a quick video of me running through it.  It is nice having a set up like this to play with and be able to run training drills and IDPA style drills any time we want.  Going to start working on getting some steel targets.

Sorry about the video quality. I really need to invest in something better to do video than an old iPhone...

Friday, October 18, 2013

So you want to carry a gun? What you need to get started.

If you have been thinking about getting your carry permit and carrying a gun for self defense, here is a list of things to consider and the basics of what you will need. This is intended to be a basic guide, you should research each of these points in depth. This is a minimum list, and doesn't include things like flashlights and knives that you should also carry on a daily basis.


There are a couple of things to consider before you start carrying a gun for self defense. The first is, if you get put into a situation where you need to use your gun, do you think you will be able to take that person's life? Sure, he will probably run away as soon as you draw but what if he/they don't? You have to come to grips with this before hand. If you don't think you can end human life then carrying a gun is not going to be for you.

After you come to grips with that you need to learn when you can and can't shoot, where you can and can't legally carry, and when you should get involved with 3rd party situations(the answer is never, unless something that shocks humanity is going on.) If you intervene in a man beating a woman, she may press charges against you for hurting her husband. Carrying a gun doesn't make you a cop, or a hero, and the act of carrying a gun isn't a magic talisman that wards off evil.

Mindset is a huge subject and is hard to fit in one bullet point. People have written articles, and even entire books on just this one subject. I suggest finding some of these and studying them.

Carry Permit:

In most states, you will need to get a permit to legally carry a gun. Requirements vary wildly state by state so check with to see what you need to do. There are a few states where a permit is not needed such as Arizona and Vermont.


You don't have to go super expensive and spend $3000 on a custom 1911, and I actually suggest you don't. But at the same time, you should spend enough to get a quality firearm. I have owned several of the super cheap pistols available on the market. They are fine for range toys if they work at all. Most don't. After all, if you are carrying a gun for self defense and you need to use your firearm, it will be in a life or death situation. I would suggest a Glock in 9mm.  However, people are different, so I would suggest trying some different guns out if you can. Most ranges have guns you can rent and shoot. The key here, is the shooting. A lot of the tiny pocket guns that people love are a good bit more difficult to shoot WELL. Whatever you choose, put in the time to become proficient with your weapon. Anything from .380 acp to 10mm will be ok, although there are pros and cons to each. Don't get too carried away by caliber or bullet weight. All handgun rounds suck at stopping people. The old way of thinking was to use the biggest reasonable caliber. I would rather use a slightly smaller caliber and shoot them a whole bunch. This is one of the places magazine capacity comes into play. Another is multiple bad guys.

9mm to me has the best overall package of sufficient power, pistol size, magazine capacity, and light recoil. It is also the cheapest to shoot, allowing you more practice for the same amount of money.


Pretty much any modern, quality defensive ammo will do fine. Speer Gold Dots, Winchester Ranger SXT, Hornady Critical Defense are a few good examples.  You do want to use a quality hollow point. They have slightly better stopping power, leave a bigger hole, and are less likely to over penetrate and hit people behind the bad guy. 


You need a quality holster, that is made for your model gun. Holsters that are "one size fits many" usually aren't very good. You will see that a lot in the cheap nylon holsters.  The leather/kydex hybrid holsters such as the Crossbreed SuperTuck and the Aegis Armory are the most comfortable IMO. There are several companies that make these, and most of them are good. Check reviews before you buy. Full kydex holsters are good as well. If you want to carry concealed(and you do) then an Inside the Waist Band(IWB) holster will conceal much easier.

You want to be able to get a full firing grip on your pistol from the holster. Your adrenaline is going to be pumping and fixing your grip after the draw isn't likely to happen. 

Most people end up going through a few holsters before they find the one that is right for them. 


A good gun belt makes carrying much easier. A quality reinforced belt will hold the weight of the gun better than a crappy Walmart belt. Look for reinforced nylon such as the Wilderness Tactical 5 stitch Instructor belt or double thick leather such as those made by Beltman.


You don't have to buy specific clothes to carry a gun, but you do need to make sure what you wear works. If you are using an IWB holster you may need to go up a size in pants to make room for the gun and holster. Tight fitting shirts will allow the gun to show when you don't want it to. Loose, dark colored T-shirts and button up shirts work much better at hiding the gun.


Formal training is not required past the class you may need to take to get your permit. I have an article here discussing the pros and cons of taking a defensive pistol training class. Cliff notes version: Get it. As much as you can.


You need to practice!  Everything from basic marksmanship to drawing from concealment, get off the X drills, shooting while moving.  Some of this can be practiced with dry fire in your home.  Some of it you have to get to the range and put the time in.

Overall, the decision to start carrying a gun for defense is a pretty big one.  It requires a commitment and learning from you.  There is a little more to it than just throwing a .38 in your pocket.  You need to be proficient with your gun BEFORE you need it.  You need to be safe with your firearm, make sure you have the 4 safe gun handling rules learned and ingrained.  I hope this article is a good starting point for you.  Feel free to leave me any questions or comments you may have.


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Reminder: Check Your Carry Permit Expiration Date

 REMINDER!! Check the expiration date on your Carry Permit!!!  It may be closer than you think!

UPDATE:   I received my new permit in the mail on November the 6th.  A little over a month without the ability to legally carry a firearm on my person.  Pay attention!


So the other day it dawned on me that my carry permit was going to expire soon.  I checked the date, and it had actually expired a week earlier!  Then, because I am working a lot of hours right now, I couldn't make it up to the county probate court to re-apply because I was not getting off before 5pm.  So finally yesterday I get off at a reasonable time, head up to the court house and re-apply.

Georgia has a fairly simple process to get a Georgia Weapons Carry License(GWCL.)  The GWCL is good for 5 years.  Some of the details are dependent on the county in which you live.  Such as in some counties you have to go to the jail to have your prints done.  When I got my current carry permit, I had to go to the probate court, get some paperwork, bring it to the jail to get printed, get more paperwork and bring it BACK to the probate court and finally everything gets put together and sent in.  There was separate fees you had to pay to the probate court and to the jail.  Now my county has a much better system.  I went to the probate court, they reprinted me, took my picture(the Georgia permit now has your photo on it) and filled out a paper all right there.  Paid my money and left, took all of about 15 minutes.  Very painless process.

BUT, the lady told me I could expect a 6 WEEK wait!  Hopefully it will come back before then but if not I could be looking at the end of November before I can legally carry again.  While not as good as having it on you, at least in Georgia you are legal to carry loaded and concealed in your car without a permit.  Luckily the government shutdown is not supposed to affect the state issued gun permit system.  I got my current permit in the mail 12 days after I applied.  That's pretty good.

The moral of the story is, check your expire date on your permit and have it redone a couple of months ahead of time so you do not lose your ability to lawfully carry.  Hope this quick reminder has been helpful.

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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Shooting Quick Tip: Trigger Press

A proper trigger press is arguably one of the most, if not THE most important thing for making accurate shots with a handgun.  It is also one of the easiest things to mess up.  Luckily you can practice your trigger press for FREE with dry fire.

There are a few steps to making sure your trigger press is where it needs to be:

Finger placement

You should place your finger on the trigger right in the center of the pad between the tip and the first joint.  If you put just the tip of your finger on the trigger, you are not going to have any control and you can actually push your shots left.  If you put the trigger all the way in the crease of your first joint you can pull the shot to the right.  Right in the middle is where you want to be.  You want to focus on moving the trigger directly to the rear, with zero side to side movement.

(Approximately where to place your finger on the trigger.)

NOTE: The exception to this rule is if you are shooting a gun with a heavy double action trigger pull, put your finger on the trigger right in that crease at the first joint.  That gives you more strength to help offset the heavy pull.


You want to make sure you are pressing the trigger straight back.  You want to make sure you are moving your trigger finger by itself, independently of all your other fingers.  Hold up your hand up with your fingers straight out and all together, in a “karate chop” fashion.  Now bend just your trigger finger at the second joint until it is bent 80-90 degrees.  Now move that finger back and forth in a trigger pressing motion and see if any of your other fingers are moving.  Play with that until you can move just your trigger finger by itself.  That is the movement you want when you are shooting.


Start off slow with this one.  After the shot, keep the trigger pulled to the rear.  Do not immediately let the trigger go back forward.  Quickly squeezing the trigger back then letting it fly forward is called “slapping” the trigger.  Don't do that.  Hold the trigger to the rear until the shot is cleared, then allow the trigger to move forward only enough to reset the trigger.  Depending on your gun that could be very little movement, or it could be letting the trigger move all the way back forward.  On a Glock,  you can hear and feel when the trigger resets.  If you are going to shoot again, let the trigger move forward only to that point, and then press and hold again.  You can, and should, also take up the initial slack on the first shot, to the point where you would be after a trigger reset.

So to practice this, either think or say aloud as you do it, “Press, Hold, Reset.  Press, Hold, Reset.” You can read my post about dry firing here for ideas on how to practice this.  You want to watch the front sight, and make sure it doesn't dip or move left and right when you dry fire.  If you press the trigger(while dry firing, obviously) and the front sight does not move when the trigger breaks, you are doing it right.

If this quick tip helped you, subscribe to my email list on the right side of the screen, or like Tattooed Gunner on Facebook.

Thanks for reading!


Saturday, September 14, 2013

Cool Old Guns 2: H&R 733 .32 S&W Long Revolver

I recently picked up a little H&R .32 S&W Long revolver for practically nothing.  It is a 6 shot nickel revolver, model 733. This model was made from 1961 until 1986. H&Rs don't have the fit and finish of a Smith & Wesson or Colt but it isn't a bad little gun.

This one has some pitting and the nickel is pretty much gone from the cylinder. It is actually in better condition than the first picture I saw of it. 

I could only find 20 rounds for it locally. They are 85 grain hollow points from Hornady loaded by a small local outfit. I decided to go ahead and shoot 14 of them and keep the last 6 until I can pick up some more. 

This is the first six shots:

That's probably about 4 inches or so, and I wasn't trying to be super precise or anything. I was mostly just wanting to make sure it was going to function correctly.

Size comparison for the .32 S&W Long round:
.22 lr, .32 S&W Long, 9mm Luger, .44 mag, .223/5.56x45

Overall it's a pretty cool little old gun. Guns like this are fun to shoot if not useful for much. I wouldn't use it for home defense or concealed carry, but I wouldn't want to be shot by it either. 


Sunday, September 1, 2013

Should you get training? What about DVDs, Books, YouTube?

I got my license to carry a gun in 2008.  I have carried off and on since then.  In the state of Georgia there is no requirement to get any training at all to get a Georgia Weapon Carry License.  You go to courthouse, fill out some paperwork, get printed, get your picture taken, pay your money then wait for your license to come in the mail a few weeks later.  Other states require a class, but those usually consist of going over law and the very very basics of shooting safely.

It took me almost exactly 4 years before I got real training with an instructor.  Why did it take so long?  Well, quality training is relatively expensive.  You can buy another gun for the cost of a class, especially once you factor in ammo cost and gas if you have to drive.  Billy Bob down at the local indoor range might teach classes for cheap, but what is he teaching?  The fact is, if you carry a gun for self defense, knowing how to use that gun can literally be the difference between life and death.

Sure in those 4 years I read lots of articles, browsed a few forums, and watched tons of YouTube videos.  I bought quality gear.  I even shot a good bit.  Hell, I've been shooting guns since my age was in the single digits!  I had looked at a few training courses, knew I wanted to do it, and thought "Yeah, I'll get around to doing that one day."  After I finally got around to taking a course(review here) there was two phrases that came to mind that I had heard floating around the forums:

  1. You don't know what you don't know.
    Man, some of this stuff was completely different that what I would have came up with on my own.  It all made a lot of sense though.  Getting off the X, shooting while moving(what direction? why?), draw or move first?, what do you do if there is more than 1 bad guy?, what do I do after I shoot?
  2. The "Me" after training would kill the "Me" before training if we were to get in a gun fight.
    If this is not the case, you have wasted your money.
 That's all well and good, but why not just buy a few DVDs?  Can't you learn just as much that way?  Eh, I would say that depends on a few things.  You probably will learn some good stuff from watching DVDs.  The big thing is, are you going to practice it?  REALLY practice it?  In an actual training course you are going to do the drills, over and over again.  The second thing is, how do you know you are doing the techniques as well as you think you are?  A lot of these techniques have small nuances that can make a big difference.  Having a good instructor watching you shoot and critiquing you can mean the difference between kinda knowing what you are doing and mastering a technique.  I think DVDs can be valuable tools.  They are good refreshers. I think they are good for seeing some of the differences in what different schools teach.  I also think that you can get a lot more out of a DVD if you really have your basics down pat from taking a course.

Another benefit of attending training courses that isn't often thought of is getting to hang out with other people that have the same views as you regarding guns and taking care of yourself.  When you are carrying concealed you may pass by any number of other people also carrying, but if you are both doing your job concealing you will never know it.  Every time I have went to training there has been a camaraderie there.  You get to talk about the things you usually aren't supposed to talk about, and you get to meet some pretty cool people there.  Going out for food and BSing after training is common.  We are lucky in that there is a good little mom and pop diner just down the road from our usual training location so we usually all grab lunch together too.  This is also a good time to ask the instructor questions you may have that don't pertain to exactly the class you are attending.   I know every time I go, I pester Randy about all sorts of things.

Cliff notes version:
  1. Learn to shoot better, probably WAY better
  2. Learn skills and techniques to better defend yourself if you ever have to use your gun.
  3. Become more confident, which actually shows and makes you less of a target(Criminals love easy targets)
  4. Meet good people
  5. Test out your gear.  Does it really work as good as you think it does?
  6. Learn what and how to practice.  Instead of just going to the range and blowing targets away, you learn effective ways to practice.
  7. It's fun!

 There really aren't any.  Unless you go to Instructor Bubba and accidentally get shot.  Don't be that guy, go to a reputable trainer.  Note: I'm not saying training has to cost $1000.  As a matter of fact it shouldn't cost that much, especially basic classes.  You can get quality training for just a couple hundred bucks.  Just make sure you read plenty of reviews before you go.

Update: I've had a lot of feedback saying that cost is a con.  Yeah, it can be I guess, and is probably one of the main reasons I didn't go sooner.  I really think however, that if you get some quality training when it is over you aren't going to be like, "man I just wasted my money on this, I should have just kept watching youtube!"

Thanks for reading.  Check me out on Facebook!


Monday, August 19, 2013

Cool Old Guns 1: Winchester model 67 .22 review

I'm going to do a few reviews of some older guns I have laying around.  There is nothing tactical about these guns, they aren't super evil black rifles.  They are still cool and they are still fun to shoot.  I am going to call this series "Cool Old Guns." First up is my Winchester model 67 single shot .22.

I got this gun in one of my various trades on a local Georgia gun trading forum, called The Outdoors Trader.  I got it with the intention of re-selling or trading it down the line.  After messing around with it and shooting it some, I really got to liking this old gun.  Last year, I gave it to my son for his 7th birthday, his first firearm.  He has a blast shooting it, and I still do too.

My son after shooting his .22 the first time.  Not too bad of a group for a beginner!

The model 67 was introduced in 1934 as a less expensive version of the model 60.  Winchester continued to make the rifles until 1963.  It is chambered for .22 short, long, and long-rifle interchangeably.  It is a very basic design consisting of a bolt action that has to be manually cocked for each shot.  The rifles also have a safety which is a rotating sleeve over the firing pin assembly that physically blocks the firing pin assembly from moving forward.  They have a 27 inch barrel, with standard post and notch iron sights.  The stock is removable by one take-down screw, and the entire gun can be disassembled with nothing more than a screwdriver and a couple of punches.

 Closeup of manual cocker
Cocked, and ready to fire.  Notice channel that pin on firing pin assembly assembly travels in.

With safety on.  Notice sleeve stops firing pin assembly from moving forward because of protruding pin.

My 67 was made somewhere between 1938 and 1944.  Winchester did not put serial numbers on guns this old so there is no way to track exact manufacture date.  I can only narrow it down that much by the various small design changes over the years.  

 Markings showing gun is able to shoot .22 short, .22 long, and .22 long rifle.

My gun is accurate.  I can routinely hit a 9mm case off of a nail from about 15 yards away standing.  Being a single shot, it forces you to slow down and take your time to get a good shot.  .22s are just plain fun to shoot, and this one is no different.  This is a great plinking gun, fun to try and shoot acorns off of trees or any number of other likely targets in the woods.  I think that calmly walking through the woods with a .22 and a pocket full of ammo is something that is isn't done as much these days, and I think that is a shame.  Back when .22 ammo was cheap and plentiful, I can't tell you how many thousands of rounds me and my friends ran through our .22s.  Nobody got hurt, nobody got in trouble, just good clean fun in the woods behind our houses.

Thanks for reading!  What is your favorite old gun?  Leave a comment and let me know.

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~Tattooed Gunner

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Started work on our tactical range.

Me and my brother started building our own range a few days ago.  We are going to build multiple target stands and different cover/concealment areas.  All will be able to be moved so we can set up multiple stages, similar to IDPA or IPSC.  This will be a great way to better our shooting skills, and just enjoy some time shooting.

The cool thing is, all of this was made from materials scavenged from work and other places, so total cost for this is whatever the nails cost.  That leaves more money for ammo!  Now if I could just find some...

 This is what we have so far:

Target Stands:

These are overbuilt as heck, but we plan on using them for a while so that's a good thing.  I got the dimensions for IDPA targets off the internet and cut several out of scrap cardboard slip sheets. 

Cover/Concealment wall: 

These can be used with the window or just as a wall.

This is one of the target stands set up.  We were using it for the extremely tactical role of sighting in Jesse's .22 mag.

Here is a video of everything set up:

This is just a start, we are going to build a lot more stuff as we get time.  I want to get some steel targets to add as well.

Thanks for checking it out, and don't forget to like Tattooed Gunner on Facebook at

~Tattooed Gunner

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


Seems like you can't have a 2nd amendment website, youtube channel, or podcast without having a page about your EDC, so here is my obligatory EDC post!

2nd Generation Glock 17 9mm.  2nd generation only because I got an awesome deal on it.  After a trip to Glock in Smyrna, GA, all internals replaced with new, and magazines swapped to new 4th gen magazines.  They did all that for free.  That's great customer service.  It has Glock night sights on it as well.

(For the safety police: the gun was very much so loaded in this picture. It is, after all, a carry gun.)

Dale Fricke Archangel holster.  Holster is set up for AIWB(Appendix Inside The Waistband).  I have 3 of Dale's products, and they are all exceptional quality.

Wilderness Tactical 5 Stitch belt.  A quality gun belt is absolutely necessary part of carrying a gun.  It holds the gun up, and close to your body.  I've had this belt since early 2008.  The velcro is starting to wear but the belt still works fine.

Cold Steel Voyager XL.  5.5" blade, this is a huge knife.  It took me awhile to get used to carrying a "pocket sword." Now that I am used to it, all other pocket knives feel tiny in comparison.  I actually really like this knife.  It holds a good edge and is easy to sharpen.  Inertia opening is incredibly easy.

(Shown with Glock 17 mag for size comparison.)

Surefire 6PLED Defender.  This flashlight is pretty old technology now but it still works great.  Surefire really stands behind their products.  After a few years of constant carry and use the lens cracked.  I called Surefire and they put me a new one in the mail no questions asked.  I started carrying a flashlight because I used one at work, but the thing is I am constantly using it.  Also, you can take a flashlight with you anywhere.  Federal buildings, airplanes, wherever.

I don't always carry an extra mag, but when I do it is in a Dale Fricke Gideon Elite mag carrier.  I have also just thrown an extra mag in my back pocket before. Not exactly "tactical" but it works. 

Keys, Wallet, Pen, iPhone.  Normal crap to get through the day.

(Picture taken with iPhone, hard to be in the picture that way.)

That's all my carry. Leave a comment on what you carry, or with any questions on mine. Thanks.

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~Tattooed Gunner

Dry Fire Practice

According to Wikipedia, Dry Firing is "the practice of "firing" a firearm without ammunition. That is, to pull the trigger and allow the hammer or striker to drop on an empty chamber."

This is one of the most useful things you can do to maintain, and even improve your shooting skills.  You can practice drawing, getting proper grip on the gun, sight alignment, reloading, malfunction drills, sight picture, trigger manipulation, and even get off the X drills without ever firing a live round.  It doesn't cost anything, there is no driving to and from the range, and it can actually be fun.  Dry fire practice will not completely replace live fire, of course.  Nothing can.  There is no recoil, you don't get to see exactly where your rounds hit, and you can't practice strings of fire.  This article is talking about pistol dry fire, but most of the same techniques can be used with long guns as well.

But does it hurt your gun?  Well, rimfires and some old guns can absolutely be damaged.  Almost all modern centerfire firearms are capable of being dry fired without harm to the weapon.  If you have any doubts, you can pick up some snap caps(plastic "ammo" with a spring under what would be the primer in a live round).  You can pick these up pretty cheap, and they come in useful for other things like ball and dummy drills.  A quick google search with the model of your gun and "dry fire" should also let you know if you are ok to go.

So the question is, what to practice?

DISCLAIMER: ALWAYS make double sure your firearm is unloaded before doing any dry fire or you may find your practice to be not so dry after all.  It is a good idea to leave all ammo and loaded magazines in a separate room, and still make sure you keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.  Check AGAIN to make sure the firearm is unloaded.  Another good idea that I think I got from Ben Branam over at Modern Self Protection is to say aloud "I am now about to begin dry fire practice" when you start and again out loud "I am now finished with my dry fire practice" when you are done before you load back up.  Do not be in a hurry when you are going to dry fire.

Ok, I have a few different things that I will practice when I do this: 

The first is trigger manipulation.  A correct trigger press is one of the most important fundamentals.  Focusing on a deliberate rearward press without moving the gun off target by flinching or otherwise doing things that would cause the sights to move.  There is a few ways to do this.

The first is to push the gun out just like you are going to shoot.  Align your sights, and watch your front sight as you press the trigger to the rear.  At the moment the trigger breaks you should not notice the sights jump.  If the front sights pushes down and to the left you are jerking the trigger.  Practice this until you can routinely watch the front sight not move when the trigger breaks.  When you get consistent results in a two hand firing grip, practice right hand only and left hand only.  A harder alternative is to balance a coin or  an empty casing on top of your front sight if it is flat.  Press the trigger without letting the casing fall off.

Draw.  Dry fire is a great way to practice your draw stroke.  You should practice wearing the same clothing and holster that you normally use.  This works equally well for concealed carry and competition rigs.  The trick here is to practice nice and slow and do it RIGHT.  Doing a bunch of crappy fast draw strokes doesn't help you any.  Start out slow.  Slow is Smooth, Smooth is Fast.  I will start off with some stationary draws, paying attention to each step.  Firing grip, bring gun straight up to rest thumb joint against pec muscle, rotate gun towards target via bringing elbow down, bring hands together and extend.  After that feels good, I will add in some movement.  

Draw while moving to several angles from target.  Remember that moving straight ahead or backwards does not get you off the line of fire.  You need to move laterally.  A couple of steps straight back to make some distance if standing very close is ok, but you still need to incorporate some lateral movement as soon as possible.

Snap caps come in handy for doing reloading and malfunction drills.  Doing a reload or a Tap, Rack, Bang with an empty magazine is going to cause the slide to lock back giving you less realistic feedback.  Snap caps can also be used to set up double feeds.

So a typical dry fire session will look something like this:

15-20 Two hand trigger presses(with or without balancing empty casing on front sight)
10 Right hand only trigger presses
10 Left hand only trigger presses
15 Draws from concealment stationary into 2 hand grip
10 Draws from concealment stationary right hand only
20 Draws from concealment moving laterally in different directions.  Which way you move will determine two hand or one hand grip.  (Moving towards your 7 O'Clock makes a two hand grip all but impossible)(Remember to move with your feet facing direction of travel)

5 Reloads
5 Tap/Rack
5 Double feed clearance

Sometimes I do this, sometimes I leave some of it out, sometimes I add in more, like one hand reload and malfunction clearance.  You can tailor it to fit your needs.  It is better to do several 15-30 minutes sessions over the course of a week than try to spend 2 hours doing dry fire all at once.  Your mind will shut down and you won't gain anything trying to do that.

I hope this article helped you.  If it did, please leave a comment and subscribe.  Check me out on facebook at  Thanks!

~Tattooed Gunner

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Concert review: Rockstar Mayhem Festival, Atlanta, GA 2013

I went to the Rockstar Energy Drinks Mayhem Festival in Atlanta, Georgia on July 30, 2013.  The event started at 1:00 pm and lasted until 11:00 pm, and was held at Aaron's Amphitheater at Lakewood.

We got to Lakewood at 10:30 with the intention of tailgating and grilling only to find out they don't open the parking lot until noon.  Luckily there is a park right across the street.  We parked there and done our grilling.  At noon we found our parking spot and made quick friends with the 4 guys next to us.  We had an hour to drink before the concert started and we wasted no time in doing so.  We caught a bat in the parking lot.  That's probably the most random thing ever...

Once we went in the venue, there was close to 20 bands that played, on 4 different stages.  3 stages were set up in the usual parking area, with 4 bands playing at the actual amphitheater.  In addition to the bands, there was a motocross area with bikes jumping back and forth and doing tricks.

Rockstar had a tent set up with free "energy water" and regular energy drinks.  With the price of a regular bottle of water at $5 and $11 for a beer, these free drinks were a big hit.  Being under their tent, with the fans running really helped with the heat for the few minutes you were in there.  Kudos to Rockstar for that.

Free stuff is good!

There were multiple vendors send up, some for the bands, and others for great causes like "I <3 Boobies" and "F*ck Cancer."

Of the outside stages, Machine Head was my personal favorite.  All the bands actually did a good job, I can't remember hearing any of them being really bad this year.  A few years ago there was a band so bad the crowd started booing them and everybody moved over to a different stage where nobody was playing yet.

The four bands on the headlining stage were, in order of appearance: Amon Amarth, Mastodon, Five Finger Death Punch, and Rob Zombie.  You can tell these bands were further along in there career, as progressively more and more money was spent on their stages.

Unfortunately I don't have any good pictures of the main stage.  My iPhone can't handle all the flashing lights and the staff kept making me put up the better camera I had with me.

Five Finger Death Punch was my overall favorite for the evening.  They started off strong with "Under and Over It."  After a few songs they invited up a group of soldiers, thanked them for their service, and told a story about the last time they were in Iraq.  They played a couple more songs then invited up several kids from the audience to stand on the stage during a song.  They really rocked all their songs, and had great crowd interaction.

Rob Zombie was the last to play.  I'm pretty sure he was either drunk or high as hell on something.  He put on a good show but couldn't seem to remember the words to the verses of the songs.  I guess if you are Rob M-Fing Zombie you get to do whatever you want to.  Any words he missed was made up for with the super elaborate stage.  Several large screens played various scenes from his movies, cartoons, and videos.  There was lots of pyro and flash going on, and Rob came out on stage on several large stage props during some of his songs.  After a (staged?) spat with security the show ended.  One of the bad things about the Lakewood venue is a strict 11:00 pm shut off time due to noise ordinances.

Overall it was a really long day.  We had a lot of fun like always, although I do think this was the hottest concert I have went to.  I love live music.  Metal concerts have a way of bringing people together that wouldn't normally be friends.  Young, old, white, black, skinny, fat, non of that matters here.  It's all about the music, and having a good time.

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~Tattooed Gunner