Category Archives: Concepts

Ideas & Concepts,

Ballistic Helmets, Construction, Testing, and Ratings

So, after one of my gear reviews, I received so much feedback, I decided to clarify/expound. It seems most end users are merely consumers. They want to give you their want as they see it, and they expect you to point their nose at an easily affordable product without any real regard to their needs. This problem is compounded by the fact that unsavory companies will do just that…on the surface…while easily disconnecting said consumer from their money. The problem isn’t always on the behalf of the business. As with anything we purchase, we know that with quality comes monetary compensation, so where do we draw the line and how do we spot these companies? That is easy my friend, it is called education. For today’s entertainment, I will discuss ballistic helmets, how they are rated, and why some companies offer them at a different price break. We will also talk about the simple solution for finding a good helmet that won’t break the bank. First of all, I am no “expert.” I am mostly just experienced and educated. Having procured, tested, evaluated, and taken to combat many different systems, I have learned a lot through a few decades. While

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Choosing a Protection Level for Rifle Plates

Armor 101… I tell customers that armor is one of the most confusing commodities in the defensive industry. Understanding the rating systems, the materials, and the capabilities associated with each is a must for one to make an educated armor choice. When selecting armor, start with the most likely threat that you may face (be realistic) and work from there. It is always a trade-off (protection, cost, durability, weight, thickness); just balance the capabilities to arrive at the best available solution for your requirement. RATINGS/LEVELS (Rifle Threats) Rifle Plates and Levels. NIJ is the rating that drives the armor train (for now). It is horribly outdated and does all of us a disservice. But NIJ is the only girl left in the bar and it is 2am...so it is what it is. So why is the NIJ rating system "out of date"? Well, the CONUS bad guys aren't shooting at us with 30.06 AP rounds for the most part. The current certification does not account for common threats such as 7.62x39, 5.56 (ball, M855, AP), or 7.62x54R. Rifle plates are rated to stop 6 hits of 7.62 ball (Level III) or 1 hit of .30cal Armor Piercing (Level IV). These

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Materials Used in Hard Armor

*Editor's note: NiJ ratings do not consider 5.56 in classifications. If something is rated level III it will stop .308 but not necessarily 5.56/.223. Currently there are four common options for Level III plates:  5-6 mm steel (AR500/R50c/AR46100) plates: Level III steel plates offer a very thin profile, but are a bit heavier (6.5-7.5 lbs for a 10x12 plate) than some other options. They are very durable and offer inexpensive multi-hit capability against even closely spaced non-AP 7.62 x 39 mm and 7.62 x 51 mm projectiles, as well as for heavier 5.56 mm loads, including 62 gr M855 “green-tip”. Unfortunately, many lightweight (55 gr or less) 5.56 mm loads will defeat steel plates, including the extremely common 55 gr FMJ loads like M193. It is a VERY good idea to wear level IIIa soft armor underneath steel plates. *Spall is a great safety concern. Hard compressed polyethelene (Dyneema/Spectra) plates: These are very lightweight (3-4 lbs for a 10 x 12 plate) multi- hit capable level III plates that will stop closely spaced hits of both the lightweight 5.56 mm ammo that defeats steel, along with the 7.62 mm threats stopped by steel, as well expanding rifle ammunition in many

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The Value of Backgrounds With Teaching

Something that's been bugging me of late and I have to rant a bit about...let me be blunt (as those who know me can appreciate) - I CAN GIVE TWO BIG SHITS WHAT YOUR BACKGROUND IS WHEN IT COMES TO TEACHING ME ABOUT SHOOTING!!!!! That's right...anybody who knows me, knows I know my way around guns. But what's more important is, how I got to know my way around guns MATTERS THE FUCK NOT!!!!! It suffices, that if somebody can concisely, succinctly and confidently make a logical teaching point, I DO NOT validate that point by asking that person, "ok...what SOF unit were you in" before I take that lesson and use it to it's fullest. I've learned over time that I'm a good judge of character and experience has shown me that I have a knack for surviving gun fights and making young Soldiers into old ones. But the most important lesson I've learned is that the youngest Soldier does not define that person's level of competency. What I've learned is that confidence, maturity, logic intelligence and the ability to use common sense to validate fundamental truths comes in all shapes, sizes, colors, age and EXPERIENCE LEVELS!!!!! My belief

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Critical Equipment

This article began as some thoughts when I was listening to the P&S Kyle Defoor interview a few months ago, and I am finally putting thoughts on paper (or the internet’s version of paper). “Tell me about your rifle” (here) was Kyle’s question that started me thinking. On a similar vein, more handgun-focused, was the phrase “tell me a story about your pistol.” Ask yourself “How confident am I in my gear?” In that worst case scenario where a failure of your gear means grave bodily injury or death, can you count on it all the time, every time? If not, why not? How can you bring your gear up to that level of trust? Watching videos of many violent encounters, you quickly realize how vital the opening moments are. As someone closes distance, can you guarantee that your handgun is where it should be? Will it have fallen out, shifted position drastically, or otherwise become unavailable? When you press the trigger, how sure are you that the gun will fire, and that is will hit at the point of aim of your sights? If you grab your rifle, is your optic going to be on? Will it have shifted to

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AAR’s for Scenario Based Training: How to and Why

AAR. What is it? After Action Review is the short answer. Why do we do them? Because we have to. Because we’re supposed to. First Sergeant said to. Because I like to hear myself talk. The correct answer should be to give the students (soldiers, cops, whoever) feedback on their performance, to facilitate learning and to make them better. As a young infantryman I hated AARs, I felt like they were just a waste of my time. I would rather be training, or eating, or sleeping, or playing grab ass. These, many moons later, I feel quite differently about it. I honestly think that AARs are only slightly less important than the actual training itself, but only if done correctly. Over the years it has become clear to me that most people simply don’t know how to conduct an AAR. I don’t recall ever being given specific training on how to conduct one. And if you ask me to sit through one like I used to have to endure, I’ll still think it’s a waste of time. An AAR gives the students time to reflect on what happened, what they did, what they did well, and what they could have

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Battlesight Zero

Those who carry guns for a living know the world isn’t a nicely manicured flat range and threats will present at differing distances. You won’t have an opportunity to dial in your DOPE to take the shot when you need to. To counter this, anyone not using an optic equipped with a bullet drop compensator uses a battlesight zero or BZO. Before we really get into the BZO let’s look at what the Army and Marine Corps have to say in doctrine. “The term battlesight zero means the combination of sight settings and trajectory that greatly reduces or eliminates the need for precise range estimation, further eliminating sight adjustment, holdover or hold-under for the most likely engagements. The battlesight zero is the default sight setting for a weapon, ammunition, and aiming device combination. An appropriate battlesight zero allows the firer to accurately engage targets out to a set distance without an adjusted aiming point. For aiming devices that are not designed to be adjusted in combat, or do not have a bullet drop compensator, such as the M68, the selection of the appropriate battlesight zero distance is critical.” - US Army Training Circular 3-22.9, May 2016. “…In combat, the Service

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Sucked Down the Tube: A Failure in Training

Much, if not all training and practice is conducted on flat ranges under calm conditions with no surprises. We shoot steel and paper that we purposely place and identify. We have lanes and all sorts of safety considerations that make a day at the range a pleasant experience.  This is fine for most of us but can lead to some critical failures if you are in a line of work that may not look the same as the flat range.  For those that form either the thin Blue or Green Lines targets will probably appear in from unknown positions and ranges. Many people preach situational awareness but fail to account for it in our training. COL Boyd gave us the OODA loop, which on the surface, is a rapidly trainable flow of Observe, Orient, Decide and Act. It is a loop because as soon as you act you start over. Observe. To hit a target, you must first observe it. You could possibly be an intergalactic grand sensei with Generation Next hardware and you will still miss a target you didn’t see. With the proliferation of magnified optics, the tendency of getting sucked down the tube is becoming more prolific

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Holster Positioning – An Unpopular View

Holster positioning and corresponding equipment seem to be a topic that comes up often. Though this may appear to be common sense to some, not everyone is at the same level of experience. So let's break this down in simple terms. Positioning, attire, belt, and holster all work together as an effective system or an ineffective hindrance. Without a quality belt and quality holster, the position of your holster on your belt may not be as optimal as you would hope. If you don't dress to carry, you might be doing yourself a disservice. Obviously we aren't all built the same. Body types differ - this is all coming from a 6'5" 250 lb person. Starting from 6 o'clock (small of back) and moving the weapon to 12 o'clock (appendix), as you move forward from 6 to 12 you gain positive benefits. Small of back does not provide awareness of the weapon (you don't know if it is concealed), it prints horribly if you bend, it is slow to access, and it is difficult to defend. Even worse, it can cause serious injury if the wearer falls on their back. Strongside provides better awareness of the weapon, it allows less printing

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Inches, Minutes, Clicks- Zero That Blaster

Zeroing is literally one of the most important thing we need to accomplish with our rifles and #spacegun pistols. There is much talk around the technique to accomplish this but there is one way that is easy and fast. First, determine the desired zero distance.  This will vary by rifle, optic, caliber, and most importantly purpose of the firearm. Many people with AR15 rifles use either a 100, 200, or 300 yard/meter zero. Rather, many people claim to use those ranges but most use the near zero distance on either 25 or 50-yard target. Yes, I am talking in yards here because most people on this page are not using meters. Now, to save yourself time, you can use a borelight or something like the Telluric Group Small Arms Collimator. There are lasers available in every price range and should be part of your tool kit. Doing this step will put you at the very least on paper at 25/50 which will save you rounds and frustration. Ask me how I know. Regardless of borelight or not, it’s time to shoot bullets. Get into the most comfortable and stable position possible. One that you can duplicate easily. For you Army

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