training goals and drills

I was out shooting this weekend and as usual was filming my 10-8 drill:

Something that popped into my head was the fact that I wasn’t practicing breaking tunnel vision or doing my 360 scan, so I decided to incorporate it. But, as you see, I had a brain freeze and did a scan with an empty weapon…which is pointless.

I then thought about it for a few minutes and realized that this drill didn’t support practicing the scan because some stages left you with no full magazines and some did. Some stages would allow a reload and scan between stages and some left you out of ammo unless you intentionally staged extra magazines in pockets to move into your holders. So I am now considering my options; do I just do the drill as designed? Do I figure out which stages allow a reload between stages and practice my scan only on those? Do I redesign the entire drill to allow reloads and scans?

How often do you analyze the drills you practice to see how well they support your training philosophy?


learning to be silent

Burning oil lamp on a colourful rangoli design...
Image via Wikipedia

The pupils of the Tendai school used to study meditation before Zen entered Japan. Four of them who were intimate friends promised one another to observe seven days of silence.

On the first day all were silent. Their meditation had begun auspiciously, but when night came and the oil lamps were growing dim one of the pupils could not help exclaiming to a servant: “Fix those lamps.”

The second pupil was surprised to hear the first one talk. “We are not supposed to say a word,” he remarked.

“You two are stupid. Why did you talk?” asked the third.

“I am the only one who has not talked,” concluded the fourth pupil.


American Hero


Rescorla Memorial in Hayle, Cornwall
Image via Wikipedia

Rick Rescorla was an interesting man. Rick was a retired United States Army officer of British birth. He served with distinction in Rhodesia as a British soldier and in the Vietnam War as an American officer. For those who read the book or saw the movie, “We were soldiers once, and young”…he was there (as a matter of fact the cover of the book is a photo of him). The author called him “the best platoon leader I ever saw”. There are mentions of him and his bravery in numerous books about that battle and the war in general. He became a US citizen AFTER Vietnam.

Rick was employed as the security chief of Morgan Stanley in the World Trade Center. Being the warrior that he was, Rick anticipated attacks on the towers and had implemented evacuation procedures and drilled employees on them. This served him well on 9/11

As he was evacuating people from the towers he reminded them “…be proud to be an American …everyone will be talking about you tomorrow”, and sang God Bless Americaand other military and Cornish songs over his bullhorn to help evacuees stay calm as they left the building, including an adaptation of the song Men of Harlech:

“Men of Cornwall stop your dreaming;
Can’t you see their spearpoints gleaming?
See their warriors’ pennants streaming
To this battlefield.
Men of Cornwall stand ye steady;
It cannot be ever said ye
for the battle were not ready;
Stand and never yield!”

After he evacuated most of Morgan Stanley’s 2700 employees he went back in to save others. When somebody told him to get out and save himself he said:

“As soon as I make sure everyone else is out”

Rick was killed when tower 2 collapsed. Reports state he was observed as high as the 72nd floor assisting in the evacuation of other people. As a result of Rescorla’s actions, all but 6 of Morgan Stanley’s 2700 WTC employees survived. Four of the six included Rick and three of his deputies who followed him back into the building – Wesley Mercer, Jorge Velazquez, and Godwin Forde. Who are heroes in their own right.

Im not ashamed to say that I get misty eyed when I think about that man on that day. It makes me sad, angry and proud all at the same time. The man was a Warrior, an American and a Hero. There are many not worthy to carry his boots. We should be reminded everyday about 9/11 lest we forget…and frankly its why I get so pissed off at the apologists, the “understand them’s” and the conspiracists. Rick Rescorla is probably one of the best Americans whom you have never heard shameful as that is. Where was the media coverage on him?

An article in The New Yorkerwas published about Rick and his life. It concludes with a statement from his second wife, whom he met late in life, and a reply to that statement from a long time friend of Rick’s who fought and survived in the Ia Drang with him.

“What’s really difficult for me is that I know he had a choice,” Susan says. “He chose to go back in there. I know he would never have left until everyone was safe, until his mission was accomplished. That was his nature. That was the man I loved. So I can understand why he went back. What I can’t understand is why I was left behind.”

Dan Hill says that Susan will understand someday, as he does. “What she doesn’t understand is that she knew him for four or five years. She knew a sixty-two-year-old man with cancer. I knew him as a hundred-and-eighty-pound, six-foot-one piece of human machinery that would not quit, that did not know defeat, that would not back off one inch. In the middle of the greatest battle of Vietnam, he was singing to the troops, saying we’re going to rip them a new asshole, when everyone else was worrying about dying. If he had come out of that building and someone died who he hadn’t tried to save, he would have had to commit suicide.

“I’ve tried to tell Susan this, in a way, but she’s not ready yet for the truth. In the next weeks or months, I’ll get her down here, and we’ll take a walk along the ocean, and I’ll explain these things. You see, for Rick Rescorla, this was a natural death. People like Rick, they don’t die old men. They aren’t destined for that and it isn’t right for them to do so. It just isn’t right, by God, for them to become feeble, old, and helpless sons of bitches. There are certain men born in this world, and they’re supposed to die setting an example for the rest of the weak bastards we’re surrounded with.”

God speed Rick. May the mead never run dry in Valhalla.


some more “watch me shoot” video

Yeah some more video of me shooting. Just keep in mind that I use this blog to both express my opinion and as a training journal of sorts.

So…I went out to my little bit of land to shoot today. I did a little range maintenance, drove some range markers into the ground at 25 yard intervals  and re-zeroed my rifle. Refer to Tactical Preschool 31 if you don’t know what that means.

I was running a 25 yard zero for a bit. It closely matched the military 25 meter zero that I was familiar with from my service days. When zeroed at 25 yards, the bullet will hit your point of aim at 25 yards (duh), and climb above your line of sight as far as 8 to 9 inches around 225 yards  away. It will then start falling back down to hit your point of aim out around 410 yards downrange.

So… what this means is that you can aim directly at and hit (as long as wind doesn’t screw you up) a target 410 yards away, but you better be aiming low (lower ribcage) at a target between 100 to 350 yards away. The military chose this zero because they wanted to give soldiers the ability to engage targets at fairly long range. The problem occurs when all you have is an enemies head poking around or over cover 100 yards away. You better be good at “holding under” the right distance or you are going to miss.

An alternative that is being used widely in Law Enforcement circles these days is the 50 yard zero:

When zeroed at 50 yards, you will only be 2 inches high around 140 yards and back to point of aim around 220 yards. From there out it starts to drop pretty steeply. So now, when all you have is a bad guys head shooting over a car hood, you can aim pretty much right on it all the way out to 220 yards and not have to worry about holding under. For the distances encountered in most LE or civilian defensive shootings this seems like a no-brainer.

Here is some video of me shooting at a 7″ diameter steel plate from 100 yards away using an un-magnified EoTech aiming device…standing:

All I’m doing is holding the dot a tad below center because at 100 yards it should be hitting around 1.5″ high. With a 25 yard zero I would have to be holding the dot 3-4 inches below the target.

I also worked a bit on my reloads:


more russian firearms silliness

This is sort of a companion video to the “hockey stick of doom“.

While I don’t intend to insult any readers from the “East”, I cannot figure out what it is with Russian firearms/military/special forces training and this rolling, backflipping, circus style stuff. I’ve seen quite a bit of footage of various Russian combative systems and you tend to see it quite frequently.

Some of the positional shooting is quite valid here (the “left side..back..right side…prone..stuff) and would be interesting to drill with a dry weapon, but the tactics of turning around to reload…muzzle sweeping everybody in the area with a live weapon numerous times….and running out of ammo in the prone, taking a knee to reload, then dropping back into prone again… leave me scratching my head as to the logic behind this sort of training.