Shout Out: West Coast Armory

There are a lot of things that I look for in an indoor range. There’s the shooting facilities (types of ranges, distances supported, etc), the selection and prices for firearms, inventory of shooting gear and accessories, and many other factors. One of the other factors that’s really high on my list is the staff. You may have visited ranges that are run by people that either don’t want to seem to do business, or who have a very grouchy or arrogant demeanor. (doesn’t really make you want to come back or spend your money there :) ).

I just had the chance to go to West Coast Armory in Bellevue, WA, and I’ll have to say- it was very impressive! We were doing a photo shoot in the law enforcement bay, which is accessible by premiere members. It was a great day of shooting, and the staff was excited about their job, and helpful to customers.

After shooting, I poked around the store area, and was impressed by the array of guns and gear.

I’m looking forward to going back, and just wanted to do a quick shout out here to a bunch of guys that run a great business. If you’re in Western WA, drop by and check it out!

Oh, and they also have a great gunsmithing shop onsite!

http://www.westcoastarmory.com/

West Coast Armory Indoor Range & Pro Shop Bellevue
13216 SE 32nd Street
Bellevue WA
+1 425 641 2877

West Coast Armory Issaquah
675 NW Gilman Boulevard
Issaquah WA
+1 425 391 4867

Thanks,
Gavin

Posted in Northwest Businesses, Northwest Gun Magazine Blog, Shooting Fun, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Welcome to the new website at http://nwgun.wpengine.com!

Hello everyone, I’m excited to announce that the new website for Northwest Gun Magazine is up and running! In this new layout, you’ll find a redesigned home page that makes it easier to navigate the content, see what’s in the current issue, and more. There will be plenty of improvements along the way, so please stay tuned!

Thanks,
Gavin

Posted in Northwest Gun Magazine Blog | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Check out the “man camera” – DSLR video rig

Dewalt battery powered DSLR camera rig - Image copyright 2012 NWGUN.com

I am a “systems guy” – I tend to like components that work well together, and also offer economy and compatibility at the same time. When I decided to upgrade my 14 year old 14.4 volt Dewalt drill driver, I was looking for a good “system” to buy into. I wanted drills, a reciprocating saw, a light, a circular saw, and other accessories that would all work together and use the same batteries and charger. I also knew that I wanted a jobsite radio with iPod compatible aux input, and a small battery powered shop vac to complete the ensemble.

After much looking and reading reviews, I plopped down the cash on a refurbished 4-piece Dewalt 18V XRP kit. I also picked up the shop vac that has turned out to be indispensable for spot cleaning our RV, cars, the reloading bench, guns for photo shoots (gotta get rid of that dust and lint!), and every home improvement job that I’ve performed recently. for Christmas, my wife got me the jobsite radio that charges and runs off the Dewalt batteries, has 3 110VAC outlets on the side, and features the all important aux input jack for my iPhone! I absolutely love this system!

My Dewalt 18V powered tools - a great "system" - Image copyright 2012 NWGUN.com

Recently, I decided to upgrade my current video camera (Canon EOS 7D) so that I could extend my capabilities, increase the quality of my video, and streamline my workflow both on the set and in post production. I first looked at getting a pro HDV camera (~$3000.-5000). But after taking inventory of all of the accessories that I would want to “bolt on”, I decided to go the DSLR route again, but this time to go with the only true hybrid DSLR out there, the Panasonic LUMIX GH2. What’s unique about this camera is the fact that it has continuous autofocus, manual audio level control, face tracking or object tracking autofocus, and extremely good image quality. With this camera, video is rendered with a video codec (AVCHD) that’s both compact (file size) and easy to work with.

At this point, I embarked towards one of the truly memorable mega-DIY projects that’s still underway. At the core of this system is the camera, and the rail/cage system that serves as the “frame” by which all other components are attached.

Here’s the components that make up this system:

  • Panasonic LUMIX GH-2 HDSLR camera (Micro 4/3 system)
  • Cage and rail system featuring 6 carbon fiber rods, and dual aluminum C brackets, handle
  • Lilliput 7″ HDMI monitor
  • Azden FMX-32 3-channel field mixer
  • Azden SGM-1X XLR Shotgun Microphone
  • Barska pistol grips (2)
  • Mattebox with quick release

I knew that I didn’t want to have to run individual batteries in each of the components, so I hooked up AC adapters to the rig, and put a power “octupus” on the frame running power to each of the powered components. This worked OK, but there were two big issues. First, the power cables and adapters were very ugly and unwieldy, and I also had an AC related hum in my audio.

Why don’t I just run the whole thing off one big battery I thought? No power cords, no AC adpters, and no buzzing sound. Hmmmm….. I started looking at battery solutions for indie camera rigs and broadcast equipment, but the price was a bit out of reach ($500.-$1000.-ish).

BAM! It hit me: what about making this camera rig another part of the Dewalt “system” that I had just bought into. I already had Lithium Ion batteries and chargers- this could be a great way to power the camera I thought to myself.

In my head, I envisioned plugging Dewalt batteries into the camera set like you slap a battery onto your drill driver. I also pictured a digital display that would show you the main battery voltage. This could be cool!

So I went about researching all of the components that I would need: plugs, cables, DC-DC voltage converters, The voltage meter, the enclosure, etc. When I had scavenged all of the required gear, I rolled up my sleeves, powered up the soldering iron, got out the Dremel moto tool, and went to work. In the following video you can see the result.

It worked! In order to integrate the Dewalt battery system I ordered in inexpensive ($23.00) Dewalt 18V flashlight, and proceeded to dismantle, paint, and modify it so that it would attach to the camera rig via standard 15mm clamp that works with the rail system. I can remove/replace or move around the battery grip very quickly thanks to this modular system.

The power source for this industrial-strength camera rig - Dewalt 18V XRP battery packs - Image copyright 2012 NWGUN.com

The carbon fiber rods are both cool looking and quite practical as well. These rods are stiff, strong, and extremely light weight. The clamps move freely when lose, and are rock solid when engaged. With this kind of modular approach implemented, I can’t help but compare this kind of camera rig to the AR-15 rifle platform. Abundant accessories, limitless configurations, it’s a good “system”. :)

It looks cool, and it's practical - carbon fiber rods make up the frame for this cage - Image copyright 2012 NWGUN.com

One of the things that most people don’t realize is that quality video is really 50% about picture, and 50% about good audio. One of the exciting new features that this rig includes is a quality “shotgun” microphone. This type of microphone is directional, and can pick up good clean sound in a variety of operating environments. Plus, the fact that it’s called a “shotgun microphone” is cool in itself. With the 3-channel field mixer, I can use the shotgun microphone, and a couple lavalier microphones (best for clean voice recording) all at the same time if needed! This is really going to be a game changer. If you are using your shotgun microphone outdoors, one thing you really need is a good “dead cat” :) A dead cat is a fake fur cover for the microphone that helps cut wind noise.

The "Dead Cat" - important for cutting wind noise - Image copyright 2012 NWGUN.com

One of the other important components in this rig is the 7″ field monitor. Because of the amazing RAM mount system I’m using, the monitor (As well as the field mixer and shotgun mic) can be quickly moved and pivoted. If I want to see how the shot is composed, I can do so from either in front of the camera, or behind the camera. The camera operator can also use the monitor to adjust/check exposure and focus. It’s an important part of the system!

A fully modular system - the "AR" platform for cameras - Image copyright 2012 NWGUN.com

I’m really looking forward to using this camera to shoot both high quality online videos for http://nwgun.wpengine.com and http://ultimatereloader.com, and also shooting video for studio DVD productions. It’s going to be a lot of fun. Stay tuned!

Thanks,
Gavin

Posted in Camera Gear, DIY, Northwest Gun Magazine Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Shooter Ready: What’s in Your Mag?

An IDPA Newbie’s Journal

Well, hello Snowmaggedon ’12 – how nice of you to drop by and stay for a week.  We had some great times, didn’t we?  Remember how you dropped all of those trees at Renton Fish & Game Club so that the January IDPA match was canceled?  Ah, that was the best!  I’ll miss you.

Since the elements conspired against those of us here in Western Washington, my grand debut (or, more likely, inauspicious beginning) at the RF&GC IDPA match was postponed.  This was a letdown – I had been preparing for the match, running dry-fire drills at home and hitting my range for practice.  It turns out, though, that the delay was advantageous in one aspect, however.  My choice of ammo would have severely impacted my match performance.

When I was purchasing my initial equipment, I scoured the Web for cheap ammo.  I knew that I’d need 1000 rounds to get through practice, matches, and an Insights class over the next 3-4 months.  I ended up ordering BVAC remanufactured practice ammo at $190 for a case, which was $20-30 cheaper than the prices I was seeing for factory-new practice ammo.  At the time, that price difference was significant to me, and I had heard from fellow shooters at work that they had shot BVAC through M&Ps without issue.  I figured I could use the BVAC for the bulk of my shooting and maybe pick up some Federal Champion at Wal-Mart for matches.

At a Thursday night range shoot two weeks before Renton’s match, I was running through my second course of fire.  The first engagement consisted of 4 cardboard targets, 2 no-shoots, and 2 poppers.  As I was working through the first 4 targets, I had a malfunction.  I applied immediate action – tap, rack…no round ejected.  I double-racked the slide and saw a round lodged in the chamber, so I dropped the magazine as the Safety Officer stopped the shoot.  We field-stripped my M&P and tried pushing the round out of the barrel without luck. That round was solidly stuck!  Our last effort was to shove a pen into the barrel and ‘gently tap’ (read: ‘whack’) the other end against the range’s concrete floor.  After an escalating 4-5 whacks, the round was finally dislodged.

As I reassembled my pistol, I noticed that the next round in the partially depleted magazine had the bullet seated too deeply in the casing – I would have likely had a squib or a failure-to-feed on my next shot!  The Range Officer bumped me down in the firing order so that I had time to reload and settle down.  I went back up to the firing line three minutes later and ran through the course with a score that ranked in the bottom-quarter of the limited-class shooters.  I’d like to think I’m a better shooter than that, so I’ll say that the stoppage had my mind occupied and thus poorly impacted my run!

That night I ordered 1000 rounds of factory new PMC Bronze on the advice of a fellow M&P shooter.  I decided that the BVAC would become my practice ammo until it was shot up; I needed some more reliable (and safer) ammo for match duty.  Over the course of the next week, I spent several evenings dropping the remaining 800 rounds of BVAC into my stripped-down barrel, one at a time, to ensure that they were properly sized.  I had 46 rounds get stuck – a 4.6% failure rate on the batch.  That’s a lousy failure rate!

Image courtesy of 9KXLH

How was the snow advantageous then, you might ask?  As my new ammo order was transiting across the country via UPS, the train was derailed in Montana on Thursday night prior to the match.  The ‘delivery exception’ was updated with a brief summary of the derailment Friday with the note that damaged orders would be triggering emails from UPS, while intact orders would be re-routed within the next 72 hours.  Fortunately, my order was not damaged and the ammo arrived the Wednesday after the Renton match’s original date.

I’ve now fired 250 more rounds of the BVAC and 150 of the PMC.  Neither brand has had any issues, so I’m hoping that the BVAC has been sufficiently vetted with the barrel check.  While the reloaded BVAC ammo seemed like a good cost savings at the time, I’ve changed my stance on that.  An extra $30 (or an hour’s drive to a local surplus ammo merchant) for factory new ammo is worth my peace of mind.  To be clear, I’m not saying remanufactured ammo is evil stuff, but if you do pick some up, be aware of what you are purchasing.  Take the time to research your options and verify that the ammo feeds through your gun cleanly and safely before staking a match on the result.

Next time – shooting my first two matches and debugging a slide lock failure.  I’ll be back soon!

Jeremy Snook is a resident of Seattle, Washington and works in the video games industry.

Posted in Competition, Handguns, Jeremy Grab Your Gun, Northwest Gun Magazine Blog | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Introduction: Cameron at NWGUN.com

Hello everyone. I wanted to take this opportunity to let our latest addition to NWGUN (Cameron) do a quick intro. Cameron will be jumping in and getting involved at Northwest Gun Magazine in a variety of ways. Cameron is a solid guy, is talented, and learns quickly. Please give him a warm welcome!

– Hey everyone! My name is Cameron, and I am going to be helping out at Ultimate Reloader and NWGUN.com. I am 16 years old, and I attend Bothell High School as a sophomore. I met my new boss, Gavin, about three and a half years ago. ever since I met Gavin, I have had a greater interest in firearms: how they work, and how to handle them. Guns have always been a huge interest of mine and I am so excited that I get to have an awesome job that is so relevant to firearms.

As a child I always loved anything to do with firearms, from practicing archery in the back yard, just shooting simple targets and having a good time to going out and staring at guns in a local pawn shop with my dad. Throughout  my life I grew up around a lot of guys who had an huge passion for guns, and would always let me (under their supervision) carefully handle and check them out. This sparked an interest for guns and gave me a desire to know all there is to know about them.

Now i get a huge honor of working for two companies that are completely devoted to firearms. For a 16 year old guy, this really is a dream job compared to most all of my friends working down at your local grocery shop. I am also looking forward to some of the things that I will be doing here at Ultimate Reloader & NWGUN.com, which include helping with photo/video shoots, editing and writing posts (much like this), and getting to even just learn about firearms! Over all, I’m super excited to be here and I cant wait for what i will get to learn next!

Aside from guns, I love playing the guitar. there is nothing better than playing my Martin until my fingers go numb. I have been playing for three years now, and I actually just jumped in my first band (Dust & Ash) with Matt Kennelly, Jeff Coats, and Noah & Elijah Elliot. So far I love it and its really such a joy to be able to play with some of the guys I am closest to. I also love to jet ski with my cousin Sam, Its one of my Favorite things to do, and I am lucky enough to be able every summer to go spend a week or two in Idaho with Sam, and ride my heart out. By far its the highlight of my summer and the highlight of my year, and I am looking forward to this year!

My Cousin Sam

 

Posted in Northwest Gun Magazine Blog, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Please welcome respected gunsmith Grant Cunningham to NWGUN!

Hello everyone. I’m pleased to announce that Grant Cunningham will be one of the featured authors in the first issue of Northwest Gun Magazine! If you don’t know Grant, he’s well known for his revolver gunsmithing, his blog, as an author, and his active voice in the defense community. I’ll let Grant tell you a few things about himself!

My name is Grant Cunningham, and I’m an author, teacher, and gunsmith who lives in the Willamette Valley of Oregon.

Like many who grow up in the country, I started out shooting at a very young age. In our family we had a .22 rifle, a “deer rifle” (a Winchester 94, of course), an “elk rifle” (a Springfield .30-06), and a shotgun. That modest arsenal instilled in me both a love of shooting and a respect for safety.

In my teens I apprenticed as a watch and clockmaker, learning to repair and refurbish very small and complicated mechanisms. Though it was never my career, the experience I developed working with metal and making small parts would prove to be invaluable later in life.

After college I settled into a business career and only occasionally got the chance to go shooting. In was in my mid-twenties that I decided to get back into shooting and hunting, and as an adult bought the first gun of “my own”. I was also able to start carrying a gun under Oregon’s revised concealed carry laws

I found that I liked the growing sport of combat or defensive shooting, and spent a number of years shooting several matches every month. My wife and I even ran matches at our local gun club!

It was after I’d been shooting seriously for a number of years that I combined my love of guns and my mechanical expertise by working on them. I’d acquired a Colt Python which needed work and couldn’t find anyone locally who would touch it. All of the local gunsmiths told me that it was too complicated! To me that was a little odd, as it wasn’t nearly as complicated as even a simple watch or clock.

Using my mechanical knowledge and skill I took that Python apart, learned how it worked, did some customization of the action, and showed it to some people at the range. They were complimentary and asked me to work on their revolvers, too.

My big break came one day when I was chatting with Massad Ayoob, well known gunwriter and trainer, about the work I had fallen into doing. He asked to see some of them and was quite impressed – enough so that he did a major article in the Complete Book Of Handguns that year. After that I had a long waiting list of revolver work to be done, a waiting list which continues to this day.

Over the years I refined my techniques and became nationally known as an expert on customizing the double action revolver. By this time I was carrying and competing with the revolver almost exclusively, and it wasn’t long before people were asking me to teach them how to properly handle their wheelguns.

This lead to another career as an instructor, and today I teach my own courses on how to handle and shoot the revolver and the lever action rifle. I’m also one of the few certified Combat Focus Shooting instructors for revolver and autopistol. I’m able to teach people both how to operate their guns and how to use them to keep themselves (and their loved ones) safe from violent attack!

I’m also known for my writing, and that work has appeared in publications like Concealed Carry Magazine, the Personal Defense Network, and in the many articles on my own website. I also wrote “The Gun Digest Book Of The Revolver”, available on Amazon and at any book or sporting goods store that carries Gun Digest publications.

My blog, the Revolver Liberation Alliance, is read by many of the movers and shakers in the shooting industry. It’s updated on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and usually combines a mix of revolver talk, general shooting topics, self defense training, and industry news – plus an occasional surprise!

The best way to reach me is through my website, www.grantcunningham.com. You can also follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

Please welcome Grant aboard the NWGUN team!

Thanks,
Gavin

Posted in Concealed Carry, Defense, Gunsmithing, Northwest Businesses, Northwest Gun Magazine Blog, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Taking the AR-10 Full-Auto

One of my big yet-to-be-fulfilled dreams to to test drive some full-auto rifles. I’ve done full-auto airsoft, but hey- that’s just not the same. Over the past year, I’ve gotten to know John Hwang, the owner at Rainier Arms. Northwest Gun Magazine and Rainier Arms will be teaming up on some really cool content for the first four issues of  the magazine which will be very interesting to say the least! More details on that to follow.

John gets to have a lot of fun in his line of work- here’s a video from the Rainier Arms YouTube channel showing him shooting the Mega Ma-Ten 308 full-auto, JEALOUS! Check out the big smile at the end…

Some day- I just keep having to say that- some day…

Any of you had the opportunity to shoot full auto?

-Gavin

Posted in AR-10, Northwest Gun Magazine Blog, Shooting Fun | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Trigger the Vote

Lee Ermey - Photo by Zachary B

What can I say, I am a fan of R. Lee Ermey.  I believe that people should exercise their right to vote, and I enjoy my rights as a US citizen (1st and 2nd amendment rights being at the top of my favorites, followed by the 9th).  Now the NRA has brought all of these things together in a new effort called Trigger the Vote.

The premise of the site is simple, if you want your voice heard in government you have to vote.  It doesn’t really matter what you believe in, or what party you belong to; voting is a good idea and registering is a necessary step in that process.  If you want to keep your rights, protect them by voting.

If you haven’t been getting enough of the Gunny since Mail Call was canceled, check out the link above.  It’s not a Full Metal Jacket tirade, but I never get tired of watching my favorite drill sergeant tear into someone.  If you haven’t registered to vote, take a few minutes to square that away at the site as well.

Thanks,
Shawn

Posted in Legislation | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Please welcome Lucas Swanson from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game

I am happy to announce that we will have Lucas Swanson joining the Northwest Gun Magazine writing team, and he’ll be covering various hunting related topics that are a part of his daily experiences in Idaho. I’ll let Lucas introduce himself here!
-Gavin

Hello my name is Lucas Swanson, I currently work for the great state of Idaho as a conservation officer with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. I worked seasonally for the department on a fisheries crew before being hired on full time as a conservation officer in 2008. Background qualifications to get the job included earning a bachelors degree in wildlife resources from the University of Idaho and spending four years in the Marine Corps infantry.  For those unfamiliar with what conservation officers do or how much training they get, it is a lot. All conservation officers in Idaho are certified peace officers and have been through the state patrol officer academy. Additionally, Idaho Fish and Game has their own intensive field training package, semi-annual physical fitness tests, firearms and tactical training and a bunch of other miscellaneous requirements that all officers have had to go through or are required to retest every year.

 I am currently assigned the Powell patrol area in the Clearwater/Nez Perce National Forests which includes a huge chunk of real estate along the Lochsa and Selway Rivers. Both are world class trout rivers. My patrol area borders Montana on one side and encompasses a large portion of the 1.3 million acre Selway/Bitterroot Wilderness Area. It is the 3rd largest wilderness in the lower 48. Since only a small percentage of my patrol area has roads I cover it using a variety of different means- boat, horse, foot, atv, pickup, and snowmobile patrols. Different duties associated with my job include everything from checking hunters/anglers/trappers for compliance with wildlife laws, teaching hunter education classes or other education programs to school age kids or interested groups, assisting fish or wildlife biologists with various projects, responding to nuisance or injured animal complaints, helping out on public assistance calls such as vehicle crashes or search and rescue efforts, and basically anything else that comes up from spitting on the sidewalk to weapons of mass destruction. You never know what will happen with this job and it is almost never boring.

All in a days work - Image copyright 2012 Lucas Swanson, used with permission

I am married to a wonderful woman who lives with me in the woods and loves it. She shot her first deer when she was nearly 7 months pregnant with our first daughter and now is addicted to bear hunting. We currently have two beautiful daughters who already are showing interest in all things outdoors. They ask me whenever I come home from work “can we go fishing again Dad?” or “what did you get today?”  It makes it easy to go home.

For my own beginnings in the outdoors, I began accompanying my dad on hunting and fishing trips at the age of 5. I started hunting myself at the age of 9. I have been fortunate to hunt and harvest a number of different big game animals such as moose, elk, bear, wolf, mountain lion, and 3 species of deer(mule, blacktail and whitetail). Although it might sound like big game is a primary pursuit, my first love was waterfowl and upland bird hunting. Salmon and steelhead are my preferred angling quarry although I enjoy everything from fly fishing for trout to bobber fishing for bluegills.  I think that about covers my background so good luck and stay safe out there.

One good looking fish! - Image copyright 2012 Lucas Swanson, used with permission

Welcome aboard Lucas! Can’t wait to read more about hunting and wildlife in Idaho.

-Gavin

 

 

Posted in Hunting, Northwest Gun Magazine Blog, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

For when you have to be unarmed

Hi, my name is Edmund, and I’m a family man with a bad case of “what if-ism”. Ever since my son almost drowned and my wife got into a bad accident, I’ve tried to make sure I train and do as much as I can to keep my family safe. That meant wilderness medical training, being a CERT leader, stocking up on emergency supplies, prepping for earthquakes, and revisiting some skills I learnt  in the army, where I was a mission specialist. Maybe that’s why I was asked to be a NWGUN.com blogger – to share what I know to help you keep you and yours safe. 

Just about anything can be used to protect yourself. Well, almost anything. A leaf might not be of much use in fending off someone intent on doing you harm. But that branch the leaf was on might come in very useful.

A caveat: By no means are we saying that you should abandon all the items that you may have trained with or assembled through the years in the name of personal protection. So, yes, hang on to that collapsible baton, that kubotan, that travel wrench, your knife, and of course, your favorite firearm.

But in the absence of a dedicated defensive tool, you are going to have to improvise. Maybe you are on a flight, or in a country where there is a low tolerance for self-defense weapons. Or perhaps you work in a company or go to a school where there is a strict “no-weapon” policy. Or worse, you may have been abducted (but that is a different article for another day).

Just because you heeded the “no weapon” requirement doesn’t mean that trouble will not find you, and if it does track you down, don’t count on it respecting the same rule.

Verbal Defense:

Before physical force begins, give verbal de-escalation a try. This is something that you will hear from us often.

Given the right circumstances, there is a chance, albeit a slim one, that you may be able to get out of the fight. There is a whole discipline around verbal defense to defuse a potential lethal situation, with specialized training provided to cops and hostage negotiators. In a nutshell, you are seeking to find common ground with your potential adversary from a position of confidence (if not strength), and avoid having to lie to him or her.

But the real reason for talking is that it may buy you some time to assess the danger, spot the best exits to use, and decide how best to fight your way to it. The words you use should be something you practice as a cue to launching your defensive strategy, something that helps you beat down the impending panic. And yes, you can count on our body wanting to panic – that’s your fight, flight or freeze response kicking in.

You can’t help that, but you can manage it by having a plan, and having a cue to force yourself out of the freeze, identify the path to safety, and fight your way there. And preferably, you have improvised a defensive tool to aid you.

Improvised Defensive Tools (IDT)

A good IDT is one that:

  • Can be carried even on restricted places, like schools, Federal buildings, theme parks, and on planes;
  • Does not look like a protective device to a potential bad guy when you are still trying to verbally de-escalate the situation; and,
  • Requires no or minimal time and effort to be deployed.

Here are a few that we train with:

Dishtowel: One of the IDTs that Ian (a defensive tactics instructor and co-author of this post) used often in his previous jobs running security in Seattle clubs was the humble dishtowel. No one thinks twice about it in a club, but in the blink of an eye, it can be used to block and trap a blow, bind an attacker’s hands, or even as a crude garrote. Drop something weighty in it, such as a watch or phone, and you have a flail. But it doesn’t have to be a dishtowel. How about a scarf? Perhaps a bandana? Getting the picture yet? The downside is that you’ll need some training and a lot of practice to get good at this, so maybe it’s not for every one.

Cellphone in a Tough Case: As for Edmund, the item that he trains most with is, believe it or not, a cellphone encased in an extra tough shell. A phone is not the best protection tool, but almost everyone has one, and with the right case, those corners can really hurt (disclaimer, it will hurt your hand too when you hit with it, but not as much as it will your attacker). Plus, it totally fits in with Edmund’ modus operandi – which goes something like “ok please don’t hurt me, here take my phone” followed by sharp hits to the eyes, throat, or other vulnerable spots, and then the use of force is escalated as dictated by the situation.

There are lots of other things that can become IDTs. For instance:

Walking Cane: This is one of the most perfect incognito defensive implements, especially for an older person, or for someone who can fake a good limp. The many ways it can be used to surprise, block or incapacitate an assailant are simply impressive. And it doesn’t even have to be a walking cane. It could be an umbrella, or a broken broomstick. We highly recommend Kelly Worden’s Defensive Walking Stick, available on Amazon, if this is something that you want to learn in just an hour or so. It’s easier to pick up than a dishtowel, and easier to retain too.

Bottled Water/Cup of Hot Coffee: This is mostly a distraction to allow you to deliver your first strikes, but that steaming hot cup of Joe has the added advantage of scalding the other guy.

Food Tray: Any items on it can be launched as a distraction, while the tray itself can be used to block and parry or to smash down on your assailant repeatedly. With practice, the edged sides can also be enlisted against his face.

Pen/Toothbrush: A sturdy pen or toothbrush can be a very useful tool to jab at an attacker. Target selection is key here, so pick vulnerable spots like the eyes, temples, or throat. Some folks practice sticking the pen up the other guy’s nostril or as leverage to apply added pressure to the ears or fingers, but these techniques are more about compliance than protecting yourself.

Rolled Magazine: You might have seen Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne character use this technique with deadly effect. It does work, but perhaps not quite with the same impact like in the movies. A rolled magazine can nevertheless be used with similar jabbing techniques as with a pen, but can also be swung like a short baton.

Chair: Chairs can be kicked in front of an advancing attacker to disrupt their assault while you deliver your own blows (perhaps with a walking stick?). It can also be held to deal with and possibly disarm an attacker with a knife.

No matter what IDT you are considering, it will be in vain if you do not practice getting to it and then, hitting with it effectively. It would also be quite pointless if you do not have good situational awareness. For instance, if like Edmund, your cellphone is your preferred IDT, but you choose to walk around absorbed with texting and tweeting with it, then what’s the point?

We’ve only begun to scratch the surface here. With some pre-planning and imagination, you do not have to be caught empty-handed in a potentially violent situation.

So, gather your wits about you, stay alert, and improvise!

 

Edmund Tee and Ian Allen are instructors in a close quarter combat group called Bullet & Blade that combines unarmed defensive tactics with close quarter shooting.

Text Copyright 2012 Edmund Tee – Used with permission, Photos by Gavin Gear

 

Posted in Defense, Northwest Gun Magazine Blog, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

AR-15 Precision Rifle Build DVDs are here!

Hey everyone, yesterday was a big day for me. For years I’ve been thinking and planning several DVD projects, and yesterday I saw this dream come to life. I was able to hold in my hands a production DVD that I had shot, edited, and formatted. It was exciting to see all of the work that I did on the AR-MPR rifle build series packaged up as a DVD that will play anywhere, at any time, on any device with DVD capabilities.

I definately learned a lot through this process, and this Web-Series DVD was a great way to get started. In the future, I’ll be working on Studio-Series DVDs, and I have some great titles in mind. I want to thank everyone for their support over the years, it’s great to have you all onboard as subscribers and participants- I have enjoyed discussing the many topics that we’ve covered on http://ultimatereloader.com and recently here on http://nwgun.wpengine.com.

If you want to know more about this new DVD, you can visit the store here: http://nwgun.wpengine.com/AR-MPR-DVD,

Thanks,
Gavin

Posted in AR-15, Gunsmithing, Northwest Gun Magazine Blog | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

And now for something completely different: trying the FNH PS90

The PS90 Rifle from FNH - Image Copyright 2012 Northwest Gun Magazine

Every once and a while you just have to do something completely different. I’m sure that when people first saw and fired the revolutionary AR-15 rifle, it was such a departure from what they were used to, it must have blown their minds. Compared to wood and steel rifles that were traditional in the military, the AR-15 was definately a “different take” on a battle rifle.

The first time I saw a PS90 rifle, I was not sure what to think. The first thought that came to my mind was “science fiction movie”. The FNH PS90 is radically different from other rifles in its class. It was almost as though the engineers were told “whatever is the status quo in rifle design, please to the exact opposite”. The magazine snaps onto the top of the rifle. The bulpup design has different ergonomics and balance compared to other rifles. The magazine rotates cartridges 90 degrees when they are loaded and unloaded. The brass ejects out the bottom of the rifle. Just looking at this thing can be a bit confusing at first. How will I hold that thing? one may ask.

When you pick up the rifle, it’s surprisingly natural. It is quite sound ergonomically. It is very well balanced. It is extremely compact. It looks very rugged- like something you could really toss around without worrying about damaging it.

The author with the FNH PS90 - It's bound to bring a smile to your face - Image Copyright 2012 Northwest Gun Magazine

The first think I noticed when I went to fire the PS90 was that the sighting system is different from anything I’ve used before. This rifle features a non-magnified sight system that is somewhat like a red-dot sight, but features a black circle/dot static sight “reticle”. Once I learned how to center the reticle on the target it was pretty straightforward to use. This rifle does not have much recoil at all (feels like a mild AR-15 type recoil, but a bit less). The trigger is nothing fancy, and feels solid like a tank rather than precise and smooth. This is a battle rifle for sure.

Author Shooting the PS90 - Image Copyright 2012 Northwest Gun Magazine

After shooting the PS90 from a seated position, I was surprised to see a neat and tidy pile of brass on the ground. The ejection “port” on the bottom of the rifle directs the brass downward. As an avid reloader, I’m thinking this would make life really easy – it would not take much effort to rig up a brass catcher that would collect your brass, and the catcher would also be neatly out of the way… Hmmmm.

So what about the chambering for this rifle? Well, this was my first experience with the 5.7x28mm cartridge. These cartridges are very small, but at the same time very potent. I would like to find out what people are using for reloading components, and also the typical applications for reloads (competition, defense, etc). Does anyone hunt with these rifles? :)

5.7x28mm Ammunition by the PS90 - Image Copyright 2012 Northwest Gun Magazine

It was really fun to try something completely new! I’m curious to find out more about both the PS90 rifle platform, pistols chambered in 5.7x28mm, and this cartridge. Have experiences you want to share? Please leave a comment.

Thanks,
Gavin

Posted in Northwest Gun Magazine Blog, Rifles, Shooting Fun | Tagged , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

First Northwest Gun Magazine DVD Production to debut soon!

**Update: The DVDs have arrived, and are now available for purchase here: http://nwgun.wpengine.com/AR-MPR-DVD. Thanks everyone!

Hello everyone! Over the last month, I’ve been working on an exciting new project: my first production DVD. This DVD is what I call a “Web-Series” DVD which brings together a collection of content originally published on Ultimate Reloader onto a DVD so that you can watch it anywhere, and have it in your library long term. The first “Web Series” DVD will be the complete collection of AR-15 rifle build videos from the AR-MPR AR-15 Multi-purpose precision rifle project.

Coming Soon:

This is a high-quality production, featuring videos that were shot in HD, with off-camera sound, etc. This complete AR-15 assembly DVD will be value priced at $14.50, and should go on sale next week (about 02/08/2012 if all goes well). If you would like to see an overview of what’s included on the DVD, you can check out the product page here: http://nwgun.wpengine.com/store

If you want to get notified when this DVD is available, make sure you’re signed up for email udpates (See left navigation bar), and follow us on Facebook!

Thanks,
Gavin

Posted in Northwest Gun Magazine Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Basics – Classes at the Kenmore Gun Range

Guns have always been a part of my life.  My dad owned and worked at several different sporting good and gun stores while I was growing up.  We went shooting and hunting whenever we had the chance.  Guns were tools, and like most powerful tools, they can be a lot of fun to use if you treat them with respect, maintain them, and always keep safety in mind.

In the last few years I have had a number of friends come to me asking for advice on getting a gun or for a shooting lesson. I don’t know if this is a trend or not, but it became really clear to me that shooting and gun ownership can be very intimidating to people who aren’t familiar with them. My plan here on NWGUN is to write a set of blog posts covering the basics for people who may not be “gun people” already. Hopefully it will help convince some new people to go and try shooting for the first time.

If you have never handled a gun before and want to experience what I believe is the greatest deal in the Northwest, head to the Kenmore gun range in Bothell Washington on the 2nd or 4thweekend of the month with $50 and a sack lunch. The range provides the hearing and eye protection, the instructors, the guns, and the ammunition. The class covers everything from safety, to shooting, to cleaning the gun. Pistols are taught on the 2ndweekend of the month, and rifles take up the 4th weekend. Each 2 day course includes 14 hours of instruction with certified NRA instructors. For the price, I think anyone would benefit from these classes.  I haven’t had a chance to get up there and take the classes myself, but I did get a chance to meet one of the instructors.  I can’t see how you could go wrong with two days of shooting someone else’s guns and ammo for $50.  If I find a free weekend to take the class, I will post a review.

Advanced registration is required, so please call the Kenmore Rangemaster at 425-481-8686 before you show up. If you want to see a full list of their incredibly well priced classes, visit their website. If you know of a better deal, please share.

Thanks,
Shawn Maloney

Posted in Northwest Gun Magazine Blog, Training, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Shooter Ready: Jeremy Grab Your Gun

An IDPA Newbie’s Journal

Hi, my name is Jeremy and I’m a shooting addict.

I’m a lifelong shooter, starting with a BB rifle & pistol growing up and moving into pistol / shotgun / rifle in college.  In 1994 I joined the Army, which added much in the way of personal and crew-served weapon systems training.  I routinely qualified expert grenade, sharpshooter / expert rifle, and sharpshooter pistol.  But post-Army / post-college, my shooting dried up.  I tried to make an annual range run with a friend or my wife, but often went a couple of years between shootings.

Cast of season 4 of History's "Top Shot". Photo courtesy of http://www.history.com/shows/top-shot.

Last fall I watched the first 3 seasons of History’s Top Shot.  If you haven’t seen it, it’s a Survivor-styled reality show that pits two teams of eight contestants each against each other in elimination challenges.  The contestants are various shooters from around the US, from military to law enforcement to competitive shooters to amateur plinkers.  They live together in a house in California and shoot 3-day episodes, where each episode has a theme (i.e., “The Long Shot”), a team challenge, and an elimination challenge for the losing team.  There is the typical reality show drama, but the shooting challenges and the weapons featured make the show interesting.  By the end of the season, you see some very impressive shooting.

This gave me the itch to hit the range again in a big way.  Shortly afterwards my brother and I hit Wade’s in Bellevue over a couple of lunches.  We stayed with 9mm (cheaper than .45!) and shot USPs, Sigs, Brownings, S&Ws, Berettas (hello, old friend!) and Springfields.

I wasn’t satisfied – the itch grew.

I dug into competitive practical shooting – both International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA) and US Practical Shooting Association (USPSA).  I watched a year’s worth of the PowerFactor Show, a video podcast hosted by three local practical shooter gurus – Rick, Steve, and Caleb.  I bought a holster, mag holder, and went to West Coast Armory for their Tuesday night IDPA pistol league.  I had no gun of my own yet at this point, so I rented an M&P 9.

I was hooked.  I trolled various forums, read blogs, pestered experts with questions… I thought about shooting when I woke up and when I went to bed.  Hooked?  No, I was addicted.

My M&P9 Pro

So here we are in 2012.  I’m running a Smith & Wesson M&P 9 Pro in IDPA’s Stock Service Pistol division.  I shoot Thursday night USPSA league (even though I’m an IDPA focused shooter – Tuesday nights don’t work for me) and usually warm-up in the member bays with some drills.  I also dry-fire at home to augment my trigger time and build physical coordination.

We test it all soon; my first IDPA match is Renton Fish & Game Club’s January match.  I can’t wait to set the baseline and see where this year takes me.  I’ve got my sights set on two matches per month all the way until the state championship match in July.

My name’s Jeremy and I’m an addict.

Jeremy Snook is a resident of Seattle, Washington and works in the video games industry.

Posted in Competition, Jeremy Grab Your Gun, Northwest Gun Magazine Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments