Hardening soft targets like our schools…

Discussions on hardening soft targets like schools you ask? Why yes, here are a few considerations?

I’m not sure there is a total blanket approach. The tools and procedures used in one school based on it’s size, layout, funding, and staff may not work other places. There are a handful of universal thoughts that do apply though…

Those would be:
-Doors that automatically locked when closed.
-Keep doors locked to the outside so entry points are chocked when not manned by the staff.
-Surveillance equipment to be only depended on IF there is somebody actively watching them.
-Natural barriers in front of access points to dissuade vehicles from coming through
-Communication from local LE to school and vice versa on known and suspected issues so the schools have a heightened sense of what to be on the lookout for
-Perimeter fencing/lighting
-Enhanced standards for lighting, guards, and identification
-Volunteer or increased security presence during large events (football games, school programs, etc.)
-Reduction of red tape in order to hire armed security
-One-Way traffic control during large events (helps a free flow of people in and out in a hurry)
-Anonymous tip-texting numbers (this can be achieved for free with a Google Voice number that can be monitored from multiple access points)
-Social Media Monitoring
-Facility Floor Mapping program (crowd sourced solutions)
-Mass notifications via text, alert, app, etc.
-Routine A.L.I.C.E. training – annually
-Sheepdog Training – Annually
-List of local Sheepdogs with Firearms Training (starts usually with LE, Retired LE, Military Service, Firearms Trainers, Competitive Shooters, Self Defense Instructors/Students, etc.) and provide them permission to carry on school premises as School Sheepdogs
-Present Danger drills for the schools
-Present Danger drills for local support (fire, ems, law enforcement responses, etc.)
-Security Assessment Evaluations and consulting (NRA School Shield Program)
-Each teacher armed with pepper spray (ON their person at all times)
-Each classroom upfitted with tools like pepper spray, emergency call buttons, and defensive tools to a “Present Danger” event
-Strategically placed first aid including tourniquets, mass casualty care, and plenty of things to slow/stop leaks (most people will need that kind of care rather than being heavy on burn responses, plus many schools are fallout shelters for natural disasters like tornadoes, so think about multiple uses for your first aid)

Additional considerations:
-Metal detectors
-Panic Button systems
-SMS opt in systems (attendees of a school or program can text to opt-in to an event communication blanket)
-Volunteer response teams
-Community Curriculum (classes as prerequisites for students and free for locals in self-defense, situational awareness, risk assessment, etc.)
-Lowering School bond requirements a few percentage points solely for the purposes of adding hardening of soft school targets infrastructure

Of course I wouldn’t limit the responses to those above, but there are a few there to get the creative juices flowing. All in the first list should be implemented. I know some of those appear to be very foreign concepts depending on where you live and where you’re from. However, there are over a dozen states that are essentially doing all of them in some fashion and they know while it doesn’t preclude the horrible from ever happening, it drastically reduces the likelihood. Utah is a perfect example. They have schools the really have taken this initiative and run with it and there’s a feeling of safety and security among them. They have simply said, flat out, “We’re not going to be victims. We have implemented and trained on active and passive methods of security, and we’re ahead of the curve.” I know they’re right, even if some of these things are hard for you to comprehend…

Marches, Blissful Ignorance, and the Future…

If you participate in a march or walk-out of any kind, doesn’t that require you actually KNOW exactly and acutely all the facets surrounding your participation?

So…. What happens if you don’t know any, most, or all of the particulars? As far as you and I are concerned, that’s willful ignorance by very definition. However, the true casualty of that experience is trust. With no small amount of irony, the beguiled don’t even know their trust has been shattered at the moment. It usually comes later when they realize they’ve been used.

Sadly too few actually grasp they’ve been manipulated for someone else’s gain.

We must ask ourselves not only what is the march about, what are the facts, what is the truth, but also who gains from the march, and ultimately who uses us to achieve the outcome.

The vile and repugnant method in which our youth are being used in this fight against liberty is equaled only by the level of disdain these abusers hold for the search and attainment of that which is true.

You should guard carefully free thought and execution thereof. What is being created is the exact opposite and it is far more concerning than you may think. This has now been taken to the next obvious level and it isn’t too late to strive for better with you and yours… Be critical and thorough. Know and understand both our points of contention and the other side’s in kind. If you don’t, you’re risking heavily I might add, becoming their antithesis rather than a cure. …And woefully, they’re not even remotely similar…

People claim I’m for “gun rights” every where I go. But…

Does anyone besides me find that claim a little odd?

Words have meaning.  Every.  Single. One.  Of.  Them…  So when you see a media article that uses the phrase ‘gun rights’ in the article, or worse yet in the title, what can you and I assume about the author?  If you were murmuring, “they don’t know their ass from their elbow” you’d be correct.

Here’s how it should have been written:  “People’s Rights”

God doesn’t have anything to say about the inherent rights of lumber.  Science doesn’t have a mention for the unalienable rights of limestone.  People do have rights however.  And they’re supremely important.  The tools we choose aren’t the point, but the media either doesn’t understand that or deliberately shifts away from the real issue.  They successfully conveyed a negative connotation with all things “gun” so they love using that word every chance they get.  I truly believe they don’t understand the issue at it’s core regardless.  If they did, they’d understand the 2nd Amendment and the virtues stemming from it are for everyone.  I don’t care how you vote or if you vote.  These rights and liberties are for you.  They’re granted on High and protected by man’s law.

The next time you hear “gun rights” you should be correcting that person and say something along the lines of, “No sir, this isn’t ‘gun rights’ we’re discussing.  We’re talking about the very basest of human rights, and they’re for everyone, not just the folks who agree with you or I.  The decision to exercise those rights are for each person to decide for themselves, not for others to grant or deny.”

Use your “BS Detectors” often my friends.  Catch those small things, because they are today’s mole hills that others build into mountains.

-Michael

Performance Enhancing Drugs for the Precision Rifle… Wait, what???

OK…  Kristofer S. and I were kicking around cryo barrel treatment last night and it led into a discussion I rarely have on facebook, but was of great value.  See the oxymoron there?  LOL…

Most are familiar with cryo treatment.  For those of you that aren’t, cryo treatment is essentially dropping the temp on a barrel blank to a very low degree.  Often as much or more than -300F.  The premise is the stick will be relieved of stress through tempering.  This is supposed to lead to more consistency shot to shot.  That’s all any accuracy enhancement really is essentially.

The discussion we briefly held then morphed into things like carbon wrapping barrels, etc. to enhance performance.  My response to these things is simple.  Prove it.

I hear grand claims often.  And even if I doubt them, there is the very real possibility things such as these are minor or even major gains in performance.  But…  In a world where gunsmiths are variables and not constants, I’d like to rely on a little more.

Proof reached out to me to try some of their carbon wrapped barrels.  I was flattered and tickled they wanted to send me a few blanks at no cost to build up.  I thought this sounded like a great opportunity to build a demo rifle.  You know, something that I could let customers shoot when we hold range days.  Needless to say I was excited.

When the claims of the salesperson who contacted me over the phone reached a fever pitch, I asked how they quantified all the hype.  Silence.  I suggested we prove it.  I was willing to help.  So I said, send me a couple of virgin blanks, I’ll chamber them in a pooch chambering like 308 match, foul them, clean them, shoot 20 5shot groups, and then send it back to Proof so they could relieve the blank and carbon wrap it.  I’d then reinstall it on the same action and shoot another 20 5shot groups and compare.

Granted, this isn’t as scientific as it should be, but if I did the smithing, and used a chambering not known for being hard on throats but still had plenty of match ammo available, along with only changing the barrel with/without carbon, we should have at least some small inclination as to whether the carbon wrapping really made a measurable impact.

Crickets…

I never got a return phone call and they never sent the blanks.  They also didn’t send the AR15 complete barrels they committed to on an earlier call.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not upset with Proof.  I don’t care about a bunch of ‘free’ stuff that actually costs me time and money.  After all, I was on the hook for a high dollar action, stock, complete set up, and optics along with ammo to make this work, so it wasn’t like somebody handed me a $6K rig to play with…  LOL.  Still, I’ll admit freely I was put off by the fact that when I was simply analytical with them and asked some basic questions I’d assume any true rifle smith would ask that the faucet was shut off.

In summary, there is a great deal of merit in trying new things and pushing back the envelope in the name of accuracy and performance.  Most people trudge along and do today what others did yesterday, so I have a profound respect for folks who innovate.  I also see performance enhancing tiny bottles of energy at every checkout line in America.  I see a “performance enhancing” fill in the blank for everything under the sun.  So I hold a healthy skepticism, as should we all, when it comes to things like this.

Are things like cryo and carbon the future?  Possibly.  I’d submit to you all however, even if cryo, carbon, and other things can slightly potentially elevate the accuracy of a weapon, they’re still only “potential” gains folks.  If the guy running the reamer is a moron, it won’t matter that you spent $1K on a really great barrel blank…  So keep it in perspective.

Shoot well my friends, and shoot often…

-Michael

NRA’s new Carry Guard – sound concept?

I didn’t realize this was such a buzz until I was speaking with Barry Snell, exec director of the Iowa Firearms Coalition, the day he left to attend the NRA Annual Meeting.  Apparently there’s been some pretty serious butthurt over folks like the USCCA being ‘dis-invited’ to the gig.

Personally, I haven’t delved into just how much of a problem this actually represents.  I don’t mean to sound snarky, but maybe this competition is good for the consumers.  Right?  I mean, seriously folks…  If NRA is offering a program that includes solid training and allows for insurance protection as a person who carries in defense, and it’s similar to the USCCA’s program, is that a bad thing for you and I?

Having been on the end of the bargain where you only have a single choice and the purveyor knows it, I rarely find myself smiling about the associated costs.  I could be completely naive too.  This may not impact pricing one iota.  However, more of the nation is carrying than at any point before, so the needs of those potential customers is present and evident.  Somebody should be filling that niche.

I’ll need to really dissect the coverage contents to be sure, but on the surface this stuff sounds pretty darned good to me.  I think I like it most of all because some government moron in a broom closest on the 3rd basement floor of a moldy old building didn’t decide to force, cajole, bully, regulate, or otherwise codify it down my throat.  This is personal responsibility showing itself to us all.  It’s from us, we asked for it, there’s a need, private sectors supplied it, and Uncle Sam didn’t force it.  I dig that…

Brassless ammo?

Who would have thought it?  Well I did.  …And since I’m typically not the first guy to think of the hot new idea, that means others are well ahead of me.  I’ve had friends reloading the steel cases you see loaded freshly from brands like Wolf for a number of years.  They’re careful and they inspect things thoroughly.  The people all say the same things.  “We pick them up with magnets, we’re careful about our reloading procedures, we don’t max pressures, etc. and we get along fine…”

So will a two piece nickel/aluminum-stainless steel case do the trick?  I say, why not try it?  The claims include:

 

  • Stronger, cheaper and half the weight of brass.
  • Greater corrosion resistance.
  • More internal volume.
  • More consistent ignition.
  • +P velocities without +P pressures.
  • Cases won’t stretch, no trimming required.
  • Withstands 40 or more reloadings.
  • Picks up with a magnet.
  • Can be anodized different colors for instant ID.

I’ve gotta tell ya…  That’s a fine list of attributes.  The most common thing I hear from people who poo poo the reuse of steel cases?  “It’ll wear your dies out quickly…”  I have to ask you guys, when was the last time you wore out a die?  So if I only get 150K rounds out of a resizing die that costs $20, am I really at a disadvantage?  I’d say not.  Granted, I just yanked that number out of the sky, but you get my point.

Read this article.  I think I’m ready for a better mouse trap.  What about you?

Goodbye, Brass?  Article on SST (Shell Shock Technologies) new NAS3 cases…

 

The Sig wins the Army contract?

Here’s the ARTICLE from Army Times.  Yup.  So what is our response?  Do we even need to say anything?  Is it necessary to weigh in?  Hell yes it is…

I’m somewhat reserved on this one, but hopefully testing was thorough a and good decisions were made.

Personally, while I admit freely I’m a Glock fan, I’ve been elbow deep in so many weapons for so many years, I’m not shocked to see this playing out like it has.

While nobody learned could argue there is a more simple weapon up for consideration than an average Glock, simplicity isn’t the only consideration. There’s a trend towards modular, and it is being pushed heavily. Personally, I think it’s pretty dumb. But… I can see why.

As I was leaving the power systems industry I had many customers that were literally building mediocrity into their business plans.  No joke.  Many were scrambling to achieve two things.  First, they were trying to automate everything possible to avoid the reliance on human beings.  Second, they were forecasting significant decreases in proficiency as they projected the ‘younger’ generation coming into the workforce would simply not put out “X” amount of work in an average 40 hour week.  That’s troubling.  I suppose you can either prepare for the future by making things idiot proof or you can elevate your people.  The Army has chosen to embrace the dumb.

This doesn’t mean that the Army is comprised of stupid people.  I’m simply saying they are catering to the lowest common denominator as we descend into modularity.  Some would argue with me this is necessary.  Some would argue otherwise.

We tried to make a modular ‘fighter, bomber, surveillance’ jet and it appears to be good and terrible at the same time. We also have to consider the armed services want parts hangers and not smiths. so they probably benefit from sub assemblies you take out and chuck in the trash while popping a new one in. This is wasteful and costly, but easy for folks.

Like the zen master said, “we’ll see”…

fanboys… what to do, what to do…

I recently had a discussion, on facebook of all places, that turned south quickly, but came back around in the end.  Short version?  I happened across a post from a friend that expressed unhappiness with the lack of professionalism as well as the “me, me, me” attitude at SHOT show this year.

I posted a response basically backing his play, and mentioned that the ‘fan boy’ craze wasn’t helpful to the industry nor was it wise to cater to it.  I was met with resistance.  A gentleman I’d never met reminded me that while some of the guns, gear, and practices some of these folks choose are silly, they represent a large portion of the market and will continue to grow.

Now…  I’m not sure I agree with him on how much market share the fanboys occupy, and I believe that it probably won’t push out the common sense firearm enthusiast, but it gave me pause just the same.  A blog post like this isn’t helpful if you don’t define what a fanboy is.  There are some who would call it a loyal follower of a product.  There are some who would define them as net rangers or keyboard commandos.  There actually may be some of both.  But I’d rather relegate this moniker to the folks that push their gear because they own it.  Therefor, it’s the best and only way to get the job done.  Just ask them.  They’ll tell you.

I have no problem with loyalty.  I seek it in my customers.  However, of two virtues that are both good things, there is often an order in which you place them.  I’d take truth over loyalty seven days a week and twice on Sunday.  While it is flattering to hear the “CCA” name tossed about, I’m hoping that along with that name comes quantifiable expressions as to why the advocate is voicing their statement.  Does that make sense?

I’m much more interested in the “how and why” something has gained your favor than just about anything else.  If you roll up in a thread to tell me how a Ford pick up is the ONLY truck worth buying, I’ll probably giggle a bit and quit reading.  Why?  Because you are simply justifying your purchase or choice as an owner.  If you haven’t owned a Ram 1500, a Chevy Silverado, a Toyota Tundra, or some of the others, you don’t have much honest comparison you can make.  Granted, not everyone can own everything.  I understand that.  So at a minimum you should be able to extrapolate how many miles you put on it, what repairs it has needed, the handling characteristics, the climates in which the truck is operated, etc.  If you don’t provide some personal background and also don’t offer some specifics, you haven’t actually contributed jack shit.

It is this ethic that has permeated the firearms and outdoor industry I’m not enjoying.  Do I think it’ll be present for nearly ever?  Yup.  Do we have to encourage it?  Nope.  Can we discourage it while turning those fanboys into positive catalysts for change in our favorite industry?  You betcha.  So let’s do that…

-Michael