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What Are Your Fears?

DC Reed, Director

In an uncertain world with the troubles reported daily on the news, what are your fears?

Most of us fear what we cannot predict or control.

Your only recourse is to learn and train to be as adaptable, independent, and innovative as possible.

TAG, LLC does not just train weapons craft -although we are good at that – but we train critical thinkers to look for and use the tools at hand to secure and protect themselves and their families.

We teach how not to look, act, or become a victim.

Whether its rifle, carbine, shotgun, or handgun we have a defensive training class that is tailored to you. We even offer camp-out courses where you learn campfire starting, cooking, and survival heating by night while having fun shooting during the day.

If you don’t see exactly what you want here on this website -contact us to discuss what you are interested in!

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Stay True

DC Reed/Director

The Traditions/institutions from generations past anchor us to our joint history and secure our destiny.

We can move, pivot, and swing along the lines of whatever current waves comes our way, anchored securely, while still remaining steadfast to what built us as a nation.

But cutting this chain sets us adrift. Going too rapidly for the sake of ‘change’ without due consideration of consequence sounds bold, but is in fact immature and reckless.

We are in danger of being adrift without a compass. Wayard with no way to navigate back to safety. When we dispose of all that is traditional we begin to devalue the ties that bind us one to the other. we become a gaggle of self-involved individuals and not a team, or a nation.

Future generations watching us closely learn that there is nothing permanent and no rock on which to build. Everything is permeable and words are but written on beach sand.

Then people wonder loudly why our traditions and institutions fail us.

I say stick with the tried and true. As corny as our joint institutions sometimes are – reinforce them and pass on to your children what made you feel safe and secure.

Give them a rock. Make words into steel and stone.

When times are very, very dark for them the glow of these memories will give them hope and strength and bring them close to you in their hearts.


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Load, Reload, Rinse, Repeat

DC Reed/Director

Let’s talk about semi-automatic pistol reload procedures. Bam! I just started a huge argument. Also, just to be ticklish, I want to propose a change to how we as a police/military/CCW shooting community train reloading our semi-automatic handguns.

To start off, there are techniques and there are procedures and by the way, they are not the same thing. Techniques are non-prescriptive ways or methods used to perform functions or tasks.

A Procedure is the physical and prescriptive “how” of doing that particular something.

For instance, my technique will be, “Keep my weapon loaded at all times. Speed load my firearm whenever it runs empty and avoid running empty by proactive thinking and action whenever possible.”

The procedure is how, exactly, to do that speed load. As in, “Step 1 is this, and then Step 2 is that,” etcetera. In fact, there are a couple of different procedures to speed loading a handgun. Which one I choose to use depends on the exact conditions I’m encountering. We adapt procedures to the specific environment, our abilities, and of course, the threat we face.

Also, there are strengths and weaknesses to all procedures. There is not one perfect procedure that solves problems 100% of the time. You evaluate them under the conditions you are in right now and you pick, frankly, what may be the lesser of two dangers. Hopefully with training you pick the right procedure for a specific environment which matches your abilities to counter the current threat – and that means you survive a little longer

Don’t get bored, I’m getting to the meat of things.

Okay there are a thousand names or labels for every procedure and I’m not married to any of them but for the sake of my TAG, LLC students I have my stock names. For instance, under the heading of Administrative Loading Procedures there is the “Range Reload.” This is a training-only or range level reload, not used under real hostile engagement type environments. Go to CCWGuardian.com and look for the training video, “Load and Reload a Semi-Auto Handgun.”

A Range Reload is where during a pause in training (and only if allowed to do so by the instructor) a student with a holstered weapon and has a chambered round, needs to top off their weapon with more ammunition before the next series of firing events. They reach around and pop their mag release and remove the magazine while the weapon remains fully in the holster. If they can’t do this safely without un-holstering (even a little bit) or disengaging their holster’s safety devices, then they are not allowed to perform this procedure.

Understanding the above, the shooter pops their mag release and removes the magazine leaving the weapon holstered. They then either insert a fully loaded mag back into the weapon, ensuring it’s fully seated, or top off the mag they just removed with more ammunition and re-insert it fully. Bingo, a safe and practical Range Reload.
Why do a Range Reload? The technique is to keep the line hot, weapons topped off, and keep the training moving along as efficiently as possible to make maximum use of limited training time. The procedure is comprised of the steps above.

I tell my students on the range all the time, “Ammunition management is a problem; it’s just not my problem!”

Now you get the idea of techniques versus procedures.

Next is the area where there was a lot of agreement for years but now, not so much. I’ve heard this stuff called ‘Combat’ reload, ‘Emergency ‘reload, ‘Slide-lock’ reload and a half dozen others. But let’s focus first on the technique. The technique is to rapidly reload the weapon whether the slide is locked to the rear or not. For here let’s call it “Speed Reload.”

Now, a Speed Reload is just how it sounds. Rapid, under dynamic or let’s say, austere conditions, you need to load. Fast. Sure, ninety-nine percent of the time this is due to an empty mag bringing the weapon to slide-lock, but I’ve also seen this used with the slide forward to quickly top off a weapon where you may have only a round or two left, but are still in an active and deadly engagement.

Therefore there are two different procedures under the technique of Speed Reloading.
First let’s describe a “Slide-lock” Speed Reload. While firing in real-world conditions you will not likely be counting your rounds and can easily shoot to empty. You’re indication of this is the weapon’s slide locks open and to the rear. Cops often call this a “clue” but hey, let’s not get too technical yet. This should generally be your most practiced reloading procedure as it requires some dexterity.

SLIDE LOCK SPEED RELOAD: First, move! Don’t ever, ever, reload standing still. Be hard to hit. Next, keeping the weapon high and up in the lower edge of your line of sight, let go with your support (non-firing) hand and go for your spare mag. Simultaneously with your primary shooting hand still holding the weapon, press the mag release as you bend your elbow to snap the firing arm sharply back and vertically twist the firing hand and weapon to forcibly expel the empty magazine. Ideally it should fly 2-3 miles before hitting the ground.

This is better demonstrated than described, because you are using centrifugal force and inertia to send the empty mag flying and out of the way of your support hand bringing that reload quickly towards the magazine well. It requires some timing and practice to hit the magazine release right at the pivotal moment you are snapping the weapon back and over to take full use of the centrifugal and inertial forces. Bottom line, get the empty mag gone and out of the way.
Now the flat side of the weapon’s mag well is facing to your support side and you have correctly grabbed a spare mag with your supporting hand. Move the flat side of the magazine to the flat side of the weapon’s mag well and insert. Slam it in, don’t finesse here, making sure it’s fully seated. Again, we have videos to help illustrate this.
Next you have to get the slide back forward and chamber a round. This is where we as a defensive shooting community have evolved a bit based on competition. I used to teach to bring the support hand up and over the slide serrations and grab the slide there with the support hand thumb closest to the eyes and pinky forward. Then pull back aggressively to rack the slide back a bit and release it to allow the recoil spring inside to ‘sling-shot’ the slide forward. However, this leaves my support hand moving rearward towards my shoulder and out of place to quickly re-establish a solid two-handed grip.

Instead, I now teach a pinch-style slide grab where, after inserting the fresh mag, rotate the weapon slightly inboard to the body’s centerline, still high up at head level and still aimed towards the threat. The support hand runs up the support side of the weapon to grab the rear slide serrations with the support thumb pointing forward and the top of the slide in the palm. Now, pull back and ‘sling-shot’ the slide forward. If done right your support hand is in position to re-acquire good two-handed grip a bit faster this way. This should be your most practiced reloading procedure.

Wow, that should start some fights. Many of you are already going to CAPS LOCK to respond! All I ask is to try it first before calling me a Commie.
Some tips: Keep your head up and use only your peripheral vision to accomplish this reload. Move the whole time you’re reloading and when possible move to hard cover. Don’t stare at your gun, keep moving and watch for a threat to appear. Don’t ride the slide with your support hand during the ‘sling-shot’ forward. You can cause a stoppage. Smooth is fast and go only as fast as you can do it right the first time instead of rushing. But, well, don’t just stare at it…reload the darn thing!

Okay, so can you use these same procedures for when you want to reload but the slide’s not locked open on an empty magazine? Yes!

SLIDE FORWARD SPEED RELOAD: As I discussed above you don’t normally count rounds when in an active hostile engagement. You shoot to stop aggressive, deadly action against you. But if at some point you say to yourself, “I’m about out” you have to fix it. In other words, a fully loaded weapon is preferable to a weapon going to slide lock at the worse possible moment. If you can prevent having to do a Slide Lock Reload, why not? Remember our overarching technique from page one?

“…avoid running empty by proactive thinking and action whenever possible.”

So, follow all the procedures discussed above except you initiate a Speed Reload on your own volition, not due to a slide lock. You decide to reload because maybe the weapon starts feeling lighter. The slide’s still in battery and there’s a round still in the chamber.

Move and snap the weapon back as before while reaching for the spare mag and pressing the magazine release all at the same time. Keep the weapon high and at head level in the lower part of your vision. Insert the full mag and seat it fully, then run your support hand back out and into a good two handed grip. Boom, a one second reload with practice.

The technique is the same; rapidly reloading your weapon under hostile or deadly threat conditions, but the procedure is slightly modified to avoid running empty. Do you throw away a few rounds in favor of many rounds? Yes, that’s a consideration. Strengths and weakness, eh?

But wait, you say, “Isn’t this Tactical Reload” territory. And here’s where the fight will start.

TACTICAL RELOAD: I have taught so-called Tactical Reloads (also called a “Tact Load”) for years and now I rarely teach it. (Blasphemy!) For the unwashed, let me explain briefly the concept. If there is a lull or pause in the action (huh?) or the action is possibly over but you have to move into additional threat areas, you will want to top off or replenish your weapon. Sound familiar? It’s the situation I described above for Slide Forward Speed Loading; partially expended magazine, a desire to top off.

So keeping the weapon pointed at the threat, moving to cover if possible, the shooter first retrieves a full spare mag and brings it up to the side of their weapon. The weapon is brought rearward and kept high by bending the firing arm elbow to gain some dexterity and allow the shooter to retain observation of the threat area. Now, place the little finger and ring finger of the support hand (that’s holding the full spare mag) under the weapon and pop the mag release to allow the support hand to grab and retain it. Smoothly give it to the little and ring finger of the weapon hand (that’s holding the gun) and then insert the full mag up into the weapon, thus topping it off. Grab the partially expended mag from the weapon hand back with your now empty support hand and stick the mag in a pocket – but not in the mag pouch where it could be mistaken under stress for a full magazine. Ta Da.

This is essentially a “hot swap.” Like refueling a car while still driving.

The purpose is to top off the gun while retaining the depleted mag should you really, really need those couple of remaining rounds. A very common variant of this is to conduct the swap completely with the support hand. Grab the partially expended mag with the pinky and ring finger as illustrated above, but then pivot the support hand palm and insert the fresh mag. Keeps the mags all in the support hand and leaves the weapon hand alone. I can do this with 1911 magazines but not easily with double-stack mags like Glock or Sig’s. My hand is a bit too smallish to manipulate fat mags under stress like this.

The famous Gunsite training center in Arizona is the ‘World Leader of Tactical Reload Instruction’ (Capitol letters intended). They often joke that if you go to slide lock you owe the cadre a case of beer. I am a multiple course graduate of Gunsite and will go again, but I argue this with them a lot. Jeff Cooper, hear me out. I no longer believe in Tactical Reloads, unless you’re on your way to the car, the station, or the house. Fight’s 100% over, okay, now you can Tact load.

But in any kind of hostile environment, or possibility of continued engagement, I’m either shooting to slide lock or I will speed load with the slide forward when the gun feels light. To wit: I can execute a slide lock speed load in 1 to 1.5 seconds on a bad day. On a good day, three quarters of second! Tactical reloading takes me 3 to 5 seconds and with about three in ten attempts I fumble a mag under stress while moving anyway.

And I’ve been doing this for 35 years!
I’ve seen cops and CCW students take 10-15 seconds to fumble through a tact load. Crazy, right? But why? Usually it’s because some mediocre range instructor said so. So, where an agency policy is such they insist I train their members in Tactical Reloading, I teach a variant called “Reload with Retention.”

RELOAD W/ RETENTION: So start from the same premise: bad day to be you, lull in the action, ammunition mostly depleted, a desire to top off, yada-yada.
Move to cover, heads up, gun up high but rearward, and while doing this release the partially expended mag into your support hand and quickly pocket it. Grab a fresh, full mag from your pouch and seat it smartly into the gun. Pow! You’re done.

Try it and have someone clock the entire time the gun is without a mag. Now do the traditional Tactical Reload and clock the time where the gun is without a mag. With a little practice, it’s the same. Plus it’s the same skills used to Slide Forward Speed Reload except you pocket the mag instead of slinging it away. It also reduces the error rate of dropped mags and reduces the stress of trying to apply a fine motor control procedure while under stress. Boo-yah!

In closing, there are, oh, seventy thousand or so more potential variations of defensive reloading, each one with its own name. I have students and colleagues come up to me and say, “Have you heard about the new ‘Monkey-Flip Snag’ procedure? It’s taught by Special Forces in Antarctica!”

Or, “Joe Bigrep is a former Elite Lean Six Sigma team leader and he says on TV that this stuff sucks!”

Yeah, yeah. Look, I try to teach simple, workable, life-saving skills and while open to evolutionary thinking, I do not jump on fads quickly. If I teach it I want to know I’m teaching something that is already proven to work and solves a critical problem.

So I answer politely, “No, I haven’t seen a Monkey-Flip Snag reload. And neither should you.”

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Summer Concealed Carry

DC Reed/Director

Hey, hot weather concealment is a common topic now with the Concealed Carry of Weapons (CCW) crowd. I have found people who carry all but religiously 9 months out of the year then hide a gun in their car during summer months because of the temps and humidity and of course the lighter, skimpier, shorter clothing.

(Ahem) Um, it’s one of the things I actually like about summer! (Nuff said, stay on topic!)

As always these are my opinions based on 35 years of carrying a handgun, in uniform and out, but mostly concealed. Years spent operating and training weapons to military, foreign governments, and civilians on four continents. I can be wrong, but don’t necessarily enjoy hearing that. Your experiences may vary. Also I have not seen it all and consider myself more of a “professional student” than an expert. Experts are usually jerks.

So, for Spring to Summer carry (65-80 degrees) with a t-shirt and an untucked open lightweight cotton or rip stop over-shirt as a concealing garment you can conceal with the right Outside the Waist Band (OWB) type belt holster and belt. If it moves with you, good. If it moves on its own, bad. I also depend on Inside the Waist Band (IWB) holsters such as my Milt Sparks/Bruce Nelson Summer Special. For a Commander sized 1911 it can’t be beat.

Now when it’s over 80 degrees and up, it’s no longer “over shirt” weather but “under your polo or t-shirt” weather. With shorts and a t-shirt I commonly use a Bianchi, Galco, Uncle Mike’s, or DeSantis pocket holster with my M&P Shield or S&W 442 revolver. Very good with the Shield or my M&P 40c or even Glock 27 is the King Tuk IWB.

I’m seeing the trend towards one of the new broad rear panel (hybrid) inside the pants holsters and there are dozens now to try. I prefer the Bianchi Model 135 but there are many (Crossbreed, Foxx, etc. ) in leather and Kydex. I’m also a fan and frequent user of the Galco King Tuk, which allows me to tuck in a shirt over my CCW weapon. “Small of the back” holsters hide well, but then go try to sit in the car. Ouch. Gotta be a very flat semi-auto.

I’ve reviewed a number of “minimalist” holsters and keep coming back to the Galco Yaqui slide and the DeSantis mini scabbard open top, both worn OWB on the belt. Then a frequent flyer of mine, so to speak, is the Galco JAK inside the belt but outside the pants holster, which depends on your having an oversized by 2-4″ belt.

Speaking of Kydex, either IWB or OWB belt slide maker I’ve been impressed with Leadfarmers Inc holsters, but likely you can find a local guy or gal making open top “pancake” style in the $45-65 range. Make sure they mold to your body, retain the gun, are properly curved for your hips, and that your belt works with it. That said nobody does Kydex better than Blade Tech. I own almost 10 for various guns.

Lastly there’s the Belly bands, and they do work. I know many men and also female detectives, undercover officers, and body guards who swear by them. Under a loose shirt that can be pulled up quickly they work, but you will sweat. Much.

I also have a 5.11 and a Woolrich Elite summer concealment shirt to go with any holster. They look like a short sleeved untucked button up casual shirt. They have a combination of Velcro and snaps replacing the normal buttons for “pull up or tear-away” access to your rig.

Ok, here’s the sound of my mind closing…(slam!) on any piece of equipment that does not grant me a tactical advantage. “Never let your equipment defeat you” is a canon of policing survival. So (zing!) is also the sound of bad equipment flying out of my life and into a dumpster.

So, what I am NOT a fan of:

  • 1. Ankle holsters. I’ve worn them all and won’t again. Nothing puckers your butt like running in the dark and seeing the flash of your Smith snubbie flying off in front of you!
  • 2. Shoulder holsters. Only if I’m a driver doing protection and otherwise never again. Dirty Harry and Sonny Crockett be damned.
  • 3. Groin holsters. If I were suddenly 20 – 30 years younger working narcotics, wearing a wire, and carrying a 25 or 32 auto. So, in other words, no.
  • 4. Cross draw. Just stupid. Sorry, my opinion. One alibi again are seated body guard/protective drivers who stay with the car. Oh, maybe if suddenly I were hired as a Air Marshal. See number 3’s last sentence above.
  • 5. Appendix IWB carry. Popular with shooters using the ‘clip draw’ type weapons-mounted clip. It is bothersome to me and does not allow a solid, well executed draw stroke. I’m thinking if a right hander can carry well at the 2:00 position on their body, then why not 5:00? (For lefties it’s 10:00 vs. 7:35 or so.)
  • 6. Ballistic nylon pancake holsters. One size does not fit all. They close up after drawing and even if they don’t they are not molded for a specific weapon so as to allow friction to be part of retention. That and I’ve seen them ripped right the heck off a guy’s belt by only minimal effort during training. Un uh. Nope.
  • 7. Lastly, open carry. If a cop wearing a badge with the gun on the belt and on the job, got it. I think I’d still conceal. Gun Club meeting, in your own business, range days, Texas barbecues, ok that’s not what I’m talking about.


Open carry for civilians gives away your principle advantage, a surprise defense based off anonymity. Nobody knows you’re carrying so YOU choose whether to engage or not, based on when YOU decide you have an advantage. To those who say wearing openly discourages situations from starting I say, yeah, maybe. But this ignores those with death wishes and mental illness who then will have the advantage of timing, surprise, and position on you when they go lethal.
If you are reacting to an aggressor you are losing. If they are reacting to you, you are winning.

There are more holsters I like and probably some I hate I’ve forgotten, but how about you? Let us know what you think.

Again, if you have something new I might be open to learning from the discussion. If you think I’m just flat out wrong, well… See the first few paragraphs above for directions!

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Pocket Handgun Comparison

DC Reed/Director

I get a lot of questions during training about what is the best compact handgun for CCW. The truth is there are a lot of quality fire arms in this category now, but what is best depends on, well, you. That’s not a dodge; it’s an inconvenient fact. Sure as I say Brand X in a certain caliber or millimeter is best someone will try it and find it lacking in some regard based on their hand size, their concealment method, or ability to shoot well.

I’ve compiled some basic measurements on a sampling of popular models, not necessarily recommending any of them but to help compare apples to apples and so on.

I also did the math for you using the Reed Ergo-Power Ratio tool figuring the Section A and B for each of them. Don’t know what that means? Hey, go read the article on this site called Reed Ergo-Power Ratio Tool. Okay, for now I’ll bail you out a little. Section A is Caliber, scoring your handgun 1-5 favoring major calibers. A 45 is ‘5’ points, a 40 is ‘4’, etc. Section B is Capacity favoring higher capacity and thus balancing A out by favoring smaller bores. C and D are shooting sections to assess your Recoil Management and Practical Accuracy. Score your weapon in these four sections for up to 20 points.

Here are some compact handgun stats including the REPR tool A and B scores.

Here are 9/40 Subcompact Autos

Barrel Length
Mag Capacity
Empty Weight (oz)
M&P Shield
0.95x 4.6x 6.1
3/4(9) & 4/3(40)
Glock G26/27
1.18x 4.17x 6.29
3/4(9) & 4/3 (40)
Beretta Nano
0.90x 4.17x 5.63
Kahr PM 9/40
0.94x 4.0x 5.47
3/3(9) & 4/3(40)
Ruger LC9
0.90x 4.5x
Keltec PF9
0.88x 4.3x 5.85
Springf XDS
1.0x 4.4x 6.3
3/3(9) & 5/2(45)


Now, before anyone sounds off that a Ketec scores the same as a Nano, remember this is just half the formula and actually shooting the gun and ammo to be used comes next.
(FYI: For more handgun charts, see our article on www.ccwguardian.com )

In Section C you measure Recoil Management by firing a quick pair into a 3×5″ index card at 7yards. Not so simple with a micro, bump-sighted, no handled, feather weight, wallet gun, eh? Fired in two seconds or less from the ready with good solid hits grants you a ‘5’ in this section, within 3 seconds a ‘4’ and so on.

Section D is Practical Accuracy measured by firing 5 slow, aimed shots into another 3×5” index card from the seven with a maximum time limit of 15 seconds or only 3 seconds per shot. (No pausing five seconds during the string.) Firing faster is okay but no slower than 3 seconds per, or going over 15 seconds total. All shots have to be fully in. Score a ‘5’ for 5 shots, a ‘4’ for 4, and so on.

This ratio tool evens the playing field but it of course is up to you to fairly score yourself. Also, there is no defined minimum score.You have to do the risk analysis and decide for yourself (and your family) how low do you go before not trusting a specific weapon and ammo to be accurate enough, powerful enough, or fast enough for personal defense. Obviously training can mean a difference upward but age and injury can also move the scores downward. Repeat often.

It’s a toy, but hopefully useful. Let me hear back from you.

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The Right CCW Weapon!

DC Reed/Director

How To Determine If You’ve Got The Right CCW Weapon!

How do you effectively evaluate a defensive handgun to see if it’s right for you? One of the principal issues I see is people who “buy poorly” and have too little or too much gun. Interestingly the smarter some people are when it comes to purchasingTVs, cameras, clothes, or cars…the dumber they act when buying a gun.

I’m particularly talking about first time buyers who often just follow the advice of the dude in the gunstore or a local cop.

That’s why we developed the Reed Ergo-Power Ration tool. It fairly assesses your ability to adequately utilize the gun you are considering for CCW or defensive carry and gives equal standing to capacity as it does to caliber.

It’s subjective of course because it’s YOU assessing YOU.

The tool has four Sections or paragraphs each with a potential of 5 points for a total of 20. Once you select a defensive carry (CCW) handgun you like, ensuring it fits your hand, has a good trigger and set of sights, and of course is ergonomically (to you) conducive to a proper draw stroke and presentation, see if you can manage it by the test below. You’ll quickly see how small caliber, low capacity, bump-sighted guns may conceal well but are not the most practical defensive concealment weapon.

Start with Sections A. and B. scoring your firearm objectively. Then with seven rounds, (ideally of your chosen defensive carry ammunition), head out to a safe shooting area and fire Sections C. and D. Here’s how it works

  • A. Power Factor: Identify the power factor from the caliber. 357, 45 and up are a ‘5’, 40 is ‘4’, 9mm/38 Specialis a ‘3’, 380 is a ‘2’, 32 caliber and under are ‘1’. This favors major calibers.
  • B. Capacity: Identify the capacity including a chambered round. Over 14 is a ‘5’, 9 to 13 is a ‘4’, 6 to8 is a ‘3’, under 6 rounds is a ‘2’, derringers and single shots are a ‘1’. This favors higher capacity and somewhat balances the formula for smaller calibers.
  • C. Recoil Management: Assess the manageable recoil by time and accuracy, firing 2 shots into a 3X5” index card at 7 yards. Both shots must be fully in (no cutters) to count. Within 2 seconds is a ‘5’, within 3 is a ‘4’, within 4 is a ‘3’, and within 5 is a ‘2’. Over 5: stop! Go get training. If you miss one immediately fire again but count the total time to get two in. This favors shooters with good recoil management ability.
  • D. Practical Accuracy. Assess the practical accuracy by shot group and time, 5 shots slow aimed fire with not more than 3 seconds each and also not more than 15 seconds altogether into a 3X5″ index card at 7 yards. All 5 shots fully in (no cutters) are a ‘5’, 4 is a ‘4’ and so on. No additional shots like above, if you miss one you miss one. Shots fired over the time limit count as out. This factors your sight focus, your trigger control, and thus accuracy.

Are you a Pro? Divide the card vertically in half with a pen. If you can fire all 5 shots into the remaining 2 1/2″ X 3″ target: add 2 points!

Scoring: It’s really up to you. If you score a 15 or higher you may be on to something. A 13 is my personal cutoff for any serious defensive carry. But that’s up to you. What is your risk analysis or tolerance given this weapon and ammo will be used to save your own life or the life of a loved one?

For instance, I scored my 5 shot S&W Model 442 in .38 special like this: A=3, B=2, C=5, D=5. (C & D are high because I shoot a lot.) So my Snubbie scored a 15. Pretty good.

You could shoot the same gun and ammo and only get a 12. So yes, this is subjective. I could also change ammo and not shoot as high a score.

But it has to be because it’s YOU assessing a defensive handgun for you. Obviously training and familiarization will mean you can move up, change calibers or ammo, or move downward as skills diminish.

Remember, this is a practical test to determine if you’ve selected a gun that will work for you right now.

Try it and let me know what you think!

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Defensive Handgun Assessment

DC Reed/Director

Defensive Handgun Assessment Using The Reed Ergo-Power Ratio

Once you select a defensive carry (CCW) handgun you like, ensuring it fits your hand, has a good trigger and set of sights, and of course is ergonomically (to you) conducive to a proper drawstroke and presentation, see if you can manage it by the test below. You’ll quickly see how small caliber, low capacity, bump-sighted guns may conceal well but are not the most practical defensive concealment weapon.

  • A. Identify the power factor from the caliber. 357,45 and up are a 5, 40 is 4, 9/38 Spl. is 3, 380 is a 2, 32 caliber and under are a 1. This favors major calibers.
  • B. Identify the capacity inc. the chamber. Over 14 is a 5, 9 to 13 is a 4, 6 to 8 is a 3, under 6 rounds is a 2, derringers and single shots are a 1. This favors higher capacity.
  • C. Assess the manageable recoil by time and accuracy, 2 shots into a 3X5” index card at 7 yards. Both shots fully in (no cutters). Within 2 seconds is a 5, within 3 is a 4, within 4 is a 3, and within 5 is a 2. Over 5: stop! Go get training. This favors smaller calibers and/or measures your recoil management ability.
  • D. Assess the practical accuracy by shot group and time, 5 shots slow aimed fire (about 3 seconds each and not more than 15 seconds altogether) into a 3X5” index card at 7 yards. All 5 shots fully in (no cutters) is a 5, 4 is a 4 and so on. Shots fired over the time limit count as out. (Pro? Divide the card vertically in half with a pen. If you can fire all 5 shots into the remaining 2 ½” X 3” target: add 2 points!) This factors your sight focus, your trigger control, and thus accuracy.

Scoring: If you score a 16 or higher you may be on to something. 14 is my cut off for any serious defensive carry gun. But that’s up to you. What is your tolerance given this weapon will be used to save your own life or the life of a loved one? For instance, I scored my 5 shot S&W Model 442 in .38 special like this: A=3, B=2, C=5, D= 5. (C & D are high because I shoot a lot.) So my Snubbie scored a 15. Pretty good. You could shoot the same gun and ammo and only get a 12. So yes, this is subjective. But it has to be because it’s YOU assessing a defensive handgun for YOU. Obviously training and familiarization will mean you can move up, but this is a practical test to determine if you’ve selected a gun that will work for you right now.

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Outdoor People

DC Reed/Director

It has been my privilege to live most of my life out of doors. From a 1960’s Boy Scout forward through hunting, fishing, camping, and yes, government service.

I have spent some fine times sleeping on the ground in some incredibly awful places tempered by the equally incredible people I was with.

It seems I have always found myself standing or sitting around a drowning campfire, freezing in a …stand, or being boiled alive in a punishing sun. Commiserating with men of such gravitas, as the day got worse, as the collective mood began to sour, their humor got better. Or bawdier!

Bad jokes, tobacco, good food, bone handled pocket knives, very bad food, and of course often very strong coffee. I was humbled just to be with them.

It is with these years spent in such company while on a range, or in harms way, or in the pursuit of game that you form a bond, that those unfamiliar with such a lifestyle will not understand and will very often devalue.

It is in my mind the most acute way of leading a participatory life; a life spent in motion not merely in the passing of days, but in seeing the worth in every wild and hairy minute!

It is through such associations and adventures I formed the metric by which I have, often unknowingly and maybe unfairly, measured the people around me to this day.

Sadly, many of those I learned from are now gone. Happily, many are people I still walk around the woods and rifle ranges with today.

So- Here’s to the out door people of substance and worth! People unconfused by the moral and ethical static around us all today. Men and women you want your kids to hang around.

And hope there’s some rubbing off happening.

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1911 Customization

DC Reed/Director

1911 Customization, Carry Cuts and Slide Stop Beveling

As to carry cuts and slide stop hole beveling on 1911s.

I am by default against going too far off John Moses Browning’s design. I can be wrong but seem to be still alive having heeded this principle and having defended myself with a Colt on more than one occasion.

Relieving the slide that way reduces mass, meaning the recoil spring to gas to slide speed to firing pin spring weight must be all be in perfect balance or when something gets slightly off you have stoppages. Will a stock replacement recoil spring work or does it take a certain weight spring? Is this another cosmetic touch or a design to “aid” concealment? More on this later.

As to slide stop hole beveling, generally done on the right side of the frame. I agree it looks cool. Looks “custom”. My issue is that this is a very critical stress point on the frame and a critical element in the cycle of operation of the 1911. Don’t screw with it. The slide stop is a frequently encountered problem as they break. Slide stop breaks, gun stops. “Bullets go no more” type of break.

The slide stop goes from left to right through the frame, through the barrel link (locking the barrel against the top of the slide) and out the right side. Disassembly of the gun requires the operator to push it out from right to left. The beveling is supposed to make it easier to push the stop out and as it is scalloped out ‘prevent’ the stop from being accidentally pushed out of place.

Bull. It just looks cool. Cutting the frame in this critical area potentially adds to the metal stress here, as there is less metal. Especially with aluminum. “But If they sell it it must be okay, right?” Ha!

By the way, when people tell me their 1911 needs to have the slide to frame fit ‘tightened’ I wince. Generally it’s the barrel link that needs be adjusted or replaced with a larger link. See how important? Keep an extra slide stop in your bag.

Oh, back to slide carry cuts. If you have a a holster that requires you to have slide cuts to open the holster to get the gun in…. Get another holster!

Tactics are driven and developed by the real world problems they counter. I can adapt my tactics to solve new problems but I use the simplest tactics possible to counter the greatest number of problems.

Let’s not add our own equipment to that mix! I refuse to adapt tactics just for a piece of gear that forces a certain method or order of drill to operate.

In short, if my equipment doesn’t facilitate my being able to put bullets on target rapidly, then, “fling!” is the sound of it whizzing away from me towards a dumpster.

Last note. In reference to carry cuts being used to help open IWB holsters that close up after drawing my gun, I actually hate most IWB holsters and I only have them for deep concealment use. I’m too fat. But…This is an example to me of what Clint Smith said about carrying guns. That they are supposed to be ‘comforting’ not ‘comfortable.’

The Milt Sparks/ Bruce Nelson Summer Special or the new breed of wide, long tuck ambles are notable exceptions. General use, I wear a hip holster such a DeSantis scabbard or a Galco JAK (inside the belt but outside the pants). It all depends on your body type as discussed in earlier blog posts.

But, I can be and am frequently wrong. Ask the wife.

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CCW Guardian

DC Reed/Director

CCW Guardian

CCW Guardian, the premier iPhone app for CCW Permit Holders has been dynamically updated.

Many new cool features, a website synch function, and many more improvements to aid in documenting your training.

Check it out at: CCWGUARDIAN.com

Tell them I sent you!

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