Well look who is back!!! I ran into my good friend Scott Preston the other day and asked if he is still crafting kydex goodness. He sure is and has restructured under the name of: Fusil Custom. He is now taking custom orders for any need that you may have for kydex. What you see in my not so little hand is a custom kydex sheath that Scott made for me for my NOK knife. I use the NOK knife in my edged weapons training as it allows you to go pretty much full speed without causing injury to your partner. I have been working my grappling every week lately trying to get prepared for the upcoming ECQC class at the end of May. I've also added a day of striking with my shift mate Ryan Thompson who has been a long time Miletich Fighting System gym rat for many years. Hopefully all this recent training will help me get my ass kicked less during the course.
If you have a need for any type of kydex gear, Scott will be able to design exactly what your wishing for with a perfectly executed product. This dude obsesses over every little detail and won't ship you a product until it meets his high standards. On more than one occasion I have seen Scott pitch a creation into the trash can after working on it for several hours just because it didn't meet his expectations. Scott will exceed your expectations.
Check out www.fusilcustom.com for all your kydex needs!!!
DSS can't seem to slow down over the winter months. I have been contacted to hold several different types of classes recently.
This past Sunday, Dec1 I shot the USPSA at West Liberty Gun Club. In looking at the results I finished in last place. This was by design. I shot the match trying to adhere to the principles that I teach in all DSS class. I was not concerned about my time as I worked through each stage by ensuring I got my hits, not hitting friendlies, maximizing use of available cover, not over exposing myself to threat targets, reloading behind cover, using a concealment garment and engaging the threat until it goes down. I also shot a firearm that I haven't shot for years, the S&W 5906, to impose just a little bit more stress.
The photos that you see above are me shooting from a kneeling position behind cover only exposing myself enough to get sights and rounds on target. Nobody else shot that target from this position. They shot it fully exposed from a standing position as that is the quickest way to competitively shoot it.
The second photo shows me conducting a reload behind cover. Again this eats up time instead of reloading in the open. When the targets are shooting back, everyone becomes an adherent to the principle of proper use of cover. If you don't train this way you will have little success in utilizing cover and manipulating your firearm while under Sympathetic Nervous System activation. And you will lose the fight.
At least once a year I try to shoot a match in this fashion just to reaffirm that I am able to practice what I preach on a course of fire that I didn't set-up and under time constraints not of my own choice. Sounds a little more in line with what my experience has shown me to be the case.
I strongly encourage you to shoot a match in this fashion to see what sticks when you throw it against the wall!!!
Well I am back on my department's Emergency Response Unit as an entry team member. I enjoyed my time on ERU in the past and felt that I could bring my experience to help the team work better during live operations. Hopefully my age and brokenness won't hold the team back.
Looking forward to being on the team again!!!
I had the privilege of shooting the November USPSA match at the Chillicothe Sportsman's Club in Chillicothe, IL. This match was extremely well organized and run. Chuck Varnold was the match director and he was especially accommodating to me and Jacob as he allowed us to shoot the match first knowing that I drove there directly from work.I have said it before, you meet the best people at USPSA matches.
I was fortunate enough to take 1st place in Production division. I attribute that success to shooting consistently utilizing solid shooting fundamentals. Nothing fancy, just what I know works best under some stress. This brings me to my next point. I shot what I consider to be a not so good match. On the first stage , I blasted a no-shoot which gave me a10point penalty. Now I could have gotten all poopy pants about it and let it affect me for the rest of the match. I knew that there were two stages left and if I dwelled on that errant shot it would have mentally taken me out of the match. I remember what my former Captain and and NRA Distinguished Master Bill Davis told me when I first started competing in PPC "Those shots you just fired are now gone. You can't do anything to bring them back to recount for a higher score. Forget about them. Rededicate your focus on your upcoming shots." I just applied his logic for the rest of the match and shot Stage 2 clean which ultimately led the way to a match victory.
Being mentally focused will get you through a lot of things. It is why it is such a critical component of the DSS shooting methodology.
If you are interested in shooting a well run, highly efficient USPSA match with friendly folks, check out www.chillisportsman.org
I get asked this question a lot as if answering the question will provide a solution for every problem out there. It is impossible. That is why DSS is a principle based learning system. If you adhere to a few simple principles they most likely can be applied to the majority of situations that you may find yourself in.
Take empty hand skills for example. How many out there stay up on those skills compared to buying the newest accesory out of the Brownells catalog thinking that more hardware will solve a software problem? In my experience, your deadly force engagement will require physical combative skills to solve the problem long before it goes the way of having to use your firearm as a last resort, to save your life. Want an example? Imagine if George Zimmerman would have some rudimentary training in empty hand skills and practiced somewhat regularly? That situation would have ended up drastically different.
It helps to start early. The picture you see above is my 11 year old son during his first USA Boxing sanctioned boxing match. The photo was featured in HolAmerica! a midwest hispanic newspaper. Jake has been training under Ramiro "Jr" Hernandez, a contract UFC fighter and has been sparring at Alley Cat Boxing in Moline, IL and Ramsey's Gym in Rock Island, IL. Jake has learned the value of hard work and found out the truth in all martial training; you got to take an ass beating to give an ass beating. Jake has learned to remain calm when things become physical and to keep his head. He deals with conflict in a very calm and relaxed way and the last thing that he thinks about is going to fists. If left with no other choice but to go hands on, he is much better prepared to deal with the situation than his peers.
So next time instead of spending your moola on the newest tritium death ray blaster sight for handgun, think about spending about 15 minutes visiting with your heavy bag instead. It will pay off in the long run.
DSS just completed two courses in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Rob Schoening of Loess Hills Gun and Knife had contacted me and was interested in hosting both classes. I met Rob at a Vickers Tactical course that I had hosted. Rob is a full time firefighter as well as being in the Air Force Reserves. Rob is the owner of Loess Hills Gun and Knife and is the brainchild behind the VST series of Randall Knives. Rob has thrown his hat into the training realm and offers training through LHGK. Rob is a man of very high personal integrity and I have come to call him a friend. I was humbled and honored that he asked me to come to Council Bluffs and teach.
The first class that I taught was the DSS Low to No Light course. The vast majority of gun owners in this country do not undertake any training whatsoever. It's the law of the 4 F's. The vast majority of those that do seek out training will never train in Low to No Light conditions. This does not reflect the reality of deadly force engagements. NIBRS and US DOJ stats show that more than 60% of civilian use of deadly force engagements happen during the hours of low to no light. Why aren't you training in Low to No Light conditions?
The Council Bluffs DSS Low to No Light course was made up of several weapon permit holders, some .mil personnel and one full time overseas paramilitary contractor that is employed by the world's largest government contracting company. The experience level ranged from never having shot in Low to No Light to those that train regularly in those conditions. After a short brief and med and safety protocols were put into place, we kicked off the class. They were exposed to a couple different techniques and asked to choose two and work those for the rest of the class. We worked primary techniques while still in Low Light then worked navigate, identify and engagement techniques in No Light. Everyone in the class was diligent in practicing the techniques and there were no safety issues. Everyone asked pertinent questions and were open to suggestions on how to improve their techniques. To borrow an old saying, they had their brain housing groups set to "receive". The class culminated in a practical application exercise that tested their ability to use what was presented in the class.
This was a great class and I would like to thank all of the participants in the class for their participation and warm reception to DSS.
After not enough sleep, DSS kicked off the DSS Shotgun course the following day. This class was a 1/3rd the size of the Low Light Class which made it more manageable and provided for more individual attention. We discussed the 4M's and how they would apply in this course then moved immediately into zeroing and patterning. Next was working on shotgun manipulation which took us up to lunch. The property owner was in the class. "Opie" as he was called was a gracious host and provided a great property to train on. Not only was he the range maintainer but whipped up some brats that Rob provided for everyone and steaks that would make Bobby Flay take notice. I can't thank "Opie" enough for his hospitality.
After lunch the class lived up to it's title and became more "Dynamic." We worked on positional shooting from cover as well as multiple target engagements and shooting on the move. After a performance evaluation that exposed some weaknesses, we had a short graduation ceremony and called it a day.
Again this class like the first was free of jackasses and assclowns. I would like to thank them as well for their enthusiasm and willingness to learn.
A huge thanks to Rob Schoening for hosting DSS in Council Bluffs. There is a need for this type of training as Council Bluffs was #69 on the 100 most violent cities in the US for 2013 and the only entry from Iowa. Rob's professionalism and attention to detail paid off as all I had to do was come in and teach. He had all of the logistics squared away and was gracious enough to allow me to stay at his house as well. I always try to align myself with those of the highest moral value and who conducted themselves in an ethically professional manner. Rob exemplies this not only in his professional life but in his personal life as well. I can't say enough good things about Rob and Loess Hills Gun and Knife. If you are in the market for a Randall knife or are seeking out training in western Iowa, I strongly encourage you to seek him out.
I am fortunate in that I have met some really great people through contact with DSS. One of those persons is Scott Preston. Scott owns Fusil Corp which is a FFL Licensed Gun Shop. He also sells all sorts of accessories and is a dealer for Condor Outdoor, Slip 2000, Midway USA and Glock Inc. amongst others. In this day and age of shady characters and buyer beware, you can be rest assured that any transaction with Fusil Corp will be carried out with the utmost of personal integrity and professional business acumen. You will be treated with respect and will receive friendly and curteous service when you deal with Fusil Corp.
One of the services that Fusil Corp offers is custom Kydex holsters. When Scott said that he was thinking about making holsters, I was a bit skeptical. I have the ole box o'holsters from some of the most well known holster makers that I no longer use because they didn't meet my needs. Scott made a couple of different holsters for me in the beginning and I ended up providing some input into how they could be made better. Scott was open to these suggestions and now incorporates them into his designs. Not only has Scott met my needs in what I look for in a holster but I now use his holsters exclusively. I have over 10 of his holsters and I can't think of a better endorsement than that.
Scott has a background in machining and fabrication in the custom automobile parts aftermarket. He brings this knowledge to Fusil Corp. Unlike a lot of basement holster duffers, he was set-up for production from day 1. Scott can produce many holsters in a day and this is from a guy who has 2 full time jobs.
I completed a long term project in customizing my Browning Hi-Power. I went to Scott to produce a holster that met my needs. I would like to walk you through the process so you have a better understanding of how Fusil Corp makes some of the best Kyex Holsters.
Why Kydex? Well it holds it shape through a wide variety of weather conditions. It will not rot or fall apart. It is virtually indestructable to impacts and scrapes and scuffs. It can be had in any color. It also remains open so your firearm can be re-holstered easily.
Scott begins any project with a basic lay-out. I specified a "Pancake" style holster which means two flat pieces of Kydex, molded then riveted together to form a pouch for the gun. I specified what we have dubbed "Taco" style of magazine pouches. These consist of a single piece of Kydex that is heated, then folded before forming then attches to a clip on one side of the pouch. These are minimalist in nature and takes up the least amount of space on a belt. Scott measures, then custom cuts the pieces of Kydex to fit your specific firearm and accesories. Scott will then cut dies usually out of wood to take into account the controls of your firearm and sights. These will be fastened to the firearm or accesory before forming. Scott then heats the Kydex until it is soft and pliable then forms it around your firearm by placing it in a foam lined press.
Once the holster is formed, Scott will mark out the basic design and shape. I like my holsters cut low to allow for a full firing grip on the draw. This requires no material in the area of the front strap and trigger guard area. This is tricky because retention is based on the ejection port and trigger guard, so you cant trim too much away. Once the basic shape is traced out, the pieces are clamped together then all of the excess is trimmed away. After this is completed then shaping and polishing of the edges are done.
Scott allows me to do the initial large cuts as he figures I can't screw that up too much. I have tried to do the final shaping and polishing and it usually ends up with me taking off too much material or launching the holster across the room or getting the bill of my beloved TMACS hat caught in the sander. There is something to be said about a practiced hand and Scott's background in maching and fabrication really shines in this most important step. After shaping and polishing it is now time for riveting and fitting of the belt loops. The last step is setting retention by heat. Scott employs an adjustment screw just in front of the trigger guard.
The final product:
Scott is the type of guy that is in a constant pursuit of perfection. I have seen him scrap an entire holster at the last step just because it didn't meet his quality control. He is not the type of guy that is just going to half-ass something just to get it to work. He will start over just to get it right and it won't leave his shop until it is right. If you get your holster and you are not happy with it, Scott will do whatever it takes to get it right to your specifications.
If you are looking for custom made Kydex holsters, look no further than Fusil Corp. The quality, customer service and functionality can't be beat. You will not be disappointed with a Fusil Corp holster.
Imagine my surprise that when I went to look for a new pair of hockey skates for my son, (Dang kids and there always present growth spurts!!!) that a major manufacturer of foowear has chosen to partner with DSS ( I wish) and emblazon the outside of their skates with "DSS." On a serious note, I think that it is pretty damn cool that my son will be rockin skates with DSS on the side during this year's upcoming hockey season. If you are an old or new school hockey player, come play with us at the Middle Park Lagoon in Bettendorf this winter. Pond hockey is where it's at and we are usually there 3-5 nights a week. Oh and the other picture above would be Jacob just beginning what would turn out to be a "cataclysmic event" for the opposing player. If hockey teaches you anything it is to keep your head up. Kinda like searching and assessing, huh?
The goateed individual that you see above is Jud Starn. He is the owner of Sand Hill Firearm Training out of Palo, IA. Jud is also one of only 11 Vickers Tactical Regionally Endorsed Instructors in the United States, authorized to teach the Vickers Shooting Method. You apparently have been living under a rock if you don't know who Larry Vickers is. I met Jud at a Larry Vickers pistol course and we shared not only similar interests but also the same kind of humor. He has hosted me for several courses at his training facility in Palo, IA. These classes have been wildly successful and I can't thank Jud enough for all of his hard work and due diligence in getting these classes up and running.
I have been fortunate enough to acquaint myself with several, salt of the earth, local trainers during my travels. Jud definately stands out in that regard. He is one of the few people left on this earth who is a "man of his word" and lives up to that standard every day. It seems there are more and more snake oil salesman getting into the training business every day. It is refreshing to meet and ultimately become aligned with someone like Jud who will always keep his personal integrity intact, no matter what.
If you are looking for firearms training in the Cedar Rapids area or you are just looking to attend a class that will satisfy the training requirement for weapon permit applicants, your search should stop at Sand Hill Firearms Training. Tell Jud DSS sent you!
DSS Alumni took 1st, 3rd,6th, 8th and 10th places in the Production Division and 3rd place in the Limited Division.
Chris Terrington took 1st in Production division. Although Chris did not post the fastest times for the match, he proved the validity of accuracy being final as he outshot the competition with a very high level of accuracy. Chris is one of the best, purely natural shooters that I have ever seen and that has trained under DSS. He is also a good dude and has that fantastic Brit sense of humor that I can relate to. Congrats to Chris and all of the other alums that represented DSS so well.
DSS had about half of the DSS Shooting Team present for the April Steel Match in West Liberty, IA. If you haven't had an opportunity to shoot a match at the West Liberty Gun Club, then you are missing out. The staff are extremely friendly and laid back which is exactly what you want for a Level 1 match.
I was able to take 1st Overall for the match shooting my duty AR with a CMMG rimfire conversion kit installed in the Rifle Rimfire Optic division. I am proud to say that Jake took 2nd place in the division shooting a Ruger 10/22 with a red dot optic. I placed 2nd in the Rimfire Irons pistol division with Scott Preston close on my heels in 3rd place.
This finished a very busy week for DSS. We completed our first two classes for the year and have been conducting a couple of training days in between. If you have been thinking about signing up for a class you better get off the fence and into the mix as classes are filling up fast.
Hope to see you on the range!!!!
The student has now become the teacher....Scott Preston took 1st Place in the Production division in the West Liberty USPSA Match this past Sunday 04/07/2013, edging out yours truly.
I have known Scott to be a diligent worker in all aspects of his life and that diligence coupled with an openess and willingness to learn has finally paid off for him in competition. I hope that Scott continues his winning ways and seeks out competition at the State and Regional levels.
Congrats Scott!!! Thanks for representing DSS with a well deserved victory!!!
Now whose next?
I competed at the West Liberty March Steel Match. I shot my duty rifle with a .22lr conversion kit installed and took 1st Place in my division and 2nd Overall. How would you as a competitor, interpret these results? How do you analyze your performance and put it into perspective in regards to what it means for you?
I'll offer an analysis based solely on my performance so hopefully you can see the value of competition and what it offers you, the shooter.
I shot my duty rifle. As soon as I got home I cleaned it, replaced the bolt carrier group and put it back into service that night when I went to work. Shooting duty gear in competition shows you what works and what doesn't when running it on someone else's clock and at speed with the stress of everyone watching. In the middle of a deadly force engagement is not the time to find out that your super wazoo, zombie death killer laser sight system failed to live up to the demands of the real real world. I experienced several malfunctions with the .22lr conversion kit. This forced me to complete my malfunction clearance drills at speed and against the clock. I figured that the malfunctions added about 19 to 20 seconds to my overall time and the margin between 1st and 2nd Overall was 15 seconds. Even though my malfunctioning equipment cost me the Overall title, I never gave up and continued fighting through the mechanical problems and won two of the stages outright.
The temp was about 20 degrees with a stiff wind blowing making the felt temp a little colder. Anybody can be a fair weather shooter. To come out and step-up your game when the conditions suck says alot about an individual's mindset.
Everyone has an excuse as to why they can't make it to a match. You know what they say about excuses. I strongly recommend that if you take your training seriously, then make it to a match and see what actually sticks to the wall when thrown against it.
Anything other than that is just "shooting guns." Any fool can do that.