Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Enhancing your Glock Trigger

I get a lot of questions about the trigger on my Templar Custom Glock 19. Who did it? How hard is it to do? Did I use custom parts? Which ones? Before I go forward, I would STRONGLY recommend you let Bob Meszaros at Templar Custom Arms work on your Glock trigger. Bob and I spent a HUGE amount of time discussing and trying various trigger modifications before we decided on what is included in the Handgun Combatives Glock package.  It is a very smooth 5.5 pound trigger with minimal over travel and is a trigger modification that Bob has standardized, meaning it will be the same from gun to gun. Does it feel exactly like mine? No, but I do my own Glock trigger and it takes me hours!!  PLEASE keep in mind Bob must perform a trigger modification that is consistent and if you want your gun back in the next month or two, he must be efficient in performing this custom change over. If he spent the time I do on my trigger it would cost a bunch and take a while. Trust me…the Templar trigger will please you as it is a great improvement over the standard factory version WITHOUT jamming you up in court. It is NOT A LIGHT, HAIR TRIGGER…it is a SMOOTH trigger that will enhance your ability to depress the trigger straight to to rear without muzzle movement. THAT is what we all want from our combat trigger!

If the trigger is so good from Templar, then why don’t I use it? Simple! I like to play. I find it interesting to see if I can maximize the trigger on my Glock handguns. I find the Glock is much like the 1911 in the modifications that can be performed on it to enhance performance. Words to the wise here…do not try to buy skill!! Develop a SOLID skill set/base before modifying your gun or gear. Without a solid base of skills how do you know what YOU need??! You must know how to shoot, run your gun and other related skills before you can possibly know what you need to enhance it, PERIOD! I have worked on the triggers of my Smith & Wesson 6906, SIG P-228, Heckler & Koch USP-C and now my Glocks to “better get to know them”. But I also know when a trigger is un-safe or too light for carry. I carry my teaching gun, I do not have a range gun and gear…they are one in the same as it is simple. If you have read my writings or taken my classes you know how hard I cling to simple! I have tried various connectors, trigger bars, sear housings as well as polishing and modifying parts…I have ruined more than my share of components in an effort to get the “perfect Glock trigger”. The problem is it is real hard to do as Glock parts are just not that precise. I have obtained wonderful trigger actions only to place those parts in another Glock to discover they do not work! I have had my share of full auto Glocks, Glocks that won’t reset, Glocks that shoot one round and then three…I have encountered problems that have made Arthur Viani at Ghost Inc. say “I’ve never heard that one!” (BTW, Arthur Viani is the smartest Glock guy I have ever met! He has studied this weapon system inside and out and up and down…he REALLY knows it and that is why his parts are second to none!) which is no small feat!

After all of this, I have come across a method that is consistent, smooth and keeps the gun ALMOST factory…but not quite. IT IS NOT CHEAP! But if you do not mind spending some money, you can get a GREAT Glock action on your own. The down side? The Templar action is more cost effective, but for you DIY guys and gals, here goes…

A start with a Skimmer Trigger from Jeff Wilson at This trigger was inspired by well- known instructor Travis Haley to help shorten the reach of the Glock trigger system. All components used by are factory OEM…no after-market stuff. While the re-angled trigger does not seem like that much on first inspection, it has proven to help me from “pushing” shots to the left at 7 to 9 o’clock and this is one of my BIG shooting problems, thus the added expense is worth it to me. I have tried to perform this modification on my triggers only to find I have engaged the internal safety plunger…better to leave this to Jeff who has this modification down to a science. In addition, Jeff’s triggers and components are already polished, so no additional polishing is needed in order to insure your parts will glide smoothly over one another, making for a smoother depression of the trigger.  I use Jeff’s trigger and safety plunger in my trigger modification, but use the Ghost Rocket connector along with 6 pound trigger and striker springs to complete the job.

I like the Rocket due to its 4.5 pound weight and over travel tab.  Years back I developed a way to maximize the over travel tab that Arthur Viani calls “The Spaulding Cut” and is explained on his web site. BE CAREFUL trying to perform this modification…it is NOT something to try quickly. If you want to fit the connector fast, just cut the tab flat.  MANY people try to cut the angle and actually cut the tab in the wrong direction! They then have the audacity to call Ghost and complain! Stop for a minute and look at how the Glock trigger bar cams downward on release by removing the side and working the action by hand. From the right side of the frame, note how the connector cams the trigger bar down from right to left…why would you cut the over-travel tab in the opposite direction!!?? I know why, because you were a little quick to the bench grinder, eh Skippy?!  Slow down, take your time and fit the connector properly…complete directions are available on the Ghost website. If you do so, you will end up with a great trigger with minimal over travel.

Why should you be concerned with over travel? It’s less distance the trigger must move to set up the next shot. During a visit to my hand doctor several years ago, we got into a conversation about independent index finger movement and the inter-limb action it has on the rest of the hand. In a nutshell, the less you move the index finger, the less likely the rest of the fingers will want to “go along for the ride” resulting in “milking” the grip or a “gorilla grip” action, depending on how you look at it.  I think most all of us understand this at some level because those who compete at a high level gravitate to the 1911 or Glock trigger systems. Why? Less trigger travel and movement…

Once I have fitted my Rocket connector, I finish my action job with Ghost 6 pound trigger and striker springs as I think the stronger springs offer a more responsive, less ”mushy” trigger as well as bringing the overall weight up to 5 pounds plus. I use a set of certified weights instead of a trigger scale when weighing my triggers. Why? Because six pounds of weight will always be six pounds whereas a scale can change over time and use. I measure my trigger in the center of the trigger face where it will be depressed (In Europe they measure at the tip which “lightens” the trigger weight) and add or subtract ¼ pound as I go along. I also re-cock the gun each time I weigh the trigger. Not saying this is the way to do it, it is the way I do it each time in the event I ever have to take the stand to defend my trigger action.  Consistency is a good thing when having to take the stand to testify…I know, I’ve had to do it a few times… those lawyers can be tricky bastards, I’ll tell you that! Always do it the same!

There you have it…not inexpensive, but a great trigger with a bit shorter reach for those of us who are “digitally challenged”.  I have this trigger is three of my Glocks as we speak and I am quite happy with the smoothness and consistency of each trigger. Give it a try, go slow and you will end up with a Glock trigger that you can really run well. Stay safe, alert and check 360 often…

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Thoughts from my trip to Gunsite

Thoughts from my trip to GunsiteRecently, I traveled to Gunsite on behalf of Ruger to attend an event that focused on their line of 5.56/.223 rifles and carbines.  It was a three day mini-course with day one focusing on their bolt action rifles, primarily the compact American, with days two and three highlighting the Mini-14 and SR/AR-556 carbines. As the three days went by, I had a number of thoughts about Gunsite, training, weaponry and related accessories that I thought I would share here. In a weird sort of way, this makes sense as anyone who has read the writings of Lt. Col. Jeff Cooper, the founder of Gunsite, knows he oftentimes wrote in short thoughts about a variety of subjects. Here are mine…not as profound I am sure…
  • The last 250 pistol course of 2014 was ending on the first day of our event. I noticed most of the students were carrying Glock and Smith & Wesson M&P pistols on their hips. I only saw one 1911! Not to say there was not more, I just did not see any.  The instructor cadre seemed to reflect this trend as there were a few 1911’s in leather holsters but there was an equal amount of Glocks in Blade-Tech Kydex rigs including one sporting a Surefire weapon light. Kydex was the carry gear of choice with most being Blade-Tech. Tim Wegner of Blade-Tech is a friend of mine so I cannot say this is a bad things as he makes great gear!
  • As I walked the Hanneken Range after the pistol course ended, I noticed the deck was littered with 9mm brass.  Students are not required to police brass, so do not think they left it behind maliciously.  There was only one firing position in which .45 brass was readily apparent.  This is a HUGE change over from times past!  In talking with a few of the Gunsite instructors I discovered a number of reasons for this in their opinions…”It’s cheaper to shoot”…”too many of these people listen to the fu*@in’ FBI who doesn’t know what they are talking about!”…”many of these people do not want to deal with recoil which is what the Weaver Stance brings to the table”…”it’s just the way it is now”. 9mm Glock and M&P pistols are what I see 85-90% of the time in my classes and I am ok with it. In days past I would have thought the selection of the 9 over the .45 was not a sound idea, but with modern ammunition I do believe the difference in pistol calibers is now minimal.  This is using modern hollow point ammo, of course…
  • As I watched the students come and go I noticed the trend of military-style “tactical” clothing was not in residence. The mode of dress was more hiking/camping oriented which makes a ton of sense! Cargo pants were being worn for the pockets and not the look. 511 was used in conjunction with North Face, Columbia and Mountain Hard Wear to keep warm and dry…not look “contractor casual”. I have seen this in my classes as well and is certainly welcome it!
  • I don’t like to shoot bolt action rifles! I get bored. Before you beat me up understand I don’t think bolt actions are bad, I just prefer to shoot guns that shoot with a simple press of the trigger. I admit to this being a bit disingenuous as I prefer pump action shotguns. I didn’t say it made sense…
  • I still like the Mini-14! This was our first SWAT rifle when my former agency formed its SWAT Team in 1980. I liked the gun then and I still like it…it feels like an old friend when I pick it up and shoot it.  I can still run it pretty well, too!  I like the open top that allows me to tip the whole gun inward, with the rear stock supported under my shooting-side fore arm and “rack out” any stoppages with gravity doing most of the work.  Several of the others in attendance looked at me like I had two heads when I did this, but it works!! It’s also simple to do and God knows I like simple!
  • I have come too really like variable magnification optics on my AR platform carbines.  I know many of the former military instructors recommend simple red dots…of which I have tried various models…but they just do not work as well for me as the variable models. You have to see to shoot and the better you see the better you shoot!! While running the Scrambler at Gunsite I used various optics from iron sights to a developmental 1 x 6 Fire Dot Leupold scope and without fail the Fire Dot was the way to go. Leupold had also sent an EO-TECH-style optic (that is also in development) which was very nice, but I just did not shoot as well as I did with the 1 x 6. Those who argue against the longer scope claim it adds bulk and weight to the light carbine but I feel it is worth the trade-off. Our PJ agreed stating that when he deployed next he wanted to take the 1 x 6 Leopold instead of his fixed red dot.  MGM makes a simple plastic lever that fits over the magnification dial on such optics that makes increasing/decreasing the level of magnification a snap.
  • Those of us in the combative handgun arena think WAY TO MUCH about the type of ammo we place in our guns. The truth is we are currently enjoying THE BEST combative ammo in history and as I said above, the difference between the popular handgun calibers is less than ever before but DO NOT misunderstand…a bigger, heavier bullet is still probably superior, but only if you hit what you are shooting at! NO CALIBER WILL MAKE UP FOR POOR BULLET PLACEMENT. The .223/5.56 is a rifle caliber that has been much debated and for good reason in some arenas. For the vast majority of us, a 55 grain bonded hollow point will work just fine. For the LE community, a barrier penetration round is something that should be considered and for those who might take a VERY LONG shot, the 70 plus grain bullets make sense.  How many armed citizens…or cops for that matter…will be taking a shot longer than 300 yards?! At Gunsite we were hitting chest cavity sixe steel targets with boring regularity out to 300 yards from both stranding and kneeling with 55 grain bullets. This will work just fine for those of us using an AR in this country. Former Arizona DPS Trooper and long -time Gunsite instructor Charlie McNeese told me a number of stories of how well their 55 grain bonded hollow point worked, even on car windows…
  • Pistol sights seem to be selected based on popularity or the recommendation of a popular instructor. I continue to see students using pistol sights they cannot see, something that several Gunsite instructors also passed along in conversation. Why would you select a sight system your eyes cannot focus on??!! “Because instructor XYZ said they were the best!”, that’s why!  For them, maybe…but how about you?! Black on black sights super-imposed on a dark target is tough for even the best of eyes, though they work great on white steel targets. What is the chance your opponent will be wearing white? As he aged, Jeff Cooper started using colored front sights, though he never liked tritium. Admittedly, tritium is nice to have but not essential as the light spectrum in which tritium works best is limited. If you do choose to color the front sight, then why not color MUCH of it? Fiber optics are all the rage right now and that is fine, but I (personally) cannot see them so I do not follow the trend. If you can’t see them, then neither should you! Fiber optics are great for precision shots in day light (competition) but how are they in inconsistent light (indoors) or when the light gets low? This, of course, is up to you but choose wisely and choose based on your needs and not the instructor you “worship”…
  • While a number of instructors want to claim their doctrine is truly unique, if they go through the process of teaching grip, trigger control, ready positions, presentation from the holster, reloading, clearing malfunctions, using cover, stress inoculation, etc. then they have been influenced by Gunsite whether they want to admit it or not. Jeff Cooper quantified this process through the years (the 50’s and 60’s) before opening Gunsite in 1976 and teaching it as his Defensive Pistol course, which is now called 250. Even if you do not agree with The Modern Technique of the Pistol (Weaver Stance, etc.) you should take this course as it is where it all began. Keep in mind the doctrine has changed over the years as the folks at Gunsite have learned some techniques work better than others, but the support arm is still bent which I happen to think is just fine if it works for you…

It was a great week in the Arizona high desert shooting other people’s guns and ammo, drinking and eating food paid for by Ruger and drinking Scotch and smoking cigars with such good folks as Charlie McNeese and Dick Williams. I hope I get back there real soon…

Friday, December 5, 2014

You Can't Fight Fantasy!

Pretending you are Special Ops seems to be the training trend

Mr. Webster defines “fantasy” as: a mental image, especially when unreal or fantastic, a supposition based on no solid foundation; visionary idea; illusion. Based on what I have seen, this describes much of the combative-grade training that is currently popular. This trend is particularly true of the under 40 crowd that appears to be fascinated with all things military, especially special operations. With “Stolen Valor” on many people’s minds it should probably not be surprising that many people want to go to a training course and for a short time fantasize about being someone they are not, but this is an obvious training scar. Please do not misunderstand, I have GREAT respect for these extremely capable warriors who must undergo a high level of selection and training, training in which they actually risk serious physical injury or death on a regular basis. These men and women must prepare for battlefield grade warfare in which threats may come in a 360 degree arc with opponents always being multiple. They deserve the title “operator”, a title I have seen local police SWAT teams (that train every other months) apply themselves but is undeserved…as undeserved as the bank manager who straps on his chest rig, hockey helmet and grabs his AR-15 carbine (Sorry, it is NOT an M-4 no matter how much you want it to be!) and heads out to a weekend class!

When I used to teach carbine courses I saw this type of student regularly and when I asked them what they were training for it was always “home defense”. Why home defense? Because the armed citizen cannot carry a carbine around with them, if they do they may be shot by the police. They second most popular reason is “I want to be ready for an active shooter situation” if one develops. Think about this for a moment, if such a situation does break out, where will your carbine be? If it is in your vehicle, you will have to run to your car, get the gun and run back to the scene of the shooting… do you possess a level of physical condition that you can do this? Second, you are a non-uniformed person running with a long gun…how do you think responding police will view your actions? In his excellent Panteao Productions video on Citizen Response to the Active Shooter, former Special Operator Paul Howe advises against the long gun for armed citizens for just this reason. 

If you are dressing up in your favorite gear for a gun vacation or a weekend of escapism I get that! There are schools that draw people for this very reason, they want to pretend they are a spy or SEAL for a few days and I can see where that could be fun, but if you are training for your own personal security you are setting yourself up for failure! If the carbine is going to be your primary home defense tool, how will you be dressed when the need for the gun arises? If you sleep nude or in pajamas, are you going to put on your chest rig and light mounted hockey helmet before you head out to check on the “bump in the night”? Probably not, so why train like that unless you are having a fantasy? When I first started Handgun Combatives I saw this phenomenon but I have to admit I am now seeing it less and less, but, admittedly, I do draw an older, more mature block of students. My average student is probably older than 40 which I am ok with. I occasionally do get a young man who is trying to do the flashy stuff they see on You Tube and once they see what they are doing cots them time and increases effort, they will slow down and look for ways to eliminate movement and effort…the true key to success when fighting with a pistol.

Regardless of all the non-sensical jargon spewed on the “stupid-net”, “efficiency” is defined as “the least amount of time, effort and energy expended to achieve the goal”. This includes the gear worn and the attitude you arrive at training with. Keep it simple and sleek, have an open mind and have a true understanding of what armed conflict really is…it’s bloody, filled with pandemonium and will result in serious injury or death!!! It is not the place for fantasy, especially when preparing for the most dangerous moments of your life.

Check 360 often!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Never, Ever, Give Up!

I’m sure most all of you have seen it…a cartoon of a pelican with a frog partially down it’s throat. The only reason the pelican has not swallowed the frog is because the frog has his hands around the pelican’s throat! If the frog gives up and let’s go, he dies. But if he can just hang on another second…who knows…maybe the pelican will spit him out!  My daughter drew this cartoon for me when I was the training supervisor for my former law enforcement agency and I hung it next to the exit door at our training center classroom. I did it as a reminder for very officer who came and went as a reminder that you never, ever, give up! YOU UST BE AN ACIVE PARTICIPANT IN YOUR OWN RESCUE!  This is true whether you are military, law enforcement or an armed citizen.  
One of the best examples I have ever heard of this attitude…and most humbling stories I have ever heard… involved former Navy SEAL Mike Day who was shot 27 times by insurgents and lived! Below is his story from Liberty Unyielding an online newsletter:
“Former Navy SEAL Sr. Chief Mike Day made the first “real prayer” of his life in April of 2007. It was during a close-quarter exchange of gunfire between him and four al Qaeda terrorists. He was shot more than two dozen times. God listened. Although his story took place more than 7 years ago in Iraq’s Anbar Province, it’s only now being heard. Day’s body armor, designed to absorb but a single round before disintegrating, went above and beyond by taking multiple strikes at close range. “They advertise that it can take one round, and then it falls apart to the point where they say that it’s not supposed to stop anymore projectiles,” Day told CBN News. “And this whole gunfight was inside of 10 feet.” CBN reported:
That’s just one part of the miracle. On the night of April 6, 2007, in Iraq’s Anbar Province, Day’s team of Navy SEALs and Iraqi scouts were on the hunt for a high-level al Qaeda cell. Day said the terrorists had shot down two helicopters, killing everyone on board. Being the first one to enter a 12×12 room where four al Qaeda leaders waited to strike proved to be almost deadly for Day. “Upon entering that doorway, they all just opened up on me,” Day said. “It felt like somebody was just beating me up with sledge hammers.” It was then that his thoughts turned to his wife and three daughters. “After I’d figured out I was getting shot I said, ‘God, get me home to my girls.’ That was my first prayer to God, real prayer, and He answered it,” he added. When the smoke cleared, the score was Day, four, and terrorists, zero. The SEAL accomplished his mission, but at a price. He took 27 bullets and was hit by grenade shrapnel to do it.
“People hear about my story and they can’t believe it. I was there and I can’t believe it,” Day said. “I got shot 27 times — 16 in the body and 11 times in my body armor. I was shot in both legs, both arms, my abdomen. You throw a finger on me, anything but my head, I got shot there.” Seven years later, he’s still in constant pain, and suffers from both post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. Day now dedicates his life to assisting other wounded warriors for the Special Operations Command.”
According to an interview Mike did with Tucker Carlson on Fox News, Mike lost his M-4 carbine early in the confrontation as it “was shot out of my hand. I transitioned to my pistol and continued the fight.” Mike “took out” all four Taliban and saved his own life against over whelming odds. While Mike credits God for part of his victory there is no doubt that he is an active participant in his own recue due to never giving up both during and after his horrific gunfight. Mike Day is an example for all of us who may go in harm’s way.