Saturday, October 29, 2011

The mindset of self defense......

This blog began as a place to share all-things-shooting related. Writing as if to friends and neighbors, a place was constructed where those of like mind could visit and have a peek into the latest doings of a lifelong gunny.

Over time, Carteach0 has morphed into somewhat more than that. Topics range wider, although still remain of interest to the shooting community. One of those topics... self defense.

"When I was but a mere slip of a boy".... okay, in truth I was never a 'mere slip of' anything. I was a big kid, and am now a big man slowly shrinking down with advancing age. But, as a boy, I didn't have to fear other kids. I was just too big to mess with, and mostly got left alone by bullies and thugs.

That didn't mean I was unaware of evil in the world, or that people of bad intent lived among us. My father made sure, as best he could, that I learned to keep quiet and take stock of folks. Those who live by taking advantage of others usually reveal themselves eventually.

To that end, there has been a 'self defense mindset' growing in my soul most of my life. It means, quite simply, being ready to defend me and mine against life's threats as best able. It also means, quite simply, keeping ones eyes open and actually seeing the world as it truly exists around us.

This idea of a 'self defense mindset' is fitting for discussion on a shooting blog because firearms are a primary consideration in that realm. As such, there's been a number of articles here regarding carry weapons, holsters, ammunition, training, etc.

This morning, as the snow falls outside and 'Ol Carteach relaxes in his toasty warm secret bunker, thoughts range farther afield to the very notion of self defense itself.

To every sturdy house, there must be a foundation. Without a well built foundation, the whole construction is doomed to mediocrity and eventual failure. 'Self defense' is a concept, and concept's are built on the foundation of philosophy. Not blocks of concrete and stone, but ideas and observations; Thought carried through to conclusion.

To construct the concept of self defense, one must first make some decisions. Chief among them... is your life worth defending? Next... if the first answer be yes, comes another question; Are you willing to take on the responsibility of your own self defense? These are first person questions because this is a very personal philosophy, held deeply within each persons soul. No one can answer these questions for you, and nothing else I write here matters till those answers comfortable reside in your mind.

Once one decides their life has value worth keeping, and also decides it's their own personal responsibility to care for it, then we can open discussion on the 'Self Defense Mindset' (SDM).

There are myriad threats on this world. Some big, most small, some deadly, most simply bothersome. Key in developing a SDM is being able to spot realistic threats, and then divide them into ones that can be handled on a personal level. Asteroid strikes might be a remote threat... but a real one. Does this mean one can prepare for it? Not really. If a mountain falls on your head at orbital speed, there's really very little one can do but take a stab at kissing your own butt goodbye. Now... walking down a city street has dangers too... and there we can take action towards our own defense. It's these more reasonable threats I speak to here.

SDM requires a person to open their eyes to possible threats from the world around them. Not exaggerate them... but simply recognize their existence... and then plan on dealing with them should they materialize. Something as simple as keeping a warm blanket in the car all winter... that's using SDM to prepare for a possible breakdown and a freezing wait for help. Taking it a step farther, one might keep some extra cash in the car too, just in case. Say a hundred dollars; enough to buy a tire, rent a hotel room, or buy gas and food for a few days on the road.

Take that one more step down the path, and one might reasonably carry a spare set of clothes in the car. After all, a storm could pop up and make an overnight stay necessary, or one might get rained on running for the car and having dry clothes will make the work day so much more comfortable.

As long as we have a blanket, some clothes, and a little cash, why not a few toiletries? Who hasn't been stuck at work late and wished for a tooth brush and perhaps some fresh deodorant? Maybe a razor and shaving cream for a man who might be surprised by a sudden call to an important meeting late in the day.

Well... as long as we have all that 'just in case' gear piling up in the car, why not put it in an old suitcase or gym bag to keep it neat, clean, and orderly? Sure... that makes sense. Maybe toss in a few tasty energy bars too, in case a meal has to be skipped. I know... add in a couple bottles of Gatorade too, or just plain spring water.

Guess what folks..... do all that, and one has suddenly arrived at the concept of a 'Bug Out Bag', or nearly so. Add in a weapon or two, a few handy small tools, copies of your more important papers and ID's.... and now you have a bag of gear you can grab while escaping something bad enough you need to leave home or work in a hurry. Keep it all in a low key backpack or book bag, and now you are using the concept of camaflage and misdirection.

The only difference between throwing a few things in the car just in case, and putting together a serious Bug Out Bag, is one of Self Defense Mindset. Using SDM requires one to look at things in a different way, and evaluate things a little differently. What might be 'common sense handy' in one light becomes serious life saving survival gear in another.

A flashlight is pretty darn nice to have when trying to unlock your front door on a dark night. Make it a small and stunningly bright LED unit with a strobe setting, and it becomes a life saving defensive tool able to startle an attacker long enough for the victim to get a head start towards safety. That is SDM.

A simple pocket knife is an amazingly handy tool carried by humans for centuries. Make that pocket knife an assisted opening lockblade with a belt clip to keep it near at hand, and it suddenly becomes a defensive weapon ready to be wielded at a moments notice. That is SDM.

A pen.... used by millions of people, millions of times each day. Every school and business contains hundreds or thousands of them. Take that 'pen' and enclose it in machined aircraft grade aluminum with a little knurling, and it becomes a Kuboton... an ancient weapon of self defense. That is SDM.

A sledge hammer, used by home owners,
tradesmen, and mechanics for so many generations they can't be counted.... originally began life as a 'war hammer', used to bash heavily armed men attacking ones home. That is SDM so old it's lost in the fog of history!

An old pump action shotgun, used by Grandad, Dad, and Son to bring home meat for the family larder. Mount a shorter barrel, screw on an extended magazine, and load it with buckshot... and it becomes the single most recognizable home defense weapon there is. That is SDM.

A Ruger LCP pocket .380, with a laser sighting device mounted on it. Slipped into a person's pocket even while simply relaxing at home.... that is pure SDM, with not a shadow of any other purpose.

Step up from that pocket pistol to a Glock G-30 with an internal laser carried in a Galco CCW holster, and now we are moving into the realm of serious Self Defense Mindset.

Self defense is a choice. Serious self defense requires a Self Defense Mindset, used so regularly that it becomes trained reaction... instinct.

What do you do in response to your
own Self Defense Mindset?

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Four Rules.....


There is a quote that lives because of the internet; A Russian, hearing someone say some situation involving a firearm was unsafe, is reported as saying "Is gun! Is not safe!".

Now, I haven't managed to track down the source of that quote, and I'm not going to invest much time in doing so... because I agree with the sentiment with all my heart.

Is gun! Is not safe!

Speaking with Todd Jarrett about gun safety, he makes no bones about it. Things happen, and if someone shoots long enough they will get hurt, in some way, eventually. It's nearly as dangerous as walking down a city sidewalk. The thing is, s
idewalks seldom kill or maim people, but weapons can.

Firearms a
re designed to spit small pieces of metal out at very high speeds indeed. All the philosophy and history aside, the sheer physics of how a firearm works means they are dangerous. The same can be said for many things in our lives. Knives, cars, power tools, medicines, and even the thirty foot deep well pit I stared into last night.... all these are useful, and dangerous. Dangerous... if mistreated or mishandled.

To make the dangerous things in our lives a little safer, and a lot more useful, we have rules we follow in dealing with them. For shooters, Jeff Cooper gave only four rules. Following them at all times when handling firearms limits the odds of a tragic incident to an acceptable level. Firearms will never be 'safe', not as long as physics rule the universe, but the risk can be mitigated and controlled.

Jeff Cooper's four rules:
  1. All guns are always loaded!
  2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy!
  3. Keep your finger off the trigger till your sights are on the target!
  4. Always be sure of your target!
These rules may seem simplistic, but given a little thought they make tremendous sense. It takes violating at least two of these rules to have a truly bad day. Take a moment and think of the combination's, and what they mean. Here, a previous post on what happens when they are ignored. Glen lived to tell his tale, so learn by it.

There is va
lue to breaking these rules down and examining them. The rules by themselves are life savers, but a deeper understanding helps make them work.

1) All guns are always loaded! What this means is every firearm should be treated as if loaded, giving every consideration to where the muzzle is pointed and that it might go off at any moment. There are very few shooters indeed who have not had a surprise 'bang' at one time or another. In my lifetime of shooting, I have had five 'unexpected discharges'. Because I followed the rules, none of those incidents was even close to being tragic.

Now.... allowances must be made. In order to work on and service a weapon, there are times when the muzzle is going to cover someone, or we will need to literally look right down that hole ourselves. To make that safe, gunnies develop the habit of opening the action of every weapon they touch, looking in the chamber, sticking their little finger in the empty hole, removing the magazine, etc. It may seem extreme, but it's smart... and is generally accepted as a hallmark of an experienced and safe gun handler.

Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy! 'Cover' is an older way of saying 'point the bangie end at', and can be looked at that way. It means exactly what it says... don't point the bullet spitting end of the weapon at anything or anybody you are not willing to put a killing hole in. Period. End of discussion. Got it? Good! Now stop pointing that pistol at me, and yes, I know you just checked the chamber. Point it someplace else before I take it way from you.

3) Keep your finger off the trigger till your sights are on the target! Again, it means what it says. Firearms are designed to do things. If they are working correctly, the way to make one go bang is to pull back that little lever under your pointer finger. If your finger is not touching the lever, they almost never go bang.

This is not to say that unexpected things don't happen, and firearms sometimes do go 'bang' for unexpected reasons. They do... it happens... because they are machines designed by humans and humans are fallible. That said, if the four rules are followed every single time, an accidental or negligent discharge is far less likely to hurt anyone.

Always be sure of your target! This one is not so simple. The best way to explain the rule is this; The shooter is responsible for the entire flight of the bullet, and it's final resting place. Once the projectile has left the barrel, there is no calling it back, so the shooter should know exactly where it will end up and everything it might hit in between.

What is the final backstop? Is there one you are sure of? The point is... if the shooter is not sure exactly where the bullet will rest after it's flight, then the shooter really can't say where it will end up. That is bad.... because 'someplace over that way' can so easily turn into 'someone over there'.

Now, trap shooters firing out over a large field can rest assured their shot will fall to the ground with relative safety after traveling a few hundred yards. Range shooters generally have a heavy dirt berm to shoot into, making the event a fairly sure thing. Field shooters? Not so easy... and not to be taken lightly. A stand of tree's cannot be trusted to stop a bullet, as chance takes too heavy a hand. A large body of water might suit, if there is no chance a boater might wander into the area. No... best is to see exactly the spot the bullet come to rest, and do so before ever touching the trigger.

Follow the four rules. When handling a firearm... live by these rules till they are ingrained habit. Complacency is the enemy of experienced shooters, and smart gunnies review these rules on a regular basis, and thank anyone who points out an error on their part.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Monthly Fund Raiser...... Tactical pen time!


The recent Carteach0 fund raiser to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project raised nearly $2400. This goes to show..... shooty folk are the bestus folks there are!

In that fund raiser, lots of great prizes got donated to help out. Not all of them arrived in time for Carteach to get into the fund raiser. Some are just too good to let pass, and a way had to be found to get these into the hands of readers here.

Thus was born another fund raiser to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project!

This time, only one prize. For November, it's an amazingly well built 'Tactical Pen' from Tuff Writer. This thing has to be held to be believed. I've been carrying one myself for a few weeks... and the most frequent comment heard when someone handles it is: "Wow!" I can't argue with that view, as it's my own as well. Valued at $95, this months fund raiser prize is exceptional, and carries the Carteach brand of approval.

An interesting part of carrying this 'tactical pen'... it doesn't bother anyone else who sees it in use. It's just a slightly fancy looking black pen. On the other hand... every single person who picks it up HAS to look closer. Just for a moment, their attention is riveted on the pen.... it's that different in the hand.

The rules are easy. Donate to the Wounded Warrior Project via this link. E-mail Carteach a copy of the receipt at Artwelling1 AT gmail DOT com. Every $5 donated gets the contestant a ticket in the drawing for the Tuff Writer tactical pen. The drawing will be held the last weekend in November. It's that easy.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Another spin around the sun.....

I'm in the mood to buy myself a birthday present.

Someone.... talk me down. Toys are SO expensive, and money is SO tight.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Armed for self defense..... some thoughts.


This question comes up at every gun shop, every gun show, and every time two or more shooters get together. It's the old 'Ford vs Chevy' argument, although it can feel a little more like 'The Hatfields vs The McCoys' at times.

"What is the best pistol to carry for self defense?"

Like my dad used to say, "Now There's a hole with no bottom!".

At the risk of opening a can of worms, stirring them up, and spreading them out across the gun shop floor...... here is what 'Ol Carteach thinks.

My ideal carry pistol? One that works, one that is on me when I need it, and one that's sufficient caliber to likely deter someone who wishes me harm. In other words, carry pistols are like tools in a tool box. The right tool for the right job, or at least as close as one can get. Notice, there is nothing here that says a carry weapon must be a revolver, or must be self-loading. There is nothing here that says it must be made of steel, or plastic, or even melted down barbie dolls. It need not be cheap, nor expensive, nor pretty, nor ugly. It does not need a whiz bang laser, nor a flashlight, nor dual matching cup holders.

A defensive carry weapon must work, must be there, and be big enough to do the job at hand. More than that is personal choice (not a bad thing).

'Must Work' means the pistol needs to be reliable. In this case, reliable is usually determined by the number of rounds the weapon can go through without a failure of any kind (not directly related solely to ammunition faults). A not uncommon notion, and one I subscribe to, is that a carry weapon should be able to digest thousands of rounds in a row without a single hiccup. Not dozens, not hundreds, but thousands.

Revolver shooters may look at this number differently, and with good reason. Solid, old school, double action revolvers have a reputation for reliability that is unmatched. This statement may drive some Glock shooters into fits of frothy fury, but it's no less the truth. With fewer moving parts, robust designs, and no safeties to get in the way, revolvers have earned their reputation for dependability. Not that wheel guns are infallible. No, they are far from that. No machine is free from all failures forever. But.... a good quality revolver is the standard others are measured against.

Weighed on the scales of reliability, revolvers as a genre have an edge. Not a big one, in these modern times, but there is a measurable lean to the wheelies side of things.

Most importantly, and back on the topic, carry weapons need to be reliable. This means their owners, if they really care, should be shooting them a lot. Not a box a year at the family Fourth of July picnic, in between the hot dog course and the pie extravaganza..... but several hundred rounds a month, if possible. Many defensive shooters believe a carry pistol should have a solid thousand rounds through it, without a glitch, before it is really dependable enough to be relied on.

In this area of concern, there is no substitute for round count. Folks who carry, and do it with forethought and reason, need to spend quality trigger time with their weapon. Should it not be true, should it suffer failures of any kind.... then it's time to move on to another weapon. Allowing for a short break in time, several hundred rounds or so, a serious weapon simply should not fail to work afterwords.

This is not to say that failures don't occur. They always will, as we are dealing with machines. Machines break, machines fail, and machines are only as good as their designers skull sweat and their owners care. If you have one steel ball.... you are pretty safe in that it's not likely to fail. As soon as you introduce a second steel ball and let it touch the first... all bets are off and it's just a matter of time till they fail. For that reason, good shooters practice for failures. Reload drills, failure to feed drills, and even 'move to a backup gun' drills.

Now, once we have a reasonably reliable weapon, where should we keep it? The answer is really very simple. A defensive weapon needs to be on you, or where you can lay your hand on it RIGHT NOW. That's it, pure and simple. Anything less means your defensive options are diminished tremendously. Understand... it's all about time. The time it takes you to move your weapon into service, Vs the time it takes a bad guy to surprise you and take the advantage. If your 'time to armed' is less than the bad guys 'time to overpower', then you may win. If not, you are likely to lose. 'Time to armed' means weapon in hand, ready, aimed at the threat. A weapon anyplace else but there mean
s you are not armed yet.

This notion of 'time to armed' must be balanced against risk, and against social need. As I sit writing this, I am perhaps twenty feet from a substantial house gun (a
twelve gauge pump action shotgun), tucked away in a safe and concealed position. Am I armed? Sadly, the answer is no... or least "not very well for the situation". I know from experience that someone can be on the front porch without my knowledge, and through the front door far faster than I can vacate this chair and get to that shotgun. But, should I have that weapon leaning against my chair, as I write? Or, perhaps in my lap? No, that would be unreasonable, given the threat level right now, which is approximately 'zero'.

The single best place for a defensive handgun to be is on your person. That is the one place it's best suited to fulfill it's role.... defending your life in a violent encounter. In keeping with this thought, some consideration must be given to the size and shape of the carry weapon, as opposed to other factors. How does the carrier dress? What environment are they in? How much weight can they comfortably bear all day without fatigue or irritation?

Above all else, a weapon left at home in the safe because it was unsuitable to carry... is no longer a defensive weapon. The words "Leave me alone, I own a gun!" will carry no weight when shrilly screamed during a violent encounter. A defensive weapon has to be on the person to be of use, and this means it must be suitable to the situation. If the only possible carry position is on a neck cord, with the weapon hidden under a tank top, then so be it. In that case, the weapon must be small enough, and light enough, to be carried so.

On the other hand, most adults who can wear any type of loose clothing can carry a full sized (and full power) pistol on their person without too much difficulty. There are any number of quality made and well designed belt holsters. There are belly bands, pocket holsters, 'Grip Clips', shoulder holsters, and purpose designed carry bags. There is clothing specially designed for wear with concealed carry. There are... options... many options, and very few real excuses.

It's in the 'carry arena' that semi-auto pistols gain an edge over revolvers. A modern defensive 'pistol' can carry ten rounds of .45 ACP in a reliable weapon that's flatter and lighter than most snub nosed .38 Special revolvers. Moving to even lighter calibers, such as .380, gives automatics the decided advantage. There is an entire new genre of very small, very light pocket pistols built around the .380 cartridge. Plastic bodied, double action only, minimal carry signature.... all designed to BE THERE in your pocket, because they are just so easy to carry. True, the .380 is not a mighty power house of defensive thunder, but even a pipsqueak .380 (in the pocket) beats a .500 magnum in the safe.

My opinion? The largest reliable pistol you can carry, comfortably concealed all day, that is the way to go.

The last criteria, that the weapon be in sufficient caliber to perform it's job, is at the heart of a never ending discussion. What caliber is too small? What is too big? What is too 'unusual'? What has the best terminal ballistics? What has the best track record?

Carteach has definite thoughts on the issue. Consider what we ask the defensive pistol round to do. Ideally, it should be able to deter or stop someone from violently attacking. How does it do that? A pistol round works primarily in one way... it punches holes in people and things. If it's large enough, fast enough, or heavy enough, it can cause shock and trauma in addition to punching holes, but the very least a defensive pistol round must do is punch holes in people. Deep enough, and damaging enough, to deter an attacker (with luck).

On the low end of the scale, the .380 auto is considered the bottom rung. With modern ammunition, it has the ability to gain a bad guys attention. It certainly will not 'blow them twelve yards backwards, doing flips all the way', but a solid hit with one should let a bad guy know they made a serious error in the victim selection process. At the very least, it should cause enough pain and disruption to allow the victim to escape. At the worst, it may result in a dead bad guy. The same can be said for both the .32acp and the .22 rimfire, but both those rounds have a sad record in shutting down attackers. Kill people, eventually, sure. Deterring violent criminals bent on personal destruction? Not so much.

In the revolver realm, the .38 special is generally regarded as low man, although the venerable .38 Special +P 158 grain FBI load has a reputation as a man stopper.

From there, the field is wide open.... right up till the cartridge becomes just too strong for the shooter to efficiently and accurately handle it. There are some who regard the 9x19 parabellum as 'too harsh' in recoil, while others shrug off the muzzle blast of a .44 magnum as tolerable. The real consideration on top end is what can the shooter handle well. Too harsh, and accuracy suffers tremendously, especially as the shooter becomes afraid to practice.

As far as caliber is concerned, Carteach's thinking is.... The biggest that will fit the pistol you will carry, and not so big that you won't practice often. As for the rest, there is a good argument that can be made for every single cartridge out there, and each will have supporters and detractors. When it comes to tools in the tool box, chose the best you can, and one you have faith in... if such is possible.

Putting all this blather into real world reality, here are 'Ol Carteach's choices: For everyday carry, a Glock G-30 in .45acp. It's reliable, reasonably powerful, surprisingly accurate, easy to shot well, and on my large body it simply vanishes under a loose shirt. The full magazine of heavy .45acp is comforting, as the round has a long track record of success in defensive shooting. Over 100 years worth, come to think of it!

For backup, or times when I cannot carry on my belt, a Taurus model 85 .38 special snubnose with +p ammunition. The old snubby is one of the original Taurus imports, and I have owned it almost 20 years now. It's had thousands of rounds through it, and is quite reliable. For carry, it snuggles into a belly band and simply goes away, even under a loose T-shirt.

For times when nothing else will suit, a Ruger LCP in .380 finds a home in my pocket. Tiny, light, reliable, and reasonably accurate given the LaserLyte unit I mounted on it. With Federal Hydroshocks on board, I think it's a significant threat to any violent criminal with intent on ruining my day.

There are others in the Carteach CCW stable, but those three account for 99% of regular circumstances. Each pistol gets used, fairly often, and trained with under various situations. None are target pistols, plinking pistols, nor hunting weapons. They are defensive concealed carry weapons.... and ones I have faith in.

What do you chose to carry, and why?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Feeding a compact .380 pocket pistol


Long ago, the Carteach armory held a few .380 pistols. A venerable Walther PPK, a Bersa, and a Colt Government Model .380. The PPK was stylish, but fussy. The Bersa was well built and tough, but heavy. The Colt..... the Colt was something special. While just a bit heavy for a sub-compact pocket pistol, it was leagues ahead of it's pocket-pistol competition in power. The .32 acp pipsqueaks had nothing compared to the awesome defensive knockdown power of the.380 (Okay... that was over the top). Besides... it was a miniature Colt Government Model, and who could resist that?

Back then, nobody knew nuthin about defensive loadings in pocket pistol calibers. Sure, a few small ammo houses made some impressive stuff for the little poppers, but it wasn't going to be found in the average gun store. Add in the fact that all the factory ammo was loaded to function in blow-back pocket pistols, while the Colt was a locked breach and could handle somewhat hotter foodstuffs than the average .380.

The answer came in handloading. Carteach cooked up a rather snappy little load using a 90 grain Hornady hollowpoint and a ragged edge thrust from a stiff load of fast powder. It made that little Colt into quite a barker, but it performed far outside the envelope of factory .380 ammunition at the time.

Those times are past, and the little Colt went to a new home many years ago. It's special loading went to the back of the ammo locker, catching dust with some of the other specialty loads built over the years.

Spin the dial forward, and now pocket .380s are becoming quite the rage. They are, in fact, filling a downright important niche in a self defense role. Small, outrageously light, and amazingly easy to carry, new pocket poppers such as the Ruger LCP have taken the self defense market by storm. Coupled with one of the new compact laser sighting devices such as the Laserlyte unit, pistols like the LCP are becoming a staple of pocket carry in a society more comfortable each day with the idea of self defense as a human right.

Carteach is not immune to such attractions, and acquired his own LCP. It was quickly adopted into carry rotation, filling it's role whenever the situation held against carrying a larger pistol on the belt.

When the little Elsi Pea came home, the old special .380 handloads were pulled from retirement and pressed back into service. Built for the somewhat heavier Colt, the hot ammo surely made the pocket Ruger come to life with an impressive voice.

Looking at how popular the pop-squeak pocket .380 pistols have become as a defensive alternative, it was only a matter of time till the ammunition makers an$wered the call for a high end loading to match the new market. In a world where people will willingly pay $1 a round for ammunition that offers a distinct advantage in performance, it's no wonder companies such as Federal got busy and designed something impressive to fill peoples needs.

As Carteach is want to do when such thoughts occur, a note was sent off to the folks at asking what the latest and greatest thing on the market is. Steve Otterbacher was kind enough to describe some of what was on hand, and this Federal Hydroshock loading was chosen for a look-see.

Many... many.... years ago I had the fun of sharing the range with a friendly young fellow. Since the man was shooting an MP-5, sidling up for a look see was a no-brainer. In conversation, the gentleman shared that he was a trainer with the FBI..... and the discussion turned shooty technical from there on out. The main topic was Federal Hydroshock, and the results of testing the FBI had performed on it. Since then, finding Hydroshock ammo in a Carteach pistol has been anything but... shocking. (I know... Booo... Hisss.... I couldn't help myself).

Now that Federal has introduced the same bullet type in a version specifically for the .380, testing it became another no-brainer.

The Ruger LCP and it's cousins present a particular problem for defensive ammunition makers. Their short barrels don't offer a lot of room to build velocity, and their small bores don't offer room for a heavy bullet. The trick is to get some kind of decent velocity from the tiny pistol, while using it to propel a bullet specifically designed to perform at that velocity.

Federal seems to have done a fair job of it. The Hydroshock design bullet in the .380acp offering is thin walled enough to encourage expansion, even at pocket pistol velocities. Speaking of speed.... Federal was able to get their factory load spitting out the short LCP barrel every bit as fast as Carteach's hot handload.

Spending some time with a chronograph, the numbers make the results pretty clear. In the following graph, the Federal round is compared to Fiocchi ball, Carteach's special hot handload, and just for fun.... some Remington 9x19 124 grain Golden Saber ammunition fired from a short barrel S&W M&P 9c. Both muzzle velocity and muzzle energy were compared.

Function in the LCP was flawless, as well as in several other .380 pistols. The Federal Hydroshock did manage to pick up another 75 fps when fired from a longer barreled Bersa pistol, something not unexpected.

Overall impressions? It's good ammunition, and can easily hold it's own in a tough market where performance is the only criteria. Yes... even with's good prices, it's expensive stuff. That said, the pocket . 380 pistols don't typically get heavy range use. Shooting enough cheaper ball to break in the pistol is not a chore, and switching to the high end ammo for carry is reasonable. Running enough of the carry ammo through the pistol to assure flawless function should go without saying.

Coming soon.... feeding a pocket .380

An ORM-D package from came in the mail again... and there was great rejoicing!

Now the chronograph is set up at Castle Carteach, and soon data will be accumulated towards better understanding the capabilities of modern .380 loadings. This time, we'll be comparing Federal 90 grain Hydroshock to a toasty hot hand load, and plain ball ammo.

Check back soon!

Oh... and remember.... clicking on the ads here makes this possible! Each click is roughly half a round of ammo, although not the pricey stuff we'll be looking at this time. I recommend saying "BANG" every time you click on an ad... (g)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Sentry Solutions Tuff Cloth.... like black magic in a bag

Recently there came a chance to try out one of those 'Miracle Products'. You know... the 'Chopper in a Hopper' we all grew up with on late night television.

This little bit of black magic is a rag in a bag.

The Sentry Solutions 'Tuff Cloth'. It's a firearms (and just about any other equipment I guess) cleaning cloth with some rather special features. It's billed as having water displacing properties, and this I can vouch for. Sentry Solutions also says it's oil and silicone free, which it has every appearance of being... and lays down a layer of lubrication, which I can also attest to after trying one for a few weeks.

Look... the best way I can describe it is this. In my kitchen, I have a rack of very fine chefs knives. To keep them in good edge, I have both a set of stones and a quality steel. Once a knife is properly sharpened, a regular short application of the steel keeps it razor sharp, and I seldom have to do a full sharpening routine. The same idea works with the Tuff Cloth. I've found that simply field stripping and wiping down my carry weapons on a regular basis with their product makes full cleaning a rare occurrence anymore. Even a short range session cleans up with a few wipes, and a little prodding into crevasses and corners.

I've also noticed my Glock G-30, the pistol I carry and handle the most, functions noticeably smoother after using the Tuff Cloth. It's been consistently serviced and lubricated since new in the approved Glock procedure of applying tiny drops of gun lube in only a few specific locations. The lubrication properties of the Tuff Cloth seems to make that unnecessary... although the jury is still out on that.

What the jury can report on (The jury being one fat 'Ol man named Carteach) is the cloth has dramatically reduced the accumulation of lint, dust, and dirt on my carry weapons. It seems the dry film claim is entirely accurate.

I suppose one could stuff a hunk of old T-shirt into a ziplock and shoot it with WD-40 to arrive at their own Rag In A Bag.... but somehow I just don't think it will work as good as this.

So, one of these black magic rags-in-a-bag now lives in my range bag. Another is in my gun safe, and another rests in the same spot my carry pistol resides when it's not on my belt.

Carteach approves.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Dragon Leatherworks


The Carteach0 fund raiser to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project brought in some darn nice donations from both individuals and companies to use as prizes. Of these, one clearly led the pack in popularity... and deservedly so. A custom 'Talon' holster from Dennis at Dragon Leatherworks.

It was a pleasure to have this fine piece of leather artistry in our hands, even if only for a short time. Craftsmanship is something that simply never goes out of style, and quality will always rise to the top. Dennis's work satisfies on both counts

The hand stitching is flawless, and the heavy pressed leather shows an attention to detail unmatched by any high volume commercial holster maker.

Not that mass produced holsters are bad... but the Dragon Talon is a whole step above. It's like comparing a very nice factory built Remington 700 varmint rifle to a hand tuned M-24 sniper rifle from the Army precision shooting shop. Both are rifles... and that's where the comparison ends.

Carteach's own holster preference runs to a Galco JAK slide worn inside the belt and outside the pants, and carrying a Glock G-30. Not pretty, but a solid workhorse pistol in a no-nonsense simple holster. That said... if Dennis makes anything comparable to the JAK slide style in the same quality as this Talon holster, I would move heaven and earth to own one of my own.

Heck... if I ever have call to show off my fancy Colt Commander in a holster that matches it (or exceeds it) in quality and style, I'd be hard pressed to find better than a Dragon Leatherworks Talon.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

And the drawings are done!

The drawings for the fund raiser to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project are done, and all is revealed in the video below.

A few notes regarding the fund raiser....

A warm and heartfelt thanks goes out to all those who donated to WWP. Thank you for your support to our soldiers. E-mails have already gone out to the winners. For you folks who won, if you happen to be a blogger, please consider giving some air time to the companies who donated to the cause.

Just as warm and heartfelt a thanks goes out to all those people and companies who donated prizes to the Carteach0 fund raiser. Soon a permanent post will be going up on this blog, linked on the sidebar, detailing your gracious help and linking back to your products. Included will be Laura Burgess Marketing, who were a tremendous help in setting this project up.

This fund raiser went so well, with such a great response, that it may become a regular feature here at Carteach0. A monthly drawing, with only one prize, and the same simple rules as this fund raiser just ending. The good news.... Tuff Writer has already donated the first months prize, a 'tactical pen' that has be seen to be believed.

So... without further delay... here is video of the drawings held for the Carteach0 fund raiser to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project!