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Gunfighter Moment – Mike Pannone

Saturday, January 2nd, 2016

“A well-regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free state …”

2016 is here and if you are a lawful carrier of a concealed pistol I ask you to do yourself, those in your charge, and the country a favor. Think of it as one of your New Year’s resolutions for every year you plan to carry a gun. Below are the minimums but the point is that it is not a great expenditure in time or money considering how important the skills are.

1. Seek training or sustain the training you have already sought. Going to a good shooting course is like taking a college class, if you don’t use it you won’t retain it. You can go to most Walmart stores right now and buy 9mm for about $10 a box so for 100 rounds “taxes, tags and dealer prep” I’m in it for about $25. I often see American made 9mm for under $9.98 and foreign for that or less at times on the internet as well. Now I have 100 rounds to practice so I would split that into two 50 round sessions like I have written of before on SSD:

· Freestyle slow fire- 10 rounds

· Strong hand only- 10 rounds

· Support hand only- 10 rounds

· Draw shot slide-lock reload shot 10 rounds

· Draw shot-magazine-exchange shot 10 rounds

(All shots are fired from the holster alternating the start position from hands at sides to surrender position and all ending with the pistol returned to the holster.40 draws (10 with transition to support hand), 50 precision shots (30 freestyle, 10 strong hand only 10 support hand only), 5 slide lock reloads, 5 magazine exchanges.)

2. Make the time to practice. Not “find the time”, MAKE the time! What would those skills be worth to you in time and money if they were needed and not present? If you exercise the right then you are obligated to be responsible and proficient…otherwise leave it at home. I will run the above course of fire several times a week if I am working a rifle emphasis just to keep my skills current and it works. It usually takes well under 20 minutes. Another thing I do and it should be a must, like not leaving the house without your wallet and phone is my “Morning minute” this in truth might be more important than the range time but I see both as crucial.

Noner’s Morning minute-ENSURE YOUR GUN IS CLEAR. DO NOT DO THIS WITH A LOADED GUN!-

*Put your holster in the location you intend to carry and for one minute draw from that holster at a progressively faster rate. What you are doing is dry-firing the garment/holster location and trying to find a failure point i.e. some manner in which your current garment and holster location are not compatible and might cause you to have a bad draw. You can easily get 10 good draws in 1 minute and you are now ready to go out into the world with a properly donned gun and a proper mindset.

All together I can go to the range twice a month for $25 and dedicate 40
minutes of actual shooting time. Let’s say total prep time to and from range
is 30 minutes. That puts me at 200 minutes a month and add in the 30 minutes
of dry Morning minute draws and we are at 230 minutes a month or round it up
to 240 or 4 hours of the 720 in a month. Put it all together and in the
entire calendar year for $300 and 48 hours of my entire year . I did the
following and all on a consistent basis which is crucial.
* 1200 good quality training rounds fired
o 720 freestyle
o 240 strong hand only
o 240 support hand only
* 120 slide lock reloads
* 120 magazine exchanges
* 3600 dry draws (at only 10 per morning)
* 480 draws live

* There are 8766 hours in a year and 48 of them adds up to .5% of my
year. So I still have 99.5% of my year left over to do all the other stuff.
* $300 is the cost of five Grande Mocha’s at Starbucks a week on
average or one decent sit-down lunch for one.
* 1 minute out of every 24 hours is 1/1440th of you day. You spend as
much time waiting on one long light by you house.

THIS IS ONLY WHAT I WOULD CONSIDER THE MINIMUM BUT IT IS STILL VERY
EFFECTIVE ON A LIMITED BUDGET.

It doesn’t take a lot of money or a lot of time and it’s worth every penny,
every minute and every bullet expended. Do the math and do yourself and all
of us a favor. Times are tough and if San Bernardino and Paris are
indicators, it will get a lot tougher. We need all able-bodied men and women
on deck and ready for inclement weather. It’s not too much to ask in this,
the greatest country the world has ever known.

– Mike Pannone

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Mike Pannone retired from the Army’s premier assault force (1st SFOD-D) after an explosive breaching injury. A year after his retirement America was attacked on 9/11 and he returned to help serve his country as the head marksmanship instructor at the Federal Air Marshals training course and then moved to help stand up the FAMS Seattle field office. In 2003 he left the FAMS to serve as a PSD detail member and then a detail leader for the State Department during 2003 and 2004 in Baghdad and Tikrit.

In 2005 he served as a ground combat advisor of the Joint Counter IED Task Force and participated on combat operations with various units in Al Anbar province. Upon returning he gave IED awareness briefings to departing units and helped stand up a pre-Iraq surge rifle course with the Asymmetric Warfare Group as a lead instructor. With that experience as well as a career of special operations service in Marine Reconnaissance, Army Special Forces and JSOC to draw from he moved to the private sector teaching planning, leadership, marksmanship and tactics as well as authoring and co-authoring several books such as The M4 Handbook, AK Handbook and Tactical Pistol shooting. Mike also consults for several major rifle and accessory manufacturers to help them field the best possible equipment to the warfighter, law enforcement officer and upstanding civilian end user. He is considered a subject matter expert on the AR based Stoner platform in all its derivatives.

CTT Solutions

Gunfighter Moment is a weekly feature brought to you by Alias Training & Security Services. Each week Alias brings us a different Trainer and in turn they offer some words of wisdom.

Gunfighter Moment – Mike Pannone

Saturday, November 21st, 2015

Entering A New Time

We are entering a new time and we as good Americans need to act accordingly. The attack in Paris should have been the largest and most recent wake-up calls to the general populace that we are entering a new age with a different threat. This threat not only seeks to but is capable of projecting power in a different manner. It an ideology that says the price of admission and to get “credentialed” all one must do is lash out at the innocent who does not believe in their ideology.

Talk with those in your charge about reactions if there is an attack and agree on it. What is our immediate plan? Who goes where and does what? These decisions will not be arrived at under the tremendous stresses of potential death or grievous bodily injury. Without planning it is just luck and as I have said countless times and is Noner Rule #1 “Good luck is for novices; bad luck is for everyone. Bank on skill, at least you control that.”

In preparation I encourage those who understand the legal and moral ramifications and can legally carry a firearm to do so. Before taking on that responsibility, seek genuinely competent training. Make that CCW a life preserving tool and not an expensive good luck charm. Once that proficiency requirement has been met you have demonstrated your seriousness and should carry everywhere you are legally permitted.

If you don’t already have it seek first-aid training and have medical supplies in your vehicle. This is just the right answer regardless of current threat levels.

Finally, understand that the biggest threat you will face relative to ISIS related terrorism is the “lone wolf” attacker or what I more specifically call the “non-aligned sympathizer” (NAS). That term is exactly what the ideology commands and encourages due to the inability of any security apparatus to effectively monitor them. The reason this is important is that if you just avoid ball games and large populated public venues or the likely “soft targets” understand everyplace you go without a very obvious security presence is a soft target. The NAS can strike anywhere any time because he is only concerned with becoming a name of note in the “cause”. For that reason, we must remain what I call “professionally vigilant” or in layman’s terms acutely aware of our surroundings. Make sure you know what “right” looks like as far as behavior. If someone stands out don’t come unglued and immediately call 911 but look and listen. All over the multiple war zones we have been engaged in are sign’s in one place or another that say
“Stay alert, Stay alive.”

It has made the difference in many a soldier, sailor, Airman and Marines life….It will for you if you heed that simple and sage advice.

“I’m waking up, I feel it in my bones
Enough to make my systems blow
Welcome to the new age,
to the new age”

Imagine Dragons, Radioactive

– Mike Pannone

GFmomentpic

Mike Pannone retired from the Army’s premier assault force (1st SFOD-D) after an explosive breaching injury. A year after his retirement America was attacked on 9/11 and he returned to help serve his country as the head marksmanship instructor at the Federal Air Marshals training course and then moved to help stand up the FAMS Seattle field office. In 2003 he left the FAMS to serve as a PSD detail member and then a detail leader for the State Department during 2003 and 2004 in Baghdad and Tikrit.

In 2005 he served as a ground combat advisor of the Joint Counter IED Task Force and participated on combat operations with various units in Al Anbar province. Upon returning he gave IED awareness briefings to departing units and helped stand up a pre-Iraq surge rifle course with the Asymmetric Warfare Group as a lead instructor. With that experience as well as a career of special operations service in Marine Reconnaissance, Army Special Forces and JSOC to draw from he moved to the private sector teaching planning, leadership, marksmanship and tactics as well as authoring and co-authoring several books such as The M4 Handbook, AK Handbook and Tactical Pistol shooting. Mike also consults for several major rifle and accessory manufacturers to help them field the best possible equipment to the warfighter, law enforcement officer and upstanding civilian end user. He is considered a subject matter expert on the AR based Stoner platform in all its derivatives.

CTT Solutions

Gunfighter Moment is a weekly feature brought to you by Alias Training & Security Services. Each week Alias brings us a different Trainer and in turn they offer some words of wisdom.

Gunfighter Moment – Mike Pannone

Saturday, October 17th, 2015

Magic and the Easy Button

The firearms and tactical training trade is rife with people “selling magic”. By that I mean being a vocal advocate for the newest “great idea” that hasn’t really been vetted but looks good on YouTube. It’s always amusing to see these new ‘groundbreaking’ techniques that are either poorly thought out or have been preceded by better techniques years and sometimes decades prior seem to get overnight popularity.

One I have addressed previous is the Temple Index and the inherent flaws of it. Another example of selling magic is the widespread use of vehicles as a prop for a shooting class. This is done in complete contrast to vehicles being a useful training aid for teaching sound tactics associated with open air conflicts around vehicles. The point is missed completely because many are trying to entertain more so than teach.

When I played lacrosse in college, my coach Bill Tierney (probably the most successful lacrosse coach in history) rode us hard on the simple things. He reminded us that controlling the ball and consistently working hard on offense as well as defense would win over a more talented but less disciplined team that made mistakes on simple things like catching and throwing. We spent lots of time on ball drills because if you can’t scoop a ball, pass and catch then the rest was a waste of time. The principle was what Brian Searcy from Tiger Swan (also my first TL at JSOC) called “brilliance in the basics”. Greatness is the basics done flawlessly and on demand.

On the shooting side I have often been asked what special techniques SFOD uses or favors. I find that a bit amusing since there are no secret techniques nor any secret tactics. There is only one principle that guides the best units or sports teams or for that matter anyone to repeated success. That is a mastery of the basics and the ability to replicate them on demand precisely and consistently. In life and in training there is no Staples “Easy button”, there is only hard precise work.

So in the end, the magic is…that there is no magic.

– Mike Pannone

GFmomentpic

Mike Pannone retired from the Army’s premier assault force (1st SFOD-D) after an explosive breaching injury. A year after his retirement America was attacked on 9/11 and he returned to help serve his country as the head marksmanship instructor at the Federal Air Marshals training course and then moved to help stand up the FAMS Seattle field office. In 2003 he left the FAMS to serve as a PSD detail member and then a detail leader for the State Department during 2003 and 2004 in Baghdad and Tikrit.

In 2005 he served as a ground combat advisor of the Joint Counter IED Task Force and participated on combat operations with various units in Al Anbar province. Upon returning he gave IED awareness briefings to departing units and helped stand up a pre-Iraq surge rifle course with the Asymmetric Warfare Group as a lead instructor. With that experience as well as a career of special operations service in Marine Reconnaissance, Army Special Forces and JSOC to draw from he moved to the private sector teaching planning, leadership, marksmanship and tactics as well as authoring and co-authoring several books such as The M4 Handbook, AK Handbook and Tactical Pistol shooting. Mike also consults for several major rifle and accessory manufacturers to help them field the best possible equipment to the warfighter, law enforcement officer and upstanding civilian end user. He is considered a subject matter expert on the AR based Stoner platform in all its derivatives.

CTT Solutions

Gunfighter Moment is a weekly feature brought to you by Alias Training & Security Services. Each week Alias brings us a different Trainer and in turn they offer some words of wisdom.

Gunfighter Moment – Mike Pannone

Saturday, September 19th, 2015

SARAH MCKINLEY INCIDENT AND MINDSET

On New Year’s Eve 2011, alone except for her infant son and scared for her life and the life of her child, 18 year old Sarah McKinley still had the composure to give her infant a bottle to keep him quiet and ask a dispatcher if it was okay to shoot an intruder if he entered her home before she did in fact shoot and kill him. She never had a mindset brief; she got it done just the same.

Mind-set

Noun

1. The ideas and attitudes with which a person approaches a situation, especially when these are seen as being difficult to alter

I’m often asked why I don’t put greater emphasis on mindset in the form of “mindset briefings” or what I like to call “popcorn pep-talks”. I call them that because in the end, they’re really mostly hot-air. The concept of having a proper mindset is crucial in not only a combative environment but literally anywhere that an individual wants to compete, excel and succeed. The desire to persevere, endure, survive and win is a requirement for success in all but the rarest of events that just by sheer chance end positively. That said, here is something to keep in mind with all these flamboyant diatribes about how “you need to be the guy that’s going to get it done” and save the day.

I’ve been a couple of places and done a couple of things and have served amongst the best our nation, two different services, and three different special units could produce. I have seen what a good mindset can do in a bad situation and how it sometimes is all that saves lives even when the odds are not in your favor. In those dark times of consequence it has never been a briefing that got a guy through. It has never been someone yelling over their shoulder that has gotten them through. It is simple and pretty easy to explain how they got the mindset needed to persevere and win. It was the culmination of decisions and actions long before the event.

Understand that nobody can convince you to do something that you can’t convince yourself to do first. Mindset is not a brief you get; it’s not a condition of thought that just “happens” to you over time. Mindset comes from the life you lead. Be candidly honest with yourself. Be under no illusions as to who you are and what you are willing to do. Sarah McKinley never got the briefing, but she had the mindset to fight, win and survive.

Mindset – stop talking about it and start living it.

– Mike Pannone

GFmomentpic

Mike Pannone retired from the Army’s premier assault force (1st SFOD-D) after an explosive breaching injury. A year after his retirement America was attacked on 9/11 and he returned to help serve his country as the head marksmanship instructor at the Federal Air Marshals training course and then moved to help stand up the FAMS Seattle field office. In 2003 he left the FAMS to serve as a PSD detail member and then a detail leader for the State Department during 2003 and 2004 in Baghdad and Tikrit.

In 2005 he served as a ground combat advisor of the Joint Counter IED Task Force and participated on combat operations with various units in Al Anbar province. Upon returning he gave IED awareness briefings to departing units and helped stand up a pre-Iraq surge rifle course with the Asymmetric Warfare Group as a lead instructor. With that experience as well as a career of special operations service in Marine Reconnaissance, Army Special Forces and JSOC to draw from he moved to the private sector teaching planning, leadership, marksmanship and tactics as well as authoring and co-authoring several books such as The M4 Handbook, AK Handbook and Tactical Pistol shooting. Mike also consults for several major rifle and accessory manufacturers to help them field the best possible equipment to the warfighter, law enforcement officer and upstanding civilian end user. He is considered a subject matter expert on the AR based Stoner platform in all its derivatives.

CTT Solutions

Gunfighter Moment is a weekly feature brought to you by Alias Training & Security Services. Each week Alias brings us a different Trainer and in turn they offer some words of wisdom.

Gunfighter Moment – Mike Pannone

Saturday, August 29th, 2015

Targets, trash and a Sharpie

I see a lot of different targets out there, some are very simple and some are quite ornate and expensive. A target is designed and intended to give the shooter speed and accuracy feedback based on historically significant data from other shooters across the spectrum of various shooting disciplines. For that reason I use almost entirely USPSA metric, IPSC classic, IPDA standard, B8 pistol and SR-1 rifle targets. I choose these because I want to know how accurately and how rapidly I shoot in relation to other accomplished shooters worldwide and those targets give me a legitimate comparative scale. If I don’t have them I can draw them with a Sharpie on a piece of cardboard from the trash and voila! I get the same feedback damn nearly.

I’ve spent deployments in far less developed countries where the targets that were supposed to be there were not. We ended up taking all the 9mm and 5.56 out of the boxes and dumping them back in the ammo cans so we could use the cardboard boxes as targets and used stencils and spray paint for both pistol and rifle targets with whatever target skins they did have. When we ran out of those we cut up and drew consistent sized target areas on any trash that would show bullet holes and we could glue, tape or staple to a backer. In the end it really doesn’t matter what you shoot at as long as you scale it comparable to what is considered a standard for your particular task. I have found LE qualification targets tend to be far too forgiving in the size of their scoring areas so I take my trusty Sharpie and draw a 6”x11” A-Zone, 8” IPDA -0, 5.54” B8 9-ring or 6.35” SR-1 9-ring. I will also use my pen to make non-standard shapes for offset or surgical shot drills and to put numbers in the shapes as well to add another mental component to the drills and training (the picture below is from a recent Marine class where we were exercising sight offset for M4 carbines. The shapes are all smaller than the height over bore). In the end, targets are anything that allows you to print shots and by using standard sizes and distances it gives you legitimate data to base your training goals or evaluations on.

Last point, it really doesn’t matter if a target has all kinds of scary faces or humanoid looking drawings or looks like a human anatomy char, it just matters that you can put the bullets exactly where you choose or where it is required as fast as possible. Everything else is flair and flair at a cost. Buy a Sharpie, pasting tape and some simple targets, maybe make a stencil or two and then get to the business of refining your shooting technique and spend the money saved on bullets. My last Unit in the Army used USPSA cardboard, NRA B8 and SR-1 targets for more than 90% of our marksmanship training that was not shot on steel for the reasons mention at the beginning of the piece.

MPTarget

– Mike Pannone

GFmomentpic

Mike Pannone retired from the Army’s premier assault force (1st SFOD-D) after an explosive breaching injury. A year after his retirement America was attacked on 9/11 and he returned to help serve his country as the head marksmanship instructor at the Federal Air Marshals training course and then moved to help stand up the FAMS Seattle field office. In 2003 he left the FAMS to serve as a PSD detail member and then a detail leader for the State Department during 2003 and 2004 in Baghdad and Tikrit.

In 2005 he served as a ground combat advisor of the Joint Counter IED Task Force and participated on combat operations with various units in Al Anbar province. Upon returning he gave IED awareness briefings to departing units and helped stand up a pre-Iraq surge rifle course with the Asymmetric Warfare Group as a lead instructor. With that experience as well as a career of special operations service in Marine Reconnaissance, Army Special Forces and JSOC to draw from he moved to the private sector teaching planning, leadership, marksmanship and tactics as well as authoring and co-authoring several books such as The M4 Handbook, AK Handbook and Tactical Pistol shooting. Mike also consults for several major rifle and accessory manufacturers to help them field the best possible equipment to the warfighter, law enforcement officer and upstanding civilian end user. He is considered a subject matter expert on the AR based Stoner platform in all its derivatives.

CTT Solutions

Gunfighter Moment is a weekly feature brought to you by Alias Training & Security Services. Each week Alias brings us a different Trainer and in turn they offer some words of wisdom.

Gunfighter Moment – Mike Pannone

Saturday, July 25th, 2015

Temple index failure points

Or

Why I prefer a different and better variation.

When I was leading the stand-up of the training cell in the Seattle Field Office of the Federal Air Marshals in 2003 a good friend, former Special Forces soldier with me at 1st SFG(A) and very accomplished stand-up as well as ground fighter Ron Haskins (God rest his soul) and I used to vet many of our techniques in an old school practical way. We would put on shorts and a t-shirt with Bollé goggles and fight over/with guns. The rule was we had a Sig229 with 2 Simmunitions rounds in it…if he got the gun…I got the Sim rounds. Having a “pain penalty” for failure makes people fight like they mean it. We concluded that many things taught, though they “briefed well”, were not effective and in some cases were prone to failure. With that as an overview of how I evaluate techniques, below are the 4 reasons I do not like the “temple index” (from now forward called TI) as presented and why I prefer what might be called “high port”. I view this specifically through the prism of training and experience in 1st SFOD-D, Federal Air Marshals (*we never executed nor taught this even in aircraft which is as confined a space as I have ever worked with both organizations) as well as working protection details in and around vehicles in a high threat environment in Iraq. All of my experiences in those venues have put a premium on confined space weapons management. To evaluate it, I’ll use with what I consider my validation template:

• What is it – Temple Index (TI)

• Why you do it (desired end state) – keep safe orientation and control of weapon in confined space or proximity to others

• How it works – the weapon is held in a normal dominant hand shooting grip pointing straight up in one hand by the temple so it cannot inadvertently flag yourself or another

• Identify the most likely failure points or mistakes:

  • Easy to get fouled or strike objects in confined space –
  • If you draw a pistol in a confined space like a vehicle and then attempt to maneuver or exit with the TI you are far more likely to strike something like the roof or A/B/C –pillars or get fouled in a seatbelt depending where you are seated.

  • Has poor control –
  • The gun is floating in one hand exposed to any blind spots in your vision and depending on how vigorous your movement is, it is far more difficult to control because it does not have strength or dexterity in the range of motion it utilizes.

  • Extremely weak retention –
  • Effectively you are holding the gun in the weakest manner, in a blind spot unless you are looking straight forward or towards the weapon, it is away from your body where it is extremely easy to disarm and the most difficult to defend from take-away attempts.

  • Slow to engage –
  • It is a poor “start position” if rapid engagement is needed and lends itself to a poor presentation grip. I say this specifically because it is in a position with very little strength and dexterity that is about as far from a normal draw and presentation shooting position you can have and still have a gun in your hand.

    • Precede those with proper training – practice and use high port

    Practice and use High Port-It is the same general concept but the pistol is positioned across the body 30 degrees forward and 30 degrees towards the support side in the same point as port arms with a rifle. It keeps the pistol up, away from you at about a 30 degree angle as well as any others that may be around you unless they are within a foot shoulder to shoulder and over 7 feet tall and then awareness not any specific position is what overwhelmingly keeps you from flagging people.

    1. When using the high port you have the gun silhouetted in the footprint of your body without flagging anyone in the car so movement in and out of vehicles is only restricted or impeded by your actual physical size and removes the ability of the gun to be fouled by the roof, A/B/C pillars, seatbelts or anything else.

    2. Because the gun is within the range of motion for strength and dexterity even with vigorous activity it is under complete control.

    3. By keeping the gun in high port if a disarm is attempted it is far less exposed and any attempts must be done from the front minimizing an adversaries element of surprise. For that reason it is easier to defend against disarms with the high port.

    4. From the high port position you are less than 6” from your normal position for pistol presentation known as position #4. This location makes it very fast, very natural and much more like your normal presentation sequence.

    While I understand and agree with the needs for the temple index for certain situations, I have no doubt there are far too many failure points and likely errors in the technique and make it an unacceptable default position. The high port will do everything the temple index will but does it with better control. It better protects from disarm attempts and all with a more natural and rapid ability to engage due to the location. The only time either is needed is during limited times when the gun is not being used and/or movement is required in and around others. The widespread use of the temple index in my opinion is done far more for cool points than practicality. I say that because only one person has been able to defend it with a cogent answer as to why he does it but it still hasn’t sold me for the abovementioned reasons. The window of application and practicality is very small and the technique is FAR too easy to disarm. Nearly every photo of it I have seen in application the gun is not anchored and the elbow is out. As far as I am concerned it is another position Sul (holding a pistol with one hand pointed at your support side foot always seemed like a bad idea). By that I mean though the concept is good the actual technique and its application have great failure points built into it, the greatest being weapons retention. In my experience its range of application is extremely limited and its proponents often cite the application based upon the precept of bad awareness and poor gun handling by the end user. I have never used it, seen it used or taught until now but have seen it done for extremely brief moments because it was a last resort to maneuver with a weapon in one hand. Also, even if you are shoulder to shoulder the high port does not flag anyone under 7 feet tall and overall muzzle awareness makes up for that. I look at it as an absolute last resort for a specific extremely limited use, not a signature “go to” position.

    Other than running with a pistol I have only used a high port in limited situations and those were extremely tight confined vehicle exits and even then only until I was clear of the vehicle. Again, that is real use in a high threat environment not a training theoretical use.

    I find a technique like the Temple Index is a bad replacement for proper weapons awareness and handling and violates the biggest concern when in confined areas or close proximity to theirs which is weapons fouling and retention. I can hold the pistol right in front of me like I would if holding a rifle at port arms and do all the same things without the problems of fouling or retention TI has.

    When formulating techniques that revolve around non-standard positions it is very important to identify likely failure points before you institute the technique as a default.

    When I was in the Special Forces Qualification course in 1992 I was given sage advice from an old SF soldier who was one of my cadre’ teaching planning- “If you don’t find the flaws in your plan first, they’ll find you…and it’s gonna hurt.” The temple index is a plan with too many flaws for me. With a minor variation on the theme, i.e. making it a high port versus Temple index, the technique mitigates the biggest concerns any shooter will have while employing the Temple Index. BTW, people have been using some variation of high port for years because it made sense to them technically, tactically and physically … and all without fanfare.

    Roll how you like but that’s why I don’t use the Temple Index.

    – Mike Pannone

    GFmomentpic

    Mike Pannone retired from the Army’s premier assault force (1st SFOD-D) after an explosive breaching injury. A year after his retirement America was attacked on 9/11 and he returned to help serve his country as the head marksmanship instructor at the Federal Air Marshals training course and then moved to help stand up the FAMS Seattle field office. In 2003 he left the FAMS to serve as a PSD detail member and then a detail leader for the State Department during 2003 and 2004 in Baghdad and Tikrit.

    In 2005 he served as a ground combat advisor of the Joint Counter IED Task Force and participated on combat operations with various units in Al Anbar province. Upon returning he gave IED awareness briefings to departing units and helped stand up a pre-Iraq surge rifle course with the Asymmetric Warfare Group as a lead instructor. With that experience as well as a career of special operations service in Marine Reconnaissance, Army Special Forces and JSOC to draw from he moved to the private sector teaching planning, leadership, marksmanship and tactics as well as authoring and co-authoring several books such as The M4 Handbook, AK Handbook and Tactical Pistol shooting. Mike also consults for several major rifle and accessory manufacturers to help them field the best possible equipment to the warfighter, law enforcement officer and upstanding civilian end user. He is considered a subject matter expert on the AR based Stoner platform in all its derivatives.

    CTT Solutions

    Gunfighter Moment is a weekly feature brought to you by Alias Training & Security Services. Each week Alias brings us a different Trainer and in turn they offer some words of wisdom.

    Mike Pannone – New CTT-Solutions Class Policy

    Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

    No student was injured in a CTT-Solutions class or any other Alias class. This is to ensure it stays that way.

    There have been several incidents where students in handgun classes carrying in a concealed appendix holster have discharged their pistol while re-holstering with subsequent injury. Therefore, I will be instituting a much stricter program of instruction and range policy designed to make every effort to ensure that all holsters in class are properly worn and safe for use both in and out of class. My evaluation will be based on body type, holster design/location and trigger design/weight. It will be in your best interest to have a belt slide holster and a cover garment suitable for use with it if you are planning to shoot from appendix in the event I deem your set-up unsuitable.
    APPENDIX CARRY IS NOT FOR EVERYONE AND IS LIMITED TO CERTAIN BODY TYPES AND SKILL LEVELS. DO NOT ASSUME THAT JUST BECAUSE YOU BUY A GOOD QUALITY HOLSTER THAT YOU ARE FINE. THE HOLSTER MUST BE WORN PROPERLY AND IN THE PROPER LOCATION AND THE GUN MUST HAVE A TRIGGER THAT IS SUITABLE FOR CONCEALED CARRY.

    The above mentioned problem is the result of one or more of the following factors:

  • Holster selection- certain body types cannot wear an appendix holster without their stomach forcing the gun into a position where it is pointed at their legs or genitals. When I carry appendix my pistol is not pointed at any part of my body unless I get in an awkward position.
  • Holster location- the holster genre is call “appendix” and if one looks on an anatomical chart, your appendix is not in the center of your body where your navel is. Improper wear causes it to be a safety concern by orienting the muzzle at the legs or genitals.
  • Trigger weight and design- a striker fired gun with a chambered round and an aftermarket lightened trigger is NOT suitable for concealed carry in an appendix holster with a round chambered in my classes. You can carry what you want on your time but NOT IN AN OPEN ENROLLMENT CLASS. I am quite confident in my skills and
  • 1.) I carry a DA/SA CZ P07 which gives me a much greater level of inherent safety.
    2.) When I did carry a striker fired gun the trigger was of stock weight with stock parts.

  • Technique and skill- when one is learning he/she should be going exceptionally slow so as to be able to identify EXACTLY the method by which they manage their gun and garment in conjunction with each other. With bad technique any firearm related task becomes risky and when learning new skills, speed can injure or worse.
  • Attention to detail- Don’t paw at a garment or gun to draw it or try and stuff it back in your holster like a sandwich into a bag. Think of the desired end state and never forget the nature of the device in your hands.
  • When re-holstering strictly adhere to the following steps:
    S-low down, straighten your trigger finger along the frame and well outside the trigger guard
    A-lways ensure the garment is completely cleared from the holster and surrounding area
    F-inal visual check that gun/holster are clear of clothing and finger is outside of trigger guard
    E-nd the action by slowly re-holstering the pistol

    *Other than a mechanical failure of the pistol, negligent discharges when drawing or re-holstering are always due to a mistake by the shooter. These mistakes are overwhelmingly caused by excessive speed and sloppiness. From this point on in every Covert Carry Class I will reserve final say on whether or not your holster is worn properly, in a suitable location and is appropriate for your body type and the pistol being used. It will be a requirement for all attendees to bring a belt holster along with their desired appendix holster. An inexpensive belt holster is worth the investment and should be integrated into any concealment training regardless of primary carry method.

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    Gunfighter Moment – Mike Pannone

    Saturday, June 20th, 2015

    Feeding Eugene Stoners Brainchild

    This is just a quick one over based on my experience using for both training and operationally just about every magazine that will fit in the M16/M4/AR15.

    First let’s look at the 3 critical components of a magazine: spring, follower and body.

    Follower– A great deal of the early M16 magazine issues was due to bad follower geometry and design. Legs that were too short allowed them to tilt and bind causing failure. This portion of the magazine has seen the most changes and advances over time and has a great deal to do with reliability. The anti-tilt followers are pretty much the gold standard. It is so much so that nearly every aftermarket magazine I can think of and the new USGI magazines have anti-tilt followers in them and from field reports the new USGI magazines perform extremely well. All my mags in IZ were USGI with MAGPUL no tilt followers and they performed flawlessly.

    Spring– Modern springs will easily outlast the body of the magazine. Early magazines suffered as well from older and less refined spring technology. Modern springs take an initial set when loaded but are not dramatically degraded by being left loaded for a very extended period of time (think years). Springs will fatigue when they are compressed and released in the firing cycle. Think of a piece of flat metal stock. Bending it doesn’t make it crack or fail. Bending it back and forth repeatedly causes metal fatigue which eventually will cause it to break. Over time and repeated use (and I mean a long time and lots of use) magazine springs will eventually fatigue enough to fail but not from being left loaded.

    Body– Singularly the biggest cause of malfunctions in the modern incarnation of the USGI M16 and really any others for that matter is the body. If the feed lips begin to separate they change the original design geometry and will cause double feeds. This is not fixable in any consistent and reliable manner and so they should be replaced.

    Common mistakes people make:

    1.) Loading 31 rounds into a 30 round magazine. If you can’t press the top round down about 1/8” then you have overloaded the magazine. If you try and seat the magazine with the bolt forward on a live round it will be extremely difficult because the bullets cannot do down the required 1/8” or so. What happens if you hammer it in is they go out and at the weakest and most crucial point of the magazine, the feed lips. This causes accelerated wear and can permanently damage metal or polymer magazine which I have witnessed personally on more than a few occasions.

    2.) Putting 550 cord loops under the base-plate on a GI magazine. It was not designed to be held by the 4 metal tabs at the base. Those tabs are only there to keep the base plate on. If you feel the need to do it, tape the 550 cord to the outside of the magazine with riggers tape.

    3.) Not maintaining magazines properly. They should be cleaned when they have been used in field environments and left dry. DO NOT LUBRICATE MAGAZINES IT WILL HOLD DIRT AND DEBRIS AND CAUSE FAILURE TO FEED MALFUNCTIONS. Side note- do not over lubricate you rifle because it drains into the magazines causing said problem.

    4.) Kicking, throwing, or generally abusing/misusing them. For instance, they can open bottles but they are not bottle openers. You fill in the rest from your experience. The only use for a magazine is to hold bullets and reliably feed your rifle.

    5.) Not marking magazines. If not then people never really know which one failed and just keep recycling. Once a magazine malfunctions and it cannot be traced to debris, it will only get worse. Get rid of it. A little paint marker goes a long way.

    6.) Believing magazines that don’t drop free are still serviceable. If you bought “non-drop free magazines” for your M4 please let me know where. One of the requirements for the US Military was that the empty magazine had to fall free from the rifle when the magazine release is pressed. If it doesn’t it means that on a GI magazine the feed lips are beginning to separate or on a polymer magazine the body is beginning to swell. Both are by that very fact unserviceable.

    7.) GI magazines are crap. In the picture below you will see 3 magazines. The one with yellow marking is what I call the “magic magazine”. The only magic is if you don’t abuse your kit it will treat you well. It is marked 1-92 and I got it from a bucket of s#*t magazines in OTC. To this day it still runs fine and I have used it for 18 years. The other two “new magazines” are both 12 years old (5/03 & 6/03) with the only additions being one has a MAGPUL and the other a CMMG no tilt follower and I can’t even begin to estimate the round counts on any of them.

    Myth

    USGI magazines were only designed to hold 28 rounds. FALSE

    Does anyone really believe that the US military would buy 5.56 magazines by the millions over the last 45 years (official fielding of the 30 round magazine in RVN was approximately 1970) that are spec’d for a 30 round capacity but (wink, wink, smirk) only really hold 28? That is absolutely absurd. The biggest current problems are stated above, overloading of the magazine, poor reloading technique (if you can’t get a 30 round magazine to seat with 30 rounds in it…news flash…it’s not the magazines fault) and third in the ultra-rare instance where the specs of the lower receiver, upper receiver and magazine don’t line up correctly. This can happen if the upper and lower are fit very tightly from the factory but is exceedingly rare. The looseness of the upper and lower by design actually allow damn near any magazine to fall within the collective specifications necessary to allow positive lock-up of a magazine…but back to short loading magazines. I once carried 28 rounds in all my magazines…that is until I went to the Operator Training Course at JSOC. There a gruff guy named Sam E. wasn’t buying it and told us we could do whatever we wanted IF we made it across the hall but here “you will have 30 rounds in every magazine you carry and 30+1 when you enter the breach point on every hit.” I never had a problem and never witnessed problems other than genuinely unserviceable magazines and that is with the incredible amount of shooting we did in that course. He was correct…it was a useless action based on out of date information.

    So what do I use? I use primarily USGI magazines because they work great, they’re cheap, I already have a ton of them, they will fit in anything that has the appropriate lock-up geometry at the mag release for an M16/AR15 and they drop free very consistently. I designed the MagCap for USGI magazines (with the Marines in mind because of the IAR mag well not accepting many aftermarket magazines) so that the base was protected from dirt and damage and for an additional gripping surface without giving up any capacity. As I say “it’s the best thing to happen to the GI magazine since the no tilt follower.”

      
    On the polymer side I used just about everything available but prefer Tango Down ARC Mk2 magazines. The 3 pictured were given to me to T&E in the summer of 2009. They were immediately loaded and were kept loaded or were fired and immediately reloaded nearly non-stop since then. Having been loaded and fired over 300 times each none of the 3 have malfunctioned or failed to drop free. Some people say the sealed bottom will hold water but most people carry magazines bullets down so dust doesn’t settle in them and if you put an ARC magazine in water, pull it out and fire it through your M4 there will be about 2.5 oz. of water in the bottom. The space is displaced by the bullets. It’s a non-issue as far as I am concerned.

    There are lots of great magazines out there so whatever you choose to feed your rifle with then have at it. My biggest problem is that the entire magazine topic is littered with misconceptions based on conjecture, urban legends, improper use or abuse or driven by bad technique. Know why you do what you do and vet your own kit. Go out and test what I have put forth on your own and see what you come up with. Mine is based on lots of shooting and lots of record keeping.
    – Mike Pannone

    GFmomentpic

    Mike Pannone retired from the Army’s premier assault force (1st SFOD-D) after an explosive breaching injury. A year after his retirement America was attacked on 9/11 and he returned to help serve his country as the head marksmanship instructor at the Federal Air Marshals training course and then moved to help stand up the FAMS Seattle field office. In 2003 he left the FAMS to serve as a PSD detail member and then a detail leader for the State Department during 2003 and 2004 in Baghdad and Tikrit.

    In 2005 he served as a ground combat advisor of the Joint Counter IED Task Force and participated on combat operations with various units in Al Anbar province. Upon returning he gave IED awareness briefings to departing units and helped stand up a pre-Iraq surge rifle course with the Asymmetric Warfare Group as a lead instructor. With that experience as well as a career of special operations service in Marine Reconnaissance, Army Special Forces and JSOC to draw from he moved to the private sector teaching planning, leadership, marksmanship and tactics as well as authoring and co-authoring several books such as The M4 Handbook, AK Handbook and Tactical Pistol shooting. Mike also consults for several major rifle and accessory manufacturers to help them field the best possible equipment to the warfighter, law enforcement officer and upstanding civilian end user. He is considered a subject matter expert on the AR based Stoner platform in all its derivatives.

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    Gunfighter Moment is a weekly feature brought to you by Alias Training & Security Services. Each week Alias brings us a different Trainer and in turn they offer some words of wisdom.