SIG Sauer Academy

Posts Tagged ‘Ken Hackathorn’

You Never Know Where They’ll Show Up

Sunday, May 6th, 2018

Looking good guys!

You Never Know Where They’ll Show Up

Sunday, April 29th, 2018

Recognize these guys?

Gunfighter Moment – Ken Hackathorn

Saturday, June 10th, 2017

It is of interest that changes in the ‘gun culture’ are always in flux. When the market was concerned about the lost of gun ownership rights, we tend to purchase guns that reflect utility. Examples are the recent high demand for AR-15/M4 style carbines and CCW handguns. Guns chambered for 5.56 Nato, 7.62×39, 308 and pistols in 380, 9X19mm, 40 S&W, and 45 auto all become desirable because supplies of ammo are typically good, prices reasonable, and ballistically effective.

With increase in demand, prices soar and supplies shrink. That is the result of a free market. Now, with changes in politics, demands for certain types of firearms have begun to modify. One factor is that many folks have stock piled guns and ammo over the past decade in fear that they would be prevented from getting them if the anti-gun left had their way. Now, this fear has subsided to most peoples concerns. Sales of ‘utility’ arms and ammo are stagnant.

What has began to take over is the demand for ‘collector/investment’ guns. Simply put, many people have chosen to invest in items that they feel will appreciate with time. Older guns, those that will never be manufactured again due to the craftsmanship or cost of manufacture have become attractive. Old pre-1964 Winchesters have a special following. Smith & Wesson revolvers made prior to 1980, or Colt revolvers made prior to 1990 have taken on increased value. Everyone is aware of the increase in the price and demand for Colt Python revolvers. Without doubt one of the most overpriced and overrated handguns of all time. In the 1990s when Colt was still manufacturing the Python revolver, they couldn’t give them away. They offered them to dealers as a bonus for buying quantities of other Colt firearms.

Certainly, older military firearms have a great interest in the collecting community. As a youngster I used to buy GI 1911 pistols for less than $100 dollars. My first was a Remington Rand 1911A1 that I paid $22.50 for. Nowadays, check out the price of a nice original GI 1911 pistol. The point here is that if you have a closet or safe full of ARs, AKs, and Glocks that will last you for a lifetime, buying quality collectable firearms may be one of the best investment plans you can have. Remember the golden rule of collectable investments; whether it is cars, watches, art, or firearms, don’t buy something that you have to apologize for when you show it to a friend. Condition is the most important factor. Rare is a misused term in the firearms world. Condition is always the goal. A rusty piece of junk, regardless of how rare it is will always be a piece of rusty junk.

If you have interest in US Military history, then consider adding a nice M1 Garand or M1 Carbine to your collection. Even 1903A3 Springfield rifles are still to be found for reasonable prices. You can’t help but feel something special when you handle one of these arms that in the hands of ‘the Greatest Generation’ went off to save the world. Whether it is an M1, Springfield 1903, or M1911 you can actually take them to the range and enjoy the experience of shooting these pieces of history. One of the best kept secrets in military history is how outstanding the British No. 4 Enfield rifle was as a battle rifle. They can still be had for very reasonable prices, and again taking one out to the range for an afternoon is a joy. Don’t be afraid to study some of the excellent books about the history of small arms. I don’t care if you are a treehugger or not, the history of the world is pretty much centered around the use of weapons.

One of the most troubling things I encounter is the number of people that are new to the the gun culture that have no clue about firearms in general and only know what they have experienced in the last couple of years since they became a gun owner. Likewise, vast numbers of vets know about the arms they were issued, but know very little else about small arms. Of course there are hoards of folks that have gotten much of their firearms knowledge from the internet forums. This can sometimes be a good source of information, but sadly it seems to breed a level on knowledge and understanding that is lame at best.

As a firearms instructor, I have always felt that it is not necessary to be a good shot, but it doesn’t hurt if you can demonstrate what you expect your students to do and be able to do it well. Likewise, if you are going to train people about the use of small arms, having a solid knowledge about firearms and their use/history is a desirable goal. Even at my age, I am still learning. I consider myself a ‘student of weapon craft’, and part of that is knowing what the whole ‘gun thing is about’.

It can be an enjoyable journey, why not give a little ‘gun’ knowledge a try.

– Ken Hackathorn

Old Guy With A Blaster

Ken Hackathorn has served as a US Army Special Forces Small Arms Instructor, Gunsite Instructor, and NRA Police Firearms Instructor. He is currently an FBI Certified Firearms Instructor, Certified Deputy Sheriff with Washington County SO, Ohio, and a SRT member and Special Response Team trainer. Ken has trained US Military Special Operations forces, Marine FAST and SOTG units and is a contract small arms trainer to FBI SWAT and HRT.

Ken has provided training to Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies and been active in small arms training for the past 25 years. He has written firearms related material for Guns & Ammo, Combat Handguns, Soldier Of Fortune, and currently American Handgunner and contributed to at least six other gun/shooting journals. Ken was also a founding member of IPSC and IDPA.

Gunfighter Moment is a weekly feature brought to you by Bravo Company USA. Bravo Company is home of the Gunfighters, and each week they bring us a different trainer to offer some words of wisdom.

Gunfighter Moment – Ken Hackathorn

Saturday, May 13th, 2017

NRA Show Review:

The 2017 NRA Show in Atlanta was a joy to behold. Unlike SHOT, the folks walking the Show floor are the end users, the real deal ‘gun culture’. Unlike the SHOT Show which is oriented towards the dealer/distributors of firearms and related hunting gear, the NRA Show is all about show and tell for the members of the National Rifle Association. This year was of interest for a number of reasons. First the election of Donald Trump has calmed the nerves of the gun owning public. As clueless as the left is about why they lost, make no mistake the five million member strong NRA was a positive factor in the fact that Trump won. For the left to attack firearms ownership and still expect it to ring true for most of the heartland is just plain stupid. The anti-Second Amendment attitude does not sell in the states between the Socialist North East and the Left Coast.

A look at the folks walking the floor was quite educational. First, the bulk of people present were males over the age of fifty. However, more than any other NRA show that I have attended in my lifetime females were in noticeable attendance. Not just the wife tagging along with their hubby, but single and even groups of women, active in the shooting/gun culture. Trust me when I tell you that the CCW movement in the USA has had a profound impact on women. Realizing that with equality comes the responsibility to protect themselves; days of expecting a man to protect them is over. Life is about change, and we have little choice sometimes in the direction our lives must flow.

The second demographic that was very noticeable was the presence of people of color. The NRA has always been a strong supporter of equal rights; even back in the day when civil rights was not always popular especially with the Democratic Party. It was impressive to see both women and blacks asking intelligent questions about firearms and their use. I will wager that during the three days of the NRA Show more people were armed in that building than anywhere else in the USA. And, these folks packing heat all were carrying loaded firearms. In the course of the three days, not one loud noise was heard. Despite the complaints of the ‘anti gun crowd’, it was proof that people can be not only safe but responsible with concealed sidearms.

As a product ambassador for Colt Firearms, I was constantly having people coming up to me in the booth and asking questions about their guns, and they tended to all be loaded. Another thing that struck me was that if you took all the AR-15 (MSR’s for the gun culture political correct) and related accessories out of the show, the show would be less than half the size that it was. The reality is that nearly half of the gun culture has embraced the AR platform firearm. I do know some folks that do not own AR-15 style firearms, but damn few. When I moved to the mountain West, I knew that hunting rifles and handguns would be common, what surprised me was that nearly everyone owns an AR. Often more than one. The other thing that came to light was not a surprise at all: Mr. Obama was the best firearms salesman in history. Sales of the ‘black rifles’ has slowed to a trickle after the election. Nearly everyone in the retail end of the gun business will tell you sales have nearly come to a halt. Ammo demand has also slowed dramatically, prices are finally becoming more reasonable. Handgun sales continue to be solid, again directly related to the CCW market. New introductions of firearms at the NRA is becoming more common as much of the industry has tired of the strangle hold the NSSF has on the industry via the SHOT SHOW. Cost of the SHOT Show soars every year, and most vendors are tiring of the process.

This years NRA show introduction of pistols like the Beretta APX, FNH 509, H&K VP9SK, or Springfield Armory XD-E, and you can see the demand for quality handguns remains strong. The XD-E is directly oriented towards an small, flat, single stack 9X19mm pistol that is ideal for the AIWB crowd. If you plan on shoving your CCW sidearm into an inside the waist ban holster that is pointed at your balls, the XD-E a great choice. The gun that was my pick at the NRA Show was Wilson Combat’s new X9 pistol. What most folks want in a CCW sidearm is a 15 shot 9X19mm pistol the size and weight of a Clock 19, but with the controls, trigger, sights and accuracy of a 1911. The Wilson Combat EDC-X9 is just that, beautifully made of the best materials, a pride to own, but with a price tag more in tune with the Rolex crowd, not the Timex variety.

Overall, the flavor of the NRA show and the ‘gun culture’ was somewhat laid back, in tune with the change of politics in the USA. It seems that when a Republican takes the oval office, gun sales slow; put a Democrat in office and gun sales soar. There are some good deals in guns, ammo, and accessories to be hand in the coming months, hide and watch.

– Ken Hackathorn

Old Guy With A Blaster

Ken Hackathorn has served as a US Army Special Forces Small Arms Instructor, Gunsite Instructor, and NRA Police Firearms Instructor. He is currently an FBI Certified Firearms Instructor, Certified Deputy Sheriff with Washington County SO, Ohio, and a SRT member and Special Response Team trainer. Ken has trained US Military Special Operations forces, Marine FAST and SOTG units and is a contract small arms trainer to FBI SWAT and HRT.

Ken has provided training to Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies and been active in small arms training for the past 25 years. He has written firearms related material for Guns & Ammo, Combat Handguns, Soldier Of Fortune, and currently American Handgunner and contributed to at least six other gun/shooting journals. Ken was also a founding member of IPSC and IDPA.

Gunfighter Moment is a weekly feature brought to you by Bravo Company USA. Bravo Company is home of the Gunfighters, and each week they bring us a different trainer to offer some words of wisdom.

Gunfighter Moment – Ken Hackathorn

Saturday, April 1st, 2017

While the topic of firearms selection and their use/training gets lots of press, often times the little items that make life easier just get passed over and never mentioned. Over the past year or so, I have been using a number of accessories that are exceptional in their utility. In this segment of ‘Gunfighter Moment’ I want to briefly cover some of the wonderful odds and ends that I have discovered to be of extreme in the ‘handy & helpful’ category.

First up is a product from Blue Force Gear. While the Vickers (VCAS) sling has been my go to sling for years, Blue Force Gear in the last year sent me a few of their ‘Uloops’, these are simple little cable fast attach sling swivels. Simply insert one end through the attachment point on the weapon of your choice or in whatever is provided, run the free end into the Uloop swivel, once the sling is secured into the slot, the cable lock is retained. It is so simple and secure, works like a champ, and allows the user to place the sling in a variety of locations; it has become one of my favorites.

White lights attached to small arms has become a common practice in much of the USA. Whether it is for law enforcement or home protection, the logic of being able to identify your target in the dark is a necessity. I have used a variety of weapon mounted lights in the past, but my go to now is the Inforce product line of Weapon Mounted Light (WML) for use on long guns, and their Auto Pistol Light (APL) for use on rail frame handguns. The WML graces all of the ARs that I have for home defense or training, and nearly all my pistols that can take lights are fitted with the APL. Taking only one 123 series battery, made of strong reinforced polymer, they are light weight, switching is simple and reliable, and most important these things are simple to activate. My favorite position for a WML is twelve o’clock forward of my front sight. Price is right, and most important the brightness is just right for my use. To quote my old buddy ‘Super Dave’ Harrington, “I don’t want to give them a sun tan, I just want to see who they are.”

I have been a fan of Aimpoint red dots for decades. The current family of Micros are my favorite. Unless my carbine wears a 1X4 or 1×5 variable optic, they will have a Aimpoint Micro mounted. Tried any number of micro mounts, and while nearly all will work, my new favorite is the Scarlaworks Low Drag Mount. This baby is the heat: light weight, rugged, and most important a quick on and off that returns to zero beautifully. Worth every penny of the most reasonable price.

A topic that gets lots of attention is AR-15/M4 triggers; everyone has a favorite. While Bill Geissle has created the gold standard in great triggers, they tend to be ideal for competition/sniping applications. Meaning, they are light weight in sear release. Typically a two stage trigger, but a light crisp sear release is often the key to best precision in most fast action or long range requirements. The down side of course, is that under stress, or when wearing gloves in cold weather, they can be too light. For over a year I have been testing the HiperTouch EDT2 triggers from HyperFire. These are single stage triggers much more reflective of the original GI M16 trigger of past that had single stage sear releases that tended to ‘roll off’ in the trigger press. The EDT (Enhanced Duty Trigger-2) comes with two hammer springs, the green one is for 4.5 pounds and the red one is for 5.5 pounds. For serious use, the 5.5 pound release is my choice. When your hands are cold, wearing gloves, or you are under max stress your finger on the trigger can sometimes make for a loud noise when you weren’t really ready for it. HiperTouch EDT2 has become my favorite for these requirements.

My wife has trouble cycling the slide on her Glock 19, and like many folks with strength or other types of grip disabilities, the simple task of working a pistol slide can be an issue. Tango Down offers a ‘Glock Racker’ for G42, 43, and the whole G17/19/26 or related size Glock pistols. It is a replacement for the cover plate on the rear of a Glock pistol slide. With extended ears or tangs that extend on each side of the rear of the slide (much like the H&K VP9), the placement of the hand to the tangs make cycling the slide much simpler. My wife now runs the slide on her G19 like a pro. From the time that Magpul first introduced their Glock replacement magazines I was a bit skeptical. I have watched them being used in my classes, and after getting some to use in my own G17 and 19 models, I have become a fanboy of these Magpul Glock magazines. They are perfect for range use where abuse and less than perfect maintenance is the order of the day. I have neither witnessed or had any issues with my own. I would not fear using them for serious purposes. While I still feel more at home with OEM Clock mags for social use, I have now used the Magpul’s enough to feel totally confident in them as well.

Another product that I have been using recently is a pair of ear plugs marketed as ‘Decibullz Percussive Filters. For me, ear plugs have never really worked well. The shape of my ear canal is not conducive to them staying in place for a good seal. The designers of the Decibullz Percussive Filters started out to produce ear buds that did not fall out of their ears constantly; applying this approach to ear plugs was a natural. Most important, they are reasonably priced, and you mould them to fit your own ears with nothing more than a pan of really warm water. These things are great, I love mine.

I have been a fan of H&K pistols for ages. Be it the P7, USP, P2000, H&K 45, P30, and most recently the VP9, all these pistols have been favorites. While their sights are more than serviceable, I have been looking for something that would be an improvement for my most recent VP9. Tried Trijicon HDs, but they are just too big, and the rear sight, while maybe okay for a target pistol, the rear blade is supper sharp and tears clothes apart in short order. They thus suck for my use. Recently Wilson Combat has offered a set of Vickers Tactical H&K sights that are ideal for the H&K45, P30, and VP9. For my use the rear sight is all that is needed, but I got a set with the green fiber optic front as well. They work great, and on my P30 they correct the typical drive the dot point of impact, they now print to point of aim with point of impact on top of the front sight at 20 yards. Way cool.

Check these goodies out; Google is your friend.

Stay alert. Don’t be an easy target.

– Ken Hackathorn

Old Guy With A Blaster

Ken Hackathorn has served as a US Army Special Forces Small Arms Instructor, Gunsite Instructor, and NRA Police Firearms Instructor. He is currently an FBI Certified Firearms Instructor, Certified Deputy Sheriff with Washington County SO, Ohio, and a SRT member and Special Response Team trainer. Ken has trained US Military Special Operations forces, Marine FAST and SOTG units and is a contract small arms trainer to FBI SWAT and HRT.

Ken has provided training to Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies and been active in small arms training for the past 25 years. He has written firearms related material for Guns & Ammo, Combat Handguns, Soldier Of Fortune, and currently American Handgunner and contributed to at least six other gun/shooting journals. Ken was also a founding member of IPSC and IDPA.

Gunfighter Moment is a weekly feature brought to you by Bravo Company USA. Bravo Company is home of the Gunfighters, and each week they bring us a different trainer to offer some words of wisdom.

Gunfighter Moment – Ken Hackathorn

Saturday, February 25th, 2017

Everyone from individuals to unit commanders want to establish ‘standards’ of skill. When we apply the ‘standards’ test to combat marksmanship, we generally like to use courses of fire or skill drills to measure performance levels.

In my travels over the past few decades, when starting out with a new group, agency, or unit I often ask the leader or CO where the skill levels are with his people. The answer is almost always, “my guys are good”. Remember, good is a relative term. In some organizations, that can mean that they actually hit their targets occasionally, or that in some rare instances, they are really good solid shooters. A great many trainers of my era have developed skill drills to measure levels of proficiency. Many times, I have used those that were developed by others. The famous ‘El Presidente’ pistol drill is a great example. In most cases, after a couple of days of disciplined training and range practice, most students leave the class with enhanced levels of skill.

In short, if I have done my job they have left the range better than they arrived. The real secret to reaching acceptable standards is practice. What a really good trainer does is give you the tools to utilize in practice. If you don’t practice, you will very likely never really be ‘good’. By the way, this applies to most things in life.

If the standards are established to be challenging enough to produce true skill levels that are of benefit, our goals are fine. Sadly, what we see so often is very low standards that nearly everyone can pass. Law enforcement is a classic example of this, and most military combat marksmanship ‘standards’ are not far behind. Just look at the CCW skill requirements that one has to pass in most states (if they have them). So, we all understand that ‘standards’ must be established and realistic, then practiced until the individual can meet these requirements.

I just recently had a gentleman inform me that he passed my ‘wizard drill’ with flying colors, and in his mind it was not challenging in the least bit. After a short conversation concerning his fantastic shooting skills, he admitted in the conversation that it took him a few tries to pass… WTF! I then informed him that the first try (shot COLD) is the only thing that counts; warm ups just don’t matter. You don’t get a chance to practice your draw, getting a slight picture, press checking your weapon, or any of the other stupid sh-t that people do on the range. If you can’t deliver on the first try, you better practice more.

As important as standards are, and nearly all top shooters can quote the score or placement in a given shooting event where standards are measured, there is another factor that even the most lowly second lieutenant can quote is, after standards come the importance of ‘conditions’. This is an area that is widely ignored in the training world. Nobody likes to go to the range in terrible weather. I learned a long time ago that training classes in the Winter months just don’t go. Folks want a nice pleasant warm day with sunshine/dry conditions. Ask them to show up when it is cold, wet, or really muggy weather is a problem. Try to function with just a couple of hours of sleep over two days, and then see how well you perform on your ‘standards’.

I live in a part of the world where Winter is not for the faint of heart, or those folks that like to go around all year in flip flops. When you are dressed for cold weather, wearing gloves, and it is close to zero, any combat marksmanship standard you have is going to suffer terribly. In most cases, skill levels will drop at least twenty five percent. If you normally are just fair in nice weather, you will really suck when the cold conditions take their toll. Most folks answer is to not practice or go to the range until Spring or Summer arrives. If you live in a part of the world where weather is a factor, or you must function in low light, the only ‘standards’ that really matter are the ones that reflect the ‘conditions’ you will really have to function in.

If all you do is play games with guns, then brag all you want about how good your ‘standards’ are. If you must work or function in an environment that produces ‘conditions’ that you would not normally like for best results, maybe testing you standards in less than ideal ‘conditions’ from time to time is in order.

Stay Safe; Stay Alert.

– Ken Hackathorn

Old Guy With A Blaster

Ken Hackathorn has served as a US Army Special Forces Small Arms Instructor, Gunsite Instructor, and NRA Police Firearms Instructor. He is currently an FBI Certified Firearms Instructor, Certified Deputy Sheriff with Washington County SO, Ohio, and a SRT member and Special Response Team trainer. Ken has trained US Military Special Operations forces, Marine FAST and SOTG units and is a contract small arms trainer to FBI SWAT and HRT.

Ken has provided training to Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies and been active in small arms training for the past 25 years. He has written firearms related material for Guns & Ammo, Combat Handguns, Soldier Of Fortune, and currently American Handgunner and contributed to at least six other gun/shooting journals. Ken was also a founding member of IPSC and IDPA.

Gunfighter Moment is a weekly feature brought to you by Bravo Company USA. Bravo Company is home of the Gunfighters, and each week they bring us a different trainer to offer some words of wisdom.

Gunfighter Moment – Ken Hackathorn

Saturday, February 4th, 2017

I just got back from the SHOT Show 2017; have only missed three or four over the years. Always great to see old friends and see what is new in the firearms industry. Turnout was down from 2016, but this was expected. Back in the day, I wandered the isles like the rest of the nomads at SHOT, a gun writer of an earlier time (I was a pretty poor one at that). The media room at SHOT rarely saw more than 50 people seated at a time. Nowadays, thanks to social media and the blogger world, they are present in huge numbers and the role of ‘media pass’ means very little. As a gun writer, vendors were all over themselves to give me guns, ammo, and gear to test and hopefully write up in whatever firearms journal I was working for at the time. I quickly learned that nothing is ‘free’, and would not accept anything I did not see merit in or could actually deliver on.

Back in the day, there were many items that were just crap; the difference today is there is ten times more items that fit that description. It should come as no surprise that a trip through the new products display area was pretty much dominated by AR-15 style rifles/carbines/pistols, plus tons of accessories. When you hear the term ‘America’s Rifle’ applied to the AR-15 series of long guns, a trip to SHOT will really bring that point home. For the life of me, I don’t see how all these vendors of ARs and accessories can survive in the marketplace. The boutique makers of ARs, particularly the $2000 plus ones really amaze me. I have learned to take much of what I am told by the vendors with a grain of salt. Remember these salesmen will promise you anything including free delivery via alien spacecraft to make the sale. Details like “used by special operations or Navy SEALs” is a common line about the proof that their product is vetted. What they really means is that their product may be used by SF types in video games, or in the movies, but the last time I checked the arms rooms of the places I was training, I didn’t see Glocks with holes machined in the slides or M4s with exotic muzzle breaks or hand guards out to the muzzle of the weapon. It appears to me that everyone in this industry is building guns that look ‘cool’ for video games, or will give top level competition shooters a few milliseconds advantage in a major tournament.

I love the terms “it really shoots flat”, and “it doesn’t have any recoil”. I must stop and scratch my head on these dill rods. How can a recoil operated rifle or pistol not have recoil? Maybe they should adopt the term ‘lighter recoil’. An I am sick of hearing the reference to ‘flat shooting’. In the real world (the place where there is NO firing line and the targets are shooting back) flat doesn’t mean sh*t. The 1911 45 auto has never been referred to as ‘flat shooting’, but we have been shooting bad guys with it for over a century. I get it, softer recoiling guns are easier to shoot for most people. This can lead to better hits on target, but sadly for most end users it is just about launching more rounds down range quicker. Despite everything I have been exposed to in my career in this business, accurate effective hits on target is the heart and soul of Combat Marksmanship.

The extent of new products at SHOT is always exciting, but I have to wonder what will one more polymer frame striker fired pistol on the market really do better than the ones already for sale; some slight improvement, maybe, but make no mistake: GLOCK owns the market. In the USA, Smith & Wesson has second place with the M&P, while everyone else is sharing the remaining bread crumbs. The new CZ P10 C was pretty neat; I’ll probably own one. One individual at the CZ booth described the CZ P10 as the ‘Glock killer’… dream on. CZ would be successful beyond their dreams if their new pistol cost Glock just a flesh wound.

The Hudson H9 looks interesting, kudos to Cy and Lauren Hudson for thinking out of the box, and trying to do something different in self defense sidearms.

Many folks were jazzed about the announcement concerning SigSauer’s P320 winning the DOD Modular handgun selection. Is it going to end up in GIs holsters any time soon? I kind of doubt it. Just spending money on ammo and training would be far more beneficial, but the green machine has never had much interest in making soldiers skilled with handguns, for the most part they don’t really care if Pvt. Timmy or Tammy can use one effectively. They will end up being carried in condition three (empty chamber, loaded magazine in place) so overall, color me un-impressed with the whole military pistol topic.

News of anything really impressive in service/assault style rifles was limited to different flavors of ARs and AKs, however there were plenty of 9X19mm AR carbines. They are great fun, and new competition oriented pistol caliber carbine divisions may make them popular. AR and AK pistols seemed to be present in many booths at SHOT. I think they are stupid; in my opinion, zero valid reasons for owning one. Of course, if you are a gang banger you need at least three. If you want to buy a AR/AK pistol, go for it. I just don’t know anyone in my circles that will take you serious if you show up with one, and prepare to be labeled a ‘jerk-bang’.

Overall SHOT is always entertaining, full of new ideas often on old platforms, and a great place to meet new people that are part of the Gun Culture.

– Ken Hackathorn

Old Guy With A Blaster

Ken Hackathorn has served as a US Army Special Forces Small Arms Instructor, Gunsite Instructor, and NRA Police Firearms Instructor. He is currently an FBI Certified Firearms Instructor, Certified Deputy Sheriff with Washington County SO, Ohio, and a SRT member and Special Response Team trainer. Ken has trained US Military Special Operations forces, Marine FAST and SOTG units and is a contract small arms trainer to FBI SWAT and HRT.

Ken has provided training to Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies and been active in small arms training for the past 25 years. He has written firearms related material for Guns & Ammo, Combat Handguns, Soldier Of Fortune, and currently American Handgunner and contributed to at least six other gun/shooting journals. Ken was also a founding member of IPSC and IDPA.

Gunfighter Moment is a weekly feature brought to you by Bravo Company USA. Bravo Company is home of the Gunfighters, and each week they bring us a different trainer to offer some words of wisdom.

Gunfighter Moment – Ken Hackathorn

Saturday, December 17th, 2016

9x19mm Pocket Rockets

It is all the rage these days to pack small pocket size compact 9x19mm pistols. Nearly every manufacture offers one in the lucrative CCW marketplace. Most are good, some acceptable, and a few terrible. Competition between handgun vendors pretty much insures that only quality pistols last very long in the marketplace. Two pistols that seem to have captured wide acceptance the American market are the Smith & Wesson Shield and the Glock 43. Both are really good choices.

I own samples of both and have to admit that while I was not really excited by the Glock 43 when it first was introduced, after taking possession of one, I am now a big fan of the G43. What has gotten my attention is the fact that these really small compact pistols have very reduced slide travel, and extremely fast cycle time. The result that they can be ammo sensitive if you choose to feed your pocket rocket +P or +P+ 9x19mm ammo. Understand that really hot ammo can speed up slide velocity to the point that the slide is moving faster than the magazine can feed the next round up to the proper position in the feed lips for proper function. The result can be a bolt over base feed way stoppage or even the slide closing on an empty chamber.

Based upon my observations, I will select only standard velocity 9x19mm JHP ammo. Do to the real short barrels of these pocket blasters, many folks think that going to a real high velocity round will make up for a lost in impact velocity do to low velocity in a 2″ barrel. The barrel on these little guns may be listed as three inches or so, but remember that includes the chamber; actual bore length is much less. Ammunition makers have went to great lengths to provide hollow cavity bullets that expand properly in flesh-like mediums, but this is very much a function of velocity. Slow a 9x19mm down because of a very short barrel, velocity suffers and expansion fails as well.

So, ammo selection is an issue with these little ‘pocket rockets’. Select yours carefully and most important, test fire the ammo you select in your pistol to insure that it works the way it is supposed to when you need it.

– Ken Hackathorn

Old Guy With A Blaster

Ken Hackathorn has served as a US Army Special Forces Small Arms Instructor, Gunsite Instructor, and NRA Police Firearms Instructor. He is currently an FBI Certified Firearms Instructor, Certified Deputy Sheriff with Washington County SO, Ohio, and a SRT member and Special Response Team trainer. Ken has trained US Military Special Operations forces, Marine FAST and SOTG units and is a contract small arms trainer to FBI SWAT and HRT.

Ken has provided training to Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies and been active in small arms training for the past 25 years. He has written firearms related material for Guns & Ammo, Combat Handguns, Soldier Of Fortune, and currently American Handgunner and contributed to at least six other gun/shooting journals. Ken was also a founding member of IPSC and IDPA.

Gunfighter Moment is a weekly feature brought to you by Bravo Company USA. Bravo Company is home of the Gunfighters, and each week they bring us a different trainer to offer some words of wisdom.