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Archive for January, 2015

Corps Strength – The Price of Fitness

Saturday, January 31st, 2015

During a recent early morning drive, I was on my way to the base gym to PT before work and oddly enough, there was a news story on the radio about gyms. The story was about how large numbers of people will sign up for expensive gym memberships, with the sincere hope of losing weight and getting in better shape, then they almost never go. This is really nothing new. In the 90’s when I was on recruiting duty in upstate New York, I saw this first hand. I was assigned to an area that was a long way from any military gym. So I had to lay out a few bucks for a membership to a local civilian place. I luckily found a little gym right near my office that had everything I needed. Now this place was one of those old brick store front type you see in a lot of small towns. It was probably an old drug store, or something like that when it opened decades earlier. It was very small, they just had a few treadmills and stationary bikes in the main room and some free weights in the basement. No sauna, no aerobics room and not even a real locker room, just a small bathroom to change. I went there almost daily for over a year and never saw more than a handful of people at once working out. I’ve actually seen a few home gym setups that were bigger, and better outfitted than this place. However, as it was never crowded, close by and opened at 0500 during the week, it was perfect for my purposes.

Corps Strength
So one day after my workout I was speaking to the owner, and I asked him how he managed to keep the place open with so few members? “So few members?” he said with a smile. “You may not believe me, but we have over 500 paid memberships in this little gym.” 500?, I almost didn’t believe him. Yes, he said. What happens is that people sign up for a year’s (paid in advance) membership, and after a few visits, are never seen again? The fact was, that for fire safety purposes, that gym was only rated to hold 80 people at once. According to the owner, he had never seen even 50 of his 500 plus members in there at one time. So this is nothing new.

However, I was surprised to read in the article that many gyms now actually try to attract people that they know won’t go. To do this they set the gyms up to look more like coffee shops and bars to attract people who aren’t serious about working out. These “non users” actually keep the cost down for those who do go. On the surface it’s seems a very weird thing for people to fall for, but many people think that if they sign up, and spend money in advance, it will some how motivate them to go and workout. The fact is, that (as the article bears out), rarely happens. The reason is simple. The desire to lose weight and/or improve your physical condition has very little to do with how much money you spend, (BTW, there are a lot of overweight rich people). It has everything to do with how you think about it. I know this from long experience training myself and others. That’s why in my book: Corps Strength I talk so much about the mental side of this. To maintain a successful (long term) fitness program, you have to get your thinking right before you even lace up a sneaker. It’s by far the most important part of any fitness program. Without the right thought process, you’re doomed before you even start, and it can also end up being a big waste of money. So do yourself and your bank account a favor. Get your head screwed on right before you lay out your hard earned cash on a gym membership, or for expensive home workout gear. Your attitude is not only the most important part of your fitness program, it’s free.

Semper Fi

Gunfighter Moment – Mike Pannone

Saturday, January 31st, 2015

Safety vs. protocol: why safety is safe and protocol can be dangerous

The topic of safety is always at the front of every individual and institutions consciousness. The obvious concern is to ensure people are not injured or killed in the conduct of training but safety has taken a turn years ago away from common sense to rote compliance. Often times range protocol is confused with range safety. Range protocol is that which a range complex will or will not allow individuals or groups to do as well as specific control measures and procedures designed, in the eyes of those that created them, to minimize risk. This is counterproductive to learning and good training because it does not require individuals to think and often violates tactical principles. They are designed to replace individual thought and proficiency. The implied task in all training is safety and that translates directly to operational safety.

A few examples:

• “Point your weapon down range” when actually you mean “Point your weapon in a safe direction.”

o Down range is an administratively designated area where projectiles are intended to impact. Conditions and range status will identify it as a direction where a weapon may or may not be safely pointed and discharged.

o A Safe Direction by definition is a conscious decision to point and manipulate a weapon in a direction where a negligent, accidental or mechanical failure discharge cannot harm personnel or equipment.

o Down range is not always a safe direction so regardless of official status be aware. You are responsible for what your weapon does!

• Not allowing someone to pick up a magazine that has been ejected and bounced 6” over the established firing line.

o If it is so unsafe to reach over the firing line 6” (which I have witnessed repeatedly in institutional training both Mil and LE) then it’s probably not safe to even be standing next to the shooters on your left and right. Statistically more people are shot in parking lots at ranges than on the firing line.

• Requiring shooters to drop a magazine on the ground when unloading. The methodology behind this is “if you drop a magazine into your hand on the range you’ll do it in a gunfight.”

o If you can’t separate the difference between being in a gunfight and needing to reload your pistol/rifle versus clearing your system at the end of a firing sequence then you really shouldn’t have one in your hands if you may ever need it under pressure.

Protocol robs the individual of the authority to think and in doing so people will not think because their actions are dictated. There is no individual more dangerous to themselves or others than those in possession of a lethal implement who are not only not thinking but not allowed to think only follow instructions.

I have been in the presence of negligent discharges, some that have resulted in injury and one of three things that are always the first words out of the shooters mouth are either:

“I didn’t see…”

“I didn’t know…”

“I didn’t think…”

The last one is the only one that counts and the cause of the catastrophic failure. YOU DIDN”T THINK!!

Do not confuse protocol with safety! Protocol may or may not enhance safety but safety itself is a standalone concept. There is safe training, high risk safe training and unsafe training.

• Safe training is that which has been managed in a manner where injury is minimized by design and control measures. It is usually very basic in nature and highly structured.

• High Risk safe training is more complex training with an elevated amount of assumed risk but is deemed necessary for operational requirements. It has specific control measures in place to mitigate the chance of mishap or injury.

• Unsafe training is that which assumes an unnecessary amount of risk or more often than not is poorly designed and managed creating unnecessary and potentially catastrophic results. It lends itself to injury and catastrophic results and must never be undertaken.

There is no time when unsafe training is acceptable.


• Treat all weapons as though they are loaded regardless of their perceived condition.

• Never point a weapon at anything you are not willing to kill or damage.

• Keep your weapon on safe and finger off the trigger until your sights are aligned and you have made the conscious decision to fire.

• Know your target, foreground, background, left and right. Be aware of the ballistic capability of your weapon, the intended target and the backstop.

Down range is an administratively designated area where projectiles are intended to impact. Conditions and range status will identify it as a direction where a weapon may or may not be safely pointed and discharged. A Safe Direction by definition is a conscious decision to point and manipulate a weapon in a direction where a negligent, accidental or mechanical failure discharge cannot harm personnel or equipment.

Down range is not always a safe direction

If you have any doubt as to your actions STOP, THINK and then act accordingly because you can’t recall the bullet once it’s gone. Be safe and not a robot. In practice robotic actions are devoid of thought and that is ultimately dangerous. Protocol be damned, think first!

– Mike Pannone


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.

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.

Freedom Fighters Foundation – Tactical Training Adventure Sweepstakes

Saturday, January 31st, 2015

Freedom Fighters Foundation is a non-profit civil liberties organization, with the goal to “advance and protect the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution as originally intended by the Founding Fathers.” Nearly every member of the organization either works directly for the Government or as a security contractor. Freedom Fighters Foundation is currently holding a sweepstakes for one lucky winner to receive a ‘Tactical Training Adventure’, where they’ll experience an all-expense paid 5-day course, including classes with multiple weapon systems and aerial gunner training.

The full details of the available prizes can be read below:

F3 TTA Logo Narrow Instagram

Enter to Win a Tactical Training Adventure
Freedom Fighters Foundation is excited to announce the Tactical Training Adventure Sweepstakes



All-expense paid 5 day Tactical Training Adventure
Including an AR15 in your dream configuration with optic, Glock 17, and Ares Armor gear

AR15 in your dream configuration with optic, Glock 17, and Ares Armor gear

Glock 17 and Ares Armor gear

Visit FFFUSA.ORG to complete an entry form for a chance to win, no purchase necessary to enter or win, some limitations do apply see sweepstakes rules for complete details.

You Never Know Where They’re Going To Show Up

Saturday, January 31st, 2015


Looks like Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur.

Thanks CJ!

New AR Accessories Coming from Frank Proctor

Saturday, January 31st, 2015

Frank Proctor released some photos and details of his latest rifle. In those specs are a couple of surprises including a new light mount, bolt release and muzzle device made by Troy Industries, he’ll be releasing soon


Here are some pics of my new blaster at the range. I put this rifle together as a do everything rifle. I wanted fast and accurate from the muzzle to as far as I could work with the ammo and wind. ( I’ve shot to 900 with a set up similar to this)

I needed it to do EVERYTHING well but be as light as possible. This one weighs in at 7 pounds 3 ounces as pictured (minus ammo) Also worth mentioning this is on one of my rifle ranges. the big berm in the back is 300 yards and the paper target is at 10 yards. I zeroed this rifle at yards using my technique of getting a 200 yard zero at 10 yards. I wasn’t sure how well this would work with a 6x optic due to parallax but it worked like a champ. After I zeroed in about 6 rounds ( brand new scope, mount and rifle) I shot everything on this range including 6” plates at 300 from this rock. My Way of the Gun rear bag did help the stability a bit!

Here’s the components list on this rifle.
-BCM upper with 12.5” stainless midwest bbl and 10” KMR rail, BCM mod 4 -Gunfighter charging handle
-Tennessee Arms Polymer Lower
-BCM Gunfighter Stock
-BCM Gunfighter mod 2 pistol grip
-Geissele SSA trigger
-Vortex Razor HD Gen 2 – 1x-6x
-Aeroprecision light weight mount
-Troy Battle mag (only ones I’ve used since 2012)
-Proctor Sling
-WOTG rear bag


-Prototypes of my Muzzle device that will be produced by Troy Industries as well as a Prototype of my Bolt release that will be produced by Troy Industries
-Prototype of my light mount

(light mount, bolt release and muzzle device will be available on my website in the coming weeks!)

Pinkerton Knives – Ditch Dart

Friday, January 30th, 2015


The Ditch Dart is a small, general purpose utility knife made by Pinkerton Knives in collaboration with retired US Army MSG Grady Burrell. This particular model is made from D2 tool steel, with an OAL of 4.6″, a 2.5″ primary edge, and a 2.25″ secondary edge. Serrations are optional. The handle features grooves, which would allow for the addition of a parcord wrap, and a lanyard hole. After extensive testing, it was determined that the knife’s thickness of .125″ is the best thickness for strength, weight, and edge geometry relative to its size.

Models made of 154CM steel have also been made, and are marked accordingly.

What’s This? New Weapon Lighting System

Friday, January 30th, 2015


Just last week, I was at SHOT Show and speaking with a friend about the need for conformal weapon lights for rifles. Looks like someone has taken some action in this realm.

According to what little data is available this patent pending 3oz system offers up about 500 lumens and is LED based with an array of lamps configured concentrically around the endcap attached to the rail.


So far, all we’ve got to go on is this video, a couple of photos and a Facebook page: Hopefully, we’ll see more soon.

Wild Things – Guide Light Pack

Friday, January 30th, 2015

Yesterday, I had the chance to sit in with the ADS Inc Army team for some new product training at Academi in Moyock, NC. One of the vendors was Wild Things Tactical and they introduced a new top loader called the Guide Light. It weighs just 17 oz.


It’s a minimalist pack (26 l) made from waterproof material (200 psi) normally used as sail cloth and with bound seams to keep them as waterproof as possible without full seam sealing. There is very limited daisy chain along the back of the pack but overall it is a very slick design.


This frameless model incorporates a padded, internal sheet. There are padded shoulder straps but no waist belt. Additionally, there is a central haul loop located at the top of the pack, between the shoulder straps. The single compartment top loader has a spindrift and drawstring. The bag also features a pass through for Comms cables or hydration although there are no internal pockets.


The removable lip is held in place via SR buckles and a thin Velcro strip. The lid compartment opens via a half moon zipper and there is a small zippered pocket on the underside.

Berry compliant and available in Coyote and Black.

Available for unit and agency purchase via ADS.