January 18, 2015
Last time we wrapped up the review of HSP’s Adaptive Kalash class that I attended in Casa Grande AZ in Fall of 2013. More recently, I attended my second class with Haley Strategic Partners, this time at Arrowhead Firearms Training Center in Victoria TX. This was my first time through one of Travis Haley’s more advanced classes; Disruptive Environments Carbine Vehicle-Darkness. Thankfully, I did not have to fly to this one as Victoria is only a 6 hour drive for me. I guess some folks fly to places that close, but the way I look at it, by time I go to the airport, fly, and then rent a car, I could have driven there already. I left my shop in Gonzales, LA when we closed at 6pm and headed west on I-10 eventually reaching Victoria shortly after midnight. I stayed at a small mom and pop hotel called the Lone Star Inn, which turned out to be way nicer than I thought it would be for the price. Since this class involved low light and no light shooting, it did not begin until 1pm and ended each day between midnight and 1am. There was no point in me getting some fancy room when literally all I needed it for was rest and hygiene. I stayed up until about 3am getting all my gear ready and crashed out for the night.
Training Day One (TDI) – I arrived at the Arrowhead range around noon after a 20 minute drive from town out into cattle country. Arrowhead Firearms Training Center is a private range situated on a cattle ranch. There is two pistol ranges and a 175 yard rifle range, all with extremely high berms and pavilions with picnic tables. There was plenty of room to park and the staff was friendly and hospitable. I paid them my $50 range fee and loaded in. For those who may not know, a range fee is a seperate fee paid to the actual range that hosts these classes. It covers portable toilets, cleanup, and general upkeep of the facility. For a class like this it also helps pay for the cars that we would eventually be shooting from behind, from inside and sometimes through. I found myself a spot on one of the tables and began getting my kit together.
Promptly at 1pm we got started with intros and a full safety briefing and class overview. There was 18 of us total plus Travis and his assistant instructor Dale. As I was expecting, the first thing Travis asked me when he saw me was about Will Hayden getting arrested. I think we both agreed that the whole thing is pretty tragic but it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy. As I may have mentioned in my last post, we always designate an evacuation vehicle, people in charge of a first aid emergency, and people in charge of communications with emergency responders in the event we have a medical situation. This class easily filled those roles with a local PD officer in the class in charges of coms and a trauma surgeon in the class, obviously the medical expert. I feel bad for not learning his real name. We all just called him Doc the whole weekend. And it turns out Doc is one tough dude. He wore full on kit the entire time. Plate carrier with front, back, and side plates, backpack, radio, helmet, etc and carried an FN SCAR. I thought for sure he would be down to a t shirt within an hour but his tough as nails and stubborn as a mule attitude prevailed and he wore everything he brought the entire weekend.
With the safety briefing out of the way it was time to quality. Yes you have to qualify to stay in the class. This is not a learn how to shoot class. It is a learn to shoot in the dark and in and around vehicles class. We shot two courses of fire that required an 80% or better score not to get sent home. I shot a 76% and a 96% on my two for an average of 86. I was not alone in scoring this low. I think we were all pretty nervous about getting sent home and we all shot worse than we normally would. With no one being sent home, but many of our fundamentals being in question, we spent the rest of the morning working on our shooting mechanics. After all it doesn’t help anyone to learn a bunch of fancy stuff if your rudiments needs polishing. This is something that applies for just about anything from baseball to shooting. So with tears in our eyes we walked off into the sunset to work on our basics. Actually the tears were sweat and the sunset was just the late afternoon Texas sunshine.
Around 6pm we broke for dinner. I caught a ride with a couple of federal agents to the Victoria TX Whataburger. We pulled up in front and it was like night of the living crack heads. There were teenagers everywhere wearing outlandish capes, top hats, horror makeup, etc. We all looked at each other and without saying a word, we all knew we were about to get into a shootout with a gang of fast food addicted juggalos. Inside the joint, things were a bit calmer. The staff seemed normal and polite, but oblivious to the crowds of teens in fright masks and jncos. We ordered and while waiting on our food one of my new fed buddies suddenly said “its fucking Halloween”. Which it was. In all the days excitement we had totally forgotten that it was October 31st. Suddenly the atmosphere was more festive and we left much more light hearted than we arrived.
In what became the theme for the weekend, we ate and reloaded mags from 6-7 and then hit the range again, this time in the dark. We began without lights, starting at the 5 yard line and moving as far back as the 175 yard mark firing at 12 inch square gray steel targets using just the ambient light. It was way easier than I expected it to be. What I learned was to trust my eyes and let my brain put my optic’s reticle where it saw the target without thinking too hard about it. Thinking too hard or trying to strain my eyes in the dark just made things worse. Relaxing and letting my brain form a picture of the target based on what my unstrained eyes saw was the way to go. I was making hits I would have never guessed could be made without some form of night optic.
Next, we began to use our weapon mounted lights. I was running a 300 lumen Streamlight TRL-VIR on my carbine which worked great at first but had its limitations once the field filled up with dust and smoke. We practiced off line of attack movements form 5 yards out to 175 yards. Lighting quickly to identify, moving quickly to the side with our light off, re-lighting just as we fired and going dark again. The idea of light and move, light and move, light and move, was drummed into our heads. This is where I first realized how important it is to have a momentary only function on your light and preferably have it be the only function. Sure I had followed the momentary only philosophy for years but I had never been in a group of 18 gunslingers in the dark when one of them forget to turn his weapon light off. He started illuminating himself and everyone around him all the while oblivious to the fact that it was his light on his slung carbine shining directing into the ground in front of him. With a momentary only light, if you aren’t pushing the pressure pad or tail cap, the light isn’t shining. Your start to think about things out there in the dark when you see someone lose light discipline. You wonder to yourself: what if I was wounded and fell down in the dark and my light stayed on making me a target? Momentary, momentary, momentary. They make plenty of hand held lights that have momentary tail caps but that you can twist a few times to run in constant mode for non-tactical applications where light discipline does not matter or no longer matters. Remember folks, if you were the bad the guy in the dark, where would you shoot? At the light. So light and move just like you would shoot and move.
We wrapped up TD1 with the same exercise that we had used as the weekend finale in my last HSP class. A bounding relay from 15 yards to 175 yards but this time in the dark and with our light and move techniques. My team won which wasn’t really important to me because I care more about fundamentals than speed but I sure don’t mind winning and my team had some strong shooters with most of us myself included making first round hits all the way back. I will take the time to say this now before I forget: I had never shot steel targets with a rifle in the dark before. I had no idea that lead core copper jacketed rifle ammo sparked when it hit steel plates. The sparks were unreal. Out in the middle of cattle and oil country in southeast Texas, at midnight, it was strangely majestic to watch the muzzle flashes and the bullet impacts. This was going to be an awesome weekend. I had been nervous about coming but at that moment I was very glad that I came and I wondered what everyone else was doing for Halloween. Kids and parents had gone trick or treating, Jehovah’s Witnesses had enjoyed another Friday, bar flies were out using any excuse of a holiday to drink the night away, and here we were…. slinging lead in the dark in the middle of nowhere completely focused on perfecting our shooting.
After the relay, we unloaded, showed clear, and circled up for a debrief. We went around the circle talking about our experiences that day. We had all reached failure points at one moment or another, and we all wanted to improve and do better the next day. It was well after midnight and Travis told us to go home, eat some good food, drink plenty of fluids, and get some rest. He specifically said “don’t go eat McDonalds” and then the following exchange happened:
Me : Not even a McRib?
Travis: The McRib is back?
Me: Hell yes it is.
Travis: Ok, everyone go eat a McRib.
I guess I don’t have to tell you what I ate after class that night before heading back to the hotel and crashing out about 3am.
Training Day Two (TD2) – We met back at the range at 1pm and after a short safety brief we gassed up the guns and hit the range. We checked our zeros from 25 yards back to 150 yards. I took this time to sharpen my prone marksmanship skills. Most of the shooting I do does not involve laying in the prone, working on natural point of aim, breathing, proper body position etc. It was a nice throwback to days gone by where lying behind a rifle taking precise untimed carefully aimed shots was part of my weekly routine. The only thing that was missing was my Springfield M1A. For this class I was shooting a 12 inch barreled full auto M-16 with an Eotech XPS3-0 optic. Hardly a rifleman’s rifle but it did the job well enough. It would come in handy later in the day, and on TD3.
After checking our zeros and making any necessary adjustments, we started out pretty light with some off line of attack drills, followed by moving around each other making sure not to flag anyone with our muzzles in the process. Around this time I got called over to take a look at a couple of rifles that were malfunctioning. I won’t name the manufacturer here but I will say these were both $2500 piston operated carbines that should not have been acting up according to what they cost. Most people who know me or do business with me know that I am not a fan of piston driven AR platform rifles. That’s a story for another day but its my story and I’m sticking to it. If you want a piston gun, buy a SCAR. On that note, the SCAR that Doc was running never went down the whole weekend.
As dinner time approached we headed back to the pavilion that was situated just behind the live fire area where the shoot vehicles were staged. We took off our gear, racked our rifles, and walked out on the range to go over some unconventional shooting positions such as supine and urban prone. A position like supine is not usually a shooting position you choose to be in or wish to remain in for long, so with all the clutter of our kit and weapons gone, we practiced transitioning out of these positions quickly. Urban prone is a position that always screws with me. It is basically lying on your side enabling you to shoot under something low like a car. A standard prone position is generally too high to shoot under a car. My problem is I am really comfortable in urban prone. Just like Marty McFly slept, I sleep in urban prone. I get really comfortable there and I have to remind myself that it is not a good place to stay for long.
Soon enough, six o’clock rolled around and we broke for chow. We had been asked to bring our lunches for TD2 and TD3 so we wouldn’t have to leave. I grabbed a sandwich and swapped stories with my classmates before reloading all my mags and changing my weapon light batteries.
After dinner we finally got to work around the vehicles. Not in them yet but around them. It basically involved a lot of air squats except with bright lights and guns. The principles of light and move were amplified here more than on the square range. The biggest new variable for everyone was the issue of height over bore or height over light when behind the vehicle. Simply explained, our optical sights sit a couple of inches higher than the barrel of the weapon where the bullet comes out. They also sit a couple inches higher than most weapon lights. One must be aware of this when popping up from behind a car to shoot. First off, if you illuminate before your light clears the body of the car, it reflects on you not only blinding you but making you a glowing target. Secondly, just because a shot looks clear in your optic, does not mean your muzzle is not obstructed by the vehicle. Lets just say I wasn’t the first guy to shoot a car window out but I was the first one to take out the entire back window. A half inch higher and my shot would have been fine. The important thing is to learn from it.
Just after midnight we unloaded and cleared our firearms and debriefed. Lots of lessons learned. Many failure points overcome. and many new ones realized. It was a hard day with lots of us outside our comfort zone. That’s a good thing. No one learns when they are inside their comfort zone. You have to push yourself and allow yourself to be pushed by others to improve. I was beat but I felt good about the day.
Training Day 3 (TD3) - With daylight savings ending the preceding night, we met at the range at noon to allow more time for daylight work before the now 6pm sunset. Following the safety briefing we headed over to the rifle range and checked our zeros. As I have stated in my previous writings, a zero can shift over night with no tampering to the weapon or optics. Temperature, humidity,and barometric pressure are outside factors that can affect it along with “inside factors” like how well your eyes are working that day. We finished up our zeroes and moved in close for some pistol transition drills. We loaded our rifle magazines with 12 rounds each and topped off our pistol mags. Travis went over some basic handgun fundamentals and demonstrated the drill we would be shooting. The course of fire was a 2-2-4-2-2 from our carbines which would leave then empty, a transition to our pistol and another 2-2-4-2-2 drill from the pistol before re-holstering, changing rifle mags and starting over. I don’t know how long this went on for but it seemed like a long time. Probably 2 hours. It seemed tedious after a while. Near the end, I grabbed a topped off rifle mag and shot the course of fire full auto just for a change of pace. For good measure I did it with a lit cigarette in my mouth, and finished with a 2-2-4-2-2 drill with my Glock much to the amusement of my classmates. Sometimes you just need to liven things up a little. I had no idea that I had just set us on a crash course with shenanigans for the entire night.
We headed back to the vehicle range and spent a fair amount of time shooting from the driver’s seat through the windshield into a paper target about 10 feet in front of the vehicle. I have done a fair amount of testing on the way that auto glass affects the path and energy of a bullet but never while seated in the driver’s seat shooting out. We used one car for pistols and the other for rifles, taking detailed notes on the trajectory of various calibers and ammunition types. It was pretty eye opening. I was reminded of an incident in West Baton Rouge Parish Louisiana where a WBRSO Deputy saved a State Trooper’s life by shooting through his windshield with a .40 caliber Glock. I had always know that good ammo played a factor in that shooting but it was not until seeing the scene basically recreated in front of me that I realized that not only did the Deputy who did the shooting save the Troopers life, but so did the person in the agency who made the decision of which duty ammo the department carried. Heavy, bonded and fast seemed to be the champions of the day in the handgun department. Speer Gold Dot, Remington Golden Sabre, and Federal HST all shined as well as a bullet can shine when it’s fired through a windshield from the inside out. Most of us were shooting full metal jacket rifle ammo and everyone besides me had similar results. I wasn’t shooting 5.56 NATO. I was shooting 5.45x39mm Russian surplus 7N6 ammo from a 12 inch barrel. I also have a full auto rifle so we tried something different. I entered the car, found a clean spot in the windshield, fired a single round, found another virgin spot and fired a burst. My single shot had stayed dead on course but had keyholed the target. This means the bullet began to tumble end over end once it hit the glass. My full auto burst was right on target with one keyhole and a bunch of regular bullet holes. This means that once the first bullet hit the glass and tumbled, it cleared a hole for the following bullets allowing them to fly straight.
We broke for chow about 5 and I spent maybe 5 minutes eating and the rest of the time loading mags. I loaded all 12 of my M16 mags and also 6 AK-74 mags that I had brought with me. I wasn’t going home without shooting at AK out of a car at least once. I cleaned and lubed my M16 and lubed my AKS-74U. After our break we watched a brief power point presentation on how light affects our eyes. I won’t get into all the details because its very in depth and I don’t think Travis would want me basically plagiarizing his presentation here, but it was informative. It made a lot of the LE guys thinks about how they destroy their chances of seeing anything in dark by looking at a bright computer screen in their unit before stepping out to make contact during a nighttime traffic stop. We also went over the differences, advantages and disadvantages of various tactical lights. I have always been a Surefire man myself, but I have been happy with my Streamlight weapon light and I was impressed with the Inforce lights as well. I started collecting and using tactical handheld lights about 15 years ago and the leaps and bounds in flashlight technology since then is amazing. I’m a flashlight snob. I admit it. Ask my wife. If it says Surefire on it and takes batteries you can probably bet that I have either owned it, own it, or plan on owning it. I’ve even owned a Surefire Hellfighter for my truck.
And then it was time for the main event. The event that we all signed up for. We ran a series of drills beginning inside the vehicles, firing from inside, dismounting, engaging, and egressing to better cover. We worked in various lighting scenarios, from total darkness to partial artificial lighting mimicking a streetlight, to a police light bar flashing in the middle of the range. Each condition required us to make personal choices about our target identification and illumination techniques. When possible and practical I did not use my light. There were plenty of situations where it was easier for me to take a shot using my natural eyesight in the lighting conditions. There were also times I absolutely needed my light and used it. Like I have mentioned in previous reviews, this is when everything comes together. No one is going to tell you to reload, to clear a malfunction, etc. Its big boys rules at this point.
All of this didn’t stop me and a teammate from having a little fun. One of the Federal Agents I met on TD1 had a department issued M-16 that, like my weapon, was select fire. We formed a two man team christened Team North Hollywood or just Team Hollywood for short and ran one of the drills in the most ridiculous manner possible. He started in the driver’s seat with his pistol holstered and his rifle in the back seat. I started in the passenger seat with my M16 slung and my AKS-74U in my hands. When the mobile targets began to move in, he engaged through the windshield with his pistol while I dumped almost an entire mag from my full auto krink through the windshield. I dismounted and engaged the steel targets with the remainder of my AK ammo while he dismounted and retrieved his M16 from the back seat and I switched to mine. That’s when things got ridiculous. In a spectacle worthy of the movie Heat, we expended upwards of 300 rounds in full auto, while leap frogging from our vehicle to another. Sometimes at the end of a long weekend of training, when the moon is in just the right place, and you have the legal ability to safely re-enact Val Kilmer and Robert Deniro escaping from a bank robbery, you just have to go full Hollywood.
Its worth mentioning that while our North Hollywood shootout was fun, it was not what I would call productive training, so after we had our fun we shot the next few courses of fire legit, using proper real world techniques and semi auto only fire. It’s ok to have a little fun, but we came out here to train right? We shot scenario after scenario until about 11pm when we cleared our weapons one final time, showed clear, took off our chest rigs and sat down for a final debrief.
There was a lot of heartfelt words from classmates to Travis and to one another, and a lot good discussion about the training weekend. We all walked away having learned a lot. I myself had met some failure points that I need to work on, and at the same time had a great deal more confidence in my ability to shoot in the dark and use a carbine inside a vehicle without flagging myself or others. Travis and Dale handed out our certs, we took a class picture, packed up our gear, exchanged contact info, said goodbyes, and one by one slipped off into the night. Some guys were staying in Victoria for the HSP Team Tactics class beginning the following day. Many like myself were head home. I stayed one more night in the hotel, and head back to LA on Monday morning.
My only question on the way home was: which class am I taking next?
Weapons: Mesa Kinetic Research M16 Shorty in 5.45x39mm, Mesa Kinetic Research AKS-74U in 5.45x39m, Glock 17 9mm
Optic: Eotech XPS3-0 with GG&G Shroud and QD base
Mags: 12 C-Products 5.45×39 M16 Mags (garbage but the only real 5.45 M16 mag), 6 Izmash plum AK-74 mags, 4 Glock 17 factory mags
Light: Streamlight TLR-VIR LED w/ monetary pressure pad (mounted), Surefire C2 Centurion LED hand held
Lube: Rand CLP
Ammo: 1500 rounds of Russian 7N6 5.45x39mm, 150 rounds UMC 9mm FMJ
Eye Pro: -Bobster “whiskey” ballistic glasses
Ear Pro: Walkers Game Ear Carbon Fiber Electronic
Chest Rig: Haley Strategic D3
Gloves: Voodoo Tactical Liberators
Sling: Magpul MS3 QD
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December 28, 2014
It has been quite some time since I posted a new entry here and even longer since I have written anything directly related to firearms. Over the past year and a half, I have had the opportunity to attend two Haley Strategic training classes specifically Adaptive Kalash and Disruptive Environments Carbine Vehicle/Darkness. Leading up to the classes I tried to find some quality online reviews and was disappointed that very few existed. These classes are not cheap and I know a lot of guys who have a hard time deciding to drop $800 for a 3 day class without knowing all they can about it, so I decided to write a review with as much detail as possible on my two experiences with Haley Strategic Partners (HSP)
Adaptive Kalash – October 25-27 2013 Casa Grande AZ
When Thursday October 24th came around, I flew from New Orleans, LA to Phoenix, AZ with a suitcase full of gear and a Pelican 1750 case containing two select fire Kalashnikovs I had recently built; an AK-105 and an AKS-74U. I had never flown commercial airlines with firearms before and I was incredibly nervous about how checking baggage containing two full auto, short barreled AKs was going to go over with TSA. Turns out it was easy as could be. When I got to the counter I set my Pelican case on the scale and told the lady that I had two unloaded firearms to declare. She had me fill out a tag, toss it inside the case, lock my case back up and away went my baggage. Couldn’t have gone smoother. Upon arriving in Phoenix, I picked up my previously reserved rental car which thankfully had enough room for my 5 foot long rifle case and drove an hour to my hotel in Casa Grande.
Training Day One (TD1): I arrived at the Casa Grande Police Range just before 8am and as instructed in the pre-class email left my weapons cased until we had the morning safety brief. There was less students than I had expected based on what I knew about HSP classes. There ended up being only 7 of us due to some lack of communication between the host of the event and prospective students. HSP had to take over the logistics at the last minute from the local company who was supposed to be hosting the event and communicating with students. The end result was actually better for the 7 of us that attended because small class size led to less time making introductions and more time bonding as a class.
The first hour of any HSP class is an introduction of all the students to each other and to our instructor Travis Haley followed by a safety briefing, establishing emergency protocols, and discussion of the AK platform rifle. I immediately became the de facto armorer / AK technical expert /AK historian for many of the questions and minor equipment issues and I had no problems with filling that role because after all, that’s what I do for a living. After the pre-class briefing we headed to the rifle range to check zero on our rifles starting at 25m and moving back to 175m. I’m a dumb ass. I did not zero my rifle before I left Louisiana and since I was using iron sights on both my rifles, I was laying in the gravel and sand using an AK sight adjustment tool in between firing groups. I also neglected to bring elbow pads because I didn’t think I would need them. BRING THEM. Especially when you are on a range that has the same texture as a gravel packed dirt road. By TD3 my elbows were killing me. As we lay in the prone firing our groups, Travis watched and assessed our shooting positions and our marksmanship. I’ll be the first to admit mine was awful. my elbows were killing me and I didn’t bring sunglasses. In fact the glasses I did bring were cheap crappy safety glasses and I shot the rest of the glass with no glasses. My saving grace was I brought quality Izmash plum magazines, quality ammo, and electronic hearing protection which is an absolute must at an HSP class because you don’t want to miss out on impromptu lectures on the hot range because you have old school ear pro. Once comfortable with our combat zeros, we were all asked to stand in what we thought was a proper shooting stance. Everyone there including former LE and military guys all had the same bent over chest towards target shooting stance that most modern LE and military doctrine teaches. It was at this point that I realized I was about to get my money’s worth. I was about to be told that the way I had been shooting for years was wrong and made so sense biomechanically, and everyone else was about to hear the same thing. I’m not saying that Travis re-invented the wheel, but he quickly demonstrated proper center of gravity and proper balance coupled with the ability to have a full 180 degrees of vision. What works for a grunt wearing 80 pounds of gear including a pack or a 3 gun shooter who doesn’t need to see past their support arm, doesn’t work for a guy who isn’t wearing much more than a plate carrier or chest rig, and whose current objective is self defense from an active shooter.
Speaking of chest rigs, lets talk about my equipment choices. I began the day wearing a HSGI battle belt with HSGI taco pouches for my 74 mags, and an IFAK attached opposite my mags. I had hoped to try out one of the HSP D3 chest rigs during the class and as luck would have it, another student let me borrow one he had for the second half of TD1. For me personally, I found it way more ergonomic and comfortable than the battle belt. Don’t get me wrong, the HSGI gear is great kit but I was more comfortable wearing and retrieving mags from the D3.
After lunch we learned various tactical reload techniques, various speed reload techniques, malfunction clearing, and off line of attack movements. This where the Karate Kid stuff begins to take place. You just paid $800 for a class halfway across the country, spent all morning zeroing your rifle, get told you don’t have a proper shooting stance and now you’re waxing Travis’s truck. Not really but doing a hundred tac reloads seems like busy work at the time. We’ll get back to Mr Myagi later. Tac reload after tac reload. Staging empty mags into condition one rifles, firing the one round, getting a click, and speed reloading. Do it again. My brain is saying this is great practice but my emotions are saying I can’t believe I paid to do this all day. Setting up malfunctions including the dreaded empty case stuck under the top cover behind the fire control group which yes can happen . Clearing the malfunctions as quickly as possible and getting the weapon back up. To wrap up the day we practiced off lines of attack. You don’t stand still and win a gun fight in the real world. you might stand still and lose one but that’s not the goal right? We practiced moving left and putting rounds on target, same thing from the right, forward and to the rear. We learned to maneuver around each other. Things started to make sense. All the wax on wax off was kinda sorta coming together. We all started changing mags on our own in between commands to move and fire. We all started being much more aware of how much ammo we had in our mags, both in the rifle and in our mag pouches. Ammunition management became a priority for me by the end of the day. The short periods of down time on the hot range were spent consolidating ammo, making sure my emergency reload was topped off, and keeping mental notes of how much ammo I had left until we took a break to gas up mags and hydrate. With TD1 complete I was tired, filthy, and mentally exhausted but I drove back to my hotel feeling 10 times more confident than I had 10 hours before.
Training Day Two (TD2): After a short safety briefing we headed out to again check zeros. A zero can change day to day without the sights being bumped or tampered with. Factors like eye fatigue, weather, amount of copper fouling in your bore, can all play factors in your rifle’s zero. I used my AK-105 for TD1 and decided to change up to my 74U for TD2. I know its not a great idea to change weapons in the middle of a class, but I wanted to vet both rifles as I had only recently built them. After zeroing we spent the rest of the morning shooting from various positions. Actually we spent most of the time learning and practicing getting into those positions properly and quickly. I’ve shot prone hundred of times but never using a shot timer to see how fast I could drop from standing at the ready to a proper prone shooting position, move the selector from safe to semi and fire a well aimed shot at distances from 25m-200m. Did I mention not bringing elbow pads? Yeah. Always starting at the ready we dropped to kneeling, prone, to supine, to urban prone. By this time it was all big boy rules on reloading. There were no commands to reload unless you had failed to manage your ammo and your gun went click instead of bang during a drill. Then you had the whole class yelling “reload, reload!”. Luckily I was on the ball in terms of ammo management.
After lunch Travis brought out what I call a VTAC or 3 gun barrier. Its a piece of plywood with a bunch of different angled shooting ports through it commonly used for 3 gun competitions. We spent the afternoon discussing and practicing shooting from behind cover. I won’t get into a cover vs concealment discussion here but for all practical purposes we were pretending the barrier was actual real cover. One really important lesson I picked up here was not exposing my feet to the target when leaning out to shoot from behind cover. There is really no getting around the idea that to shoot from cover you have to expose your weapon, part of your upper body and part of your head if you expect to hit anything. However your feet don’t need to be exposed and should not be. If I get shot in the arm, grazed in the head, get my rifle shot out of my hands or some combination thereof I would really like my feet to be intact in case I need to run away and get help or take cover elsewhere. I’ve been mindful of my elbow staying tucked in for years, but I never really gave much consideration to keeping my feet and legs completely behind cover while firing from cover. As the day wound to a close, we had an evening debrief to discuss lessons learned. mistakes made, progress, failure points, etc. I drove back to the hotel and thought about the day. My AK handling had come a long way in 36 hours but I had still hit some failure points that I wanted to work on.
Training Day Three (TD3): After a quick morning safety brief and checking our zeros, we dove right back into shooting drills. Load an empty mag on a hot weapon, fire one round, get a click, immediately displace and execute an emergency reload on the run in a 15 foot distance, slow to a quick walk and engage 3 targets. Then a 2-2-4-2-2 drill on 3 targets from 5 yards: firing 2 rounds into target 1, 2 rounds into target 2, 4 rounds into target 3, then 2 more rounds in target 2, and 2 more rounds into target 1 for a total of 4 rounds into each target. Repeat with shot timer, and again. and again. This was followed by a 1-2-3-4-5 drill on 3 targets which as the name implies involves firing 1 round into target 1, 2 into target 2, 3 into target 3, 4 into target 2 and 5 into target 1, all on a shot timer. Now might be the time to add that I didn’t realize that this wax on wax off drill wasn’t even going to really come in handy until I took a more advanced class a year later. Whether I actually put it to use in this class or not, it is an incredibly useful drill and can be executed statically or with off line of attack movement which is exactly what we did next until it was time for lunch.
After lunch, we ran drills on the 200 yard range starting at 10 yards and progressing back to nearly 200 the whole time reloading without being reminded, clearing our own malfunctions without holding up the class (I must proudly add that my rifles had NO malfunctions), and choosing our own shooting positions that best helped us individually put rounds on target. We eventually began to run a sort of relay race from the 25 yard line to the 200 in 2 teams of 4 with Travis making the 8th man. The man in front shoots until he hits steel, his hit is called by his teammates and he runs to the back on the line. The next in line does not move up, and shoots from where he is, so the whole line eventually moves back to the 200 yard line. This was a valuable confidence builder in running with a condition one rifle around team mates while there is others shooting. You absolutely need to play by big boy rules and make sure you safe your weapon and do not flag others. No one is going to tell you, you have to be sure you do it.
The final exercise of TD3 was similar to the last relay style race, except this time we were all on the same team and it stepped up the spatial awareness. Two lines of shooters started at the 25 yard line as before, except this time upon making a hit, the shooter ran across the gap between the two columns of shooters (about 50 feet) and to the back of the other line. This is perfectly safe if everyone remembers the big boy rules and has good spatial awareness. No one is actually down range but there is constant shooting and moving and one must be careful not to flag a team mate while they reload on the move. My tactical reloads on the move were done with efficiency and speed that amazed me. Mr. Miyagi would have been proud. The drill leap frogged us back to the 200 yard mark, where we were free to spread out and expend any leftover ammo we desired to send down range. I had one mag left in my rig and used the opportunity to let off a few short full auto bursts much to the excitement of those around me. When the shooting stopped, we did a final safe and clear complete with Travis checking our empty chambers, and headed to the pavilion to pack up and debrief.
At the pavilion, Travis passed out one Guiness Draught to each of us and instead of a debrief similar to the previous evenings, he shared with us a very personal story about an incident in Liberia when he was working there as a contractor. I won’t re-tell the story as it is his to tell to whom he chooses, but I think we all left there with a very good understanding of the story’s moral which is to trust your gut instinct if you think something is wrong, and not let someone else talk you into going against your gut. It teaches that while you may win an altercation, there often times are warning indicators before that altercation that would have prevented the event from needing to taking place. The HSP company slogan is Thinkers Before Shooters and I fully believe in that slogan. Only one percent of firearms owners take the time to receive formal weapons training. Being part of that one percent should also mean that we are smart enough to recognize warning signs, avoid unnecessary confrontations, and put the safety of our families (not some tough guy ego) as number one.
The flight back to Louisiana was uneventful and I was glad to be home with my wife and children.
A quick equipment list of what I used for a majority of the class:
Rifles: Mesa Kinetic Research AK-105 and AKS-74U
Magazines: 8 Izmash plum 5.45x39mm AK-74 magazines
Ammo: 1500 rounds of Wolf 60gr FMJ 5.45x39mm
Ear Protection: Walker’s Game Ear Carbon Fiber Electronic
Eye Protection: none, I left my Bobster Whiskey Clear Ballistic lenses at home
Chest Rig: Haley Strategic D3CR
Gloves: Voodoo Tactical Liberators
Sling: Magpul MS3 w/ paraclip
I am happy to report that I experienced no equipment failures during this class. The only gear issue I had was leaving a couple items of personal protective equipment at home.
As I wrap up part one of my review of two separate classes from Haley Strategic Partners, I would like to add that since I attended the Adaptive Kalash class, HSP has revised its ever evolving training curriculum into two main categories: D5 shooting science, and D3 Disruptive Environments. The “Adaptive” series of classes is no longer offered, however their D5 AK class has replaced this particular course.
Coming Soon: Part Two – Disruptive Environments Carbine Vehicle/Darkness in Victoria TX Oct 31-Nov 2 2014
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March 20, 2014
For years I considered myself to be a patriot. Some people may view this post and the ideas within it as un-American. The fact is that what is un-American is the the direction that America is headed. I probably feel this way for different reasons than many who might say the same thing. Its hard to call myself a conservative or a liberal. There is plenty from the past that I would not care for us to hold onto. There is also many socialist ideas that I would prefer not to move forward into. I certainly do not agree with the close minded lock step of the current American two party system. In many ways I guess I am a Libertarian who believes in very limited federal government with a heavy dose of the right for states to govern themselves. I am also a realist. I don’t cling to the notion that an old suffering animal can be fixed just to appease the selfish owner. People have to have to make the decision to put down a suffering pet. Working animals are a similar matter often with less emotion involved. If a working animal no longer works it is time to replace them with one that does. You don’t necessarily kill a plow horse that wont plow but you certainly get a new one that does work. Keep this in mind. I see a lot of internet commandos who talk about revolution, the south rising again, and other fantasy crap. The South never rose to begin with. The South left. I think that it is time for the South to leave again. This time on a better note. A note that will leave the history books no excuses. Not on the heels of slavery or jim crow. A peaceful separation from a broken union where policy is made through back door deals and media bribes. A secession from a nation that promotes slavery through debt and entitlement benefits, who tramples its citizens freedoms spends its borrowed money invading sovereign nations and financing foreign coupes, leaving our children to pay the price.
Many a night I have laid in bed wondering how feasible a secession from the union would be. It seems nearly impossible, but as history has taught us, all things are possible. One of my greatest concerns was building a new nation and the possibility of the new nation not being a free a country. After all I have always loved the US Constitution at least when its being practiced word for word. So just like the US had the PATRIOT ACT ready to go as a contingency in case they got the chance to use it, I decided to begin a Constitution for what I am calling the Federation of Southern Republics, should we have the need to use it. Unlike our current document, this one begins not ends by documenting a list of freedoms and rights granted the people by a higher power. This is a first draft of the 20 articles of liberty which I see as a fitting opener to a new Constitution of a new federation of republics (states). I felt the US Bill of Rights was a near perfect document however I wanted to make this one a bit more obvious for those of the Justin Bieber and common core curriculum generation. Any comments or criticisms are welcome particularly from those who have more experience that myself writing legal documents. Thank you for taking the time to read this and God Bless the Republic of Louisiana.
Articles of Liberty
- No government official or agency shall make any law, rule, regulation, or restriction in respect to the establishment, practice or observance of religion, or lack of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.
- No government official or agency shall make any law, rule, regulation, or restriction abridging the freedom of a person or people to engage in free speech, broadcast, print media, electronic media, signs, symbols, words, placards, or future methods of human communication not yet invented.
- No government official or agency shall make any law, rule, regulation or restriction, preventing the people from their freedom to peacefully assemble and / or to petition their Government for a redress of grievances.
- An armed public is necessary to the security of our families, communities, and States. No law, rule, regulation, or restriction shall be made in this land that in any way questions, infringes upon or deprives a private citizen from his or her right to own, store, carry on their person, practice with, and use for the protection of his or her self, family, community, business, organization, or State, conventional arms of a modern, antique, or futuristic nature specifically including but not limited to those of equal caliber, size, capacity, cycle of operation, and overall function of those used by any standing military on the planet.
- The right of the people to form, muster and drill as an unpaid citizen militia necessary to the security of the community and State and to provide disaster recovery assistance shall not be questioned or infringed upon.
- No military personnel shall be in peacetime quartered in any home or business without the consent of the resident or owner, or in wartime except as use of makeshift fortification in the face of immediate clear and present danger of foreign invasion.
- The people have the right to be secure in their persons, homes, belongings and communications against search or seizure without a written warrant signed by an elected Judge in their judicial district. No warrants shall be issued but upon detailed probable cause supported by oath or affirmation, containing a list of suspected criminal activity, and particularly describing the place real, or virtual, to be searched and the persons, things, documents, records, or communications to be handled, inspected, photographed, copied, or seized.
- No person shall be held to answer for capital crime, felony, or any crime by which a person may be imprisoned for more than one year unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases involving member of the military or in the state guard when in actual service in time of legally declared war or imminent invasion from a bona fide foreign military.
- No person shall be subject to prosecution for the same offense more than once.
- No person shall be compelled to in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.
- No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.
- Private property shall not be taken for public use without immediate and just compensation.
- In all criminal prosecutions the accused has the right to a fair, speedy and public trial by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of qualified and competent legal counsel for his defense.
- Civil suits claiming monetary amounts at or exceeding the equivalent of 40 hours’ work at the current minimum wage shall be entitled to trial by jury.
- Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
- The enumeration in this document, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
- The powers not delegated to the Federation Council by the Constitution nor prohibited by it to the individual republics, are reserved to the individual republics respectively, or to the people.
- No person shall be held in a state of slavery or indentured servitude, except those sentenced to hard labor by an elected judge as punishment for a crime and only then after being found or having pleaded guilty in a fair and public trial.
- The Council Chairman shall make no executive order that bypasses the authority granted the Council nor shall he activate the military without the approval of the Council unless in response to clear and present danger of imminent invasion by a foreign military. To do so would deprive the people of their very basic right of self-government.
- This document shall not be mistaken as list of permissions and protections being granted the people by its authors or any government. The rights and protections listed herein are those that the people are granted by a higher authority. An authority based deep in the hearts and consciences of all moral humans that mankind has the inestimable gift of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness that cannot be granted or taken by any king, dictator, tsar, oligarchy, council, parliament, congress, president, chairman, or document and to violate these rights for any purpose is treason against mankind.
May 18, 2013
This weekend in towns all over our great nation, many families are headed to their local gun and knife show. I cannot vouch for all the dealers at these events and I cannot control how other dealers act or how they set their prices but I can vouch for a majority of both dealers and attendees that the experience will be much more enjoyable if the following rules are followed.
1. Ask before you pick up a firearm. First off its polite. That table is the dealer’s store. Dealer’s close their retail stores for the weekend and bring their inventory that normally sits protected in display cases to these events for you to browse through and handle prior to purchasing or moving on. That $550 dollar Glock cost that dealer $450 and its only polite to ask before handling.
2. Don’t make hypothetical deals. This means don’t make an offer that you can’t deliver on just to see if the dealer will haggle down. If you say “I’ll take it for 500″ and the dealer agrees, its time to pay the man and compete your deal.
3. Children…. I have 4 kids. I love my kids. Nobody wants my kids or yours running around unsupervised at a gun show, grabbing at guns and knives.
4. Your tobacco spit cup belongs in your hand or in the trash, never on a merchants table.
5. Please handle merchandise the way you would want others to treat it if it belonged to you. If you pick something up, look at it, and for whatever reason decide you don’t want to buy it, gently place it back as it was for others to check out as well. Tossing it carelessly back onto other items is rude.
6. Asking for illegal favors is the epitome of rude. Look dude, i don’t know you, have never met you and you think for some reason that I would gladly risk years in prison and ruin my career just to make a hundred bucks for turning your POS yugo SKS into a belt fed machine gun.
7. That gun is not for your baby mama. Look here thuggish ruggish gold toothed g-thang…. You picked up that Glock, finger banged it for 15 minutes, counted your giant wad of tens and fives 3 times, thought about it, showed it to your friends, and now when it comes to filling out the paperwork its suddenly for your pregnant baby mama with a black eye pushing a stroller 20 feet away. We’re not stupid Tupac, and that is a felony.
8. This one is aimed at dealers…. If you’re tables are devoid or firearms, knives, ammunition, or anything that would normally be found at a gun store, police supply store, or army surplus store, you are probably at the wrong event. No one wants to pay 8 dollars to see your collection of costume jewelry, exotic candles, bedazzled sunglasses, chinese tools, or random plastic crap. The beef jerky guys are excused because they provide a necessary manliness to gun show cuisine. But if I can’t eat it, shoot it, load it, cut with it, or wear it to the range, hunting camp or a civil war reenactment…. then it doesn’t belong at a gun show. Find a flea market.. you’ll fit right in.
9. Also aimed at dealers… many of you sell crap products. Cheap lasers, cheap knives, Bryco handguns, etc. You know your product is crap. Its your right to sell a crap product but stop grasping for sales by telling people your 50 dollar laser is as good as the 200 dollar Viridian laser on the next table. Stop telling people that you 10 dollar knife will hold as good of an edge as the 250 dollar Emerson a few tables down. You know if you just sold quality you wouldn’t have to lie to get sales. Good products sell themselves.
10. Tomorrow is Sunday…. go enjoy a gun show with your family if for nothing else that for the pure entertainment value of watching people blatantly break these rules.Click on one or more of the social media buttons above to share on your page.
April 18, 2012
OK… i have been making the zombie joke for years. A lot of people have. Back in 2004 a guy I knew wanted to make AK receivers that said ZOMBIES in the fire position of the selector and RELOADING when the weapon was on safe. It was funny at the time but just like everything else in the world…. once it becomes mainstream trendy, it kinda gets ruined. The Zombie joke has jumped the shark big time.
Nonetheless… here are my tips for surviving the Zombie Apocalypse….
1. don’t tell people you are coming to their house if the Zombies strike. Especially if you don’t know them that well. Its rude and no one wants to think about you coming to borrow the stuff they spent years collecting because you are too lazy to collect the gear yourself.
2. Food is more important than ammo. Its really hard to eat a case of 5.56. Plant gardens, raise rabbits and chickens, etc. Its really inexpensive to start this project and its basically a never ending source of food if managed properly.
3. Gas masks are a waste of money unless you are a weirdo like me and just think they make good decorations in your house. They barely work, and they are not designed to keep you alive for very long…. they are designed to keep troops in a fight a little while longer. Besides, we are talking about zombie not world war one.
4. Avoid paranoia….. yes Alex Jones, I mean that.. its not healthy
5. Invest 3 dollars in a canteen…. Zombies don’t like to run and would prefer to munch on dehydrated people that move slowly.
6. Don’t rely on your vehicle. They take gasoline or diesel to be able to move and if you have ever been anywhere that recently had a hurricane, you know that gas is a luxury not a right. Plus it degrades over time. Time to start a power walking routine.
7. Buy a sleeping bag of some sort. You are gonna look stupid dragging a 3 thousand dollar memory foam mattress down the street.
8.Learn how to cook if you don’t cook now….. nothing is more degrading than being forced to eat jerky for the rest of your life cause you can’t boil water properly.
9. Pump shotguns are amazingly versatile weapons. Its a rabbit gun, a squirrel gun, a bird gun, a deer gun, and a zombie gun all in one easy to carry package. Good luck hitting a rabbit with an AR-15… its possible but not all that easy.
10. DON’T be there. There’s this thing called the rapture that happens before the dead walk the earth. I would highly suggest making friends with Jesus before all of this happens cause its gonna be a lot cooler than the alternative. If you accidentally miss the rapture, make sure to yell “dont mark me bro” at the beast… cause you might still have a chance then.
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March 3, 2012
So once again I learned a lesson. Do not make posts titled part one or everyone wants you to finish them with a part two, all the while you feel like writing about something else. This has absolutely nothing to do with vintage firearms or ammunition. In fact most gun folks over the age of thirty will probably find it boring and repetitive…….. but there is a whole new generation of shooters who hardly remember the 90s. So if you older folks wanna read on for a laugh down memory lane feel free… if not, you can catch the newest episodes of Jersey Shore on MTV pretty much playing around the clock… or you could walk the dog or something.
So in 1990 a movie called Die Hard 2 came out. For those of you who have just reached the legal handgun ownership age, you probably didn’t see it in the theater. You really didn’t miss much except one simple line that sent the gun control lobby into a frenzy. In the film there is a scene where Bruce Willis claims that the Glock pistol carried by one of the bad guys is a ceramic gun that can get past an airport metal detector. I was 11 years old when this movie came out and I knew he was full of crap. Less than a year before that I saw my first Glock in person. My Cub Scout pack took a tour of a local sheriffs office and jail and the deputy who gave the tour showed us his Glock 17 service pistol, demonstrating how it had to to be put in a lock box before entering the cell block area. At age 11 I was by no means a firearms expert but I could clearly see the pistol had a plastic frame and that most of the other parts were made of metal. The deputy told us that the company who made the firearm was called Glock and that it was made in Austria. I was a bit fascinated by the weapon but it wasn’t until I saw Die Hard 2 that I started noticing false claims about these weapons made left and right.
First off the Glock model 17 is the first model the company produced. Its model number is based on the 17 round magazine capacity. The frame of the weapon is injected molded polymer ( plastic if you will) with metal rails, a steel barrel and slide, and a majority of its thirty-something parts made of metal. So for the folks out there ( ahem..Sarah Brady) that realistically think that it can pass through airport security undetected…well let me just say as nicely as possible that you need to repeat 4th grade science.
The movie Die Hard 2 actually ( and I wish I was kidding) sparked a witch hunt against Glock. Overnight you had senators claiming that it could get past airport security. In 1990, a Glock was a rather expensive pistol and not at all the weapon of the common street criminal or gang member. This did not seem to matter to the anti-gun lobby. As far as they were concerned, if Bruce Willis said it was the tool of a terrorist, then it was. I often wondered if these same folks thought the scene where his character John McClain used the ejection seat of a grounded aircraft to successfully parachute away from a cockpit full of grenades was realistic.
It seriously boggles my mind that the gun control lobby believes crap like this. I believe the movie Dick Tracey came out that same summer. The film had a several minute gun fight where Tracey never reloads his Thompson but fires constantly. Anyone who has ever fired a submachine gun know the magazine no matter how large is empty in seconds. And yet the Brady Campaign and others feel the need to use Hollywood as their text book for firearms information.
For those of you just old enough to own a firearm… DO NOT take for granted the fact that you can buy an AR-15 with a flash hider, bayonet lug, pistol grip, and a 30 round magazine. When I turned 18, that was only an option if you bought an insanely priced “pre-ban” rifle. Until I was 25, buying a new pistol with a magazine over 10 rounds was not happening. And the sad part is, that the gun grabbers in congress used movies like Die hard 2 to get their way.
Now call me crazy, but if I recall correctly, on Tuesday September 11th 2001, there were no Glock pistols in the hands of the bad guys. Just simple razor knife box cutters we can all buy with five bucks at any hardware store. It would have looked pretty stupid for a senator or congressperson to propose a bill banning those. Instead, they pushed for a renewal of the Clinton crime bill, but thankfully lost that fight.
Every one of us has a family member or friend who believes the lies and the hype forced on us about firearms by the media and those who seek to further their political careers by demonizing firearms. They probably were scared to death about the evil plastic terrorist pistol in Die Hard 2. In fact if they knew you had one the might even call the cops to report you. And they probably wouldn’t even notice the firearm on the hip of the officer taking the report was an evil “ceramic” Glock.
If you haven’t noticed by now, the 2nd amendment is something I take very seriously, and I urge those who oppose it to stay home from voting, pop some popcorn, and spend their days watching Die Hard 2.Click on one or more of the social media buttons above to share on your page.
February 6, 2012
No I am not talking about Star Wars, however I could annoy you for hours on that topic. I’m talking about black powder. Black powder cartridge shooting and hunting to be specific. And I mean real black powder, not those in-line pellet eating so called black powder rifles everyone and their second cousin buys to squeeze another couple weeks out of deer season. I don’t mean a black powder substitute of any kind. It’s not that I have anything against the substitutes as a lot of them got more guys interested in shooting something other than their regular deer rifle every year. They have their advantages when it comes to cleaning and ease of loading, but something is lacking for me. I guess for me it goes back to my first vacation as a child. When I was 3 years old, my parents took me and my infant brother to Arizona to visit old friends of the family who had relocated to the Phoenix area. I remember 4 main things from that trip: my first close up look at a real motorcycle, my first airplane flight, the grand canyon, and my first set of “real” six guns.
That trip contains all of my first truly vivid childhood memories. I remember what I ate on the plane on the flight there, the amazing colors of the canyon when viewed from different places, at different times of day, the log cabin style lodge that we stayed in, and probably most telling of my future…. my first wild west show. Now I don’t remember much of the show. I have seen plenty of them over the course of my 33 years, but I left that show armed with the finest brace of single action roll cap firing peacemakers a 3 year old has ever held. On a scale of 1 to10 these must have scored an 11 on the flea market crap scale…. but I was 3 and I was sure I needed these to defend my family for the duration of our stay.
January 23, 2012
We have a heard it from someone in our lives. Someone who doesn’t share the passion for shooting sports or collecting that we do. Sometimes it is said jokingly and other times compared to a gambling or drug problem. If you are new to shooting and collecting firearms, you may not have heard it yet. It is not a matter of IF but a matter of WHEN. Undeniably someone in your circle of family and friends will make the remark that you have a firearms addiction. I have heard it countless times. Those who say it usually do not take consideration into the fact that my career and livelihood for my entire adult life has been gunsmithing. However it’s not me that I want to talk about. It’s the guy who breaks his back all week working overtime so that his family can have what they need and when he has some extra cash, he adds to his gun collection or takes his collection to the range on a day off, in the process burning through hundreds of dollars in ammo.
I happened to be blessed with a wife who has embraced firearms culture, and children who are interested in guns and shooting. My parents both support my love of the industry and my father has become quite the gun enthusiast himself. Unfortunately I know a lot of guys my age and older who do not have family supportive of their passion. Some of these guys I feel bad for, and some I do not. The ones who I feel bad for are the guys who go to work every day, keep their bills paid on time, take care of their family first and foremost both financially and through spending quality time with them. These guys deserve not to be hassled by loved ones about how many guns they own or why firearms are such a part of their pastimes.
January 20, 2012
Louisiana is known nation-wide for many things, some we are more proud of than others. Yearly our largest city is swarmed by hoards of hard drinking tourists eager for a wild week of lewd and lascivious revelry. More often than not these thrill seekers head home on Ash Wednesday with little more than a bad hangover, a empty wallet, a handful of cheap plastic beads and the hopeful wish that their actions will never be displayed on the internet. A few things we are proud of here in this state are our year-round motorcycle riding season, a rich a diverse culinary culture, our extremely reasonable firearms laws, and a deeply rooted hunting and fishing culture. Now the title of this post may have brought to mind a HOG of a different variety than intended. While we have our fair share of Harley owners here in bayou country, including myself, I am referring to the outlaw quadruped variety or feral hog. While wild hogs have found their way into nuisance animal lists as far north as Michigan, here in the gulf states they pose a constant problem to not only farmers and ranchers, but to those trying to practice quality deer management or even simply keep a small home and garden in a low lying rural area. I never though much of these beasts until a few years back I spent night after night hearing a branch snapping thrashing sound come from the wood next to my home. About a week after I no longer heard it, I spoke to my neighbor, a true-blue country Cajun gentleman who informed me offhandedly that he and his buddies had caught a 500 pound wild hog in a live catch trap no more than 30 yards from my front door. It was at that point I realized the extent of the hog issue here in the gulf south.
Now over the past few years I have shared such stories with my friends, family and colleagues in the colder states, many of whom seem to find the phenomenon unbelievable, but many excited to know if these hogs are open game to hunt. The answer for the latter crowd is yes, as long as all state game laws are adhered to and the requests of the property owner are respected. Lets always remember that this is THEIR land they are allowing US to hunt on. Just this past summer, Louisiana made it even more enticing for the average firearms junkie to take up hog hunting. As of August 2011, nighttime use of a sound suppressor has been authorized for the purpose of polite and quiet removal of these generally nocturnal pests. During the spring to late summer months, round the clock nuisance animal hunting is allowed. As long as one has the landowner’s written permission and contact information on hand, and has alerted the local sheriff of their intent to hunt hogs after daylight hours, it is open season on Wilbur and his buddies using any legal firearm.