October 24th, 2016 by Sam Morstan

United States Practical Shooting Association Champion Casey Reed spends each day seeking perfection at work, and in competition.

STORY BY CRAIG HODGKINS • PHOTOS BY FEDERAL PREMIUM

 

You don’t need to talk with Casey Reed for very long before you start thinking you could use a bit more discipline in your own life.

Reed, who celebrated his 25th birthday in August, is a rising star in the competitive shooting world and a very focused young man. He participates in the United States Practical Shooting Association’s Production Division, and has already earned several awards, including the 2014 Minnesota State Championship, two consecutive USPSA Area 3 Championships, and Top Ten finishes at the 2015 and 2016 USPSA nationals.

Not bad for someone who first tried  his steady hand at the sport a mere four years ago.

In 2015, Reed used this set up to win a Top Ten finish at the USPSA Nationals. Currently, he competes with a heavy steel Tanfolio Stock II with a double/single-action trigger. His ammo of choice is American Eagle 124-grain 9mm, Federal Load #AE9AP.

In 2015, Reed used this set up to win a Top Ten finish at the USPSA Nationals. Currently, he competes with a heavy steel Tanfolio Stock II with a double/single-action trigger. His ammo of choice is American Eagle 124-grain 9mm, Federal Load #AE9AP.

But in addition to his competitive shooting prowess, Reed also has a day job, a brand new one, in fact. Recently, his managers at Federal Premium Ammunition offered him the post of supply quality engineer, where he now works with vendors who provide Federal with everything from raw materials to finished goods. Prior to the promotion, he served as a product development engineer, where he helped design and test everything from shotshells to training ammunition for law enforcement and military personnel. One recent product he helped develop and test was American Eagle’s Syntech ammunition.

Although his career choice would come as no surprise to those who knew him as a young man, his participation as a competitive pistol shooter might.

Since landing an internship at the company six years ago, Reed is now a supply quality engineer, working with vendors that provide Federal with everything from raw materials to finished goods.

Since landing an internship at the company six years ago, Reed is now a supply quality engineer, working with vendors that provide Federal with everything from raw materials to finished goods.

REED SPENT HIS YOUTH hunting upland birds and whitetails near his home in Big Lake, Minn., which is northwest of the Twin Cities. And although he knew his way around rifles and shotguns, he rarely shot or even held a handgun.

“My dad had an old 9mm,” he told me, “but my first gun was a Benelli M1 Super 90. [Before working for Federal], I’d shot a semiauto pistol maybe two or three times in my life.”

His father was an engineer, and there was no doubt that the son would eventually follow in his footsteps.

“I was always good at math and science,” Reed said, “And all through school my teachers told me that I should be an engineer.”

Soon, he headed off to study mechanical engineering at nearby St. Cloud State University. In just his second year there, the 19-year-old landed an internship at Federal, and for the next three years he worked as an assistant in the engineering department. After graduation, the company offered him a full-time position.

“I liked the industry before I got the internship,” he said, “but I never really thought I’d be working in it.”

It was during his internship that he first began to shoot pistols as part of his ballistic testing responsibilities, and those same tasks carried on when he began his full-time job.

A competitive perfectionist by nature, Reed took up his recently adopted sport following some encouragement from a coworker.

“Fellow engineer Matt Wolff invited me to a local club match in 2012,” he recalled, “I became addicted. In fact, I signed up for a competition the very next weekend.”

A wingshooter and deer hunter in his youth, Reed has readily taken to handgun shooting competition. (LIVESHOTS.NET)

A wingshooter and deer hunter in his youth, Reed has readily taken to handgun shooting competition. (LIVESHOTS.NET)

REED WASTED NO TIME adjusting his already-packed schedule to the methodical lifestyle required of a competitive shooter. He currently logs up to 20 hours every week practicing, and then applies his analytical skills to his personal performance.

“I’ve always been a competitive person,” he said. “As an engineer, I’m very detail oriented. I analyze my shooting and how to train more efficiently.”

Unlike some competitors who follow the same exact regimen day in and day out, Reed is constantly adjusting how he trains.

“I’m always looking to see how I can become better and more consistent,” he said, “Most people can watch the Top Ten [shooters] and not be able to tell the difference, but to me it’s all about fine-tuning. It’s about the details.”

Like a growing number of competitors, Reed frequently uses a “head-cam” to help him analyze his performance. After each match, he breaks down his “game film” in slow motion like a veteran football coach, hoping to spot a flaw he can improve upon to knock an additional few seconds off of his time.

Following these video sessions, Reed restructures his practice regimen to address what he feels are needed improvements, and develops or adopts new drills accordingly. One thing he doesn’t change are the “thousands upon thousands of dry fires” he performs methodically, or his time in the gym working on strength and cardio.

“The sport is most like soccer or football because it requires lots of explosiveness,” he said. “You need to push off a good deal and move quickly from spot to spot, so it helps to be in good shape. The sport is leaning more and more to the younger and more athletic shooters.”

Although USPSA competitions are offered year-round, Reed considers his personal season to last from April through September. Each year, he competes in eight to 10 major matches and 20 to 30 local and regional contests, and his schedule is especially busy in the summer. This past August, for example, he competed in majors on four consecutive weekends.

As part of his role as a product development engineer for Federal Premium, Reed helped develop and test American Eagle Syntech ammunition.

As part of his role as a product development engineer for Federal Premium, Reed helped develop and test American Eagle Syntech ammunition.

At his most recent event, the IPSC Nationals in Frostproof, Fla., Reed’s physical training was put to the test almost as much as his shooting skill.

“Running 11 stages in 80 percent humidity,” he said, “really beats you down.”

IT’S A LARGE COMMITMENT that brings a high degree of pride and satisfaction, but very little money. Unlike the higher visibility sports, the matches are all business with little fanfare, and that’s probably because they tend to draw as many competitors as fans.

“It’s not a good spectator sport,” Reed admits, “because it’s hard to see and watch. Most people just wait to watch the head cam first-person videos [on YouTube].”

Much like a competitor at a NASCAR or PGA event, Reed finds himself participating with – and against – many of the same shooters at every USPSA major. But according to Reed, that’s a positive thing.

Reed says he just loves to shoot and the camaraderie of competition, but he also has a goal of being a national champion shooter some day. (LIVESHOTS.NET)

Reed says he just loves to shoot and the camaraderie of competition, but he also has a goal of being a national champion shooter some day. (LIVESHOTS.NET)

“It’s a very close-knit and helpful group,” he said. “In competitions, the top guys are all on one squad and shoot together. We help each other with stage planning, and most everyone is very friendly. Guys ask each other advice and questions, like how to practice or train. There are no big egos. Everyone is humble.”

Although Reed’s ultimate goal remains winning a national championship, it’s obvious he derives a great deal of satisfaction from the process of continuous improvement his disciplined training regimen brings, and from the camaraderie among competitors who share the same passion for a sport.

“It’s a really fun sport, full of action,” he said. “The top guys are putting in a ton of time, money and effort. But no one is in it for the money. We all just love to shoot.” ASJ


Posted in Shooters Tagged with: , , , ,

October 22nd, 2015 by Danielle Breteau

Bond Arms Snake Slayer IV Derringer

Story and photographs by Tom Claycomb III

I’ve never classified a gun as a fun gun to shoot, but that’s how I would describe the double-barreled Bond Arms Snake Slayer IV derringer. Bond makes a variety of calibers and styles, but I decided to go with the IV due to the longer 4¼-inch barrel, which I had hoped would be a bit more accurate, have less recoil and tighter groups.

The Snake Slayer IV can handle .45 Long Colts and 2¾- and 3-inch .410s. I guess it was really designed as a concealed-carry gun, but I wanted to use it against snakes while fishing. It would also be good for shooting big halibut before you boat them. A .410 will do the job nicely and not ricochet.

PHOTO 2 IMGP5722-min

The first time I shot the Snake Slayer IV, my daughter Kolby joined me. Just as I set up a target, a ground squirrel ran out. I had a 2 ¾ ounce No.6 chambered and killed it at 20 feet.

Every time my daughter Kolby and I go fishing in Oregon, we see rattlesnakes. One year I heard her scream – a snake had jumped in the boat with us. On another trip on a river in Idaho, I saw six rattlesnakes and one of those floated right by me. That would have caused panic if it had tried to crawl up on the driest thing around, which was my head!

While in town, I originally thought to carry my Slayer with .45 Long Colts, but then I tested the new Winchester PDX-1 shells. Wow, they’re bad – in a good way! They have four discs and 16 BBs. They would stop a bad guy in his tracks. I shot various loads through the gun, and the first time I used the PDX-1 it made my jaw drop. It was noticeably devastating.

Snake SlayerBond SSIV

The Snake Slayer IV can interchange 20 barrels for a range of 25 different calibers.

The first rattle out of the box with a .45 Long Colt, I managed a 2½-inch group at 10 and 15 feet using Hornady’s 185-grain Critical Defense ammo. That would be more than enough to stop a bad guy – that’s a big bullet! But, like I said before, my main use for this gun would be to shoot snakes, and after shooting a .410 with No. 6 shot, I found that it had a wicked pattern, so I’m pretty confident it would work as a self-protection load as well.

When I took my Slayer out for some extensive shooting, I managed a 4-inch group at 15 feet, but I’m not renowned for being a great pistol shot. I then shot groups of two out of the same barrel and managed 2-inch groups, so there is a little variation between barrels, as you would imagine. Not a big factor, though, because it’s a short-range weapon.

I need to point out that the gun is diverse because you can interchange 20 different barrels, or 25 different calibers with one base unit. That has to make these one of the most versatile guns on the market.

It is a heavy, nice-looking and well-made duty pistol designed to last for generations. I also love that it has an equally nice and heavy-duty leather holster that is form-fitted with a latch to hold the gun securely.

Bond Arms has transformed the lowly derringer into a linebacker. ASJ

PHOTO 1 IMGP5858-min

While fishing, a watersnake swam within a foot of me. This is why I carry the Snake Slayer IV. IT can readily be used as a great concealed-carry gun too.

 

Posted in Product Reviews Tagged with: , , , , ,

July 14th, 2015 by Danielle Breteau

Getting Past The Obstacles In Gun Training

Story and photographs by Robert Campbell

Women are not a minority in America, gentlemen. There are some 6 million more of them than us – perhaps even a few more since 2010’s census, where that stat comes from. Many female shooters are interested in the shooting sports as well as personal defense. If you are in a gun-related sales field, you would do well to treat them well. If you are a professional trainer, you must be alert to the nuances and differences of the female thought process. To ignore this significant portion of the shooting fraternity/sorority is a disservice to all concerned.

PHOTO 5

Before purchasing a handgun, take a training course first, the author suggests. Women will then have a much better idea of the level of complication and comfort they are willing to adapt to.

I am going to gloss over the psychological differences between men and women, as they are vast and touched on elsewhere this issue. What I will focus on are a few things I have found interesting during my 20-plus years in law enforcement and instructing people from all walks of life. Women make interesting choices. They are often very independent, don’t have ego problems and progress very quickly.

I do not live and breathe gunpowder smoke, but it is certainly something I love. When the opportunity comes to indoctrinate a young shooter in the proper use of a firearm, I am always ready, and a large number of these shooters are females. In the basic NRA Course, most of these students are interested in obtaining a concealed-carry permit, while others simply want to learn how to use a firearm safely; few are interested in filling a gun safe. When it comes to firearm instruction, I highly suggest turning them over to a qualified trainer. A father or spouse interested in a female’s shooting progress often diminishes the value of the instruction. I sent my own daughter to driving school, money well spent, in my opinion.

PHOTO 1-min

With all due respect to the equality of the sexes, women need self-defense training more than men because women are targeted more often as victims of violent attacks, the author argues.

I have been to gun shops where even I have been offended and I can only imagine a female traveling to one of these alone; it can be a disastrous encounter. The good-old boys could sometimes use a Dale Carnegie course. As an example, one of my daughters, who is a very capable shooter, an NRA-certified firearms instructor, and purposely drives a truck because she had been told all her life what type of cars women should drive, went into a gun store and was automatically presented a pink-handled woman’s gun by a gun-store clerk who was very condescending. Now, putting aside the fact that she actually likes pink guns (my other daughter doesn’t care and the clerk couldn’t have known that), these are exactly the problems women are facing.

Men and women alike make the same mistakes. When many purchase their first gun they find out later that it’s too big to carry concealed. Others might purchase one that is too small for personal defense, and still others might choose a low-quality option. Only with good education and a bit of study behind them will they be able to make a choice that is beneficial.

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It seems that the most motivated shooters are those who have been a victim of an assault. Confidence in the handgun and a concealed-carry permit as well as a good working understanding of the handgun go a long way toward aiding these women to defend themselves if need be.

As an NRA instructor I teach the basic handgun course. Often I find that females in my class have no one in their family who is a “gun person.” It’s all new to them, and perhaps that is for the best because they are starting out with a clean slate. Oftentimes, a well-meaning person has taught the shooter bad habits, and those are very difficult to shake. The ladies I have seen – from fledging attorneys all the way to 17-year Army reservists – have impressed me at every turn. One thing I have noticed is women do not care to maintain their firearms as diligently as men. Men are more likely to tinker with what isn’t broken.

It also seems that the most motivated shooters are those who have been a victim of an assault. Confidence in the handgun and a concealed-carry permit, as well as a good working understanding of the handgun, go a long way toward aiding these women to defend themselves, if need be. If you are the right kind of trainer, you should never let the female student’s ability to pay decide if you take them on as a student. Many of these good girls are financially distressed for a number of reasons. When I was in law enforcement, I saw a number of young girls and elderly women who were robbed, beaten and assaulted in my city. I wish they had been better able to defend themselves. Sometimes, though, you hear about the occasional assailant who made a poor decision when choosing their victims. The results are gratifying to right-minded people. 

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Jesse Duff is recognized as one of the most accomplished competitive shooters in the world. She is known as the first female shooter to achieve the rank of Grand Master in the USPSA (United States Practical Shooting Association).

The choice in handguns for females comes up a lot, and often the choice is made before the owner takes a class, which is a shame. The .38-caliber snub-nose revolver remains an excellent all-around choice for most female shooters, but perhaps the worst performance I have seen from them is when they are armed with some type of .40-caliber subcompact purchased by a well-meaning parent or spouse. These guns are just too much; the same goes for the snub-nose .357 Magnum. Even tough men have problems with these handguns. In my opinion, a shooter’s first handgun should be a good quality .22 caliber. The Ruger Standard Model is close to perfect, but even the aforementioned .38 is difficult to argue against for many reasons. A smaller caliber, such as the .380 ACP, has merit when used as a nasal inhaler for the bad guy, but is lacking the requisite balance of penetration and expansion. If you cannot control a 9mm automatic or a snub-nose .38, I would skip the rest and go straight to the .22 Magnum. A revolver may create a bulge on a woman’s hip like a boa that has swallowed a possum, but the nice thing about it is you can place it against an attacker’s chest and pull the trigger repeatably. It will not jam in the worst-case scenario. Think hard about the choices.

There are commercials that depict criminals breaking into homes, and when the alarms sounds, the criminal runs away. This may be true of the intruder who is only motivated by profit or startled by the sound, but a criminal who is abusive or violent will not be deterred by an alarm. Even in the best situation, police response is about 5 minutes, and a lot of damage can occur in that time.

When many of us began shooting, we were hopeless. But if the student has the will to learn, male or female, they will. ASJ

 

Posted in Women and guns Tagged with: , , , , ,

March 7th, 2015 by asjstaff

tuellerD2
Tueller drill principles has been taught to Cadettes and seasoned Officers/Agents throughout law enforcement nation wide, includes agencies such as the FBI and DEA. The objective is sound for teaching to a wide variety of skill level and to retain it quickly. You can view some of our past article on Tueller drill here.

But, what if the gun fighter was at an elite level in terms of competency and skills that’s off the chart like G.I. Joe. (no pun intended)The video below highlights two extremely skilled in respective arts. (knife, gun)

Doug Marcaida background is in the Filipino Martial Arts of Kali, utilizing the knife is considered the advance part of this training. Instructor Zero of Spartan 360 Tactical Defense is the Elite gun fighter, his skills as a fast shooter can be heard and seen from here to abroad.

So let’s get to the meat of this video. The instructors described the goal of this video as a learning tool to break the 21-foot rule and may only apply to one with higher skill sets. Enjoy!

Posted in Tactics & Tips Tagged with: , ,

February 27th, 2015 by asjstaff

The video below highlights some simple pistol drills emphasizing fast shooting for those that aspire to be at “Operative” level for any Tactical team. Zero is the head instructor of the Italy-based Spartan 360° Tactical Defense. Zero demonstrates some basic fundamentals in handling the pistol and works the Mozambique and One to One drill. Breakdown of drills are:

chest2Chest Position – Hands holding pistol up to the chest and scan your area while being mindful of where the muzzle is facing.

Mozambique Drill – Standing 5 yards from the target, draw from the holster and put two rounds in the chest and one to the head as fast and accurately as you can.

One to One Drill – From 5 yards away, draw from the holster and fire one round, reload and fire one more round as fast as you can.

Posted in Tactics & Tips Tagged with:

July 2nd, 2013 by jhines

air_marshallThere is one professionals that you won’t hear too much about and they are considered to be some of the best marksman at close quarter, yes even better than most FBI agents. They are the Federal Air Marshals that protect passengers while in flight. Though FAM was created in 1963 by President John F Kennedy, it wasn’t until the aftermath of 9/11 that their services were fully utilized.

If you’re going to try to take down a terrorist on an airplane, there’s no better way to prepare for that, than to train on a plane.

That’s what United States Air Marshals do in a plain-looking office building, near Orlando, in south Florida.

Shooting on a plane is not like in the movies. The federal air marshals cannot miss.

And they don’t because missing means hitting innocent bystanders, or it means putting a hole in the side of the plane.

“We train so much and so hard. We try to throw in every scenario possible, just so when that day comes, we’re ready,” said one marshal who spoke with Local 6.

The Department of Homeland Security said the accuracy scores of these airplane police are better than the FBI, Secret Service or any other agency.


You can see how good they are when you see the walls of their mockup airliner.

The Federal Air Marshal Tactical Pistol Course (TPC), like the classic El Presidente, is shot cold (i.e., no warmup) on the FBI QIT target.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe bullets they use are filled with paint (simunitions) and once they finish shooting, there are no large blotches outside the targets, just a few splatters that scatter from direct hits.

“As a police officer on the street, you can fall back and take cover,” the agent said. “When you’re in the tube, it’s you and the bad guy. You’ve got to engage.”

In any situation they are all armed, but you’d never know it, and you’d never know they’re on your flight. That means regular clothing, and cover stories if they end up sitting next to a chatty, curious commuter.

They train to blend in until a crisis forces them out of their seat and into action to extinguish the incident.

“There’s a lot of training that goes into it, a lot of time spent in the simulator and at the range to ensure that we’re the best at what we do, and I can guarantee there’s no one better,” said the agent. Here’s a typical course of fire that you must pass in order to perform duty.qit-99tc-a
am_course_of_fire
Something else Local 6 learned about air marshals is they don’t just patrol the skies. They’re on trains, in stadiums, even at landmarks or any place that a lot of people gather.

The department of homeland security has realized they can use their specialized skills for all sorts of situations and not just protecting people on planes.

Source:Erik Von Achken

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Posted in Law Enforcement Tagged with: