All posts by Howard

Shooting from enclosed spaces

I mentioned briefly in a previous post the following:

Discharging a firearm in an enclosed area like a vehicle can rather unpleasant.  If the situation allows, if you can place the muzzle outside the confined space you are in you will experience far less blast and noise. But don’t forget this will make the flash and blast more visible to anyone outside, and won’t want to do this is the hostile is with in grasping range as they will be able to more easily attempt to disarm you.

This applies to when you are firing from buildings, windows, etc.  But there are times when the flash and blast you experience is far less important than trying to stay concealed.  If you don’t want to get spotted by what or whom you are firing at, you will want to stay back from the opening you are firing from.  As far back as possible and off to a side.

One fun and effective thing we did in the Corps during Simunitions training was to fire from the hallway connecting to the room which had the window you were firing from.  This made us very hard to spot and nearly impossible to hit with return fire.  It also allowed us to quickly move around the building and fire out from multiple windows from multiple rooms.

If you have the time removing the window pane helps keep you from being spotted when you shot.  Leaving up a screen or terry cloth put up over the window or behind the window will help prevent you from being spotted.

Vehicle Firearm Tactics class at

We spend a good bit of time inside our cars and trucks.   It only makes sense to be prepared to fight from and around our vehicles.  The simple fact is that we may have to defense our selves and our loved ones from robbers, carjackers, or road ragers.

I did a little fighting from vehicles in the Marines.  Got to fire M16s and the SAW from moving vehicles, got to fire while standing on moving SUV running boards, etc.  Also I once even got in a fist fight with a drunk Marine while I was driving down the interstate.  But those are not exactly practical experiences.

So I got really excited when I got the opportunity to take Vehicle Firearm Tactics online class.  Now I take a bunch of online classes related to my day job and most all of them are long, boring, and painful to sit through.  This class was nothing like that.

First, a disclaimer.  When ever possible do training in person.  This way you can ask questions, and have mistakes you make be corrected by an experienced instructor.  There are downsides to training in person.  Costs, travel time, a compressed training curriculum in a tight scheduled, etc.  It can be easy for an instructor to miss covering some content, or for a student to miss content should they space out or need to use the bathroom, etc.  Fortunately you can always ask the teacher a question.

Video or Online classes have a couple of big strong points.  You can go through them on your own schedule, and pause, rewind, and rewatch sections.  This class went above and beyond by having excellent closed caption available for their videos, and breaking the videos up into 3-12 minute sections focused on various points.  I don’t know about you, but often my mind wanders, having the class broken up in shorter sections I was easily able to focus on a section, or rewatch it if something come up.  One other small advantage of an online course is that every student can receive the exact same training.  There are no limited or abridged classes due to weather or missed content from an instructor forgetting to cover something.

This class had excellent instruction.  Jacob Paulsen and Riley Bowman spoke clearly, concisely, and effectively explained the various topics.  They also had some cool demonstrations of of things like ricochets off the hood and how in some cases a door might stop a bullet and in other cases it won’t.

This class covered a wide variety of subjects including:
Your priorities in vehicle combat
How window glass and its curvature affects trajectory
How tinting affects glass
Fighting around and being considerate of passengers
Drawing your weapon and manipulating it in the vehicle
Shooting under the vehicle
Among many other things.

If I were to look hard for something to criticize, I could only come up with three things. First is that the final test was sorta hokey. Seemed overly simple to me.  That doesn’t diminish the content of the class.  A very minor complaint would be that the course completion certificate shows your website account name and not your actual name.(Update, I hadn’t filled out my name in the form, putting my name in fixed the issue)  The last would be a matter of tactics.  Discharging a firearm in an enclosed area like a vehicle can rather unpleasant.  If the situation allows, if you can place the muzzle outside the confined space you are in you will experience far less blast and noise. But don’t forget this will make the flash and blast more visible to anyone outside, and won’t want to do this is the hostile is with in grasping range as they will be able to more easily attempt to disarm you.

Prior to this class I was prepared to say how online classes are often worthless, but I was wrong.  I really enjoyed this class and I learned a great deal.  If you can’t get out there and do this type of training in person, I’d highly recommend taking this class as an alternative.

The class is available here:

They also have a couple of free classes at their site.  I haven’t taken them yet, but I plan to look into them.

Reproducing the Army M855 300m Carbine BZO at 25 yards

There are three most popular ways to zero the AR15s and similar 5.56 carbines.  These three are a 100 yard zero, a 50/200 zero, and the military 300m zero.  Here I am going to talk about the 300m zero.

Unfortunately most people do not have easy access to a 300m range.  Even if they did, it makes sense to start at a closer distance.  Later on I will reiterate that with a demonstration.

Why the 300m zero?  I personally wouldn’t recommend it to most people unless they are already familiar with it from time in the service.  The 300m zero has the round first cross the point of aim at 25 meters, then it raises to about 7 inches over the point of aim at about 173 yards, then it is on at 300m.  At 400 meters you are about 10 inches low.  Still easily on target.  Might be easier if I made this a chart.

Range Drop (in)
Muzzle -2.6
25 yards -0.4
25m -0.3
100 yards 4.4
200 yards 6.5
300 yards 2.5
300m 0
400 yards -9.4
500 yards -31.4

Chart made from info gathered using JBM ballistic calculator.  Figuring firing M855 from a carbine at 2970 FPS at the muzzle and a sight height of 2.6 inches over the bore.

So the real benefit to a 300m zero is that it is easier to use it to hit a man sized target at 400 and 500m just by aiming a little higher.  If you are not actually expecting to shoot those distances, something like the 100 yard or 50/200 zero would likely be the better choice.

The Army used to teach to adjust the point of impact (POI) to hit right at point of aim (POA) at 25 meters.  Some years ago they realized it was better to have the troops adjust the POI to be about 1/3 of an inch low at 25m to get closer to a correct 300m zero.  At reduced ranges small amounts of error will add up greatly at longer ranges.

So what if we are not using a 25m range, but instead the more common 25 yard range?  We can see from the chart above that that we want to be 0.4 inches low if we shoot at 25 yards.

Now to get down to the shooting.

If we are using a sight with ranging settings, we want to set it for 300 meters.

In this case I used a Matech rear sight.  I set it to the 300m setting.  I also flipped it up for the shooting.  Using a target at 25 yards, I fired a well aimed group of 3 shots.  Why 3?  It lets you use the average of the three shots to minimize error.  If you had a rifle and ammunition combination that you are extremely consistent with, you could make zeroing adjustment off a single shot.  But for stuff like this it is better to shoot groups.  The more shots the better, but 3 tends to be the minimum.

I know, from experience, that the M855 ammo I have tends to be about 2 MOA ammo.  That means at 25 yards I should be getting half inch groups.  If the group is larger than 1/2 inch, I am not doing my part.

That group is most certainly larger than 1/2 inch, so I wasn’t doing my part well there.  But it gives me something to work with.  I see that this rifle is shooting 4.5 inches low and 1.3 inches right at 25 yards.

Had I started at 100 yards, I would have been impacting 18 inches low.  I would have been completely off the target.  That is why it makes sense to start up close.

Also note my high quality custom BZO target (black Sharpie on paper).  I wanted to demonstrate you do not need a fancy target for zeroing.

On the AR15 carbine, adjustment of the front sight are about 1.75 MOA per click (1/4 rotation), and wind-age is about 3/4 MOA.

I needed to go 18 minutes up, so I decided to make an adjustment of 10 clicks.  I also needed to go about 5 minutes left, so I choose to go 6 clicks left.  (In hindsight, the math says I should have done 7)  Then I fire another group.

After firing another 3 well aimed shots I find another group that is less then perfect, but still gives me good information.  This three shot group is 1 inch low from point of aim and half an inch right.  So I need to make another adjustment.

Don’t forget, I want the impacts to be a half inch low (0.4 actually).  So I want to dial up 1/2 inch (1 click) and left 1/2 inch (3 clicks).  I make the adjustment, and fire a new group on a new clean point of aim.

There we go, zeroed in 9 shots.

Now, ideally, you tweak and confirm the zero at the full distance.

Optic of the week: Matech BUIS

The Matech sights that come from Colt have the Picatinny marking.  I have not seen this marking on these sights from other sources.

Some time back, I’m not sure when, the U.S. Military adopted the Matech Back Up Iron Sight (BUIS) as the new rear sight for the M16A4 Modular Weapon System and the M4/M4A1 MWS. That could lead one to believe that this was the best, most durable, combat ready rear sight around. Boy would you be wrong if you thought that.

Outside the military, many people have different desires for what they want out of the BUIS. Some people want a sight that locks in place and is as solid as a bank vault, those people tend to like the Troy sights. Other people want cheap, so they go with the Magpul BUS. There are a few sights that are adjustable for range with a micrometer type adjustment such as the KAC 2-600m BUIS.  There are a wide variety of features available out there, and the Matech has a pretty unique combination of them.

The main draw to the Matech is that is had a lever on the side for changing the distance setting.  This lets you quickly set the sight for settings between 200 to 600 meters, but you can not make fine adjustment for range.

An annoyance of mine is when I can not find detailed information about a product.  I know this sight was designed for use with M855 on both the M16A4 and the M4/M4A1 Carbines but I have not been able to find out what the calibration on the adjustment is.  It might have been set for the 14.5 inch barrel, or a 16 inch barrel, or the 20 inch rifle.  It might be a blended adjustment meant to be close enough for the rifle and carbine.  We just don’t know.  But in any event, it should at least keep you on a Echo Target (40″x20″) out to 600 meters.

There is a line (with out a notch to lock it in position) between the 300 and 400m marks for zeroing a M16A4 at 25m.  When zeroing a M4 at 25m leave the sight on the 300m mark.

The sight locks down, but it does not lock in the up position.  This was chosen as to allow it to move should the rifle be dropped.  Sights that lock open can be more likely to break when locked up.  Unfortunately these sights tend to wear out and stop locking in the down position.  Countless discussion and youtube videos can be found about this.

For example:

Downsides to the Matech BUIS are:

  •  It is huge, much larger than most other BUIS.
  •  If you over tighten the clamping screw and bar it will break!  Snug it up and tighten 1/4 turn past that, no more than that.
  •  You are suppose to replace the screw that is used to hold it on if it is removed from the weapon.  Most of us won’t have multiple screws laying around.
  •  It wears out!  The rear aperture latch wears out and will not stay latched down.

Now I wouldn’t say it is a terrible sight, but I do not recommend buying one.  If you already have one I wouldn’t bother to replace it unless it breaks or wears out.  Just make sure you check the distance setting on it before you shoot.

Why we are not currently taking guest posts from strangers.

As you know, we here at like to stay pretty informal. We previously encouraged people to send us guest posts, but almost every week now we get sent some absolute garbage.

One example, we had someone submit an article, “Glock 42 V.s Desert Eagle: Which Is Best Suited For Military“. This wasn’t even a parody.  The intro picture was of a blank firing Beretta clone.  Phrases like, “Stops power” and “Handguns continuous inventions fail to include distinctive features.” were used much like how we butcher the English language.

I contacted the writer and told them that if they had written that sober, they should go see a doctor in case they had suffered a stroke.  Hell, if we wanted something written that poorly, I’d write it myself.

Glock E-Trainer

This my own opinion on the item sent to me for review.


In the old days it was common to read of instructors suggesting dry firing at least 10 times for each shot fired.  Now we don’t see recommendations like that.  Part of it is that ammo and ranges are readily available, and dry firing isn’t the sort of sexy action that sells well.

Then comes the issue of damage.  You shouldn’t dry fire some guns.  Most all .22 should not be dry fired due to that it WILL damage the chamber and firing pins.  Other guns may break firing pins or breach faces.  Try doing an internet search for “Glock dry fire damage” to see some broken Glock slides.  Some firearms just should not be dry fired, others can be with a dummy round in the chamber.  Yet there are many that could you dry fire all day every day with out any issue.

Despite the previous issue, dry firing is still the best way to practice recoil control as you are removed from the distracting noise, blast, and cost of live fire.  Not to mention the annoyances of other shoots.  You can dry fire in the comfort of your own home.

So when you are dry firing, unless you have a double action firearm, you have to reset the action between each trigger pull.  This cycling the action can be used as a way to practice your reload or malfunction clearing movements.  This is good training, but a distraction from the trigger pull.

This is where a dry fire trainer is useful, it lets you focus only on the trigger pull and repeat the trigger pull with out any distractions.  I was sent a Glock E-Trainer dry fire tool to try out.  You can get one from  Installation is simple, unload the pistol, lock the slide to the rear, then slide the trainer in place.  With it installed, you can dry fire to your heart’s content with out having to rack the slide over and over.  When you are done, lock the slide to the rear, and slide the trainer out.

The big advantage of this trainer is that you can do countless repeated trigger pulls with out having to rack the slide or risk any damage to your firearm.   This additionally allows for practicing trigger follow through so very much easier than having to hold the trigger back when racking the slide.

The disadvantage with the E-Trainer is that you loose the trigger break of the normal trigger pull.  Unlike when you have a “dead trigger”, this has the full trigger pull, just no trigger break.  I don’t find this an issue, but I imagine that that could be a deal breaker for some.  Because of this you can not practice riding the trigger reset (“rolling the link” or what ever you want to call it).

Out of curiosity, I pulled out my trigger weight gauge (of questionable quality) and did some comparisons.  First, dry firing the Glock 19 gave a result between 4.5 and 4.75 pounds.  (This was a surprise to me as this G19 has a NY1 spring and a – connector which would be expected to give about a 5.5-6.5 pound trigger pull).  I tried the index card trick for dry firing and that gave a trigger pull of slightly over 2.5 pounds on my scale.  The E-Trainer also gave a result of a little over 2.5 pounds.  This seems confusing to me because it doesn’t feel like it.  To my finger, the trigger pull felt just as heavy as a regular dry firing.

EDIT:  Testing was initially done with the trigger pull gauge at the tip of the trigger, dry firing with the gauge at the center of the trigger gave a ~6 pound trigger pull normally and ~4-4.5 pound trigger pull with the trainer.

There are three models of this trainer and between them they cover the majority of the models of the Glock pistols the exception of the G36 and models with crescent serration.  As of the time of this review being published, the E-Trainer is $29.44 shipped.

I would not say this item is a necessity, but it certainly is a major convenience for dry fire practice.  After it was easily installed on a Glock 19, I did a hundred trigger pulls right handed only and another hundred with the left hand.  It did not take long to get some good practice of only the trigger pull motion.

I wouldn’t recommend this initially for the novice.  I would suggest doing fewer repetitions focusing on trying to get that perfect form of the perfect trigger pull.  Don’t practice mistakes.  Once you have that perfect trigger pull, then something like this trainer become valuable as it helps you get the repetitions to make your perfect trigger pull muscle memory for when you don’t have to time to consciously focus on the trigger.  This isn’t something you have to have, but it is rather nice to have.

The novice practices until they can do it right.

The expert practices until they can’t do it wrong.


As I have tried to edit and finalize the wording for this review, I have been walking around my place, balancing a coin on the front sight of a G19, dry firing hundreds of times with the E-trainer. I really like this thing.

The coolest AR rollmark.

Back in the day when we only had a handful of companies making AR15s, I remember seeing countless discussions on the gun forums over which company had the coolest rollmark.  For example some people loved the Stag logo, other people really hated it.  Some people even claimed to see the image of two touching penises in the Spikes Logo.  (I know a guy who sold all his Spikes Tactical rifles after I told him about that)

Well, I suppose this one is engraved and not a true roll mark but I think this is the coolest rollmark available on the market right now.  You can buy a buy a Colt Rifle that is marked “Property of the U.S. Govt M4A1 Carbine”

Day 4: A firearm project

Started a little firearm project.  I really shouldn’t mentioned it until it is finished.  But I thought it might be more fun to give live updates.

I ordered most everything on the June 21st.  Lets see how long it takes me to get the stuff in.  I’ll give you more details as I get the parts.

Site improvements.

Time for us to upgrade

We have a ton of good content, we are getting close to a thousand posts. But that means that much of our best work is buried away and is hard to fine. We need to make it more visible. We need a better way to help you find the content you want to read. We also need a better way where you can comment and tell us what you think.

What do you want to see in an updated on this post with your requests and suggestions.

Oh, the issue with images not being enlargeable should be fixed going forward, but we don’t way to easily fix that in the old posts.