5.56 Timeline

Internalizing the fundamentals.

Shooting, like many other skills, is rather simple.  The fundamentals (structure, trigger control, sight alignment/sight picture, breathing, etc) remain the same regardless of the type of shooting you do.  Now different types of shooting may focus on certain aspects or groups of fundamentals, but they are all important.

Rapid firing, advance techniques, and assorted tactics build upon the foundation that fundamentals provide.  For example, if you have poor trigger control and stance you will shoot poorly in rapid fire.

So we have to practice.  In practice we may have to focus on certain aspects to improve them, like dry firing to work on trigger control.  In practice and training we can take the time to focus on what we need to do correctly.  But we must practice enough to internalize this.  If your laying prone in the field, and your target is stationary and far away, you may have the time to think about trigger squeeze and sight picture.  However should you be doing room clearing, there isn’t the time to focus on the fundamentals.

To paraphrase Bruce Lee, you must find the tools, sharpen the tools, then dissolve the tools.

The serious shooter, regardless of whether they are practicing for Camp Perry or for combat raids, needs to practice until the fundamentals can be done with out conscience effort.  At a vital time, you may not have the time to try and remember the fundamentals if you haven’t already made them muscle memory.

Review of OffGrid and Triggers Magazine




I have a love/hate relationship with news stand gun rags.  I buy SWAT magazine and even have a subscription to it, and I use to have a subscription to  Precision Shooting ever year from 1999 until it went tango uniform last summer.  Those are excellent magazines and PS was THE technical journal of the last 30 years when it comes to real rifle accuracy.   I do buy a few other titles when they come out, but its mainly something to flip through when bored ( especially at my old job).  I find very little info is offered from most of the rags.  Just fluff and advertising. Not to mention the same old crap month after month. If you like to read smug gun writers who think they know everything talk about the gun some MFG sent them to play with for free and take pictures of them selves looking like they are doing serious tests, then they have plenty of that.   The main problem now is they just do not offer up any info you didn’t already have months before it hits print. then when they do put it out, its a tiny useless bit.  So, I decided to review a few magazines over the next few months and try to figure out which are really worth the money and save some one else from wasting money.

Now that that rant is out of the way.


The two magazines I am going to talk about today are  called Off Grid and Triggers. These two are newly out having just come out within the last few days.



Everyone knows about Recoil magazine that came out last year and readers know the way we feel about that bunch. I am skeptical about Recoil magazine since its changes after the editor really steppe don his on yoohoo a few months ago. But, I think everyone would agree that they have changed the gun magazine formula for the long run.  Its a large magazine with slick  high production, gun porn style pictures and a blend of gun culture interests and fluff. Mainly fluff, but it sold well until they had a boo boo.  That magazines  popularity had an interesting affect I will get to a little later.

They are trying to recover form it still, and we will see how it goes. I personally will not buy Recoil  but I was interested in buying OffGrid to see what it is all about.   Its from the same “creators” of Recoil magazine and follows that magazines model.  It is the same size and offers up the same type of pictures and articles but not about firearms only. It is not exactly about living off the grid, but its more of a “bug out” and “preppers” type of magazine.  I have to begrudgingly admit.  It is pretty nice.  For actual helpful info and interesting tips and advice.


I was surprised with how much I like this one.  It covers a variety of topics from useful working knots to  water purification, bio diesel to how to treat sever wounds and what to use.  Thats not to say I  advise trusting the info from a magazine about complex and dangerous medical and life saving procedures, but, its very interesting and refreshing to see a magazine publish info about this subject considering the risk of some moron trying  this out and screwing up.

The magazine reviews back packs, multitools, MREs and a wide variety of topics.  It almost seems they put everything they could think of into this one issue. Maybe it will be out once a year or twice because it would be hard to have this much info every month. Below is a picture I took of the article on wounds and treating them to give you a taste of what its like.


That is some pretty detailed stuff for a magazine you can buy at walmart.

Now, should you buy it?  I don’t know about you, but I am still sore over the Recoil fiasco. I think of this stuff interests you, it is worth the 9 bucks. But if you are still disgusted with the publisher then flip through it at the store.  But this is a nice rag.  I’m not going to comment on the prose because i barely can write anything myself and was certainly no english major. But, I don’t read gun magazines and survival type magazines to enjoy the use of the language or to snicker of punctuation like a grammar nazi.   I would buy this magazine again.


The next magazine is another example of a current phenomenon.  Its called “Triggers.” A very lame name in my opinion. Ever since Recoil came out, several of the normal gun rag publishers have tried to copy it and its look and formula.  The first I saw was called “Firepower.”  It is a Recoil copy with the same type of aesthetic.  But its worthless.  The articles, if you can call them that, are tiny little blurbs. They offer nothing of value. It has pictures of military tech and guns with captions taking up a two page spread  several times through the magazine. It reviews nothing really and it is a joke in my opinion because it tries to copy Recoil but fails. Adding to that, it is a shameless attempt to copy Recoil and take part of its readers.  Triggers is doing the same thing. I am sure that the creators of Triggers thought they would jump in and take Recoils place while using their forumla after Recoils snafu with the  negative RKBA  blow up.




The editor of Triggers is the same editor for The Book of the AR15 and The Book of The AK47 and Book of the 1911. Eric Poole.  Those other magazines are basically the typical gun rag full of long winded adverts for whatever company bought the most ad space in the magazine or sent Mr. Poole and his pals to the most cool training classes.  Even those titles saw a change because of Recoil. I notice in  the past few issues of those titles more and more small articles that have nothing to do with technical details and real reviews.  Sadly they consider those magazines as giving us all the deep detail we want on the newest product.. Yeah..   They don’t.

Here is a shot of the content index  of triggers.


It is fool of fluff. I dare say more fluff then Recoil has. At least Recoil knows its Maximum for gun people.  Triggers attempts to shamelessly copy Recoil. Instead of current gun rags turning their magazines around and giving the same detail and technical quality that American Rifleman had in the 50s and 60s, they choose to go more and more to this fast blurb article and flashy pictures. I guess we all have too short of attention spans these days to want to read detail. That or they know they have lost to the internet and the best they can hope to be is interesting material for the bathroom.

The comments from the editor promises the mission of the title is to “explore the gun culture where ever guns are found, Triggers  offers a commitment to keep and open mind and report the truth about what matters to you” ” We intend to break down barriers of social ignorance through education and place the lifestyle of gun ownership in the context of the larger world in which we live” Blah , Blah blah. That translates to roughly this… “We hope you are still pissed at recoils comments and we are not too late in getting this out to make you think we  really care about what you think. We really hope to fill their spot before we lose too much market share when they recover.”  They also makes some claims about the readers driving the content. This is interesting to me since previous comments form Mr. Poole indicate he feels it is his duty to only let Military or LEO  write articles in the other titles he heads as editor.  Only those people are able to give unbiased opinion to us readers on weapons. Never mind I have seen enough LEO and former Mil that couldn’t hit a man sized target at 25 yards,to fill the state of AZ.   The undisputed instant credibility of anyone who is a cop or Mil when it comes to guns is becoming a real problem in the gun industry lately, but that’s another topic

Triggers is lame. It has poor excuses for articles that are not worthy of even recoil. It has the same names on the pages as the other 1,000  gun rags form the publisher. No knew blood. No fresh perspectives from people we have not already seen a million times.  the one shinning light is a review by the always awesome Kyle Lamb.  The incestuous nature of having the same writers over and over in every title they have is about as interesting to me as golf .   They try to add comedy to the writing like an issue of maxim and it comes off as fake to me. It snot funny and the more they do it, the more I am reminded that they are trying to swipe recoils formula. I hate it, In fact I am sick of even writing about it because it makes me remember the thing.  If you like this type of magazine, I would just stick to Recoil.

For cool pictures and gun porn my pick is the Surefire Combat Tactics that comes out twice a year. Its a lot like a giant commercial, but I know what I am getting and its fun. SWAT is the other titles I make sure to buy by, since I have a subscription, it is full of articles that do try to help with very little fluff. I use to really enjoy the Book of the AR15 before Poole took over. At that time it had good reviews and tests. It had anecdotes form current deployed Marines and Soldiers talking about using it in fire fights and it covered more then just who bought and ad. Its not that anymore and that’s a shame to me.  It seems to me that the quality we got in the days of O’Conner, Warren Page, John Waters and P.O. Ackley will never be seen again when it comes to print magazines.  Oh it can be found online, but when it comes to the newstand, its all fluff and shiny paper with cool pictures on it.  And few people have the money to waste on fluff magazines these days. Unless they start to make it dual use as TP


HRO-CQB: Fighting in Structures A class review.

Article submitted by Mark Hatfield.

HRO-CQB  That’s Hostage Rescue Operations-Close Quarters Battle

Let’s ‘get real’ for a moment, does the average person really need some knowledge of hostage rescue operations and close quarters fighting in buildings.  Isn’t that just game playing for adults?  Frankly, No.  I might have thought some differently before this class but the more we learned and were given challenges and situations to resolve, the more I realized how universally these problems occur and how the methods taught may need to be applied.  One doesn’t have to be doing anything with a gun to be in situations where this knowledge may be needed.
My own home area is not considered a ‘high crime’ environment yet I can readily point out where attacks occurred, shootings here, here, here, there, a murder there, and on.  It could be easy to be caught in a store, mall, school, church, or even a parking lot when violence occurs.  People tend to think of this courses skills as for ‘How to take out the Bad Guy’ but exactly the same knowledge is needed for how to safely get away, to get out of the danger area.
What about if the ‘Bad Guy’ is in your own home, if there is more then one, if they are in-between you and your children and there is no time to wait for police?  You don’t have to be a TV hero to need what this course has to teach.
Wait, ‘parking lots’, isn’t the course about fighting in ‘structures’?  Surprisingly, a lot of the same major problems and situations apply.
This was another course offered by Suarez International, founded by Gabe Suarez.  Sponsored at several locations across the country, I attended one given in Fort Branch, Indiana, a small community whose quiet unassuming loveliness was wonderful.  Having a downtown small enough that a local joke is that ‘Everything is only five minutes away from everything else.’ this town has an antebellum history and even a tunnel previously used in the ‘Underground Railroad’ to hide runaway slaves.
The class was taught by Randy Harris and Michael Swisher who make a good team.  Mister Harris I had meet twice before, he has a substantial and well established background in the shooting and defensive disciplines.  Mister Swisher was new to me,  his background includes Infantry, Corrections, and Law Enforcement.   I found of great interest Mister Swishers comment that while he had done these exercises for real, at the time he did not know the methods being now taught, he had survived due more to chance.  I recall he further noted that doing something wrong or poorly but having a good outcome simply reinforces doing it wrong.
Don’t be confused that the course was how to be able to do the things that the FBI Hostage Rescue specialists might do, what the local police SWAT team might do, or what a military squad would do.  Each type of mission is very different, the equipment, training, and intended results are different.  The first portions of the course were looking at the different purposes and goals of these situations.  Remember, the civilians goal is generally not to kill or capture someone, it is to survive, uninjured, and generally to assist in the survival of other innocent persons.  Rather than trying to ‘deal with’ problem people, we may be trying to avoid all contact with them, the same knowledge and skills apply.
No ‘real’ guns are used in this course but instead are ‘airsoft’ guns which fire plastic pellets, each student brings their own.  A common complaint was on the unreliability of these tools.  Participants must wear suitable face masks for these scenarios.  One extra layer of clothing generally provided suitable protection from the pellets which are designed for this purpose of being able to shoot each other.  These tools prevent the question of ‘I got you, No you didn’t’ which occurs in childrens games.  This is a valuable learning technique.  Some courses of this subject use real guns on paper targets which has its own benefits but here you have moving, thinking adversaries, this makes for a very different training environment, a much better opportunity for learning.
There was a good bit of classroom material, covering being clear on the ‘mission’ or goals of any specific event, then strategies and techniques.  These were practiced then later incorporated into scenarios with the instructors or other students as adversaries.
While obviously one doesn’t need to train in this as an armed professional should, it is still a vital part of ones overall knowledge.  It has been said before, simply having a gun is not enough.  Buying a violin doesn’t make you a musician, simply owning a gun or simply being able to shoot doesn’t mean that you can perform with it under stress.  Being able to shoot is not the same thing as being able to fight using a gun.  What comes out of classes like this fills an important gap in most peoples training.

Dark Star Gear Glock 17 Holster

There is no doubt that Loose Rounds Staff love Dark Star Gear (DSG) holsters. Tom at Dark Star Gear was kind enough to make me a Glock 17 holster to review. I specifically wanted a Glock 17 holster for competition and training, that had a sweat guard only to the slide stop and a slight cant under 10 degrees. It has been several months (3) since Tom from DSG provided me with this holster. I like to really use a product for a while before I sign off on it. I have used numerous Kydex holsters from several manufacturers and have a few that I really like. Shawn turned me on to Dark Star Gear and honestly I was thinking to myself, how much better can a Kydex holster get.

Dark Star Gear Holster, Glock 17 RTF2
Dark Star Gear Holster, Glock 17 RTF2

Well I have to say, after running the DSG holster, it is my favorite. My other holsters see little to no use now.  After talking with Shawn and seeing his reviews of the quality of the DSG holsters, I found I was not disappointed. The quality and attention to detail on the holster was amazing. The first thing that immediately stood out were the soft loops. Once you strap the holster on with the soft loops, you understand why DSG has chosen them. They make the holster more comfortable and flexible than hard loops on other similar holsters. Because the soft loops flex and conform to your belt and body, it makes for a close and more comfortable fit than hard loops.

I immediately started running the holster hard to get a feel for it. I spent the first hours with the holster doing one hundred (100) draws and fire from conceal carry. The holster had the right balance of retention and speed from the draw. I then started to carry the DSG holster every day for CCW and range use. It was not long before I was invited to a Combat Focus Shooting (CFS) class by Rob Pincus. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to run the DSG holster in a serious, equipment demanding, defensive firearm course. In one day, I had already shot 500 rounds, drawing from the holster while, moving, running, turning and firing under stress.  The DSG holster exceeded all of my expectations and I had several others in the class ask me about the holster I was carrying.

Dark Star Gear Holster at CFS course
Dark Star Gear Holster at CFS course

On the first day of CFS, I had the DSG holster on a total of sixteen (16) hours. I never felt the holster, it did not dig into me and was by far the most comfortable holster I’ve worn in over a decade of law enforcement training and civilian conceal carry (CCW). Tom at DSG also pointed us in the direction of Volund Gearworks ATLAS belts. I used this belt in the CFS course with the DSG holster and it was the perfect combination for me. They are my go to CCW and range gear.

I have not counted the actual draws from the DSG holtser but at this time it is well over 2000 in training. This does not including administrative holstering and unholstering of daily CCW carry. My wife (Cassie) has also been using the DSG holster for carry and range use. She also feels it is the most comfortable holster for her and has referenced it in several of her articles.

Dark Star Gear Holster w/ Glock 17 RTF2
Dark Star Gear Holster w/ Glock 17 RTF2


It is safe to say that the Loose Rounds Staff is firmly behind Dark Star Gear. For the price, turnaround time, quality and comfort, DSG is hard to beat.  This is one damn fine, tough and reliable holster as well. I have not noticed any wear on my firearm finish with all of the use of the holster. Not that it really matters to me but I know some people worry about it.

Check out the other reviews from Loose Rounds on Dark Star Gear and stop by their website.

Loose Rounds Reviews:

Lesser known holster that should not be

Another Look At DARK STAR GEAR

Site Link:



A year with the Colt 901

Colt 901 Nightforce NXS

I  received on Monday the Colt 901 AR15 upper adapter.  This really lets me start to use the 901 in the modular capability I was really looking forward too when it was first announced.  Don’t get me wrong, if the 901 was limited to only being a .308 AR I would still find it the best .308 AR for me, but it sure is nice to be able to use it with standard AR15 uppers too.



Since getting the 901, I have made a few changes.  I dropped in a Geissele SSA trigger, replaced the stock with a CTR.  I keep a Nightforce 2.5-10×24 scope on it, but sometimes I take that off and play around a bit with an Aimpoint PRO.  For me, the CTR is a more comfortable and better stock for how I use the 901.  The SSA is just a nice upgrade.  The Nightforce makes it a nice package as the 2.5x setting is still reasonably fast up close, and 10x is enough magnification for me to do some good shooting, with out slowing me down or letting me fool my self into thinking I am running a pure precision rifle.  One ergonomic change that made a bigger effect than I expected was adding Tango Down SCAR panels.  The 901 quad rail is tall and narrow.  I considered adding some rail panels to the side to help make the handguard feel a little more round.  Normally I would use KAC rail panels as I have many of them laying around, but the 901 lacks the notches required for the KAC panels to lock into.  So I picked up some TD SCAR panels and have found that I really like having them on the 901.

Colt 901 AImpoint PRO Wilcox

A friend shooting the 901 with an Aimpoint PRO in Wilcox mount.

Colt 901

Colt 901 lower with 5.45 upper.  Using the 901 lower with standard AR15 uppers means I have to carry less stuff with when I go shooting.


When I shoot off the bench I have generally been using a Harris BRMS bipod.  I have also been trying a Grippod on this rifle but I am not sure if it is right for this rifle.  If you end up shooting off a hard surface, those slick feel of the grippod slide way too much when shooting .308.


Soon I will add an AMBI safety and another sling mount.  I find I often use the left side mag release and the right side bolt catch, the ambi-safety will make the rifle fully ambidextrous.

My future goal is to register it as a Short Barreled Rifle so I can run a 10.5 inch 5.56 upper on that lower, and also have the 16in .308 upper.  I really want to have a hard case that will contain the set of a 5.56 SBR upper and the standard 901 upper along with a few optics.  That pair, combined with a small .30 can suppressor that could work on both uppers would do most everything I could want out of an AR.