Instructors Know Best

Category : Knowledge

Instructors Know Best

Here is my story…

Problem #1 Like most folks in their “early” fifties I started to have difficulty seeing things as they were  in the past as my eyes age.  I found that my eye was not picking up the front sight on presentation but rather grabbing the rear sights immediately then forcing me to transition to the threat and then back to the front sight.  This proved slow and it is not what we teach… i.e. “FRONT SIGHT FOCUS” and it is slow.

Problem #2 When using or teaching point shooting techniques those two big white dots at the back of the gun scream “LOOK AT ME” well that is not what we need to do during point shooting – eyes on the threat!!!  Then grab a “flash” of the front sight on the threat during presentation and press the trigger for sighted point shooting.

I tried about every different style of sights and color combinations to no real success.  Lucky for me as an Instructor, all of these became demonstration options for my students to try out on the range; but none satisfied me.

Fiber-optics are awesome for outdoor daytime shooting (such as IDPA) as they glow like crazy but offer no solution to the night/reduced lighting environment.  I tried the very large white front dot on a ‘ramped’ rear sight and really liked it but being a M&P shooter that brand offered no rear tritium for M&P pistols… oh and I can’t get the darn pistol out of my Galco King-Tuk IWB holster as the dot catches on the lower edge of the holster’s Kydex mold.  I also thought there was not enough glow in the front dot.

Well… next stop is the integrated light/laser add-on module route.  Sure, the light and green laser is worth the extra (lots of extra) cash but now I have all kinds of light/laser-equipped pistols that don’t fit into all kinds of my holsters.  UGG… will it ever end??

Sure, there are lots of holsters made to specific light/laser combos… but not for every gun light/laser combo.  So, off to the gun shows to pay for custom fitted Kydex holsters.

I was frustrated and figured that there was no real answer to my issues and wants.  I spoke with literally a hundred shooters about their chosen aftermarket sights and none were 100% satisfied so I figured I would not be either!  Then I saw Night Fision Sights highlighted on a James Yeager Tactical Response video.  Knowing that NOBODY gets on his channel without have a very high-quality product, a strong corporate policy of making great products and backing them with 100% great customer service I watched that video three times and thought well… OK let’s try these guys.  A call to Customer Service to find out a bit more about the sights and I was impressed by when the call was answered on the second ring, and it was not a VM – but a fellow named C. J.  A real person located right here in Metro Detroit!  A good ten-minute conversation later and I was ready to buy.  I said, “OK thanks, I’ll go online and order them right now.”  CJ said, “Don’t bother – I’ll take your order.”  He did and a day or two later there they were in my mail box!

How did I know these would be different than all the other sights I had used?  When I opened the thickly padded envelope there was a pair of big green eyes staring back at me!  I honestly thought they must have sent me a cat, not night sights!  WOW – these are going to be something… in daylight, while standing next to my mailbox I opened the envelope and through the plastic packaging I saw the two rear sights glowing away.  I was tickled pink to say the least!  Night Fision claims 30% more tritium and I swore they meant 300% more!

Upon opening the package, I was amazed at the brightness of the polymer ring around the vial of tritium, the tritium’s glow and the fact that they suggest a gunsmith fit the sights, not jamming them in with a pusher – or worse – a hammer and punch.  Off to the gunsmith for a properly fitted install as shown on the Night Fision website as suggested.  The size was an exact match for the M&P OEM sights, so happily no holster issues expected!

I selected the yellow-green front ring, black-out tritium rears with U-notch.  I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go the square-notch or u-notch rear sight, but I figured a round ball fits pretty good in a round notch.  Wow was that different from everything else I tried; good call!

The black-out rears immediately solved my dilemma of catching the rear sights first upon presentation and the green front ring immediately made its presence known during extension.  On my first draw I knew I was going to be very happy.  A bit of dry-fire training in the evenings and then during the late-night hours confirmed my expectations for the tritium vials.  Outstanding!

It has now been two months of regular training and shooting with my Night Fision Sights and I can say I am completely happy with the product.  They have eliminated my unfortunately recently developed old-guy habit of rear sight acquisition, they have made the front sight super easy to find especially being a cross-dominate shooter, the night sight tritium vials are the best on the market – hands down, no question asked.  I have added the Night Fision Sights to my list of products which I use and recommend to my students based on my experience.  My next set will be with same as above but with an orange ring for student comparison.

I am not a sponsored Instructor, nor do I get any compensation for anything I recommend; I just want to make sure my students don’t waste as much money as I have going through the trial and error process of becoming a safe, legal, moral and responsible owner and user of guns.

Chris Bauer
Training Service LLC
Sterling Heights, MI
NRA, USCCA, MCRGO Certified Firearms Instructor

Clean Your Piece

Firearms are tools. Very expensive tools which have exacting tolerances, and which are subjected to extreme environmental conditions. Every single actuation of these tools subjects certain parts of the tool to thousands of pounds per square inch of pressure, hot gas, and high impact. Not to mention dirt, dust, grime, and filth from the field. Unbelievably though, I still meet shooters who swear that they abuse their guns right out of the box to test “reliability”, or “durability”. Would they do the same with a $300 DeWalt miter saw or framing nailer? I doubt it. They want their tools to last!

Your first step in cleaning your pistol is to put the owner’s manual out of the plastic case it came in which was thrown in the corner of your closet. Read it thoroughly. Get to know all of the parts of the pistol as intimately as you can. Remember, this is the manual which the manufacturer approved and sent out. Forums are full of experts who will tell you everything you need to know right up until their misinformation ruins your gun and voids your warranty.

Use your manual to see if there are any specified solvents, cleaning agents, and lubricants. More importantly, make sure you are not using any prohibited products. This goes doubly for any accessories you have on your weapon which may be sensitive to harsh chemicals. Some night sight rings are merely painted on (as opposed to Night Fision, which use a ballistic polymer ring), and harsh solvent will wear off the paint.

Once you have determined what products are acceptable for use on your specific firearm(s) and have gathered them up, find a flat, sturdy surface to work on which is cleared off. None of these workbenches with an exploded Edelbrock carb and Slick 50 residue all over it. There are lots of tiny little parts on firearms which you do not want to lose, so clear the clutter. Also, make sure it is well lit and well ventilated space. Bore Blaster and other solvents are potent and noxious.

My preference is to lay out newspaper covering the entire work surface so spilled chemicals are easier to clean and contain.

You really should get some good disposable, chemical resistant gloves. Known carcinogens do not care who you are and do not think you are a tough guy; they are equal opportunity. Besides, Hoppes does not go well with Pringles afterwards. Also, throw on a pair of safety glasses. Overspray from Rem Oil and Bore Blaster will seriously irritate your eyes, so just do it.

I always set out some sort of bowl for gun parts during disassembly. You can buy a magnetic parts bowl, but a disposable plastic lunch container works great, too. Just something where you can maintain accountability of all pieces.

Make sure that your bore brushes are the correct size, and that your cotton strips are suitably sized. They need to be big enough to make complete contact with the barrel walls and rifling, but not so big that they get jammed.

I like to use medical forceps to clamp a piece of cloth with solvent or oil (depending on what the manual calls for) to clean the slide, the magazine well, and the internal mechanisms. This allows for a much more thorough cleaning than using your clumsy fingers, and better than tweezers because forceps clamp. They are easy to find online and can be bought in a huge array of sizes, shapes, and curvature of the bills.

Aside these basic tips, follow your manual. Every single manual tells you exactly how to clean that specific make and model. Firearms are not one-size-fits-all; follow the specific instructions. If your Glock only calls for a single drop of firearm oil on three or four locations, then follow the instructions. Do not empty a can of Rem Oil into and onto your gun. It is wasteful and just leaves you with a greasy, oily mess which serves as a great conduit of dirt collection the next time you shoot it.

In a nutshell, just follow the rules that you learned in shop class (do they still call it “shop”?):

  1. Read the instructions.
  2. Wear your safety gear.
  3. Make sure it is unloaded and safed.
  4. Don’t use the wrong lube and solvents.
  5. Use the correct lube and solvents.
  6. Make sure it is unloaded and safed, again.
  7. Enjoy! You are still getting to play around with your firearm. Make shooting noises and engage imaginary targets; we all do it. Nobody is going to judge you.
  8. Wash up and get the solvents, lead, and other scuz off of your skin and clothing.
  9. Rinse and repeat every time you shoot. Take care of your investment!

-Prepared Laird

The Science of Sight: Low Light / Night Shooting

We all have five senses but one of them is the most critical for effectively hitting your target. Sight, or vision, is the critical component in identifying your target and then effectively putting rounds in it. Yes, I am fully aware of the subjects of contact shooting and “recon by fire” but those are topics for another day.
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Can Competition Shooters Defend Themselves?

I have recently participated in a couple interviews and round table discussions which focused on the validity of using competition shooting to prepare for self-defense shooting. More specifically, if participating in the shooting sports hurts or helps someone who also carries a gun and trains for self-defense. This question seems to be a serious bone of contention between the “Tactical” and “Competition” crowds. DISCLAIMER: I’m not unbiased. As a nationally ranked competitive shooter AND someone who teaches the use of firearms for self-defense all over the world, I’ve given this topic much thought, and I have some opinions.
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Proper Sight Alignment and Sight Picture

The key to hitting your target is pretty simple, put your sights on target, and pull the trigger in a way that doesn’t disturb your sight picture. Well, it certainly sounds simple. If you’ve ever been shooting you know that in practice this doesn’t always work so simply. It’s certainly something you need to go out and train for. The problem occurs when you don’t know how to train properly.

Today we are going to arm you with the proper means to train and teach you about proper sight alignment and sight picture. We’ll also touch on how to train with these techniques at home.
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Having Trouble Selecting the Perfect Color?

Front Sight Focus! If you ever take a defensive pistol glass you’ll hear that phrase over and over. Front sight focus is an easy concept to understand. Is it easy in practice? It can be, with the right sights. Your front sight should be easy to see, and easy to focus on. We can help you there. A front sight with high visibility will make front sight focus more than a concept.
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Are You A Concealed Carry Newbie?

5 Concealed Carry Essentials

As a concealed carry instructor, I see a lot of newbies coming in to the concealed carry world. I   often see is the same mistakes made repeatedly. A lot of them have to deal with how to carry comfortably. Since I’m seeing these basic mistakes made over and over I figured I could offer our fine readers some basic concealed carry essentials. Continue reading Are You A Concealed Carry Newbie?

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