Saturday, October 17, 2015

Aridus Q-DC Shotgun Side Saddle

I've been both a friend and training partner with Adam Roth (The owner of Aridus Industries and inventor of the Q-DC) for years. How many I cant recall, most like due to the number of times he's punched me in the head. Adam has always been a intelligent and hard working training partner. Always looking to improve, always putting in the work, and always getting better and better.
I've been shooting competitively (not that I'm any good at it), and taking/hosting firearms courses for over a decade. I put that out there only to give folks an understanding that these thoughts are from someone more active than your average casual shooter.
When he first told me the concept for the Q-DC it was one of those moments where you go "and nobody has done this yet?". I mean seriously, I've had all kinds of side saddles and they all have some part of them that sucks. The Velcro ones are less than robust, don't index consistently to the receiver if you try to toss it on quick, and get beat up and loose over time. The big solid ones are cool, but usually have pin shear issues with the mounting, bad retention for the shells over time, are hard to refill under time pressure, and lack the ability to replace that the Velcro ones have.
I received a QD-C beta test model a few months back for my 870. First off, I'm not a shotgun guy, never really liked them much or shot them much. Signing the beta test and NDA agreement on the QD-C required me to shoot 250 rounds of buckshot at minimum. Over the course of the testing I shot 300 buckshot, a handful of slugs (less than 50) and while I stopped shooting the birdshot and target loads to get through the buckshot I estimate I shot around 300 of that as well. Most range sessions would be shooting 50 rounds. I tried to concentrate on single loads from the carrier to test the shell retention, and changing out the carrier to get used to the mechanics of the device. Adam provided a few different carriers with different dimensions and varied leaf springs to change retention that he wanted feedback on. I must say this forced me into actually started to enjoy shooting the boom stick.
The testing became mundane. I really cant imagine how this unit would fail in any way. I mean this isn't a youtube lets drop it from a helicopter and run it over with a tank review. Just normal use in real practice. Dropping carriers in range dirt, gravel, mud, and exposing it to the elements while shooting. I did mock runs around the house, deployed from the trunk, used my sling on transitions and with movement and experienced no hang ups of any kind.
I imagine once these go live it will become a must have accessory for everyone running a shotgun. 
Shawn Lupka

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Situational Awareness

"How do you aware?"
-Craig Douglas

In the firearms training community the term "Situational Awareness" gets tossed around quite a bit. Normally we are simply told we need to have more of it, whatever it is, with very few giving guidance as to how, or what exactly that means practically. 

Am I supposed to be some kind of ninja? Constantly hyper vigilant and ultra focused on all the little minutia at all times? Frankly I don't see how that's possible without a mental disorder. Will doing a "scan and assess" range kata after a string of fire improve my ability in real life to come out of tunnel vision under stress? I'd like to first understand what awareness is and what about the situation I need to apply it to.

"Awareness is not a passive state, but an active process. On the lower levels of awareness, a complex neurological process is required is to enable man to experience a sensation and to integrate sensations into percepts; that process is automatic and non-volitional: man is aware of its results, but not of the process itself. On the higher, conceptual level, the process is psychological , conscious and volitional. In either case, awareness is achieved and maintained by continuous action."
-Ayn Rand, Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology

So, what we need is conscious action. This may be a bit on the not so ninja side but out here in reality I like to do some really simple things to keep my head out of my ass and improve that first line of self defense. I like to ask myself some questions and look for the answers as I enter an area.

Where are the exits?
Who is here, and does anything look amiss? 

Simple, really. If I'm driving I want to know if I can be easily blocked in where I'm parking.  Is the spot well lit and easily visible? At night when I'm approaching my car I give the area a quick flash with my pocket light to see around the car.

If I'm coming home I take a split second in the drive to see my front door, and look at the windows. Is anything out of place? 

In Craig Douglas's excellent Managing Unknown Contacts coursework he teaches a number of pre assault cues the student is to look out for. When being approached by a stranger are we paying attention to their mannerisms and what exactly are we looking for?

One of my training partners wrote at length about an encounter he had that I posted here. Take note of how much of the situation he was aware of. The mannerisms, the environment, how his clothing choices (leather soled shoes for a meeting) where interacting with the icy ground. This wasn't spur of the moment, we didn't download the super observation skills to his brain. It was training. He was able to observe and digest a great amount of information and use that to make decisions under stress in real time.

We don't need to be super heroes, but I would suggest it is reasonable to take a look in the gas station window before you run in and see if the place is being robbed before you walk into it. Simple easy observations we make with a conscious decision to collect information will keep us actively participating in the world around us and less likely to be caught by surprise in our day to day lives.