Action Pistol Club Articles

The following is a list of articles and stories that are interesting and relavant to our activity. Some may be written by Action Pistol Club Members (as noted). Others are linked to outside sources.

Please enjoy them

Selecting a quality holster

Using a holster really only involves two movements that are the reverse of each other; the draw and re-holstering. Once practiced, the draw can be done quickly. However the re-holster should never be done with speed. You should only re-holster when you are absolutely sure there are no more targets to engage. Even then re-holstering should be done carefully, slowly, deliberately, reluctantly. The equipment can make a big difference to your success or failure in both movements. Even with lots of practice and good equipment, failures can still happen. Poor equipment can only increase the risk of injury. Read more.

Think Before You Shoot 9/20/2015

A few years back I was at the range. My two "buddies" were in the back chatting, while I shot a scenario. About mid-way through the scenario the lights went out and I was left standing in the dark, alone, with a 1/2 dozen targets with no holes in them. I figured it was my buddies messing with me. Being the ultimate “Mall Ninja”, I pulled out my overpriced flashlight. I continued and finished the course of fire, no problem. When I was done, I found out the power had actually gone out. Being calm and prepared got me out of the situation. But did I do everything right?

We ran this scenario, and the outcomes were interesting. Each shooter was brought in and given a simple course of fire, to shoot a specific colored target. Then, within a few shots the lights, went out. The conditions have changed, so what should/would/did you do?

Would you keep your head straight? Most of you are saying to yourself, "Of course, no big deal. I've got the Surefire ARC2-8C with 4500 Lumens. Even better, I have an excuse to use it. Yeah! Life just got better!” Being prepared with the correct (or incorrect) equipment is only small part of it.

In the end, most people were not prepared and did not have a flashlight. The majority of people just kept shooting as if nothing has changed. The few that had flashlights figured it out after they started shooting again without it. When asked, “Why are you shooting in the dark?" The common response was, "I can see the target enough to shoot at it." Wrong answer; see NRA Safety Rule #1

  1. ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
  2. ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
  3. ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.

In the end this was an epic fail: Most people did not keep their head on straight. Here is why.

In the real world, you might know where the targets were, when the lights went out, but you can no longer clearly identify your target or the surroundings. There may be new obstacles, new targets that may engage with you, something new or an innocent the line of fire, or other unsafe (to the good guys) conditions. Have you violated Safety Rule #1? Absolutely.

Right about now you're thinking, "Yes, I get it. I need a flashlight. I need that Surefire ARC deely bob. Then I can see and keep shooting. It’s all about shooting." A flashlight is good, but being prepared is only part of the equation. I will talk more about flashlights later.

When the situation changes and you need to ask, "What in the situation has changed and more importantly why has it changed?" This is actually the #1 rule of self-defense (preservation). Be aware of your surroundings. Look around and (re)assess the situation. Use all your external senses, sight, sound, smell, touch, taste. Essentially it is a new situation.

Using your senses

  • Sight – Is it dark, very bright, did the building explode…?
  • Sounds – Use your voice to communicate with and ears to listen to others. Ask questions, “Are you there, are you OK, do you need help, I need help, where are you?” Listen for unusual or new sounds, can you hear anything?
  • Smell – Did you smell chemicals, smoke, foul odors, BBQ…?
  • Touch – Does anything hurt, are you cold or hot, are you on fire, or drowning? You can also feel with your feet, step carefully (often over looked).
  • Taste – Do you have unusual tastes, like blood, grit, grim, or other foreign matter?

The #2 rule of self-defense is to have an exit strategy. This is not running away, it’s an exit strategy. The fight won’t last forever, what are you going to do then? Always know how you’re getting out of a bad situation.

In this case the room has gone dark; essentially your sight is gone. Did you consider that you may have been hit with frag and blinded? Would you want to keep shooting and possibly injure the guy coming to help you? Your self-preservation and exit strategy both depend on the other guy helping you. That fancy $3,00 flashlight won’t help you here.

And so it just keeps getting worse. We violated two #1 rules, one #2 rule, we have no exit strategy, and I just shot the guy that was trying to help me. Geez what can I do?

Let me start filling in the blanks, specific to this scenario. There are many solutions, here I mine. In order to keep shooting you need to

  • Stop shooting.
  • Reassess - figure out what has changed and why.
    • You must keep yourself safe and healthy to help others.
    • Use your voice to communicate and ears to listen.
    • Use a flash light (or ask the RO for a flash light if you do not have one).
  • Go with one of the options below based on what you assess.

  • Option #1
  • If it is safe to continue, keep shooting. Or check with the RO and ask if you can keep shooting.
  • Figure out the best exit strategy?

  • Option #2
  • Go to the exit strategy
    • Stop the gun fight - call cease fire.

Now that I have dragged you out in the weeds, back to my original questions. Did I do everything right? In my case no, but the outcome was positive. All the targets had holes and no one had extra holes.

What would I do differently? The first thing I should have done is call to my buddies and ask them, “Did you guys kill the lights?” The answer would be no, then I can make an informed decision on my next action.

If you shot the scenario, ask yourself what did you do right and what did you do wrong? Think about it, and then figure out what you would do differently and learn from it. Making mistakes is part of learning.

The good news is that everyone could explain why they were doing what they did. But, like me, they did not know why things had changed. The common answer to the action was, “I can see well enough to keep shooting.” The logic is I know the red squares on the top of all the targets. So I can just shoot at the top of each target. That is not a great answer, but it’s an honest answer that can be explained. So even if you make horrible decisions, you should be able to articulate them as to why you thought it was the right thing to do given the circumstances. Even with the explainations of the actions, not one person asked why the lights went out.

We all want to shoot fast, it is fun, but we can’t afford to program our brains just one way. If you were given the course of fire to shoot any target with a gun, but one had a badge and a gun would you shoot it? We have to explore new options and be open to new solutions, because the options and solutions may change. Be present in your mind. If you can’t do this, you need to work on it. Mindless shooting is like sitting on the couch munching on a bag a potato chips watching Seinfeld. You’re just killing time and money.

Zombies in America - Respect their rights as people.

4/1/2012 12:13 AM PST

San Jose California - The recent article called " Zombie Apocalypse" has raised some questions within the Haitian religious community. The term Zombie is a Haitian word used to describe an animated corpse by means of religious ritual, primarily Voodoo. Zombies are Haitian persons that had died by unnatural causes (murdered), and the body has been possessed by the spirit Boko. The article does not accurately describe what a Zombie is and how Zombies operate within the fabric of America.

A cease and desist letter was sent to the Action Pistol Club management, from the Haitian American Voodoo Association, department of Public Relations (HAVA) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). This letter was also sent to about a hundred other well known organization, clubs, and vendors; including Hornday , Zombie Targets , Zombie Industries , Midway USA , A&E Television , Zombie Sex dot com, eBay , Amazon , YouTube and many others for their own unflattering and inappropriate usage of the term "Zombie".

Read the original letter

HAVA claims the portrayal a "Zombie" and the usage of the term of a "Zombie" in the article is inaccurate, and violates the civil rights of undead Haitian Americans practicing native religions. Furthermore it is unfair to imply that Zombies are flesh eating monsters that feed on humans, and other living creatures, in the late hours of the night. They claim this is unrealistic portrayal and has caused them great personal strife, the article is inflammatory, and the article promotes religious profiling. The outcome of this stereotype has impacted the members of HAVA and they are unable to find work as a result. HAVA states, "Modern Zombies are honest hard working undead people. They are just like the rest of us, but do not have any pulse nor brain activity. They are productive members of society and have been very successful in the local, state, and federal government." The letter further explains that discrimination and persecution of Zombies is also a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and legal action will be sought if the harressmant of Zombies continues.

Eventually HAVA would like to see Americans accept Zombies as whole people, instead of undead people with holes. The letter presented to Action Pistol Club Management is one of the first steps HAVA is taking to change the way Americans think about Zombies and hope the long term outcome will be positive for all communities.

We would like to support the actions of HAVA and the Haitian Zombie community. So as a result Action Pistol Club will change our policies to respect the religious rights the Undead Haitian Americans (A.K.A Zombies).

  • We will no longer be using the term Zombie when referring to threats.
  • References to Zombies as flesh eating monsters will not be used.
  • Participants will not be allowed to use Hornday Zombie Max Ammo; however, Peppie's brand Undead Max ammo may be used as a substitute.
  • The use of the term undead is still allowed, because it does not specifically refer to any religion.

Fundamentals: The foundation that is so often overlooked (1/1/2012)

By   Christopher Ewens

If I had to say what is the single most overlooked and ignored part of shooters' skills, it would have to be the fundamentals. I have seen too many students who moved on to "advanced" training before their fundamentals were up to the task.

The problem most often encountered is lack of trigger control. For whatever reason, the student has developed a habit of accelerating the press of the trigger, resulting in the sight alignment with the target being altered before the bullet leaves the barrel.

If you want to verify whether or not you accelerate the trigger, try the following test. Take two magazines and randomly insert a few dummy (inert) rounds in the magazine. When ready to shoot at the range, mix around the two mags on a table without looking at them. Insert one of the magazines and chamber a round, without looking at the magazine or the ejection port area. Don't cheat and look at the chamber each time you have to cycle the slide. Fire from a supported position on a sandbag while seated. Each time you fire and a click occurs instead of the BANG you were expecting, ask yourself, "Did the front sight move any, even a slight amount, when the trigger fired? If it did, even slightly, you have developed a trigger jerk, aka, anticipation. You are speeding up the trigger stroke as you reach the point where you have learned that the handgun will fire.

Each time you accelerate the trigger, you affect your accuracy on the target. The habit can be so bad that the rounds impact one or two FEET from the bullseye, or can be so subtle that the point of impact shifts only an inch or so at 15 yards.

How do you fix this problem? Dry fire practice, the more, the better. Place a penny on the front sight and try to dry fire without moving the sights or knocking the coin off the sight. After a few HUNDRED careful dry fires, go to the range and try the above dummy round/live round test again. If you start moving the sights when firing a dummy round, stop shooting. Go back to dry firing a few more hundred times. And so on. Eventually, you will replace the incorrect habit with the correct habit. It takes time and patience, but little money, so go for it if you need to.

Settling the Argument: Fact Checking for Movies and TV (12/26/2011)

In a previous article, titled Ten signs you might be a gun nut, the number one sign you might be a gun nut is “You quiz your spouse on firearms identification during movies” As we all know this starts way too way many arguments. The scene flashes and the argument starts. Was that a Glock 17 or a Glock 21? The next thing you know is someone is sleeping on the couch.

Now we have a solution. Some fellow gun nuts, with way too much time on their hands, have taken on the task of identifying and cataloging the guns used in movies, TV, and video games. You can search by gun, actor, title, etc… It all cross references too.

However, some things are not completely cataloged yet. For instance I looked up the original Charlie’s Angels TV series and found only the Smith and Wesson Bodyguard and the Colt Detective Special listed. I distinctly recall seeing more than one rifle in the series. So it may not settle all the arguments and maintain complete domestic bliss, but hopefully it will settle a few.

The website is the Internet Movie Firearms Database. When you have some time and curiosity check it out, it’s a very interesting website.

Zombie Apocalypse (11/11/2011)

We are often asked "What brand and caliber of ammunition is most effective?

The short answer is: Whatever ammo you can hit your target with.

The longer answer:

A single hit with a .22 lr is more effective than a 100 misses with a .45 ACP. Without proper training and skills to deal with the "Zombie Apocalypse" which round (or firearm) you select won't matter unless you actually hit the intended target. Also errant rounds are a liability. They can cause great collateral damage at your expense. This reinforces the need for you to hit the intended target and nothing else. In fact the ammunition you choose is only part of the equation.

Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse

Step 1: Choose the right firearm

If you were to buy a new car, it's unlikely that you would waltz in to the first dealer you saw and throw down your hard earned money without some research. You would mostly likely read some magazines and internet forums (always taken with a grain of salt, okay a shaker of salt); maybe ask other people about their personal experience.

It's very similar for firearms. Just because all your friends shoot a particular firearm doesn't mean you need to follow them. But it does give you great point of reference. Take advantage of their experience, try it out. Try different makes and models too. Every firearm actually feels and shoots differently.

Some things to consider when purchasing a firearm:

  • Is the grip comfortable, does it fit your hand properly?
  • Does the trigger feel right to you?
  • Can you see the sights? Some sights are very small others are too larger.
  • Can you operate all the controls? Using the slide stop, safety, decock, and magazine release is very important.
  • Avoid race or exotic guns for self defense. They can be very high maintenance and un-reliable.
  • Do you want a pistol, rifle, or shotgun? Each have their own pros and cons.

Step 2: Practice hitting your target

Running around shooting everything quickly without aiming is fun, but it's not always that effective. The sights are on the firearm for a reason. So you have to ask yourself, are you there for fun or there to become a better shooter? To become a better shooter, you should practice slowly, deliberately, and accurately. The speed will come when you need it, with the adrenalin. When the adrenalin comes, your groups will get larger. So practice making you groups as small as you can with out the stress.

Keep in mind that if we are talking about Zombies, only head shots can remove a Zombie from the un-dead gene pool. This holds true for non-Zombie combatants too. The ocular cavity is the off button for all species. This smaller target makes accuracy the most important factor.

Step 3: Choose the right ammunition

As you can see from the previous information the ammunition choice is almost superfluous at this point. But then again having the good stuff will never hurt.

All ammo is not created equal. There can be several types of ammo in the same caliber; they may differ by weight, bullet shape, powder charge, and jacket or coating. Also some ammunition doesn't feed well in some firearms, or perhaps the type or shape of the bullet does not work well with your particular barrel. These are all cases where the perfect ammunition may not be perfect for your firearm. Again this comes down to research.

Finally we get to ballistics, which why you are probably reading this article to begin with. Ballistics is the indisputable science behind which round is most effective. I will leave the science to the experts. The article below goes into great depth about the different rounds and the damage that it may potentially create by using it. But don't forget this all goes back to hitting your target in the right spot to begin with. Keep in mind that the round that works great on soft tissue may not work as well on a hard bone.

The article below, from, discusses the physical ballistics of different rounds.
Best Choices for Self Defense Ammo

For actual Zombie defense ammo we recommend Hornday Zombie Max (tm).

Concealment Does Not Equal Cover (5/21/2011)

For the sake of training the terms “cover” and “concealment” are often used interchangeably, but this is not always true. Concealment is something that hides your location, while cover is something that will sustain a round.

The line between the cover and concealment blurs when high power rifles are used.

A two part video from B.U.S.T.: Basic Urban Skills Training. Unclassified test video for the US military, showing the ballistics of different firearms and calibers

Watch part 1 on Youtube

Watch part 2 on Youtube

Traveling with Firearms (8/22/2010)

Most of us knew we could do it but never have. Take some advice from a person that does it every time he can. This is an informative and concise guide to traveling with firearms. The video is about 40 mins, time well spent. He talks about the pros and cons of traveling with firearms.

The bottom line is know the rules, follow the rules, and be polite.

Watch "Packing the Freindly Skies" on Youtube

Reference material

During the video the he mentions his website has some documents. Below is a link to the the slides, reports, cheat sheet, airline report cards, and traveler's stories.

Reference Material

Ten signs you might be a gun nut (Added 7/7/2010)

submitted collectively by APC members

  1. You quiz your spouse on firearms identification during movies.
  2. You do tactical reloads on your toilet paper.
  3. You have tactical pajamas.
  4. You think it sexy when your spouse smells like Hoppes #9.
  5. You know that the nearest grocery store is 750 yards and the nearest Starbucks is 1080 yards.
  6. Your dinner conversations usually include penetration and ballistics.
  7. You know that Stoner does not refer to a pothead.
  8. You know your spouse's height is 65.5 MOA @ 100 yards.
  9. You spend your unemployment check on guns and ammo.
  10. You named your kids Colt, Walther, and Bushmaster.

Color Code of Awareness (Added 12/26/09)

Col. Jeff Cooper is considered the Grandfather of tactical Firearms training. During his career he developed what is known as the Color Code of Awareness. To some extent we are born with this, and is commonly known as the fight or flight response. This boolean viewpoint works well with simple defense techniques, but when the situation requires fine motor skill and cognitive decisions, the scale must take on new levels. Being able to smoothly transition from one level to the next is import to control your adrenalin during a confrontation.

Condition White

You are completely without a care in the world and unaware of anything around you. Normally people are not even fully in white while they are sleeping because most people will wake for a strange noise.

Condition Yellow

This should be your minimum state when you are outside you outside your home. This means looking around corners while walking, watching other driver for erratic behavior, and general awareness of your surroundings.

Condition Orange

You have identified a specific threat or issue. Perhaps it’s a homeless man on the corner, belligerent drunk, or possibly an unseal event. This does not mean that action is imminent, but it may be required.

Condition Red

Fully prepared for action! At this point you should be ready to act on the specific threat; you don't have to act but you should be mentally and physically ready.

Below are some links that explain this in more detail

Please look at for more information on Col. Jeff Cooper's teachings

The Amazon Jeff Coper page.