Saturday, February 16, 2019

Gear Review: RE Factor Sharpshooter Target Pack

As a firearms instructor, I am always on the lookout for ways to make my training dynamic and more realistic.  Shooting at the regular static silhouette or bullseye paper targets tends to be one-dimensional and offers little ability to challenge my students.  I need a way to give my students a wide variety of drills to help them think about changing threat scenarios and dynamic target acquisition requirements.  I have found a solution to my training needs that helps me to give my students among the finest targets for shooting practice available that not only give them the ability to respond to dynamic scenarios, but also to help them visualize vital areas on a target.

I recently had a chance to review the RE Factor Sharpshooter Target Pack, which ended up being the absolute best set of targets for shooting practice that I have tried.  This target pack more than meets my need to create a multitude of shooting drills and gives me a vast array of creative options to make defensive shooting training more realistic and much more fun.

First of all - these targets are of very high quality, and they are BIG, measuring at 23" by 35".  This gives me a lot of target real estate with which to create meaningful drills and shooting exercises.

The variety of targets in this target pack is perfect for the instructor who wants to be able to change things up and make training dynamic, and quite frankly, a lot of fun!  This pack comes with ten each of the following targets:

  • Essential Target: This is a black and white target that has numbered circles and squares of various sizes as well as a bullseye target.  I have found this target to be an excellent warm-up target and a great way for students to "sight-in" their firearms to get an idea where their handguns are shooting, as well as make any necessary adjustments to carbine sights.

  • Kill Zone Target:  The most important thing I teach my students is that "stopping the threat" is the primary idea in defensive shooting.  This target gives a great way to visualize the relationship between where vital areas of the human body are located.  The added bonus of this particular target is that the anatomical features are overlaid onto a USPSA style target template.  Many of us here shoot in USPSA matches and this target reinforces how scoring accurately on a USPSA style target (areas A, B, C, D) actually relates to real-life defensive shooting scenarios.

  • IQ Pistol Target:  This target is by far my favorite for making my students think and react quickly to shooting scenarios.  The target has large rectangles, squares, and circles, each of a different color, and also with a different number.  This allows me as the instructor to call out commands to shoot at specific shapes, specific colors, and specific numbers.  And with the large size of these targets, my students are forced to have to move their point of aim and quickly acquire a new target multiple times per drill.

  • IQ Rifle Target:  When I need a target to sharpen skills and improve accuracy, this is the target I use most.  The IQ Rifle Target has a wide variety of rectangles, squares, and circles, each of a different color, and also with a different number, just like the IQ Pistol Target.  However, they are small in size.  This gives me great flexibility in two areas.  If I am teaching a pistol class to my more advanced students, I can use this targets with its smaller targets to help my students build on their skills by making them shoot at smaller targets, forcing them to improve their accuracy.  If I am teaching a defensive rifle class, I use this target with the smaller shapes because rifle shooting tends to require more accuracy as a primary weapon.


Overall, I have found these targets to be of the highest quality and giving me the most flexibility of any targets that I have tried.  As a firearms instructor, I need to give my students the most dynamic, realistic, and challenging shooting scenarios and practice possible.  The folks at RE Factor Tactical have developed targets that more than meet my needs, and of a quality that can't be matched.

Please visit RE Factor Tactical for a wide range of targets and shooting accessories.



"The Gonz" is an NRA Certified Firearms Instructor and NRA Certified Range Safety Office in the Northern Colorado area offering one-on-one and individualized defensive firearms training.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

A Closer Look at Gun Security


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The local and national news programs seem to feature stories about shooting accidents (negligence) on a weekly basis. So often the lack of gun security is the reason these disasters occur. Gun security is not rocket science, it is common sense, yet many homes that have firearms do not follow basic steps to ensure proper safety. This lack of responsibility leads many people to call for national gun controls. We have (too many) gun control laws and policies.  We just need people to practice proper gun security without it having to be legislated.

Gun security can be as complicated or as simple as you want to make it. The gun security system that works best for you will depend on what type of firearms you own and the purpose of owning it.

For people that own firearms for hunting, gun security usually involves a gun safe. This is often due to the high cost of these firearms. The gun safes protect the firearms from moisture and theft as well as keeping them out of the reach of curious children.

A safe adds greatly to gun security because they are extremely heavy so they are difficult to walk off with, and the locking system stops casual theft. Some gun safes even have a separate area to lock and store ammunition, separate from the firearms. This is one of the key elements in gun security, having ammunition and firearms located in different secured containers.


Many gun collectors like to display their collections in glass cases. These cases often come with locks however they are not the best method when it comes to gun security because the cases can be easily broken into. Also, these cases are usually lightweight enough that thieves could carry them away.

Handguns present yet another issue.  Most of us, especially concealed carry practitioners, keep at least one handgun loaded for home security.  We need to keep these handguns secure, yet quickly accessible.  So in those instances, we typically keep them in a biometric handgun safe, or one that uses a short combination of button presses to keep them readily accessible when we're not carrying them.

When considering gun security for your home there are a number of factors to consider. You want to make sure that your firearm is not used against you in the case of a robbery. The easiest way to avoid this is to make sure that none of your firearms are left loaded, and that both the firearm and ammunition are locked in separate areas of your home.  The exception, of course, being the ready firearm mentioned above.  But the handgun safe containing that firearm should be well hidden and will not be obvious to the home invader. You also want to make sure that children that are living in your home or visiting your home do not have access to firearms.

Children are naturally curious, especially about weapons. Often times the shooting accidents (negligence) involve children that are playing with a loaded firearm. Children are going to push, pull and press on all areas of a gun, so they can easily take it off the safety, without knowing what they are doing. Also when playing with a gun, children naturally point and pull a trigger, which leads to disaster if the firearm is loaded. It is important to talk to your children about gun security and to also have them attend gun safety education courses.

The right to bear arms is one of the basic rights of Americans. As with all of our rights, this comes with the need for responsibility. Gun security is using common sense (our version of common sense, not that of the politicians or gun control groups) to ensure the safety of everyone living in and visiting the home that has firearms. Very simple steps can ensure gun safety in your home.



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A one-year regular membership is just $30.00 per year, with savings for multiple years or life memberships.

A full membership also includes your choice of magazine subscriptions to the most informative firearms publications available today.

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Thursday, September 6, 2018

The Failure of Self-Defense Products

I know I have written a number of times about the importance of practicing with your firearms, inspecting your gear, getting training, and making sure that your every-day-carry tools are functional.  But how many times do you think about your other self-defense tools for which testing and training are just not possible or practical?  If you live or work in an area where you feel the need for self-defense products, don't you want to be certain that the products work -- before you find yourself in a situation where you need them? Of course, you do. For this reason, you need to test them.

Now, obviously, you are not about to spray yourself in the face with pepper spray or taze yourself with a taser -- but you do need to test them to make certain that they work. In the end, as far as tasers go -- unless you are willing to taze yourself, you can only make sure that the batteries are operable by trying them out in another device. Make it a habit to put fresh batteries in -- or at the very least to test the batteries -- at least once a month.

You can spray pepper spray or mace to make sure that the sprayer operates correctly -- and that you know how to operate it. Make sure that you do this outside, and that you spray the mace or pepper spray onto a surface. You can sniff the surface -- carefully -- after spraying to make sure that the chemicals will actually do something to a would-be attacker. 


 Non-Lethal Self-Defense and Safety Products


Aside from this type of testing, the only other thing that you can do is to be prepared for your self-defense product to fail. If your taser didn't work, or the spray didn't work, what is your next course of action? Make sure that you have a plan in mind before it happens!

Have self-defense products that will not fail. For example, a police whistle is a good self-defense product. It will not fail, and it will alert other people to a problem, or to your location. It will often scare away an attacker as well. But having said that, I am a strong proponent of firearms for self-defense, and strongly encourage you to get a firearm, get trained, and know how to defend yourself with one.  Firearms are not as likely to fail, but they are a tool that you can use improperly if you are not trained and can fail more often do not inspect your gear and keep it in good working order.

It is also a good idea to learn some basic self-defense moves, in case your product fails. Consider taking a self-defense class in your area. Obviously, your first desire should be to prevent an attack. Your next desire should be to keep an attacker away from you, and your third option should be to strike back with physical moves if you are put in a situation, where there is no other choice.


Support the NRA and Protect Our 2nd Amendment Rights!

NRA Membership is Affordable! 

A one-year regular membership is just $30.00 per year, with savings for multiple years or life memberships.

A full membership also includes your choice of magazine subscriptions to the most informative firearms publications available today.

Additional insurance and other great benefits. 

Support the NRA through your membership.  JOIN THE NRA TODAY


You can save on a regular annual membership by joining for multiple years.  A one-year membership just $30.00.  JOIN TODAY.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

How To Teach New Shooters

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Getting new shooters interested in and comfortable with firearms doesn't need to be too difficult.  Some folks have grown up around guns but had never really spent a lot of time with them as an adult.  And yet others have never shot firearms at all and maybe grew up in families that did not like firearms. But regardless of experience levels, it is great to get new shooters out to go shooting and get them comfortable around firearms. Many new shooters do extremely well because they have not built up a lot of the bad habits that we old-timers have.  They just need some training in the fundamentals and safety, and then some hands-on coaching as to how to improve grip, trigger control, aim, and presentation.  I have found that many brand new shooters are like sponges - they are extremely open to and absorb what I am teaching them very quickly.

Today, many of my former students who I stay in touch with are crack shots and can handle a firearm with the best of them.  But I know that some people who, even though they just aren't comfortable around firearms, tend to warm up to them and actually enjoy the shooting sports if taught properly.  So here are some of the things I have learned along the way, not only teaching my wife and daughters to shoot but in teaching some of my brand new students as well:
  • Do not pressure the new shooter. This is not military boot camp; you will find that high-pressure tactics are counterproductive. Trying to pressure newcomers to do something they do not want to do or are not familiar with will only ensure that they will never accept it.
  • Have the appropriate safety gear. Having eye and ear protection ready and explaining their use will help allay any fears. Also, before the firearms are introduced, go over the four basic firearm safety rules:
    • Every gun is loaded, even if it is disassembled.
    • Never point your gun at anything you do not intend to destroy.
    • Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to fire.
    • Be aware of your target, what is behind it, and is between you and the target.
  • Start with a simple, small caliber firearm. Explain and show the basic operating principles of the firearm you use. For teaching long guns, I like either a .22 semi-auto like a Ruger 10/22, or a single shot break action .410. If I am teaching pistol use I prefer to start with a .22 or a .38 revolver. Make sure that if you start with a magazine fed firearm, you still have them try out a revolver to see what they are most comfortable with, and so that you can explain the differences between the two types of firearms.
  • Do not use humanoid targets until you start to get into defensive shooting. If it's an outdoor range and we are using long guns, clay pidgeons also work well.  They break in a satisfying way and are biodegradable.  I like to use simple bullseye targets for rifle shooting also.  For pistols, a regular target turned around with a paper plate stapled to the center gives a large non-threatening target.
  • Last but not least, go slow. Answer any questions simply without going into a long technological lecture. The point of the first few sessions is to allay fears and allow your newbie to become accustomed to shooting.
You will find, as I have, that if you make new shooters feel secure, allow them to go at their own pace and do not pressure them, people new to the shooting sports will rapidly begin to enjoy this activity. My wife and daughters took to shooting like naturals, and now they get better range scores than I do.


Support the NRA and Protect Our 2nd Amendment Rights!

NRA Membership is Affordable! 

A one-year regular membership is just $30.00 per year, with savings for multiple years or life memberships.

A full membership also includes your choice of magazine subscriptions to the most informative firearms publications available today.

Additional insurance and other great benefits. 

Support the NRA through your membership.  JOIN THE NRA TODAY


You can save on a regular annual membership by joining for multiple years.  A one-year membership just $30.00.  JOIN TODAY.