Off Body Carry

Carrying a concealed firearm can be a nerve-racking thing at first. If you haven’t had much time to wear the holster it could be uncomfortable, so much so that you don’t want to carry it anymore. I personally dealt with this by wearing a holster around the house in the appendix position and when standing at the showroom counter. This was the easiest way for me to get used to the pressure of the holster pushing against me and after probably 4 or 5 days it was fine. 2 weeks in I didn’t even know it was there anymore. Appendix carry is the fastest draw but it may not be possible for you to do all the time, maybe a uniform or wearing a suit or dress will prevent you from doing so. That is wear off body comes into play.

For women, I usually am not a fan of purse carry for a couple reasons.

1. If you are approached by a bad guy who wants your money, where is the money? Your wallet…in your purse. Where is that firearm? In your purse. They can just take the whole purse and you are defenseless.

2. The other reason is, that most people who do so just toss a gun in the purse without a holster. That’s a very easy way to have an accidental discharge. A pen or keys or anything really can go in the trigger guard and bump the trigger back, or you go to grab something out of the purse and it gets tripped up and pulls the trigger. If you want to purse carry use a holster, or a dedicated CCW purse with its own compartment is an option.

This is a better option than just throwing it in a purse, the firearm has its own compartment.

They make so many cool bags for concealing a firearm: backpacks, fanny packs, slings, computer bags, gym bags, purses. Some look tactical and definitely telegraph there is a firearm in that bag, most look like a regular old bag. CCW-specific bags will have a dedicated compartment for the firearm to be separated from the rest of the items you keep in a bag.

Everyday backpack option from Vertx
Sling bag from Vertx, perfect for carrying when you have no way to wear a belt or going to the store real fast after the gym.

A smaller rifle size bag from Grey Ghost. Throw a sub-gun in here and you are good to go

Now carrying this way doesn’t mean you should toss a gun in a bag and think you are good. Train. Train to get that gun out of the bag when you need to get it out. Practice getting to your weapon, drawing it, and getting it in the action. It’s no different than practicing your normal draw during dry fire. Practice drawing from the bag sitting down, standing up, from the seat next to you in the car, and kneeling down with the bag next to you. There’s never a time when you will say I practiced too many scenarios. Find something that works for you and practice, practice, practice.



This past weekend a couple of us participated in Pistol one at the Impact Shooting Center in Cleves, Ohio. Normally Shane Cardwell with the help of recent Impact Shoot 2 patch winner Bryan Flannagan. Due to outside circumstances, Shane was not able to instruct this class, so Bryan and our USPSA Master Class shooter Peter Woolard took over for Shane. Peter has been wanting to get into instructing so this all worked out for him and he crushed it. Bryan is always extremely helpful in getting people comfortable on the range, having Peter there as well just made it even better. Both guys have helped me go from shooting maybe 3-4 times in my life to 2 years later being pretty confident in what I can do now.

Starting the day off with intros and a safety briefing

The class itself was your bare-bones pistol 101. Getting people comfortable with a pistol and getting people ready to carry a firearm safely and responsibly. Grip. Sights. Trigger. Reloads. Very basic but very important things to know. I think fundamentals are one of the most overlooked things in any discipline. In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, the fundamentals are key, sure there are fancy moves and super high technique moves, they are all based on a fundamental base. When I started at AIM, Shooting was just something you did, when I started actually shooting with these guys, shooting was no different than learning jiu-jitsu or any other martial art. You have a strong fundamental base you can do anything else the sport evolves into.

I have taken this class and versions of it I want to say 4 times now, I made the choice to take a brand new gun to learn and I am very glad I did. The grip on this gun vs my M&P is completely different but also the mechanics of the firearm are different so it was a very good refresher. Had I taken it with my m&p I still would have learned something and further drilled in the fundamentals but that is me, I like going over something again and again. Another person, they may just take it once and be bored taking it again. I don’t mind drilling the basics until it’s automatic, I think I may take a pistol 1 class once a year, almost like spring training for baseball players.

Bryan does a tremendous job explaining things much like Shane does. An expert shooter and someone shooting a gun for the first time will both understand what is being explained. Pete did a great job for his first time, he can shoot like the best of them so seeing him share what he does to get that good is awesome. Whenever there’s something I don’t get or understand I go to Pete or I just copy what he does until I figure it out. I hope he gets the chance to teach more in the future.

I wish I had taken more pictures during the class but I was too into learning some new things! If you have a chance to take classes, do them. There is no reason to not always get better. Skills in shooting perish, refresh em!

Here is a dump of the rest of the shots I managed to get.


New Addition to the AimSurplus Facility

Every company is always looking for something to take them to the next level, something to set them apart from the competition. We are no different here at AIM, always on the lookout for a way to take things a step further. This is why we went all-in on new software and a virtual shooting range where we will test everything from accessories to ammo in all sorts of scenarios. We can set the machine up to run all sorts of scenarios and environments so we can truly test each product to its max. Here are a couple screenshots of our standard range setting. Where we have a 100-yard range set upon a farm of gravel.

Here we have me looking at the screen mid-use, using a Trijicon SRO for testing.
Here we have Pete testing out the rifle range up close and personal
Testing long-distance optics is a breeze with this new setup, look at how far out Josh Vance can see.

We call it the A.P.R.L.F.O.O.L system which stands for Automatic Product Research and Learning Fast Occular Optical Liason. This is no joke of a setup. The designer of the system April Foolery said ” This is my lives work all rolled up into one cheesy April fools joke” If you are still reading I am sorry. I had to do it, although I would not be mad if we did get a shooting simulator to have fun with. Happy April 1st ya knuckleheads.


Fast Is Fine But Accuracy Is Final

A couple posts back I discussed going to the Apex Tactical class for trigger installs and fitting barrels. I learned about the installation and custom work to get their gunsmith barrel to fit and the improved accuracy that comes with that custom fit. Randy Lee of Apex, mentioned the unique barrel geometry these barrels have will deliver five-shot groups well under two inches at 25 yards, whether it is with 115gr., 124gr. or 147gr. factory ammunition.

After class, all I wanted to do was put this to the test. This past weekend I finally got to test it out. Pete from AIM and myself both have the setups I did in the class so we met at Impact Shooting Center and got to work.

The first test we did was OEM Barrels at 10 yards for 5 shots and then the Apex for 5 shots at ten yards. We did not have a sandbag so we used a backpack, we are also not patient so I believe these groups could get even better. The shots were pretty much 3 seconds apart whereas if we waited and took our time for each shot it would have been even tighter groups. Shooting off a backpack with a pistol was also new to both of us and took a couple shots to figure out which is why we did 5 shots for each one.

This is the OEM barrel at ten yards off a backpack. You can see where the first two shots are and then where Pete figured out the spot to be in for the pack rest.
Apex barrel at ten yards from the backpack rest

Oem Barrel from 25 yards off a backpack, not bad but rushed.
Apex from 25 yards. Rushed and once he figured out where to set it best he started stacking them.

I think if we exercised patience and used a proper bag to shoot off, we would have gotten even better results than you see here. I am very impressed with how much of an impact these barrels have with very minimal fabrication. I highly recommend throwing one in your M&P!


Sharks with frickin laser beams…

AIM recently purchased a laser to do some in-house engraving and etching. We sent one of our guys to the great state of Texas to do some learning and really understand how to work this new setup. He came back with a lot of cool stuff and the potential to do some really really cool custom items.

We have experimented with using the laser for stippling and even engraving mags with cool designs and logos.

Here are some of the things we have done in-house for us.

It is pretty cool to have a laser we can use to customize some gear. Currently, we are offering a couple designs on some mags on the website in limited quantities. Check them out while they are still around and keep checking here or our social media pages to see what and when we release something new!


Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

A Couple of weeks ago I wrote about some drills to push your training further. One of these drills was Shane Cardwell of Impact Shooting Center’s Shoot 2 Standards.

During a cold and wet Saturday, someone finally passed the standards: Our very own Bryan Flannagan. We have all run this test countless times and failed. Shane himself has failed it multiple times and passed it just as many, your standards should not be able to be passed all the time. World champion shooters and top instructors have tried and failed. Seeing it happen outside of Shane doing it was awesome.

Bryan’s gear for this run was his trusty STI DVC-P with a Trijicon SRO red dot, sitting comfortably in a Tier 1 Concealed Axis Elite holster.

It was really cool to see someone finally get it outside Shane. I look forward to seeing who passes it next!


M&P Armorer Class

This past weekend I was fortunate enough to participate in the Apex Tactical M&P Armorer Course taught by by Master Gunsmith Randy Lee of Apex Tactical. This class was really cool, I knew the basics of breaking down the 2.0 to clean but understanding the why was awesome. We went over the design and interaction of parts, inspection of parts for excessive wear, proper maintenance, modification and customization to fit items like the Apex Trigger and Barrel.

For this class I purchased a semi drop in barrel to custom fit on my m&p as well as another barrel and apex trigger kit for a coworker.

I had a good understanding of how to do the trigger install myself but this was cool to see little tips to get it done smoother and faster, plus they gave us free bench blocks to use where as before I used whatever I had laying around, like rolls of duct tape, to prop my gun up enough to hit pins out. Randy was awesome, explained everything super clear and had good tips on getting stubborn pieces to work.

We started by completely stripping the frames and Randy gave a cool insight on the development of the trigger and what they wanted out of it.

Trigger install is pretty straight forward. I was one of the only people setting it up as light of a pull as possible.

After a quick lunch break we got into the custom fitting of the barrel. This was really cool. Getting better accuracy out of these pistols by a little fabrication peaks my interest. I love building things and using my hands so once we got into this part of class I was loving it. Theres a couple locations that need to be filed down, or milled down if you have the tooling, to achieve that perfect fit. A file and a jig with a little bit of patience gets you that perfect fit that gets you that improved accuracy.

At the end of the day, I had installed a new trigger kit on a 2.0 and two custom fit barrels for two 2.0s, great success!

Overall a really cool class, if you get the chance to take a class from them I highly recommended it. Very informative but not overwhelming to get discouraged.


Extra Baggage

We recently became a distributor of Savior Bags. I personally am very picky when it comes to bags for the range or storing rifles. I don’ like a bunch of unnecessary attachments or things hanging off the bags. Plain and simple works for me. The Gun goes in, is secure and anything extra I may need for that firearm can fit in the bag. That’s all I need. I have a dedicated range bag that everything I need goes in, so any other bags are just to make transport easy. This is where Savior comes in. These bags are awesome, especially when you factor in pricing on the bags. I don’t know if there is a better value in the industry.

Let’s look at one of their rifle bags. “The Urban Warfare Double Rifle Bag” Holds 2 Rifles with the option to remove the center divider to use as an extra placemat if you want. Secure, multiple carrying options and comes in 42″ and 36″ everything you will need and nothing that you don’t.

Savior Equipment Urban Warfare 42in Double Rifle Bag w/ Backpack Strap- Black
Savior Equipment Urban Warfare 42in Double Rifle Bag w/ Backpack Strap- Black
Savior Equipment Urban Warfare 42in Double Rifle Bag w/ Backpack Strap- Black
Savior Equipment Urban Warfare 42in Double Rifle Bag w/ Backpack Strap- Black

This next bag is my favorite from Savior: the SEMA Range Backpack. You get a locking handgun compartment, 3 single pistol cases that are also lockable. Full size admin panel and organizer. Multiple pockets for tools or snacks or whatever you need. Its on the smaller compact size but its perfect for range trips where you only plan on shooting a pistol or two.

Savior Equipment Mobile Arsenal SEMA COMPACT Range Backpack w/ 3 Separate Pistol Case- Grey
Savior Equipment Mobile Arsenal SEMA COMPACT Range Backpack w/ 3 Separate Pistol Case- Grey
Savior Equipment Mobile Arsenal SEMA COMPACT Range Backpack w/ 3 Separate Pistol Case- Grey

We carry multiple colors and a couple additional styles of bags like an SBR size bag, a pistol bag and mag holder. We are always getting fresh shipments in and new styles and colorways. Check them out on the website and stay up to date on what we get in.


Carry Ammo

Over the last year and a half working in the showroom, I noticed a large amount of people carried range ammo for their carry ammo. Now, we did have a little bit of an ammo availability situation so that could be the reason why but still.

When grabbing some defense ammo, I like to look at FPS and I like 1300 range just cause of the ballistic videos I have watched personally but you may carry something different. In my M&P I run Federal HST, in my Stribog I run Hornady Critical Defense, in my .300 blackout I run Grind Hard Ammo .300 blackout subsonic max expansion. That being said, what I run may not work for you. Youtube is a great source for reviews on ammo types.

There are a lot of reasons you do not want to run range ammo. FMJ/Range ammo does not expand upon impacting the target, because the bullet is typically a round nose or ball. This means you are going to get less damage than an expanding bullet and a round will easily pass through a body and possibly cause damage to an innocent person.

With Jacketed Hollow Point or Hollow Point, you are going to get expansion and transfer more energy into the threat to create a larger wound channel, increasing your potential to stop the threat sooner. The chance of over penetration is lowered so innocent bystanders are in less danger.

Target and Range ammo is best for…you guessed it the Target and Range. When your life or your families life is on the line, use defense ammo.

Drills to push your training.

Did you get out and train this past weekend? A lot of the guys at Aim shoot at least one day a week. Sometimes it is 1 or 2 of us, sometimes it’s 12 of us. Random days will be rifle and pistols, some just rifles or pistols, no real pattern just kind of whoever feels like doing something does it.

This weekend a couple of us worked on two really fun and challenging standards. I enjoy these drills because they are doable but really push you to use what you have tried so hard to perfect.

The F.A.S.T Challenge and Shoot 2.

The F.A.S.T is a really fun one to run especially when you read it and think “ok that seems very possible to run clean” And then you do it and really have to be dialed in to even come close. Forcing you to rely on what you have learned and apply it properly. Here is the challenge:

This drill was created by the late Todd Green. the F.A.S.T drill is now done with Ernest Langdon. The target is set at 7 yards and consists of a 3×5 box and an 8-inch circle.

The F.A.S.T. (Fundamentals, Accuracy, & Speed Test):
Range: 7 yards
Start position: weapon concealed or in retention duty holster with all retention devices active; shooter facing downrange in a relaxed stance with arms down at sides.
The drill begins from the holster, pistol loaded with exactly two rounds.
• draw
• fire two (and only two) rounds at the 3×5 box
• perform a slide lock reload
• fire four (and only four) rounds at the 8″ circle
Open top retention (ALS, SERPA) without concealment
add 0.50 seconds to the final score.
Flap/retention mag pouch subtract 0.50 seconds.
Misses to 3×5 box add 2.00 seconds per miss.
Misses to 8” circle add 1.00 seconds per miss.
10+ seconds: Novice
less than 10 seconds: Intermediate
less than 7 seconds: Advanced
less than 5 seconds: Expert

The only way to get a coin for passing is an expert run under pressure in a Langdon class.

The other drill I personally try to run every range trip is the Shoot 2 Standards from Shane Cardwell from Impact Shooting Center.

This Drill is tough as well. Most of the time you will run it clean and not for time, or run it for time and miss shots. It will be the death of me I swear.

The Shoot 2 Standards):
Range: 7 yards
Start position: weapon concealed or in OWB holster
The drill begins from the holster
• draw
• fire two (and only two) rounds at the 3×5 box
• Repeat for 5 rounds, 5 total draws, and 10 total shots

Scoring: Par time must not exceed 9 seconds total and must be clean (no misses outside the 3×5 card. Line breaks DO count as hits.

.15 second penalty for OWB but NO penalty for level 3 retention

No Mulligans.

I have seen multi-time world champion shooters fail this, I have seen shooters that are on a different level than normal shooters fail this. I have seen Shane pass it himself numerous times and I have seen him fail it as well. It is tough but like the F.A.S.T drill….it will motivate you to fix your flaws.

If you want to take a run at these here are the targets: