Tech Tuesday: Carbon Arms Pinwheels

So, now that I’m supposed to be good at this whole 3 gun adventure, I had to take a look at the weakest part of my game. Keeping shells in the shotgun.


As is standard, I spent hours and hours dry-firing with my 4 shell caddies, complete with crushed thumbs, cursing, and a few tears trying to gain a measure of proficiency at reloading my Mossberg 930. I had looked into the TWinS method when it was brand new and decided to stick with what I “knew” at the time. Fast forward to now, and it’s a much more proven method and I decided to give it a whirl after Lena Miculek let me try out her set-up. SSLP8I know ya’ll aren’t interested in excuses, but I’m still sick with what I’m calling the “delayed incubation SHOT Show death crud”, so the pictures are from Carbon Arms website (thanks guys!), but here’s what I’ve got to say about the SSLP 8.


One of the first things I noticed is that the clips themselves are very high quality, and I don’t expect them to break or wear out, barring me doing something stupid. One of the things that I think could be improved on though, are the instructions. I was a little lost at first on how exactly I was supposed to attach and orient the ELS backer, and I didn’t get it fully worked out until James Casanova showed me his rig at SHOT Show. He (and now I) had his Pinwheel oriented in a vertical arrangement, similar to their FSL caddy, rather than working all the way around the belt like is shown in a lot of pictures. Since I switched mine over, my loads have gotten a lot smoother.


So, after you get them set-up, it’s time to go to work. Remember, there is some modification to the loading port that is required to use the TWinS method, but that’ll be the subject of another post. Just like with regular caddies, you can load strong hand or weak hand. Weak hand loading you simply flip the gun over while grabbing the shells in your weak hand. Loading with the strong hand requires you to flip the gun up on top of your shoulder. Personally, I’m much faster and more consistent loading strong hand, rather than weak hand. I think it has to do with the angle of the gun when you’re trying to feed the shells into the loading port. Having the gun on your shoulder puts you at a downward angle, as opposed to weakhand, where the gun is mostly flat.


After a few days of practice, I’m getting around 4-4.5 seconds to load 8 shells on a pretty consistent basis. This is way faster than I have ever been able to load 8 with the standard caddies, and that’s after months of practice. I’m pleased with the way the pinwheels perform, and while I’m still tweaking the angle and location of them, I can recommend them to anybody, especially a newcomer to 3 gun who isn’t invested in the load 4 technique.

NSSF Blog: Mayors Reportedly Preparing Boycott of Gun Manufacturers

The NSSF Blog has an article reporting that Minneapolis, as well as up to 60 other cities are planning to supposed boycott of firearm and ammunition manufacturers if they don’t fall in line with their gun control agenda. This seems like it really has the potential to backfire, as it looks like the cities ready to boycott, are also the ones that go through a lot of ammo. With the current state and mood of our industry, I can see quite a few Ronnie Barrett letters being sent out should they try this tactic…

Tech Tuesday: New Cameron’s 6″ 9mm

Alright, today’s article will be short because I don’t have many rounds on the gun, but I will write a follow-up in a month or so.

Cameron's Custom 6 inch


Alright, so here we go. I picked it up from my dealer yesterday afternoon, and couldn’t wait to get out this morning and give it a good run through. Cosmetic wise when I pulled it out of the box, the gun is perfect. Eddie does an awesome job at bead-blasting and polishing the gun, and to quote my wife “That gun just looks clean“. I couldn’t have said it better myself, the lines and cuts on the gun look great, and take the needed weight out of the slide to cycle with my GreenMatch Competition ammo from SBR that I use for Steel Challenge. We used a 6″ AET barrel from Schuemann that has no hybrid ports. I’ve never had a gun with this set-up before, and I’m anxious to run some standardized drills with it to see how it stacks up against what I’m used to. Currently, the gun has one of the TAS rear sights from STI on it, but this is only temporary until something new and cool comes onto the market (a hint of things to come).


I only had time to run about 100 rounds through it this morning on an indoor range, but so far I’m really liking the way the 6″ sight radius with the sight tracker looks under recoil, and of course the gun ran great right out of the box. It’s not easy to get a gun to run 100% straight away on 112 power factor ammo, so that’s just another sign that they know how to put a gun together in my mind. Being a 9MM, it’s really designed forteel Challenge and 3-Gun, but it may just make an appearance at the Texas Open in March and we’ll se how Limited minor performs. Until next time, Train To Triumph!

Camerons left side Camerons Top

Friday Tip-Off: Mental Game

OK, so I promised another mental game tip last week and SHOT Show managed to get in the way, so here we go.


Lanny Bassham’s “With Winning In Mind” offers wonderful insight into how to increase performance in stress situations. However, the shooting parts of the book are predominately focused on Olympic style rifle, where competitors have the opportunity to run a mental program for each individual shot fired.What I’d like to do, is explain how I apply those concepts to only being able to run a mental program for each string or stage.


I’m going to focus mostly on Steel Challenge, as a strong mental game is absolutely critical to putting up your best performance. If you have a rough stage in a good sized USPSA Match, you usually have 30-45 minutes to shake it off and get ready again. Steel Challenge on the other hand, you know immediately how your string went, and you only have a few seconds before having to put down another run. In reality, I have two separate mental programs that I run during Steel Challenge matches, one for prep/ getting ready, and then a separate program when I get in the shooter’s box.


Mental Program

Lost in thought getting ready for my run.

When I’m about 2 shooters away, I’ll start running my first mental program. Staying focused on getting ready (I also run this same type of program almost consistently in practice), I draw on the Lanny Bassham principle that a strong self-image leads to a stronger performance. So, I mostly focus on visualizing a fast, clean draw with a perfect grip, and then seeing my sights in the center of every plate with a quick snap transition to the stop plate. I finish off my thinking “That’s like me!”, thereby building my self-image of hitting every target 1-for-1. Remember, the more you think about something happening, the more likely it is to happen. I can’t tell you the number of times I accidentally let myself imagine a puff of dust in the berm behind the target and then went on to miss that very same plate on the next run. It is extremely important that you control what you visualize when you’re getting ready. Even if you are worried about the difficulty of a target or array, it’s still always better to imagine it going right, rather than bad.


Now, when I step into the shooter’s box, it’s time to forget about the steps and focus on performing. Instead of visualizing the string and thinking “That’s like me”, I’ll transition into thinking that I “need to shoot like me” which bring up the memory of going 1-for-1 on each target.

Doug Koenig is one of the best at running mental programs.

Doug Koenig is one of the best at running mental programs.

After the make ready command, I run a very specific and consistent set of checks like making sure my dot is on, my holster is unlocked and not tensioned way down, etc. I can’t tell you how important it is to do the exact same things, each time you get to the line. If you break your mental program, your chances of performing your best aren’t very good at all. After the gun is loaded and ready to go, my left hand will go into the start position first, shortly followed by my right, which came directly from having a grip on the pistol. A short nod and exhale on the “Stand By” command and I’m ready to go. I challenge everybody to come up with their own mental program that works for them and stick with it, as it’s definitely one of the fastest ways to improve match performance.


Let me know if ya’ll want more on this subject and I’ll talk about being able to run 2 programs for different segments in a stage (long USPSA stages and 3-Gun). Until next time, Train To Triumph!