Thursday, April 09, 2015

WTF, Safariland?!

Recently I had the pleasure of shooting a revolver course as part of my ongoing commitment to staying  current and capable with the venerable wheel guns that I frequently carry. For this course, I was using my Smith and Wesson models 66 in .357 Magnum and 642 snubbie in .38 Special.

The course was fast-paced and dynamic and included lots of movement, positions hooting, barricade work and reloads under time constraints, often with lots of flashing lights and instructors loudly and firmly insisting that you hurry if/when you seem to be fumbling something. In sum, much fun!

For reloading, I was using Safariland speed loaders for both revolvers. I've usually been a fan of those over the older has designs because Safariland always seemed to hold the cartridges tighter and I liked the "push straight in to release" method over the "turn the knob to the right" operation of HKS. And to be fair to Safariland, I've never had a problem with any of their loaders until this day, but alas, on this day, the Safariland loader bit me in the ass hard.

In this stage, we were to draw from the holster, fire three rounds, step into a left-side barricade, fire three more, then advance to a new right-side barricade while reloading and fire three more. And all went well until...

As I moved into my new right-side position, I ejected my spent cases from the model 66 and slammed the speed loader filled with six new rounds into the waiting cylinder and pushed down on it to release the rounds, only to have the rounds not release from the loader. I pressed harder but the rounds still would not drop loose. I continued to push, all while trying to keep my eyes on the bad guy target, but it soon became apparent to one of the instructors that I was having an issue and he came over to offer some helpful advice.


Realizing by now that my cartridges were not coming out of this loader (and it was my last speed loader so there was no spare), I did all that I could do under the circumstances: I screamed a curse-word and threw my speed loader at the target, actually hitting it in the ten-ring.

Hey, when you're otherwise out of options, you do what you can, right?

Once the cease-fire was called, the instructor who was sweating me was having a hard time suppressing a grin as he told me that I was NOT getting credit for six ten-ring hits despite there being a big hole in the middle of the paper target where the speed loader, still firmly clinging to my six live rounds, had torn through it. The loader was now half way down the twenty-five yard range, all six rounds still locked in tight.

Another instructor came over. "So now that you have no ammo and no gun, how are you going to keep the bad guy from killing you?"

"I guess I have to use the other gun," I replied.

"Which other gun?" He asked, knowing that my 642 was sitting open and empty on the bench behind the firing line.

"HIS!" I said as I pulled my folding knife out of my pocket and snapped the blade back into it's locked open position.

Never give up, and never surrender. 

I still had enough solid hits to pass the course, and I got a comment added to my score-card that said: "Warrior spirit A+++"

Of course it also said "Get better equipment." Sigh.


  1. I'm surprised you didn't pull your BUG... :-)

  2. Anonymous10:41 AM

    I read somewhere that someone used his tactitard tomahawk in a similar situation. It didn't go as well with the instructor...