AIWB & Red Dot Pistol
Gas City, Indiana
July 13-14, 2019
Weather: Clear and Hot, Low to mid 90’s and Indiana Humidity
Glock 19 Gen 5 MOS:
- Trijicon RMR Gen 2 w/ 6 MOA Red Dot
- Zev Technologies Threaded Match Barrel
- Primary Machine Compensator
- Agency Arms Magwell
- Ameriglo Suppressor Height Iron Sights with Yellow High Vis Front Sight with Tritium
- X300 and Olight PL-Pro
- Factory Trigger and Overwatch Poly DAT
- Lone Wolf Stainless 19 with Gen 4 Adaptor and ISM Compact 15 lbs.
- Phlster Spotlight
- Safariland 6832 RDS for Glock 34 to accept the comped G19
- Soloman Quest 4D GTX Forces
- ARES Gear Aegis Enhanced for AIWB
- ARES Duty Belt with ARES Liner Belt for Red Dot Pistol
- Winchester 9mm NATO 124 gr
- Thermal Cell
- Sawyers Picardian
After hearing about the benefits of red dots on duty grade pistols on podcast and reading about them on forum post I became interested. I had shot red dot “scopes” on rimfire pistols in the past, but they were plinking grade at best. As better-quality miniature red dots and superior mounting options appeared my interest increased. I had an opportunity to shoot a Glock 17 with an Aimpoint T1 and I was hooked, I was going to build a red dot pistol.
I kept hearing the name Scott Jedlinski, Jedi, on forums and podcast as the go to guy for red dot pistol training. The 2018 Friends of Pat was announced, and Scott was one of the featured trainers. When I build a firearm or add accessories, I like to run the weapon in a class to get a feel of the reliability prior to placing the firearm in service as a self-defense item or for work. A one-day class is not a tough test, but issues should arise in a quality class. At Friends of Pat I stacked the deck against myself. I had built a pistol and not toughly tested it. I bought ammo that I thought was good enough and received the holster I used days prior to leaving. Scott’s class was full of great information and instruction was top notch. My equipment however failed me, constant malfunctions with my pistol and holster issues made the class a less than enjoyable experience. That being said I was impressed with Scott’s teaching methods and individual attention to each student, even with 20 plus students on the line. I was determined to take a full class with Scott.
As soon as I got back from Friends of Pat, I started seeking ways to fix the pistol malfunctions and solve the holster issue. I switched out the factory recoil spring with a Lone Wolf Stainless Steel one piece, added the Gen 4 adaptor and went with a 15 lbs. spring to split the difference between factory weight and Light. I started testing ammo for reliability and found that my pistol prefers ammo running 1100-1200 FPS, anything lower produces malfunctions. I solved my holster issues with light file work.
I had originally attempted to sign up for Scott’s Cincinnati 3-day AIWB and Red Dot class, but it sold out before I could pay for the class. I started looking for other classes within a 5-hour drive and started running into issues with hotel rooms. Luck had it that a class in Gas City, Indiana appeared on the website. This was win as Gas City is only an hour and half away and hotels rates were low.
I prepped for the class by loading nine magazines prior to leaving. This allows for a smoother start to the first day of training and allows you to listen to instructions, fill out forms and relax a little instead of jamming mags. I have switched to SAW cans for most of my ammunition storage for classes. The cans are bigger than 50 cal cans, but not too big. Their size allows for 500 rounds of ammo and loaded pistol mags to be in one container making for one less item to deal with. My primary ammo for this class was the Winchester NATO 124 gr. This ammo has been the most reliable in my pistol and has been very accurate. I only experienced one stovepipe during the two days of class. I did bring additional brands that I had tested prior to class just in case I ran out. Magazines used were 3 factory Glock 19 mags, 6 MagPul 19 mags and 1 MagPul 17 mag.
To make life easier and save my thumbs I use a magazine loader. The other reason I keep magazine loaders around is due to teaching beginner classes. A magazine loader allows a student the ability to be self-sufficient when loading mags and speeds the process up during breaks. I have had a Cambi Loader Model #104 for several years and recently picked up a Caldwell Mag Charger. The Cambi is universal, except for rimfire, pistol mag loader. This loader has been reliable and survived multiple high round count classes along with monthly qualifiers for work. I have not had any issues with this loader until I purchased MagPul Glock Mags. The MagPuls have a different internal space than factory magazines causing the rounds to stagger differently, and the base pad causes the magazine to set at different angle. The MapPuls cause the Cambi to bind when pushing down the top round and cause more stress on the loader than I would like. The loader will work, but you must use your thumb to push the round down slightly before you get the advantage of the loader.
After using the Caldwell Mag Charger for two classes and a few hundred rounds, I am not a fan. The Caldwell loads the magazine upside down and requires that a wheel be turned to hold the magazine in place. A single round is placed in a window and a lever is squeezed and the round is fed into the feed lips of the mag. The loader works ok with metal mags or metal lined mags such as Glock factory mags. The problem with the loader appears when using a magazine with a polymer feed lip such as the MagPul Glock mags. When you tighten the knob holding the magazine in place the pressure is not enough to hold the magazine in the proper location due to the slick polymer exterior. When the round is pressed into the feed lips of the magazine the magazine raises slightly and the round is forced between the feed lips instead of under them. This issue was occurred on three separate magazines and actually damaged the feed lips of those magazines. I did contact Caldwell and explain the issue and I provided pictures of the issue. I was sent an updated version; however, the issues continue to occur. I believe the issues is caused by the insufficient pressure exerted on the magazine by the knob.
I chose Solomon Quest 4D GTX Forces as my duty boot this year. I have worn them on duty for two months now and I am extremely satisfied. The boots are the most comfortable boots I have worn and grip on surfaces is outstanding. This is the first time I have chosen a quarter boot for duty as I have worn full size boots since starting. Wearing quarter boots for a few years off duty and for part-time work has shown that their support and protection is on par with full size boots, but I believe comfort is improved. The construction of quarter boots allows for them to be more comfortable when standing for long periods of time. The only disadvantage I have found to quarter boots is I must watch water depth closer. The Solomon were chosen after reading reviews of both outdoor enthusiast and soldiers down range. The only complaint I have is the material is still squeaking and can be noisy in quiet environments. I had no issues with my feet after two days on the range and my feet were dry at the end of both days even with temperatures in excess of 90 each day. The soles are excellent, and I had no issues with rocks on the range or cases.
Due to my experience taking classes over the years in hot temperatures I came prepared to hydrate. I chilled my cooler overnight with ice prior to adding items. I prepared two 3 Liter Camelbac bladders adding NUNN electrolyte tablets to each one. Pat Rogers brought the electrolyte tablets to my attention. He recommended Camelbac tablets and even provide a tube during his classes. Sadly, Camelbac stopped producing their tablets as they had excellent taste and worked. The closest I have found for a replacement is NUNN. The flavors are lighter, and the cost can be high, but they work. I then prepared two 1-liter insulated bottles that I cooled overnight in the refrigerator and added ice, cold water and NUNN tablets prior to leaving. I added the Camelbacs and water bottles to the cooler and added additional ice over the top of the items. I bring an empty Camelbac pack and just replace bladders as I empty them. For logistics reasons I try to only drink from the Camelbacs on the range and drink from the insulated bottles during breaks. The insulated bottles are easier to refill and stay cold longer when exposed to the elements. I did not have any hydration issues during class and prepping allowed me to refill on breaks quickly.
TD 1 AIWB
I had preplanned the route to the range on Google Maps weeks prior when I was searching for hotels and didn’t give it a second thought. There was a mistake in an email and the wrong address was given for the range. I failed to use my pre-planning and entered the address in Waze and showed up at the wrong location. After I remembered the correct address, I arrived with a few minutes to spare before the scheduled start time. Another reason prepping for class is a good idea. In the past I have made a test run to the range at other classes, this time I did not. Lesson reaffirmed.
Scott provided a safety brief, bio and explained the purpose of the class. Scott makes it clear that he is not interested in the type of pistol you are using or the accessories you have added, he is there to make you a more efficient shooter with what you have brought. Scott had each student introduce themselves and state what they were hoping to gain from the class. My reason for taking this class was to explore AIWB as a carry option and learn proper technique to run the red dot pistol as efficiently as possible. I have carried concealed since the day I was legally allowed but it has been at the traditional 4 o’clock position inside the waistband. AIWB interest me, but I have had a lot of questions on techniques, positioning and concealment.
This was a small class at 8 students, which I really enjoyed. Common earth people were in attendance and 1 other Law Enforcement officer beside myself. Scott makes it clear this is a way, not the way. Scott combines lessons learned in shooting and martial arts to show why body mechanics are very important to proper technique. Hands-on demonstrations were conducted one on one with other students providing verification of the information.
Scott verified where each student had placed their pistol and verified the holster being used. Each student would draw their pistol multiple times dry allowing Scott to walk the line observing our technique. Scott advised that he would show us techniques that have worked for him and he ask that we use those techniques for a couple reps. If the technique did not work for us, we could revert to what works.
Scott explained his grip then walked the line personally showing each student the proper way to obtain the grip. We would draw dry then use live fire to verify technique.
Various draws were demonstrated with live fire showing the advantages and disadvantages. We would then try each technique with multiple reps. Once we completed the various techniques, we were allowed to choose one that we felt most comfortable with and check our efficiency with the shot timer. Hand placement is very important in any draw, AIWB is no exception. Under Scott’s observation, he would modify your grip or support hand placement increasing the efficiency of the draw.
Properly removing the cover garment was covered with detail and individual observation. Scott recommends starting with only a cover garment and eliminating a base garment behind the gun. He also recommends using a stiffer / heavier shirt compared to a shirt that stretches. The stiffer shirt allows for a better grip and more efficient removal from the gun.
Scott addressed movement during the draw. Dropping the shoulders, head movement, feet movement, etc. are wasted movement and add time to the draw. Scott is a master at spotting wasted movement and has no issues with calling you out on it after he points it out. From a competition standpoint extra movement is added time on the clock, in a self defense situation it leads to you being behind in the race for your life. Scott explains to train to the point you are drawing on the B of BEEP on the shot timer and not the P.
Reloads from concealment were covered by explaining the proper placement of the reload and timing. Reloads were demonstrated, tried dry then fired live and under the shot timer. Our efficiency at reloading was tested with a drill of firing one round, reloading and firing two rounds under time.
To finish the day off we ran concealed draws on steel on the shot timer. We competed against other student and the clock exposing any issues in the efficiency of our draw. I had thrown in my Bobcat Armament ABC steel silhouette and stand just in case the range did not have steel available. Due to other events prior to our class steel was not easily accessible. The Bobcat stand is quick to put together and built tough. I have added galvanized chain and bolts to my target making the hardware resistant to bullet strikes. The target took several impacts without damage and proved to be tough. Each student made multiple runs and we reaffirmed that steel doesn’t lie. As an added bonus we had the opportunity to see Scott fire one round from concealment in 0.88 seconds from 25 yards making a solid A zone hit on the steel.
TD 1 ended with a class dinner at a local restaurant. The day ended with reloading mags, refilling Camelbaks and water jugs. The day was hot but staying hydrated helped. When I got to the room, I found that my MOS mount had come loose even though I installed it with blue Loctite. I was surprised as I had not seen a reduction in accuracy throughout the day. I removed the mount RMR, MOS Mount cleaned the threads. I reapplied blue Loctite on the MOS mount screws and RMR screws and reassembled. I removed the Overwatch Poly DAK I had installed TD1 as I felt it was affecting my shooting and I do not have the trigger installed on any other pistols. I wanted to have the standard trigger to match my duty pistol TD2. I also removed the x300 from my pistol and installed the Olight PL Pro to complete my evaluation of the light during TD2.
Round count for TD1 was 450.
TD 2 Red Dot Pistol
My goal of TD2 was to speed up my draw and improve my pistol accuracy. I chose to use my duty rig to test myself on a rig I use daily and that is the toughest draw I have. For work I run a 7TS ALS / SLS with Sentry making the holster level 4. For the class I chose the 6832 RDS ALS / SLS and added the Sentry resembling my duty rig but allowing me to use an RDS pistol. I also added the QLS system to my duty rig allowing me to switch holsters easily and maintain the same belt setup without the added cost of buying double equipment. I personally do not feel the Sentry slows my draw significantly. I have run the Sentry since it was introduced on the SLS system and it is second nature. I am typically as fast or faster than officers running ALS / SLS holsters.
We started the day by verifying zero and Scott explained why he chooses the 10 yard zero. He did explain that a 25 yard zero may be needed based on the class you are attending or the environment you deploy the pistol. After reinstalling the RMR the night before I was concerned that my zero would off, it had not changed. Due to the bad press the MOS system receives from some individuals I was expecting it; I was surprised to say the least.
Next, we learned to trust the dot and not chase it under recoil. We moved behind the target stands and shot into the berm watching the pattern our dots made under recoil. By adjusting our grip on the pistol, arm position and head position we were able to control the movement of the dot or at least change it to a reliable pattern.
We moved onto shooting an RDS pistol at extremely close range, 3 yards and under. Scott had us try three different techniques: back plate, window and top of the sight. Each technique was shot live fire to verify the work and to disprove internet lore. I was able to keep all shots in a fairly small group for not using sights.
We returned to the steel to work on multiple target drills and moving while shooting with a dot. These drills allowed us to learn to trust the dot and learn to not over run the target. We ran drills side by side and individually.
We moved to a plate rack to learn how body mechanics effect how you efficiently move from target to target. We shot the rack from the holster and under the timer. The plate rack has been an Achilles heel to me for some time. Plate racks have cause me headaches and lower qualification scores for some time and to say I was nervous to run the plate rack was an understatement. I fight plates as I typically shoot over or under them fighting my sights. I put the training to use that I had received during the class and trusted the dot. I drew, centered the dot and pulled the trigger. I moved from plate to plate trusting the hit was made, in the end I cleared the rack in 3.88 drawing from a 6832 with level 4 retention. I ended up with the fastest time, even against students running AIWB holsters. I was surprised.
Lastly, we loaded up all the mags we had and prepared to shoot the class standards. The standards are drills seen in competition qualifiers, but they do have real world applications. As Pat use to say, “How long do you have in a gun fight, the rest of your life”. Speed and accuracy are equally important not just in competition but in self-defense. Being slower than the bad guy is not where you want to be. The time limits are challenging, and Scott explains the class average and gives you the time you are trying to beat. No one earned the coveted Black Belt Patch, but there were some impressive times.
Class ended with a person by person review and cleanup of the range. This was a great group and I would not hesitate to train with any of them in the future. Everyone was safe, efficient and willing to help. Everyone improved and competition between students was alive and well.
The facility, Deer Creek Conservation Club is away from homes and multiple ranges are available. Each range has a car port, but shade is at a premium when it is hot. I brought a canopy but did not set it up as breaks were short and chasing the shade was easier. An outhouse is available a short walk away and modern facilities are available a short drive away. Bring a cooler and prepare to be self-sufficient for water as it is not readily available.
This was the host’s first time hosting a class and it did not show. He did an excellent job and was willing to help when ever needed. He is planning on hosting classes in the future, I will return. I stayed at the Gas City Holiday Inn Express, the hotel was under 10 minutes from the range.
Round count on TD2 was 450.
What I Learned
TD1 I did not trust the dot and it showed, additionally this was my first time running AIWB. TD1 the instruction was outstanding; I however was not satisfied with my performance. I wore a button up shirt that had some stretch to it, this caused the shirt to have to be stretched first before it would start to move out of the way. Additionally, I wore a t-shirt under the button up, this shirt would come loose during the faster draws and I would have to verify the holster was clear before re-holstering. I would also catch the shirt during the draw and both shirts would want to move. For future AIWB training I will wear a compression shirt as a base and run either a looser shirt or one without stretch. While off duty I carry my reload in a covered belt pouch that resembles a knife sheath, in my area it bleads in and doesn’t require me to carry a mag IWB. The combination of the shirt stretching and the flap of my mag pouch getting caught in the material, my reloads were slower than anyone on the range. For consistent training I will use an open top pouch next time.
This is the first class I have taken that covered grip to the point of understanding. I have struggled for years with my trigger finger dragging the bottom of the trigger guard on Glocks, to the point of being extremely painful for days after long range session or training. After following Scott’s instruction, I had zero pain on TD1 and minimal on TD2.
I installed an Overwatch Polymer DAK prior to attending class. I have never tried one and figured this class was an excellent time to test it out. Half way through TD1 my groups were high or low, windage was consistent. Scott watched me shoot a group and witnessed that I had the Overwatch installed. Scott explained that the trigger has little to no take-up, this effects when the pistol fires. A trigger with take-up gives an opportunity to settle the pistol prior to it firing, the trigger with no take-up goes off sooner giving you less time. I switched back the factory to stay consistent across all my Glocks. My G19 factory trigger has the ridges, I will be seeking a smooth faced factory trigger to replace it. The ridges are extremely uncomfortable during long range days.
I confirmed that I am not a fan of the Olight PL-Pro. I won this light during the NRA Convention in Indianapolis and I wanted to run the light in a class prior to making a final decision on the light. After running the light in class and on duty for just over a month I come to the conclusion that the switches are too short. I can easily manipulate the switch on the TLR and the x300 without changing my hand position. The PL-Pro requires that I either rotate my hand on the grip or take my support hand off the pistol to activate the light. The light is bright but not enough to stop using the TLR-HL I currently use. I am not a fan of having to charge the light instead of changing batteries. To safely charge the light you would have to remove it or leave a pistol laying around out of a holster, neither is an option for me. The light mounts to the pistol with a cam arm, this concerns me as the cam could come loose if the cam was caught on a structure or caught on gear or clothing. The x300 and TLR have far superior mounting. The light seems to dim fast and the manual even says the light only produces the advertised 1500 lumens for “about” 1 minute. The manual then advises that the 1500 lumens drops to 600 lumens in 0.5 minutes. The light does have an indicator light, but it only activates when there is under 5 minutes of charge left. The light could work as a handheld, but as a weapon light it is lacking.
I have shot a red dot for several years on a rifle, I had a real issue fighting the engrained training to use a holdover with a dot. This is something that I need to make a decision to zero the pistol to produce the same hold over as my rifle or just practice more with two different sight pictures.
I need to add a yoga block wedge to the Spotlight to make the holster more comfortable. Wearing an AIWB holster while standing is awesome, when I go to set down or bend over, I look like I have a wooden leg that doesn’t bend. This is something I am working on.
I reaffirmed that checking your gear daily is important. If I had not planned to change the trigger back to the factory original I would not of found the loose mount on the pistol and I am sure the sight would of fell off on TD2. I had the same issue arise when preparing for class. I had installed a Balor Mount on my backup G22 and installed a Holosun 507C. Everything was tight, and all screws had blue Loctite. I was verifying zero prior to leaving and the zero was moving. The base of Balor was moving in the rear dovetail and I was not able to take the pistol or class.
Lastly, I was pushing myself on TD1 to the point I was outrunning my headlights. I was trying to draw and fire as fast as the other students and started feeling my support hand hitting the front of my x300 prior to completing my grip on the pistol. I have a comp on the gun, but that is way too close to crossing the muzzle with my hand. After I did this twice, I slowed down and got back in my lane.
Scott is an outstanding instructor. His ability to watch you shoot and diagnosis issues is outstanding. He has the ability to not only explain how to be more efficient but also demonstrate it and give you hands on exercises to prove it to yourself. Scott’s instruction on AIWB allows you to get up to speed with that style of carry and allows you to obtain a fast draw that is also safe. His practical and competition experience with AIWB shows and allows you to not only become a better “gamer” but also a more efficient gunfighter.
After only two days of instruction I have found myself implementing the lessons learned when I draw and find myself staging my hand in a far more efficient position than I have used for years. I surprised myself when the iron sights on my duty pistol lined up perfectly the first time I drew after class. Scott is not a tactical instructor and does not try to be. What he does teach you is to stack the deck in your favor. I will be attending his classes again in the future.
The only critique I can give are that breaks were too short for the weather conditions. Between jamming mags, getting more water and shoving a snack in my mouth there was not time to set down for a couple minutes. I was spent by the end of each day and found that my ability to absorb information and process it was beginning to suffer.