By Steve Zimmermann

The summer time brings the excitement of BBQ’s, family time and parades. Speaking of parades, do you remember as a kid, running to where, seemingly, hundreds of pieces of candy would be thrown from passing floats to the ground? My mom would panic every time I tried to dart out towards the road for handfuls of the sugary greatness!

Oddly enough we never grow up. Instead of risking life and limb for a 2-cent cavity maker, we shooters look for the leftovers from the previous lane occupant as he or she ejected un-spent cartridges on the range floor, endearingly referred to as “range candy”!

Let me be straight up and say, yes, I have pilfered the range floor for freedom fries. It seems like a great idea in concept, but in reality, it’s very dangerous to your wellbeing, and, could turn your firearm into an expensive grenade with a barrel!

Here are a few pictures to illustrate what exactly I’m trying to say, a picture says 1000 words you know…




Now, all these are examples of ammunition issues, and as you could imagine, there are many physical injuries that could accompany the firearms coming apart in the shooters hand. To save those who don’t want to see what could happen to the shooter, I wont post injury pictures.

Looking at the photos I could diagnose perhaps what went wrong, squib load, hang fire, double charge, even the wrong primer used could turn a mistake into a catastrophic failure!

For reloaders, please triple check your double check. I have seen what happens when “long time” reloaders forget where they left off while putting powder in the casings, only to double charge the load and have to deal with a costly mistake. Sometimes the powder composition is incorrect or mislabeled and the reloader did everything correct. Regardless, when you roll up to the range, eager to put lead down range, and you see some fancy looking 9mm cartridge on the floor, resist the urge and leave it there! We will take care of it, so you don’t have to.

To wind it all up.

We as shooters carry a huge responsibility, we represent a sport or industry that is under constant scrutiny, we are in charge of our firearms and those who we let use them, and we in some cases have invested a great deal of money into something we really love. As such, we need to resist the temptation of picking up loose rounds from the floor or ground if we do not know where they came from. I have seen reloaders dispose of several rounds on the floor because they felt that the load was incorrect, leaving the problem for someone else. Here at the range, we have DUD CANS to place unwanted cartridges, please utilize them, don’t throw them on the floor, possibly enticing others to scoop them up. Resist the urge to gather up the rounds that may be on the floor, its not worth the embarrassment or the hospital bills!

Guns and Mass Shootings

By Steve Zimmermann

It seems that every week that we see a news story of a mass shooting. Major news networks paste stories of anti-gun protesters regurgitating statistics to argue their point of why guns should be taken from the millions of responsible gun owners across America due to the actions of a very small percentage of mass murderers that use the gun as the tool of death.

It does seem that “mass shootings” are on the rise, but are they really? Maybe we should ask ourselves a few questions to help us see clearer.

  • Are shootings happening at an incalculable rate, or is it the nonstop broadcast of the events on every news outlet that gives the perception on an increase?
  • What has changed in American society to warrant violent behavior?
  • Are there social indicators to help prevent a mass killing?
  • What can we do as firearm owners to see the possibility of a threat, evade the threat, or stop the threat?

Let’s start with the 500lb gorilla in the room, are shootings happening more often?

Let me preface this by saying that any tragic loss of life is horrible. I can’t imagine getting a phone call informing me that I lost one of my children, under any circumstance. Also, I don’t know how the families of the perpetrators of these crimes cope with the agony and anguish of a “lost” child.

School shootings are not unique to America, nor did they start with Columbine in 1999. In fact, the first recorded “school shooting” in the U.S. took place in Greencastle, Penn. in 1764. School master Enoch Brown and 9 school children were attacked and killed by 4 Lenape Indians.


FBI definition of mass shooting

"The United States' Congressional Research Service acknowledges that there is not a broadly accepted definition, and defines a "public mass shooting" as one in which four or more people selected indiscriminately, not including the perpetrator, are killed, echoing the FBI definition of the term "mass murder."

Let's look at some stats: This first link is from the FBI regarding violent crime.  

fbi 11.png

( https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2016/crime-in-the-u.s.-2016/resource-pages/tables/table-11, describes nature of crime, and total commited in 2016)

The table below, divided by states, describes what weapon was used in their violent crimes in 2016:

fbi 12.png

(https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2016/crime-in-the-u.s.-2016/topic-pages/tables/table-12 describes by state the weapon used. Notice that all rifle used to commit murder are disproportionally lower than any other weapon, this includes the AR 15).

So, what about frequency? There is little doubt that yes, mass shootings are happening at a more frequent rate, but maybe not as much as the main stream media is reporting. The Crime Prevention Research Center has a great article by John Lott (http://crimeresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Analysis-of-FBI-Mass-Public-Shootings-Report.pdf) regarding FBI reporting on mass shooting trends.

 As far as “mass shootings” (in quotes because each country defines in different criteria), a quick google search reveals that it is definitely NOT an exclusively American problem:

The Deadliest Mass Shootings In History

deadly mass shootings world.PNG

The reality is that true mass murder committed by guns are perpetrated by out of control governments against an unarmed populous (i.e. Hitler, Mao Zedong, Stalin, Che Guevara, and Mussolini are among the first that come to mind. All of which disarmed the citizenry for the “safety of society”).


I grew up in rural Eastern Idaho and graduated in ’96. I clearly remember, as many in my generation and those before, seeing pickup trucks, with rifle racks full of hunting rifles and shotguns. Never did it occur to the student body to grab a gun and shoot up the place. If we had an issue with someone it usually ended up in a fist fight and then it was over, sometimes generating a friendship out of the deal.

So, what changed?

We worked hard, had chores, sometimes worked a part time job, our parents expected that we followed the rules and if we didn’t we had consequences that followed. We knew the local police officers and sheriff deputies and respected them, and in turn they respected us.

What are kids doing now? They are told that they already know more than their parents, they are addicted to everything that is “on demand”, instead of having the joy of working for something. Parents let the media raise their little ones, exposing them to adult constructs of life before giving them the chance of being a kid.  Accountability has all but been removed from schools and home. Violent movies and video games have replaced books and the outdoors.  Respect for authority has been replaced with safe spaces and green zones where true dialogue cannot take place. Lack of parental involvement with schools and youth organizations has given way for more progressive ideals, and parents don’t have, or won’t, spend the time teaching constitutional principles, or at least something with virtue as a contrast. The media shows nothing but the negative of the world in a 24-hour cycle of hell, and rarely broadcast the good things taking place in the world. With respect of argument, it could be that violent media imprints and influences young developing minds towards violent behavior, or it could be that the violent behavior moves them towards the violent media. That could be an entire blog in itself.


In all the recent shootings (this blog was written 5-22-18), it seems that there are a few constants. The shooter was a “loner”, stayed to themselves. In some cases the murderer was on psychotropic drugs to control behavior, or suicidal issues (http://www.cchrflorida.org/antidepressants-are-a-prescription-for-mass-shootings/, http://www.cchr.org/sites/default/files/education/violence-and-suicide-booklet.pdf). They tend to be somewhat socially outcast by their peers. In the case of the Santa Fe, Texas school shooting, it seemed that he targeted specific individuals. In the Florida shooting, we learned that that shooter was bullied, even by the very kids speaking out against violence.

So, what can we do?

It is the authors suggestion to first love your family, and your neighbors. Show those around you that you genuinely care. I’m am not suggesting that all will be fixed by sitting around a camp fire singing kum ba yah and making smores, though who could so no to smores?! I am suggesting that we get out and know who we live by, who our kids are friends with, and being involved in the community, and yes sharing out constitutional views with them.

The sheepdog analogy is a great reference to those types of people. They watch and gather those around them, protecting from the threat.

So, what are the indicators of the threat? There are many articles and available literature on this topic.


For those who chose to carry a firearm as a daily part of life, I believe we must first come to the reality of what that means to carry. We accept the responsibility and the consequences associated. I suggest for those who carry, to become informed on the laws and the truth and reality of honest gun statistics. For example, the CDC did a study, that they hid, confirming a study by professor Gary Kleck of Florida State University, that there are about 2.16 million defensive gun uses per year (http://gunsandcrime.org/dgufreq.html, http://www.gunsandammo.com/politics/cdc-gun-research-backfires-on-obama/).

Be vigilant when you are out and about. Pay attention to your surroundings, and always know your exits and understand that the gun should be your last line of defense.

GET TRAINING!!! You will always fall to your lowest level of training! Time on the range is great while working in the fundamentals, but it will never help you with holster work, shooting from cover and concealment or move and shoot scenarios. By the way, we offer many levels of training here (shameless plug)!! Shooting is a perishable skill, if you don’t keep it honed you will lose it. And yes, it is ok for most firearms to dryfire. That in itself, can help you significantly! For info on dry fire drills, come see us in the store.

All in all, we live in a different country from 20 years ago. Stay alert, get training, know your surroundings, know who you and your family associate with every day, arm yourself with true information and don’t be scared to have a real conversation with people on who you are and what you believe about the 2nd amendment. The info we receive on a daily basis from the news sources we choose to trust (honestly, I don’t trust any of them any more) needs to be fact checked. A few hours on the internet sourcing the FBI Uniform Crime Reports are a great place to gain insight, beyond their shortcomings. Information is power!

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At the age of 17, Steve developed his love and respect for all aspects of the firearms community. Originally trained as a carpenter, his attention to detail has helped him move to a career in something he is very passionate about. If you ask him what he likes most about firearms, he will tell you "everything!" Steve is currently certified as a Chief Range Safety Officer, where he is able to certify new range safety officers, as well as a Pistol Instructor through the NRA. He is also a certified instructor for the USCCA (United States Concealed Carry Association), allowing him to teach concealed carry classes.  Steve is our Range Operations Manager, and we are excited to have him as a team member!


How you can Save your Life by Understanding a Firearm’s Cycle of Operations

By Rick Casner

The importance in your ability to quickly and efficiently diagnose and clear stoppages and malfunctions when they arise cannot be overstated. Fortunately, it is not as difficult to do this as you might think. It only takes you understanding a firearm’s cycle of operations and getting some hands-on experience with clearing common stoppages. The engineering principles guiding a firearm’s functionality is shared by nearly every firearm that has ever been made. There are eight steps to a firearm’s cycle of operations, which are:

1.       Feeding (Round is stripped from the magazine or is inserted by hand)

2.       Chambering (Round enters the chamber at the rear of the barrel)

3.       Locking (Locking surfaces mate to secure the firearm during firing sequence)

4.       Firing (Firing pin or striker is propelled forward and strikes primer at the rear of the cartridge)

5.       Unlocking (Locking surfaces disengage allowing the cartridges to be stripped from the chamber)

6.       Extracting (Extractor removes spent casing from chamber)

7.       Ejecting (Spent casing is ejected through ejection port)

8.       Cocking (Firing mechanisms are once again “cocked” for continued firing)

It does not matter if you are firing a long gun or hand gun, revolver or semi-auto pistol, the principles remain the same. Sure, the specific mechanisms will vary in their shape and size, however, the overall functionality of firearms remain the same.

For this reason, with even a little practice and an understanding of these principles you will begin to understand the theory behind a firearm’s functionality, allowing you to become more self-sufficient in caring for your firearm so that it may care for you when you need it most.

If you are interested in receiving training in these areas, please use the links below and we look forward to having you in class.

See you soon!

General Firearms Maintenance (Understanding the Cycle of Operations)

Intermediate Pistol (Stoppage and malfunction diagnosis and clearance)

The Benefits of Firearms Competitions

By: Ricky Casner

Your ability to maintain a good “tight” group when shooting on the range is very important. During your time on the range, it is also important to establish and practice the fundamentals of shooting, namely, grip, stance, sight alignment, and trigger press. These fundamentals, however, are often put to the test and found wanting when a shooter experiences even a little bit of stress or anxiety.

Even law enforcement officers have been found to make less reliable shots when faced with stressful situations.1 For this reason, it is important for all shooters to seek firearms training that will increase realistic stressors so that they may identify areas of weakness and train to make their weaknesses strengths. Fortunately for us, we have fun ways of doing just that.

Although participating in competitions will not represent a deadly force encounter in the truest sense, competitions do have the ability to raise the level of anxiety just enough to take a shooter out of their “comfort zone” a place them into the “growth zone.” As shooters improve their abilities, they continue to compete against others who exceed their own abilities, thus forcing them to become better in order to compete.

If designed correctly, competitions force each shooter to problem solve and identify and capitalize on their opponent’s weaknesses. These are the same skills that will be needed when encountering a deadly force situation. Following a competition, each competitor will have the opportunity to work on the weaknesses that they have identified during the competition. If done on a regular basis, the steps that the competitor follows to improve their performance on the range will also follow them if they are faced with a deadly force situation.

If you are interested in joining us in our regular competitions, you can learn more about them here https://www.iishooting.com/competitions

We look forward to seeing you soon!


(1)   Lewinski, W. J., Avery, R., Dysterheft, J., Dicks, N. D., & Bushy, J. (2015, March 14). The real risks during deadly police shootouts: Accuracy of the naive shooter. International Journal of Police Science & Management, 17(2), 117-127.

Choosing a Firearm: The Pros and Cons

By: Rick Casner

When selecting a firearm, there are a few important items to consider before pulling the trigger on any specific make and model. A few of these items to consider would include, size/weight, caliber, striker or single action trigger pull, and fit/functionality. All too often customers will express to us that they do not enjoy shooting the gun they have purchased. This post is geared toward those choosing to carry a firearm for self-defense.

Take a few moments to consider these important items:

Size and Weight

If you have not received proper training in handgun manipulations and choose a small firearm, it is extremely likely that you will regret your purchase. Small firearms are convenient to conceal, but because they weigh less the felt recoil will be more significant than the recoil a shooter will experience with a larger/heavier firearm. Every firearm recoils due to the pressures related to pushing the projectile downrange, but the smaller the firearm is the more a shooter will feel that recoil. A new shooter can be trained in proper recoil management to become more comfortable with small firearms, but they have to seek out quality instruction that will offer them a solid foundation.   


It is important to understand that any caliber has the potential of killing a person. Even BB guns, when used inappropriately, have killed people. When using a firearm for self-defense, the shooter must be comfortable with the amount of recoil that is produced by their caliber of choice or they will simply not be able to hit the “broad side of a barn.” I often hear of family members—more often than not it is a husband—pushing their loved ones into a caliber that is far too large for their skill level. This often results in that person learning to hate shooting, which is contrary to what we should be teaching. I often ask customers “would it be better to hit your target 10 times with a .22 LR or miss 10 times with a .45 ACP?”

Striker (Double Action) or Single Action Trigger Pull

I will first define what the terms double action and single action mean. All these terms refer to is the amount of “actions” a firearm will undergo for every pull of the trigger. In a single action, with every trigger pull there is only one action, meaning, the hammer is simply sent forward to ignite the cartridge and send the projectile downrange. With a single action, the hammer must be manually brought to the rear (cocked). In a double action or striker fire, the pull of the trigger will first “cock” the firing pin and then release it to allow a spring to send it forward and ignite the cartridge. This means that there are two “actions,” rearward movement and then forward movement. Granted, there are slight differences between a striker fire and double action trigger pull, but for simplicity sake they were not defined.

A single action trigger pull is shorter and can offer the shooter more accurate shots, but it also requires the shooter to become well trained in the use of external safeties. If you are not proficient in your quick use of an external safety, a single action may not be right for you. Because a double action offers a more deliberate trigger pull, they are inherently safer when carried without an external safety. This means that they require less fine motor skills to use during self-defense situations.       

Fit and Functionality

Lastly, it is important to make sure that the firearm fits you comfortably and performs as you would like or you will not enjoy shooting it. The ergonomics of the firearm and your ability to manipulate it appropriately are of crucial importance.

Closing Thoughts

If you would like to develop a more solid foundation in your firearms knowledge please take advantage of the courses that we offer at Independence Indoor Shooting. Please visit us at https://www.iishooting.com/course-overview

To learn more about Rick Casner and our other instructors, visit https://www.iishooting.com/instructors-1/

Thank you and we will see you soon!    

To stipple or not to stipple, that is the question!

To stipple or not to stipple, that is the question!


Maintaining a proper grip on a firearm is an important strategy for winning a gunfight. Even back in the day of the hand cannon, early shooters knew that holding onto the gun would be a priority.


Well, lucky for us we have advanced a long way from the fuse and pipe to magazine bearing semi-automatic safe action firearms. Mankind is always finding ways to customize their stuff. Look at the caveman, all he wanted to do was paint stick figures on cave walls to make his domicile look cooler than Grog’s cave! I guess, what I’m getting at is, that we want to make our stuff “ours.” One growing trend in the firearms community, is stippling polymer framed guns. Simply put, stippling is taking a hot tipped device, like a wood burning kit, to melt the surface of the frame, creating a new texture. I have many friends that do this, some who make a good living at it, and others who do it to just their personal firearms.

So, this brings us to the question…should you stipple you gun or not? The answer is one that only you can address.

Here’s what I think.

I have several stippled guns. I love how it feels to put a stippled gun in my hand. My T-shirts, however, don’t like the stippling. It can be so rough that it’s hard on clothing as well as skin (if you are carrying in a way that causes the frame of the gun to rub against your side). For me, the pros outweigh the cons. To be able to have a good “purchase” on my gun in any condition, wet or sweaty hands, gloved or not, is a big selling point for me. I want the odds in my favor, be it during a match or while defending my family.


Though I cannot validate it, some believe that stippling finds its origins in competitive shooting (USPSA and the like). That may be true, but finding info on that is tough. I do know several USPSA shooters that have had stipple work done on their competition guns. Due to the nature of the texture, it’s thought that your grip could be, in theory, not as tight on the gun. I would argue that your grip pressure shouldn’t change depending on the handgun. That whole “being consistent” thing. It seems now that it’s more “tacticool” than tactical. I can almost imagine Billy Madison saying, “you’re not cool if you don’t stipple your gun.”

Now, the big problem with stippling is, if you like your tactical tupperware and want to keep your factory warranty, stippling wouldn’t be the option for you. I have talked to several factory reps that state, if you want a warranty, you cannot alter your frame (remember that your frame is the “firearm” not the entire gun). That brings us to another thing to consider, stippling your own firearm is okay to do. If you have time and patience, it is really simple. If you plan on stippling for profit, the ATF will require you to obtain a FFL for gunsmithing.1 I know it seems silly but I don’t make the rules. Do it at your own risk. There are many great companies out there that do grip work. INDEPENDENCE INDOOR SHOOTING (nudge nudge), SSVI, Agency Arms, and Taran Tactical are the ones that come to mind. The nice thing about having it done in our facility is that turnaround times tend to be shorter than the big guys, though they all will do fantastic work.

Short story long, having your gun stippled is as personal as what socks you want to wear. You most likely have a friend with a tricked-out GLOCK, or can find a guy with grip work done. Get it in your hands and shoot it if you can. It may turn out that you hate it. Once it’s stippled, you can’t go back.


[18 U.S.C. 921(a)(11) and (21); 27 CFR 478.11]

Bureau of Alcohol, T. F. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.atf.gov/firearms/qa/license-needed-engage-business-engraving-customizing-refinishing-or-repairing-firearms.

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At the age of 17, Steve developed his love and respect for all aspects of the firearms community. Originally trained as a carpenter, his attention to detail has helped him move to a career in something he is very passionate about. If you ask him what he likes most about firearms, he will tell you "everything!" Steve is currently certified as a Chief Range Safety Officer, where he is able to certify new range safety officers, as well as a Pistol Instructor through the NRA. He is also a certified instructor for the USCCA (United States Concealed Carry Association), allowing him to teach concealed carry classes.  Steve is our Range Operations Manager, and we are excited to have him as a team member!


I hope I'm not the only shooter that saw Jurassic World and had to get my hands on that Marlin 1895, Lever Action, 45-70.  Running around shooting dinosaurs with a big game tracking rifle, ONLY IN MY DREAMS! Well we have the next best thing! 

At Independence Indoor Shooting we have created the JURASSIC EXPERIENCE. You can rent the same Marlin 45-70, and let T-Rex have it on our dinosaur targets. We also have a Magnum Research BFR (Big Frame Revolver) that shoots the same round.  

Shooting the marlin was awesome! The recoil wasn't bad at all, and its a nice gun to hold in your hands. Loading it is unique, it has this cowboy/old west type feeling. 

I am man enough to say that I was a bit nervous anticipating the recoil on the BFR. To my surprise it didn't hurt or tattoo my forehead. It was definitely a cool experience to shoot that handgun. See the round comparison, the 45-70 is the one on the right.

Watch the video below for the fun on our range. 

-R. Later