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

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

To learn more about Rick Casner and our other instructors, visit

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

steve and the typewighter.jpg

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