Condition: Yellow - responsible preparation, and fun, for an unpredictable world

Andy Rutledge

Pistol Build 2017 .300BLK

I recently built an 8″ upper for my .300BLK SBR, but later decided I liked my standard 10.3″ upper on that one. Since I now had an extra upper assembly, I went out yesterday and bought an Aero Precision lower blank and built a new AR pistol with the spare parts I had and a Sig arm brace. Because I can. Can’t wait to try this one out this weekend!

  • Upper and lower receivers: Aero Precision (blanks)
  • Barrel: Ballistic Advantage 8″
  • Rail: ALG 8″

AR15 pistol in .300 BLK

Flee-Then-Engage Drill

This drill supposes you’re running away from an armed assailant, then a second cuts you off and you must defend.

Draw from concealment and put 2 rounds on the 8″ plate at 10 yards, you run empty so perform a reload and put 1 round on the other bad guy while advancing on him (intimidation factor works on most folks, causing panic or surrender or sloppiness).

I did this drill about 20 times today. This run was toward the end. Good workout!

New Watch: Smith & Bradley “Springfield”

Really loving my new watch. The Springfield has a classic look, clear indicators in light or darkness, and rugged construction. It’s not an expensive watch ($175 – $225) and I think it looks amazing.

  • Domed Sapphire Crystal With Anti-Reflective Coating
  • 7mm Crown
  • C3 Superluminova Hour Markers 
  • C3 Superluminova Hands
  • Swiss Ronda Quartz Movement
  • 10 ATM Water Resistance
  • 316L Stainless Steel Brushed Finish Case
  • Military Markings
  • 2 Year Limited Warranty

S&B Sp0ringfield

Full-Mag Fatigue Drill

I ran this drill 18 times today. “Fatigue drill” is right.

I’m setup here at 15 yards on a 12″ (not 10″) steel plate. The point is to run this drill several times in succession and maintain accuracy as you get more and more tired.

I started out with 1 miss on my first run, then had 2 per, then 3 per, and ended up with 4 misses on each of my last 4 runs. Fatigue is a thing. More training.

Near the end you can hear Gunny yelling at me about my misses. I can always count on Gunny to keep me humble, and every time I miss it seems he’s standing behind me. Usually with a comment at the ready. 🙂

Two Directions From Concealment

Here I’m just working on directional fundamentals here, ensuring that I’m turning from my hips and not my waist to engage targets spaced far apart in two directions.

Using my EDC pistol: Glock 19. I was pretty consistent today with good hits at 2:10 or so, but I was working on getting consistent hits under 2 seconds. It worked out.

New Folder Knife: The Kershaw Flourish

I picked up a new pocket folder knife, the Fourish model from Kershaw. While not a switchblade, it’s a spring-assisted-open pocket knife that is at the upper end of advisable carry size. It is by no means too big, but it is about as large a knife as I’d want to carry in my front pocket. It opens very nicely and quite easily, but not so easy as to come open in your pocket.

The steel is 8Cr13MoV, which is not awesome, but darn good for a budget-priced knife. It should hold an edge fairly well. The blade has a black-oxide wash finish that I find attractive. Mostly, I just like this larger knife as a potential defender (I have another, smaller pocket knife for boxes and such). The Flourish has G-10 grip panels with carbon fiber overlay.

Kershaw Flourish

Kershaw Flourish

Note: (above) This is *not* how you hold a knife, I’m just trying to get my thumb out of the way for the photo.

Kershaw Flourish

Here is the Flourish (on the bottom) as compared to the CRKT Outrage, a Ken Onion design knife, which is of average size (top). The size difference seems minimal, but there is a significant difference in the hand.

Three-Way Pistol Drill

This is a simple drill to use cover for reloads while delivering 9 rounds on target: 3 with both hands, reload strong-hand only and 3 rounds strong hand, then reload weak-hand only and 3 rounds weak hand. Always ducking behind cover (hard to see the wall in the video) for the reloads.

Yeah, I didn’t notice that my shirt was off kilter and my pistol was not well concealed. Stuff happens. 🙂

Your Weapon’s Status

In what condition is every gun you own right now? Unloaded? Loaded? Loaded and chambered? Is the external safety gadget on or off, for each firearm? Are they in different conditions or all the same? How do you know? Are you 100% certain or would you have to do a press check to be sure? Does everyone in your household know with certainty the condition of each firearm you own without touching it? How?

This is not a situation you can treat with casual negligence. If you own one or more firearms, responsibility requires that you and everyone in your household know at all times with 100% certainty the condition of every one of them. If you or they do not, you must fix that situation. Right now.

rifle and pistol

This means that for any of your firearms, holstered on your person, stored, staged…no matter where or how they are placed, located, or carried, there should never be a moment where you or anyone else in your household has to wonder whether it is unloaded, loaded and/or chambered, or if a “safety” selector is on or off. In the event someone in your household finds a firearm they did not expect to find (in a closet, in a drawer, etc…) or if they grab it in a time of desperate need, they can be certain of its current condition even without touching it, and be able to act deliberately rather than tentatively.

And, by the way, this is an easy standard to maintain when you use a system of simple conventions.

Note: As a matter of responsibility, you and everyone in your household should regard all firearms as loaded, and should regard any “safety” lever as irrelevant; something to be kept in the “fire” position at all times and otherwise ignored—except with semi-auto rifles.

A System of Certainty

Here is a simple system that I know from experience works well to ensure you and those in your home never have to lean on discrete memory in order to know any of your guns’ condition. So long as you have no children younger than 6 to 9 in the home, even if just on occasion, System 1 is likely best for you. Otherwise, System 2 is likely best.

System 1 Conventions:

  1. All guns are always loaded, except while being cleaned, no matter whether they’re currently carried, stored, or staged.
  2. All pistols in a holster are loaded and chambered, whether on your person, stored in a safe, staged for home defense or even if in a range bag; holstered means chambered.
  3. All semi-auto/auto rifles have the bolt closed on an empty chamber (with a full magazine loaded, per convention 1) and the selector is on safe (this convention includes any “pistol”-configured AR or AK firearms).
  4. For pistols, bolt rifles, and shotguns, if there is an external safety control, the control is set to fire. Always and without exception.

You might use slightly different conventions. Maybe your pistols in holsters are not chambered. Maybe your semi-auto/auto rifles are chambered. I don’t recommend those approaches, but they may be appropriate for your situation. The point is to have as much blanket consistency as is practicable.

If you’re going to keep any of your guns unloaded, it is then imperative that you keep ALL guns unloaded (convention 1 must be 100% applicable to all guns not currently on your person) and perhaps opt for System 2 (below).

A System Variation

System 1 conventions might not work well for you if you have young children – and/or young children are sometimes in the home, like grandchildren, neighbors’ kids, or friends’ children. As such, System 2 might be best for you.

System 2 Conventions:

  1. All guns stored or staged, are always unloaded (and yet always treated as though they are loaded).
  2. A pistol carried on your person is always loaded and chambered (and in a holster).

It’s no more complicated than this. Once your children are of a certain age (that you determine, perhaps around 6 to 9 years old) and properly trained, it is best that you change to the more relevant and appropriate System 1 conventions.

Note: if children of any age other than yours are ever in your home, you have a legal and moral responsibility to ensure they have no way of gaining access to your firearms. They do not know your system and are likely wholly unsafe with firearms. Take appropriate steps.

For Carry & Training

If you don’t have an inviolate rule regarding the condition of your carry gun at all times, you cannot act deliberately when required. Instead, because of ignorance or second guessing or a simple mistake, you must act tentatively or mistakenly. This sort of irresponsibility can easily cost you your life, or the life of someone you love.

Component to the aforementioned systems, to gun safety, and to carry competence is the fact that one should never reholster an unloaded pistol; not at home, not in training, not in a class: never. When you’re training at the range and drawing from and returning to a holster, and run empty, you must either reload the pistol before reholstering – or – place the pistol on a barrel, table, or bench and pointed in a safe direction with the action open until you are ready to reload it.

No exceptions.

If you get into the habit of sometimes, even rarely, having an unloaded pistol in your holster, you will never again be able to be sure of your gun’s status. You may think you can, but you are wrong and 100% guaranteed to fail.

And yes, this means that if an instructor requires that you have an unloaded or even un-chambered pistol in your holster during a class, don’t take that class. It stands to reason that if you are unsure about the conventions of an instructor’s class, discuss this matter with them and explain your inviolate personal rule before you commit to the class. It is likely that accommodations can be made. If not, you know your choice.

Dry-fire Practice

To engage in dry-fire practice you have to introduce a mild variation into your system. While the gun carried on your person will still be loaded, it will just be loaded with snap caps rather than with live ammunition.

For dry-fire practice you will unload your firearm and take it, your magazine(s), and snap caps into a different room where no live ammunition is present, and charge your magazine(s) with the snap caps, which you will load and chamber into your pistol before holstering it. If you have a gun that has a workable trigger and doesn’t need to be charged for each dry shot, use mags loaded with snap caps anyway so that you don’t get into the habit of being okay with an empty gun (you must never put an empty gun into your holster).

When you’re finished with dry-fire practice, reverse the process and take your now-empty gun back to where your ammo & mags are (the one place where you load, unload, and clean your guns) and return it to its proper condition; be that loaded or unloaded for storage – or loaded, to again be carried on your person (in which case I highly recommend repeating, out loud, “My gun is hot now, and loaded with live ammo,” a few times before getting on with your day.



Human beings are creatures of habit. The only way to eliminate negligent habits is to forge unconscious, deliberately uncompromising, safe habits (as described in the 4 Rules of Firearm Safety) and to never rely on gadgets, mechanics, or technology in place of individual responsibility.

A firearm cannot be safe or unsafe. A person is safe or unsafe. No firearm gadget or lever can make an unsafe person safe with a firearm. Graveyards are filled with the victims of those who negligently believed otherwise.

You do not want or need the anxiety of ever wondering whether your gun or one of your many guns is loaded or unloaded, chambered or un-chambered, safety on or off. These are things that responsibility requires you and your household members know with 100% certainty at all times.

Use a system. Make sure everyone in your home knows the system. Conduct periodic pop quizzes to ensure everyone is on the same page. Be safe and be certain.

New SBR Upper

Today I assembled a new upper for my .300 BLK SBR. It currently has a 10.3″ barrel, but I wondered how it would run with an 8″ barrel. So I now have my 8″ upper:

  • Aero Precision upper receiver
  • Faxon Firearms 8″ hammer-forged barrel
  • BCM MOD1 muzzle brake
  • ALG 8″ handguard

.300 BLK 8" barrel upper

.300 BLK 8" barrel upper

I’ll put it through its paces on Saturday. We’ll see how she runs.

It’s possible that I won’t like it as well as the current upper/barrel, as I really like the way I’m setup now. But it’s possible I’ll really like the shorter barrel. We’ll have to see how it works for recoil impulse (for targeting), accuracy, and just how wieldy it is.

Glock Redux

As a design professional, I care greatly about good design. As a firearms enthusiast and almost-daily shooter, I care about quality gun manufacturing and reliability. Given these concerns, I own, carry, and shoot Glock pistols almost exclusively.

Glocks are the most reliable firearms on the planet. Additionally, they are unadorned by the useless and dangerous features and controls found on many popular pistols. This makes a Glock pistol the perfect carry choice for the pragmatic and responsible citizen. But that logo, though.

Glock logo


Just look at the Glock pistols in these color photographs (above). They deserve something better than the terrible logo!

A Glock pistol is plain, elegant in its simplicity, and serious. The Glock logo is …well, it’s bad. The logo is neither plain nor elegant nor simple nor serious. In fact, it’s rather silly. From a design standpoint, the Glock logo is awful design. The type—for both the name and the tagline—is ill suited to the characteristics of the brand and the products. In short, to see the logo is to understand nothing about the brand or the products. As a designer, this fact disturbs me every time I see the logo. It eats at me. So I decided to engage in a logo redesign as a cathartic exercise. This exercise is for me, but I thought some of you might enjoy it, too.

Problems With the Branding

The Glock brand is carried entirely on the shoulders of the products; the pistols, in specific. The current logo is a silly and contradictory intrusion into the brand. It is a needless liability.

Glock’s visual branding is …well, it’s all over the place. There are many typefaces used, and in various ways, and none of them pair well, look good, or represent the brand well. For example:

Glock type

This is a mess. Too many typefaces used too many ways, and with too little consideration for branding.

The only interesting feature in these examples is how the Eurostile Extended font “0” is somewhat similar in shape to the “G” of the current logo. One wonders if that was the origin of the shape for the “Glock” logomark. This shape is also mildly similar to the back end of the slide on a Glock pistol. We’ll circle back to that in a bit.

Glock’s demonstrable or visible characteristic adjectives include:

  • plain (almost spartan)
  • simple
  • elegant (in simplicity)
  • blocky (the common pun for Glock is to call it a Block)
  • efficient
  • reliable (boringly so)
  • classic (Glocks have changed very little over the years)
  • solid
  • serious
  • hard (very little is done to soften a Glock pistol’s lines)

glock logo

The current Glock logo is busy, complex, and visually anxious. Lines are not serious or solid, but whimsical and fragile, and lines within lines speak to complexity, not simplicity. The rounded ends of the type seem juvenile; this font would make a good one for a children’s book. It is badly used as logotype for a firearm brand.

We need something solid here; something simple and plain, but serious and substantial, like the lines and shapes of the product. Let’s redo this logo.

Glock Redux

I’ve long believed that Glock’s logotype should have weight to it. It makes sense that the font’s shape should reflect the product in some way—much like the current logomark is somewhat similar to the slide shape, but without silly aesthetic or light lines. Here’s what I first looked at:

slide shapes

This was feeling right, so I started to try typefaces and later moved onto just drawing the letter shapes. I aimed for the more vertical or square aspect rather than the literal horizontal rectangle shape. I tried to find a way to represent both the rounded corners and the sharp corners…

type trials

With the last effort at drawing the letter shapes, I landed on what I thought had the right combination of width and height, rounded corners and sharp edges…and it even looked a little retro. What it didn’t have was an element of distinctiveness. I played around with a few things, but settled on a deformation of the “G” character as the point of distinction.

So after more trial modifications and iteration, I landed on this for the Glock logo redux:

Glock Redux, by Andy Rutledge

In seriousness, which of these looks like perfection to you?

Glock Perfection redux, by Andy Rutledge

The tagline font hearkens back to something similar to what Glock used in the 30-year anniversary media. Their choice was Eurostile Extended, but I’ve opted for Eurostile. It has a similar feel and shape to the new logotype shapes and utilizes precedent. Somewhat.

Here’s the full complement of logo uses:

Glock Redux by Andy Rutledge

…on Glock pistols, I’ve neither reimagined nor greatly repositioned the text elements. I just changed the logo and the info typeface (from Arial or whatever to Eurostile)…

Glock 19 redux, by Andy Rutledge

Glock 43 Redux, by Andy Rutledge

[I believe the original photo above was taken by Mr. Colion Noir]

And let’s not forget swag:

Glock Redux shirt, by Andy Rutledge


Okay, that was fun. For me, at least. I know one should not go seriously messing with a company’s branding, but this is not serious. It’s just some fun and catharsis for me. I took all of about 5 hours to think about, do the exercise, create the graphics, and write this article. A real logo redesign would take weeks or months and the result would likely be far better than this. But if you’re a designer this all might give you something to consider, and if you’re a designer shooter this all might give you something to dream about.

in seriousness, I do hope folks at Glock, Inc. think about these things and in the future and work to bring a respectable or even mildly appropriate logo to their august brand. In the mean time, we’ll have to live with a crap logo on great pistols.

If you like redux articles, I’ve been known to do a few