Attack On One Of The Safest Ranges I’ve Even Seen

Back in October 2011 I had the opportunity to take a class from Brian Searcy of TigerSwan. It was a fantastic class on a fantastic range. The range was set on a 1,000 acre property. It is one of the few ranges not on a military base that actually meets DoD safety standards. The danger zone is contained entirely within property controlled by TigerSwan.

Nonetheless, some Cumberland County, North Carolina residents want the range shut down despite being in the middle of damn near nowhere. I remember it being almost 10 miles from I-95 and almost a mile from the road to the range.

Frankly, I cannot conceive of any reason to try and shut down this range beyond some vague anti-gun hysteria. The land owners are claiming reduced property values, the danger of stray bullets, and noise which in my opinion is just a smokescreen.

TigerSwan has reapplied for an operating permit under new rules promulgated by Cumberland County. County Commissioners will vote on this permit on Monday, October 21st. Grass Roots North Carolina has issued a release and action alert which I have reprinted below. Having shot on this range, I’d urge everyone to assist TigerSwan in obtaining this permit. If TigerSwan is shot down by Cumberland County, it would mean no range in North Carolina is safe.

They talk about ‘Gun Safety’ but don’t want anyone to practice and train…

The Second Amendment supporters responsible for developing Tiger Swan, a relatively new but well-used Cumberland County outdoor range, have done everything right. The operation was recruited by county officials in 2008 to locate in Cumberland County and began operations in 2010. After years of work and at great expense they have exceeded the numerous difficult requirements now required for establishing new outdoor shooting ranges. For their range they have:

  • Obtained almost 1000 acres of agricultural land, five times the 200 acres required by county rules.

  • Carefully and professionally engineered their site to contain all “Surface Danger Zones” on the property itself.

  • Maintained access control.

  • Secured liability insurance of $5 million, exceeding the required $2 million.

  • Hired an engineer to plan and certify that the range to complies with EPA “Best Management Practices.

Since opening three years ago, a small group of residents has sued Cumberland County to revoke Tiger Swan’s zoning, effectively “moving the goalposts”. Although this group cites concern over noise, danger from stray rounds, and unsubstantiated claims of reduced property values, it is clear what they are really attacking: the right to use firearms in Cumberland County.

While fighting in the courts, Tiger Swan has reapplied for an operating permit under revised County rules established by Commissioners in June, 2013. The Commissioners will meet this coming Monday, October 21 to decide if the permit will be granted.

Denial of this permit will eliminate training opportunities for citizens and law-enforcement officers, as well as cause a chilling effect on range development everywhere in the state. If this first-class operation can be “run out of town” by the gun grabbers, anyone can.


  • Email Commissioners. Tell them you support the range operated by Tiger Swan.

  • Sign the petition in support of granting Tiger Swan’s operating permit HERE or go to:

  • Plan to politely attend the Commissioners’ meeting this Monday, October 21, 6:30 pm, at the Cumberland County Courthouse, Room 118.

  • Help GRNC continue to defend your rights by joining and/or donating HERE or go to:

Contact Information

Contact Cumberland County Commissioners using the cut-and-paste list of email addresses below:;;;;;;

Sign the pro-Tiger Swan petition HERE or at:

Directions to the Commissioner’s meeting at the Cumberland County Courthouse, room 118 are HERE or go to:


Suggested Subject: “I Support Tiger Swan Range”

Dear Cumberland County Commissioner:

Those opposed to the Second Amendment often cite concern about safe handling and adequate training as excuses to infringe on the right of citizens to bear arms.

At the same time these same groups attack efforts to provide training and practice by making it impossible for shooting ranges and training facilities to operate. They cannot have it both ways.

As you know, the Tiger Swan range has bent over backwards to comply with rules and regulations, and has safely operated in Cumberland County for years. This organization provides important training opportunities to both citizens and law-enforcement. It is in the best interest of both citizens and the County for this operation to continue. In addition, it is only fair.

I expect you to approve Tiger Swan’s operating permit. I will be monitoring progress through Grass Roots North Carolina alerts.


Fast And Efficient Reloads

Brian Searcy of TigerSwan who taught our one-day Introductory Pistol class stressed efficiency and economy of motion.

This really came out when he showed us how to do a pistol reload efficiently and effectively.

The first step obviously is to drop your empty magazine out of the pistol. You don’t need to engage in any side-to-side wrist flips to accelerate the process as this will just slow things down. Rather tip the muzzle up just enough so that the magazine is vertical to the ground and hit the mag release. The empty mag will drop to the ground.

At the same time that you are dropping out the empty magazine, you are indexing your weak hand with your thumb on your belly button and sweeping along your belt until you hit the mag pouch or carrier. It doesn’t matter if you keep this pouch in front of your hip bone, at the hip bone, or behind it, indexing in this manner will get your weak hand to where it needs to be quickly.

The next step follows the traditional method of keeping your index finger along the front of the magazine touching or almost touching the bullet of the first round as you remove it from the pouch and turn it up to reload the pistol.

At this stage it was stressed that we should not drop our strong hand with the pistol down towards our waist. Brian said we should keep the pistol at eye level with the mag well pointed at our weak side elbow. Keeping the pistol at eye level when reloading means that it only takes a small turn of the wrist and you are back on the target again. Moreover, you are better able to keep your eye on the threat if you are in a self-defense situation.

To aid in keeping the pistol at the proper point, Brian suggested painting a line as shown above in the mag well of the pistol. You should be able to see the line as you are bringing the magazine up to the pistol. If not, you probably have dropped the pistol below the proper level.

You finish the reload by firmly seating the magazine, regripping the pistol, and then turning your wrist back to vertical. You hit the slide release and you are back on target ready to go.

Of course, practice makes perfect and I intend to practice this daily. It is just like dry fire practice in terms of building muscle memory and just as important.

To paint the line in the magazine well, I used a paint pen. You just as easily could have used a little paint brush and a bottle of Testor’s enamel. I plan to do this to all my pistols as it is a great aid.

As Rich of Knitebane Manor blog said of TigerSwan and the instruction from Brian Searcy, “the average teacher explains complexity; the gifted teacher reveals simplicity.” Thus, it was with this method of efficiently and effectively reloading your pistol.

Reflections On A Training Class

One of my goals for the year was to take a training class. The abbreviated class offered by Rangemaster’s Tom Givens at the Lucky Gunny Memorial Day Blogger Shoot was good. However, it was not a full-blown class but rather an appetizer. So when Sean Sorrentino said he was pulling together a training class for North Carolina gun bloggers, I signed up immediately – and I am so glad that I did.

The class was offered by TigerSwan at their range just outside of Fayetteville, North Carolina. I think TigerSwan has flown under the training radar because the bulk of their work is with military and law enforcement clientele. It hasn’t gotten the same press that more famous schools like GunSite or Thunder Ranch have received. However, if my introductory pistol class was an indication of the quality of the training received, it should.

I am not a world-class shooter and I have never even shot an IDPA club match. In all honesty, I am a mediocre shooter at best. That said, by lunchtime I was not only hitting a B-8 target at 25 yards in timed rapid fire (5 shots in 20 seconds times four) but was getting 20 out of 20 on the target. Even better, five of those 20 were in the black. This was with a stock Ruger SR9. It shows what quality instruction can bring out of a shooter.

Sgt Major Brian Searcy, USA (Ret)

The lead instructor was TigerSwans’ President and COO Brian Searcy who had spent 16 out of his 23-year Army career with 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta aka Delta Force. He was the unit’s Operations Sergeant Major and ran their pistol training program. He also had extensive experience as both an operational sniper and in sniper training. In terms of qualifications, skills, and experience, Brian is like Larry Vickers – another trainer and Delta Force veteran – but without the TV exposure. Brian’s assistant for this class was Paul whose last name I never caught. Paul, like Brian, had served in both the Army Special Forces and Delta Force.

Neither Brian nor Paul took the drill instructor approach to this class. Rather they showed us how it should be done, made adjustments to our shooting style, and offered quiet critiques. They also offered lots of encouragement.

The training itself is built around the fundamentals – grip, stance, target picture, breathing, trigger pull, and follow-through. Their goal was help us learn what it took to produce a single, well-aimed shot and then build from there. George at Newbie Shooter blog who went through the class with me has a good description of this process in this post.

One of the things I’ve noticed in retrospect is that much of the training emphasized an economy of motion. For example, in their draw sequence, instead of holding your weak hand flat against your chest, you were taught to hold it with your fingers spread and wrist cocked towards the target. This puts the weak hand in the position to complete the two-handed grip much quicker. Another example was we were encouraged to use our pistol’s slide release after we reloaded instead of the “slingshot method”. Again, it is quicker and gets you on target faster. When you consider what Brian and Paul did in their former lives, you begin to appreciate how these little small changes could make a huge difference down the road.

As the class wound down, Brian encouraged us to devote 10 minutes a day to dry fire practice. Building the muscle memory serves to make many parts of the shooting process an unconscious reaction so that you can concentrate on the shot and the target. A couple of days after I got home, I received follow-on tips and drills from Brian to help us build on what we learned in the class. Not only was this a nice touch but it showed a commitment to helping us grow as shooters even after the class was over and done.

In conclusion, I would recommend without any reservations training with TigerSwan. They know how to shoot and, more importantly, they know how to teach.

Ball And Dummy Drill

Saturday was spent at the TigerSwan Training Collaboration Center taking an Introductory Pistol class with five other NC gun bloggers and a few other folks. I didn’t believe it was possible to learn so much in one day!

One of the drills we learned was called the Ball and Dummy Drill. A quick Google search shows that there are many variations of this drill. While some have criticized it, I found it a very helpful drill. The goal is to have the shooter stop anticipating the recoil or to stop jerking the trigger.

The variation we used did not involve using dummy rounds. Instead we paired off with one person shooting and the other person loading one round. With his or her back to the shooter, one person would either load or not load a magazine and then insert it into the shooter’s pistol. The pistol would then be handed to the shooter to take the shot.

Sean* acting as coach and loader

I found that you could go a number of shots/non-shots and then screw up out of the blue. Then you had to make a mental note to concentrate on a smooth trigger pull and do it again and again.

I should note here that we did this drill while shooting at 25 yards at a B-8 target. Other variations of the drill suggest doing it at 3 yards.

Lynell being coached by George while instructor Brian Searcy watches.

 One of the other things instructor Brian Searcy added to the mix was to have the coach/loader put his hand in front of your face every so often and have you call the shot after you just took it. This helped up build awareness of where our shot went.

The only downside to not using dummy rounds involves pistols that have a loaded chamber indicator. If, like my Ruger SR9, the pistol has a loaded chamber indicator, then the loader and shooter have to make a conscious effort to hide that fact from the shooter. I know both I and Sean did make this effort.

This is a drill you can practice at any range whether indoor or outdoor. As I said earlier, I found it really valuable in helping develop a smooth trigger pull and in stopping anticipation.

*This Sean is not Sean Sorrentino but the other Sean in the class. We had two Georges and two Seans in the class.

Off To A Pistol Class This Weekend!

Thanks to the efforts of Sean Sorrentino, I will be joining a handful of bloggers and some others for a Basic Pistol class offered by TigerSwan this weekend. The class will be held near Fayetteville, NC at the TigerSwan Training Collaboration Center and School.

The class will be taught be Sgt Major Brian Searcy, US Army (Ret).

Brian is a 23 year Army Special Operations veteran who culminated 16 years with Delta Force (1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta) as the unit’s Operations Sergeant Major. His leadership experience ranges from serving as a military advisor in Central and South America to serving as the Command Sergeant Major (senior enlisted advisor) for a 1700 person Special Operations Task Force in Iraq. A decorated combat leader, his awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit and the Bronze Star.

As an instructor in Delta, Brian wrote and taught classes in assault planning, VIP protection, rifle and pistol marksmanship, explosive and mechanical breaching, close quarters battle, vehicle assaults and hand to hand combat. He served as the program manager and primary instructor for the Unit’s shooting and hand to hand programs.

A competitive shooter for over 20 years, Brian has competed at the top levels of competition in both precision and action shooting. Brian is a U.S. Army Distinguished Pistol Shot and has been awarded the President’s Hundred Tab. His other marksmanship accolades include: Overall Winner- 2005 Joint Special Operations Command Small Arms Championships and the 2003 North Carolina Indoor Conventional Pistol Champion.

I’ve got my ammo packed, my Ruger SR9 cleaned, a new heavy-duty gun belt, and, if the USPS cooperates tomorrow, my new Kydex holster. I will have a full after-action report next week. Sean has said that TigerSwan will be providing a photographer to take pictures so we can concentrate on learning. I think they may be as excited about our coming as we are to be taking the class.

There will be light to no blogging tomorrow through the weekend.