Herein shalt thou find assorted stuff and things about Aaron Cowan, founder and HMFIC of Sage Dynamics and longtime Breach-Bang-Clear contributor. Note that these updates are largely about COWAN! himself. If you’re seeking information about one of his courses (or want to enroll in a class) you should be looking at the Sage Dynamics Training Calendar.
Aaron Cowan of Sage Dynamics authors white paper on RDS-equipped pistols (updated March 2019)
The Rushing Winter novels are now in print
Yes, he’s a novelist too
Winter’s War, the third book in the Rushing Winter series, has been released for Kindle and in print; this is good if you’re collecting because the first two novels are now available in hard-copy as well.
As with its predecessors, action and description in Winter’s War reflect the knowledge of someone who is both gun-savvy and tactically proficient.
If you’re looking for a pulp style action shoot-em-up that’s short on exposition and long on dialogue, this isn’t the book for you. If you like getting into the weeds with your gunfightin’, and hate it when a television hero drags his Glock out to the sound of a hammer cocking (or a shotgun slide racking) then you’re in the right place.
“I’ve been writing since I was a kid. My grandfather said you should always have a hobby, and it shouldn’t matter if it makes you money. So I write. Three novels so far, not counting professional writing that does not really fall into the hobby category. I’ll probably never be able to do it for a living, but that’s okay.”
As you can read, the gun porn is point, from the descriptions of the weapons used…
Julian’s rifle was an FN FAL variant. A more modern version of a rifle that had dozens of variants over it’s well over half a century of service. This one had a Picatinny topped receiver and a Picatinny handguard with a barrel much shorter than the standard 17-21 inches. It looked in the neighborhood of 12”. The stock was a side folding skeletonized, with a long, metal spike welded to the toe of the stock, angled slightly forward so it could be shouldered without interference. It had a very old model Aimpoint optic mounted, as well as a weapon light that was cutting edge when I was a toddler.
“You know that’s weird, right?” I said, pointing to the spike.
…to their actual employment.
Sergeant Card ranged the General at 1,175 meters. Card felt no change in the wind, the temperature was in the high 90’s, not enough to change things. Card felt his pulse, checked his breathing, made a slight elevation adjustment, just .2 Mils up, centered his crosshair on the General and brushed the safety off. Card felt the trigger, waiting for his natural respiratory pause, his prime physiological condition from which to press the trigger. Between heartbeats, just before his body would naturally feel the urge to draw a breath, Card confirmed his point of aim and pressed back on the trigger.
The single stage action broke at 3.3 pounds, the 250 grain Lapua round left the 26-inch barrel traveling at 2,950 feet per second. With over a thousand meters to the General’s upper chest, the round would be in the air for close to three and lose over half of its speed before striking him. Card worked the bolt back, coming off the scope to do it, rammed in a second round and went back on the scope. His first shot followed the arc from the elevated barrel to its natural apogee before dropping 510 inches to its point of impact. The General was hit just right of the center chest while in mid-sentence, falling back into the rear of his BTR as Card fired his second shot. One of the compound guards was crouched down not far from the General behind a pile of bricks, Card’s second shot hit him in the left shoulder…
And, there is obligatory gunnerding — which, to be clear, we enjoy in military fiction (or really any action novel).
It’s amazing how many electronic devices have IR radiation, and how many objects or garments stood out greatly under IR. Even the IR laser on my rifle could emit IR light via a small LED in the top of the unit that would be visible to the user if the laser was on. Maddy had taped over it for me and had me memorize the controls and settings, which wasn’t hard. The MAWL design was intuitive. Twisting the MAWL selector clockwise past Visible to IR, I used my thumb to push the distance selector forward to midrange. I had to hold down a small spring-loaded blocker to push the switch all the way forward to the long range setting. If the man on top of the rollercoaster had night vision, he would know I was there as soon as I painted him.
If you want to read any more of it, buy your own.
The RDS Equipped Handgun
A white paper about the use of red dot sights on pistols
*Update March 5, 2019: RDS for Duty Use, Second Edition
As some of you may already have seen, COWAN! recently published a study on the use of an RDS-equipped pistol. Says Aaron,
“RDS use on handguns is a relatively new technology and because of that, often a point of debate regarding its purpose, effectiveness or reliability. There isnt a great deal of centralized information on the subject, so I decided to create a White Paper on the subject. What started out as a simple study became an attempt to make the most comprehensive document possible addressing the technology; its advantages, disadvantages, and purpose. While it isnt perfect, this document will provide interested parties with an in-depth look at RDS use for handguns to allow a more informed decision.”
In addition to a comparative analysis of over a dozen different MRDS types from multiple manufacturers, it covers a number of topics: technology, construction, equipment concerns, external mounts, optic durability, use of force findings, training, optic selection, and several other issues.
Here’s an excerpt:
Accuracy Improvement With the MRDS
The general fundamentals of iron sight use require sight alignment, which is to place the front sight of the handgun into the rear notch and center it as accurately as possible while ensuring the height of the front sight post is equal to the height of the rear sight notch, also referred to as equal light, equal height. The textbook sight alignment is something that all officers, from the academy to retirement will be familiar with from firearms training. They will also be familiar with the commonly repeated phrase of, it’s not going to be perfect. Exact sight alignment is difficult, sometimes impossible to achieve because of natural hand tremor, focal issues and the possibility of stress making both of the previous issues worse.
Once sight alignment is established, accuracy is further complicated by sight picture. The requirement to maintain alignment and place the front sight on the desired point of impact. Lighting issues, sight type, distance and movement of the target can complicate this greatly.
Under static range conditions, many officers display great accuracy because they understand the process and they have invested the time to master the use of sights. Outside of static conditions, even the best veteran marksman suffer a significant drop in accuracy. This has as much to do with physiology and the more complicated nature of an unpredictable situation as it does with the method of aiming itself.
The largest hurdles to proper MRDS use at the instructional level are; getting officers used to remaining threat focused upon presentation of the firearm, and aligning the MRDS with their dominant eye. The second common issue is solved by the correct training of the first. Eye/hand coordination is important to proper firearms training in general, often taken for granted with rifle RDS because the rifle provides four points of contact; shoulder, primary hand, support hand, and the cheekweld, which indexes the optic in an optimum location for the eye to acquire the dot.
With the handgun, only two points of contact aid in the alignment of the optic body to the dominant eye. The best method for working through this potential hurdle, as it will not happen to all officers, is to instruct officers to drive the firearm to their eyes while looking exactly where they wish to hit the target. If the dot does not appear upon presentation, the officer should move their head until they see the dot while holding the firearm perfectly still. If they find the dot and it is aligned with their desired point of impact, the issue is with their alignment of the firearm to the eye and not with the MRDS to the target.
It is normal for eye/hand coordination to place the firearm in the correct location while not necessarily aligning it perfectly with the eye; much in the same way we are able to throw a ball to a specific point without conscious thought as to alignment, these functions occur naturally whether it’s a baseball or the alignment of a handgun to a target. This generally isn’t an issue with iron sights due to the open nature of their radius and the small, unconscious corrections that are made as the firearm presents.
Introducing the human eye to the equation requires practice, but the time needed for an officer to learn the proper use of the MRDS is much shorter, generally speaking than the time invested in proper iron sight use. Methods that allow for larger points of aim to smaller points of aim as proficiency develops, is the best method to acclimate officers to the MRDS. This process can be accomplished in minutes or hours, reinforced by practice, an officer will become MRDS proficient in a short period of time.
Because the MRDS does not rely on traditional iron sight methods for acquisition or aiming, an officer’s experience with iron sights does not directly affect their ability to become proficient with the MRDS. If other fundamentals are sound, efficiency is a matter of proper repetition with a shorter learning curve than that of iron sights. This can be seen in the Norwich University study, with the level of experience compared to the level of performance, and in the Sage Dynamics Force on Force study with the same lens.
Other issues experienced with the MRDS versus iron sights is that the optical dot has a constant movement because of the natural movement of the hands. This movement appears worse than it is. This natural movement is present with iron sights as well, but the size and method of use for the front and rear sights prevents it from being as evident.
The size of the chosen dot for an MRDS can also lead to this natural movement appearing worse than it is. As already mentioned, dot size can further exaggerate this issue, but this movement is relative and does not affect the accuracy with the application of proper fundamental techniques.
Under recoil, the dot in the reticle window may disappear as the slide reciprocates and the firearm rises; this is no different than losing focus on the front sight as it moves rearward and up. The return of the dot to the proper position for additional shots is dependent upon eye/hand coordination, the input of visual information and a responding muscular reaction to complete a task, which in this case is the firearm returning to as-close-to-as-possible, the position it was in when the first or sequential shot was made
We interrupt this flow of news to bring you one of the greatest images of COWAN! yet seen.
Sage Dynamics Aaron Cowan Now Sponsored by PWS
Primary Weapon Systems has excellent taste in shooters & hedgehogs
We’re chuffed to advise our Minion, recurring contributor and munificently multiloquent Pew Pew Manuscript Master Aaron Cowan has been selected by Primary Weapons Systems as one of their brand ambassador/sponsored shooters. COWAN!, whose moniker here will remain spelled in all caps with an exclamation point no matter how important he becomes in the industry, is the HMFIC of Atlanta-based Sage Dynamics and an Agency Arms sponsored shooter.
You can see COWAN! here, in an excerpt from the German magazine In Focus, which recently covered one of his Citizen Response to Active Shooter courses. We don’t speak German so we can’t really tell you any more than that, we just figured we’d show it to you.
Primary Weapons Systems is a tactical and sporting rifle design and manufacturing company in Boise, Idaho. The PWS motto is “Strength through Evolution.”
When describing themselves, PWS says,
“All parts manufactured by PWS are done so on state of the art CNC Machines. Any components that are not produced by PWS are purchased from only the best manufacturers to ensure the highest quality products are delivered to the end user. From our CNC machinists, assemblers and quality control to our office staff, PWS is a company of shooters. It is this combination that enables us to provide our clients with quality products that are not only aesthetically appealing, but also very functional.”
That sounds like your typical website marketing-speak, and it is, but since COWAN! has always been completely candid with us and with manufacturers whose gear he reviews (even if they’re our friends or one of our advertisers) we reckon they’re probably telling the truth. He certainly wouldn’t agree to prostitute himself to a shitty company.
The same cannot be said for the Sage Dynamics hedgehog, who is significantly less scrupulous and should not be trusted, but the Hog isn’t anyone’s sponsored shooter.
We want to congratulate Aaron on his achievement — he’s a hard-working dude who genuinely wants to make a difference. This is two remarkable companies in a row to sponsor him. Follow Aaron’s company Sage Dynamics on Instagram, @sagedynamics, and follow his new sponsor PWS @primaryweapons.
Aaron Cowan joins Agency Arms as instructor
Sage Dynamics founder now an Agency Asset
Breach Bang Clear is proud to announce that one of our very own minions – the one and only COWAN! – is now a sponsored instructor for Agency Arms.
Cowan has written many compelling works for us on Breach Bang Clear (check some of ’em out here) in addition to several other well-known publications. He also runs a training company called Sage Dynamics, an organization more than a few of you have some experience with. (In fact, we sent a minion to train with Sage Dynamics a while back; you can read her AAR part 1 and 2 here.)
Agency Arms is a small, fairly young company that has taken up the job of customizing handguns, specifically Glocks. They do stippling, custom trigger work, reduction of slide weight, top and side slide windows, rear slide serrations and thumb ledges, among other things. They offer 3 packages- Field model, Urban Model, and Hybrid Model. Soon they will have a full website you can visit to learn more about these packages, but for now, you can shoot them a message on Facebook should you have any questions.
Now that Agency Arms has brought on three instructors, they plan on sponsoring several classes. It’s not clear yet whether the classes will be geared towards military/LE or include civilians, but hopefully, it won’t be long until they release schedules and courses.
We’d like to congratulate our Minion and hope to see good things from Agency Arms as well as from their partnership with our friend.
You can find Aaron’s articles archived online here on the COWAN! contributor page.
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