Review: Convict Conditioning

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Deceptive hype overshadowing semi-decent bodyweight exercise advice that can had for better elsewhere

Convict Conditioning is an example of what’s wrong with most fitness advice as it is primarily image and hyperbole overshadowing a bit of potentially useful advice. Here author “Paul Wade” (Google “Paul Wade identity” for sources claiming this is a pseudonym) uses prison hype to sell a “hard core” image for bodyweight exercise as better than anything else while providing no evidence to back up the claims.

Looking past the prison images that are merely public domain pics from the government (see page 288, Acknowledgements) the main model/demonstrator for this book is Jim Bathurst, founder of the excellent Beast Skills website. If “Paul Wade” is this awesomely strong guy built with bodyweight exercises, who claims to have won various Powerlifting meets with his methods (but doesn’t even bother to make up and lie about a total at said events) why not demo himself? I mean, a former convict could save the money instead of hiring Bathurst and then block out his face with Photoshop to hide his identity if necessary.

Given that Jim Bathurst demonstrated this instead of the author, how did he develop his ability? Visit his Beast Skills website to confirm:

“I like to incorporate barbell training (power lifting and olympic lifting), as well as gymnastic and bodyweight exercises. … I feel that bodyweight training and weight training complement each other very well. I’ve gotten the impression that some people feel they have to choose between one or the other. Or that one is superior to the other. I hate to see a divide in two types of training that will both ultimately improve your body.”

One Legged Squat (The Pistol)

“Method One – Squats!
Weighted squats are an incredible exercise, and going nice and low with them helps build some incredible strength in your legs. This ended up being the only method I used. Seriously, the only one. I had worked rock bottom squats for several months before I had even heard of the pistol, but I was able to pick up the skill very quickly and easily because I had developed strength in the necessary range of motion.”

One Arm Chin-up / Pull-up

“Weighted Chins
The weighted chin was a major exercise I worked on while training for the OAP, much more important than doing endless unweighted chinups. I would highly recommend you work this exercise. This was my bread and butter.

How much extra weight do I need to do in my weighted chin-up before I can do a one arm chin-up? Perform a chin-up with 2/3 of your current bodyweight for 2-3 reps and you’re close.”


Beginner Handstand Pushups

“Now the obvious question – can’t I just work my military press in the gym? Sure you can. I love to work heavy shoulder presses myself.”

“Paul Wade” lists Bert Assirati (page 13) as an example to justify his claims. Yet, Assirati developed his strength primarily with weight training. In 1938 he set an unofficial world record Deadlift at 800 pounds along with squatting 550 pounds for ten reps. He could press of 160 pounds with one arm, clean and jerk 360, and press 285. On his 16th birthday his father took him to a physical culture show and after watching a demonstration by Alan P. Mead, Bert’s father bought him a barbell set from Mead, which included notes and a training program from Mead.

John Grimek (page 26) was a member of the 1936 US Olympic Weightlifting Team and York Barbell Club.

On a personal note, I’ve found my ability to perform bodyweight exercise has improved greatly since training with barbells because barbell training got me stronger than a bodyweight exercise approach ever did.

Convict Conditioning leaves you with one possible approach to bodyweight exercise (among plenty of others) surrounded by unsubstantiated claims by an anonymous author, a hard sell of bodyweight exercise done by running down weight training (with no evidence, along with examples and demonstrations by people that were successful because of their weight training), all set to a tone glamorizing a prison “hard time” chic. I was interested in this book upon finding it in a library and am glad I didn’t waste money on it, though I’m disappointed the library did.

If you’re interested in bodyweight exercise, Jim Bathurst at his Beast Skills website has a number of free tutorials along with expanded manuals for sale. He is the real deal and doesn’t need hype or a pseudonym to do it. Even “Paul Wade” paid him to demonstrate.

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The Range Complex

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The Range Complex
Review by Estaban Montoya Martinez

If you want to be the best shooter that you can be, you need to find the best instructors out there. The Range Complex was started by former members of 1 SFOD-Delta, or Delta Force. They have been there and done that, and will help make you better.

I was highly impressed by the 3 Day pistol/carbine course at The Range Complex, and disappointed it wasn’t 5 days long. At the end of it I was able to make a 100 yard shot with my iron sighted Springfield XDm, and was shooting much better with my AR-15. Forewarning, this is not a beginner’s course. The experience I’ve had from shooting Infidel Gunfighter League matches as well as practicing with Service Rifle and Pistol aided my understanding and implementation during this course. However, they weren’t as useful for this particular course as I had originally thought.

Greg Wilson, the instructor of the course I attended, has received the Presidents Hundred nine times in Service Pistol and Distinguished Pistol. He was in the Army Marksmanship Unit and renowned enough that 1 SFOD-Delta requested that he train them how to shoot better on multiple occasions. He has decades of experience and wisdom on shooting. He is known to put his money where his mouth is by shooting against his own students while teaching the course. Greg has a wealth of information and will answer any and all questions that you have.

Starting out, we shot Pistol at 25 yards toward an NRA bullseye target. This seems strange until you realize that it’s hard, and you cannot improve without seeing how far you can push yourself. Shooting at this distance also highlights the errors individuals make in grip, sight alignment, and trigger squeeze that are often hidden at closer distances. It WILL make you better.

I learned during this course that gun handling and shooting are two separate skills. Gun handling you want to do as fast as possible so that you can slow down to make a good shot.

There were several drills that were covered and were explained, the Bill Drill, Cadence Drill, Slow Fire, Target Transitions, Cadence Drills.

There are a lot of things that I and others learned from the course that will help you out with any course you take:

  1. Have proper cold/wet weather gear for the environment, God gets to vote on the weather.
  2. Ensure that you are physically in shape for the course, it’s not too demanding but does require slight physical activity all day.
  3. Ensure that your equipment is good to go, having iron sights off on a pistol or not enough ammo/belt equipment can put a damper on training time. (Though TRC will bend over backwards to help you)
  4. Words mean things, read and comprehend the course flyer.
  5. If you’re traveling, they can secure your weapons/ammo in a DOD approved weapons facility where they are safe.

This course is well worth the money and the time, and I’m looking forward to getting back to one, and using the skills learned there to improve my own skills even more. You’re missing out by not attending.

United States Rifle, Caliber .30, M1 (M1 Garand) Unreliable

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Debates about whether or not the current service rifle is good enough are not new. It seems when a rifle reaches legendary status, said rifle is deemed infallible. Things like the AK-47 with its legendary status have the myth that the weapon is unjammable, a myth perpetuated because of its history and status.

ARMY: Report on the Garand
Mar. 24, 1941
Time Magazine

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,884292-1,00.html
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The Officer’s Guide To Police Pistolcraft by Michael E. Conti

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The Officer’s Guide To Police Pistolcraft by Michael E. Conti
A review by John Veit

The Officer’s Guide To Police Pistolcraft is a new (2009), comprehensive, practical, and reality-based survival guide for today’s Police Officer.
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Only useful for 39 million handgun owners

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Shooter’s Guide to Handgun Marksmanship
by Peter Lessler
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Stainless S&Ws and Pachmayrs

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Stainless S&Ws and Pachmayrs
by Robert Kolesar

Like most here, I like older blued S&Ws (especially the early 50’s guns) and stocks of walnut. On my working guns, though, I prefer Pachmayrs. They fit my hand well, are rugged and control recoil. And they’re cheap. What’s not to like? Here’s some of my working Smiths that get carried or shot daily.
Bob

From the top: M68 LAPD .38, M67-1 .38, M66-3 .357, M649 .38.

Here’s two of my "shooters". Top is a modified 68 in .38 (used in bullseye competition) and bottom a 66-3 that also is heavily used (PPC and bullseye) in practice. Notice the patridge front sights. Both have also had endshake removed, carry-up modified and pulls slicked up. Both are superb target guns.

Close up of a great front sight, installed by the factory several years back. Far superior to the red-ramp.

My favorite Pachmayr; small Presentation, no finger grooves. Preferably without the gaudy Pachmayr emblem. Pure function.

My old LAPD duty revolvers. Top is my issued 67; I got it new in the Academy. It wears the original Pachmayrs I bought for it in the old Pachmayr store in LA in ’84 when I was a recruit. It is usually within reach when I’m at home. Bottom is my 649, which I won in my 1st PPC match. It also wears its original Pachmayrs. It’s stil DAO, modified by the LAPD Armory when I picked it up from the LAPD Revolver Club.

My Old 649

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My Old 649
by Robert Kolesar

Recently, I dug out my 649 from somewhere in the back of the safe for some photos…I hadn’t shot (or handled) it in awhile, so I thought it might be time to put some rounds through it. I gathered up some ammo and headed to the range. After putting 50 or so rounds downrange, I realized why I liked this gun so long ago; it’s an easy-shooting revolver, with mellow recoil and quick recovery, even with plus P loads.

I got this 649 as a prize for winning my 1st PPC match as a new shooter with the LAPD Pistol Team. It came with my initials and badge engraved on the sideplate. Before putting it into mothballs, I added a gorgeous set of Coco-Bolo checkered stocks; I had always carried it with Pachmayrs for duty. I still have those old Pachmayr Compacs; I put them back on for shooting and photos. I’m now carrying it again in a new IWB holster from Bell Charter Oak; the older one has earned its retirement after 25 plus years.

I tried wadcutters, Speer Gold Dots and some 158 gr +P LSWCHP loads.

Great grouping at 10 yards with Gold Dots. Hot, light loads tend to shoot low; these weren’t too bad. I aimed at the top of the 10-ring. Gold Dots are probably the best short-barreled factory defense load you can buy today, with an excellent track record with both the LAPD and NYPD in street shootings.

My old warrior and its battered holster, veterans of many an LAPD street caper, updated with new 135 grain Gold Dots. Still a great carry combo today. It now rides in a Bell Charter Oak IWB.

New leather holster by Bell Charter Oak, with an S&W 442 Airweight .38 inside. An excellent replacement for my older IWB rig. Small .38s are best carried inside the waistband or in a pocket. Due to the DA trigger, IWB is totally safe, with good, rapid access to the revolver.

My issued M67 and M649, both outfitted in their original Pachmayrs from "back in the day".

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