RedState's Watercooler, 7/4 Open Thread: Guns & Gear Review

watercoolerWelcome back to another installment of the Watercooler, RedState’s daily Open Thread! Today, we’ve got another Guns & Gear Review in store.

Guns & Gear Review: Trident Concepts TACOST Rifle & Pistol Training Decks


This month we’re looking at something different, an innovative new twist on an old idea from former Navy SEAL Jeff Gonzales and his training shop, Trident Concepts. The use of playing cards as compact, readily-accessible quick-reference tools has a long and successful history, ranging from planes and ships in WWII to the famous Iraq “Deck of Death” bearing ID photos of Baathist officials and other Leadership Targets, and now Gonzales’s team have adapted that concept to weapons training on the range with these sets of 52 different drills in four broad classifications. We’re going to be looking at their Rifle I and Pistol I decks; there’s also one I don’t have for SIRT simulators and thus can’t comment on, but both decks I have are similarly laid out and equally well thought-out.

Each deck has three extra cards on top of the standard 52: one explaining the TACOST program and concepts, one quick reminder of safety rules and practices, and the third a quick-reference explaining the abbreviations on each card. The suits correspond to four basic categories: Marksmanship (Spades) focused on pure accuracy, Speed (Hearts) focused on hitting “minimum acceptable” scores faster, Dry Fire (Diamonds) focused on handling and trigger-work technique, and Baseline (Clubs) which is a group of drills to shoot first as a “placement” and then re-shoot periodically to assess growth. Many of the Marksmanship and Speed drills are challenging even for experts, so when I wrote in with feedback and mentioned that I was thinking of using these as a teaching tool, the suggestion was to either increase target size or reduce round count as a “beginner handicap.”


While they recommend selecting specific cards based on skills to be worked on and ammunition available, I’m also a fan of using them to create completely random training sessions every now and again–too much structure leads to things like “scripted kata” where a martial artist looks impressive on the mats but doesn’t have the flexible thinking to handle the chaos of a streetfight, while not enough also leads to problems of its own. I could see these working well to spice things up with a kind of “Range Poker” game, where it starts with regular 5-card draw but instead of taking the pot, the winner gets to trade hands with any other player of his choice, and then whoever completes the most out of their five drills on the firing line wins the hand.

Educational, challenging and fun. Would buy again–and worth full price, even though I got mine on Black Friday sale.

The author was not compensated for this review, and the review sample is courtesy of his own wallet.

Previous Watercooler Guns & Gear Reviews



This Week In History

  • Sunday, 7/1: Gettysburg kickoff, 1863; Battle of San Juan Hill, 1898; Ford Thunderbird line closes, 2005 (Special shoutout for my girlfriend: Canadian independence, 1867)
  • Monday, 7/2: Congress votes for independence, 1776; Garfield shot, 1881; Civil Rights Act signed, 1964
  • Tuesday, 7/3: Washington takes command, 1775; Pickett’s Charge, 1863; Idaho statehood, 1890
  • Wednesday, 7/4: West Point opens, 1802; Vicksburg falls, 1863; Freedom of Information Act signed, 1966
  • Thursday, 7/5: Liberty Bell hits the rails for Pan-Pacific Expo, 1915; Spam introduced, 1937; first clash of Korean War, 1950
  • Friday, 7/6: Retreat from Fort Ticonderoga, 1777; first RNC, 1854; first MLB All-Star Game, 1933
  • Saturday, 7/7: Quasi-War with France begins, 1798; Lincoln conspirators hanged, 1865; sliced bread introduced, 1928; Hoover Dam groundbreaking, 1930

Today’s Birthdays: Composer Stephen Foster, 1826; President Calvin Coolidge, 1872; jounalist Pauline “Dear Abby” Phillips, 1918;  And… I guess you could call it a birthday of sorts, when an American icon first Godzilla-stomped into the public eye. I refer here to Henry Fairfield Osborn’s introduction of Tyrannosaurus rex to the world in 1905. Good thing I picked up some cupcakes so Junior can celebrate his heritage a little…


Holidays Around the World: Northern Mariana Islands and Rwanda both celebrate their Liberation Day, and the Philippines observes Republic Day.

This Week In History is compiled with assistance from and Wikipedia. Something interesting not listed here? Please share in the Comments section–this is an Audience Participation Encouraged featurette.

Gratuitous Gun Giveaways

*Note: FMG Publishing giveaways require you to provide an FFL dealer’s info at entry. Aero Precision and Primary Arms giveaways give me one entry each per person who uses my referral link.




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Quote of the Day


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By WarX, edited by Manuel Strehl (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
(Image by WarX, edited by Manuel Strehl at Wikimedia; used under Creative Commons Attribution license)


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