What you didn’t learn in your Concealed Carry Class

Published December 3, 2013 by
Filed under Carry, CCW, Competition, Mindset, Practice, Self Defense, Training

Dave Spaulding (who knows more about firearms training than just about anyone else on the planet) talks about grip and stance. 

One of the things that annoys me about 90% of the “Tactical” training out there is that they teach you a “perfect” grip and stance, which you will probably never, ever use if (God forbid) you need to defend your life with your gun. Real life is not a shooting range: There’s a zero percent chance you’ll be wearing hearing protection if/when you’ll need to use a gun defensively, and the stress you’ll be under when you do is nothing like the stress of shooting at a range. 

This is one of the reasons why I encourage new gun owners to shoot at least one practical pistol competition: You’ll get a much better understanding of how your body reacts to stress when you have a gun in your hand, and you’ll see the need to close the gap between your skill level shooting in the relaxed environment of a square range versus  your skill under the pressure of competition. 

“A shooting match isn’t a gunfight, but a gunfight is certainly a shooting match.”Massad Ayoob.

Why Should You Get Defensive Firearms Training?

Published November 26, 2013 by
Filed under Carry, CCW, Mindset, Self Defense, Training

… because you can over-train for some things, but not for a violent armed encounter.

… because you want to survive a violent armed encounter.

… because your loved ones and friends want you to survive a violent armed encounter. 

And the rest of the reasons I gave are over on The Personal Defense Network. Go check it out

Think Fast.

Published November 21, 2013 by
Filed under Carry, CCW, Mindset, Self Defense, Training

This video from a successful carjacking in Johannesburg is downright frightening.

Welcome to Worst-Case-Scenario-Land, population: You. 

What could you do in this scenario? Well, not a lot, even if you’re armed because the crooks are on their prey in mere seconds. They’re professional, they’ve done it before and it shows.They have the car blocked in and a gun on the driver on the right side from the start of things, and then seconds later another car comes in to seal off the exit.

This is another extension of the problems of training with just one tool. Sometimes, there’s not a gun solution or a non-lethal solution: There’s no solution: You’ve lost even before the fight started.

We can train, we can practice, we can carry every day, but sometimes, the bad guys win.

The trick is to reduce the number of times they win.

Should you carry a gun?

Published November 19, 2013 by
Filed under Carry, CCW, Mindset, Self Defense

That’s a fair question to ask. Let’s assume, first off, that you CAN carry a gun with you on a regular basis. There are lots of people (my wife included) who, because of their work environment, can’t carry a concealed firearm around with them on a regular basis. If that’s the case, this discussion is moot. 

But if you can carry, should you carry? Consider this recent post on Reddit.com

I live in a small town in Iowa. A couple years ago I applied for and received my concealed carry permit. I have a G26 with a crossbreed supertuck to go with it, and I have a Ruger LCP. I would carry one of these every day, everywhere I went, religiously, for quite a while.

This past summer, I decided to stop carrying. I decided it’s just not worth it for me. It’s not worth the pain in the ass to put it on, it’s not worth the weight and discomfort, it’s not worth introducing a firearm into every single encounter in my daily life. It’s not worth it to me, for the one in a million chance that I might ever maybe possibly need to use it. 

Is that person right? Is carrying a firearm not worth the trouble, given the “one-in-a-million” chance you’ll need to use it? 

Depends. I carry a first aid kit in my car: Am I expecting to be first on the scene at a major traffic accident? No. Have I needed it to patch up the scrapes and cuts of my pre-teen sons? Oh yeah. 

The knowledge and assurance that you are ready and able to deal with what life throws at you can be a powerful, powerful thing, and when you need a gun, there aren’t a whole lot of things you can use as a substitute

Should you carry a gun? Can you think of something in your life worth dying for? Would rather die for it or live for it? 

Then decide.

The Gun Solution

Published November 5, 2013 by
Filed under Carry, CCW, Mindset, Self Defense, Training

Interesting scenario. 

I like this quite a lot, although I’m not a big fan of off-body carry in a purse, bag or anything else.  Why? Because that’s what crooks target first. Heck, there’s even a type of crook that does (what for it) purse-snatching as a primary means of being a crook.

However, the video does make a good point that a person putting their hand into a bag to grab a gun looks like a person putting their hand into a bag, and nothing more than that. 

I also like how they teach that going for the gun first could be a very, very bad thing. There’s a need for civilians with concealed carry permits to get the sort of “Force Continuum” training that cops get. If we carry a gun, we tend to see a threat in terms of a gun problem. If we’re trained in the martial arts, we see it as a punch, kick or throw problem.

If we’re unarmed and unaware, well, it’s a problem. Period. 

Competition is a mind game

Published October 31, 2013 by
Filed under Competition, IDPA, Mindset, Self Defense

There are many reasons why I recommend that at some point, new gun owners shoot a practical pistol match. 

  1. There is no better way to find out if your choice of gun, holster and gear will work under stressful conditions than at a shooting match.
  2. You are solving somebody else’s problem with a gun in your hand, which is exactly what will happen if you need to use lethal force: Somebody else started the problem, you need to solve it. 
  3. You will find out how your brain does (or doesn’t work) under stress. 

To that last point: 

I shot an International Defensive Pistol (IDPA) Match this week with my co-bloggers, and totally and completely messed up the first two stages. IDPA is notorious for it’s rules, which are, in theory, designed to help re-create what might be found if you need (God Forbid) to use your firearm to save your life. Two of those rules are you shoot the targets in the designated order and you don’t discard a partially loaded magazine. 

Watch as I break both of those rules on the first stage, but recover and turn in a pretty good run (for me) on the second stage. 

The stress that a a practical pistol match puts on you is 1/10th (if that…) of the real thing.

But that’s 1/10th more than most people (thankfully) will have to face in their lives, which is why it’s a good idea for anyone who owns a pistol for self-defense to give it a try at least once. 

Who knows, you might like it. 

Strategy for a USPSA stage

Published October 22, 2013 by
Filed under Competition, Mindset, Training, USPSA

Or, how to do the same thing three different ways. 

Jaci, Robert and myself all shot the USPSA match at Rio Salado Sportsman’s Club last Sunday, and we each approached stage two of the match in a slightly different way. Because Robert and I shot it in Production and Jaci in Single Stack Minor, we each started out with 11 rounds in our gun and 10 in our mags, meaning we each had to shoot the stage in roughly the same manner, but we still managed to find some ways to change things up to match our level of shooting skill.

The Stage: 

stage_2

 

14 Targets, 26 Shots. 

Here’s another competitor shooting the stage in Single Stack Major to show you how it’s laid out.

 

stage_2_panoRobert’s Strategy:
Robert started shooting from the shooting box itself, then moved to a standing position to engage the next three targets, then moved to the right side of the barrel near the fence and engaged the targets as seen in the video, but with a little more hesitation to make sure all the targets were hit.

Jaci’s Strategy:
She started out walking, engaging the first four targets on the move and the next three while moving and shot the entire stage much like it was the video. 

stage_2_startMy strategy:
I shot this a little differently, as I wanted to work on moving then shooting then moving again. I started the stage by engaging the first four targets from the box, then running across the fault lines to a spot where I could shoot the next three targets, then ran across the fault lines again to take the shortest distance possible to my next shooting location, then finished up the stage much the same way as my co-bloggers. 

So who was fastest? 

Jaci, by a couple of seconds. Yep, I got my ass whipped by a girl. Again. 

Stay safe no matter where you go.

Published October 10, 2013 by
Filed under Carry, CCW, Equipment, Mindset, Self Defense, Women

fire_extinguisher_self_defense

Photo courtesy of Phoenix Firearms Training

Let’s talk for a moment about a few other options for personal defense that DON’T involve a firearm. If you work in a location that bans “weapons” such as most knives and all guns, there are still a lot of self-defense options available to you. Here’s some suggestions that I’ve found might work in more restrictive locations, but as always, these are suggestions, and use them at your own risk.

First off, use your brain, and don’t do dumb things in dumb places with dumb people.

Secondly, have a good, strong, bright flashlight with you, and use it whenever you go out at night. That mugger in the parking lot might pass you by and find an easier target if you walk out of your building shining a flashlight that could light up a small neighborhood. In addition to this, that flashlight makes a DANDY striking tool if (God forbid) the worst happens and you’re attacked.

Thirdly, just because you can’t have a gun or a knife with you doesn’t mean you’re unarmed. Some options for self-defense besides a flashlight might be:

  • Keep a can of wasp spray in your desk. It’s nasty, nasty stuff and foams up very nicely, blocking the bad guy’s vision and impairing his breathing.
  • Fire extinguishers. Like wasp spray, they block vision and impair breathing and are 100% innocuous.
  • A hammer. No one will bat an eye if you have a hammer in your desk for small repairs or hanging pictures, but they make a heck of a weapon if needed. War hammers were the weapon of choice in Western Europe for hundreds of years, so they should work for you, too.
  • Multitool blades. No, they’re not a Spyderco or Benchmade, yes, they are better than harsh language, and no one will freak if you have a pair of pliers, a bottle opener and a nail file near you.

But as I said at the start, the most powerful weapon you have (and the only one you really need) is what’s in-between your ears. Situational awareness, or paying attention to what you’re paying attention to, will help you avoid the trouble in the first place. 

And no trouble is just the kind of trouble you want to have.

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