I know two people who’ve had to use their guns.

December 10, 2013 by  
Filed under Carry, CCW, Mindset, Self Defense, Training

Neither of which is a cop. 
Neither of which lives in a bad neighborhood. 
Neither of which was expecting to use their gun that day. 
Neither of which had to fire a shot to keep themselves safe. 
Neither of them called the cops after they drew their guns.

One of them, a member of Reddit whom I met this year, had things work out alright for him

I turn onto a smaller road that goes more directly to my house. There’s a car coming in the opposite direction and a lady walking by herself to my right on the sidewalk in kind of a hurry. All the sudden the head on vehicle makes a deliberate but sloppy swerve so that he’s now facing me and coming right at me. Being a smaller road neither of us are traveling fast and I manage to break hard enough to avoid a collision as I lay on my horn. His car makes a sound like he put the parking break on too fast, and out he comes yelling. The lady that was on my right is also yelling now, and it seems like they know each other because she’s screaming stuff like “Yeah okay, go ahead and get out of your car now! Go ahead!”.

Instead of yelling back at her though, he yells at me as he’s coming towards me and my truck. I panic a little bit and I was already shocked by his actions with his car, so I reach behind my seat where I grab hold of my .45. He gets to my truck and immediately pounds on my hood. “GET OUT OF MY WAY, THIS ISNT YOUR BUSINESS.” I don’t know what the f*** he’s talking about but now I officially feel like I’m backed in a bit of a corner here. I had already turned my cab light on, and as he approached my window I point the gun at him through the window, rolling it down enough for him to hear me yell over his ranting “BACK OFF. I DONT CARE WHAT YOUR DEAL IS, GO AWAY.”

Now realize that whole thing happens in probably less than ten seconds. I’m shaking and half way talking out of my ass, it’s all gut reaction at this point.

Immediately he backs off a bit but keeps yelling “Big guy with a gun huh? You aren’t a man…” As he’s walking away I take my chance to get the f*** out of there and turn out of there where he had previously been blocking me with himself. I look back once to see he’s now yelling at the women and pointing back to his car. I go straight home and sit in the drive way for a second to relax, and that was it.

He didn’t call the cops and it worked out for him, unlike the other person I know who drew his gun. 

A friend’s boyfriend had an experience with someone who escalated a traffic altercation into full-on road rage. The other driver followed him, my friend stopped , and the other driver got out of his car. My friend was worried about if the other driver had a gun. My friend drew his gun, backed the other guy down, and drove off.

Even though he was in fear for his life, even though he tried de-escalation and it didn’t work, the fact is, the other guy got to set the narrative in the minds of law enforcement because he called the cops first.

The other guy called the cops and told them my friend’s boyfriend pulled a gun on him. The case didn’t go to court, my friend pleaded to a lesser charge and lost his right to own a gun for 3 years as part of the plea deal. Yes, he could have fought it in court and won outright, but the narrative was set by the other guy ,who called the cops first. Because of that, it was his job to fight an uphill battle against what the cops knew as “fact”and it just wasn’t a battle that could be won from a money/time perspective.

Lawyers cost insane amounts of money (get self-defense insurance, people!) and the amount of time and money needed to possibly clear himself was weighed against the amount of time and money needed to plea down and get it over with in three years, and that’s what won.

Bottom line, if (God Forbid) you use your gun defensively, be prepared to call the cops, and be prepared to spend money on a lawyer when you do. Prepare yourself by preparing yourself for talking to the cops, and prepare your wallet by buying some self-defense insurance before you’ll need it.

Stay safe no matter where you go.

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


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.

Can you make the shot when you need to?

July 18, 2013 by  
Filed under Carry, Competition, Mindset, Practice, Self Defense, Training

Clamshell-1All of us here at TeamGunblogger support practical pistol shooting as part of a balanced approach to self-defense, and one of the reasons why I shoot competitions on a regular basis it to test my shooting skills in stressful situations. In other words, can I make the shot when it’s needed, and what are the limits of my shooting ability?

Case in point, Stage 10 from the 2012 USPSA Area 2 Championships, specifically the 1:07 mark in this video where I drop a round into a no-shoot as it covered up the “shoot” target.

I was confident I could make the shot and put two rounds into the shoot target before the no-shoot covered it up, except I couldn’t. My shooting skill couldn’t cash the check my mind was writing for it. The good news is, I gained this knowledge in the context of competition and not out on the street, where the consequences of not hitting your target (or hitting the wrong target) is a LOT more severe than just a few penalty points in a shooting match. 



Competition is a proving ground.

July 10, 2013 by  
Filed under Carry, CCW, Competition, Equipment, IDPA, Self Defense, USPSA

Don’t be this guy.

Man in a Rush Accidentally Shoots Himself Outside Walmart

Police say a man was shot in the hand after his gun fell out of its holster while he hurried across a parking lot to avoid holding up traffic outside a Pennsylvania Walmart store.

So he was doing the right thing (carrying his sidearm in a holster), but the holster wasn’t up to the basic task of keeping his gun on his person while running across a road. 

Chances are, this guy bought a holster because it felt right or looked nice or was comfortable to wear, and unless you’ve taken a serious training class where running around and “stress fire” with your daily carry gear is part of the agenda and sidearm OR competed in USPSA/IDPA with the same kind of rig, you’ll never know if what you have on you is capable of handling physical activity beyond pulling yourself up off the couch. 

run, gun, and fun

Practical for concealed carry or practically worthless?

A practical pistol match subjects you AND your equipment to a certain amount of artificial stress. Is it the real thing? No. Is it the closest thing you’ll get to the real thing? Todd Green, Mike Seeklander, Michael Bane and Massad Ayoob say yes, and I believe them. Finding out if your holster of choice keeps your gun safe in a match will spare you the embarrassment and danger of failing to keep it safe on the streets. 

Will Shooting Firearms Competitions Get You Killed?

July 1, 2013 by  
Filed under Carry, CCW, Competition, Equipment, IDPA, Mindset, Self Defense, USPSA

Short answer: No. Doing dumb gun stuff in the midst of a gunfight gets you killed.
You can avoid doing dumb gun stuff under pressure by shooting practical pistol matches because they help vaccinate you against such things, one match at time. However, if you treat a real gunfight like it was a shooting match, you’ll be in a world of hurt.

Long answer: 

Massad Ayoob is probably THE most respected firearms instructor and personal defense consultant alive today. He literally wrote the book on personal defense with a firearm and his MAG40 pistol class is considered to be one of the best classes for dealing with what happens before, during and after the defensive use of a firearm. What does he say about shooting practical pistol matches? 

“A shooting competition isn’t a gun fight, but a gun fight is most definitely a shooting competition.” 

And he prefers IDPA as well.

Another firearms expert, Todd Green, formerly of Beretta, H+K, Sig-Sauer and now of pistol-training.com, explains his reasons why he recommends shooting competitions

“Possibly the biggest benefit of competition is that it is often the most stressful shooting many people will ever be exposed to. While obviously not the same as being in an actual gunfight, shooting in a competitive event in front of peers and strangers will do a great job of showing you just how easy it is to make mental mistakes under stress. Learning to stay focused on the task at hand and building experience fixing mistakes under pressure both have legitimate real world payoffs.
At the end of the day, there are pros and cons to competition shooting for the ‘defense-minded’shooter. But, the pros are pretty universal and the cons are really only cons if you let them be. (Emphasis in the original) 

motivator13216bd5a188f0f305a9ccd7a343f7353bfd141bHere’s some more expert opinion from top firearms trainer Mike Seeklander: Marine veteran, former law-enforcement officer and host of The Best Defense on Outdoor Channel. 

“I’ve always been a proponent of competitive shooting, as long as the individual competing understands what they are going to get out of shooting matches. They’re going to love it. They are going to get some energy from it. They are going to want to do it more. It will make the average person, especially the average police officer who doesn’t get to train much, WANT to train because every human wants to be better at something. BUT the rules of the game are different than the rules of defense with a gun.” (emphasis in the original)

So, will firearms competitions get you killed?

Yes, if you expect that a gunfight will play out by the rules of your game of choice. 

But if you want to shoot accurately and quickly during one of the worst days of your life, you may find that regularly shooting practical pistol competitions like IPDA or USPSA will provide you the skills and mindset you need to survive a gunfight and come out on top. 

Firearms Training has become mainstream

June 27, 2013 by  
Filed under Carry, CCW, Competition, Equipment, Practice, Training

DSC_3985When The Art Of Manliness posts an article about attending the United States Shooting Academy and how to train with an airsoft gun, you know that learning how to operate a gun safely and effectively isn’t something for the military or mall ninja wannabes. Brett lists out some of the benefits of airsoft guns for firearms training, including… 

1:1 replica of your real gun. You can buy airsoft guns that look and feel like your real gun. They’ll fit in your holster. You can also add real-life tactical attachments to them. 

Provides near-realistic live-fire experience. Gas blow-back handguns do a good job simulating firing a real handgun. Great for practicing gun manipulation and drawing.

Low cost. This was the big selling point for me. A box of 50 real rounds can set you back $20. I can buy a bag of 3,500 airsoft BBs for $7. The low cost of airsoft allows you to experience a simulated live fire session for a fraction of the cost.

Safe. While you should treat an airsoft gun as if it were a real gun and take the same precautions as you would when practicing, you can rest easy that a BB won’t shoot through your garage wall and kill somebody.

You can do it anywhere. Instead of having to trek 20 miles to the gun range a few times a week, I can go to my garage every evening and practice to my heart’s content.

Provides opportunity for affordable, safe force-on-force training. If you want to practice real, force-on-force tactical scenarios, airsoft can help provide that experience. You can fire it at your buddy pretending to be a bad guy in your house and all he’ll feel is a sting (make sure he’s wearing eye protection though).

Awhile ago, I bought an airsoft replica of my daily carry gun, a CZ P07, and I found that practicing with it REALLY helped with practicing for practical pistol, and it was a great gun safety teaching tool for my wife and kids as well. If you’re hurting for training and practice because of the ongoing ammo shortage, consider purchasing airsoft replicas of your most-used guns and keep your skills up to date by practicing everything but the BANG with them.

Planning Your Attack

June 10, 2013 by  
Filed under Competition, Equipment, Mindset

3 Different Strategies For The Same Practical Shooting Stage 

All three of us shot the Memorial Day Tactical Rifle Fundraising match at Rio Salado last month. Because of our different skill levels and shooting styles, we all shot Stage 4 a little differently, and taking a look at what we did and why we did it might be useful for people starting to compete in the practical shooting sports. Although we all ended up at the same destination, the goals and planning behind the strategy were different for each of us. 

The Stage

Tactical Rifle Competition Stage


“My strategy was to begin the stage on the left side, so I wouldn’t twist myself into a knot while keeping the muzzle pointed downrange during the reload (reloading while moving to the left side of the stage would’ve made it very easy to point the muzzle uprange, endangering other competitors and disqualifying me from the match). I intended to take a step forward from the second shooting position and stomp the activator while shooting the static target, then engage the clamshell and Maxtrap target.

From the opening in the middle, I would hit the two close targets and the two static targets in the right array, so I wouldn’t lose time shooting around the “noshoot” swinging target. As I moved to the far right of the stage, I would reload, stomp the activator for the three swinging targets, engage the outside three targets while the swinging targets slowed down (making them easier to hit). I would then transition to the port and shoot the two “shoot” swinging targets. That was the plan, until the starting beep was heard.”


“Since I’m still getting my sea legs with the AR in competition, I tried to determine the the simplest way to shoot stage 4 by finding positions where I could shoot multiple targets, rather than trying to shoot on the move. I also chose to shoot the stage left to right, which made it easier to control the direction of my muzzle. 

My stage plan was pretty straightforward (shoot them as you see them). There were just a few things I needed to remember do at specific positions – shoot the right max trap first through the far left port, reload then engage the far right targets from the middle position, before the swinging no-shoots were in play and hit the stomp box for the swingers before engaging the right side targets.”


“My initial approach to this stage was to shoot the targets in order, moving left to right, but I modified that once I saw another shooter hit Pressure Plate 2 to start T10 and T13 moving, then shoot T14-16 and finish with the movers. Given my horrible experience with max traps and clamshells at the USPSA Area 2 Championship, I was worried about dropping hits on the no-shoots, so my initial idea was to only take one shot at each disappearing target which would mean I’d have to get center-mass “A” zone hits on each shot. However, I decided to go for it and take two shots at each, and managed to pull it off.

One thing I realized while writing this up is that I like to shoot on the move. My co-bloggers each planted in one place to shoot targets 1-4, while I shot T3 and T4 on the move, and put one into the no-shoot in-between them as a result.


I also reloaded in a different spot than either Jaci or Robert, choosing to pop in a fresh mag after I engaged the center targets because I wanted more rounds in the gun on the off chance that the swingers proved to be more trouble than they looked.”

The Result

Even though Jaci and I shot the match in .22LR, which meant we could recover from recoil and transition from target to target faster than Robert who was shooting much more powerful .223 ammo in his gun, Robert had the fastest overall time on the stage and beat us both. I might have beaten his raw time, but the time penalty I received for hitting that “no-shoot” target at the start dropped me into second place, with Jaci finishing third on this stage (a rarity, because she’s usually faster than Robert or myself). 


Well it’s 1,2,3 what are we training for?

May 22, 2013 by  
Filed under Competition, Mindset, Practice, Self Defense, Training

Take a few moments and watch this video. 

Yes, that is an actual promotional video for a California-based “tactical” firearms training company, and yes, that is every bit as unsafe as it looks. To top things off, all that “training” they’re doing is pretty much useless. 

Why? Because those “drills” they’re doing aren’t really drills, they’re scenarios: Very, very, VERY dangerous (and stupid) “scenarios” and those people are risking their lives performing them for the camera. Don’t just walk away from a trainer who asks you to do something like that, RUN. 

Ok, now that that’s over with, let’s start by defining some terms so we can figure out what we need to learn in a firearms training class and how we’re going to learn it so we can avoid those people like the plague they are. We need to learn…

Skills: The ability, coming from one’s knowledge, practice, aptitude, etc., to do something well
This is the basic operations required to perform a task. This is what we actually want to perform on demand when needed, be it drawing from a holster, trigger press, reloading a gun, whatever. Everything in training should be based around this core foundation: If it’s something like, “Oh, cool, that looks like fun!”, (Like, say, hanging off a rappelling harness firing an AR-15 when you’re not a SWAT team member), it’s not training, it’s recreation. We’re going to improve our skills with…

Practice: Repeated performance or systematic exercise for the purpose of acquiring skill or proficiency
Simply put, practice improve skills. You do the same thing, over and over again to get better at the skill you’re trying to develop. This is to firearms what kata is to the martial arts. For every firearms skill you want to develop, there’s a practice routine you can use to develop it. The one thing to remember is that practice is not about doing things FAST, it’s about doing things the CORRECT way every single time. We figure out how well we’re practicing skills with…

Drills: Strict, methodical, repetitive, or mechanical training, instruction, or exercise
Simply put, if you can compare your ability to do a consistent, predetermined practice routine against somebody else, it’s a drill. El Presidente, Tueller, Mozambique, USPSA Classifiers, they’re all drills because there’s only one way to do them and the results of any given shooter can be compared against their past results and anyone else who shoots that drill.
Now, most trainers I’ve seen with shy away from drills because they can have a dampening effect on a student’s desire to learn: If you get your @ss whipped by someone else in a class, it may hurt your desire to go back to that class. However, I think you won’t know how far you’ve come unless you know where you’ve been, which is why I’ve been using the same drills for almost three years now to track my progress, and it’s been encouraging to know that yes, I am getting (slowly) better at this sort of thing. Stringing a bunch of drills together in a bunch of different ways is called…

Scenarios: An imagined or projected sequence of events, especially any of several detailed plans or possibilities
Here’s where the rubber meets the road. All those skills you developed with practice and kept track of with drills now come down to this: Can you deliver the shot when it’s needed under some kind of artificial stress? Simply put, a firearms training scenario is a series of drills strung together in a way that requires an element of problem-solving and critical thinking to complete correctly as quickly and accurately as possible. Scenarios like a shoot house, USPSA stage, IDPA match or a Figure Eight “drill” all require the shooter to put together different skills developed through practice while under some form of artificial stress, such as a timer or “realistic” training environment. 

So if you’re walking into a classroom for a firearms course and the instructor seems to be more interested in talking about about the high-speed, low-drag tactical operations you’re about to do in his class but can’t talk about what actual firearms skills you’ll be developing while doing so, you’re not enrolled in a training class, you’re enrolled in a armed forces fantasy camp. Next time, look for an instructor who can teach, not lead a team of wannabes. 

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