A quick thank you to almost 2,000 of you who completed the 30 second survey I sent out yesterday about the article topics and courses that you most want to see for the rest of this year. I really appreciate your taking that half-minute out of your day to help.
Everyone who completed the survey is automatically entered into a giveaway for a $498 at-home pistol training package that includes a SIRT laser pistol, 3 laser-reactive targets, as well as DVDs, Books, and Training Cards. If you didn’t have a chance to complete the survey yet, it would be a huge help if you could do so now by clicking >HERE<
As I was preparing this article, I realized that a lot of what I wanted to say had already been written…by David and me, 2 ½ years ago after the Sandy Hook murders. That article >HERE< was reprinted on several sites. I’ve included a few snippets from that article.
It’s sad, but people in our country keep refusing to learn lessons when bad events happen to other people and insist on waiting until bad events happen to them to accept the fact that they might need to prepare.
Ironically, the reason why MOST people don’t think that there’s a need to prepare for incidents like Sandy Hook and Charleston is because of how incredibly rare they are.
That’s also why police response times are as long as they are. Violent crime is RARE in the US. Most cities operate with 1 patrol officer for every 4,000-10,000 people on duty at any given time. As a society, we have decided that this is enough and that the additional cost of more officers and a faster response time is not justified.
The net effect of this is that it shifts the responsibility of first responder from law enforcement to individuals. People just have to accept that they’re probably going to be on their own.
“Gunfights,” muggings, and a lot of other violent crimes are over in seconds. Mass shootings are normally over in a couple of minutes. A great and admirable response time by law enforcement is 8-10 minutes…after someone at the scene has the presence of mind to call 911 and communicate what’s going on clearly and calmly enough for the dispatcher to send appropriate help—assuming they’re not in the middle of another situation when the call comes in.
In my opinion, the model of passing first responder responsibility to the individual is a healthy model to follow.
We use this model with medical and trauma emergencies. That’s why people learn the Heimlich maneuver, CPR, and basic first aid. We take responsibility for helping ourselves and those around us until professionals arrive in an attempt to save lives. Sometimes mistakes are made, like breaking ribs with the Heimlich or with chest compressions, but overall, trained lay first responders save lives.
We use this model with fire emergencies. That’s why we have smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, ladders to escape the 2nd story of houses, fire drills, sprinklers, and fire escapes in public buildings. Again, we take responsibility for helping ourselves and those around us until professionals arrive. Sometimes people throw water on a grease fire or break their leg jumping out a window, but overall, trained lay first responders save lives.
In the case of Charleston, if one or more of the adults would have had a gun, knife, Taser, pepper spray, or solid empty hands combatives training, like TFT, it’s very possible that the killer could have been stopped and lives saved.
Nationwide, you’ve got a 90% chance of surviving a single gunshot wound IF you receive prompt advanced medical care and you’ve got a 95% chance of surviving if you have a heartbeat when you reach the hospital.
The fact that 9 people died in Charleston tells me that it’s highly likely that none of the people there had the tools (mental or physical) to stop the killer. He had time to reload, take multiple shots per victim, and nobody was able to call for help in a timely manner. That’s sad, and we can’t do anything about what happened in Charleston, but we can each make a decision to make forward progress at being prepared if we find ourselves in a similar situation.
Part of that is individual preparation, and part of that is helping as many people as possible realize the need to prepare themselves to confront evil. With that in mind, I want to share a few things with you—arrows in your quiver—for when the topic of the Charleston shootings in particular or gun violence in general comes up.
First off, it’s important to realize that there is no such thing as “gun violence.” Guns are inanimate objects. There is only violence and violence is a product of the mind and the mind will use whatever tools it has available at the time. The term “gun violence” makes about as much sense as “fork overeating.”
While I’m not suggesting that 1-3% of the population should be institutionalized, I am saying that if/when these 1-3% go off of their meds or just plain go off the rails and take evil actions, the rest of society needs to have the tools at their disposal to protect themselves and other innocent people around them.
To be clear, most of this 1-3% number will not go off the rails in an extremely violent manner, but when you’ve got a country of over 300 million, even 1/10th of 1% is 300,000 people.
Evil has been around since Cain killed his brother Abel. Evil is with us now, and evil will be a constant, although hopefully infrequent, companion to one extent or another throughout each of our lives.
In fact, studies that SEALed Mindset have done shown that one of the biggest problems that law enforcement and civilians have when they’re attacked is realizing and accepting the fact that they’re under attack and responding kinetically. This lack of acceptance oftentimes takes someone who can draw and put rounds on target in under a second and paralyze them for 5, 10, or more seconds before they even start their “lightning fast” drawstroke.
These 4 incidents would be the first, second, third, and fourth most deadly school mass shootings of all time, but most of them are ignored in reports on mass murders…presumably because the people making the list are trying to paint a picture that it’s a problem unique to the US, when it’s not.
In every group of people, you’re going to have sheepdogs who are willing to stand up to evil and those who take it one step further and are willing to take the fight to the bad guy and protect the innocent.
But the will and the grit to stare evil in the face and decide to take it on doesn’t do a darn bit of good if they have the willingness to fight but don’t have the tools and/or the skills to fight effectively.
Now, since the victims in Charleston were law abiding citizens, they didn’t carry guns into the gun free zone. Of course, evil people intent on murdering innocents don’t really care.
What’s the answer then? Good people need to have the tools and skills necessary to provide tactical “first aid” for the time between when evil shows itself and when law enforcement arrives. And not the sad excuse for a plan that says to “lock your doors, pull the shades on your windows, hide in a closet or under a desk, or play dead.” That is a plan that is more interested in minimizing casualties than stopping the threat.
There’s a HUGE difference between the two mindsets. Put another way, it’s damage control vs. destroying your attacker. That defensive mindset in sports is what loses games for teams who have a big lead going into the 3rd or 4th quarter. That mindset in an active shooter situation—where you are told to run and hide and give the shooter free reign for the minutes necessary for law enforcement to arrive—gets innocent people killed.
Don’t be naive and think that taking the fight to the murderer is a “clean” option. With a firearm, you may miss the shooter and hit an innocent. You may hit the brain, but not the mid-brain and cause a shooter to fire one last round into an innocent bystander. Heck, the NYPD had a shootout with 1 guy in front of the Empire State Building and shot 8 other people in the process. Stopping evil gets messy, and the decision to do so is sometimes a hero’s last.
So, given the fact that we can’t flip a switch and take care of the spiritual or mental health component of the equation, what do I think we should do?
In short, YOU as an individual can’t control the morality, spirituality, mental health, or tendency towards violence of the people around you. Someone determined to be violent will ignore firearm and other weapon laws. Cain didn’t have or need a gun to kill Abel and even if you could click your heels together and make all firearms disappear, mentally disturbed people determined to kill will still kill. All you can do is equip yourself with the mental training, physical training, and tools necessary to be able to stop evil between the moment when it crashes into your life and a few minutes later when law enforcement arrives.
Ox here, from Dry Fire Training Cards…
A couple of months ago, I sponsored and shot in the Smith & Wesson IDPA Indoor National Championships. Many of you knew I was getting ready for it and heard rumors of what happened, and I want to share exactly what happened. It was simultaneously horrible and awesome, and hopefully you can get as much enjoyment and education from my pain and comedy of errors as my friends have. :)
The fun starts off when I’m getting ready to go out the door to go to the airport and realize that I haven’t taken my vitamins. I see a glass of water by our water filter, figure I’ll save a few seconds and pick it up and proceed to chug my vitamins…only it’s not water.
It’s the hydrogen peroxide that my wife used to clean our toothbrushes the night before! If you’ve ever gargled with hydrogen peroxide or put it on a wound and saw all of the bubbles form…imagine 4 ounces rapidly reacting and expanding in a sealed balloon (my stomach)
I used my google-fu and figured out what I needed to do to neutralize it, but was still burping violently, had a headache, and was nauseous for the next hour and a half while I drove to the airport.
I dropped my truck off at the Ford dealer to get some warranty work done on the way to the airport. The service guy started driving my truck off before I got my stuff out and I had to chase after him to get my stuff. This was about half an hour after I took the hydrogen peroxide and running seemed to re-ignite the reaction in my gut. In the rush and my altered state, I left my coat in the truck…which was also my cover garment for the match :)
I made my flight and got to Springfield Mass. There were 6-10 foot piles of snow along every street/road, the temperature was in the teens, and my coat was back home in my truck. I called stores in 2 states in a 50 mile radius for almost an hour to find one that had a L or XL coat in stock…they were all sold out because of the extreme cold they’d had the previous few weeks.
Now I had what would technically be called a big-ass Carhartt coat to keep warm and use as a cover garment. Not a high-speed, light weight fishing/photography vest like most guys use for their cover garment, but much more like what I wear most of the year in real life.
Before the match, I bought a new Glock 26 and bought my first drop-in trigger from Zev. I happened to talk with the match armorer (Scott Folk from Apex Tactical) there and found out that my Zev trigger knocked me out of the stock service pistol division and put me into the “enhanced” service pistol division. I am not classified in enhanced service pistol, so it looked like I was going to be DQ’d.
3 people offered me their guns in the first 10 minutes…no questions asked and unbelievable. The match director, “King” Bob Stonehill, even found a new Glock 26 for me at a dealer in Connecticut and was going to have it driven down for me to use which was off-the-hook unbelievable. In the 30 minutes between when he found it, found me, and called back, it sold.
Not to be deterred, Bob found a guy (Tom) with a “well loved” Glock 19 who said I could use it. (Tom was, again, unbelievable.) Scott, the armorer, took the stock trigger out of Tom’s Glock 19 and put it in my 26. Now I had my gun, but not my trigger, but I was fine with it. I wanted my trigger, but I knew I could run anything I had in my hands.
That night, I figured I’d better put in a lot of dry fire time with the 26 and the new trigger instead of just using my SIRT. The holster that I had had an odd quirk. It was MODEL specific. In my hurry to pack, I saw that my SIRT was holstered, figured I was good for a holster, and left it at that. Once I started trying to draw and dry fire, I couldn’t get the 26 subcompact to release from the Glock 17 full-size holster.
Comp-Tac was there, so I bought a holster that fits all frame lengths…but it had the drop attachment installed and didn’t have a wrench included to swap it out.
This was the night before the indoor national championships. On a hunch, I went downstairs to the mixer, found Neil Feathers, who helped me a ton before Back-up-gun Nationals, and he happened to have an allen wrench that worked, and now I had a holster and put in dry fire time until I was comfortable with the new trigger.
Despite all of the challenges, I went to bed feeling confident, excited yet calm, and ready to go. Then I got a text from my alarm company telling me that the alarm was going off at the house and police were on the way. I couldn’t get a hold of my wife and couldn’t get a hold of the babysitter who was watching the boys. Finally, I called off the police and got a neighbor to go over (faster), reached my wife, and reached the babysitter. It was a false alarm because the boys left a helium balloon out that triggered the motion sensor. There went an hour of sleep.
So, I went to bed and was good to go for morning…with a new trigger, new holster, and new cover garment.
First stage was a little rough getting the timing/cadence in tune with the trigger. 2nd, 3rd, and 4th stages were awesome and it looked like I was sitting in 2nd place in my division/classification.
Then they did the equipment check.
I was shooting Freedom Munitions 115gr ammo that’s supposed to fly at 1150fps. It chronoed on the 5 1/2″ test gun that they used for every other shooter in the mid 950s to low 1,000s. It needed to be at 1089. I was DQ’d. After all of the preparation, flying from coast to coast, rental car, 5 nights in a hotel, and almost a week away from home, I was disqualified. It sucked.
They let me shoot the rest of the match for no score. I was “a little off” for a couple of stages, and then did great on the last 5-6 rounds.
So, a few big takeaways…
First, if you want to try sport shooting and haven’t because you have the idea in your head that everyone will be mean, impatient, and laugh at you, they won’t. The shooting sports are made up of an awesome group of people. Every group or organization will have roses and turds, but I’ve found way more awesome people in sport shooting than turds.
Some may be recovering drill sergeants and yell more than they need to, but they’re just trying to keep everyone safe and they’ve got a lifetime of mental baggage from dealing with 18-20 year olds.
Be patient with them and they’ll keep you from hurting yourself. You may only yell and use a loud voice when you’re angry but drill sergeants and firearms instructors communicating with 5-20 students shooting guns with ear protection on yell and even scream just to be heard.
Second, I was, frankly, very excited about how cool and calm I was the night before the National Championships considering all of the cascading problems that had happened. It wasn’t a case where I was saying mantras or trying to convince myself to be calm…I would just get a big smile on my face from time to time realizing how calm I was considering the onslaught of problems. (there were other, BIGGER, problems that I didn’t even mention)
This calm wasn’t an accident. It was a combination of confidence through repetition, stress inoculation, and state control.
The confidence through repetition came from doing a few hundred dry fire reps per night and a good bit of live fire practice to validate the dry fire…roughly in a 9:1 ratio.
The stress inoculation came through training with pain stimulus, under time pressure, force on force, and performing in front of others with high expectations at the risk of embarrassment.
The state control came primarily from the work I’ve done with Matt Seibert at Insight Firearms Training which uses techniques and tactics to blunt the release of adrenaline in extreme stress situations and to consciously, predictably, and instantly trigger the proverbial “ice flowing through my veins” state that someone who’s “been there, done that, and got the T-shirt” has when they’re in a life or death situation for the umpteenth time. This extreme brain hack allows mere mortals to perform at elite levels. It really is one of the few “holy grails” in shooting and you can find out more by going >HERE<
Third, I was initially very pissed at Freedom Munitions, but have become a huge fan.
In short, I bought their standard range ammo that was 115 grain 9mm rated at 1150 feet per second. It was not and is not intended for competition. It’s purpose is to reliably cycle stock handguns with the minimum amount of powder and recoil so that shooters can have an optimal practice experience.
They had recently re-tweaked the load and lowered the muzzle velocity. Since it’s not intended to be a competition load, that’s not a big deal for 90% of their customers.
The industry expectation is that if you’re shooting competitively in major matches, you’ll run the ammo you’re going to use through a chronograph before the match…regardless of whether it’s factory ammo or hand loaded ammo.
Their new VP of marketing, Janson Jones (3 Gun Nation Shooter), helped spearhead 2 new ammo options…”Super Match” and “Hush”. I’ve shot a few hundred rounds of each and am extremely impressed.
Super Match is designed to make power factor for all calibers with a minimum of excess powder and recoil at a fraction of the price of traditional match grade ammo. As a pro tour shooter, Janson understands how important this is.
Personally, I’ve used it to shoot 10 shot groups with a Glock 26 sub-compact where there were 4, 3, and even 2 visible overlapping holes in the paper. This means that the group wasn’t 1” or even .5”, but 10 rounds of .38”/9mm made a .45” group with only 2 visible holes where the bullets went through.
Fair warning…if you run this ammo in your gun, anything other than a 1-hole-group is user error. It WILL make you a better shooter.
The “Hush” ammo is a line of ammo designed specifically for use with suppressors. It has just enough fast burning powder to reliably cycle the gun without causing excessive fouling. I’ve found it to be reliable both suppressed and unsuppressed, although the slide stop won’t always engage on the last round unsuppressed.
One “cool” feature of Hush is that you can shoot a full 17+1 round mag and still touch your suppressor with your hands. This is awesome and not normal.
I’m not sure what the decibel reading is for Hush, but I know that I can shoot a full mag of 9mm suppressed without hearing protection and have no ill effects. If you haven’t shot suppressed guns before, this is a surprisingly rare thing.
Suppressors are awesome, and are normally “hearing safe” but shooting most rounds through a suppressor will still cause your ears to ring. For more on Freedom Munitions, go to FreedomMunitions.com. Like I said, I have become a huge fan of theirs, and when you sign up for their mailing list, they’ll send you daily coupons/specials on ammo. It’s one of the few daily emails that I look forward to receiving every day.
I’ll leave you with a video of another stage from Indoor Nationals. It was a mind-bender, to say the least…leprechauns, clouds, lollipops, and all sorts of crazy stuff between me and the bad guys.
The response to Tuesday’s article on the Coyote vs. Moose was great. Several of you signed up for training, commented on the article, and emailed in.
One of the comments reminded me of 4 lessons that I’ve learned over the years training with Tim and Chris.
The commenter said, “piss on the rules, when it’s me or you, it’s been nice knowing you” and I get the mindset 100%. I’ve been there. I’ve had the same mindset. But what I found through the years is that you can make slight tweaks to that mindset that make it much more effective dealing with violent attacks.
If you’ve been through TFT training before, you’re going to like this. It’s probably a slightly different take than you’ve heard before. If you HAVEN’T been through TFT training, then this could simplify and completely change the way you look at self-defense.
Love, hate, and anger are not in the picture. If they are in the picture, they are a distraction that serves no useful purpose.
You must become emotionless, and view your attacker as a machine and not as a person. They no longer have a name, and simply need to be “turned off” so that they no longer have the ability to hurt you.The goal is to physically stop the threat. Not to kill, rip their head off, teach them a lesson, or anything else emotional…but to dispassionately stop the threat as quickly and efficiently as possible with whatever tools are available. (more on this in a second)
My 40 pound boys have accidentally “taken me out” temporarily by clapping my ears, poking my eyes, hitting me in the back of the head/neck, kneeing me in the temple, and hitting me in the groin all while playing together wrestling.These have been accidents and they weren’t trying to hurt me, but if you teach a 100 pound woman the most effective impact points on her body, how to pick high leverage targets on her attacker, and transfer all of her weight through them, she can take out a 250-300 pound attacker hopped up on speed, bath salts, spice, or other drugs with her bare hands.
It’s not a match-up that I’d willingly put myself into if I were a 100 pound woman, but there are proven techniques to level the playing field in situations like this.
This is key. The ear is a great target, and if you simply clap it like my boys have done to me, it causes minor discomfort. But if you not only clap an ear, but put all of your bodyweight behind the strike and move the head 1-2 feet in the process of hitting it, it’s like hitting the “reset” button on a computer and it gives you a few seconds for additional strikes.
You see, contrary to the image of a “Berserker” or a UFC fighter screaming and posturing before a fight, emotion is poison in a fight for your life. A little adrenaline can put you in an optimized state, but if you release too much, your fine motor skills go away, your higher level and creative thinking goes away, and you get mental vapor lock.In a surprise violent attack, it’s almost guaranteed that you will start to release adrenaline (and noradrenaline, cortisol, etc.) within 1/100th of a second of being surprised…and your body will release more than you need by default.
That part is a given, and there’s no way that I know of to control that initial response, but you do have control of what happens after this initial release of adrenaline.
Roughly .1 to .25 seconds into the attack and the release of adrenaline, you’ll start making choices, both consciously and unconsciously, that will affect how things go from that point forward.
You’ve got the reality of the situation and the adrenaline that your body has already released, but at this point, your mind is a lens that you’re going to look at the situation through.
Just like with a magnifying glass, you can’t make the situation go away, but you have the choice to mentally make it seem smaller and stop/slow the release of adrenaline or you can make the choice to blow it out of proportion and keep releasing more and more adrenaline.
If you habitually get amped up when practicing self-defense, practicing martial arts skills, and/or responding to stressful situations, then you’ll probably amp yourself up even more. The result is oftentimes adrenaline overload, and decreased performance.
Another way that you can approach this is to practice being cold and emotionless when thinking about and practicing for self-defense situations. It took me years to figure out why Tim & Chris teach this way, but once I did, I realized the uniqueness and brilliance of their approach. It helps slow the release of adrenaline in a life or death situation and helps you stay in control.
Think about it this way. If your child is scared of the dark, they probably have a negative emotion about the dark and a positive emotion about the dark “going away” when the light turns on, but there is no emotion about the mechanical act of flipping the switch.
They don’t have to get amped up to flip the switch. They just get the job done as quickly and efficiently as possible. Taking it one step further, the more they can stay in control of their emotions in the dark, the more likely they’ll be able to hit the switch on the first try and get rid of the darkness.
Second, if the soundtrack in your head continually repeats the thought of “killing” a violent attacker who’s trying to cause you great bodily harm, it stands to reason that you’d be more likely to “kill” them than if the soundtrack in your head continually repeats the thought of “stopping the threat.”This isn’t a hard and fast rule and there’s obviously overlap in both directions, but in general, it’s highly advisable that you think, write, and talk about stopping the threat rather than killing.
People who have used Target Focus Training in life or death situations have repeatedly said that they caused their attacker to no longer be a threat with 1 or 2 strikes and that there was absolutely no need to strike again.
They were able to do this because they had a clear outcome in mind in their subconscious before they started–stopping the threat. They knew how to strike specific targets to get predictable reactions and knew how to immediately and unconsciously evaluate the effectiveness of their shots on the fly and decide whether or not more strikes were required to stop the threat.
In many cases, it’s fair to assume that this training not only kept them alive, but helped them avoid wrongful death lawsuits.
So, at this point, there’s 2 ways you can go:
First, if you haven’t been through TFT training yet, I’d strongly encourage you to check it out more by going >HERE< The strikes and techniques may be similar to what you’ve seen before, but the neuroscience behind the training makes it way more effective than traditional self-defense training, whether you’re in the prime of your life or not. Everyone who’s aware of the need for self-defense should see this, but it’s especially true if you happen to be a self-defense instructor.
Second, if you have been through some TFT training materials in the past, I want to suggest that you check out this training that Tim did with members of the Australian SAS and 2Commando. It’s cutting edge training that seamlessly combines empty hands, bladed weapons, and pistols. I know and am friends with some of these SAS guys. They are some of the most elite fighters on the planet and it’s incredibly rare to get training from warriors of this level. Check it out by going >HERE<.
Ox here…This article is going to blend an important life lesson with shooting in general and pistol shooting in particular and I’m sure it’ll ruffle some feathers. I guarantee it’ll be entertaining and educational.
There’s a school of thought in pistol training that you want to pick and use techniques that will work on several different platforms, regardless of which pistol you primarily shoot. You may not know which gun you’re going to have with you when disaster strikes and you may find yourself in a situation where you have to use a buddy’s gun or even your attacker’s gun.
It’s along the same lines of the saying that people should be a “Jack of all trades, but master of none.”
But did you know that the quote is almost ALWAYS stated wrong?
Others may have said it that way, but Benjamin Franklin said, “Jack of all trades, master of ONE” and I tend to agree with a lot of what old Ben said. More than that, there’s a big (sometimes life changing) difference, as we’ll soon see.
The “Jack of all trades” argument is one of the major arguments that people make for not using the slide stop to release the slide forward on reloads…it’s not in the same place on all pistols and if you have to pick up another gun and fight with it, you might push in the wrong spot when you’re trying to reload.
Here’s how one Marine Special Operations Command Chief Instructor put it to me: “The point of teaching a reload technique that works on all pistols, every time, without fail, is to provide the shooter with a technique that is fool proof.”
I respect the guy a ton and I get what he’s saying. He loves his guys and wants them to live through every encounter they face. And he’s using a very popular line of thinking that a lot of instructors who I have tremendous respect for agree with, but it happens to be a line of thinking that sounds good on the surface but doesn’t mesh with reality.
There’s 2 big reasons why. I’ll tell you what they are quick, and then explain them…
Let me show you a couple of pictures to illustrate what I’m talking about. What I’ve got below (from top to bottom) are an H&K USPc, a Sig P220, and a Glock 17. In the first picture, I highlight grip angles.
As you can see, the grip angles are all slightly different. You can also see from this picture that the H&K has an external safety that you may or may not need to disengage.
As shown above, the mag release is in a different position and takes a completely different movement on the H&K than on the Sig or the Glock.
Even though the mag release is in relatively the same position on the Sig and Glock, the grip is enough different that I, personally, can depress the mag release with my thumb on the Glock without moving the gun in my hand but have to rotate the Sig to hit the mag release.
Want to use the slide stop method on a gun you pick up? Well, if you practice with the Glock, your muscle memory will carry over to the H&K, but, as shown above, you’ll just be hitting the decocker on the Sig.
So what’s the answer?
Fortunately, we have a well proven model to follow. It follows Ben Franklin’s sage advice and it happens to be the model that every law enforcement agency, military branch, and military unit that I know of uses for carbines:
For you Marines, “Full Metal Jacket” fans, and military history buffs, you’re probably reminded of the poem from Major General William H. Rupertus (USMC, Retired) written following the Pearl Harbor attacks. I’ll paraphrase…
“This is my rifle. There are many like it, but this one is mine.
…I must master it as I master my life.
…Thus, I will learn it as a brother. I will learn its weaknesses, its strength, its parts, its accessories, its sights and its barrel.”
When a military or law enforcement school is teaching students to shoot a rifle, they master one platform before moving on. When they’re learning how to manipulate the M4/AR15, they focus on the controls on that particular platform. They don’t teach universal techniques that also work on the AK47, Tavor, FN-FAL, etc. They master the platform that they’re going into battle with, get familiar with other weapons that they’re likely to encounter, and master those weapons as time permits.
It’s a proven model for carbines and it works for pistols as well.
So, what’s that mean?
I want to suggest a couple of things to you that you can take or leave.
First, until you have achieved the level of mastery that you want with a single pistol, try to focus all of your practice time on that one single pistol. There are slight differences, but I’d consider sub-compact, compact, and full size versions of the same pistol (Glock 17, 19, & 26) as “one pistol” and I’d also consider different calibers of the same pistol (Glock 26 & 27) as “one pistol”.
When you jump around from gun to gun before you get the chance to master one, it keeps you from ever being as good with any gun as you could be. Focus on one and then…
Once you’ve mastered one pistol, branch out as much as you want. As the pictures demonstrate, I’m all for shooting a variety of guns when the time is right :) I must admit that I did this wrong for many years. I was a good shooter, but didn’t start making huge leaps in my shooting ability until I focused on a single gun.
Second, consider learning and practicing the technique that is most effective for the gun that you’re most likely to use rather than a general technique that will work “ok” on most guns. Don’t throw out a technique that works great on your gun—the gun that you’ve got a 99+% chance of having in your hand in a high stress situation–just to have a technique that may work better 1% of the time.
With the reload in particular, I use the slide stop to release the slide any time I’m running a Glock. Any time I’m running another pistol, I rack the slide.
How’s this apply to the rest of your life?
I want to encourage you to pick out a skill that you want to master. It could be something around firearms, fire-craft, billiards, chess, singing, playing an instrument, poetry, negotiating, parenting, defusing arguments, being a great spouse, memorization, etc. Pick something that you can be passionate about and dive into with reckless abandon. Master it and keep going, but then pick something else to learn.
For one, it will make you more happy. When you focus on doing things that you love and do them often enough that you switch from having to think about them consciously to having them be an unconscious skill, your brain releases more dopamine and endorphins when you do them. Once you’re able to unconsciously perform a skill, your brain opens up, creativity flourishes, and then you start being able to do truly amazing things.
Something else that you’ll find is that you’ll master the 2nd thing that you want to master much faster than it took you to master the first. Again, this causes you to release more dopamine and endorphins and be generally more happy.
Here’s a tactical example.
One of the true pioneers and innovators in SWAT tactics told me a story about one of his guys who’d done hundreds of tactical entries in the US and overseas. They were serving a warrant on a violent offender who was known to be paranoid and armed. He entered the house and the guy was 6-8 feet from him with a 1911 in his hand, pointed at the floor. The bad guy raised the pistol and appeared to flip off the safety, but the officer didn’t fire. Instead, he crossed the room, front kicked the bad guy in the chest, took him out of the fight, cuffed him, and took him in without a shot being fired.
But how and why did he do that?
The “why” is fascinating. As the officer entered the room, he saw and processed not only the brand and model of the 1911, but also that the hammer was down and that it wasn’t able to fire, so he crossed the room, DIDN’T shoot the bad guy, and planted a foot in his chest in the time that it took the bad guy to raise the gun, flip his thumb down, and press the “dead” trigger.
How did he do it? He was so comfortable from being in past high stress situations and doing dynamic entries until he mastered them that he was completely in “the zone” and his subconscious was driving the action. The subconscious sees 10x more frames per second and is able to process 10,000-1 million times faster than the conscious mind.
And the way you get to this same point where you can experience these bursts of creative genius is by picking something you want to master and sticking with it until you do.
It doesn’t mean you can’t still be a Jack of all trades…just pick one to master.
It’ll make you happier and it might even help you earn more.
Questions? Comments? How are the controls on your gun(s) different? Any crazy/unbelievable experiences that you’ve had like the officer’s? Sound off by commenting below…
Ox is the co-creator of:
Ox here…Summer is almost here, and along with it, there will be thousands of opportunities across the country to compete in local, regional, and national shooting sports events that can make you a better defensive shooter.
Specifically, IDPA (International Defensive Pistol Association) matches, PASS (Premier Action Shooting Society), USPSA (US Practical Shooting Association) matches, and/or 3-gun/multi-gun matches are all great opportunities to hone your skills and rapidly improve your skills with a life saving tool.
If you’re currently shooting competitive matches, this article will give you ammo when you’re trying to convince friends and relatives to join you. If you’re new to competitive shooting, it should give you such an irresistible desire to start competing that you find a local match and write it on your calendar in the next 10 minutes :)
Are competitive shooting matches perfect training tools for self-defense? Nope, it’s a compromise. But I maintain that ALL training is compromise. Unless you happen to be doing training with live ammo against determined attackers (which isn’t a very sustainable practice) you’re going to make compromises to one degree or another.
But shooting competitive matches will help you in many ways as a shooter, including:
Shooting competitively won’t get you ready for combat or self-defense on it’s own, but it is a great way to dip your toes into the process of inoculating your mind to stress and training it to perform under stress. It won’t take long before you figure out how to get control mentally, conserve your adrenaline, and dump the jitters and nerves. This is a great step to having more control in real life shooting situations.
Shooting competitively will help you quickly figure out what works and what doesn’t for holsters, concealment, reload techniques, support hand shooting, 1 handed shooting, moving while shooting, and more.
Husbands…keep in mind that your wife may practice to shoot better at the next match even when she won’t practice to be able to save her own life.
There’s no set date and time for when she’ll be attacked, but there IS a date and time for the next match.
Practice, and lots of it, is what it takes to move a skill from being head knowledge that you consciously know from a class, book, video, or course to being a conditioned response that you can execute unconsciously under stress and anything that gets you to practice more is a good thing.
Just like with self-defense…excuses don’t matter and only results count.
This accountability will give you positive, constructive pressure to keep improving as a shooter. You may not practice to prepare to save your life, but looking good in front of others might be enough of an incentive.
Don’t get me wrong…square, static shooting ranges are incredibly valuable and serve a vital role in getting people to the point where they can successfully defend themselves in a life or death situation with a gun, but you don’t want to be learning, practicing, or brushing up on these other dynamic skills in a life or death situation.
I see this especially with female shooters. (which is the most important segment of firearms owners & shooters–I’ll get to this in a second) Every match I’ve ever been to has had more men than women, and most women come with their husband or boyfriend. So, besides the pressure that men feel when starting out in the shooting sports, women feel that they need to represent other women, don’t want to embarrass their husband, and want to impress their husband. Most don’t have the history, familiarity, and training that their male counterparts do, and they’re usually a little more nervous, shaky, and unsure…at first.
But once they get into a groove, their technique and comfort with the gun RAPIDLY gets smoother, they get more disciplined in their execution, they start trusting the sights and shooting faster and more accurately, and start having FUN! In the process, they get a lot more capable of using a firearm to level the field and stop violent threats from bigger, faster, and stronger attackers.
Oh…one other thing…a lot of times they end up out-shooting their husbands within a few matches, and it makes the husbands smile from ear to ear.
In short, a lot of shooters have unrealistic thoughts in their heads about what is and is not safe with a gun. It’s reflected in their bad habits or lack of good habits. Many times they develop their gun handling habits hunting or shooting in rural, isolated locations and these habits don’t work at a range with people around.
Competitive shooting helps people learn gun safety knowledge, and safer gun handling habits. Every shooter is held to the standard of, “handle your gun safely or be sent home.” At matches, you get to watch disciplined safe gun handling behavior that you can model and practice. And, if you screw up, you get immediate feedback and correction so that you don’t make the same safety mistake again.
For people who have guns primarily for concealed carry, self-defense, and home defense, guns can be looked at with a sense of dread…especially if they always train seriously and envision dark situations where someone trying to kill them every time they practice. There’s a place for that, but shooting sports help shooters develop a positive mental relationship with the gun that increases the effectiveness of training and carries over to self-defense situations.
Shooting sports gives this to you without the chance of injury that comes with many other sports, including martial arts and most ball sports.And, 2 bonus reasons…
As a result, I’m always trying to help women start shooting and shoot more. Why? Two big reasons…First, guns empower women. Evil cultures and evil people have suppressed women since the beginning of time. Cute sayings, positive mental attitude, power thoughts, pants suits, posturing, and verbal skills don’t do crap against evil.
As US Navy SEAL, Chris Kyle said, “Despite what your mama told you, violence DOES solve problems.” There are few, if any, times in life for most people where violence is appropriate, but when it is appropriate, it’s the ONLY path to a positive solution.
If you’ve been following me for long, you know that this is why I’m such a strong proponent of the Target Focus Training unarmed combatives program, and it’s also why I feel so strongly about getting women comfortable with the use of firearms.
Comfort with a gun takes women from a victim mentality or even a “refuse to be a victim” mentality to a state of mind where they are comfortable, confident, and in control…even in sketchy situations.Second, women are the future of firearms. In most families women control how time and money are allocated…either directly or indirectly. If we get moms involved in the shooting sports, the next generation will get involved too. In addition, the kids’ real-life experiences with guns will supersede the negative messaging that they get bombarded with from ignorant, uneducated, and negatively biased TV, movies, school, books, and friends.
Can you pick up bad habits competing? Yes. There are no bullets or bad guys coming at you and there’s no pain feedback for being too aggressive, going around a corner too quickly, missing a threat, or making other bad decisions. That being said, for most people, most of the time, it’s a great training tool. And if you’re far enough along in your gun training to see that you’re developing bad tactical skills to pick up a few seconds in competition, you’re far enough along in your gun training to train for both.
Want to know what a stage looks like? Here’s me shooting Stage 2 of the IDPA Indoor National Championships earlier this year (please hit the “thumb’s up” button in the upper right corner if you like it):
If you currently are a competitive shooter, I want to encourage you to invite others into our sport as often as you can and make newcomers welcome when they are checking out the shooting sports.
With that in mind, are you currently competing or do you plan on doing competitive shooting this summer? If so, what kind? IDPA, PASS, USPSA, multi-gun, all of the above? What would you recommend to a newcomer & why? Sound off by commenting below:
And, if you’re looking for 50 of the most effective dry fire drills that you can do at home that will help you with both self defense and competition, check out Dry Fire Training Cards. While you’re there, check out the daily SIRT laser training pistol giveaway that we’re doing for the next few days.
*Quick note: This article has been updated with experiences and observations that have happened since the shooting originally happened.*
In April, 2015, there was a horrible story about an officer shooting a man 8 times in the back while fleeing on foot after a traffic stop.
What I’ve seen and read so far is not good…simply by the number of shots the officer fired, but do you know why that is?
Or do you know why it’s common for civilians or law enforcement to shoot their attackers 1, 2, or even 3 times in the back before realizing that their attacker has turned? Do you know how to use this phenomenon to make yourself harder to hit if someone’s shooting at you?
In short, reality isn’t what you see, and you have walked around your entire life consciously SEEING a reality that happened .5-.75 seconds ago. You don’t realize it normally, but everyone has memories of times where this came into play.
When we look around, it looks like everything is moving fluidly, but we really see in frames…kind of like a movie. And that “frame rate” varies TREMENDOUSLY. Movies are shot at 24 frames per second, and they look smooth. Fighter pilots who have done eye training can identify planes with only 1/200th of a second of exposure…but it might take them a quarter second, half a second or more to process that 1/200th of a second exposure.
The frame rate that you see at is dependent on light, the colors your observing at the time, and your specific neurology. The details are fascinating, but not necessarily helpful for this discussion.
Now the South Carolina shoot appears to have been a bad shoot. The officer is in jail. The family of the victim has already received a $6.5 million settlement. It sickens me on several levels that I don’t want to get into. In fact, there’s almost no connection whatsoever between that shooting and the rest of this article…but it’s incredibly important for you to know the difference between someone who shoots an attacker 1, 2, or even 3 times in the back and someone who shoots an attacker 8 times in the back.
Keep in mind that in many cases, good people DO justifiably shoot attackers in the back after they’ve stopped attacking and started to run away.
How can this be?
Because of the fact that there’s a half to three-quarter second delay between what our eyes see and what the conscious mind is able to process.
During that ½-3/4 second delay, the attacker has plenty of time to drop their weapon, turn, and depending on the situation, start moving away…all the while, the shooter is seeing what happened earlier—which was the attacker facing them and posing a threat.
If you’re firing off shots with quarter second splits, that means that you could feasibly shoot your attacker once in the side and a time or two in the back without even realizing that they were no longer a threat.
In fact, one use-of-force expert witness who testifies several times a month told a class that I was in that he could probably defend 1 or 2 shots in the back because of visual perception delay. 3 would be questionable, but 4 would be incredibly difficult because by that time, the fact that your attacker is no longer a threat should have made it to your conscious mind.
Other than cool trivia, how can you use this information? We’ll cover a practical application and a few tactical ones.
First off, and most practical, be conscious of the 2 second rule when you’re driving.
If you’re like me, you probably wondered, “If the visual perception delay is only .5 seconds, why do I need to stay 2 seconds back from the car in front of me?” and it’s a great question.
The answer is that if you’re on-alert and ready for something to happen, it only takes .5 seconds for your conscious mind to process simple pre-defined stimuli like “if his brake lights go on, I’ll hit my brakes.”
But the more complex the stimulus is, the longer the delay. If you have to judge approach speed, weather conditions, or other factors like how hard to hit the brakes, the processing/reaction time increases. If you’re distracted by talking, texting, or adjusting the radio in the micro-second where the stimulus happens, there will be a delay between when the stimulus happens and when you get fully engaged BEFORE the .5 second visual perception delay even starts.
As an example, the average person can handle 7 chunks of information at a time and process those 7 chunks 18 times per second for a total of 126 chunks per second. Listening to a human voice, like a radio, phone, or another person in the car takes 40 chunks. Processing what they’re saying and thinking of a response takes a few more chunks. Paying attention to the car(s) in front of you takes a few more. Add in the cars around you, maintaining your speed, distance, place in the lane, and navigating and you see that you’re probably only devoting a chunk or two per second to the brake lights on the car ahead of you. That means that it might take a half second or more before the half second visual perception delay clock even starts!
In short, respect the 2 second gap rule.
The other examples are going to be less likely and more “tactical.”
One of the things that I’ve observed and experienced in the last few months is the difference between how vision works and how people perform in traditional range training and force-on-force training.
In low stress shooting, or even competition shooting, it’s EASY to shoot moving targets.
Take a friend and have him stand 10 feet away. Hold your thumb so it’s between your eye and his chest and have him try to move fast enough that your thumb comes off of his chest. It won’t happen. Your thumb will track his chest like it’s attached.
BUT, what I’ve seen (and experienced) is that in force-on-force scenarios, a simple, properly timed, 2-3 foot sudden lateral movement will cause about 1/2 of shooters to shoot to where you were and not where you are.
Roughly half of the time, the shooter’s visual frame rate is fast enough that they are able to track the movement and put rounds on target.
The other half of the time, they will swear that the target was there when they pressed the trigger and that the person “just moved really fast.” Observation and video proves otherwise. Regardless of what they THOUGHT they saw, they were shooting at empty air.
Two lessons from this:
Next, we’ve talked about the reactionary gap before. In short, it’s the amount of time/distance that you want between you and a threat/attacker so that you can effectively respond to whatever they do. For an attacker with a knife with no obstacles between you and them, it’s generally thought of as 21 feet (but is really much more).
If you’re within that reactionary gap…say a mugger or a heated argument within a couple of feet…you MUST switch to pre-defined triggers, pre-defined responses, stay focused, avoid talking, and keep them talking.
Because even though the conscious mind is .5-.75 seconds behind reality, the unconscious mind is about .1 seconds behind reality. In addition, the conscious mind processes things sequentially, or one at a time, one after another. The unconscious mind uses parallel processing and processes several things at once…as many as 10,000 to 1 million times more chunks of information per second than the conscious mind.
But you can do a few things to switch your mind from that .5 second delay that your conscious mind has to the .1 second delay that the unconscious mind has.
First off, stay calm. The calmer you can stay, the more likely you can tap into the speed of the unconscious mind.
Second, define 1, 2, or 3 triggers that will cause you to take action…the fewer the better, but better doesn’t always mesh with reality. The triggers should be, “If he does x.”
Keep in mind that in an altercation, your attacker is either attacking, complying, trying to limit loss, or delaying (sometimes with sweet words) to create an advantage to destroy you more effectively. This concept of 4 options is a tiny part of an incredible book from Ken Murray called, “Training At The Speed Of Life.” As far as you’re concerned, if they’re not complying 100%, they’re still a threat. Words mean nothing and action means everything.
It’s better to game these triggers out in your mind ahead of time so that you aren’t trying to figure stuff out in the heat of the moment.
Third, pre-define your response. “If he does x, I’ll do y”. And the more specific “y” is, the better. As an example, “If he goes for a weapon, I’ll shoot” may not be specific enough.
If you’ve got your gun drawn, pre-define your action with detail, as in, “If he goes for a weapon, I’ll step to the side, fire 2 shots midway between his armpits, step to the side, and re-asses.” It could be 1 shot, 2 shots, or 3 shots…depending on your department, prosecutor, political climate, and/or your ability to put fast, accurate rounds on target.
If someone had been trained or trained themselves to think along the lines of, “if he moves, kill him” then it might explain why they would shoot someone 8 times in the back when the person was fleeing–this shows how important it is to have your triggers and actions pre-defined correctly.
Specifically, make sure that you’re verbally and mentally training, practicing, and rehearsing shooting to stop a threat…not shooting to kill or shooting to prevent someone from stealing your stuff, but shooting to stop a threat. If you train your mind to only shoot at a threat, you could save yourself a lot of grief.
Next, get them talking and avoid talking.
Unless you’ve practiced talking while your unconscious mind is driving the ship…normally indicated by a monotone voice and an “odd” cadence, don’t talk. If you need to talk, stick to simple, pre-rehearsed commands. As soon as you “think” about what you’re going to say, you virtually guarantee a half to ¾ second delay in reaction time.
Similarly, keep your attacker talking. If you’re going to try to surprise him, see if you can ask him something along the lines of, “What do you want to get out of this?” or some other open ended question that forces them to come up with a multi-word answer that will increase their visual perception delay and reactionary gap.
Finally, train, practice, and practice some more. If you’ve practiced your skills to the point where they’re almost boring and you don’t have to consciously think about them, you’re much more likely to actually be able to perform at a high level under stress.
For most people, this means spending a TON of money on ammo and range fees, but the fact that you’re here means you’ve got a HUGE leg up. You’ve got resources at your fingertips that are used by US Tier I units and our allies. High speed, low cost, at-home firearms training resources like Dry Fire Training Cards, Dry Fire Fit, The “Shoot Better Than SWAT in 30 Days” Force Recon 3010Pistol, Navy SEAL Concealed Carry Masters Course, and more.
Could you feasibly fire 8 rounds into someone’s back without realizing it? Yes…it’s possible. Anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, extreme exhaustion, pain, painkillers, sheer panic, bad triggers, and bad pre-defined reactions all COULD do that. Is it likely? Who knows…it doesn’t really matter what’s possible theoretically. There’s video of the officer in SC that appears to make a pretty clear case and you want to train/practice enough so that you’re never that disconnected from reality.
Questions? Comments? Sound off below.
Sometimes (actually quite often) I find crossover between what I’m doing on the firearms training front and the rest of my life.
Vision training is one of those areas. The same exercises that help me pick up my front sight faster also help me keep my eyes on the road more when I’m driving and help me scan a room/crowd faster.
In this case, the drill is one of the drills from www.DryFireTrainingCards.com that I’ve adapted to do in my truck (without a pistol) at stoplights. It’s easy, quick, and INCREDIBLY powerful.
Like it? Please click the Share button above.
Once you get in the habit of doing this drill, you’ll quickly notice that you’ll be watching the car ahead of you, flick your eyes to your speedometer and back and be shocked about how clear everything was and how quickly you were able to refocus both times.
When you get back to the range, it might actually take you a little bit to get to where your timing catches up with your newfound visual speed.
Like I said, this drill is one of the drills from Dry Fire Training Cards. I started doing the drill because of work I did with Eric Cobb and Matt Seibert. Since vision is arguably 80% of the shooting equation, they’ve both dug deep into vision performance as it relates to tactical applications.
Matt’s course, which I’ve only offered to past students of the Deadly Accuracy course covers speed shooting and eye dominance and is absolutely cutting edge. You can learn more about it and see a couple of videos from the class >HERE<
Eric’s course comes from work he’s done with several Tier I units. Again, depending on the situation, the mind gets roughly 80% of it’s sensory input from the eyes, so improvements to vision allows people to see more, identify threats faster, and generally interpret and interact with your environment more efficiently. Last year, Eric and I worked together on some instructional videos that we’re going to start selling. Right now, you can see three of them for free by going to Shooters Vision Gym. They’re a SMALL piece of a larger training package called “Vision Gym” that you’ll learn about on the page.
That’s it for this week…lots of video and a TON of valuable content to absorb. If you commit to doing the eye exercises in your car at stoplights/stop signs this week, I can almost guarantee that you’ll notice an improvement in your shooting in the next 7-10 days.
Questions? Comments? Fire away by asking below.
Summertime is peak firearms training time for many people. Thousands of individuals, couples and families are taking off of work and traveling to great schools all across the country.
In almost all cases, the schools are delivering great instruction.
But most students leaving these classes are buying into one, two, or three of the following gun training myths…even though the instructors don’t believe in these myths and don’t want their students to fall for them either.
This is important, regardless of whether you’re an instructor or whether you’ve trained with an instructor in the past, plan on doing so at some point in the future, or just plan on doing your own things with tips you pick up online, on books, or on DVDs.
I want to start off by saying that I’m a big fan of live firearms training. I’ve been to dozens of classes with dozens of high-speed instructors over the years and even the “mediocre” classes were great experiences and this is not a criticism of firearms instructors at all. They’re given the almost impossible task of conveying a lifetime of instruction, practice, and experience into as short of a class as possible at a price that students can afford.
With that out of the way, myth #1 is that firearms training is equivalent to practice. It’s not.
Training: Where a student is taught how to do something by an instructor.
Practice: Where a student repeats what they’ve been trained to do until they can do it automatically, or without thought. It becomes a conditioned response that bypasses the parts of the brain that are most paralyzed in extreme stress situations.
Training is when you watch proper technique and try to duplicate it until the instructor says, “you’ve got it” and you move to learning the next technique.
Practice is when you repeat that perfect form at various speeds, consciously paying attention to every detail, until one day you wake up and realize that you can do it perfectly, automatically, and FAST, without having to think about it.
Training is what most civilian and law enforcement shooters do.
Practice is what elite SWAT units, military units, and competitive shooters who consistently win do.
When shooters are looking for a firearms class to go to, most want to get as much training as possible for their time and money, so they look for the class with the most credible instructor who’s covering the most “cool stuff” in as few days as possible. (This is a false economy but that’s a conversation for another day)
Instructors, on the other hand, know that they may only have one shot with a student and the student may live or die based on the information they’re taught. It’s a heavy burden that causes instructors to try to cram as much information and training as possible into the limited class time that they have. I get it. I appreciate it. But it’s not practice; it’s not how most instructors learned and became good; and it’s not a good long term solution for students.
This approach may get students performing to a given standard during the class, but it won’t “stick” without repetition. Most experts agree that students will lose 60-80% of the benefit of what they learned within a few short weeks without frequent and timely practice after the initial instruction.
Practice is truly the single biggest missing ingredient in modern firearms training. In case you haven’t noticed, I’m pretty passionate about it. That’s why I co-wrote Tactical Firearms Training Secrets, co-created Dry Fire Training Cards, work closely with Matt Seibert in promoting Insight Firearms Training’s Deadly Accuracy Course, helped former Force Recon Marine, Chris Graham, launch 30-10Pistol, and am helping Retired Navy SEAL, Larry Yatch, launch Concealed Carry Masters Course.
We want to revolutionize firearms training and take it from a model where the focus is on getting students to be able to perform by the end of the class to a model where firearms instructors not only get students to perform in class, but focus on teaching students how to practice properly, after the training, so that they can get the full benefit of the training that they paid for.
In the meantime, here’s what you can do as a student.
When you’re taking a class and taking notes, constantly ask yourself, “What points do I need to write down so I can practice this properly when I get home?”
At the end of a class, in addition to having notes of facts, figures, and how-to’s, you should also have specific drills to do that are based on what you learned in the class. Some of them should be dry fire drills and some should be live fire drills, but ALL of them should be ones that you can shut your eyes and rehearse in your mind.
Again, the sooner you start this practice after your training and the more frequently you do it, the more long term benefit you’ll get from the training.
Most shooters go to firearms classes to get trigger time in, to shoot better, and/or to learn and practice tactics. As a result, that’s the kind of classes that are mostly offered.
And an increasing number of defensive shooting classes teach a little bit of situational awareness, deterrence, and disengagement, but the vast majority of the class is still focused on the gun because that’s what students demand.
Again, I get it. I love guns. I love gun stories. I love learning about guns. I love shooting. But my day has gone incredibly bad if I ever have to fire my gun in self defense.
One of the sayings I keep in my head is:
And, I have to add in situational awareness and disengagement to deterrence.
Sun Tzu may have said it better, “The greatest victory is that which requires no battle.”
Regardless, if you can avoid conflicts with pre-fight skills, then hopefully you may never have to find out whether your gun skills are adequate or not.
You probably realized this, but the skill of being able to avoid and deter confrontation becomes more and more valuable as you get older. It may not be as sexy as gun play, but you get to use it a lot more and it might save you from a conflict escalating to where you have to use your gun at all.
How can you practice this?
1. Every day, watch people and situations. Study them. Evaluate the people around you and your surroundings to get a general feel for how safe or unsafe you are. Then, BE COMFORTABLE LEAVING situations when things start getting hairy.
2. As you find yourself in disagreements and conflicts, begin the practice of disciplining yourself to add water to the fire, rather than fuel.
3. In disagreements, step back mentally while they’re happening and “take the temperature” of both yourself and the other person. Pay attention to the impact of the words you use, the volume, and your body language. And be prepared to physically leave and regroup if one or both of you can’t calm down or you run out of verbal tools to calm things down.
Two fundamentals of fighting that have been around for thousands of years are:
1. Use deception.
2. Close distance before surprising and engaging your opponent.
Bad guys know these rules…and they use them.
While we’re practicing being in our lane at the range, squaring up to a target 10, 11, or 21 feet away and drawing and engaging from the holster, bad guys in real life approach from the side or behind and hide their true intent until they’re too close for you react when they finally expose their intent.
Don’t get me wrong…many bad guys are dumb as a box of rocks. And I thank God for them. They expose their intent from a distance or are dumbfounded when their “victim” turns the table on them.
But I don’t want the effectiveness of my training to depend on an attacker being from the shallow end of the gene pool. You want your training to reflect reality…not just a best case scenario.
“If you learn “indoor” techniques, you will think narrowly and forget the true Way. Thus you will have difficulty in actual encounters.”
Miyamoto Musashi, “The Book of 5 Rings”
It’s definitely OK to practice shooting at targets on a one-way range at set distances. It’s a great way to develop fundamental skills.
But make sure that you also practice responding to threats to your right side, left side, and behind you. What would you do if you were 2 feet away from someone who pulled a knife on you? Would you bet that he won’t stab you while you take 1-4 seconds to get a concealed gun into the fight? I wouldn’t. There’s no one right answer to this question, but there are definitely some wrong answers and there are some answers that are more effective than others.
When you get a response, test it out with a training partner and an inert training platform. If it works, practice it until it’s automatic. If it doesn’t work, try something else.
And, I would deserve a trip behind the wood shed if I didn’t give you a one-stop answer to an incredibly effective way to address these three training myths in the comfort of your own home, for a fraction of the cost of the live training equivalent.
The SEALed Mindset Concealed Carry Masters Course addresses all three of these myths, head on, and gives students and instructors a framework for their training that reflects the realities of the world we live in in addition to the constraints of a linear range.
It’s a unique and innovative approach to firearms training that takes advantage of time-proven accelerated teaching and learning techniques that have only been affordable to military and elite law enforcement units, until now.
If you’re not familiar with it, I strongly suggest checking it out at www.ConcealedCarryMastersCourse.com
What are your thoughts? Have you unintentionally bought into any of these myths? If you’re an instructor, have you found any novel solutions to these problems? Please share by commenting below.
Welcome to this week’s newsletter, brought to you by former Force Recon Marine, Chris Graham’s 30-10 At-Home Pistol Training Program–Guaranteed to put you in the top 10% of all shooters in the next 30 days. Learn more now by going >HERE<
Have you decided how to handle a shirttail relative showing up on your doorstep when a crisis strikes? What about a coworker or a neighbor? What about a complete stranger?
Put more bluntly, how do you act in such a way that you will both make it through an extended disaster AND be proud of the person that you became and the actions you took to make it through?
If you’ve been open about what you’ve got stored up or if people know about your tactical background, it’s a distinct possibility–regardless of whether or not you actually have the supplies they think you do–that people will come to you in a disaster expecting you to give them anything you’ve got that they need.
It’s a fact that extra people will be a drain on your resources, but it’s also a fact that faced with such a decision, it may be difficult to turn them away. . .or not.
When friends, relatives, and neighbors show up and start burning through your emergency supplies during a short-term disaster, it may not be all that bad of a thing. It can bring you closer, give them the kick in the pants they need to prepare themselves, and possibly cause them to wait before doubting you in the future. As a bonus, they might replace the supplies that they used with newer ones. (If I were speaking, I’d insert a pause for laughter here.)
But what do you do in a long-term crisis?
In a long-term crisis the ante will be upped a thousand-fold and you will likely be faced with strangers who are in need, in addition to people you know and care for. If you have planned so that you will have items set aside for charity, there are ways to help others while keeping a safety buffer between you and those in need that we’ll cover in a minute. But first, it might be worthwhile looking at what people experienced during the Great Depression to avoid becoming overrun by those in need.
It’s estimated that the hobo population grew from 500,000 at the turn of the century to one and a half million during the Great Depression as 12 million people in America lost their jobs. Job loss led to homelessness, and many took to the rails in an attempt to find work and improve their chances of survival. As the depression continued, and more of the homeless stowed away on freight cars for shelter and free travel to look for work.
A code of ethics developed within the hobo population which included helping one-another through the use of ‘hobo signs’, which were symbols written in chalk or coal on fences, posts, sidewalks, homes, buildings, trestles, bridge abutments and railroad line side equipment, alerting other hobos passing through where they could receive a handout, where they would be welcome and which places they should stay clear of. (David covers these in the Survive In Place course as an alternative method of communication in a long term post-disaster situation)
The following are some of the most common symbols used to alert fellow hobos:
Savvy people learned/reverse engineered the hobo codes and made sure that the ones in front of their house/business said what they wanted it to say and, possibly more importantly, didn’t say what they didn’t want it to say.
The reason Preppers should be aware of hobo symbols is that they are still in use today, and recently I’ve stumbled upon a few sites promoting their use as a helping tool for people who find themselves on foot or riding the rail system, searching for help during a crisis. It’s natural for someone to share their good fortune of the food and water (and in some cases shelter) they received with others who are in need and point them to the household who offered them help where they, too, can get help. Most who show up on the doorstep of those extending charity through word of mouth and hobo signs will appreciate the help they are given and move on. Unfortunately, some won’t.
It’s worth noting that it’s been over 80 years since the Great Depression kicked off the wide use of hobo signs. Things aren’t as simple as they were back in those by-gone days when Americans prided themselves on self-reliance and people were expected to make their own way. It’s true that in 1935, the middle of the Great Depression, the welfare system was put into place to help single mothers feed their children and to help dependent persons through those terribly lean times, but the help extended was meagerly. At the heart of things, Americans still believed in self-reliance.
Today over 47 million people receive food stamps, and those numbers have steadily grown since 2008. Through entitlements like food stamps and subsidized housing, a portion of Americans have come to assume they will be taken care of. If those entitlements ever dry up, people’s fear and anger could quickly turn into a powder keg of riots and looting, and at such a time, it will become critical to approach charity carefully to avoid some who would otherwise take advantage.
Here are a few steps you can take to keep a buffer between your provisions and those who may not be trustworthy:
Deliver Extra Provisions To A Neutral Location
Taking extra provisions to a Church or a community relief location will give you a buffer. Then, if anyone comes to you for food, you can say that you gave everything you had to give and point them to the location.
Trust In Your Discernment
Discernment should never be underestimated. If you have a bad feeling about the person who has shown up to your doorstep asking for help, trust your instinct!
Show of Force
Greeting a stranger while visibly armed may be necessary if there is widespread looting in your area. It sends the message that you’re capable of protecting yourself and your loved ones. During peaceful times, this approach may seem over the top. But in times of looting and worse, a stranger who approaches should expect caution on your part.
Keep Multiple Stores of Food
In general, keep multiple stores of food throughout your house rather than keeping it all in one location so that you can sacrifice one if forced to and still have a chance of having supplies.
Give vs. Letting Them Take
Never let people pick what they want from your food stores. If you give them something, give them a little, and keep them outside where they can’t see your supplies, but don’t ever give so much that you appear to be overflowing with supplies.
(David’s note: We don’t plan on “giving” anything away from our house. We will give supplies to churches, cause mysterious packages to show up on our neighbors’ doors, and let people work for food, but we won’t “give” anything away at our house.
Also, never tell anyone or show anyone anything that you don’t want them to tell everyone. Getting a hungry person to promise you not to tell anyone what you’ve given them or what they’ve seen in exchange for you giving them food is going to guarantee that they tell you a lie in order to get the food. Any peace of mind that you get from their promise is false. Plan your words, actions, and what people see in advance so that they leave with the storyline that you have created…not one that you’ve asked them to tell.
I’ve spoken about this several times, but it’s worth repeating. If you have the ability, set aside basic supplies for local law enforcement. People have made immoral decisions to fill their empty bellies and the empty bellies of their families throughout history and providing for law enforcement in a long term crisis is one high-leverage way to help maintain order.)
Set Ground Rules
If this is all you can give, make this clear. That way, the person you’re helping won’t be as likely to send more people to you for freebies. This is by no means a guarantee, however.
If you plan to help others during a crisis, consider stocking extra of the following:
Note: Although it’s sometimes suggested offering beans and rice to those in need, consider that those who are unprepared may not have a way to cook them. Canned and prepared food will avoid that problem.
Do you plan to help others during a crisis or do you plan to stay under the radar by keeping your preps to yourself? Do you have any suggestions on how to safely offer help to others in need? Please sound off by commenting below!
And, if you haven’t checked out Former Force Recon Marine, Chris Graham’s at-home 30-10 pistol training, please do so now by clicking >HERE< If you missed Chris nailing a 200 yard shot with a Glock 17 on his first shot, check out the article and video by going >HERE<!
God bless and stay safe,
David Morris and Survival Diva