Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Shooting from Cover

I was at the range the other day and watched a fellow shooter practicing.  He was pretty good and, like all friendly shooters, we started to talk.  We first talked about gear of course.  He then watched me place a wooden gun rack halfway between me and the target.  He stopped shooting to watch what I was doing.  I would load two magazines, one in my carbine, one at my side.  I would start the timer, run the 15 yards or so to the rack and proceed to shoot from behind the rack.  After a few runs I got a little self conscious and stopped.  He asked if I shot like that all the time and I said most of the time.  It came out that he is a federal officer and he said he hadn't shot like that since FLETC (Fedreal law enforcement training center in Artesia, New Mexico).  I said "Really" which I think may have embarrassed him a little.  I hadn't meant to embarrass him. I was just surprised.  He and I then talked a little about shooting from cover.
Many people go to the range and then stand there and blow away that paper.  There's nothing really wrong with that, I've done it many times.  When you want to work on grip, aim, presentation, or stance, this will work fine.  Problem is, when you get passed that and well established in those areas it's time to shoot as realistic as you can.  That would be shooting from cover.  If I were to get in a gunfight I would find real cover ( not a car door or dry walled wall) to operate from.  Make sure it it's actual cover, something that will stop a bullet.  What may stop a handgun round may not stop a rifle round. As we talked about shooting from cover I went back to several classes I taught while in the military.
After you determine what cover is over concealment then you learn the importance of not crowding your cover.  TV and movies have the hero smashed up against that wall shooting around the corner.  As usual, this is dead wrong.  Like clearing a hallway or a room, give yourself some space.  Back off from your cover about an arms length. This will give you a minimum exposure when you roll out to shoot.  Also being too close to cover limits your field of view.  That limits your tactical options.  When you roll out to shoot, the bad guy should only see a gun barrel and your eye. When shooting from cover here are a few tactics I would share with students:
• Minimize the time of exposure.
• Let the subject see only a gun barrel and eyeball nothing more.
• Do not shoot from the same location continuously use different positions
each time you roll out as not to give the advisary any advantage.  Do not extend you firearm beyond cover.
• Shoot around cover nor over top of cover.
• Reload from behind cover.
• Do not let the slide come in contact with cover causing malfunctions
• When shooting from the left make sure room is given to allow spent brass
to fall free.
• Use a knuckle to support the firearm not the back of the hand. (Using the
back of the hand causes exposure to more of the head from cover. This also causes the weapon to recoil more aggressively.
Always remember in any gunfight to shoot to stop the threat. Always check your six and be aware of your surroundings. Before you emerge from cover make sure your gun is fully loaded. What I teach is A way to do this, not THE way.
Practice these things. All you need is a chair, a bench, a pole.  These things aren't cover but they simulate shooting from cover.

Semper Paratus


Friday, March 21, 2014

How comfortable is your ammo load-out? (How much ammo do you carry?)

As a military member deployed we were given initially 4 30 round magazines which was expanded to 7 30 round mags. That’s 210 rounds. I learned to run and operate with that weight. Actually I carried 9 30 round mags. I was comfortable having 2 extra mags. Not only that, but the load-out included 6 grenades. That seems like a lot. But in combat you could wish for more.
When I carry concealed I think I have a whopping 15 rounds! What’s the difference? Combat is the difference. As a soldier you are expected to hold a position. As a law enforcement officer you’re expected to engage and take out the criminals. As a CCW (Carrying concealed weapon) holder I want to defend myself and others but expect to E and E (escape and evade) as soon as possible. My mission is safety. It’s fight or flight and if given a choice I would choose flight. I don’t consider myself a coward, but if the threat is no longer a threat to me or others, it’s time to leave and let those brave LEO’s (law enforcement officers) do their job. Their mission is to stay in the fight. I am not their back up, even though I would back them up if given the need and opportunity. Most LEO’s will not want a civilian there to “help” them. First of all, LEO’s must be positive that the only civilians with a gun in a active shooter event are the bad guys. They can’t determine easily who’s side you are on. Unless expressly asked by a LEO, and that would be extremely rare, it’s not your fight.
When we talk about CCW I usually ask “How much?” not “What caliber?” When it comes to ammo, more is always better. Would you be likely to need 210 rounds? No, not normally. For me it all depends on where I will be. What part of town? Will I be dealing with a money drop or pick up? Will I go from a closed0 parking lot to a secure building? Is it a long, dark walk? Is security obvious and on location? Are we in the U.S. or Beirut? Is the climate with or without the rule of law? ie. A riot or civil unrest? All of these answers will vary and so will my personal load-out with each scenario. Yes, you never know when you will need 50 rounds. But, you also never know when you will need your battle rifle and 10 mags too! Planning and intell will dictate what I carry.
A most recent and dramatic example of this was a fairly recent shooting in northern Illinois where a police officer shot an armed assailant 21 times with good quality .45 ACP rounds. Despite the fact that 14 of those hits were to the chest, the assailant kept coming and was only stopped when the officer was able to score two shots to the head. Toxicology reported showed only a small amount of alcohol in the criminal’s blood. That officer subsequently switched from the .45 ACP to 9mm, just so he could carry more rounds. He now regularly totes more than 100 rounds while on duty.
I also don’t carry a spare weapon or a battle rifle or shotgun, but if I were a LEO I would! 100 rounds would be a good start. Like I said, I’m not a coward but I want to come home each night. Someday I may consider a double stack weapon if I feel the need. Many times I’ve heard shooters say “If I can’t do it with 10 then 15 won’t make a difference.” Anyone who says this speaks from inexperience. As the story above indicates, 14 well placed hits didn’t make a big difference. The double tap headshots did. I will still train center of mass. But center of mass doesn’t mean a double tap higher can’t be included in your training.
When I find the right mag pouch, I will up my ammo to 22. I always have a few boxes of 50 next to my gun in case I feel I need that too. Normally, I don’t grab it. I also store a box in my vehicle so it’s there if I need it. If you carry, I would advise at least 1 extra magazine too.
When you train you should always include a magazine change. It would be better if that change was under stress, such as competing with a clock or another shooter. This will keep your skills fresh and improve your muscle memory. When training remember the acronym FAST:
F = Fire (Shoot!) Move to cover, communicate
A = Assess. Do you need to keep firing?
S = Scan. Are there more threats? Moving your head and view will break the tunnel vision you may experience.
T = Top off. Reload. If another threat appears or re-appears, you want a full magazine.
So, I ask again, how much ammo do you carry?

Semper Paratus
Check 6

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it’s off to the range we go…

I have fond memories of going to the range as a kid. The “range” was my Uncle’s ranch. But I remember teaching each of my many kids on particular ranges throughout their lives.
Now I know that just about everyone who goes to the range, goes to a vast variety of “places to shoot”. For many years I shot behind a friend’s property toward a ranch that had a small hill on it. We talked to the rancher and he was good with our plan as long as we didn’t shoot his cattle! Luckily, if there were cattle near the noise would keep them away. That changed because of development in the area where we could no longer safely shoot there. We then sought out a range. We found one that was not too far away and in a gravel pit. This was perfect, safety wise, in every direction. The gun shop that leased the land from the county built a small cement pad and put a roof and a long metal bench to shoot from. That went on for several years but I was never happy with the lack of target stands and the trash and junk that filtered in making the place look like a mess. No money was put into the range and there was no organized shooting club. Finally the county closed down the range and wouldn’t renew the lease. I now shoot at quite a nice range with established shooting lanes. There are also shooting benches and target stands. The range hosts shooting competitions so it’s kept clean and maintained.
I’m sure each of you have similar stories or perhaps you’ve been shooting at the same range for years. Whatever your range situation, each range has its own rules and amenities. You may have to provide your own shooting stands like I did at the first 2 places I shot. I’m thinking about investing the time and money into a shooting range on our property and may have to go back to my own stands again. Here is a site that tells how to make stands out of pvc pipe.
There are other ideas and plans but I found this design light and easy to transport. If this is your situation then collecting cardboard will become an obsession.
Also if it’s just a raw range you may consider portable shooting benches or perhaps camp tables and chairs would be what you need.
Beyond range features, there are many things that I consider essential in going to the range.
A good range bag is essential I think. My bag right now is good but too big. I’ve been meaning to downsize because I don’t need many of those things I used to have to bring.
Choose a bag that will fit your situation. There are many on the market. I looked and have owned many of them. I’ve paid $75.00 to $0.25 cents. What I am using now is a traveling duffel bag but It has many of the features of an actual shooting bag. Many such bags have a separate smaller bag inside that you can remove as an ammo bag. There are pockets for handguns and magazines. I confess I have owned those bags with all the bells and whistles and a high price. I’ve “evolved” to a point where I just want a bag of the right size with 2 or 3 outside pockets and a place for a water bottle. I can’t justify a high priced bag when ammunition and other necessary accessories are also rising in cost. I am looking all the time for a better bag but am happy with what I have now, except for its size of course. Look around, you can find a bag that will work for you. At one time I had one of those plastic storage totes with my range bag and many other things in it. Fortunately I’ve downsized over the years.
Contents of that bag are as follows:
1 or 2 rolls of masking tape/duct tape. This for various uses like keeping a target down from the wind. Mostly I use tape to cover holes on the target.
A few tacks and small nails are handy too.
Staple gun with extra staples
Various targets
Binoculars or spotting scope
Small tool kit
Small cleaning kit
Hearing protection (I use ear muffs but have extra pairs and also ear plugs)
Eye protection (I bring extra for anyone who may come with me)
Pad and pen/data book
Small ruler (6 inch plastic)
Surveyors tape (for improvised windsock)
Extra batteries (for timer, sights, camera etc.)
Small digital camera
Ziploc bags for brass if you reload
Hat (I always keep one in my bag in case I’m not wearing one and there is a need)
Small first aid kit (I also have a first aid kit in my vehicle)
Water and water bottle
Toilet paper ( I know this is crazy. My range has a port-a-potty that may, or may not, have TP)
Shot timer
Speed loader/magazine loader
Holsters/gun belt
Bug spray
Sun block
Shooting mat
Optics/glasses cleaner and cloth
Silicone gun cloth
I have a bag I keep inside my range bag for ammo, magazines, loaders etc. That way it’s all kept together and It’s easier to restock
Trigger locks and keys
When it comes to kits (first aid, tool, cleaning) go through each kit and include only what you will need or would be nice. I cleaned out a bag one time and I had been carrying a fairly large bottle of cleaning solvent when I had some in my cleaning kit!
Guns are not on this list, but yes, I bring guns.
I’ve seen other things on other lists but this is what I consider the basics. I’ll be honest, some of these items I do not have in my bag. Every vehicle I have has a pretty good first aid kit, and water. I refill my water bottle every time I go, but if I forget I have water in my vehicle.
Also, if I competed I would probably vary the items in my bag. I like things as simple as possible. I use an acronym when teaching backpacking or building a bug out bag. SWaB. This stands for size, weight, and bulk. Keep it all down to a minimum. I mean for me I walk from my vehicle to the shooting bench which is only about 20 feet. But, with ammo and guns, it is still too heavy. My problem is I feel I need to constantly train with my carry gun and with my home defense gun. But when I see those other guns in there I just want to shoot them all! I should probably limit what I bring to about 3 weapons.
Going to the range is the highlight of my week. I love it and probably spend too much time there. But I do love my family and I should spend time with them. That’s why I love to take them to the range as much as possible. That way I have all the things I love together!
A range bag is also a personal thing. Look over my list and other lists and come up with your own. Clean out your bag and re-evaluate your needs occasionally. With a well stocked bag you will have years of safe, enjoyable, and productive shooting.
Who knew an article on a shooting bag could bring back such wonderful, fond memories!
Make your own memories. Happy shooting!

Semper Paratus

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Pick a source....any source: The myth of mainstream media

I do not care for either party. I have voted since the late 70’s and more often than not, I’ve voted Republican because they seem to come as close as any party to my values and stand on issues. I guess it would be safer to say I can’t stand politics and politicians. I wish we had more statesmen. If any change is to take place, I believe it would be through the Republican party only because I don’t think a third party will do anything but split the Republican party. Notice I say the Republican party not the Democrats. The Democrats seem to be able to come together when it’s important where the Republicans are more stubborn and can’t seem to come together. So we need to change the Republican party back to it’s roots. I have a problem with the Democrats because I cannot just let issues like abortion and same sex marriage go by the wayside because I believe in many of the parties other issues (which I do NOT). I don’t know how LDS Democrats can just ignore those two issues that the Church has fought so hard against, and rationalize it’s because of the other issues that keeps them liberal or progressive or whatever. One of my mission companions said it best: “When God speaks the debate is over.” Church members sometimes separate their religion from their politics. The founders did not do this, and I don’t think it’s right that we should. Anyway, the choice is yours. So my advice to my family, and you, would be to vote and be active in the political process. Don’t ignore the system but try to change our country the right way. In the 60’s radicals tried to make change and I don’t think it worked. Many of them got into politics. Some of them made it to the white house. I don’t like that type of radical thinking. I don’t believe the constitution needs a radical change. Freedom is more important than control. I never thought I’d turn out to be a “square”. Anyway, I did not mean for this to be a political post. These are just my opinions.

Information is Power. Watch where you get your news.
I just read several articles about mainstream media (MSM). I watch a little mainstream media but for the most part I get my news from what would be considered “alternative media.” Mainstream media can be defined (and this is only my definition) as coming from the big 5. CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, and FOX is my definition (and sometimes BBC). I watch FOX because they seem to be more conservative, and I am pretty conservative (though I am NOT a Republican OR a Democrat). But I notice FOX puts out just about as much crap (excuse the strong word, but it’s how I feel) as the rest. FOX just tries to give the opposite as the other liberal 4. Sometimes FOX gets stuck putting that deceiving, distracting “news” out there like all the rest. Remember that truth is what we all seek. In these articles it was brought out that most Americans spend a lot of time (200 hours a month) connected to mainstream media. We are influenced by what we see. Some people think they are not influenced by something as small as advertising. In the U.S. in 2012 $165 billion was spent on advertising. Do you really think advertising does not work? $165 billion says different. We are influenced by what we see, hear, and read. Be sure what you think is news is actually news. Have you ever heard of a group called The Bilderberg Group? It was started in 1954 and is shrouded in secrecy. It is also something that will never be mentioned in mainstream media. It’s interesting that MSM will actually run a story about a UFO sighting, yet anything about other “conspiracy” or controversial nature is never touched. Do not fall prey to this. MSM, for the most part, is driven by business. When Ted Turner owned CNN if he didn’t want a story to run on his network, do you think it ran anyway? Absolutely not. Editors, publishers, and producers control most of MSM. Once in a while, there will be an honest reporter who does a meaningful story. Not often enough to warrant spending my time watching them. There is a saying that I believe, “No truth in the news, no news in the truth.” Always take what MSM tells you with a grain of salt. Do your own research. In war most battles are fought because of intelligence. The best intelligence is human intelligence, or “boots on the ground”. Do your best to find your news through credible sources. Find websites to keep an eye on. Check their sources and research with your own. There are credible sources for news out there but they have to be found as you sift through the debris. One thing I’ve noticed is that news services from other countries are usually less influenced by money. Don’t get me wrong, capitalism works and keeps this country the super power it is. But when it comes to truth, money usually doesn’t care about truth, only the bottom line. I’ve included sources that I like but you must research and find your own. Please don’t become the typical American sheep and swear by CNN. Be informed from good sources.
News about guns and gun laws are often tainted by the “progressive/conservative” struggle by MSM. Each like to quote portions of studies that suit their opinion. That is the c**p I was talking about earlier. It is far from the truth.
Code name Insight is a website that is a list of websites in catagories. These two categories have to do with news.
News Sources – This is mostly MSM but there are a few here that are good
Commentary/Other News – This has more choices that are not so mainstream

These are where I find my news:
Drudge Report
Blacklisted news
Ooda News
Al Jezeera
The Diplomat
The Irish Times
Meridian Magazine news
Washington Post, depending on the reporter
Wall Street Journal, depending on the reporter
Semper Paratus

The OODA Loop - Combat concept

John Boyd was a innovative theorist. He was actually an Air Force pilot who developed a theory on how to design fighter aircraft. This theory was proven mathematically (The Energy-Maneuverability or E-M theory), and used to design today’s aircraft. In a letter former Commandant of the Marine Corps General Charles C. Krulak is quoted as saying, “The Iraq army collapsed morally and intellectually under the onslaught of American and Coalition forces. John Boyd was an architect of that victory as surely as if he’d commanded a fighter wing or a maneuver division in the desert.” Speaking of the Gulf War.
His key concept was that of the decision cycle or OODA loop. This concept is used to win air battles in war but can be applied to a variety of organizations and situations. The pilot that gets through the loop the shortest time will catch the other pilot reacting to situations that have already changed. Human beings undergo a continuous cycle of interaction with their environment. This is broken down to four interrelated and overlapping processes that we go through continuously.
O – Observation: The collection of data by means of senses
O – Orientation: The analysis of data to form our perspective
D – Decision: The determination of a course of action based on that perspective
A – Action: The act of carrying out those decisions
While these 4 things are happening the situation may be changing. Decisions may need to change based on situational changes. The faster you can get through this process as things change the better off you will be in making decisions that match the situation. In air battles, or violence, things happen very fast, and the faster you can get through this loop the better chance you have beating your opponent. This applies to business, sports, and of course battle.
We’ve talked about Jeff Cooper’s color conditions and how it’s best to stay in Yellow. (See 3/18/14 post “Yellow to Orange”) Once you move into Orange the OODA loop occurs. You will have likely gone through several Loops to arrive at Orange but Orange is where you assess “Fight or Flight” in the decision part of the Loop. This is why it is called a Loop, because things will change quickly in a confrontation (combat). There are some guidelines we should understand at this point. You do not rise to the occasion but will default to your training. This why training, and training correctly, is so important. Remember that even untrained thugs will “close and engage” even though they don’t realize it. This makes distance your friend. To do you harm, criminals will “close” or shorten their distance to the target. Even if a gun is involved, to close will increase effective engagement. 1. Maximize your distance from danger. 2. Always observe opponents hands. Regardless of weapon, hands are involved, even if hands are the weapon! If you presented your weapon (draw your gun), regardless whether you used it or not, look around before you re holster. Situational awareness in combat is important but often overlooked because of tunnel vision that can occur. 3. Scan before re holstering. Also, even if you are hit in a gunfight, most people survive being shot. 4. Do not give up because you’re injured or shot.

“Denial kills you twice. It kills you once, at your moment of truth when you are not
physically prepared: You didn’t bring your gun; you didn’t train. Your only defense
was wishful thinking. Hope is not a strategy. Denial kills you a second time
because even if you do physically survive, you are psychologically shattered by
fear, helplessness, horror and shame at your moment of truth.” Lt Col Dave Grossman
Train. Get training and practice what you learn. Not just once a month. Once a month will not give you muscle memory or something to default to in a situation. Could you give a piano recital by practicing once a month? Probably not. There are many ways to train. Going to the range is fine but remember, most situations are not 25 foot away paper targets! Be creative and learn to shoot from cover. Learn to shoot while you move. I had a instructor that taught a multi-military branch course I was taking. He pounded into us “Shoot, move, communicate”. Those are wise words. Learn what force-on-force training is and seek it out. Dry firing is cheap and can make a big difference. Make sure you dry fire safely. Read and learn. Get competent training. Practice, practice, practice! Make sure you are in front of the curve and ahead of your opponent in the OODA Loop.
Semper Paratus

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Yellow to Orange

I know that hindsight is 20/20. I thought a lot about what I would have done in that movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. Would I have been able to do anything? Would I have been armed? Would I have been in a position to exit the theater quickly with my loved ones? If I was armed, would I have been able to see through what they call “combat fog” and taken out the jerk? I wonder about my attitude toward situational awareness and if I include places, until now, I may have considered safe. The truth is, there are few safe places anymore. Please remember that. I don’t think we should go through life paranoid, but Condition Yellow should be the least. Going from Yellow to Orange to Red is sometimes very fast. It would be much easier to go to Orange or Red if we are actually in Yellow! I am very saddened from this tragedy in Colorado. It just seals into my mind the need for situational awareness. For me, the places I am in White are probably at home and at church. I need to be in Yellow and to stay there. I’m not sure we have the luxury to be complacent.
In the Book of Mormon there was a time when things were really bad. In Alma 57:9 it says:

9 And it came to pass that we did camp round about the city for many nights; but we did sleep upon our swords, and keep guards, that the Lamanites could not come upon us by night and slay us, which they attempted many times; but as many times as they attempted this their blood was spilt.
President Benson said that the Book of Mormon paralleled our day. It has almost come to where we “sleep upon our swords” today, just to be safe.

Remember the Color Conditions:
Condition White
You feel secure, whether or not you are actually safe.
Awareness is switched off.
You are unaware of your environment, its inhabitants, and their rituals of attack.
All attackers look for victims in this state.
Condition Yellow
You are cautious. You should spend most of the time in this state.
Awareness is switched on.
State of threat awareness and relaxed alertness.
You have a 360-degree peripheral awareness of such environmental danger spots as secluded doorways, entries, and alleys, as well as such psychological triggers as adrenal dump and attacker ruses. Be aware of people, vehicles, behind large objects, dark areas, etc.
Condition Orange
You are in danger. You are aware of a potential threat.
State of threat evaluation.
Specific alert. A possible target has been identified. A particular situation that has drawn your attention and could present a major problem. Someone may be giving oral indicators such as direct threats or using suspicious language. Focus on the potential attacker.
Check to see if there is an avenue of escape, potential weapons available, and if others around you are friend or foe.
Decision is made to take action.
Condition Red
You are in conflict.
State of threat avoidance.
Fight or flight. Flee, defend, or attack. You have evaluated the situation, and if there is a threat, you prepare to fight or run.
Never stand or fight if there is a possibility of fleeing.
Carry out decision to act made in Condition Orange. You don't have to think; no indecision on the course of action; you are prepared.
If use of physical self-defense techniques is necessary, use the level of force appropriate to the threat. E.g., don't treat someone who pushes you because he is rude like someone who is trying to stab you with a knife.

Starting right now, be in Condition Yellow. Throughout your day, identify potential areas of danger and switch to Condition Orange as necessary. Switch back to Condition Yellow if no threat exists. Do this exercise again tomorrow. And the next day. And so on. Eventually, awareness becomes a habit. Make the most important self-defense skill, awareness, a habit.
I hope we can all learn from this tragedy. Be aware. Situate yourself for E and E (escape and evade). Stay away from obvious danger. Watch people and assess. Be safe.

Semper Paratus


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Should You Carry?

Should You Carry?
That’s a fair question to ask. Let’s assume, first off, that you CAN carry a gun with you on a regular basis. There are lots of people who, because of their work environment, can’t carry a concealed firearm around with them on a regular basis. If that’s the case, this discussion is moot.
But if you can carry, should you carry? Consider this post on
“I live in a small town in Iowa. A couple years ago I applied for and received my concealed carry permit. I have a G26 with a crossbreed supertuck to go with it, and I have a Ruger LCP. I would carry one of these every day, everywhere I went, religiously, for quite a while.
This past summer, I decided to stop carrying. I decided it’s just not worth it for me. It’s not worth the pain in the neck to put it on, it’s not worth the weight and discomfort, it’s not worth introducing a firearm into every single encounter in my daily life. It’s not worth it to me, for the one in a million chance that I might ever maybe possibly need to use it.”
Is that person right? Is carrying a firearm not worth the trouble, given the “one-in-a-million” chance you’ll need to use it?
Depends. I carry a first aid kit in my car: Am I expecting to be first on the scene at a major traffic accident? No. Have I needed it to patch up the scrapes and cuts of my teen kids? Oh yeah.
The knowledge and assurance that you are ready and able to deal with what life throws at you can be a powerful, powerful thing, and when you need a gun, there aren’t a whole lot of things you can use as a substitute.
Should you carry a gun? Can you think of something in your life worth dying for? Would you rather die for it or live for it?
If you have not weighed this and thought it out ahead of time, then be sure before you carry. It’s an investment in responsibility, time, money, and a mind set. I’ve grown up being taught that you should always have a plan in whatever you do. And have a plan “B” and “C” too. I didn’t always follow this wise counsel but when I grew older I adopted that same policy. Be prepared. We have car, life, and homeowners insurance, why would being prepared in other things be so difficult to understand? Defense is one of those other things. I have a friend who will probably never carry a gun. But he is very prepared to defend himself! I’ve tried to teach my family that being prepared is important in this life. Spiritually, emotionally, and physically. Maybe this thinking is a little aggressive, but I had it pounded into me: “Close and engage!”
Consider the following if you decide to carry:
You may have to change the way you dress to conceal.
You may have the extra expense of different clothing, a holster or purse to conceal, a concealable weapon.
If you haven’t practiced presenting your weapon, that too must be practiced.

1. If You Carry, Always Carry - You never know when something might happen. It could as easily be in your local supermarket parking lot instead of late at night in an urban area. Make sure you establish practices so that you always pick up the gun on the way out.
2. Don’t Carry If You Aren’t Prepared To Use It – Deadly force means deadly force. Don’t think you are going to be able to threaten someone out of a situation. If you pull it, be prepared to use it.
3. Don’t Let The Gun Make You Reckless – There is always someone badder, tougher, and smarter. Use situational awareness to avoid a situation
4. Get The License! – I know, I know, the 2nd Amendment gives you the right. At the same time, do you want the hassle and legal expense to fight this? If you are convicted and become a felon, your life has changed dramatically.

5. Know What You’re Doing – You need to understand your weapon(s) – what the capabilities are and limitations. Understand and follow the Four Rules of Gun Safety.

6. Concealed Means Concealed – When you flaunt the weapon you have just given the bad guy the edge. By letting others know you conceal carry you give them power over you and they may lead you into situations you should not be in. This means friends and co-workers too. Practice good OPSEC (operations security).

7. Maximize Your Firearms Familiarity – Practice, practice, practice. Dry fire, live fire, simulations. You can never be smooth or fast enough. Think ahead about what could happen, plan out what you will do and practice for these situations.

8. Understand The Fine Points – Know the laws of your city, county, state. Know what to do at a traffic stop, know what to say when someone accidentally sees your piece.
9. Carry An Adequate Firearm – Carry a gun you can handle. A single shot derringer is not going to do you much good. On the other hand, a Desert Eagle in the hands of a 110 pound woman without adequate training is a danger to her and others around her.

10. Use Common Sense – Always look to deescalate the situation and for situation avoidance. Be deadly serious.
Concealed Carry is a big responsibility. It affects you, your family, and those you work with, and those you are around. Make sure it affects all in a good, positive, and safe way. Like any other tool, a weapon can do a lot of negative things. Be ready for that and your weapon won’t be a “hassle” and a “burden” to you and your loved ones but a blessing.
Semper Paratus

Threat Cons and Training

I have friend. We'll call him G. G was and is a Green Beret. He is Army Airborne Special Forces. He is “retired” now and living in Central America. He still teaches often down there. He has taught many different countries armies. George told me this story.
When he was on his first tour in Viet Nam he went on many patrols. His first patrol taught him something he never forgot and probably saved his life many times over through his tours and through his career. He was on patrol in the jungle in a team of 6 men. He was third in the column as they skirted a well used Viet Cong (VC) trail near the Cambodian border. They inserted at “last light” and were moving when night fell quickly in the double canopy jungle. As his team set up their NDP (Night defensive position) he settled in for the few hours they would be stopped. It got cold quickly in the jungle and George wrapped his poncho liner tightly around him to keep out the chill. He also did something very dangerous, he removed his boots. His feet were tired so he slipped off his jungle boots to rest his feet. No sooner than he removed his boots there was a noise in the distance. About 25 VC were moving noisily down the trail. What G and the team did not realize in the dark that the trail took a sharp turn to the left which split the team on each side of the trail. This put G only about 8 feet from the trail. As the noisy VC walked down the trail it was obvious they were unaware of the US Army Green Berets in such close proximity to the very trail they were on. They were talking loudly, had their rifles slung over their shoulders and were smoking, some walking two abreast. As they passed G he could have reached out and grabbed any one of them as they passed. Suddenly a couple of them stopped right in front of G! He was paralyzed because he was wrapped so tight in his poncho liner he couldn’t have reached his rifle not 2 feet away. And he had no boots on! The VC unslung their rifles and peered into the darkness right at G. He held his breath. They saw nothing and continued on. G was told by his Sergeant a moment later, “You sure are lucky!” He vowed to never be caught off guard again in his life.
This is the way we are as Americans. We have lived in safety for so long that we walk around with our eyes 4 feet high and 10 feet ahead, oblivious of what is going on around us. This must stop if we don’t want to be a victim. Whether you are in combat, in a city, or just the parking lot of Wal-mart, you should be aware of your surroundings. This is something you have to actually practice and make a habit in your life. You wouldn’t dream of getting in a car and backing up without looking around to see what is there would you? But as soon as some people get out of that car their noses go into a phone or just are so caught up in getting into the store they miss what is coming.
Know your surroundings. It’s not paranoia, its awareness. When you are in a restaurant sit in a way where you can see what is going on and near an exit. Watch people. When you go into a convenience store look through the glass to see what is going on. If it looks wrong or feels wrong, leave. Use awareness and common sense. Above all, follow the Spirit.

The late Jeff Cooper’s “Color Code” has been embraced and taught by competent instructors for many years. Cooper broke down alertness levels into four colors of escalating degrees of preparation for the use of deadly force. This color code system is a mental process, not a physical one, and should be utilized whether or not you are armed — though being armed is always preferred. Being alert may help you to avoid a deadly threat in the first place, which is always the preferred outcome.
In condition White, you are relaxed and unaware of what is going on around you. Ideally, a police officer is only in white when asleep, but realistically we often drop our guard when we are at home or in some other environment we assume to be safe, like church. It is better to be more alert even when you are in your “lair.” You simply cannot be in white.
If you are attacked in condition white, you may very well die — unless you are lucky. I prefer to not depend on luck.
In condition yellow, you remain relaxed, but are aware of who and what is around you. This merely means that you are paying attention to the sights and sounds that surround you whether you are at home or moving in society. Condition yellow DOES NOT equate with paranoia or any other irrational fear of persons or places. Instead, you simply have moved your alertness to a level of attention that will prevent you from being totally surprised by the actions of another person.
While walking through an area you will loosely keep track of anyone behind you. When choosing a seat in a restaurant, you will position yourself to see the entrance or to minimize the number of people who might be behind you.
You don’t need to insist on securing the “gunfighter seat” which will put your back to a dead corner and your face to the entrance, because you are not anticipating a threat, you are merely conducting an inventory of your surroundings and the other people around you. You will also be running a cursory “what if” mental visualization of where a threat could appear and what your reaction(s) should be.
If you are attacked in condition yellow, it should not come as a total surprise. Your response to a threat should have been pre-planned to some extent, allowing you to simply run an existing plan rather than having to make one up quickly while under fire. A competent person MUST be in condition yellow always.
In condition orange, you have identified something of interest that may or may not prove to be a threat. Until you determine the true nature of whatever has piqued your interest, your “radar” is narrowed to concentrate on the possible threat and will remain so focused until you are satisfied no threat exists.
These people are not currently a threat, or you would move swiftly and smoothly to the next higher color. Instead, these individuals simply could be a threat, so you shift from condition yellow (relaxed but alert) to condition orange (specific alert).
You may make this harmless shift many times a day as you go about your normal routine. If someone or something looks out of place, you change from a 360 degree general awareness to a more focused concentration in a specific direction. At the same time, you can’t drop your general awareness, because a bad guy in front of you may be a distraction for another behind.
If you are attacked in condition orange, you should be expecting the attack. Further, you will hopefully be facing your attacker since you have already shifted your focus in his direction. If you are well trained, your subconscious mind will have been searching your hard drive for similar events or training sessions you have already experienced, or any pre-visualized “what if” situations you’ve cataloged as possible solutions should an attack take place.
If the focus of your attention in condition orange does something you find threatening, you will shift to condition red.
Notice here that condition Red IS NOT the firing stroke, as some instructors have misconstrued from Cooper’s teachings. Instead, condition red simply changes the focus of your attention from a potential threat to a potential target. You will draw your weapon, or move still further to sight acquisition, only if the potential target’s actions dictate such a response. Once you’ve shifted to condition red, you cannot be surprised by your primary adversary and you are fully prepared to repel boarders should he push the incident that far. But, your intense concentration on a forward threat will lessen your ability to maintain some degree of 360-degree awareness for unknown threats that may come from other directions. Effective training under high-stress conditions will help you avoid the tunnel vision that some describe as “akin to looking through a toilet paper tube.”
If possible, in both conditions orange and red, move to a position that will give you a tactical advantage. Ideally, you want a wall or previously cleared area behind you and some sort of solid cover you can move behind should shooting break out. Having someone with you who thinks the same is always an advantage. But even with “backup”, too often everyone’s attention is focused on the primary target and 360 degree awareness is ignored.
If you are attacked in red, you should be fully prepared to defend yourself. Whether or not you have a gun in hand or on target will depend on the circumstances, but mentally, you are already ahead of the game.
Some trainers try to improve on Cooper’s color code by adding more stages, like “black” for dealing with the aftermath of a shooting. One trainer uses “black” to describe someone totally immobilized with panic — a condition the color code is designed to prevent. I say, keep the system simple. Four colors seems to me to be about right, allowing enough variety for all problems without being too complicated.
Some insist you cannot go through life using this system without becoming a hair-trigger paranoid person who is dangerous to ones self and others. I believe well-adjusted people can run through the color code dozens of times every day and be no worse for wear. Most experienced police officers or soldiers who learn the color code realize they have been taking these steps on their own all along.
Like most great training ideas, this four-step process merely codifies what trained people over the years have learned to do on their own. By teaching others this life-saving system for situational awareness, we can start them out with the knowledge others have gained through a lifetime of survival on the streets.
The Black Box Concept
Some people try and make excuses for the violent people in our society using excuses as a reason why we should not "resist" them. They are more concerned about why they act like they do than the fact that they are evil violent people. They have their priorities all wrong and thus have a very hard time getting in the proper mindset to survive. The "black box" concept might help to set them right.
For those of you not in the engineering business, the famous black box works like this. You have a black box, with certain characteristics. Say, you throw a switch and it produces 1.5 Volts Direct Current. What's in the box? Maybe a battery. Maybe a fusion power generator. Maybe a hamster on a treadmill running a generator. It doesn't matter. Click the switch, get 1.5 V.
So, now you have someone trying to kill you. What's inside? The Devil incarnate? The product of a broken home? Someone who forgot to take their medication? Who cares! The important point being, that unless you switch them off, they will produce your death. They are evil and produce evil results.
When it comes to personal safety, that's what is important. Not why they are so.
Mental Tricks
There are a couple of mental tricks you can use in the early phases of your training to help you prepare for Condition Red. Remember that one of the three problems mentioned will be actually "doing it", it being lethal force when required. To help with this, each morning when you get up remind yourself that "I may have to use my defensive training today." This plants in your subconscious mind, which drives 90% of your life, that there is a reason we train the way we do - we may actually need them to save lives. When you pick up on that potential threat and escalate to Condition Orange, tell yourself "I may have to seriously injure him today!" Trust me, if you have internalized that a specific person is an actual threat to your life, but that you have the means to stop him if need be, it becomes easier to mentally deal with the situation.
Always remember that awareness and avoidance are the best self-defense strategies. Awareness of your environment, attacker rituals and your instinct comprise the majority of self-defense. Your first line of self-defense against a violent situation is to avoid it. Trust your instincts and do not hesitate. If you cannot avoid the situation, then mentally prepare, have a plan and execute with full conviction and purpose.

Ultimately, the more aware you are, the more you will prevent an attack. Practice using the Color Codes daily and integrate them into your training and daily living.

There’s one last thing I want to say on a personal level. When I was in the military we constantly practiced the “What if” game. I’m no longer “government property”, but I have spent my adult life practicing security. We play games on a military base all the time. We call them exercises. Working with fuel is potentially dangerous. All our work areas are called “Controlled Areas”. Not just anyone can enter these areas so we have to practice security all the time. I’m grateful for this because it has made me more security minded. My family probably thinks I’m a little paranoid. But in the near future we could find this country in a mess and being prepared may be essential. I want all of us to have the correct mind set. Please consider these things and create your own “training program”.

I continue to encourage your own training program. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or time consuming. Maybe just researching. Or finding a book and maybe reading a chapter a week. As long as it is something.

Semper Paratus