Monday, June 30, 2014

Tactical Pens for EDC (Everyday Carry)

I’ve considered many different weapons from improvised weapons, to knives, stun guns, and pepper spray. One that I have considered is a tactical pen. I’ve carried a pen in my EDC (every day carry) for years. Usually it is a metal pen that could handle a lot more than a conventional plastic one. I carry a pen, so it might as well be something designed as more than a writing utensil.
There are many opinions in the defense world concerning tactical pens. Some say a jury would not like the word tactical in front of the pen you drove into the eye of your attacker. Some say a Bic will do the same thing. I think I would rather have something designed for a certain purpose. I won’t pay a $100 for one, but would consider $10-$30. For law enforcement and correctional officers a tactical pen or almost any other pen for that matter, is something they don’t want a prisoner to have. To be honest with you, I was skeptical. I know you can use a lot of common household items as a weapon. (see blog Improvised Weapons 5/6/2014) If you’ve watched the Jason Bourne movies you’ve seen some of those items used as a weapon including a pen. I will be the first to say I know that movies, especially action movies, are far from real. But I know a regular pen or pencil can be used as a weapon. And I like the idea of an extra strong pen being close at hand. Especially if I cannot have a knife or gun. I work on a federal installation. I cannot have a gun without the permission of the security chief or the commander of this installation. You see how well that has worked for Fort Hood? Anyway, I like options. I like a plan B, C, and D. I like redundancy. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. So I am an advocate of the tactical pen.
What is a tactical pen? Before we go any further, let’s give a definition of what qualifies as a “tactical pen”. In short, it’s a specifically engineered pen made out of solid metal that can withstand the toughest conditions. It’s not a cheap plastic pen, it’s a rugged pen that can chop a wooden board in half and easily smash through a window, or something like that. I have never chopped wood or broken a window with a tac pen, but would try it if I had nothing else. The point is, they are much more sturdy than any plastic pen out there.
A writing instrument serving as a tactical tool has become a standard with many who want a “hidden in plain sight” alternative to other weapons. Many law enforcement consider these alternatives very important. In the hands of a determined individual fighting for their life a good tactical pen may be as effective as a knife. A pen used well to a face or throat will cause the attacker to possibly release their grip on you or their own weapon. Women are also encouraged to consider a tactical pen as part of their self-defense training.
These pens are becoming a “must have item” for many because as of this writing, the TSA do not consider them a weapon. Now I say this with a warning. Depending on where you fly from or to, every airport seems to be a little different. Some airports will let you go through and others may not. The official TSA prohibited list does not list a tactical pen, or any other pen, although it does list kubatons. This is as of their update of the list dated 21 MAR 2014. So if you have an expensive tac pen, put it in your checked baggage, don’t take a chance.
Any pen or pencil could stab an attacker but a tactical pen can be used to fight back with a surprisingly sharp point, and without the fear of the thing bending or breaking in half. Tactical pens can be carried in plain sight and most people would not even notice. Let’s be honest though. If you were approached by two muggers and you flashed this pen, you may amuse your attackers. But as your attacker lunges forward and you plant your pen in their eye, neck, or ribs, I think your attacker will know it. Many think a tac pen is not a real choice. I think it’s on the same level as well used pepper spray, although spray may not be so up close and personal as a pen or stun gun. I will use one (it’s already ordered) and let you know if I feel there is really any difference in what I carry daily already.
I think there will be a difference and that a tactical pen is a good idea for everyday carry. Like I said before, I like options. As with all things, get trained by competent instructors and ensure it is legal to carry where you live. Also, be responsible and don’t do stupid things dangerous things!
Semper Paratus

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Porter's Loyalty and Happy Birthday!

Yesterday, June 27th, was the anniversary of Joseph Smith's death.  Today, June 28th, we celebrate the 202nd birthday of Orrin Porter Rockwell.  I celebrate his loyalty and his tenacity.  
Lately in the "news" we've been subjected to someone who displays the opposite of Porters good traits.  There have been those who think they know best, and have fought against the Church they profess to support.  If Porter were here, he might have not been very charitable toward this arrogant attitude.  I myself have difficulty being non- judgmental against someone who flaunts their attitude and shows a great disloyalty to the Church because of their cause.  Since these are not Porters days I won't do any shooting.
Remember Porter and the loyalty he displayed to the Prophet Joseph Smith, and to the Church and do as he did. (No, I don't mean shoot someone!)

Remember this quote also:

"Good people sleep peaceably in their bed at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf”

Semper Paratus


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Joseph's Pepperbox

This is the week of Joseph's death. (The 27th)

The pepperbox is a multi-barrel repeating firearm that has three or more revolving barrels.
The Pepperbox is one of the few revolvers that can be found in every ammunition system: Matchlock, Wheellock, Flintlock, Percussion, Pinfire, and Centerfire.
Joseph’s was a 6 shot, .32 caliber Allen and Thurber. They were not known for being very accurate or reliable, but the price was right. About $10.00.
In the Church History Museum near Temple Square, located inside a glass case, resides a pair of 19th century pistols and a walking stick. The placard reads, in part, as follows:
“Joseph’s Pepperbox Pistol and Hyrum’s Single Shot Pistol. These guns were used by both men for their defense during the attack at Carthage”
These were the guns that were smuggled into the Carthage Jail while Joseph Smith, Hyrum and their friends awaited their fate. On the morning of June 27, 1844, Cyrus Wheelock visited the jail. The morning being a little rainy, favoured his wearing an overcoat, in the side pocket of which he was enabled to carry a six-shooter, and he passed the guard unmolested. During his visit in the prison he slipped the revolver into Joseph’s pocket. Joseph examined it, and asked Wheelock if he had not better retain it for his own protection.
This was a providential circumstance, as most other persons had been very rigidly searched. Joseph then handed the single barrel pistol, which had been given him by John S. Fullmer, to his brother Hyrum, and said, “You may have use for this.” Brother Hyrum observed, “I hate to use such things, or to see them used.” “So do I,” said Joseph, “but we may have to, to defend ourselves;” upon this Hyrum took the pistol. [i]
Although it was referred to as a “six shooter,” the pepper-box pistol was not a revolver in the normal sense. It incorporated six individual barrels, it was difficult to aim and tended to be unreliable. The June 2013 Ensign features a painting Greater Love Hath No Man, by Casey Childs. [ii] The artwork features all three items in the display case. Joseph, Hyrum and Willard Richards are attempting to hold the door shut as the mob attempts to enter the room. John Taylor is holding his walking stick. In Hyrum’s left pocket is the single shot pistol brought into the jail by Fullmer, and in Joseph’s left pocket, clearly visible, is the pepper-box pistol given to him by Wheelock.
[i] The Latter-Day Saints Millennial Star, Vol. 24, No. 29, (July 19, 1862) 459.
[ii] Casey Childs, Greater Love Hath No Man, Oil on Linen, 60×48″. The artist has documented the meticulous process by which he created a historically accurate representation of the moment just before Hyrum was shot. This included researching the pistols that Joseph and Hyrum were carrying in their pockets.
Early in 1845, with tentative plans for a westward move in mind, the LDS authorities directed Orson Pratt to purchase, with tithing money "six barreled pistols for self-defense, (while journeying in western wilds)." When he returned in November from New York, Pratt brought "four hundred dollars worth of Allen's revolving six-shooting pistols (alias pepperboxes)."14

14 Brigham H. Roberts, ed., History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 vols. (Salt Lake City, 1902-32), History of the Church. 7:509.

As you can see, the pepperbox was used predominantly by LDS Church members including the prophet Joseph Smith.

Brigham Young also wanted the Saints to be armed.

When such a group did depart for the Great Basin in April 1847, each ablebodied man was to carry a rifle or musket and have one pound of powder and four pounds of lead. Of the nine travel orders issued by Brigham Young, two concerned firearms. First, "Every man is to have his gun and pistol in perfect order." Second, "Each man is to travel with his gun on his shoulder, loaded, and each driver have his gun so placed that he can lay hold of it at a moment's warning."22

22 William M. Egan, ed., Pioneering the West 1846 to 1878, Major Howard Fgan's Diary (Richmond, Utah, 1917), 24; Clayton, William Clayton's Journal, 81; Brigham H. Roberts, A Comprehensive History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 6 vols. (Salt Lake City, 1930). 3:165.

The Pepperbox will always be featured in LDS history because of the martyrdom of Joseph Smith. I imagine many Saints defended themselves with this weapon too. It will go down in LDS history as one of the weapons that t help settle the Saints.

Semper Paratus


PS I love this quote from Joseph Smith
“Peace be still, bury the hatchet and the sword, the sound of war is dreadful in my ear. [But] any man who will not fight for his wife and children is a coward and a bastard.” (An American Prophet’s Record: The Diaries and Journals of Joseph Smith, p. 298.)

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Ruger Mark 2 Review (kind of...)

I’m sure it seems strange to review a gun that has been around since 1949. But I can’t say enough about this pistol
I own Rugers. I really do love the gun maker. As far as .22 pistols go, the Mark 1, 2, and 3 .22/45, are second to none.
One of the first pistols I owned was a Mark II . I have taught my whole family, including my wife, how to shoot with this pistol. When I want to go through a bunch of ammo, I reach for my Mark II and my 10-22 rifle. Between these two, I can have hours of fun.
The first Ruger .22 was called the Standard Model. This pistol was sold in 1949 through the NRA’s magazine American Rifleman costing $37.50. This was the beginning of the biggest selling semi-auto .22 in gun history. More than 2,000,000 have been sold. It featured a 9 shot magazine and a cylinder bolt in the tube frame rather than the conventional slide of most auto-loaders. The sights were fixed on the frame and barrel, which was different for the time.
After 33 years the basic design of the Standard and Mark I remained the same. After 22 years, in 1971, the original dies for forming the two halves of the frame wore out. The new dies made it so that the cut at the bottom of the grip frame where the magazine follower button fits was on the left side, which was the opposite side as before. The difference is, the newer magazines will fit the Mark I by just switching the follower button to the right side of the mag.
Over the years the gun has come in a variety of barrel lengths most common is the 6 inch barrel. The Mark III 22/45 was built for the government and had a grip reminiscent of the governments Colt 45 1911. Other features are similar to a Colt 45 so the government could train with it. The polymer framed Ruger 22/45 Mark III series has become an integral part of the Ruger .22 success story.
I have never shot the Mark II other than to play with it. I absolutely love it. Always have. The only thing I do not like is the magazine release. It is clumsy and difficult to change quickly. I picked up a Mark I for next to nothing and it shoots the same. Like I said, I’ve taught many children and adults how to shoot with this gun. My son has such a fondness for the Mark II that he found one and snatched it up. My Father-in-law has one. They are all over the Burningbush family. If I could find enough, I’d give each of my kids one. In preparing this article I talked with a friend of mine who has competed with his Mark II Target for several years. He says he hasn’t found a more accurate .22. Ruger
Ruger stopped making the Mark II in 2005. Probably no .22 autoloading pistol in history has combined such high degree of longevity, popularity, reliability versatility, and accuracy as the Ruger .22.
I know this is not much of a review. I guess I feel like I just want to sing this gun’s praises.
Semper Paratus

The10 Commandments of Concealed Carry By Massad Ayoob

I think these points are worthy of reprint. They have been used in many blogs and articles since they were published in 2012. Thanks to Massad Ayoob and Tactical Life for this valuable info.
I especially like the concluding “Use Common Sense” words that should be in every article and discussion about concealed carry.

10 Commandments of Concealed Carry
By Massad Ayoob Copyright © 2012 Tactical Life July 10, 2012
Carrying a lethal weapon in public confers a grave power that carries with it great responsibilities. Those who lawfully engage in the practice realize that. Those who are considering “carrying” need to know what those experienced people know.
1. If You Carry, Always Carry
The criminal is the actor, and the armed citizen is the reactor. The typical violent criminal arms himself only when he intends to do something with it. He picks the time and place of the assault, and initiates the attack. Therefore, he doesn’t need to worry about self-defense.
The armed citizen, the intended victim, does not know when or where that attack will come. Therefore, he or she must be constantly prepared and constantly vigilant. The “pistol-packer” learns to pick a comfortable holster and an appropriately sized handgun, and “dress around the firearm.” After a few days, or a few weeks, it becomes second nature to wear it.
When the defender does not know when the attack will come, the only reasonable expectation of safety lies in being always armed.
2. Don’t Carry If You Aren’t Prepared To Use It
There is a great irony that attaches to the defensive firearm. When you analyze a great many defensive gun usages (DGUs) you discover that the great majority of the time, the protection weapon does its job with no blood being shed. Usually, the offender who is confronted with the prospect of being shot in self-defense either breaks off and runs or surrenders at gunpoint.
Its most important asset turns out to be its power to deter. The irony comes from the fact that its power to deter is drawn directly from its power to kill.
Understand that criminals do not fear guns. They are, after all, an armed subculture themselves. What they fear is the resolutely armed man or woman who points that gun at them. Criminals are predators, and their stock in trade is their ability to read people and recognize victims. They are very, very good at reading “body language” and determining another’s intent to fight, or lack thereof. In short, you’re not likely to bluff them.
If you carry a gun, you must be absolutely certain that you can use deadly force. The person who is hesitant or unwilling to do so will, in the moment of truth, communicate that vacillation to the hardened criminal they are attempting to hold at gunpoint. In such a case, it is quite likely that the offender will jump them, disarm them, and use the hesitant defenders’ own weapons against them.
If, however, that same criminal realizes that he is facing a resolute person who will, in fact, shoot him if he takes one more transgressive step, he is most unlikely to take that step.
The irony: The person who is prepared to kill if he or she must, is the person who is least likely to have to do so.
3. Don’t Let The Gun Make You Reckless
Circa 1970, armed citizen Richard Davis invented the Second Chance vest, concealable body armor that for the first time could be worn constantly on duty, under the uniform, by any police officer. Some alarmists speculated that “being made bulletproof” would cause cops to become reckless. Those fears turned out to be totally unfounded. As any officer who has worn armor can attest, the vest is a constant reminder of danger and, if anything, makes its wearer more cautious.
It is much the same with concealed firearms in the hands of responsible private citizens. People unfamiliar with the practice fear that “the trigger will pull the finger,” and armed citizens will go looking for a chance to exercise their deadly power. This, too, is a largely unfounded belief.
The collective experience of ordinary, law-abiding people who carry guns is that they don’t feel a sudden urge to go into Central Park at three o’clock in the morning and troll for muggers. They learn that being armed, they are held to what the law calls “a higher standard of care” and are expected to avoid situations like traffic arguments that could escalate and, with a deadly weapon present, turn into killing situations.
Like an officer’s body armor, the armed citizen’s gun is a reminder of danger, a symbol of the need for caution. The late, great big game hunter and gun writer Finn Aagard once wrote, “Yet my pistol is more than just security. Like an Orthodox Jewish yarmulke or a Christian cross, it is a symbol of who I am, what I believe, and the moral standards by which I live.”
4. Get The License!
You’ll hear some absolutists say, “No government has the right to permit me to carry a gun! I don’t need no stinking permit! The Second Amendment is my license to carry!”
That is the sound of someone asking to go to jail. Like it or not, the laws of the land require, in 46 of the 50 states, a license to carry. In two states, there is no legal provision for the ordinary citizen to carry at all. Realize that things are not as we wish they were; things are as they are. If things were as we wish they would be, we wouldn’t need to carry guns at all.
If you are diligent about studying carry license reciprocity, and about seeking non-resident carry permits in states that don’t have reciprocity, you can become legal to carry in some forty or more states. It can get expensive, and it can get tiresome. However, allowing yourself to be made into a felon and being ramrodded through the courts is much more expensive and far more tiresome.
Bottom line: if you carry, make sure you carry legally.
5. Know What You’re Doing
You wouldn’t drive an automobile without knowing the rules of the road. Do not keep or carry lethal weapons for defense without knowing the rules of engagement. It is a myth to believe that you can shoot anyone in your home. When Florida rescinded the requirement to retreat before using deadly force if attacked in public, the anti-gun Brady Center introduced a publicity campaign claiming that the new law allowed Floridians to shoot anyone who frightened them. This, of course, was blatantly untrue, but a great many people believed it to be so because “they heard it on TV” or “they saw it in the paper.” Such dangerous misconceptions can cause the tragic death of people who don’t deserve to be shot, and can get good people sent to prison.
It is the practitioner’s responsibility to “learn the rules of the road” when they take the path toward armed self-defense. There are many firearms training schools, and at least one, the author’s Lethal Force Institute, specializes in teaching the rules of engagement. Information is available under the LFI section at It is wise to take local classes that emphasize the rules of “deadly force decision-making.”
Similarly, a person who opens fire with a gun they don’t know how to shoot is a danger to all. If you need the firearm for its intended purpose, you will be under extreme stress. Learn to shoot under pressure. Quick draw from concealment, safe holstering, proper tactics, and much more are on the curriculum if you are serious about defending yourself and your loved ones to the best of your ability.
7. Concealed Means Concealed
A very few people carrying guns for the first time feel an irresistible urge to let others see that “they’ve got the power.” First-time carriers and rookie cops, usually young in both cases, may fall into this trap. It is a practice to avoid for several reasons.
In most of this society, the only people the general public sees carrying guns in public are uniformed “protector figures,” such as police officers and security guards. When they see someone not identifiable as such, who is carrying a lethal weapon, they tend to panic. This makes no friends among the voting public for the gun owners’ rights movement—you do not make people into friends and sympathizers, by frightening them—and can lead to a panicky observer getting the wrong idea and reporting you to the police as a “man with a gun.” This can lead to all sorts of unpleasant confrontations.
Moreover, a harasser who has picked you as his victim and knows you carry a gun can create a situation where there are no other witnesses present, and then make the false claim that you threatened him with the weapon. This is a very serious felony called Aggravated Assault. It is his word against yours. The fact that you are indeed carrying the gun he describes you pointing at him can make his lie more believable than your truth, to the ears of judge and jury.
MCRGO, Michigan Coalition of Responsible Gun Owners, is directly responsible for getting reform concealed carry legislation enacted in their state, and has been in the forefront of fighting for the rights of armed citizens in that state. MCRGO’s Steve Dulan, in the organization’s Weekly E’News of 6/23/08, had some cogent points to make on the topic of private citizens carrying handguns visibly in public:
“Open carry of firearms, subject to MCL 750.234d, it is legal to carry a visible pistol in public. MCRGO has not adopted an official position on this subject,” wrote Dulan, who continued, “I agree with Ted Nugent and many others that it is a bad idea in almost every situation. Tactically, you are giving up the element of surprise should you face a deadly force situation. Furthermore, you run the risk of being called in to 9-1-1 as a ‘man with a gun.’ I have been on police ride-alongs when this call comes over the radio. It creates a very dangerous situation for all concerned. I do not carry openly. I have a CPL (Concealed Pistol License) and take care to choose a gun and holster that, along with appropriate clothing, allow me to keep my gun concealed unless/until I need it to save a life.”
As cogent and valid as Steve Dulan’s arguments are, it still makes sense to have legal open carry available as an emergency option. If the wind accidentally blows your coat open and reveals the gun, an open carry provision assures you have committed no crime. If someone who has not yet felt the need to get a concealed carry license suddenly begins getting death threats, open carry provides an emergency avenue of self-protection until the paperwork can be processed to acquire the license to carry the weapon discreetly out of sight.
8. Maximize Your Firearms Familiarity
The more you work with the firearm, the more reflexively skilled you will become in its emergency use and its safe handling. If your home defense shotgun is a Remington 870, then when you go claybird shooting or hunting, use an 870 pump gun with a barrel and choke appropriate for each task. If you are a target shooter who uses the 1911 pistol platform at bull’s-eye matches and have become deeply familiar with it, it makes sense to acquire a concealable 1911 to use as your carry gun, so that the ingrained skill will directly transfer. If a double-action .44 Magnum is your hunting revolver, and another double-action revolver is your home defense gun, it makes sense to choose a carry-size revolver as your concealment handgun when you’re out and about.
Consider training classes or competition shoots where your chosen defensive firearm is appropriate to the course of fire. This skill-building will translate to self-defense ability if your carry gun ever has to be used to protect innocent life and limb. If training ammunition is too expensive, consider a .22 conversion unit for your semiautomatic pistol or a .22 caliber revolver the same size as your defensive .38 or .357. The more trigger time you have with a similar gun, the more confidence and competence you’ll have with the gun you carry, if you can’t afford to practice as much as you’d like with the carry gun itself.
9. Understand The Fine Points
Every state has different laws insofar as where you can and can’t carry a gun. It’s your responsibility to know all the details. In one state, it may be against the law to carry a weapon in a posted “no-gun zone.” In another, that sign may have no weight of law at all behind it. In a third, you may be asked to leave if your gun is spotted, and if you do not depart, you will be subject to arrest for Trespass After Warning.
In the state of New Hampshire, it is perfectly legal to carry your gun into a bar while you sit down and have a drink. If you do the same in Florida, it’s an arrestable offense, though you’re allowed to have a cocktail in a restaurant with a liquor license, so long as you’re seated in a part of the establishment that earns less than 50% of its income from selling alcoholic beverages by the drink. In North Carolina, you can’t even walk into a restaurant that has a liquor license, with a gun on. And, perhaps strangest of all, in the state of Virginia at this writing, it is illegal to enter a tavern with a concealed handgun, but perfectly legal to belly up to the bar and sip a whiskey while carrying a loaded handgun “open carry” fashion in an exposed holster!
A superb current compendium of gun laws in the 50 states can be found at Review it frequently for possible changes.
10. Carry An Adequate Firearm
If you carry a single-shot, .22 Short caliber derringer, you will be considered armed with a deadly weapon in the eyes of the law. You will not, however, be adequately prepared to stop a predictable attack by multiple armed assailants. Most experts recommend a five-shot revolver as the absolute minimum in firepower, and the .380/9mm/.38SPL range as the minimum potency level in terms of handgun caliber.
It is a good idea to carry spare ammunition. Many people in their first gunfight have quickly found themselves soon clicking an empty gun. A firearm without spare ammunition is a temporary gun. Moreover, many malfunctions in semiautomatic pistols require a fresh (spare) magazine to rectify. Some fear that carrying spare ammo will make them look paranoid. They need to realize that those who don’t like guns and dislike the people who carry them, will consider carrying the gun without spare ammunition to still be paranoid. It’s an easy argument to win in court. Cops carry spare ammunition. So should you.
Carrying a second gun has saved the lives of many good people. When the primary weapon is hit by a criminal’s bullet and rendered unshootable…when it is knocked from the defender’s hand, or snatched away by a criminal…when the first gun runs out of ammo and there is no time to reload…the list of reasons is endless. It suffices to remember the words of street-savvy Phil Engeldrum: “If you need to carry a gun, you probably need to carry two of them.”
At the very least, once you’ve found a carry gun that works for your needs, it’s a good idea to acquire another that’s identical or at least very similar. If you have to use the first gun for self-defense, it will go into evidence for some time, and you want something you can immediately put on to protect yourself from vengeful cronies of the criminal you were forced to shoot. If the primary gun has to go in for repair, you don’t want to be helpless or carrying something less satisfactory while you’re waiting to get it back.
Use Common Sense
The gun carries with it the power of life and death. That power belongs only in the hands of responsible people who care about consequences, who are respectful of life and limb and human safety. Carrying a gun is a practice that is becoming increasingly common among ordinary American citizens. Common sense must always accompany it.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Defense in the Home: Home Invasion

In defending your home remember your ABC’s. Avoid, Arm, Barricade, Contact, Cover. AABCC
Situational awareness and being in Yellow all the time, even in a familiar place like home, are really your first defense. You know your neighbors. You know what vehicles are supposed to be in the area. You know your dog’s bark. If you don’t know these things you should. (See blog Yellow to Orange, 3/8/2014)
The first thing in defending yourself, your family, your home, is avoiding the problem. Do a survey of your home. Look at the vulnerable points. Fortify your windows and doors, the way that a threat will get into your home. Ensure locks are in place and work. You know your home. An intruder will not. Ensure alarm systems are armed and working. Some people live in a small town where crime may be low. Don’t let this give you a false sense of security. Keep doors locked as much as possible.
Avoiding the threat means getting out. Escape if you can escape. If you are single or home alone this is generally not a problem. But if there are others with you, children or elderly, you must defend them. If you can all get out safely, do so.
Avoiding and arming should probably be together. For the sake of training we’ve put each act into an order. Like anything else, your situation dictates which step is in what order. I would be armed if I left because you never know what’s out there to meet you. If you cannot get out, you must arm yourself. Arm everyone who able and is trained. Where and how you keep these weapons is very important. Each of us has different situations in where and how we live. I can’t tell you how or where the best and safest place to store your weapons is. You must find this out for yourself. I would recommend a quick access vault even if you never have children in your home. It will secure your weapon from prying eyes and theft. This should be located in an area where you spend most of your time. You may consider more than one if you are so inclined. Beside your weapon there should be a spare magazine/speed loader or two, and a quality flashlight. Even a charged old cell phone would be handy.
Choosing a location to barricade should be 90 degrees from the approach of the attack to give you the advantage. You will be able to see the attacker before they can see you. This location should be approximately 12 to 15 feet at the least, to the furthest you would be able to engage with your weapon. You will be limited to available space also, but you control where this will be. The only change to this training would be if you have actual cover in the room you choose. Remember, a bullet will go through large kitchen appliances and drywall walls. Even a desk is probably not cover. (see blog What Cover Is and Is Not, 6/6/2014)
For those of you with military training who equate the word “contact” with engaging the enemy. That is not the meaning of the word here. Contact here, is communication. This is where that old cell phone will be used. Call the police. It’s what they are there and what we pay for. Regardless of your feelings toward the police, my advice would be to call them and let them work. But as I’ve said before, when seconds count, the police are minutes away. Take your security into your own hands but let law enforcement supplement your own plans for security. When you call law enforcement have information ready. Where, what is happening, you are armed, your description, threat description and whether they are armed.
Where: Make sure your address is obvious especially if calling from a cell phone. If it is not, be clear in your directions and description of where you are. Any information that will have law enforcement get to you faster is important.
What: What is happening. Where you are located in the house? The fact that you or anyone else is armed. Where is the threat is located? Has there been any weapons fire? Should they be concerned about your dog?
Descriptions: What you and anyone with you are wearing. Where others are located if not with you. What the threat is wearing.
This is a step you have to weigh. There are many different possibilities for this step depending on the situation. Talking to the threat is not always the best. This will give away your position and may not do anything. If you do feel you have to warn the threat that you are armed, wait until they are in the room you are in. The best thing that could happen is that law enforcement arrives and takes care of the threat without anyone firing a shot.
As in any situation, consider your barricade positions ahead of time. Maybe you want your weapon vault located where you are considering a barricade. Maybe you would like to consider a safe room. Whatever you decide, make sure this is part of your home security plans. Write these plans down and after they have been established, practice with those in your household. Just like a fire drill, practice is important.
Semper Paratus

Friday, June 20, 2014

When Is a Safety, Not?

Many years ago in the days of yor I was instructing about 15 young men on what they called in the military, “qual training”. Most of these guys were experienced in shooting the Colt M16A2 battle rifle. As you may or may not know this is the beginning of the “AR” platform weapons. The A2 was significantly better than the A1, which was the Viet Nam era weapon, prone to jamming and other life threatening problems. Anyway, as we methodically go through the “numbers” and method of shooting this weapon to qualify (we did it every 6 months) we completed the 2 level of shooting with the last steps being “Release the magazine, physically check the receiver, and move the selector to safe, and step back from the firing line”. One of the guys asked me about the safety and we started a conversation about it. I said I didn’t have a clue what the reason was for a safety, especially on a battle rifle. I also said that if you depended on a safety for your safety that you would be dead wrong. I could prove it to them. I proceeded to walk down the firing line and check each weapons for being on safe. I locked and loaded each one and then pressed each trigger on every rifle pointed downrange. Two of them gave the familiar M16 report. I pulled those two rifles and replaced them for the next level. A safety really has the wrong nomenclature. They should be called “mechanical devices prone to fail.” More than once I told a firing line to place their selectors on MDPF or safe. It’s not a very safe safety.
There was and is a misconception that once a safety is on, all is well. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT trust a safety! The four safety rules (All guns are always loaded, Never point gun at anything you don’t want to destroy, Keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to shoot, Know your target and beyond.) and your finger, are safety enough. Contrary to movies and TV modern guns do not go off when you drop them. You have to pull the trigger. If you are carrying a gun concealed I would recommend no safety. Unless you practice, practice, practice taking off the safety as you present the weapon, there’s a good chance you will try to press the trigger and forget the safety is on. Taking off a safety is a fine motor skill. You loose fine motor skills under great stress. This could cost you your life. The same goes for carrying with no round in the chamber. In the fog of crisis, you may forget to rack the slide. When presented with a very stressful situation you will get tunnel vision and forget all but the most rudimentary motor skills.
I have had people get upset with me because I told them they were violating rule 2, pointing unsafely, onlt to have them tell me the safety is on. This is more common than you think. I would rather rely on a human being properly trained following the 4 rules of safe gun handling than a safety that is supposed to be on or off.
Very few modern semi-auto weapons can not be carried safely without a safety. The only gun that I can think of that would need a safety is a semi-auto single action. The hammer is back and the trigger is light. This is the only weapon I feel needs a safety. The double action only, where the hammer is not exposed to cock, is a very safe weapon. Revolvers and semi-autos come like this, where each shot is a consistent, longer, heavier pull without having to go from single to double action.
It takes about .3 to .5 of a second to react to any stimulus. It takes a man about 1.5 seconds to move 21 feet. It takes someone who has practiced about 1.5 seconds to draw a weapon. These numbers don’t add up unless you see and react to a threat about 22 to 25 feet away. Throw in a safety and/or a slide rack and you’d better see the threat about 30 to 35 feet away. If you wanted to surprise someone would you broadcast your intentions with body language and demeanor 30 feet away from your target? I don’t even engage a non moving paper target that far away! I think if you need to rack or take off a safety, you’d be looking at 3 to 4 seconds. Maybe less if doing those motions were practiced with your draw stroke. I would hope you would not need your weapon to go bang faster than 2 seconds. If you did need that, the time may not be there. I watched a video of 2 people practicing this attack/defend scenario. The aggressor had a training knife, and the defender had a practice weapon that had a workable trigger. Even though the attacker knew they were going to be attacked, they need a full 2.5 to 3 seconds to react. The defender got off a shot 2 out of 5 times. These are not good odds. Remember, you want to stop the threat. You may be attacked successfully even if you get off 2 shots!
When you consider a protection weapon, it must be reliable. If there is any question, find a different weapon. In picking a carry gun, I have shot with it prior to purchasing it. I make sure to train with it and with cheap ammo, and the ammo I carry. If I go to these lengths to make sure the weapon does what I need it to, when I need it to do it, why would I want something on the gun that would stop it from firing? Especially when I can have a safe, quality weapon without such a device. I’ve heard the argument for a gun with a safety be “I’ve trained to work the safety.” I hope they never have to test that statement, because only in a defensive event will they know if that training worked. Why not practice the rules to safe gun handling and never wonder if training with a safety is a good choice? If you follow the safety rules always, you would have no need for a mechanical device, you would have your finger!
I have personally seen safeties fail. I have also seen others forget the safety is on, myself included. I don’t think a safety IS safe!
Whatever you decide, make sure you include working a safety or not working a safety in your training.

Semper Paratus

Monday, June 16, 2014

Myth of Gun Surveys and Studies

I think I’ve been around the gun world a while. I can remember a time before the internet when gun magazines were where we gun nuts got our information. Things have improved significantly. I like it better now with the internet, tablets, and phones. Gun statistics and reports however, are not any better. I think they are worse. I’ve read probably 100’s of articles on the anti-gun and pro-gun side. As you probably guessed, I am pro-gun. But I no longer believe what I hear about guns, crime, and self defense. I am convinced that more gun laws will not affect crime. Criminals don’t care about laws and will always get whatever they want be it drugs, guns, or whatever it may be. Mass shootings will not stop even if half the guns were voluntarily given up. That is my belief. But the ant-gun culture actually believes the baloney they print. And the NRA actually wants me to believe that their study is really the one I should trust. I do not believe in polls and studies. They are too biased and too tailored to what the author wants to put across. I don’t know why the NY Times thinks that any conservative would believe any reporting that they do. And equally, I’m not sure Glenn Beck is getting through to the liberals or progressives or whatever they call themselves this year. One thing I do believe is that I have saved my own butt because of a weapon. No one has died from my weapon and no accidents have happened with my weapon. I also believe that gun owners are increasing. I know these things for a fact because I’ve seen them with my own eyes. It’s a pretty sad state of affairs when I believe the government (shudder) reports on crime over that of the NRA and the anti-gun culture. But I tend to think that the FBI report on crime would be over done to make them look like they are doing their job. But their report still makes sense to me.
Like mainstream media a study or survey is slanted toward whatever the author wants. There are few searching for the truth, and even less who are willing to accept it. I have my own views on guns and gun control, if I were to do a survey I would probably slant it toward my beliefs. I wouldn’t lie or deceive, but I may not include data that wouldn’t prove my point. I think that this happens a lot. This is why I don’t trust these studies. I am a gun owner. But if I got a call from someone taking a survey I’m afraid I would give them a bald faced lie and tell them I didn’t own any guns. I certainly would not give them information about my last gun purchase. Not only that, how many people under 40 do you know who still have a land line phone? So when they spout off about a phone survey, I turn off. That survey is not an honest representation of Americans. Phone surveys were always a little skewed because of the wording of the questions, but now I would throw that data out the window. It is completely inaccurate.
I wish a group would show some integrity and give us actual statistics that show what is happening. Instead of picking a study that fits your views, please give us real information. I tend to lean toward the NRA on this. But I have seen them use studies that I thought were questionable too. The liberal side I think does this a lot. But like I said, both are guilty. What I have to do is check my own sources that I feel I can trust. That takes a lot of time and work on my part. If I happen to be lazy, I will just not believe any of it and move on.
This is what I would suggest. Find sources you feel good about. Watch them for a while. I would give them 3 to 6 months. Stay up on their reporting and check on their sources. If you find them sound, add them to your list of trusted sources. This is what I’ve done for years. Occasionally I test my sources and check up on them. Usually, they will measure up. (See blog Pick A Source, any source: The Myth of Mainstream Media 3/20/2014)
There is a source out there that I can appreciate when it comes to guns. It’s called Gun Facts. You can download a free PDF copy here:
I’ve checked almost every source in earlier versions of this and have not found a bias or error. It’s written by Guy Smith. I think you can trust him. But check it out yourself.
Code name Insight is a website that is a list of websites in categories. These two categories have to do with guns.
Military and Tactical- This area has many government and military organization sites.
Firearms – This will take you to many pro-gun sites

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

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Fathers Call to Action! Secure your Family

Happy Father’s Day! I hope all you Father’s out there know your importance in your family and your responsibility. It’s wonderful being a Father!
Once more I’d like to talk with you about one responsibility. That is, to defend your Family.

In First Timothy in the New Testament it gives us a little insight.
1 Timothy 5:8
“But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”

From modern Prophets we read in The Family: A Proclamation to the World:

“By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families.”

Joseph Smith said:
“There is one principle which is eternal; it is the duty of all men to protect their lives and the lives of the household, whenever necessity requires, and no power has the right to forbid it, should the last extreme arrive, but I anticipate no such extreme, but caution is the parent of safety.”

Doctrine and Covenants 134:11 puts it this way:
“...we believe that all men are justified in defending themselves, their friends, and property, and the government, from the unlawful assaults and encroachments of all persons in times of exigency, where immediate appeal cannot be made to the laws, and relief afforded.”

Clearly, Fathers are supposed to care for and be prepared to protect our families. How do we do this? First, pray for guidance and counsel with your spouse.

Second, a plan. Do you have a security plan for your home and family? As presiding authority you should lead the way in having a plan. Some families have code words so that the wrong person won’t take their children. Some families ensure their house is secured, mail and newspapers are gathered, and timers on lights are in place when they leave on vacation. All of these, and more, are a family security plan.

Third, training. Do your kids know how to call 911? Does your family know what to do in case of fire? Has your family had basic first aid training? All of this and more is available and should be taught, and practiced. Occasionally, for Family Home Evening, review this training and your family plans.

Let me share with you what we have done for many years. We have a family security plan. We have code words and even a code for events that may happen at my work. I work on a federal installation and we often play games (exercise they call it). Well I don’t have the time and the freedom to share what is happening with my wife. So we have devised a code so I can tell her in a brief text, what is going on. If there is a real world event going on, I fear the government will not tell the public until they have to. I want that time for my family to prepare, so we’ve devised a code.
Obviously, I believe in personal security. I think every Mother and Father should be trained and should carry a gun. I know many do not agree with that. Self defense can take many forms. For our last Family Home Evening, we had a small training class on pepper spray, and how to use it effectively. This is a less than lethal weapon that I feel my children can use. I usually give them a pepper spray key ring when they start to drive, along with our training, and caution about this weapon. Most of our kids have started to drive after they have turned 17. Each child is different, and we know that this practice may not be for every of our teenagers.
All of my family knows how to safely handle and shoot a gun. The other day my teenaged son had a little squirt gun he was running around the house with. You know the kind, yellow clear plastic? As we walked by each other in the hallway, I noticed his finger on the squirt guns trigger. I reminded him about trigger discipline. We laughed, but he took his finger off the trigger and put it where it belongs! I take my kids shooting often enough that they understand the seriousness of a real gun. (See blog Kids and Guns: A Good Combination? 4/1/2014)
We have a checklist when we leave our house unattended for an extended period of time. We obviously lock everything up, but there should be more on your checklist. (See blog Home Security While You Are Away 5/29/2014).
There is much to do to keep your family safe and secure. Start now. Talk with your spouse and write down a plan (A goal not written is only a wish!). Review that plan often, because it will probably change, and with your kids.
I am a weapons guy. One of my rules is “Never leave home without a knife, or a gun.” Knives, guns, defensive batons, stun guns, pepper spray, and hand to hand combat tactics are what I use to protect my family. We also “fortify” our home with locks, hidden weapons, plans, and codes.
Don’t let your family be unprotected. Remember, when seconds count, the police are minutes away.
Happy Father’s Day Fathers!
Semper Paratus


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Tactical Knives For Everyday Use

There are words in the preparedness/survival community that are thrown around a lot. The word “tactical” is one of them. Merriam-Webster says this about tactical:
1a (1) : of or occurring at the battlefront (2) : using or being weapons or forces employed at the battlefront
To me, tactical is a combat term. When I hear “tactical knife”, I think, combat knife.
Now any knife can be a tactical knife by that definition. But a tactical knife is one that has been specially designed for combat. This is the definition I will use here, a knife for self defense. I can use a butter knife for self defense, but there are other knives that are tactical by design. Not only that, a tactical knife can have practical use as a survival or utility knife too. I won’t talk about brands, but styles and designs. I will not be able to cover everything here but will cover knives that are typically used in a tactical setting.
Throwing Knives - This type of knife is designed to be thrown. There are numerous throwing techniques and styles and all require skill and practice. My boys like these knives. It might be a stretch to call these knives tactical.
Diving Knives - This type of knife has more of a practical than tactical use and is primarily considered a tool for use by divers when working underwater. They do offer a practical choice where corrosion or exposure to wet conditions may be a concern.
Boot Knives - This type of knife is usually designed to be carried inside of a boot and its main purpose is to conceal. They may be attached by means of a clip or a strap.
Neck Knives - This type of knife is designed to be carried on a cord or necklace around your neck and can offer you an alternative to carrying a more traditional folding style knife in your pocket. It also offers concealment as well.
Rescue Knives - This type of knife is generally designed with the ability to enhance rescue operations and normally include functions for cutting seatbelts, breaking glass or cutting wire. Some of them are designed for one handed operation.
Belt Knives - This type of knife is usually designed to be carried in a horizontal or a vertical position, depending upon the level of concealment that is desired.
Pack Knives - This type of knife is usually designed to be attached to a pack or load bearing equipment (LBE) for easy access. These are generally fixed blade knives which may be too large or cumbersome for pocket or belt carry. They are usually sheath knives where the sheaths include attachment loops or lashing holes to tie down in a variety of ways.
Folding Knives- This is probably the most used style of knife. These knives have a blade length of small, under 2.75 inches, medium 2.75 to 4 inches, and large over 4 inches. They are also most associated with self defense. Those who carry a knife every day usually carry something in the medium range.
Tactical knives can come in many different materials and steels. Buy a knife that will meet your needs. There are many different knife points and designs. They are available in numerous blade configurations that may include a spear point, a drop point blade or a combination blade that includes a partially serrated edge. The blades may also come in a mirror finish, a satin finish or have a black coating on the blade. They can also be found in different types and grades of steel and in varying degrees of thickness depending upon your planned use. The type of steel in your tactical knife will also determine its ability to maintain an edge, be easily sharpened and be corrosion resistant. Blade lengths will vary greatly depending upon whether or not your tactical knife is a folder or a fixed blade. The handles may be made of high quality aircraft aluminum or other lightweight but rugged materials such as G10 or Zytel. They can be more traditional materials such as stacked leather or a rubberized handle material. The handles may also include a pommel that can be used to break glass or to hammer objects and may or may not have a lanyard hole. Some also come with only the fixed tang which is then wrapped with paracord or leather to create a handle grip. Most of the handles are designed to handle extreme weather conditions and give you a firm and secure grip while keeping weight to a minimum. Tactical knives may also come with either a nylon sheath or a Kydex style "hard" sheath. The quality of the sheaths often depends upon the quality of the knife. Most dive knives come with rubberized attachment straps and polypropylene cases to make them as water-proof as possible. Sheaths may also include accessory pouches that allow you to carry additional items such as a sharpener, fire starter or multi-tool. There is a wide variety of tactical-style knives on the market. When deciding which tactical knife will be the best for you to use, it will serve you well to consider all the available options and try to get a tactical knife that will meet as many of the possible needs you may require to get the job done.
I’d like to say something about knife fighting. There are not too many people I have met who really know to how to knife fight. This is a skill that is not taught like it used to be. The little experience I had with it was in the military. This skill is taught more through martial arts schools than a school devoted just to knife fighting. If you want this skill you’ll have to seek it out. It’s probably not as prevalent as gun training. The same goes for non-lethal weapon training. These skills are not taught as often as other forms of self defense. Knife fighting is something that must be taught correctly. Ensure the school or course you take is recommended or certified. This may just be my experience but I’m very leery about how knife fighting is taught.
Knives are very handy and very cool. Because there are few restrictions on making and buying knives, there are many available. Learn all you can about types and brands. Some, to me, are way too high in price. Then there are others that are cheaply made. This is what I check.

1. The type of steel
2. Ergonomics (How it feels in my hand)
3. If it is a folder is there any play in the knife blade
4. I also like a folder with a pocket clip.
5. I consider weight and bulk
6. If it’s a folder can it be opened with one hand
7. Price. I am hard on knives in my everyday use. I prefer a good knife under $100 because of how I use and abuse them.

When choosing a tactical knife you must know your local laws and restrictions in carrying this weapon.

Semper Paratus

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Cost Effective Training

Since about 2012 there has been a “scare” or a “shortage” of ammunition. No matter what your thoughts are on the reason for this ammo problem, we are still feeling the effects of this. If nothing else, it has put the cost of ammo a lot higher than it was, and has put limits on what stores will sell. Things have improved a lot but it is still difficult, in some places, to even find .22. This has caused many of us in the gun world to rethink our training and how we do that.
Some things that have come to light are not too surprising if you have been doing this training for some time.
Trigger time doesn’t always mean at the range.
Dry firing is something every shooter, concealed carry participant, or even hunter should do. Just about everything you do at the range you can do dry firing. It takes less time and resources (ammo). Make sure your weapon can handle dry firing, not all can. Check with the manufacturer.
Dry firing will help with your trigger press, sight alignment, grip and stance, and more. The one thing that is missing is recoil and target re-acquisition. Dry firing also works better with double action rather than Glock which needs a partial cycle or a 1911 that must be re cocked. If you are using your carry gun for dry fire you must be exceptionally safe. When you fire, ensure you are firing into a safe area. In other words, if you were to have a discharge, would it go somewhere safe? Always follow the 4 basic safety rules: 1. All Guns are always loaded. 2. Never let the muzzle cover (point at) anything you are not willing to destroy. 3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target. 4. Always be sure of your target and beyond.
I have one more rule. I call it Dry Fire Rule 5. Do not dry fire with ammunition in the room. If you follow this rule as you do the other 4, you will never have any problems. You say you dry fire in your gun room, or reloading room? Pick a room where you can be safe, but a room that has no ammunition in it. When you are done dry firing, put down your weapon and take a break. Leave the area or room. Get a drink, check your Facebook page, read this blog, watch TV, do something that is not gun related. You want to finish your training. Then reload your weapon and store it or holster it. Do not dry fire one more time. That is how accidental/negligent discharges happen.
When you dry fire, come up with a plan, and then work that plan the same every time.
These are the steps I take after adhering to 4+1 rules.
1. Clear the weapon, clear it again. Clear it again, both visual and putting your finger in the chamber to feel if there is a round there. If you do this training with a partner, have them verify your cleared weapon.
2. Remember rule 4. Point the weapon in a safe direction and proceed with your training.
It was mentioned above that you can work on trigger press, grip, stance (although this is not real important unless you want to compete, in my opinion), and sight alignment. You can also practice your drawstroke, weapon retention, and flashlight techniques. Many of these things can be practiced without pulling a trigger. If you have a training gun, often a blue gun, you can practice these things.
3. After your training, leave the area. Reload your weapon later.
Regardless of the way you use dry fire, do it safely and smart.

Consider practicing live fire with a cheaper caliber. If you carry a .45 it would not be cost effective to go through 50 to 100 rounds of an expensive round for practice. I think you should mix your rounds with a cheaper brand that you know your gun will shoot. Since you will carry a premium round, you should practice some with that round. You must decide what that mix would be. Also, there is some merit in practicing with a rim fire round. There are some quality .22 weapons and ammunition out there that would give you a lot of practice for pennies instead of dollars. The more your practice .22 resembles your carry weapon the better.
There are conversion kits out there for pistols that will allow .22 to be shot from a different caliber gun. The thing about these kits is that they are not considered a weapon on their own so they are easy to purchase. This is another alternative to more cost effective training. Again, practice with what you will carry. This will rotate your carry ammo and always keep fresh ammo in your carry weapon.
There are many kinds of practice ammo out there. Walmart may carry some of this. Winchester has it’s “white box” target ammo, and the Russian made Tulammo are two examples. There also is the internet for buying in bulk. One of my favorite sites for checking a variety of ammunition sites is (see blog 1/28/14 How do I love Let me count the ways…). Buying in bulk is usually much cheaper per round than buying a box at a time. On it tells you what you will pay per round giving you an instant understanding of what you will save.
Reloading is an alternative that will not only save you money but can be very satisfying. If you want to go this route make sure you learn from someone who has been doing it for a while. Reloading incorrectly can be dangerous. Learn all you can. There are some good videos on youtube but always beware of bad or wrong information. Confirm what you learn with someone who reloads. Also, there are a lot of reloaders who sell their ammo. If you buy this ammo make sure you really trust the quality of the realoading. Talk with someone who has bought this ammo before to find out if there are any problems.
Don’t let ammunition availability or prices change the way you train. Find an alternative source of ammo so that you can continue to train. When this crunch first started I slowed down my frequency of training. I then re-evaluated my training program with more dry fire practice and a little less live fire. I didn’t slow down my training, just cut out some live fire that I did that went through ammo but really was training skills that I could do with dry fire. I also re-evaluated my storage of ammunition. I sold or traded ammo that I had from guns and calibers that I have since sold the guns. I also got rid of guns that shot calibers I was not storing and bought additional guns with those sales that shoot the calibers I want to store. I’ve stored ammunition for years and have rotated through it. I re-evaluated those stored calibers to have better control on what I could store and rotate (shoot). If you shoot a lot I think you will naturally have a store of ammunition. Be realistic in this storage and store your ammo safely. (see blog Storing Ammo 2/6/14)
With forethought and planning you can do some cost effective training to stay current and to improve your skill. Everyone should have a training plan and this plan can be manipulated to be more effective in cost, time, and how it will train you. With this plan you can find alternatives for training and for ammunition choice. Always plan with the 4 rules of gun safety +1 for dry fire strictly followed. Don’t let the ammo crunch or current times change your training plan. Remember you will always default to your training in a crisis. Training is necessary and, for me at least, is fun! There’s nothing like the smell of spent gunpowder on the range!
Semper Paratus

Monday, June 9, 2014

Concealed Carry Participant, Porter Rockwell's Guns

Orrin Porter Rockwell’s 202nd birthday is the 28th of this month. To celebrate I thought I’d focus on the guns of Ol’ Port.
Porter was ahead of his time. He understood the importance of concealed carry and did it often. He carried a sawed off 1851 Colt single action Navy .36 caliber revolver in his pocket. He even filed off the trigger guard for better conceal ability.
A story of Port goes like this:
A young gunslinger got the drop on Rockwell. “Say your prayers,” he demanded. Rockwell replied, “You wouldn’t try and shoot a man without a cap on your pistol, would you?” The instant the man glanced at his gun, he was blown from his saddle by Rockwell, who had a gun hidden in his pocket.
Port understood concealed carry.
The first generation Colt single action Navy revolvers were produced in 1851. The most popular chambering was .45 but Port seemed to like the .36 maybe because it was smaller and not as heavy. He often wore two Colts in his belt for some open carry action.
The cylinder of this revolver is engraved with a scene of the victory of the Second Texas Navy at the Battle of Campeche on May 16, 1843.
He also carried the Hawken rifle. This was a .54 caliber black powder rifle. The Hawken brothers, Jacob and Samuel, were from St. Lewis, Missouri. They started to make guns together about 1825 to service the fur trade. This gun weighed about 8 ½ pounds, had a 28 inch octagonal barrel with a hooked breech system. The Hawken was known as an extremely accurate weapon and was used by Indians and settlers alike.
These two weapons truly helped to tame the west.
Porter was known as the “Avenging Angel” because of his expertise with these weapons.
It seemed Rockwell had been one who dared to test the hunters' wisdom: a buffalo bull could not be stopped with a shot between its horns, through its skull. But Rockwell stalked around to the front of a big one and—naturally—tried him out.
October 3, 1869 During a speech by U.S. Vice President Schuyler Colfax, Porter objected to his being called a killer and reportedly yelled, “I never killed anyone who didn’t need killing.”
June 9, 1878 At Porter Rockwell’s funeral, Apostle and future Church President Joseph F. Smith spoke and said the following about Porter:
“They say he was a murderer, if he was the friend of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, and he was faithful to them, and to his covenants, and he has gone to Heaven and apostates will go to Hell… Porter Rockwell was yesterday afternoon ushered in Heaven clothed with immortality and eternal life, and crowned with all glory which belongs to departed saints. He has his little faults but Porter’s life on earth, taken all together, was one worthy of example, and reflected honor upon the church. Through all his trials he had never once forgotten his obligations to his brethren and his God.”
June 21, 1878 The Church owned Deseret News wrote of Porter after his June 9th death, “Honorable in all his dealings, true to his friends, and his word, firm in faith; feared only by cattle thieves, and mobocrats and their supporters.”
A cowboy ballad from the 1850’s says:
Old Port Rockwell looks like a man,
With a beard on his face and his hair in a braid,
But there’s none in the West but Brigham who can
Look in his eyes and not be afraid;
For Port is a devil in a human shape,
Though he calls himself “Angel,” say vengeance is sweet,
But he’s black, bitter death, and there’s no escape,
When he wails through the night his dread war cry, “Wheat! Wheat!”,
Somewhere a wife with her babes kneels to pray,
For she knows she’s a widow and orphans are they.
(The war cry “Wheat!” is in reference to a phrase Porter would say to something that was good. Basically, it was a 19th Century way of saying something was cool.)
I think this ballad was probably anti-Port or anti-Mormon or both, but the fact that the ballad exists is a testament to Porter Rockwell’s reputation with a gun.
Many, including Church members, don’t like Orrin Porter Rockwell. I think they listen to the anti-Mormon rhetoric that exists about him. My sentiments agree with the Apostle Joseph F. Smith:
“He was the friend of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, and he was faithful to them, and to his covenants, and he has gone to Heaven and apostates will go to Hell…”

Semper Paratus
Check 6

Friday, June 6, 2014

What Cover Is and Is Not: Don't Die

If you expected a list of what is cover, and what is not, you’ve come to the wrong place. It would be impossible to compile an all inclusive list like that. You need to research this to find viable data that will help you to determine what cover is.
Try this site for eye opening testing:'sBallisticTest.htm
Example of one caliber, distance, earth berm thickness combination from a book written by Sniper John Plaster:
wet soil- 28"
dry soil- 19"
wet sand- 19"
dry sand- 16"
wet clay- 35"
dry clay- 24"
.308 caliber at 100 yards
There is really not much, short of thick steel,that will stop a bullet. So be aware.
During my years in the military I learned a lot about combat shooting. The first time I competed in shooting I failed miserably. I had “too much” training in shooting from cover. When you compete, you may shoot from around things or under them, but no one is actually shooting back! The goal in competing is to shoot quickly and accurately. When I shoot, I am more concerned with number 1. I was “slicing the pie” and “rolling” in and out of cover as you would in combat. In competition those things take too much time! But those nasty steel targets would never get me! I could see that competition shooting was not for me even though I was accurate. I am too much of a defensive shooter. It would take some work to change that. I don’t think I want to change that.
This is what I learned in the military: “Cover: The bad guys can’t shoot you. Concealment: The bad guys can’t see you. One of these things is better than the other. But either is better than neither.”
You should always know where available cover and concealment is located in your area. To shoot effectively from cover we must understand what cover really is. Cover stops a bullet. The problem is, Hollywood and TV have taught us many things are cover, when they aren’t. In a movie an interior wall is cover. So is a car door. This is simply not true and can get you killed. If you have trained in certain circles you may have heard about the “X”. The “X” is simply where the target of the bad guy is. The theory is that if you move off the “X” your opponent must re-orient himself and essentially start over through the process of attacking you, giving you precious seconds to respond. (see blog The OODA loop – Combat Concept 3/20/14) As you move in combat you should be aware of where you are moving toward. That should be cover. Cement walls or buildings, the engine block of a vehicle, a tree that will completely cover your body, these are just a few things that are cover. Concealment is hiding. You opponent can’t hit you if he can’t see you, right? So bushes, any walls, cars, shadows, all these things are concealment. There is much more concealment out there than cover but you should be familiar with both enough to know the difference.
In most cases it’s best to exit the area rather than engage the shooter. If the threat is near and you can extract yourself then you should. If you, or your loved ones, are in harm’s way, then that’s when you engage. To extract yourself should not be difficult with concealment alone if the concealment is used effectively. The threat may not even know you are there. Once you recognize a threat, you should look for extraction from that area as soon as possible. If that is not possible, find cover and use it to prepare a fight.
Shooting from cover tips: (see blog Shooting from Cover 3/26/14)
Shoot, move, communicate!
Fire around cover instead of over it. When you are shooting over something you are silhouetted against it and this makes it easier for the enemy to see you.
Don’t crowd cover. Get back away from cover. This diminishes the enemy’s ability to see you without seriously limiting your field of fire. It makes it easier for you to move because you don’t have to back away from your cover before moving.
Move your body to shift fire instead of your rifle barrel.
Modify the regular shooting positions. You will probably shoot from unusual positions when shooting from cover. Be prepared for that and train applicably.
Change your elevation often when shooting from cover. Don’t let the enemy know from where your next shot will come from.
If shooting with others try to overlap your fields of fire.
Reload from behind cover and reload before breaking cover.
When on the offense be aware of the terrain you are moving toward. Have the next cover spot located before you break cover.
Remember that bullets ricochet. Whatever you use for cover will not usually take the round, but repel it. So be aware that along a wall that bullet will continue to travel. This is another reason not to plaster yourself against (crowd) your cover.

Train like you fight, fight like you train.

If you stand on a firing line and shoot at a target there is only so much you will learn. That’s a good way to learn grip, sight picture, and trigger work. Some say that’s how you practice stance. That may work in competitive shooting, but not so much in combat shooting. How often will you stand, like at a firing line, and have a firefight? How about, never! If you plan to live through a firefight, you will train shooting from cover and moving.

Semper Paratus

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Concealed Carry: Distance is Your Friend

Again I was talking to my good friend Choirboy. We were talking about how most altercations that would involve needing a weapon are usually fast and short. He sent me this YouTube video. If violence makes you squeamish then don’t watch the video.

He said that this is a video of Darrell Lunsford, a constable in Nacogdoches, Texas. He was overpowered by three men and shot to death with his own weapon. About 8 months later Trooper Andy Lopez ran into almost the same situation but because of this video, which is still used in training today, he survived. As I watched the video I realized that Constable Lunsford made some fatal mistakes. He didn’t use distance to his advantage. Years ago I had a Command Sergeant in the Army teaching a combat driving course. As we were talking about combat he kept repeating “Close and engage” in different contexts. We asked about the phrase and he said “You are either doing it, or someone else is doing it to you. I prefer that it be me closing”. The fact that he uses the word “close” tells me that distance is not your friend when you want to engage someone. If you are the one being engaged, or fired upon, distance is your friend. This is what we were discussing, distance. To keep from being a victim a certain amount of distance is required. I’ve talked about the 21 foot rule. It takes a man about 1.5 seconds to cover 21 feet which is also about the amount of time it takes to draw a weapon. So to use distance to your advantage, keep people out of that 21 foot zone around you. Constable Lunsford should have used more distance as he searched the trunk of the suspect’s car. He should have had them sit on the curb or on the other side of the car. He needed some separation as he put all his attention into searching the trunk. The suspects knew they had marijuana in the trunk and that it would be found, so all they did was wait for the right moment to grab the officer and grab his gun for the fatal shot. At least his death was not completely in vain because that incident happened in 1991 and the video is still being used for training, saving countless law enforcement lives. It’s a lesson you must learn. When someone tries to close on you, and you feel that prompting, then maintain or increase that distance. Don’t let them close so that if you have to engage, it will be at a distance that you control. To use most pepper sprays, batons, stun guns, or knives, one must close the distance gap. You being armed can use a little distance. I’m pretty effective with a handgun at 30 feet. My efficiency only improves if I can close.
This is where your situational awareness and your “spidy senses” will be your ally. Violent people will always go out of their way to give the advantage to themselves. For us sheepdogs, we are not afraid of the wolf like the sheep, but we don’t look for a fight like a wolf. (see blog (OPR) Rockwell Philosophy 4/9/14) We rely on a strong defense and not an offense. We have to be aware of what is going on and the positioning of others.
My wife and I take care of some vending machines in a mall. My wife was out of town and I had just hurt my foot and was recovering. I could walk but barely. I had just emptied the machines and had a bag of quarters. I noticed two kids who had paid more attention to what I was doing in the mall than most. One was following me out of the mall. I knew I couldn’t out run him because of my foot. He started to close and I saw his buddy in the parking lot at my 10 o’clock. I turned to face the guy behind me when I got to a car so my back was to the car and put up my hand to stop him. We had some words and he decided I wasn’t worth the trouble I was going to give them. His buddy backed off first and then he retreated. This was in the middle of the day so there was daylight and witnesses to my advantage. Had I been oblivious to the attention they gave me and had I let the guy in back of me close, things might have been different. When someone maneuvers so that they are in a closing position, move. Always watch their hands.
I have a martial arts instructor friend who likes to say “Distance overcomes skill.” This is true in contact self defense and sometimes applies to gun defense. Like my 21 foot rule, distance equals time.
Most so-called self-defense items have no defensive capabilities at all. By this I mean while they may stop an attacker from continuing with more attacks, they cannot protect you from an attack in progress. If a guy is charging you, a taser, spray or a bullet will not stop his forward momentum. He will still reach you and proceed to do damage to you (e.g. if you taser someone and he slams into you, there's a good chance you'll lose your triggering.) Now you have a guy up close and personal.
That's the fundamental weakness of any distance weapon. If the guy gets close enough to negate the advantage of range, they are less effective in preventing damage to you. From a defensive standpoint, you cannot block an incoming attack with these items. Your only hope is to create enough pain and damage to the individual that he is overcome before the damage he does to you overwhelms you.
In closing the closer an attacker is, the more you need to worry about what he may do to you. Even as a martial artist, who needs to be close to do any damage, distance will be your friend. The saying “The best defense is a good offense” only applies in sports, unless you look for a fight. Then you would be a wolf and that is not desirable. Actual defense against a closing attacker is the most overlooked aspect of self defense, especially with a gun. The closer you are to an attacker the more chance you may be trading damage with each other. Don’t be too wrapped up what you are going to do to someone else, but rather what you’re going to do to stop the threat. Both participants in the attack in the hospital or dead doesn’t sound like a win to me.
Remember to be alert and that distance is your friend.
Semper Paratus

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Concealed Carry Responsibility

My wife just received her concealed carry permit. There is much to know and understand before making the choice to carry a concealed handgun. Here are some of the basics that she and I discussed to assist you in making this important decision and to help keep you responsible and safe.
What does it mean to be a concealed carry permit holder? Well, it’s exactly how it sounds: the practice of carrying a handgun or other weapon in public, yet concealed. This can be done on a person’s body or close in proximity to them. (Bag, purse, briefcase, etc.) I don’t like off body carry but that’s just my preference. Having a gun close at hand is better than no gun at all. This practice comes with a responsibility. To carry a weapon says that you are willing to defend your life, or other’s lives, with lethal force. You are willing to take another human beings life. This is something that should be thought out (prayed about, if you feel), and considered. Also, you must abide by the laws of the state that you carry in. It’s up to you to search them and learn them.
Everything that you do with that weapon will be looked at with a microscope. If you use it or draw it, the reasons and motivation for this action will be looked at very closely. You may be arrested and put in jail. You may have to face a court battle. There may be civil charges to deal with as well as criminal. Go into this endeavor with your eyes open. You need to understand these things and consider them carefully. Noting I have said, or could say, would ever match the gravity of killing another human being. As an LDS member, and a Christian, you must come to terms with the reality of this and weigh what you can deal with. (see blog 3/4/14 Should you Carry? and 5/13/14 Mormon Self Defense). Learn the laws and follow them in great detail. Don’t be casual about this decision. Take it serious so that you will be serious about your training. If you are not serious you will be a menace with a gun.
Being Honest
Being honest about your capabilities is extremely important. You know yourself but you must be honest. You know what you could do as far as taking the responsibility for concealed carry. Will you be serious about training? Or will you fool yourself and tell yourself you can handle whatever comes your way. The truth is, you or I don’t really know how we will respond in a “kill or be killed” situation. But looking at yourself honestly, with a critical eye, may help you to prepare and train better should you have to live this horrible event.
Your commitment to safety should be as critical as your decision to take a life.
When I was in the military I took a weapons instructor course. This was taught by orange Gunsite owner Jeff Cooper, and military training instructors. We had the 4 safety rules drilled into our heads until we could quote them word perfect. A instructor would say “3!” and we would spout off the appropriate rule. (1.All guns are always loaded. 2. Never cover anything you are not willing to destroy. 3. Keep your finger off the trigger until you acquire your target. 4. Know your target and beyond.) The 3rd week of this 6 week course a student got caught with his finger in a trigger guard. He was given a warning. The second time he was washed out of the course. We were given one chance and one chance only. We could not violate the 4 safety rules. This is how serious you should be with safety. My family is tired of my constant badgering of them to follow these rules. It’s for their own good of course. I need to be less blunt about my reminders.
The 4 rules are the very basics of gun safety. Other things should be considered. Buy quality equipment and gear. Ensure your holster covers the trigger guard completely. Ensure the holster doesn’t get so pliable that as you holster the gun a corner or side of the holster gets caught in the trigger guard. This could discharge the weapon. When your gun is on you it is almost as safe as sitting in your gun vault. Do not un-holster your weapon except for storage, maintenance, or you’re about to use the gun. It’s not something you would want to show anyone unless you were in maybe your own home. Remember operations security. This is the importance of keeping what you do confidential, like carrying a weapon.
You must commit to practice. You can’t compromise on this. I know it may be an expense, and time consuming, but without it, you may as well not carry. You’ll be a danger to yourself and others. Don’t think you can just pick up a weapon and know how it works and how to shoot. It is not so. If I didn’t shoot at least weekly, I know I would lose what I’ve worked many years to maintain. I’ve shot guns consistently for close to 46 years but it would only take a month to lose a good deal of it. There are many drills that can help you with this. There is also dry firing which is free and can make a real difference once you get to the range. There are also courses you can take to improve in what you have already learned. These things mean a commitment of time and money. Courses and ammunition cost money. Being a member of a range or club may have a cost. If you have turned shooting into a recreational experience then this will be less difficult to give your time and money to. It can be a great family activity. You don’t need to be a gun nut like me, to enjoy shooting. There is also competing, which can be very enjoyable and challenging. Be careful, you may become a gun nut!
We are all different. We have different likes and dislikes. We each have different bodies and physical limitations. You will need to consider all of these things when deciding where and in what way you will carry your weapon. Each of us has different demands that will also determine our carrying style. For instance I work on a federal installation that is basically a “gun free” zone. I have to consider this every day in the way I carry, or don’t carry, a weapon. You will have your own set of circumstances that will affect your concealed carrying capabilities.
What gear you purchase will need to be right for you as an individual, and your own set of circumstances. Find what will be comfortable and legal for you. If carrying a gun is uncomfortable, you will less likely carry. Consider all these issues carefully. You may have to experiment a little. Holsters and other gear can be pricey. Don’t settle for inferior gear because of price. Plan, save, and get quality gear that will serve you well and long.
Represent gun owners and concealed carry permit holders well. There are many anti-second amendment proponents out there just waiting for you and I to accidently discharge our weapons or leave them out for a child, or whatever else you can think of, to prove that citizens should not own guns. They lie in wait to jump on the bandwagon and defend that dirt bag that you had to shoot because he was threatening your family with a gun or knife. Know that what you do as a sheep dog is an asset to your family, your neighbors, and your community. It is important to demonstrate the integrity of an American gun owner.
Be safe
Semper Paratus