Friday, August 29, 2014

Training: Shoot like SWAT (Part 2 of 2)

8. Integrate one-handed firing of a handgun. Include dominant and support hand, plus drawing, reloading and stoppage clearing. Many law enforcement shootings occur with one hand, and using a single hand is often to your tactical benefit (based on the situation.) Even if you are not injured, a traditional two-handed grip may be impractical or even dangerous if it means giving up too much cover or concealment. Primarily for safety reasons, one-handed skills training is best executed in small groups. Because officers will be presenting and handling their weapons in untraditional and perhaps unfamiliar ways, muzzle awareness is critically important.
9. Integrate close-quarter structure searching and clearing, plus indoor combat tactics. When a family comes home to find their back door kicked in, they call the police. Does the call go to the SWAT team? Of course not–it goes to the nearest officers on patrol. Either alone or with a partner, every single officer needs to know how to perform basic close-quarter techniques like tactical entry, hallway navigation and room clearing. They need to know things like which way a door swings if you can see the hinges (toward you), and they need to know things like: don’t expose body parts around corners, don’t rub you back along the wall as you move and don’t hang out in doorways. A live-fire ballistic shoothouse is the ultimate training tool for these situations. It provides a structure for all the tactical movement and navigation training, plus it escalates the stress and realism of the training by incorporating threat engagement with actual duty weapons. It’s one thing to fire a gun in a nice straight line out on the qualification range. It is another thing entirely when you are inside a building trying to be aware of 360 degree environment.

10. Emphasize dim- or no light situations as much as daylight training. Because 70% or more of law enforcement shootings occur under reduced or diminishing light conditions, significant training with your duty illumination tools is a must. Target identification and threat recognition are critical parts of this training as well. Keep in mind that flashlights are needed in the daytime just as much as at night, because you never know where you may end up. The illumination tools you carry will have a significant impact on how you handle your weapon, and ultimately on how you fight, so you must be extremely comfortable using them under a wide variety of tactical situations. Many departments have adopted the use of lasers, so your training must include the proper use of these tools as well. If you already have a shoothouse that can be darkened, you have an ideal venue for all kinds of low-light training. An indoor range also serves this purpose well. If you don’t have access to either of these facilities, use your outdoor range.
11. Integrate “moving then shooting” and “moving while shooting” techniques. If you maintain a picture-perfect stance during a gunfight, you are not doing it correctly. If you are not moving to create distance, you should be moving to cover. The ability to shoot effectively while incorporating lots of movement gives you a dramatic tactical advantage. It also increases your chances of survival and decreases the chance of hitting something you don’t want to hit. Remember, when shooting while moving you should move no faster than you can hit, see and in some cases, hear. Effective movement techniques can be taught with just about any target equipment. Running man targets and automated turning targets can make the experience more realistic and intense by allowing the trainer to control the scenario and respond to the trainee’s actions.
12. Integrate engagement techniques for moving targets, both laterally and charging. Training on moving targets has become mandatory for law enforcement agencies across the country, and rightfully so. When was the last time you were in a violent confrontation with someone who just stood still? Because running seems to be a part of most gunfights, the ability to fire safely and accurately at moving threats can be one of an officer’s greatest assets. It is important to train for both lateral threat movement and charging movement because each requires a specific skill set and response from the trainee. Some portable moving target systems are very effective and flexible because they can be configured for both types of threat movement (lateral and charging). A heavier-duty track-mounted system can be equipped with a steel target plate to enhance muscle memory through the immediate positive feedback of clanging steel.

You’ll never have a multi-million dollar ammo budget and 8 hour range days, but there are alternatives for us. First and foremost, seek out a good school and take tactical pistol, rifle, and shotgun classes. Look for classes that are designed to help you win a gunfight. Once you take the classes, then you will have the skill set that you can take home to practice. While a video is no substitute for professional instruction, if you cannot afford classes, video is an option. Second, develop a dry fire routine based upon the core skills you learned from your class or DVDs. Focus on key skills like drawing from concealment, weapon transitions, malfunction clearing, magazine changes, and positional shooting. If you can afford it, buy Airsoft replicas of your guns so you can work on shooting and moving, multiple targets, and force-on-force drills. The final, most important step is to shoot competitively. Monthly competitions will build your gun handling skills and accuracy under the stress of time and the competitive nature of the event. Tactical pistol matches are a good start, but Three-gun matches are where you get to shoot rifle, pistol, and/or shotgun in the same stage. This way you get to do live fire once a month with all three guns in stages and scenarios that someone else creates. Shooting and moving, weapon transitions, shooting from cover, shooting in and around vehicles are some of the benefits along with mastering the basic core skills. Don’t get caught up in “gaming” the match, instead focus on using the tactics you learned in your gun fighting courses. Use cover, draw from concealment, and throw some dummy rounds in some mags. It will slow your times down, but will pay off by ingraining good habits. During and after the match, identify weak skills to work on during the daily dry fire sessions until the next match. If you don’t have local matches, you can usually find the stages online, and set up your own match on your farm/range or even in your backyard for an Airsoft match. Time: 1 hour per week (10 min. per day of dry fire/Airsoft) Our local three gun match usually last about 3 hours, but since it is on a monthly basis and is so much fun, I don’t factor that as training time. Cost: $0 for dry fire. $15 dollar entry fee for our three gun match, plus your ammo costs. Our local matches usually require less than 50 rounds of pistol and rifle, and less than 25 of shotgun (birdshot). We also have a .22 division where cheapskates, like myself, shoot conversion kits to save on ammo costs.

I hope this all helps Burn.


Yes my friend I got a lot out of this and I hope you did too. We need to tailor our training to our needs and the most likely of scenarios we will face out there.

Semper Paratus
Check 6

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Training: Shoot like SWAT (Part 1 of 2)

I asked a friend of mine who was once an operator in special forces and also was an FBI agent to let me know how we can train to shoot like an operator. This is what he sent me. Know that some of this may not apply. Police are often in close quarter fights because of the nature of their work. But we as civilians can benefit from this training and knowledge.

1. Prepare for immediate, spontaneous, lethal attacks.
It is obvious that close quarter tactics and techniques are a must for survival. Personal communication with unknown individuals is a large part of law enforcement officers’ daily routine. In order to communicate effectively, officers must be close enough to the person to communicate. The difficulty arises when some of these people turn out to be bad guys. When this happens, a mastery of drawing and firing from various close quarter positions, weapon retention, physical strikes and other close-quarter combat skills are critical. To satisfy the close distance issue, a basic cardboard target holder that is sturdy enough to withstand muzzle blast, palm strikes and an occasional flying ticket book should serve you well. As far as sudden and spontaneous goes, a high-speed turning target system that suddenly presents a bad guy just as the officer glances away can add a tremendous amount of stress to the situation
2. Prepare officers for assaults by multiple threats and uninvolved subjects.Statistics tell us that there is about a 60% chance that an assault will involve more than one attacker. At the same time, we need to be aware of uninvolved, innocent bystanders as well. In many domestic abuse calls, the spouse or other family members can start out as uninvolved and quickly join sides against the officer, if a conflict ensues. Learning to break the tunnel vision phenomenon and engage multiple threats with total awareness of uninvolved subjects justifies shoot/no-shoot training, increases survivability and decreases liability issues. The most obvious approach here is lots of targets. Tall ones, short ones, some closer, some farther away, some clustered in a group and some off by themselves. Another particularly effective technique employs turning targets, although they have to be individually controlled. As your officer is engaging targets 1 and 2 as they edge and face right in front of him, try facing target 6 and see if he notices. Better yet, use a 180 degree turning target that can show you a bad guy or a good guy in the same place at any given time.
3. Integrate the sudden transition to firearms from arrest and control techniques, including searching and handcuffing. Many potentially lethal assaults occur as the officer is searching and/or attempting to handcuff the subject. This sudden shift to a deadly force situation can be exceptionally dangerous if the officer has not been conditioned with the proper response techniques. Glaring examples of insufficient training and conditioning include: a failure of the officer to create distance if the chance arises, or an attempt by the officer to draw his firearm while his handcuffs are still in his hand. The use of drag dummies, CPR dummies and turning targets are all effective here. The dummies provide realism and a platform for practicing control techniques, while the turning targets provide the sudden visual indicator that the situation has escalated.

4. Base training on the fact that most officers are killed at short distances. The statistics clearly establishes where most officer fatalities occur. However, it is important to note that this element does not say “Teach your officers how to shoot at close distances.” It says to base your training on the fact that most fatalities occur up close. It’s like the guy who tells his doctor that he broke his leg in two places and the doctor says “So, don’t go to those places!” If most fatalities occur at close distances, we should all be aware of when it is appropriate to be farther away. In addition to the close-quarter combat techniques discussed earlier, a moving target that charges straight at the officer can be extremely effective at illustrating the importance of creating distance, and demonstrating the best ways to move quickly and effectively in various situations.
5. Base training on the fact that officers will have limited fine and complex motor control. We should all be aware of the various physiological responses our bodies undergo during a combat situation. Manual dexterity is the one we are focusing on here. As blood flows away from our extremities and toward our core, we lose a degree of fine and complex motor control in our fingers and hands. Unfortunately, elements of good marksmanship like trigger control can be the first to go. Now before a panic ensues, we believe that teaching basic marksmanship skills (like proper trigger manipulation) is absolutely vital and should not be abandoned! However, make room in your training for the fact that fine and complex motor control will be decreased. The best way to demonstrate the effects of stress to your officers is to immerse them in it. Make them run, get their heart pumping and their adrenaline flowing, then send them into an interactive scenario with dye marking rounds and role-playing bad guys shooting back at them. The breakdowns in technique will be startling.
6. Integrate two-person contact and cover teams involved in realistic scenarios. Just because one of your officers knows how to safely and effectively engage multiple threats, reload efficiently and move from one piece of cover to another doesn’t mean he knows how to do those things with two or three other officers running around him, trying to do the same thing at the same time. Where is my muzzle? Where is my partner? Where is my partner’s muzzle? Proper tactical communication is absolutely critical! Have two- and three-man teams go through tactical scenarios together. Use portable cardboard and steel targets in a variety of locations and configurations. Have the teams shoot side by side so their partner’s brass is bouncing off the bill of their cap. Condition them to be profoundly muzzle conscious, and make them realize the importance of communication when it comes to moving, reloading and staying in the fight.

7. Emphasize the survival mindset and the will to win in all skills training. Quite often, what you bring to the fight will dictate the outcome of the fight. Having a winning mindset and a positive attitude will only enhance the officer’s odds of survival. While our work is dangerous, we have a high risk of being a victim off the street rather than on the street, and at times the biggest threat we face is the one in the mirror. Particularly with younger officers, movies and television have shaped much of what they perceive as the realities of a gunfight. For example, the guy that flies back 15 feet and crashes into a pile of trash cans after being hit with a single handgun round. Clint Smith said if you get into a fist fight you might get punched, if you get into a knife fight you might get cut, and if you get into a gunfight you might get shot. It doesn’t mean the fight is over, it just means you may have to finish the fight a little differently than you had originally planned. Knowing how to shoot, reload, and clear malfunctions with only one hand (both left and right) is imperative. Our officers must be confident in their ability to win the fight, even if they are injured. They must also be comfortable with these techniques in order to gain that confidence.

We will finish this next blog.

Semper Paratus
Check 6

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Escape and Evade

During the '80s, I had military training at McDill AFB, Florida. One of the classes that I took was titled "Escape and Evasion." I almost immediately fell in love with the class. Part of the exercise included us being captured and placed in a POW camp. Myself and several others managed to over power a guard and begin the "Escape and Evasion" part of the exercise.
Nobody wants to ever have to use this type of knowledge. If they do, it is related to a stressful situation of survival. In today's world, you don't have to be in the military to use escape and evasion tactics. Today individuals can come into harms way. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time, can require a person to employ these survival methods.
In today's world, there are two areas of escape and evasion. One is urban tactics and the other is in the country. In some ways both require many of the same tactics. However, some are very different.
When you find yourself in one of these situations, there are several things that you have to seriously consider for survival. First you must keep an attitude that you are in a dangerous environment. You cannot trust anyone, but your own judgment and decisions. You must maintain silence, move swiftly and be in stealth mode until you are safe. It could mean doing things that you would never consider doing in your regular life.
When you are in an urban environment, you must dress like the locals. This includes everything from clothes, shoes and head wear. Don't plan on camouflage. It will stand out. Rain gear should also be avoided. Most people use umbrellas or nothing at all. Before any daylight movement, you must scout your area. Remember the landmarks and their location. Do not travel along a street or roadway. You can use it as a landmark, but you must travel at a distance off the road way. If you have a pen and notebook, use it to make notes of these landmarks. Use a zigzag pattern when moving.
The military refers to escape and evasion as "survival."
S...Size up your situation. Don't sugar coat it.
U...Use all your senses.
R...Remember where you are.
V...Vanquish Fear and Panic
I...Improvise and Improve
V..Value Living
A..Act like the natives
L..Live by your wits
Always strive to develop more than one avenue of escape. Move from one concealed area to another. Be swift, but don't run. Use shadows. You can find them along bushes, buildings, fences, bridges and even parked automobiles.
Do not use odors like soaps, deodorants, gels, perfume or anything that can be detected by smell. Keep shiny objects like watches, chains, glasses and rings covered or hidden.
For camouflage and concealment, follow the "Bliss " rules.
L..Low silhouette
I..Irregular shape
S..Secluded location
When considering concealment, you must be concerned about overhead concealment as well. Never allow for a silhouette against a sky background. This is why you need to use shadows.
In an urban setting try to stay off the beaten path. Cameras are everywhere. Security outside businesses, inside stores and banks, in malls, near ATM's, at intersections, just about everywhere. If you find yourself needing to hide from government entities, avoid large and even small cities. If you must go into these places, try to be aware of cameras and their angles.
Never eat food without water. Keep yourself hydrated as best as you can.
Try to avoid disturbing vegetation that is over knee level. Go around fences and barricades, not over or under. Always observe a road crossing before leaving your concealment area to pass over the road. Use shadows if possible.
If you travel by some form of vehicle, do it alone if possible. Stay off of major roadways. Bikes make for easy, yet undetected movement on smaller weak roadways and trails.
Always stay positive and be prepared to make quick and radical adjustments. Do what you have to do to survive.
These tactics can make a big difference if you ever need to use them. Security is mostly what you you do and how you do it.

Semper Paratus
Check 6


Monday, August 25, 2014

Magazines: To Keep Loaded or To Not Keep Loaded

Autoload magazines are an important part of your weapon system. If you concealed carry I would recommend carrying as much ammunition in magazines as you can. But at the very least, carry a spare magazine. In the military we maintained our magazines as much as we maintained our weapons. If the magazine does not work you have no ammo. That can be a problem in a fire fight.
Care of your magazines is extremely important. (See blog Gun Care: Taking Care of Magazines, 7/15/2014) Loading them is equally important. Most magazines you can load to capacity and not have any issues. There are some guns that won’t accept magazines fully loaded. The higher tension from the mag being fully loaded sometimes won’t let the bolt strip off the next round. I have owned guns that were this way, but most do not have these issues. That is why I don’t own those weapons anymore.
There is a controversy in gun circles and a myth attached to it. That myth is that magazines cannot be stored with ammo in them or they will set (compress too much or stay compressed). There is something called “creep”. Creep is the slow flow of a non-ferric metal like copper, brass and lead under force. At temperatures outside of a furnace, steel doesn't have any appreciable creep. Under most conditions, steel flexes and then returns to its original shape. When pushed past its elastic limit, steel will bend and not return to its original shape. There is a set of the spring that is taken into account when the spring is made. This is why a magazine can be a bit tight at first. The spring will set into the tension it will stay until the spring is altered. This means the spring will not weaken when the magazine is fully loaded -- not even over an extended time. Like 50 years. American Handgunner ran a story about a magazine full of .45 ACP that had been sitting since WWII and it ran just fine on the first try. The only way to weaken a magazine spring is to flex it past its normal range (elastic limit). If this is happening, somebody is trying to overload a magazine or has "adjusted" it by bending the spring. Both of these could cause feed failures. Shame on you if you're a spring bender.
I talked to a friend of mine who was a special forces operator and this is what he had to say:
“After using small arms on a nearly daily basis for over 20 years and having first-hand knowledge of what it takes to make a reliable magazine I have come up with some things that I live by.
Baby your magazines. Treat your magazines as gently as you can within the realities of realistic training. Don’t drop them fully loaded during mag changes. This is very hard on even the best made mags and does not reflect reality. Don’t drop your mags on hard surfaces such as concrete or gravel if possible. If you must try to have something more cushioned to drop onto.
Dowload mags. Some magazines are tough to seat with the slide or bolt in battery. Mostly I’ve found this in the USGI aluminum mags for the M16. All you do is load these magazines short of one round. I’ve even found this with some Ruger Mini 14’s. Glocks are also famous for this.
Clean mags. Attempt to keep your magazines clean especially in salt water or sandy environments. I wouldn’t oil any part of the mag due to the attraction of dirt.
Buy quality mags. There are some real good mags out there. Magpul, Tapco, and others. Buy the highest quality you can if you don’t buy factory.
Replace when needed. If you only plink 3 times a year you will probably never need to replace your mags. If you shoot once a week then eventually you will have to replace magazines. Believe it or not magazines do have a service life.
Keep magazines loaded. We keep all of our magazines loaded at all times. There’s nothing quite as useless as an empty magazine. I’ve had some magazines that were compressed for at least two years. I emptied them the most fun way and then reloaded them. They worked flawlessly. I thought there would be problems but I put those mags right in with the others.
I have lived by these guidelines for an entire career as an operator.”
I agree with my friend Choirboy. Respect your magazines and they will be there when you need them.
The controversy is whether to keep magazines loaded for a long period of time. The way to wear out a magazine spring is to compress and decompress it, over and over again. That is regular use and it will wear out the spring eventually. It does take a long time though. Simply compressing the spring and leaving it that way won’t wear it out.
My vote is to keep them loaded always. As Choirboy said, “There’s nothing quite as useless as an empty magazine.”

Semper Paratus
Check 6

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Preparedness: State Of The World

Suffice it to say we are “Living in interesting times” as has been attributed to a Chinese proverb. I just want to comment on these interesting times.
The world is in turmoil. Not only in war torn nations, but in our own beloved country which is under rule of law. Man is pretty much living in a state that can be found in scripture. As LDS members we know these times are signs of Christ’s coming. Turmoil is inevitable. Besides the world dealing with wars and rumor of wars, we have social upheaval here in the U.S. Weather has been and will continue to be an issue. Parts of the world are just not safe for anyone, leave alone Christians. I even see it in my own family. I have a daughter-in-law who is a high school teacher. The first day of school her school received a bomb threat, along with other threats. Thank goodness they seemed to be only threats. My son had to be talked out of going with her to work. I’m assuming he would have been armed. I’m not sure he would have actually done that at a school, but I know he wanted to.
How do we battle this feeling of uneasiness? My opinion is with the gospel of Jesus Christ. But when hearts are hardened there needs to be another defense. Personal and family preparedness should be taken very serious by everyone, but especially those who have been warned for 77 years! Pres Hinkley put it very well in 1998: “But I am suggesting that the time has come to get our houses in order.” Have we put our houses in order? Is there need? I don’t think anyone could argue that there is no need for preparedness.
I deal with security basically on this web site. I think we (especially Fathers) have a very heavy responsibility to make sure our families are cared for. Like my son who wanted to give armed escort to his wife because of threats, we all should do what we can, all that we can, and then rely on the Lord. I’ve had some members, upon hearing that I advocate concealed carry, question my faith and trust in God. I feel it is foolish to put it all in God’s hands when I could have trained, armed, and cared for my family myself. I was in a position once where I was not armed with a gun, and was in peril. I did employ training and I did have a knife. (One of my rules is never leave home without a knife, or a gun) But I was watched over by God after all I could do. We must do all that we can. I would like to think that in some small way, that’s what we do here at LDS Gunsite.
Once again I plead with you. Get your family prepared. Having food storage is good, as long as you know how to use what you have, and you do use it. Getting “stuff” is important. But always keep in mind that “training trumps gear”. Put yourself and your family on a training program. Just as you would a diet of nutritious food or an exercise program. This training program may only be learning a new skill each year or every six months. For family home evening you can practice some of these skills you learn to keep current. You can go camping as a family and include some of this training or practice. There are numerous ways to do it. Just do it! Do it now! as President Kimball would say. It’s not difficult because it can become a way of life. Do this for your children. Because not only will it teach them independence, but it will give them confidence. The opposite of fear is faith. The scriptures say that if we are prepared we won’t have fear, but faith. If you want to strengthen your faith then prepare!
We live in a turbulent world. If we are prepared we won’t fear. We can have peace in turmoil if we prepare spiritually and temporally. Even the government wants you to prepare. We’ve been given a commandment and wise counsel how to fulfill it. “Being prepared is a commandment?” you ask? Yes. From D&C to President Kimball and President Benson, they confirm the divine nature of the counsel. When will you and your family start to follow this commandment? There are many who can help.
As far as security is concerned, I’d like to help. And in any other way.
See my blogs under Philosophy. Some of special note are:
Mormon Self Defense 5/13/2014
The Right and Responsibility of Self-Defense 4/29/2014
(OPR) Rockwell Philosophy 4/9/2014
Fathers Call To Action 6/15/2014

Semper Paratus
Check 6

Concealed Carry: Defense In A Vehicle

Many years ago in the 80’s I found myself with a bunch of Army guys. I was not in that branch of the service but had the opportunity of going to many Army schools and trained with many Army members. In spite of military branch rivalries, we actually got along great. It’s always interested me the different focus of each branch of the military and how they train. Anyway, I was taking a tactical driving course that was operated by the Army. I took this course with Air Force, Army, Marine, Secret Service, and FBI members. There were 12 of us in the class. We learned all the basics, driving over curbs, J turns, driving at a high rate backward and other skills. There was a portion of this course I’d like to address here, shooting from a vehicle.
This subject was thoroughly covered and practiced in my class in two days. I will only cover this subject generally here. Having taken the course, I am by no means an expert.
We’ll address static shooting because moving and shooting have a lot more to them. We had been driving for two days and had done some pretty crazy stuff when we started discussing shooting. The instructor told us we already knew the training for the primary action for a vehicle engagement, drive away! Do not back up away from an attacker and don’t duck down! These two things will be your death in the end. Backing puts a target up so aimed fire can occur and ducking only gives time to the attacker. As soon as you decide to move you’ll have to pop up. Both are wrong moves.
Ever shot a gun in a small, closed in space? Even with hearing protection the pressure is crazy! The first thing we talked about and practiced was the draw. This can be very difficult. Between sitting and seatbelts and steering wheels it can even be impossible. Rearrange your loadout (holster, EDC, etc) to accommodate a quick smooth draw. This is something you should consider every time you get in a vehicle as a concealed carry participant. If you pocket carry, how will you access your weapon? You also want to practice this so that you don’t end up shooting yourself or a passenger in a stressful time.
Once you have drawn the weapon you do your best to present as you would anywhere else. Use both hands and extend and shoot. This may take some movement to see and to aim the correct direction. If there are passengers you must shoot next to or in front of, extend the weapon past them if possible. This will freak them out but act quickly and you’ll be able to get a shot or two off before they do. Use one hand if you must. The key as always is to stop the threat.
Most vehicles have windshields made of a laminated glass. This a safety features. There is a piece of plastic between two pieces of glass which hold the glass together when broken. Large pieces won’t come flying toward you, but small chips will possibly come your way. (Called “spall”) In your excitement and concentration, don’t extend the weapon into the windshield. Contact with the windshield may cause an auto to not cycle correctly and malfunction. Use the steering wheel or dashboard as a support and to keep the weapon away from the windshield.
Another consideration is the angle of the glass. This will cause the round to end up high or not make it to the target at all. A second shot should act fairly normal though it may be slowed a bit. Just be aware that bullet movement will be different than you expect. Cranking off a 2nd and 3rd shot may be needed to do what you intend.
Shooting through glass has its own set of differences compared to what you are used to.
Tempered glass will break into small pieces when shattered. This is much better than say residence window glass. But there is still a chance of injury from the little pieces to consider. But the first shot will quite literally blow out the whole window. You’ve seen it on TV. The initial shot will be deflected some so a double or triple tap should be in order. If the window has tint on it, it will not be blown out but act similar to the windshield. You may not be able to see. If you decide to knock out the glass with something know that this can be dangerous. It takes your attention off the threat, although after the first shot if there is window tint you wouldn’t see the threat anymore anyway. Again, do a double tap.
A vehicle offers virtually no ballistic protection from incoming fire. Staying inside an immobile vehicle and attempting to fire on attackers outside the vehicle basically makes you a static target. Vehicles are “bullet magnets.” Not only do you need to worry about incoming bullets and their fragments, but you can also be injured by spall from bits of your car that go flying around inside. (This is the reason armored vehicles have “spall liners” of Kevlar-like fabric to protect the crew from ricocheting bits of shrapnel.)

What this all means is that you should avoid trying to fight from inside an immobile vehicle at all costs. If your vehicle can’t move (you’re boxed in), get out and fight on foot. Even if you have people in the vehicle, getting out will draw fire away from them.
In a nutshell:
If you see trouble coming, and can drive away – drive away!

If you see trouble coming, but cannot drive away – get out of the vehicle!

If you are caught by surprise and cannot drive away – pray, feign compliance, and get out of the vehicle. Once out, move! This is a bad scenario, but you aren’t going to outdraw an already drawn gun. Distraction, movement, guile, and luck are what are needed here.
I know some guys that practice shooting from and through (open windows) vehicles on a regular basis. This is ok but if you use any vehicle that you actually need for personal or company use, be advised that there is a good chance you will have a bullet hole in the car eventually. The only way I would practice this would be from an old derelict that I wouldn’t be concerned about. When I went through a course, these were government vehicles. We shot through glass but not in the vehicle. If you can figure a way to do this on a regular basis that would be great. I haven’t done it since I was in the military. We would practice occasionally from an open window. I’ll tell you, I never did like it much. I’m uncomfortable shooting like this and I’m not really sure why. Maybe it is the fact that unless you are in an armored vehicle, you are a big target. I think it’s good to learn but I’m not sure I like the idea of training this way.
Semper Paratus

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Defending Others: Be Careful

What would you do if you were alone, and you witnessed a woman or child being beat by a man? Would your instincts be to try and stop it? What if it was abuse but obviously not life threatening? What if you were not alone, but with your spouse or children?
This is a very difficult thing to try to prepare for because there are always circumstances that may change your response. If you are not a peace officer, and we are still in “rule of law” then the best advice may be to not respond directly but to get the attackers attention and let him know the police are on their way. If the attack shifts to you and yours, then of course, your response will change. Here are some examples from true stories.
“In 2002 my wife and I were at a hill tribe market in a remote part of northern Vietnam. We were the only foreigners there. We turned a corner and saw a man beating a woman, with a small crowd circling them. The woman was bleeding, and the man kept punching her. I really wanted to step in and nail the guy, but I had no idea what would happen if I did. Would the crowd of people attack me? There were sharp farming tools on the ground all over the market. I could have been swarmed and killed. Or, I could have ended up in a Vietnamese jail. What would have happened to my wife? As hard as it was, I think I made the right decision…to walk on.

On another occasion my wife and I had a couple of friends over to watch a movie at our house. During the movie we heard a woman screaming outside. We went to the window and a man was chasing a woman around a car parked in front of our house. My wife ran to the phone to call the police, but as soon as she picked it up the man jumped across the hood of the car, grabbed the woman, and put her in a rear choke hold, choking her. Without thinking, I went straight out the front door, moving to stop the guy. It was dark, and I had no idea if the guy had a weapon. I went outside so quickly that I didn’t even consider grabbing a weapon myself. Fortunately, as I got close to the guy he let go of the woman and she ran away. He turned and walked away too. I got lucky. When I came back in my wife asked me if I was crazy. I made a mistake. Although what I did was perhaps normal and definitely understandable, in my neighborhood it could have easily resulted in me getting shot.

Yesterday a good friend of mine emailed me and told me about a situation that had just occurred. His brother stopped a driver (with a passenger) from driving away after hitting a parked car. The driver got mad, the situation escalated, and he grabbed my friend by the shirt and attempted to hit him. My friend hit him first and dropped him. But then the passenger had grabbed my friend from behind, trying to hit him. This continued for a bit, with my friend fortunately getting the better of the situation. But it could have easily gone another way. The passenger could have stabbed my friend in the back. Would it have been worth it, to potentially stop someone from getting away with a hit and run?”

These 3 scenarios are all different. As we strive to be a sheepdog we will be presented with these situations. Part of the warrior mindset is to be able to make quick decisions and assess when a situation presents itself. We must think fast. The first situation I believe the author made the right choice. In a foreign country with a loved one, and probably not armed, would have been a bad move to get involved. The second situation the author made what I think is the right choice, but in the wrong way. He should have had someone with him, and should have stopped for a weapon. Always have the advantage if you can. Make sure the odds are in your favor if the situation turns to self defense because you are trying to defend someone else.
The third situation should not have happened at all. Get the information the police may need and report what you saw. There is no reason to put yourself in danger for property damage.

Being there for your family is what you are responsible for. Helping your fellow man is important but you must be smart about it. The police have a job to do and they do it well. If you are not the police then you shouldn’t try to do their job. If you see a threat of harm or eminent death then you should stop it. This should be done smart also. It may feel wrong to stand by while someone attacks a smaller or weaker person, and some people may be unable to do that, but you have to consider the consequences of getting involved for those who depend on you. If you do decide to get involved, you should do everything you can to accurately assess the situation first, and to minimize the damage you do.

If you come upon a situation where someone is doing something wrong, like a hit and run on a parked car, but no one is actually in danger, you definitely shouldn’t get involved. You’re not the police, and it’s none of your business. Don’t put yourself in danger.

Being a good citizen isn’t always clear and defending others is not easy. Each situation must be evaluated quickly to determine whether you should something, what you should do, or do nothing at all.

Being a member of the LDS Church we want to help others any way we can. Service and compassion are important to us. Don’t let these good tendencies blind you to real consequences and danger you could have if you get involved. Do what you can when you can. Remember the security of your family is always at stake. I know this sounds selfish but often we talk about those who run into the fight only to not make it. We sometime call these people a hero. In some ways sacrificing yourself for someone else is heroic. It seems I’m telling you the opposite. And in some ways I am. If you are a dead hero and you could have not been involved you would still be there for your family. Which is more heroic, doing the day-to-day things to care for your family and keeping them secure, or giving your life needlessly? You notice I said “needlessly”?

I know this is not an easy subject, but it is one you need to consider and decide what is most important. Defend those who can’t defend themselves but not to the detriment of your family.

Semper Paratus

Monday, August 18, 2014

Concealed Carry: Choosing A Gun

Whatever you may think about weapons, a gun is usually somewhere in the mix of weapons, especially for self or home defense. Self defense is similar to but not exactly like, home defense. Both are to defend yourself and others against a threat. The biggest difference is conceal-ability and safety. When I think about self defense I think about concealed carry. In certain states, that would include a weapon in your vehicle. Some people may carry a gun on their person, but switch to a system that would keep their gun secure and available in their vehicle. It’s desirable to talk about these options.
I grew up working my Uncle’s ranch and farm most Summers from when I was 12 until I was 17. During that time, I had access to a rifle every day I was working. Snake’s were common and every pick up and vehicle had a .22 rifle in a rack for safety. I had been exposed to hunting at 10 so I was a little experienced with a gun. Up until I joined the military, I had only shot a pistol whenever we target practiced or were just plinking. Most of the time it was a .22 pistol or a .38. In the military I was exposed to all kinds of weapons including grenade launchers and mortar. But I never really had a side arm. My first pistol that I actually owned was a .22. I have always felt that concealed carry is an important responsibility and one that no one should take lightly. Self defense to me has a few considerations.
1. Caliber. What is the highest caliber you can conceal and comfortably carry. I’d love to carry a 1911 .45. But I don’t think that is for me because of bulk and weight. To carry a weapon 24/7 I would have to down size a little. I would not want to go much under a 9mm. Some might say .380 is something they could consider. I feel that I can go for less stopping power and more trigger time (training).
2. Size. Full size, compact, or sub compact. Each has its positive and negative features. Mostly size equals weight and bulk, but also capacity. How many rounds are you comfortable with? The larger the gun, usually the higher the capacity. I like compacts and subcompacts. If I can’t take care of myself with 10 or less rounds, I probably won’t be able to do it with 15. Training is key. Shot placement, the stopping power of the caliber, and how many accurate shots you can put down range are a big consideration.
3. With the above information, you can also find a mode of carry that can suit you and your clothing. There are many holsters from full size to minimal ones that will hide even a large gun.
4. I am a real proponent of semi autos, but a revolver is a good choice also. Some people would only carry a revolver because they feel a revolver is the most reliable. I think revolvers are very reliable but you are always limited to 5 or 6 rounds. Modern semi automatic handguns are more than reliable enough if you know what to look for. Military and law enforcement abandoned revolvers in the 70’s. Look for well known brands. Some are built better than others. Some brands have better customer service than others too. For instance, I bought a low end Smith and Wesson that had an issue I was willing to pay for to be fixed. I sent it to them and they promptly fixed the problem at no cost to me. This gun was no longer under warranty. I was impressed with their integrity and how they put the customer first.
I would also do some research on whatever weapon I was leaning toward. There are enough forums and reviews out there to give you enough information to make an informed choice. Many gun ranges will let you rent weapons. This is a great test drive for your gun of choice. Or you could ask someone who knows, and owns the weapon you are interested in. They may be willing to let you test drive the gun. Look at parts and accessories too. Are they readily available? Are there after market accessories such as grips and sights or with rifles, stocks and magazines?
If you choose only home defense then not only will handguns be a viable choice, but rifles and shotguns have their place. It has been said and I agree that your handgun is something you use to fight your way to your battle rifle. But, it has also been said that if you go to a gunfight it’s important to have a gun! So remember these things when thinking about home defense. Safety is a very big consideration and when it comes to guns and kids, it should be the top consideration. Some people are too afraid to own a gun with a child in the house. (See blog Kids and Guns: A good combo?, 4/1/2014) I think that is a fear coming from ignorance of weapons. Millions of law enforcement officers have children and must have a weapon in the house. There are locks, vaults, and just as important, training and education for children. My children were taught at a young age to handle a firearm safely and my wife and I even felt that we did not want toy guns in the house to confuse our kids into what is dangerous and what is not. You and your spouse must decide what you will and will not do in this area. But also consider the laws in your state. Some states have laws that say guns will be locked up or have a gun lock on them. (See blog Gun Storage, 8/15/2014) So be aware of the laws governing guns in your area.
I would strongly suggest a good tactical light on or with your home defense weapon. Target identification is extremely important. Know this and train appropriately.
Cost is always an issue. I’ve bought and shot high end weapons and low end and everything in between. I firmly believe that only in extreme cases is the gun an issue in shooting well. Mostly it is training. Yes high end weapons are very nice, but many makes that are considered low end can get the job done. If you want to compete then you would probably invest well in your gun especially concerning accuracy. Precision shooting usually takes a particular kind of weapon. But if you’ve ever watched “Top shots” on TV you will know that if someone is trained and experienced (that means practice), a shooter can do well with just about anything.
The guns safety is also a consideration. (See blog When is a safety, not?, 6/20/2014) I have several guns without safeties. “Why would you have a gun like that?” you may ask. They actually do have a safety. They are double action semi automatics with long and heavy trigger pulls. Some people will insist on an external safety. ( That is, a mechanism that you must actually work that keeps the weapon from firing.) If you follow the rules of safe shooting then you know the most effective safety and the only one you can rely on all the time is the one between your ears. I encourage people to remember this even if they insist on a gun with an external safety. I have known many people who are experienced with weapons who have had an accidental discharge. They should certainly know better, and so should you. Always follow the safety rules, always.
And finally, is the gun easy to clean? Easy to dissemble? Easy to reassemble? Can it be serviced in the field? These too might change your mind about a weapon. I love the 9mm rifle from High Point. It’s fun, accurate, and functional. But when it comes to taking it apart to clean it? It’s crazy!
Once you find a gun that fits your hand and you can handle the weight and recoil, it really becomes a cosmetic and fiscal choice. Some weapons are easier to work than others such as magazine releases and slide mechanisms. My Father in law likes a gun with a hammer. Something he can pull back and cock. On the other hand I feel a hammer is something to get caught on clothing when seconds count in drawing your weapon. Be aware of all these things and find what you can live with and are comfortable with. I have bought a gun, thought I was happy with it until I actually used it for what I bought it for. Then I realized it was not best suited for me and my needs. Also, I think every gun has its own “personality”. Like a vehicle you will get to know your individual weapon and system. I say system because that is what you will develop. What kind of sights do you need? What kind of holsters? Do you need a sleeve for your grip to fit your hand just right? What accessories fit your needs? Does your weapon choice fit several needs such as personal security to vehicle to home defense? Only you can determine how and why you will develop your system. I call this POU or philosophy of use. Your POU may evolve and change as circumstances change and evolve.
No weapon or accessory can replace trigger time. Time on the range is better than any system or weapon you can imagine. It’s been said that we fight like we train. If that is true then do you want to fight as an after thought? Or do you want to go into a fight with the best possible experience and training you can find? Many people take one class, buy a gun and put it in a drawer. That is the extent of their preparation. Some people can step up when called upon to defend whatever it is they want to defend. Most people do not even know how they will react to real violence. I want as many tools in my tool box as I can get.
Church leaders have told us that casual prayer or scripture study is no longer going to pull us through these challenging times. I feel the same goes for our physical preparation. This of course includes personal and home security. Casual acquaintance with a weapon will only bring a false sense of security. When called upon to defend you and yours, don’t be found lacking. Most of my children have had some training in their chosen work. Formal or informal training is needed to make a living. This is true in defense also. I like this quote from Mark Twain that applies in many areas, but very much so in defense.
“It’s ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that ain’t so.”
Picking a gun is not that difficult. Knowing how to defend with that gun is the real challenge. Train, train, train.

Semper Paratus
Check 6


Concealed Carry: Off Body Carry (OBC) Risks

I have strong opinions about carrying a firearm. I think it should be allowed almost anywhere. By almost I mean there is always some situation where it might not be so good. But those are few and far between. I also am not an advocate of open carry. At least not yet. I believe there could be a time when open carry might make us all safer. But I don’t think that time is now. Ask someone in law enforcement and most will tell you the first guy to get shot in a bank robbery is the guard. Why? Because the guard is the obvious threat to the robbers. That’s how I feel about open carry. I want surprise on my side. I want someone who would do me harm to wonder, “Is he armed?” Open carry takes that from me. Unless everyone is armed, like the old west, then open carry does not give me a tactical advantage. I also feel some concealed carry permit holders may be a little dangerous out there. Many do not practice very often. If you take the responsibility of carrying a firearm, not only should you be very well versed in safety, but you should know that weapon inside and out. You commit a disservice to everyone if you do not improve your skill with your carry weapon. If you do not practice, will you endanger those around you? I have similar strong feelings about off body carry (OBC).

OBC is carrying a gun in something not attached to your person. Usually that would be a purse, bag, case, or backpack. I have a difficult enough time wondering if I can present and use my weapon in time for an attacker to be stopped without putting the gun in a more difficult place to draw from. There are purses, backpacks, fanny packs, and bags that are made specifically for concealed carry so they have a holster. This is better than rattling around the bottom of a bag, but I still have my doubts. I have a problem with being in a position to draw my weapon if it is in its holster on me leave alone a bag. Some people have a situation where carrying in a bag is their only option. I always say it’s important to bring a gun to a gun-fight, so that would be important.
Another problem I have with OBC is the security problem. If you have your weapon in a bag then I hope that bag is with you all the time every time. If not, you risk leaving your bag in a bathroom, on a subway, or worse, in the hands of a criminal. It’s very hard to keep control of something that is not on your person. Also, bags, purses, and backpacks are there for the picking from any purse-snatcher. If someone tries to take you bag do you now fight him for it? What if he has a weapon? Your weapon is in the very bag you and the criminal are fighting over!

OBC may be needed under certain circumstances but there are very few. I will admit that it’s better to have a gun in a purse or bag than to not have one at all. If you feel you have to do this know the risks you are taking both in weapon retention, and lack of access to your weapon. If you find yourself in need of OBC then to better your success at defending yourself get a bag or purse designed for concealed carry. There are many out there and their designs vary. Practice drawing from various positions and circumstances. Give yourself the best possible chance and do your homework. Even a fanny pack is on your body. There are under garments with holsters built into the garment. Shoulder holsters are a good alternative to waist carry. There are also thigh holsters and ankle holsters available. Women may find a bra holster convenient. Look at the alternatives before deciding on OBC.

Bottom line: a gun carried in something that is simultaneously easily taken and difficult to get into is not ideal for self defense, and should only be chosen after exhausting all other possibilities. (And don't neglect the training!)

Semper Paratus

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Concealed Carry and Sacred Honor

Not too many people know I carry concealed. But upon learning (accidently, I try to practice OPSEC)that I carry a weapon someone asked “Why do you carry?”
With the recent problems with the police it has me thinking. I have an opinion about the current challenge in Missouri but I don’t really want to talk about that here. What I do want to talk about is an oath. Many years ago I was TDY (temporary duty assignment) doing some training. The military did not have room for us on base so they put us up in a hotel right outside the base. I had been in the military some time and so were the guys I was training with. One night we started telling “war stories” in my room at the end of a particularly long training week. We got on the subject of taking care of your “brothers” in combat. That discussion brought us to our oath that we took several years prior. That is the oath I was thinking about recently. It says:

“I _Burn_ do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice, So help me God.”

As a Boy Scout leader I have the boys memorize and recite the Scout Oath that goes:

“On my honor I will do my best, To do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; To help other people at all times; To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.”

Each of these oaths mention God, law, and country.

Law enforcement, firefighting, EMT’s (first responders), the military, even government office has an oath.

The military oath I took, and still uphold, was first taken by soldiers fighting for the independence of this country on June 14, 1775. Those words were replaced by the Continental Congress Section 3, Article 1 of the Articles of War on September 20, 1776. The first oath under the Constitution was approved on September 29, 1789. George Washington took a similar oath and required it of his men.

Back to my story. Each of us in that hotel room had taken the same oath. We talked about the true meaning of such words and what they meant to us. The end of the Declaration of Independence has a pledge or “oath” at it’s conclusion:

“And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

We discussed what the phrase “I’ve got your back” really means and what sacred honor was.

As LDS members we are a covenant people. Priesthood holders subscribe to the “Oath and covenant of the priesthood”. We take covenants and oaths seriously. My sons took the Scout oath. My son has taken the EMT oath. I took an oath that I intend to keep with my “sacred Honor.” I no longer belong to the United States military, but that doesn’t mean my oath is null and void. That is why it’s important for oath keepers to carry. If we have sworn to defend this nation from her enemies then we should legally carry a weapon. It’s similar to promises at a wedding. What part of “death do you part” or “for time and all eternity” do you not understand? We think there are exceptions and so instead of working like we’ve never worked before, divorce runs wild. That’s how I view my oath. My sacred honor doesn’t end when I no longer have a legal agreement with the military. I don’t mean to be a vigilante or a mercenary or something outside of law. But to legally carry a weapon is within the law. Does that mean you don’t run from a fight? No. But you should have enough sense to get out of danger if you can. Otherwise defend yourself, close and engage. I emphasize the part of those oaths that speak of law. Do these things lawfully and divine providence will protect you after all you can do.
Some people go a little nuts with this. They feel that an M4 with a combat load out and a ABU (airman battle uniform) uniform will make them magically a military member. The difference of course is that oath. Anyone can get the gear, get the training, and live the life, but it’s the oath that sets you apart. Sacred honor and living a life worthy makes you an oath keeper.

In that ragged little hotel room (the military isn’t known for comfort) in Tampa, Florida, 6 military members, of different branches of the military, reaffirmed their oath and also took a unspoken oath, to check each other’s 6. To be there for each other if the need ever arose. That’s what brothers do. For those of you who took, and live by a similar oath, “...we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

Semper Paratus
Check 6


Friday, August 15, 2014

Gun Storage

Where do you keep your guns? Are they in a corner of the hall closet? Maybe you have a revolver in your sock drawer? Are you one of those who use trigger locks on your weapons? Do you have a gun safe? Well, I can honestly say, I’ve used all of these places at one time or another.
In this day and age securing your weapons is very important. There are several reasons. Safety is at the top of the list. My wife and I have some friends who we hardly hear from anymore. They had two wonderful sons. I spent a week at Scout camp with their oldest a few months before the accident. Apparently Dad was at work and Mom was in the shower. These two boys (pre teen and teen) got a hold of a loaded gun. They think the oldest boy accidently shot his brother and then was so distraught he took his own life. The horribly tragic accident not only took the lives of these two wonderful boys, but their parents ended up divorced over their guilt and sorrow. After this accident I locked up every one of my guns. My children have all learned gun safety and gun handling and hear the four safety rules from me all the time. As an instructor I know that these safety rules are the basics and foundation of owning, handling, and shooting any firearm. I would include paintball markers, airsoft guns, and air weapons (pellet and BB guns) in this category of firearm. Unless it shoots a Nerf product, I consider it a firearm. I would include also crossbows and bows and arrows.
Storage of these firearms should be taken seriously. Let me tell a story I’ve already told but I feel it should be retold. When I was younger I was much more foolish. I think I was a bit “ate up” as we say in the military. I was way too selfish and way over confident. As I got older I learned that being cautious is not being weak. By the time my older kids were closer to leaving home, I became a lot more safety minded. I did not lock up our guns in our home. I taught our children respect for and the operation of, many weapons. I thought that was enough, and thankfully, it was. One of my rules is, “Never leave home without a knife or a gun.” These weapons must be carried safely and lawfully. So as I write about guns, I speak from the present, not my “ill spent youth.” (I credit my wife with seeing more in me than I was!) I think I was lucky on many levels. Don’t rely on luck.
Gun security in a home with children is twofold. First, is physical security. I’ve caught our children in various places in our home through the years of their growing up. I’ve learned that just putting a gun up high could be a big mistake. At first when our kids were little we kept the guns up and unloaded. As they got older, I felt we needed a defense weapon close at hand. The only way I know to do this is a lock box. There are many on the market these days. They are a vault that will secure a weapon, or anything else you want secure, in a small box that can be accessed quickly with a code. There are some that are biometric, which means your finger print will open the box. I’ve never used the biometric vault and have read good things and bad things about them. At one time, we kept a semi-auto pistol near the bed with a magazine in it. My kids could not pull back the slide. I knew this because I took them to the range and had them try. They weren’t strong enough. Like I said, I was foolish. It did work, but who’s to say when they became strong enough? Or would they have a friend who was stronger? Use a lock box. They are not expensive enough to warrant not buying one. Your guns should be in a locked vault or a locked cabinet or safe. Most of our weapons through the years were semi-automatic. When storing them I never felt the need to keep them loaded. I did and do keep loaded magazines with them. Some of you will not like this practice. What if the secured cabinet is left open, you say. I do not agree with this, but my kids are older. Do what you feel is right and follow your local laws. Trigger and chamber locks are an option if you do not lock your weapons in a safe or locked cabinet. Remember, there are always Grand kids or friends or family’s young ones that will visit or stay in your home. Act appropriately. To me, the only loaded weapon ready to shoot should be in a locked box. Some will lock their stored weapons and lock ammo in another location. Lock and key (or combination) is the only sure way that no accident can occur. Like I said, when I was younger I stored weapons without being loaded and away from ammo, but that was dangerous and I do not recommend it.
There are many gun safes out there from the cheap sheet metal to the expensive and heavy vaults. Find what will fit your budget and your life. There are also gun cabinets that are really a piece of furniture. Some of these are beautiful. Usually they will have a window of some sort on the front to show off your weapons. This is good if you are not worried about securing your weapons against burglars or thieves. Vaults and safes will secure weapons for safety and security. Cabinets will keep guns safe but not necessarily secure. Some of these safes also employ camouflage. There are gun cabinet and safes that are under bed mattresses, in dressers and coffee tables. These are obvious and popular ways to store your weapons but there are other options.
Those options are building places that are hidden in your walls, floors, or ceilings. There are rooms that are hidden in your home with secret entrances. If you are building a home look at the dead space in places and consider building in these secrets. If you already live in your home there are areas you can explore and get to. Look on the internet to see what others have done to get your own ideas. Remember to not cut into walls without knowing where electrical wiring, plumbing and gas lines are located. Ceilings may have dead spaces that are long enough for rifles. Hand guns are easier to hide. There are racks for behind doors and under beds. These are more for a defense weapon that is easy to get to. There are also fake clocks, books, and picture frames that can hide a handgun. Remember that hidden guns can be found by children or even burglars. They are usually only hidden but not secured.
Another line of defense for safety are trigger or barrel locks. These will keep your weapons safe from those who may be at risk. Most new guns come with a lock of some kind or at least a hard case that can be locked. Use these locks especially if you have children in your home.
Last, but certainly not least, is education. Teach your kids, significant others, and anyone else who lives with you how to safely handle a gun. Show them that there is nothing to be afraid of and that guns are like tools. Teach them the 4 rules of gun safety. 1. All guns are loaded, 2. Never point a gun at something you don’t want to destroy, 3. Keep your finger off the trigger, 4. Know your target and beyond.
Store your weapons lawfully, safely, and securely. Train the household. Don’t give gun owners a bad name.
Semper Paratus

Gun Terms For The Intelligent

Nothing bothers me more than a “news” story about guns that is clearly written by someone who 1. has no knowledge of firearms, and 2. didn’t have the integrity to bother to research to know the difference in terms.
There are terms out there that are both inaccurate and sometimes downright false. How can you write a credible story on guns if you can’t even get the terminology right. I don’t expect everyone who writes about guns to be a Massad Ayoob or a Jeff Cooper, but try to research enough to use correct terms. Anti-gun groups, politicians and biased members of the media often use such terms incorrectly — sometimes due to lack of knowledge but often with malicious intent. So, if we as gun owners don’t accurately apply firearms terminology, who will? How can aspiring shooters, genuine journalists or the public in general hope to receive reliable information? Here are some of the most commonly misused and confused gun terms.
Assault weapon and assault rifle. Assault weapon is thrown around so much you’d think it actually existed. As far as I’m concerned there really is no such thing as an assault weapon. What the heck does that mean? I can assault a enemy with a bolt action, a pump action, or a knife! I’ve never heard the term “assault knife”! It’s based on pure ignorance and fiction. I think the term came from someone meaning to say automatic military weapon. The only time I’ve heard the term used correctly was in the military. I’ve shot a true assault weapon in a M16A2 and an M4. This is the closest I have come to an assault weapon or rifle. Many times the media, anti-gun groups, and way too many gun owners incorrectly use it to describe an AR-15 style rifle. Also, out of ignorance many have the misconception that the AR in AR15 stands for assault rifle. In reality the AR stands for the original makers name Armalite rifle. It has become so popular it is now known as a weapons platform. In fact, according to Bruce H. Kobayashi and Joseph E. Olson, writing in the Stanford Law and Policy Review, “Prior to 1989, the term ‘assault weapon’ did not exist in the lexicon of firearms. It is a political term, developed by anti-gun publicists to expand the category of ‘assault rifles’ so as to allow an attack on as many additional firearms as possible on the basis of undefined ‘evil’ appearance.” I think some anti gun people use it on purpose to antagonize gun people. To me it shows someone’s ignorance. So, while the term “assault rifle” is frequently misused, the term “assault weapon” doesn’t even really exist.

Clips and magazines. What is the difference? If you’ve been around guns you know that basically clips feed magazines. A magazine holds shells under spring pressure for feeding into the firearm’s chamber. Examples include box, tubular, drum and rotary magazines. Some are fixed to the firearm while others are removable.
A clip has no spring and does not feed shells directly into the chamber. Clips hold cartridges in the correct sequence for charging a specific firearm’s magazine. Stripper clips allow rounds to be stripped into the magazine.

Accurate or precise. These two terms seem like they are the same. Often they are used to mean the same thing. But they are quite different. Being accurate is being able to consistently hit a given target. Being precise is actually the tightness of the groups. You can shoot accurate by putting a good group somewhere on the target. You can be precise if your shoot that group of 10 in 8 holes and the group the size of a ½ dollar! So, while a rifle that consistently produces tight groups is often described as accurate, it’s more properly an indication of being precise.
Bullet and cartridge. Many people who are actually familiar with shooting get this mixed up. A bullet is the actual projectile that is shot from the gun. It is pressed into the (usually) brass or steel case or shell. But I must admit I even refer to the cartridge as a bullet. I think this conflict in terms has been around for many decades. When I correct my wife I get a eye roll similar to my children and a “whatever”. But I have reloaded for years and when someone tells me they have bullets for me I have to clarify whether what they have for me are really bullets (the projectile) or they are referring to ammunition (the complete cartridge). I buy ammunition and I buy bullets. My bullets I load into brass for a cartridge. No one usually confuses these terms with caliber, which is the diameter of the bullet. The components of a center fire cartridge is the bullet, the case or shell, propellant (gun powder)and the primer. But if you are actually going to talk guns, the ammunition should be described correctly.

I know that non gun people are not that interested in correctly using the above terms. But if you want to talk about cars and want to be taken seriously, you probably would not refer to a engine as the “vroom-vroom” thingy. If you want to be taken seriously when speaking of shooting and guns, the above terms should be learned. There are others so don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you want to write intelligently about guns then these terms should be a starting point. Journalists are notorious for not researching gun terms especially if they are writing against guns and gun rights.

As pro-gun owners and shooters we should not be guilty of getting these terms wrong. Often I have read or heard well meaning gun owners speak or write ignorantly about guns. We need to be represented better than that.
Learn and use these terms correctly so that the anti-gun crowd will know that we know what we are talking about. If I mess up in my articles, please feel free to correct me.

Semper Paratus

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Remembering Annie Oakley

Yesterday was a great American’s birthday. She would have been 154. Annie Oakley was the stage name of Phoebe Ann Moses a sharpshooter whose skill at shooting led her to Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. Annie started shooting at a very young age. She ended up supporting her family hunting when her step-Father died leaving the family to fend for themselves. As a young woman she met Frank Butler, a traveling marksman who entertained, who challenged anyone to shooting contests. Annie beat him again and again. They began a courtship and married about 1876. The Butlers began performing together in 1882. After seeing Annie shoot Sitting Bull the famous Indian Chief gave her moccasins he had worn at the Little Bighorn and the nickname “Watanya Cicilla” or Little Sure Shot.
In 1884 Annie and Frank met Buffalo Bill in New Orleans and negotiated a 3-day trial with the Wild West Show. Annie and Frank would go on to perform with the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show for 16 seasons. Cody called Annie "Li’l Miss," an apt nickname for the five-foot-tall markswoman, and had her perform early in the show to help audiences get used to the sound of gunfire. Her charisma and her skill with many firearms endeared audiences to her and to the show. At 90 feet, she could shoot a dime or a cork out of a bottle or snuff out candle flames. She could also shoot a playing card with the thin edge held facing her multiple times—the theatre business began referring to free tickets, which had holes punched in them, as "Annie Oakleys."
Annie performed literally all over the world and for heads of state and kings. She toured France, Spain, Italy, Austria, and Germany. Returning to the U.S. Annie Oakley is a household name, a national celebrity.
On October 29, 1901, the show members were traveling north in North Carolina to the final performance of the season in Danville, Virginia. Because of a misunderstanding at the switching station, the second train, the one Annie and Frank were on, ran head-on into a southbound train. Whether because of this accident or because it was just time—the 41-year-old sharpshooter had been touring continuously for nearly 20 years—she retired from Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. Around this time, her hair had begun to turn white as well, which was an obvious liability for a performer.
In 1912, Frank and Annie had began building a house in Cambridge, Maryland, which is on Maryland’s eastern shore. The roof of the house was designed so that Annie could step out onto it and shoot game off the Choptank River. They spent the rest of their lives in that house, spending some of their time at resorts in North Carolina and Florida. Hunting and shooting remained important parts in their lives. In 1922, Annie performed at a benefit show on Long Island and was rumored to be making a comeback, but she did not—in November, at the age of 62, she was in a car accident in Florida and fractured her hip and ankle. The brace she had to wear may have kept her from performing again, but it did not keep her from hunting and shooting.
Over the next four years, her health began to decline, and she and Frank returned to her roots in Ohio. On November 3, 1926, she died of pernicious anemia at the age of 66. Frank mourned so deeply, he stopped eating and died 18 days later on November 21. They are buried in Greenville, Ohio.
One of the things Annie Oakley did was open the door for the possibility of women in the shooting sports. Most of us know that woman have a better aptitude for shooting. A few of my sons are into shooting, but usually my “occasional shooter” daughters can out shoot them. My youngest daughter is pretty deadly. When she grows into some of our rifles, I think she will be another Annie Oakley.
I hope we can remember Annie Oakley and her spirit and love of shooting and hunting. I’m grateful my daughters have her to look to as a shooting role model.
Semper Paratus

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

EDC Series: Security (Part 5 of 5)

What do you think of when you hear Everyday Carry (EDC)? EDC means different things to different people. (see blog 7/16/2014 EDC What’s In Your Wallet?)
In this series, I’m going to go through ideas for “kit”, loadout, or whatever you may call your basic EDC.
In doing this series, I’ve reevaluated my idea of EDC. This is where I am working from:
Level 1: Clothing and everything on your person.
Level 2: Items in a pack, bag, purse, or case that you have with you all the time.
Level 3: Items in your vehicle (Obviously if you are on foot Levels 1 and 2 apply only)
When I teach survival or preparedness I teach with this foundation and the acronym ASWiFFS. That is: Air, Shelter, Water, Food, Fire, Security. That is what I will base this basic EDC on.

Do you consider yourself secure wherever you are? Let me tell you, I’ve been in some places where a team of 5 seasoned operators wouldn’t have really made me feel much better. I’ve learned the best personal security is to stay away from those places.
EDC security may bring you thoughts of a tac vest and a battle rifle. I believe there are two schools of thought here. One is the tac vest school of thought. This would be a “without rule of law” scenario a phrase coined by my friend Nutnfancy from Youtube. By the way, check out his channel. I like his philosophy. But I speak of a “rule of law” situation that we now are in.
I like guns. I guess this sites name, LDS Gunsite, is a giveaway. I like guns for protection among other things. My primary EDC security is a firearm. But I also like redundancy. As I’ve mentioned before, I am concerned about SWB (size, weight, bulk). So, whatever I use as a backup to my primary security, must fit that criteria. I also carry a knife. I’ve had limited training with a fighting knife, but I have one all the same. What I do also carry is a tactical pen. This pen is really tactical, I promise! I know the word tactical is used too often when it comes to gear and quite frankly, any item. I tease my wife all the time with paracord. Once I put paracord on an item, I call it tactical. We have a tactical mirror in our shower! What I carry is truly a tactical pen. It is designed similar to a kubotan. A kubotan is a close-quarter self defense weapon developed by Takayuki Kubota. He is a Japanese Karate master. I have had some training with this weapon so I feel competent to carry it. I would probably call my Gun my primary, and my tac pen my secondary. My knife would be a last resort weapon.
Those are the weapons I carry. There are more that are available. Hand to hand combat training would be a good thing to “carry”. Pepperspray and stun guns also come to mind. So you must find what will work for you.
My primary defense is not really a weapon. It is my brain. Using your head to avoid danger is one of my first defenses. Situational awareness will save you a lot of heartache. Don’t forget our most important “weapon” for personal security, the Spirit. As members of the Church we should be trying to live our lives so as to have the Holy Ghost with us all the time. The Spirit can literally save your life.
Security and self defense are a mind set. If you can work to create that mind set then a good part of your preparation is complete. After mind set, training and practice is most important. Training trumps gear every time. It’s important though to have the complete package, Mindset, Training, and Gear.
Some people say that improvised weapons won’t do you any good. They say that’s only Hollywood, Jason Bourne stuff. I completely disagree. I have never used an improvised weapon, but have talked with those who have. I admit improvising is rare and unusual, but it can work in certain situations. Do not rely on improvised weapons for your personal security because most of what you will run into will be fast. You won’t have time to improvise. But under certain circumstances, you may save yourself with something improvised. I saw a Youtube video of a home invasion where a woman was beat in front of her child while the invader just did as he pleased. She had opportunities to grab items and use them as weapons. In an active shooter scenario you may have the time to find and use an improvised weapon. Do not discount this idea, but do not rely on it as a primary or even a secondary defense. I would improvise only as a last resort.
There is more than all the above to personal security, although the above is a good start. I talked with a friend of mine who was in special forces, law enforcement, and now is in the body guard business. He said this:
“True protection is about risk analysis and careful preparation. It's about transforming a "sheep" (a target who doesn't vary his movements, and hasn't considered his vulnerabilities) into a "tiger" (one who is unpredictable in his patterns and minimizes his exposure). When done right, reaction rarely becomes necessary. You, not the bad guys, are dictating the course of events. "No one wants to go after a tiger. If I'm a bad guy, I go after the sheep when I know he's going to be watching his son play tennis."
A principal is most vulnerable during transitions—walking between a car and a building entrance, or vice versa—as the assailant needn't overcome the extra obstacles provided by an armored vehicle or a building's control and security systems. So you carefully assess the "apron"—the area between the sidewalk curb and a building's front door—to choreograph how we can get in and out smoothly. We would even check the curb height to ensure the car door will clear it, avoiding a snag that could slow us down. We might have the car drop us off at one entrance and then pick us up at a different exit, to be less predictable.”
He gave me different things that I could do to improve my security and my family’s security out in public.
Driving Skills
Emergency Medical Skills
Defensive Tactics
Weapons skill
Travel planning and logistics

As we try to keep ourselves secure we will have more ability to keep our loved ones secure.

EDC is an important part of our preparedness. Only you can decide what is best for you to carry every day. Experiment, and choose wisely.

Semper Parartus


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Less Than Lethal: Defensive Baton

Disclaimer: I am not an instructor of a defensive baton. I took one course years ago in the military with a bunch of Air Force Security Forces guys. The instructor was very good. It was obvious he knew what he was doing and how to teach it. The following is from my notes and study material. (See blog Stop The Threat, 5/7/2014 and Less than Lethal, 2/15/2014) Learn to use a baton from a competent instructor. The following is for informational purposes only to familiarize you with a baton.

Stances and Grips
Stances include body position and distance from subject before, during and after using a baton. Positioning and distance also include patterns of movement around a subject.
Of course ideally you should be in a stance directly in front of your attacker. The preferred stance would be similar to shooting a gun. Feet about shoulder length apart, left foot slightly in front of right. If you ever have to use your weapon there’s a good chance you won’t be in this stance.
Grips include the proper way to hold the baton before, during and after it’s use. I’ve found that a dominate hand “modified one handed golf” grip is what works well. Hold the baton pointing in a forward direction following the direction of your thumb. The thumb should run along the baton, not around it. Lock the position of the baton with your little and ring fingers. Keep a loose hold with the rest of your hand. The baton should move slightly forward and backwards in your grip.
Target Areas
Here is a general rule to remember about baton strikes: aim for the extremities or the lower abdomen, depending on the technique you are using. You can expect to cause injury and may break bones, so care and control must be exercised to avoid serious injury. Small bones in the hand are particularly vulnerable to breaking. Remember, you only want to stop the threat. A strike to the hand is effective when the attacker has a weapon (other than a firearm) and intends to use it against you. Blows to the heavily muscled areas in the arms and legs are effective and may result in pain, numbness, and cramping, but do not usually cause serious damage. Main target areas are the extremities and the lower abdomen.
Arms (inner and outer biceps, elbows, wrists)
Lower abdomen (below the navel, avoid the groin)
Legs (thighs, shins, calves)
There are vital areas of the body that, when struck, may result in serious or fatal injury.
Vital areas of the body to avoid:
Blows to the head may cause blindness, deafness, unconsciousness, brain damage, or death. Head wounds may bleed profusely. Blows to the head are easily deflected and may result in loss of the baton to the attacker. If a blow lands in a certain spot, it may numb the attacker’s senses and make him more difficult to control. Also, this is the easiest area of the body for the aggressor to defend by ducking or dodging.
Blows to the back of the neck could fracture vertebrae and damage the spinal cord, causing paralysis or death. The side of the neck is where the jugular vein and carotid artery are located and if ruptured, could cause death. The trachea and larynx are located in the throat; if fractured or crushed they could rupture or collapse, causing serious injury or death.

The spine contains the central nervous system; blows may cause paralysis or death.
Blows to the tailbone may cause paralysis or death.
This area contains many vital organs including the heart, sternum, “xyphoid process” (which is an extension of the sternum), ribs, and solar plexus. Sharp blows to the chest could cause great bodily injury or death. Broken ribs could puncture vital organs.
The kidney and liver contain poisons that, if released from rupture, could cause death.
Clavicle/Collar Bone
Severe blows to these areas could cause paralysis or death.

Defensive Techniques
Drawing Techniques
When you are faced with a dangerous situation that requires drawing and possibly using your baton, the drawing method you choose may have an effect on the attacker and may determine whether the situation will escalate or de-escalate. You should attempt to let the suspect know that, although you have removed your baton to protect yourself, there is still room for talking. Drawing the baton in a threatening manner could end up with you facing criminal charges. Use the baton for defensive purposes only. Practice drawing over and over again until you no longer need to look at the baton in order to draw or secure the baton back in its holder.
There are two important things to remember when confronted with an adversary:
Eye Contact
You should become so familiar with the position of your baton that you do not need to look at it to remove it from or replace it. Your eyes should never leave your adversary.
Show of Competence
Becoming proficient in drawing the baton will show confidence that will be evident to the attacker. This may place them at a psychological disadvantage and may de-escalate the situation immediately. This is not intimidation. It is taking the advantage.

I’d like to emphasize the following concepts:

Proper balance and self control
Proper carrying, gripping and holding
Control of the baton from drawing to returning it to its holder

Position of the baton to effectively block and defend
Placement of the baton to non-vital areas of the body when striking

Blocking Techniques
The purpose of blocking is to stop an object from hitting you. The four areas of the body to protect are the head, the left and rights sides of the body, the chest and below the waist.
The baton should be angled and in a position to stop the object from hitting you and positioned where it can deflect the force of the blow where possible. Remember the vital areas of the body. While you are practicing, do not forget that you are aiming for the lower abdomen and extremities. Only use the amount of force reasonable for defense. Your goal is to stop the threat or get away from the threat.

Although there are a variety of batons on the market, they mostly come in the same type of design. Most are just over 2 feet when deployed, and have a small grip handle. By holding the baton parallel to your arm and twisting your wrist to swivel the baton, you’ll be in a good position to defend yourself against an attacker. One common way to temporarily disable an attacker is to use the baton to strike the attacker in the stomach with a stabbing motion, in order to knock the wind out of them, giving you enough time to get away and get help. Also the baton is commonly used to strike an assailant in the joints in order to incapacitate them for longer periods without using lethal force.
Law enforcement officers and others who have used batons have noted the following benefits to using a baton:
More inexpensive to acquire and maintain in comparison to tasers or stun guns
Flicking the baton makes a clicking noise similar to a gun, which often scares an assailant by the sound alone.
A simple flick of the wrist can seriously incapacitate an attacker
Batons can be a very inexpensive and effective means of defending oneself and fighting off an attacker. It is important to be able to get the proper training in order to use a baton effectively in order to stop an attacker without resulting to lethal force.

The baton is a good alternative to lethal force if used correctly. Unlike a gun, pepper sprays or some tasers, you must be close to your attacker to implement the weapon. This is a disadvantage.
Again, get trained and use the baton correctly. Also, know the laws where you live about carrying this weapon and carry responsibly and legally.

Semper Paratus


Monday, August 11, 2014

Mormons: Low Standards of Security-A Family Plan (3 of 3)

As was mentioned in the part 2 of this article, I believe every family should have a security plan. Now before the idea of this over whelms you, let me continue to explain.
In part 2 of this article we gave ideas for Home, Car, and Family security. We continue here:
Practicing COMSEC and OPSEC=FAMSEC (Communication security, operation security, family security)
Communication security. This is being careful about what you communicate. With social media and what information is available on the internet, COMSEC is more important than ever. (see blog Personal and Family Security, 5/15/2014)
Don’t get too much into any social media that you let down your guard. I even have to watch myself as I write this blog. I don’t use my or my family’s names. I don’t talk about where I live. I’m not specific about where I work. I’m even vague about my military service. I do this because of COMSEC. My wife and I even have a code for texting. I’ve also developed a code to communicate in written or text/email form that would need a key to break. Maybe a sophisticated computer may be able to break it but the average person or invading soldier could not make heads or tails of it.
Operations security. This is being private about what you do and how you do it. No one needs to know we have a generator. I’d rather keep that private even though I wouldn’t mind loaning it to someone in my Ward who really needed it. There are many things you’d probably rather no one, or a limited number of people knew you had or did. For instance. I know someone who takes care of some vending machines. This means they deal with large numbers of cash, mostly coins. This is something they don’t really want others to know. Certainly they would not want to let out the times they service those machines and are dealing with that cash.
This would include your habits. When do you leave the house? Which route do you take? Is it the same every day? Vary these things. Once in a while I will just take a different route to Church. My kids will say, “Here we go again!” Put variety in your comings and goings. Switch vehicles with your spouse or kids once in a while. Be spontaneous not predictable. Be private in your preparedness to a certain point. These things aren’t or don’t necessarily need to be secret, just limited knowledge. I’ve told this story before but it applies here.
I was driving to Wal-mart with my teen aged son one day. We were at a light behind a pick-up. I pointed out to my son what I could learn about that pick-ups owner. From the NRA sticker I knew he was pro-gun. From the Christian fish I knew where his religious leanings were. From his anti-Obama sticker I could guess his politics. From the Viet Nam vet sticker I could guess the man’s age. From the stick figure “family” stickers on his window I learned that he was married, with 3 daughters and 1 son. One of those kids went to a particular high school from another sticker. The truck was probably owned by a man (not necessarily though) but there was a woman driving alone. I told my son “There is waaay too much information on the back of that vehicle!” I have certain political ideas but I don’t broadcast them on my vehicle, as tempted as I have been before. Others knowledge of me should be very vague and unclear. I own several “Gun” t-shirts. I don’t wear them out very often. Maybe I’ll wear them to the range on occasion. I don’t need the world knowing that “bullets make me happy”, even though they do. In the military when traveling on commercial airlines we were told many years ago that we had to be in uniform id traveling for “official” reasons. That changed in the 1980’s. We were told to keep our military ID in our sock or hidden. We were told specifically in a security briefing to not wear a shirt with an American flag or slogan on it. This is OPSEC. By not bringing attention to ourselves as a member of the military, especially travelling out of the U.S., we were safer.
Now when I travel, I try to do the same. I don’t even wear shorts or flip-flops. I want long pants and shoes in case I have to exit the aircraft quickly. (I know, the paranoia is a sickness)
There are times when you need to be open and vocal about what you do and who you are. You pick those times. Don’t let a facebook page or the back of your vehicle dictate when that time is.
COMSEC and OPSEC constitute Family security.
Personal security. This is my favorite. Can you hear me giggle? Actually I just like guns. Personal security consists of many of the principles from the previous areas. One that I must emphasize, and I have before many times, is situational awareness. It’s so easy to be involved with talking with someone, or using your phone, or whatever distraction we can have nowadays, and let that distraction take our attention. Walking into a store, driving, at Church, in a restaurant, any number of public places we go we need to be aware of our surroundings. (see blog Yellow to Orange, 3/8/2014)
I believe in being well rounded in your personal defense. Be familiar with, and trained in, many disciplines and weapons. There are many weapons out there. Pepperspray, stun guns, tactical pens, batons, guns, knives, martial arts. All of these are things you can learn and be proficient in. Seek out the training. Use each weapon to match your situation. Some weapons are less lethal than others. Carry these weapons legally. You must check and know the laws where you live concerning these weapons and their use and carry.
Train with these things often. Seek out good training and trainers. I go to the range quite often and try to stay competent with a gun. I don’t take hand to hand training often enough. I have a friend who teaches this and I need to take advantage. I’ve taught some of these things but need to stay proficient myself. We tend to train if we like what we do. My wife is less enthused about her weapon but knows that practice is important. She doesn’t go to the range as much as I do. Develop a training program and stick to it changing it up occasionally.
How you carry yourself can be a deterrent. If you carry yourself with purpose and head held high that could be enough for a criminal to choose another victim.
Personal security is very important. It’s important to your family that you come home each night. Do not compromise your security with a false sense of security. We are blessed as members of the Church and we should be grateful and act accordingly. This does not mean we rely only on our Heavenly Father. He will take care of us after all we can do. Each family should take their security into their own hands.
I know I talk about material and temporal things here. But last but not least is living with the Spirit to guide you. I’ve been prompted away from an area or building or car because something there was not right. Some people call this you gut feeling. I am here to testify that it is the light of Christ or the Spirit protecting us. Use the Spirit in preparing and putting together your security plan. With God nothing is impossible. Preparing for bad times is something we should all be anxiously engaged in. We should be praying for the best and preparing for the worst.
Semper Paratus

Mormons: Low Standards of Security-A Family Plan (2 of 3)

As was mentioned in the part 1 of this article, I believe every family should have a security plan. Now before the idea of this over whelms you, let me explain.
Most of us have done more than one thing this past week having to do with security. Having a security plan only focuses your attention and helps you to look closer at what you do as a family. Have you ever asked someone to pick up your mail, or stopped your newspaper while on vacation? This is security. Have you developed a place to go in case of fire in your home? This is not only safety but security. Most of us practice this regularly.
I hope this list will help you to develop your own family security plan. (see blog Personal and Family Security, 5/25/2014)

Home security (see blog Home Security While You Are Away, 5/29/2014 and Defense in the Home: Home Invasion, 6/23/2014)
Check exterior doors to ensure locks work. Consider adding a lock. There are many striker plates and other ways of fortifying your doors. Choose a door that doesn’t have glass in it. Hopefully your home doesn’t have windows next to the door, but if it does, fortify that window so that it can’t be broken easily to access to the lock. If you drill a hole slightly larger than a large finishing nail in the back of your door, then place a finishing nail sticking out about ¼ inch so that it goes into the hole when it’s closed. This will keep the door in the frame even if the hinge pins are removed.
Check windows. Window locks are notoriously weak. There are simple things you can do depending on the design of your window. A dowel in the slide channel will keep it from opening. There are also locks that limit how much the window will open.
Lock out door electrical panels. If there is a way to lock your telephone box do so.
Keeps gates locked.
Lock sheds and attic entrances if you have access from outside your house.
If you have a freezer you keep outside, ensure it is locked for security and safety reasons.
Check vegetation around your home. Keep bushes trimmed especially under and around windows. Don’t give a burglar a place to hide. If you have tall bushes or shrubs, trim the bottom so someone hiding behind will be visible. If you live in a climate that will grow cactus, consider a cactus or other thorny vegetation under your windows.
Consider an alarm system and use it even when you are home.
Lock your doors when you are home.
When you are on vacation use timers for lights and a TV. Have someone collect mail and newspapers. Perhaps you could park a car in your driveway.
We have spare keys we have hidden in case we are locked out. These keys are not in an obvious place. We pull these keys when we are away for an extended period of time.
Keep blinds and curtains drawn especially at night.
Use peep holes and do not let anyone enter you haven’t confirmed should be there, or that you do not know.
If you buy a new big screen TV don’t leave the large box in front of your house near the trash can for all the world to know what you just purchased. In fact, don’t broadcast any expensive purchases in your trash. Use a shredder for any mail that has your account numbers, phone number, or other important information. (see blog Family Security: Talkin' Trash, 7/17/2014)
Hide or lock up items that you don’t use all the time that are or worth. Take pictures or video of your valuables. Write down serial numbers and use an engraver to etch information that will identify these items as yours. Get a safe or lock box for important papers and documents.
Use security lighting and a camera to keep surveillance on your property.
Have a safe room, a place you can go to call for help and defend if need be.
We have a weapon hidden in various places in our home. We have trained safety and the proper use of these weapons. The weapons are also kept away from little children if they should visit.
On our property we have created choke points to funnel vehicles or people so that we may defend our house if need be. There are little things you can do without creating a fortress looking home. Be creative and use large rocks, thorny vegetation, or hidden obstacles to keep vehicles from getting to close to your home. Set up some kill zones if you can.
Know the difference between cover and concealment. If possible, provide yourself some cover. (see blog What Cover Is and Is Not: Don't Die, 6/6/2014)
Car and Travel Security (see blog Avoiding a Carjacking, 5/28/2104)
Situational Awareness. For safety and security sake, be aware of what is going on around you. Lock you car when you are away from it and when you are in it. Don’t leave your keys. Hide valuables. Check the back seat before you enter a car even if you have locked it.
Avoid bad areas, but if you must go there, be aware and have a plan.
Windshield sun shields and window tint not only block the sun, but they can block prying eyes.
Have your keys in your hand when before you get to your car.
When driving avoid confrontation with other drivers. Be a courteous driver.
Don’t let yourself get boxed in by vehicles and be especially vigilant at stop lights.
If followed by a vehicle drive to a police station or fire station. Even a well lit and heavily populated area would be better. Do not go home.
When going into a gas station or store, look to see what is happening inside. Only go to places at night that are well lit and you are able to see into the front of the store.
Family Security
Train your family to be aware of their surroundings.
Train your family in self-defense. Choose a reality based training. Hand to hand, weapons, lethal and non-lethal should be included. You know you’re children and what they can handle and when. Make sure they have the maturity to use this training wisely.
With your children develop a security word that anyone not their parents must use to pick up or transport your children. This would only apply in an unusual circumstance. If you work out car pooling or other transportation for your kids, you need not use the security word.
Have a place to meet in case of fire near you home, and another place in case of disaster.
Have a emergency contact person or family away from your home and away from your state in case of disaster.
Your little children should know your name, phone number, and address.
Your children should know how to call 9-11 and what to say. Have emergency numbers along with your address near phones.
Practice fire and other evacuation drills occasionally in your home. It’s a good Family Home Evening lesson.
Have a 72 hour kit to bug out (evacuate) in case of disaster.
Be prepared to bug in, in case of disaster. Have preparedness items and food and water.
Share all these plans with your entire family. Explain that this plan is not to scare anyone, because if you are prepared you won’t fear. If this is a way of life, it won’t be a scary thing for children. Start small and work these things into your lives.
In the next installment we will finish this list and give some final thoughts.
Semper Paratus