Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Politics, Boy Scouts, And The LDS Church

Things have been happening in the United States. The Supreme Court is ruling from on high. Marriage is now legal for anyone of any sexual preference. That has brought gay rights to the forefront. The Boy Scouts of America allow boys who are gay to be in the Boy Scouts and now the National BSA has voted to let gay adults become leaders in Boy Scouts. The Church says it will have to discuss this in the coming weeks. I’ve thought a lot about this and will accept whatever the church decides. In some ways I want the Church to opt out. Before anyone thinks I’m a “homophobe” or am “racist” (racist..really?) Let me explain. I truly love the Boy Scouting movement. I love almost everything about Boy Scouting. I was involved with Scouting as a boy for 10 years. I’ve been a leader in Cub Scouting and Boy Scouting since 1986 even before my own boys were old enough to be Scouts. I have served as a Scout leader in every calling concerning Scouting on a ward level and now serve on the stake and BSA District level. I have several boys who are all Eagle Scouts except my last, who is working on his project. I love the duty to God foundation. I love the preparedness part and the camping part. I love the basis of the military that Lord Baden Powell loosely based Scouting on. I love the traditions involved and have loved serving the youth. I think now is the time for the Church to take a stand. Not only that, over half the membership of the Church does not have Scouting available to them. It’s time for something that I am confident is waiting in the wings that the Church has developed already as the activity arm of the Aaronic priesthood.
Boy Scouting will continue to cave under pressure and we will see other changes I predict. It is now time to take a stand and say no, we won’t believe the lies anymore. I had a little discussion about this very topic today on Facebook. I don’t usually do this on Facebook, I keep to myself (OPSEC!). But today I had to speak up. I don’t think it was a heated argument, but just an exchange of ideas. Mostly the discussion was led by my adult son, who happens to be a Scout leader and an Eagle himself. I was proud of the way he expressed himself and was immovable. He expressed many things that I feel. The BSA has changed their moral stance. He said he would not change his moral stance and would rather see the church leave Scouting. Others did not agree. I do agree and I see that the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree!
I’m also getting a little fed up with some of this tolerance thing. I’m intolerant with having to be tolerant of EVERYTHING! It’s not anger, but frustration with extreme prejudice. I am pretty much an easy guy to be around. I was a Bishop several years ago and that taught me tolerance and patience. My kids helped with the patience part too. But I know from my experience and background of military and shooting, I am more aggressive than some people like. I scare people with my “close and engage” attitude. My daughter is serving a mission. She has been confronting her own “demons” concerning that attitude that I seemed to teach her. She’s had to tone it down a little as she serves. I’m trying to keep mine in check but people are not making it easy. (Please know that when I talk in shooting terms, I would never harm anyone, or shoot anyone because they believe differently than I) Is that little disclaimer being politically correct enough? I just want to be clear.
Homosexuality is not a race, it’s a choice. I know there are many who will disagree with me, and I say argue away. My belief is that being gay is not “God given”. On the contrary, I believe it is manmade and world made. I don’t hate gay people, but I do not feel their lifestyle is anything but an attraction that has been given into. I think it can be controlled, although I have no real evidence of this other than what others have experienced. I’m not saying same sex attraction is easy to overcome, or even possible to overcome. I am not a health professional so these are just feelings that I have. I could be way off. I think we should not discriminate against anyone because of sexual orientation. But then again, why the heck do I even KNOW anyone’s sexual orientation?! Some gay people seem to let that orientation define them as a person. I don’t know why, but the whole world seems to need to know they are gay. Why would someone have the need to even tell someone what should be personal and private about themselves? “Proud to be gay” makes no sense to me. You can be happy and comfortable with who you are as a person, but what would compel you to make public something the rest of us really consider TMI (too much information!) Have you ever heard someone say they were proud to be straight? No, not really, unless it was in response to “gay pride”. I believe that the need to tell everyone is a sign that being gay is a choice. It is because of this need to outwardly tell the world that has people concerned. Does this mean that someone who is gay is going to teach this lifestyle to my children in school or the Boy Scouts? This is a valid concern for parents who don’t want their children exposed to this lifestyle as if it were desirable. A child should not be exposed to sexual attitudes their parents do not agree with. Children should be taught to love people for who they are. That’s what being proud of sexual orientation brings. It’s no different than other ideas parents may want to keep away from their impressionable kids. Parents should decide when and where this happens. So when gay people want to be leaders in Boy Scouts that is a concern for people who do not agree with that lifestyle. It’s not the person, but the idea. If you don’t agree with that concern fine, but don’t force your ideas on me either. Does the LGBT community have a tolerance for me? I don’t happen to agree with their beliefs. Am I now a “homophobe?” Ever hear of a “hetrophobe?” Am I now intolerant? I don’t think so, but I’m getting there. Treating people as we want to be treated is what I advocate. I’m starting to get to the point where I want to just say “Shut up will you!?” I’m sick of hearing about something that not only do I not agree with, but is something NO human should be discussing everywhere, all the time. Sex should be private and I believe sex is a sacred thing between a man and woman, lawfully married. That is my definition of marriage, and I believe God’s definition too. But even if you don’t agree with that definition, do I HAVE to know that you are a homosexual? Why? Should I treat someone different because of that announcement? What I want to say is simply “Shut the heck up!” Some people seem obsessed with talking about it and I grow weary of it. Incidentally, should a sexual orientation have a FLAG?!? There are people who don’t treat our nation’s symbol, Old glory, as well as the rainbow flag. Also, being homosexual and referring to yourself as part of a community, complete with initials, doesn’t legitimatize your sexual preference. I guess I should start referring to myself as part of the MSSP community. Mainstream straight sexual preference. That would be a little silly don’t you think? There really is not a “community”. Because you can get views up and down the spectrum from gay people. Why? Because they are human beings. Don’t let a group with initials speak for you. You have a voice, speak for yourself.
I don’t want to be intolerant. I don’t want to look at someone as different. I don’t want to not know how to treat someone because they have a different lifestyle as mine. I shouldn’t have to. Homosexuals are people. They like music and TV. They are just like you and me. They may have differences, but so do you and I. Just because those differences happen to be controversial doesn’t change the fact that two people can get along in spite of their differences. We do it every day. Straight people stop making someone’s sexual preference such an issue. Gay people stop being so offended if someone doesn’t agree with your lifestyle. I don’t agree with socialists either. And I don’t really want them teaching my kids in school because I don’t want their ideas coming through. Does that make me a “socialistphobe?”
I do go into “lock and load” mode when I hear the mainstream media (MSM) encouraging these attitudes. Yes there are idiots out there that call gay people names and act stupid. Do I need to see those exceptions of society? MSM thinks that all conservatives are like the above idiots. Just because I happen to be conservative doesn’t mean: 1. I’m republican, which I’m not, and 2. That I’m a rabid anti-whatever liberals are for. I don’t care for Democrats and I often have a hard time with Republicans. What I do want is this country to stop going away from values, morals, and standards. We have leaders who lie and then lie about lying. We have teachers and professors teaching things that parents do not want. Teaching professionals have an idea that they know better than parents. We have a government who are involved in way too much of our lives. Politicians and money run this country and not the people. Celebrities are treated like royalty because of their popularity and money. Why do I really care about the opinion of a second rate movie maker? Is he any more special than an architect or a checkout clerk? This country is a Republic and majority rules. So can we stop pandering and exalting minorities? I’m not talking about race. I’m talking about minority views. Let’s treat people well but it seems if a minority whines and cries loud and long enough, they get their way. That is not what this country is about. And who the heck ever said that life would be equal? Many people say “That’s not fair!” when they really mean “That’s not equal!” We are not equal and we never will be. Life will NEVER be equal! I don’t care how many laws we make. Quit acting like the sexes, the races, the thinking, the humans will ever be equal. I don’t think we would even be happy if all were. What we need is what is taught in D&C 121:41-42 & 45: “No power or influence can or ought to be maintained…
“…only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;
42 By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile
45 Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly;…”

We have a perfect checklist for how to treat everyone. If we all were really trying to live this way, I would be too and then I wouldn’t go into “lock and load” mode.
In the end I feel the BSA caved into someone’s agenda. I feel like they caved to political correctness. That makes me a little mad and sad. I don’t understand why a group such as the BSA cannot take a moral stand and it not be considered inclusive. Would I be upset if the KKK would not include me in their group? No, I don’t agree with their morals. If the BSA has morals that are not inclusive, why should they change them just to include some people? This reminds me of a church that changes because of public opinion. If I’m an anti-camper can I get the BSA to stop camping because I like everything else about the organization but camping and want to join? BSA allowed boys who are gay to be registered Scouts. I’m not entirely sure a 12 to 18 year old boy knows he’s gay, but there you go. They compromised their morals there and it was inevitable that gay leaders would follow. Allowing gay leaders is the second compromise. There will be other compromises because of social opinion. The BSA's National Executive Board has showed that it will change Scouting to suit anyone who whines and cries and takes them to court enough. It will happen again.
There is a Seinfeld episode where George turns down a girl who would have made him very happy. He calls himself “Costanza, Lord of the idiots.” Jerry and George are at a party that overlooks the street where the NY marathon is being ran. Several people are watching the race and one girl says to the runners as they go by “You’re all winners!” George looks over at her after he proclaims himself Lord of the idiots and says “…but suddenly a new contender has emerged…”
Reality is that we are not all winners. There is a winner of a race and many losers. That doesn’t mean that those who ran ARE losers in their lives, just of that race. Each of us have won and lost at many things in our lives. It will continue to be so. “You’re all winners” is a statement that tries to make us all feel better about losing. It is not teaching anyone how to lose. It’s not real. It does depict society as being “Lord of the idiots!” Trying to please every organization, race, group, or person is not only impossible, but not real. For some reason society thinks we should include everyone in everything. Nature is not inclusive. Fish don’t try to fly and birds don’t try to live under water. But some humans think that to be happy, equal, and fair, we should include everyone. This kind of idiocy should stay on Seinfeld because it is truly funny because it’s so exaggeratedly untrue.
Again, I love Boy Scouting and I would hate to see it leave the LDS Church. But this organization thinks it’s grown up and ready to be like society. I say let it go and try to compete with the world.
Semper Paratus


Looks like the BSA dodged another bullet. The Church is keeping it's affiliation. I still think the BSA will receive more pressure and give in more and more. Eventually the Church will find it impossible to be affiliated with a group that promotes what the Church has said is wrong. I hope the BSA does not cave, but by their past record I don't have a lot of confidence.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Color Code: Always Stay In Yellow

Each of us lives in different places with different environments. I live outside a small town that isn’t really known for crime, although there is some. I have a friend who lives in a metropolitan city with lots of crime. Each of you should do an honest assessment of where you live and work. I used to live in Arizona and lived outside of Phoenix. I worked in a few places on the South side of Phoenix which, at that time, was pretty rough. I knew that I did not stop unless I had to. I would generally not be there after the sun went down and even in daytime I’d stick to the main roads. I knew the convenience stores that would be prone to being robbed and those that were not. I’d go to work and then hit the freeway and get out of there as expeditiously as possible. I’d make sure my tires were good and my gas tank was full because I didn’t want to stop for anything.
If you know any law enforcement in the area you could ask them where you should and should not go, especially after dark. Or you could just stop a police officer that you see and ask him about the area. Tell him or her where you work and about the neighborhood. Law enforcement can tell you the troubled spots, stores, parks, and other areas you should stay away from.
More than good intel, you need to have your head on a swivel at all times. Be aware of what is going on around you. Practice good situational awareness. Keep your nose out of your cell phone or tablet. Watch people and constantly be going through the OODA loop.
This is what we do all the time whether we know it or not. The most important parts of the OODA Loop is Observe and Act. If you are observing, you’re practicing good situational awareness. (see blog Situational Awareness: The OODA Loop in Action, 1/27/2015 and The OODA Loop-Combat Concept, 3/20/2014)
In review the Cooper Color Code is:
Condition White
You feel secure, whether or not you are actually safe.
Condition Yellow
You are cautious. You should spend most of the time in this state.
You have a 360-degree peripheral awareness of such environmental danger spots as secluded doorways, entries, and alleys.
Condition Orange
You are in danger. You are aware of a potential threat.
Specific alert. A possible target has been identified. A particular situation that has drawn your attention and could present a major problem. Someone may be giving oral indicators such as direct threats or using suspicious language. Focus on the potential attacker.
Condition Red
You are in conflict.
Fight or flight. Flee, defend, or attack. You have evaluated the situation, and if there is a threat, you prepare to fight or run.
In this day and age in the United States of America I believe all people should be in Condition Yellow. It’s not a state of paranoia, but a state of awareness and readiness. If more people were in this state, there may be less crime. Or at least they would better off.
Most criminals have patterns as do most humans. Criminals will do what has worked before. But if you appear alert and aware of them they will probably alter their target selection. Why go after someone who sees you coming when you can have surprise on your side. Most criminals don’t put much into their “plan” to rob. If you see them down the road and divert your path or at the very least watch them closely as you get closer, this gives you time to prepare rather than just react. If you feel threatened and you are armed, you can have your hand on your weapon. Just remember that often distance is your friend.
Situational awareness is also effective for terrorist attacks. If you are aware of your environment it easier to see things that are wrong. Or you may see something coming.
At the least situational awareness could help you to see and avoid, an accident.
Being in Yellow will become a mindset and an everyday thing as you practice it and help others to look for it too. My family are so tired of me switching seats with them at a restaurant so that I can see the door. When they call me on it I always say, “You want the one who’s armed to be able to see the front door and as many exits as possible, don’t you?” I think sometimes it’s a game that they play with me just to see if I’ll do it every time. I didn’t pick that seat one time and my wife called me on it. I told her, “Well you are armed tonight aren’t you?” I noticed she wore her weapon that night, she doesn’t always. She said, “Yes”. I said, “Then tonight you have that responsibility of being aware.” She said later that by pointing out that she was armed and in the right position, this made her more aware of every one coming in the restaurant.
Being in Yellow means you watch as you are approaching a store of who is “lurking” outside. It means you scan the convenience store to see what it looks like before you go in. It means you take note of the parking lot of that same convenience store as you go in so you know what’s different when you come out. It means that you don’t let anyone in your home door if you aren’t expecting them or don’t know them. It means you’re careful about what you put on the internet. It means you know where your children are and who they are with at all times. It means that you avoid dark alleys and deserted parking lots. You use common sense and you are scanning and assessing all the time. It’s not an obsession, but a mindset.
Really the only time you are in White is when you are asleep and even then you are only unaware.
I sincerely hope no one ever need use this state of awareness to fight or flight, but if you did need it, I would be glad you decided to practice Always In Yellow!

Semper Paratus
Check 6

Family Security: Preparedness In Home Security

There’s a study out on private citizens and their self-defense with guns. It’s a pretty old survey but I’ve never seen one like it. Here are my thoughts on this study. I’ve expressed my ideas about study’s in this blog entry (see blog Myth of Gun Surveys and Studies 6-16-2014.) So take all this with a grain of salt. Even though this survey was from the NRA Journals “Armed Citizen” column.
The survey was taken from 1997-2001 and is based on 482 incidents. All involved the use of a firearm by a private citizen. I’d like to see a more recent study because I think there are many more people protecting themselves now than there were in 2001. 2001 was the year of 911. 911 changed everything concerning self-defense and the use of guns. Concealed carry has sky rocketed and so I think this study would be different. But this survey is interesting.
Most of these incidents were in the home (52%), no surprise there. The next most common place was business (32%).
Average number of shots fired by the defender was 2. But if was more than 2 it appears that the defender emptied their weapon. Handguns were used in 78% of the incidents as opposed to long guns at 13%. The most common caliber of bullet was in the .35 caliber family, .38, .357, 9mm at 61%. .380’s and below were used 23% with .40 and above used 15% of the time.
What was quite interesting was the shooting distance these incidents took place. The majority of these incidents took place at arms-length. Any caliber can be deadly at this distance. The most common responses of criminals upon being shot were to flee immediately or to die. With few exceptions, criminals ceased their advances immediately upon being shot. This shows that sometimes one shot will stop the threat. Even small caliber guns displayed a significant degree of immediate lethality (30% immediate one shot kills) when employed at close range. Many criminal actors vocally expressed their fear of being shot when the defender displayed a weapon. Defenders also communicate with their attackers before shooting.
In these incidents reaction time was rarely what is talked about (“Seconds” reaction time). More common was the attacker acted more like a shark slowly circling and alerting their intended victims. Defenders usually had time to get to a weapon, often in another room.
I think this study is pretty good because it was taken from actual news stories rather than data that could be manipulated or engineered questions put to survey takers. I don’t know how many stories may have been missed that might have changed the conclusions of this survey, but if these numbers are indeed an accurate depiction of what is going on, then our training should change.
Having read “The Armed Citizen” for years I know that these stories represent people defending themselves at home, at work, and even on the street. The concern here in my opinion is that most of the stories talk about home defense. Home is usually where we feel safest and are more often in Condition White.
(see blog Yellow To Orange, 3/8/14). I don’t know how accurate this survey is but I think it’s a good reason to fortify our homes as much as possible and be wary of anyone at your door. Arm yourself and your family and make sure your entire family knows how to deal with someone trying to invade your home. A safe room is also a good idea. (see blog Family Security Plan Part 1: Home security, 9/10/2014)
The worst we could do is ignore this survey. Panic should not be our watchword, but preparedness. It starts with not hiding your head in the sand and coming to grips with the odds. The odds are, you will never need to defend your home. The problem is, there is always a chance you will. Will you take the chance that “it will never happen to me”? Preparedness is the answer.
Semper Paratus
Check 6

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Happy 24th of July!

Happy 24th!  This is the day that we celebrate as Pioneer Day.  The day that the Saints, Mormon pioneers, arrived in the Salt Lake valley.  Why is this special?  Because Mormons finally found a home though there would still be some oppression for the Saints the "worst" of it was left in the east.  I believe the church and the Saints have yet to see their worst oppression.  The last days are said to be here but I'm not sure we've experienced real oppression yet.  We must remain vigilant. 
This is truly a day to celebrate.  My ancestors came across the plains and survived and thrived. I appreciate the legacy we as members enjoy.

Semper Paratus
Check 6

Friday, July 24, 2015

Concealed Carry and Open Carry: Which?

Many people know I’m a gun guy and an instructor. They too are interested in guns so the question they ask is not in an anti-gun way. “What do you think of open carry?”
This is a question I don’t like to answer because I don’t want to discourage any self-defense with guns. I believe open carry does keep guns and their use in the public eye. I also think open carry is a right given us by the constitution.
When I answer the above way, the usual next question is a variation of “Would/Do you open carry?”
I can only think of a few times I’ve felt the need to open carry. One was in camping situations where we were so far in the back woods where we didn’t even see trash. You know you’re a long way away from people when you don’t see one scrap of paper or plastic trash. I felt I needed to protect myself and those who were with me from wildlife. Some places wildlife is not so afraid of you because they have never encountered a human. Other times I’ve open carried was on private property. I don’t think I’ve ever open carried in public without wearing a military uniform. Would I ever open carry in public? I might.
I believe in concealed carry anywhere and everywhere. In church? Yes. In a courtroom? Yes. In school? Yes. In a bar? Well that’s a tough one for a Mormon to answer. Probably not. So I guess I amend my previous statement. I’m also unusual as a gun nut because I am pro-licensing of any carry. Licensing will help to weed out those undesirables access to a gun. Background checks don’t really work but at least a license usually has you take some training. Also it makes you spend money on this right, limiting who would pay for the license, pay for the training, not to mention the cost of the gun and ammunition. Money does limit a weapons license to someone willing to commit a little money and time to carrying a gun. I know that some would argue with me, but this is what I feel. I taught many people how to shoot. In that time I’ve noticed some pretty bad habits and some bad misconceptions about guns and shooting. Hollywood and the ignorant mainstream media have managed to mis-educate Americans in a big way. Without proper verification of being taught correctly, we would have some dangerous people armed out there. I just think they should hear gun safety from someone who knows at least once. Even though that does not ensure anything. It’s not revenue that we need from licensing or control, but safety is my concern. Back to open carry.
Open carry does very little to keep America safe in my opinion. Some say it’s a deterrent. That may be, but I don’t want to be the sitting duck decoy out there trying to deter the less hardened criminal. Because a criminal with nothing to lose is not going to care that someone else has a gun. He or she will just appreciate the identification of a law abiding citizen that they have to take out first. Maybe open carry has it’s place, but I’m not sure where that is and I don’t want to be the one to find out.
Constitutional carry is something I can agree with, yet I am torn because of the lack of responsibility I see in concealed carry holders. My problem is that too many people go through the training, get their license, then never shoot again. We ll, maybe once or twice a year. Then they end up shooting a bad guy, AND two bystanders because they couldn’t find the time to practice and stay proficient. I know through my own experience that shooting is a perishable skill. I go to the range 2-3 times a week. That takes time and money. But if I get busy and end up shooting once or twice in a two week period, I can see my skills diminishing. There have been times when I went two weeks without shooting at all and when I go back I can hit the 12 inch circle, but the shots are all over the place. Some people would say that’s fine, you can stop a threat with that. Add to all over that 12 inch circle some stress and other than optimum shooting conditions, then you have a recipe for a disaster.
I have a co-worker who has his license, bought a S&W shield, great gun, but admits that he has never shot the weapon. Yet he carries it. WOW! Talk about a false sense of security! It boggles my mind. He is a military veteran so he has been trained in weapons. But to “hope” that new gun will work is just nuts! I love Smith and Wesson and think they make a superior weapon, but there is always a chance of failure. Not only that, this is the only sub compact this guy has ever owned. He’s never shot a sub. I hope all works out and he is able to defend himself and his loved ones.
Please, I beg of you… if you have a concealed carry license, practice. Carry all the time and practice.
Now, I’m not completely convinced that concealed is the way to go. Open carry has its virtues. I wonder if a criminal wants to surprise me with presenting a weapon at close range, regardless of the weapon, if I would have time and space to present my gun and stop the threat. Would a 1911 on my hip deter the criminal into picking another target? I’m not sure. So, I’m certainly not against open carry and would love to see it the law of the land in every state. I’m just not sure it’s what I need for my defense. I’m not sure what it would take to sway me, but at the moment I live in a state that will let you do both.
And so the great gun debates continue:
AR or AK?
9mm or .45?
Obama or Any other breathing person except for Hillary/A doorknob?
Open or Concealed?
Whatever you decide is right for you, practice, practice, practice. Be effective not dangerous.

Semper Paratus
Check 6

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Field Medicine: Tourniquets

Tourniquets and how to use them have come a long way from when I was a Boy Scout. They were always passed over a little as a “last resort” treatment. That has changed. We learned a lot of things in Iraq and Afghanistan. We learned that bleeding out was going to be the most common cause of death if we didn’t change our minds about tourniquets. There is some controversy on the use of tourniquets and so what I will give you here is my own opinion. This opinion is from 2 combat medics with several tours under their belts. The other from a combat Doc. Combined these three have 12 tours in combat zones. As with all things, this is only their, and my, opinion. This is not medical advice.
I am not sure that there is a consensus about their use but here is my opinion about tourniquets in remote and hostile environments.
1. Learn how to use one and practice with it.
2. Apply to stop bleeding not controlled by well-aimed direct pressure.
3. Use something wide and firm (but not hard) that can apply pressure evenly all the way around. The pressure should be sufficient to stop bleeding. Make sure that it is in good shape and not a knock-off.
4. Place proximally (upstream) and as close to the wound as possible.
5. Don’t release in the field if the patient is in shock, has an amputated limb, or has a wound site that cannot be monitored for re-bleeding.
6. For a long evacuation, wait an hour before trying to release it. If bleeding starts again, re-secure. Note the time and leave it in place until definitive care is reached or arrives.
7. Under dangerous circumstances, one may be applied before a thorough evaluation is possible. These should be applied to the proximal thigh or arm if there is any question about the location and/or number of wounds. Carefully check the wound when it is safe and feasible. As indicated, leave, reposition, or release it or add a second one proximally.
Remember that this is first aid. You would only do this as a last resort if you don’t have experience with it. As with anything in medicine, nothing works 100% of the time.
The following is directly from these 3 heroic warriors:
“A good tourniquet ought to be soft (but not mushy) and wide. Within limits, wider is better. To be effective, the circumferential pressure needs to be sufficient to stop bleeding. A sphygmomanometer (BP cuff) might be ideal except that they usually will not maintain adequate pressure for a long enough period of time. They and similar devices are also bulky and fragile. The gauges break easily and the fabric, bladder and tubes are vulnerable to sharp objects. Cordage, like a rope or 550 cord (parachute), is not a good choice either because of the potential for direct skin and neurovascular injury.”
There are a variety of more serviceable versions. Two of them, the CAT (combat application tourniquet) and SOFTT (special operations forces tactical tourniquet), have worked reasonably well in combat. They are compact, inexpensive and easily applied, even by the patient. Their advantages are a tradeoff for effectiveness.”
One needs to have enough remaining limb to hold the tourniquet. I have heard intelligent people argue that they should never be applied to forearms and legs (lower). Generally, I disagree and experience would seem to bear that opinion out. They should be applied as close to the wound as possible. When circumstances prevent a proper assessment for location and number of wounds, some recommend using only the proximal arm (upper) and/or thigh as default positions.”
If limb bleeding will not stop, especially with a thigh, another applied in parallel, proximally, may help. Stay off joints. Controlling junctional (e.g., in the groin) bleeding remains problematic.”
How long 1:
People fear tourniquets because prolonged use can lead to neurovascular damage and tissue death. We know that tissue death from impaired circulation can occur in as little as two hours. We also know that tourniquets have been left on for over 16 hours without any notable harm.
Releasing a tourniquet has its own risks and there are circumstances where removal never makes sense. These later would include limb amputation, shock, the inability to monitor the wound or continued bleeding. Intermittently releasing them to temporarily restore circulation has been reported to lead to unrecognized, ongoing blood loss and patient death. On a long evacuation, if the conditions seem otherwise safe, waiting 1 hour before attempting a removal seems like a reasonable time interval. If bleeding starts again, re-secure, note the time and leave it in place.
Improper application is an important cause of failure. They can also fail when they breakdown from environmental exposure or from poor construction (e.g., older version knockoff). Always check your equipment before heading out and replace anything questionable. Practice with any tool before you need it for a real emergency.
There are plenty of good resources online that cover step-by-step application and the identification of knockoffs (e.g., date printed on webbing, red tip on the end of webbing).”
How Long 2:
You want keep the TQ on tight until the medics get there. Recent studies have shown that you can safely leave a TQ applied for up to 6-8hrs. After that time-frame, tissue starts to break down and becomes necrotic or "dead tissue". The problem with that is those dead cells become toxic and can wreak havoc on the rest of the healthy body/cells. So if we loosen up that TQ and allow blood back to that limb; we run the risk of circulating those toxins throughout the body. Not to mention the fact we also run the risk of circulating small blood clots as well. And that is bad.

The debate on releasing it or keeping it tight after 6-8hrs is still ongoing even with high level healthcare providers. Now as a healthcare provider, they can assess the patient taking in consideration their vitals, level of consciousness, environment, ETA to appropriate healthcare facility, the severity of the wound itself, available resources (equipment & personnel), and other factors to determine if loosening or removing the TQ is the best procedure at that time. No matter if that time is before or after that 6-8hr window.

We're not so much worried about "losing the limb" as we are about losing the entire patient.”
Using a tourniquet has saved countless lives but use wisdom in using one. Make sure you know how and then get quality tourniquets. This is what I took from this information. It sounds like this technique is making a comeback and has made a large difference in saving lives. What I like about this is that there is plenty of real experience backing up the use of a tourniquet. I would consider good, quality tourniquets for your bug out bags and first aid kits.
Semper Paratus
Check 6

Travel Security: Flying With A Weapon

I don’t usually do a lot of travelling. I mean, I leave town often enough, but to actually get on a plane maybe once a year. “I’ve already figured out the flying with a gun” thing. It’s really quite simple but check with the airline you fly on for their procedures and policies. I'll cover that later.
I know that airports and airlines have their own security but here are some other things to think about when flying, going by bus or train.
Think about how you look. Like any other public place you want to blend in. Don’t wear something that may single you out or make you stand out. While in the military, we were briefed often about flying on commercial airlines and this is what we were told also. Don’t stand out and don’t look like military personnel.
As you prepare for a flight remember that you should dress appropriately. I know it’s a hassle taking off your shoes to go through security and you’re tempted to wear flip flops or sandals but don’t. If for any reason you need to evacuate that aircraft you should have on good shoes. I would recommend long pants over shorts as well. If the aircraft actually crashes, which is quite a slim chance, you need to be dressed better as a survivor. But what could more than likely happen, there could be an emergency where the plane would need a quick egress. If you were in a field somewhere it would be nice to have on long pants and good shoes. Don’t wear any T-shirts with “controversial” sayings or even military or law enforcement logos. I say this not to be politically correct, but for your safety. If your aircraft happens to be involved in a high-jacking or an attempted criminal activity, you don’t want to be singled out by your attire. The military used to make their members travel in uniform. That is no longer the case. I also make sure I have a belt on my pants to not only hold up my pants, but as an emergency tourniquet or other device. When I was in the military not only did I dress to blend in when I flew, I put my ID card in my sock.
I would suggest going through your purse or wallet and only carrying what you need. I bought a small wallet that I could put around my neck on a chain for additional security. I only would bring what I need. I would suggest:
1 credit card
No social security card.
Passport, if out of country
1 form of identification, probably a driver’s license (if you’re travelling with a weapon don’t forget your concealed carry license)
As little information as possible.
Some cash
Often I will travel with two wallets. One around my neck with the above items and the bulk of cash. I have prepared what is called a “mugger’s wallet.” This is a disposable wallet that you can be happy to give up in the event you’re robbed. It contains:
Non-essential identification. (If you choose)
Fake credit cards
Empty gift cards
Old membership cards (possibly, if there is not too much info on the card)
A little cash (I keep it under $10 in 1’s and a 5)
I use an old worn wallet so it looks authentic.
When you receive credit card offers in the mail often these offers have a plastic card. You decide if you want to use the ones with your actual name on them. Unless you look real close, some of these offer cards look like a credit card,
Beside the neck pouch, there are ankle pouches, and money belts. Explore these items to see what works for you.
Sometimes I may fly to a city or state that has no reciprocity with the state I have my weapons license from. In those cases I fly with a tactical pen. It can even be taken with your carry-on bags. Now that I’ve said that let me give a caveat to it. If you decide to take a tac pen in your carry-on bags be prepared to lose it. I’ve flown with a pen and have known many people who have, but there is always the chance that it could be singled out and confiscated. So make sure it’s not a $85 pen that you can’t part with. There are some good tac pens out there for $10 or less. So be aware.
Firearms can be in checked baggage but must be declared. The rules are the gun cannot be loaded, and must be in a locked hard case. I would keep the magazines out of the weapon and unloaded.
From the TSA’s website:
“It’s important to know that even if an item is generally permitted, it may be subject to additional screening or not allowed through the checkpoint if it triggers an alarm during the screening process, appears to have been tampered with, or poses other security concerns. The final decision rests with TSA on whether to allow any items on the plane. Also, please note that some dangerous items below are illegal in certain states and passengers will be subject to state law. It is a passenger’s responsibility to be aware that origination and destination cities may have local laws prohibiting the possession of these items.”
As of April 2015, no knives are permitted in carry-on baggage. Lighters are not even approved unless in a specific container.
Also from the TSA website:
“Small arms ammunition, including ammunition up to .75 caliber and shotgun shells of any gauge- Check with your airline or travel agent to see if ammunition is permitted in checked baggage on the airline you are flying. Small arms ammunitions for personal use must be securely packaged in fiber, wood or metal boxes or other packaging specifically designed to carry small amounts of ammunition. Ask about limitations or fees, if any, that apply.”
I like the plastic cases used for reloading. I don’t know what “small amounts of ammunition” means to the TSA. It’s pretty vague. I would take only 50 rounds or so. Knives should have some type of sheath. I would follow these rules to the letter and beyond their standard so there is no question about your desire to comply.
There is a “download/print” button on the firearms and ammunition page. I would print out that page to have with you if there is a problem. At the bottom of each page is a “Last revision” date to see how current the site is.
Flying with a weapon is not really a problem as long as you follow the rules.
Travelling even outside of this country can be tiring but if you follow these suggestions it can be a safe and secure mode of travel. For bus and train rules consult the line you are travelling with.
Semper Paratus
Check 6

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Remember the Mormon Battalion

The Mormon Battalion, the only religious unit in the American military, was active in 1846-1847, serving in the Mexican-American War. Their long march from Council Bluffs, Iowa to San Diego, California, was instrumental in securing a route through the western territories being fought over, including what became the Gadsden Purchase of 1853.
The Battalion was authorized by President James Polk in 1846 to march west and join Colonel Stephen Kearney, Commander of the Army of the West, to help him fight in the Mexican-American War. Captain James Allen was put in charge of raising the battalion from the Mormon population in Iowa. The enlistment of men into the Mormon Battalion was the first case of government aide to the Mormon people.
The battalion left Council Bluffs, Iowa on July 20, 1846, in a group that contained officers, enlisted men, women, and children. In August they stopped to outfit the expedition in Fort Leavenworth. The heat, malnutrition, and poor medical care they suffered made the march to Santa Fe extremely harrowing. The group, including some women, left Santa Fe, New Mexico in October 1846, and was guided by Jean-Baptiste Charbonneau, the son of Sacagawea, the Shoshone guide for the Lewis and Clark expedition. The battalion chased Mexican soldiers out of Tucson, Arizona, were attacked by wild cattle in the “Battle of the Bulls,” crossed the Colorado River into present-day California on January 9th and 10th, 1847, crossed Imperial County in January, and finally passed through Temecula, California, ending their march at the Mission in San Diego on January 29th, 1847. While the battalion was officially mustered out in July 1847, some men reenlisted in the Mormon Volunteers, a group that helped to open the first southern wagon route between Utah and California in 1848.
Each soldier was issued the following: 1 Harpers Ferry smoothbore musket, 1 infantry cartridge box, 1 cartridge box plate, 1 cartridge box belt, 1 bayonet scabbard, 1 bayonet scabbard belt, 1 bayonet scabbard belt plate, 1 waist belt, 1 waist belt plate, 1 musket gun sling, 1 brush and pike set, 1 musket screwdriver, 1 musket wiper, 1 extra flint cap. Each company was also allotted 5 sabers for the officers, 10 musket ball screws, 10 musket spring vices, and 4 Harpers Ferry rifles.
This 1816 musket model was produced from 1816 until 1844 by Harpers Ferry, Springfield Armory and various other contractors. The 9-1/2 pound musket had the highest production of any US Flintlock musket and was the last flintlock martial arm to be produced. In total, all US government productions of the M1816 were 325,000 muskets produced at Springfield, Massachusetts and 350,000 muskets produced at Harper's Ferry in addition to 146,000 produced by other contractors. It served the US Army over 50 years and in two major armed conflicts. It saw service in the Mexican war in its flintlock version and in the US Civil War in both flintlock and percussion versions.
The Mormon battalion was created on July 16, 1846. After the long, harrowing march many of the members of that battalion became close to Brigham Young and leaders in the church. I had relatives in this battalion and am proud of the service these brave souls rendered to a country that at times seemed bent on exterminating Mormons from its borders. I recognize the accomplishment of these pioneers and their commitment to the Church. They also carried what was state of the art weapons of the time. It was their “assault weapon”.

Semper Paratus
Check 6

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Training: Jeff Cooper's Drills

I love and respect Jeff Cooper. Who is Jeff? If you’ve read a lot here at LDS Gunsite you would know. But briefly: Jeff Cooper is recognized as the father of what is commonly known as "The Modern Technique" of handgun shooting, and considered by many to be the world's foremost expert on the use and history of small arms. Born John Dean Cooper, but known to his friends as "Jeff", Cooper was a former Marine Lt. Colonel who served in World War II and in Southeast Asia during the Korean War. In addition to his expertise in firearms, he was a history instructor, philosopher, adventurer, and author. He is also known as "the Guru." In 1976 Cooper founded the American Pistol Institute (API, also known as "Gunsite") in northern Arizona to train law enforcement and military personnel, as well as law-abiding civilians. He sold the firm in 1989 but continued living on the ranch. He was well-known for his cogent and thoroughly researched advocacy of large caliber handguns for personal defense, especially the 1911 Colt. This website is a play on words but named in honor of API’s new name Gunsite.
As I’ve said before I had the opportunity of meeting Jeff in San Antonio, Texas while receiving training in the military. I didn’t know him real well, only by name, reputation and as an instructor. But I have read most of what he has written and I did get to visit with him several times between classes over those two days. I liked his style of teaching and his logical approach to shooting.
Here are some of his favorite drills.
The Cooper Drills
These drills were related in Jeff’s “C Stories” as what he believes a good pistol shot should be able to do. All hits must be in the “5” zone of the target. All stages shot from a condition of concealed carry.
7 yards - 1 target. Draw and fire 1 round (1 second). Repeat 5 times.
10 yards - 3 targets. Facing away from the targets, pivot, draw, and fire 1 round on each target (3 seconds). Repeat for a total of six rounds.
50 yards - 1 target. Draw and fire 1 round (3 seconds). Repeat 5 times.
As an alternative, shoot each stage only once on a given day, and shoot it on 3 different days - cold. No practice allowed.
The El Presidente drill requires three silhouette targets set in a line, with three yards between the targets. The shooter starts ten yards uprange from them, facing AWAY from the targets, his (or her) hands above his shoulders in a “surrender” position.
At the start signal (this is a timed drill), the shooter turns toward the targets, draws his weapon from concealment, and shoots each target twice. The shooter then performs a reload (spare magazines/speedloaders also concealed) and re-engages each target with two rounds.
While relatively simple, the El Presidente requires every skill you need if you are to be considered competent with a handgun when it comes to self-defense—the draw and a reload, both from concealment, movement (the turn), and engagement of multiple targets. Cooper considered par on this drill a perfect score in ten seconds, back when most everyone shooting it was using .45 ACP 1911s.
The only way to become competent at shooting and weapon manipulation is practice, and that practice should include drills (live fire as well as dry fire). Sure, there are hundreds of drills out there which will help you train and attain and maintain proficiency with a weapon, but the El Presidente was the first modern “combat” drill, and it is still useful and relevant today.
The 10 yard part of the first drill is similar to the El Presidente.
El Presidente combines several skills: turning, drawing, shooting accurately and quickly and reloading. It epitomizes the need for balancing accuracy, power and speed—Diligentia Vis Celeritas as it is often cited at Gunsite. According to Ed Head, the operations manager at Gunsite, "Cooper felt anyone capable of performing this drill on demand, with a suitable carry pistol, achieving a score of 45 or better, was probably an expert with their firearm and carry gear. Some professional shooters are capable of shooting this drill on large steel targets in four or five seconds. I have never seen anyone do it properly, that fast, with a good score on paper targets—the-way we still do it at Gunsite."
As an interesting side note, Head said he can remember Cooper riding his three-wheeler down to the range while a group of students ran through this drill. He would say, "Ed, they aren't doing it right." Cooper had been listening to the cadence of the shots being fired from up at his house. According to Cooper, properly done, it should sound like six evenly spaced shots, a pause for the reload and six more evenly spaced shots. Not three separate double-taps with a reload pause, then three more distinct double taps.
We miss Jeff but his philosophy and teaching lives on.
Semper Paratus
Check 6

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Choosing Home Defense Ammunition

Someone new to self-defense and concealed carry asked me one time what ammo to buy. Then almost in the same breath asked what ammo I use. That’s an easy question to answer if you shoot like I shoot and defend your home in the same way that I do and have the same type of home as I do and the same number of people in your home as I do. As you can see, there are many factors to consider. Not only that, there are a myriad of types and designs of ammunition on the market.
Let’s start with nomenclature. Most Handgun and rifle ammo is classified by diameter of the bullet or caliber. The slug that leaves the gun. This is measured in decimals of an inch or millimeters. The cartridge consists of the bullet, the case, powder, and primer.
Most handgun defense ammunition is a jacketed hollow point or JHP. This is a lead core, jacketed bullet with a cavity in the front. This causes the bullet to mushroom when it hits the target. This both to causes more damage in a person and slows down penetration to keep the bullet contained. A full metal jacket or “ball” or FMJ bullet has a lead core with a metal jacket. This will penetrate through a person, the wooden wall behind them, and beyond. That’s why it’s not desirable for defense. The penetration you want in defense ammo is at least 12 inches but no more than 18 inches with the appropriate JHP and bullet weight, measured in grains or gr. Heavier bullets will penetrate more.
Rifle ammunition is different in that a hollow point referred to as open tip match or OTM is not designed to expand in the way that pistol ammunition does. It might do so in some cases but the shape is simply the result of a process intended to make bullets as uniform and precise as possible. Bullet weight is similar considering penetration though.
Shotgun ammunition is a little different in that it usually has several projectiles. It is measured in gage which means the smaller the number the larger the projectile. Contrary to common beliefs, bird shot will not penetrate like heavier shot even at close ranges. The tests have been done and at least #4 buckshot should be used for home defense. Ideally 00 buckshot is what I would recommend. #4 buck shot (there is a #4 birdshot also which is considerably smaller) is .24 caliber where 00 is .32 caliber. In a 1 1/8 shell #4 will have 24 pellets in it and 00 will have 9. But remember, weight has everything to do with penetration. #4 buckshot weighs 20.5 grains, where 00 buckshot weighs 54 grains in the same shell. If all I had was #4 I’d be satisfied but if I have a choice, and I do, I will take 00 buckshot.
There certainly is a lot of gimmick ammunition available on the market and many of them make fantastic claims. Most of these sensationalist claims are false, of course and the gimmick ammunition usually involves some degree of fragmentation. Fragmentation is desirable in a rifle bullet, if minimum penetration standards can still be met but it is not desirable in a pistol bullet. Fragmentation typically results in poor penetration for handgun bullets, but even if they did reach the 12” mark, tiny separate wound tracks do not contribute substantively to the ability of the projectile to incapacitate at handgun velocities.
Fragmentation is useful at rifle velocities because the tissue is stretched so far that those tiny fragments can cause the stretched tissue to tear. The cavity produced by a handgun bullet is much smaller and no significant tearing can be achieved. The short of it is that extraordinary claims should be taken with a grain of salt and you would be well advised to stay away from gimmick ammunition.
Let me be very clear. When you use a firearm to defend yourself or others, you intend to cause grievous bodily harm to another human being and potentially kill them. While that is not something that should be taken lightly, if you are not prepared to kill a person, you should reconsider your decision to use a firearm for defense.
Of course, the intent is not to kill. You are not a sociopath and you do not want to harm a person if you can avoid it. The objective is to stop the threat, but when you damage a person’s body to the extent that they are physically incapable of violence, there is also a strong possibility that they will not survive. This is an unpleasant thought, but one that you must be comfortable with if you intend to use a firearm for defense.
The intent of this article is to help you choose ammunition for defense. Ammunition is not going to be the “magic bullet” (no pun intended) that will stop the threat. The biggest thing that determines if a threat will be stopped is shot placement. Penetration is second to being able to control where that shot will go. Then there is expansion and/or fragmentation. A rifle is always better than a handgun. But you must determine what you can handle in the confines of your home.
In the right hands a .22 can be deadly. Ammunition is the focus of this article but truthfully, shot placement trumps everything. There is no substitute for training.
Semper Paratus
Check 6

Concealed Carry: Changing Your Clothes

This is story told to me about a friend of mine had before he was in law enforcement.
“I accepted an offer at a new place of employment. Meeting new people, learning different office guidelines and entering a fresh environment brought me an opportunity to make conscious decisions about how much of my personal life I would reveal to my new acquaintances. Because I assume the responsibility of providing for my own safety, I chose to be armed.
I am persuaded that carrying a weapon is an intimate, private decision and should not be revealed to others flippantly or carelessly, if even at all. Facilitating this choice dictates attire that permits the carry of my effects discretely. I would prefer a business suit but formal wear deviates from the decorum of my office. In my environment, a suit jacket would look just as out of place as a blaze orange hunting vest. My challenge was to find a discreet cover garment that allowed me to blend in with my coworkers. I work amongst scientists and field engineers who wear either slacks or clothing suitable for field work.

I spent months searching retail clothing stores, browsing the internet, and turning over rocks with no success. So many of the products I’ve seen on the market produced for like-minded individuals in our community look like a piece of gear. They might look great at a firearms class but they don’t blend in with casual office attire. A great variety of manufacturers offer concealment vests and they all look very much the same. They obscure our tools but they don’t mask that we have them. With the increasing number of individuals obtaining permits and the popularity of that type of vest among these people, I believe they draw rapid attention to anyone schooled in what someone uses that vest to accomplish. I came to the decision that if I wanted this garment, I would have to fabricate it myself.

Basically, I wanted a flat vest of neutral color – no bulky pockets, no “D-rings”, nothing to make it look like gear. I wanted something that looked casual, like clothing attire. None existed. Not to be denied, I acquired a sewing machine and set to work. I selected some nice wool and pure cotton materials in basic prints and neutral colors. I began with a McCall’s pattern, altered it for appearance, added 2 inside pockets and through about 4 trial and error runs, developed it into a final product which satisfied my tastes. What I ended up with was a lined, waist length vest that looks enough like a fashion accessory that I feel doesn’t compromise its intended use.

I believe I have successfully achieved my desired goal. I have carefully chosen my entire wardrobe to achieve as much obscurity as reasonable. Although in my capacity I don’t do field work for my employer, my coworkers have commented that I appear as if I do. And no one has ever pried deeply into why I continually wear vests!”

This was told to me some time ago and the friend is now a federal officer. He has commented to me about this experience throughout the years several times. We’ve discussed the commitment that we should have as concealed carry participants. Carrying a concealed weapon requires many changes in your life. You think different because you know you can’t just lose your temper. You spend the required money to get and maintain training and licensing. You buy the required gear and safety equipment. You spend the time practicing. You may even change your dress. The commitment is great and not for everyone. I’ve seen many people buy a gun, get a license and then never or seldom carry. They also seldom practice. The partial commitment is there but I feel it should be all or nothing. Otherwise you put more on those who are committed because by virtue of your friendship, the committed carrier has the burden of protecting you also.

When you decide to carry there may be a wardrobe change in your future. Do what you have to do to not be a sheep, but to be a sheepdog.
Changing your clothes to conceal your weapon and “blend in” is something that we must do to continue to take our own defense into our hands.

Semper Paratus
Check 6

Concealed Carry: Train Like You Mean It!

Train like you mean it! What does this mean? I’ve heard it said many times that you Fight like you train and train like you fight. What this means dear gun brothers and sisters id that we need to rethink the reason for our training. If you are competing your training is different from defence. Some things will cross over such as grip, aim, control. But this is where competition stops being beneficial.
Many years ago I was a small arms instructor in the military. I’d get all kinds of experienced military members. I remember a particular young guy who could shoot more accurately than I’ve ever seen anyone shoot. I saw him put 10 rounds of 5.56 into one hole in a target. I was sceptical until I asked him to do it while I was watching 50 yards away through a spotting scope. He did it two more times while I was watching! He learned as a boy in Tennessee hunting with his father. He said he would spend hours shooting at cans in the forest. That’s what practice will get you! Anyway, I got hunters and competitors and those who thought they could shoot. It was more difficult for them once movement was introduced. Even if they moved and then stopped it was enough to throw them off. The closest competition I’ve seen that is good training for personal defence is 3 gun. This involves multiple targets from different distances and positions. This is realistic training. I used to go to the range and set up my training scenario. It involved shooting around barricades, over benches, and through tables. It also had a small jog between barricades. Increasing your heart rate, increasing the stress. It also involves transition to another weapon and magazines changes. What I really like is a shoot house but most of us don’t have access to one of those. Don’t misunderstand me. I learned and taught standing on a range and shooting at a static paper target. This type of bulls eye shooting is enjoyable and desirable. There are many things that can be learned with this type of shooting and I still do it when I want to shoot 50 rounds and get a 15 minute practice in. But for serious defence training a run and gun is the way to go. The term run and gun implies quite a bit less than what is actually required, though. In professional competitive setups, shooters are required to run a short distance between target locations, engage multiple targets, shoot around “barricades,” drop to and shoot from the prone position, or go into kneeling, squatting, and prone positions to shoot through various sized openings in plywood partitions to hit targets. In some setups, competitors are also required to transition from a pistol to a rifle and to a shotgun; not necessarily in that order.
How is training in this manner beneficial? Physiologically; (1) the physical activity portion gets the heart and lungs pumping to create physical stress; a negative force that needs to be overcome when pressed to perform under duress. (2) Engaging multiple targets, (most being “shoot targets” but some designated as no-shoot “noncombatants”) plus mandatory reloading of the firearm while on the move, creates mental stress; another negative force encountered when under pressure. (3) It develops hand / eye coordination which creates muscle memory.
From a tactical standpoint, it helps instil the use of cover and the need to safely move; to either advance on or retreat away from the opposing threat.
There are some drills that may assist you with this training.
Reloading Drill:
Engage the target, fire six shots and while moving, go through the motions required to reload and prepare your weapon for continued use. Conclude the exercise by lowering your weapon to the low ready position; scan left and right for additional threats then secure your weapon.
The purpose of this drill is to acclimate you to the divided attention skills required to (1) reload your weapon and (2) make your weapon ready for use while on the move.
The desired results are; you will reflexively eject the magazine, (or spent brass in the case of revolvers) insert a fresh magazine (or load the revolver cylinder) and make the weapon ready to fire again while, quickly moving to change cover locations, retreat or advance on the threat.
Transition Drill:
This drill will require the use of either a rifle or shotgun (or both) with a sling. With the rifle or shotgun slung in the front muzzle down position, Draw your handgun and engage the target with six shots. Re-holster and transition to the long gun, while moving, to engage another target with four shots. At this point, if you have opted for a third long gun, un-sling the third weapon while moving back to the first target, engage and fire four shots.
Once you have become comfortable at performing this last exercise and the movements feel more reflexive, it’s time to return to the beginning, but with some changes.
Begin by drawing the handgun and engaging the target with six shots. While on the move reload, making the weapon ready then engage a second target with six shots. Holster the handgun, transition to the rifle while moving to a second target and engage that target with five shots. On the move, reload the rifle and engage a third target with five shots. If you’ve opted to lug around that third weapon, repeat the steps you just completed with the rifle. At the end of the exercise, holding the last weapon at a low ready position, scan the area for any additional threats then secure the weapon.
These are just two drills you can use to make your training more realistic. If you feel you will never need to transition then just implement your handgun and magazine changes.
If possible (I know indoor ranges have limits on how you can train) put together a simple program for yourself. Keep track of what you do and how well you do it in a notebook to track your progress. Change up your drills and put variety in your training. You don’t need an elaborate range but you do need some freedom of movement and multiple targets.
Being realistic in your training is something we should all maintain. It’s more serious and you train like you mean it!

Radio Controlled Aircraft for Intel and Security

Radio controlled toys have been around a long time. Lately RC helicopters have been in the news. A Washingtonian was playing with his RC Copter (drone) late at night and lost control of it. This drone ended up on the White House lawn. It was found that the owner of the drone mistakenly lost control of it and it caused controversy because of where it ended up.
I believe these drones if you will, could be used in a variety of intel gathering roles. During a disaster a drone could be employed to assess damage, get eyes on in areas that may not be accessible, or even search for people. Could they be used for “spying” on what is the enemy in a without rule of law situation? Yes they could. The quad copters these days are pretty quiet but do make some noise.
There are some cons to all of this The biggest one being that if they are out of line of sight then you can lose the drone (Think recent White House event). Another is that if you set it to return to coordinates and anything gets in the way, it may not make it back. If you crash it into a tree, or onto a roof in an orientation that you cannot take off again from then you have to find another way to retrieve it. Then of course there is the potential cost of a catastrophic crash where you cannot repair the drone, or if someone thinks your drone is an NSA spy-bot and shoots it down. Lastly if you are using a radio frequency to communicate with your drone, it is not directional and you could be located by triangulation of the radio frequency, but that would require someone who knows how to, and is dedicated to finding you.
So, what is the initial investment for something like these? The initial cost can be whatever you want it to be honestly. Our first ‘trainer’ was $20.00 on black Friday shopping and about $30.00 to $40.00 normally. A better one is just over $60.00 on Amazon. There are some up to $850.00. There are high end purpose built drones available for upwards of $10,000.00, but that is really for a professional photographer in my opinion or someone spending our tax dollars. That being said, I see that Ranchers are using them to look over their herds, farmers are using them to look over their crops, and as you may have heard places like Amazon would like to use them to make deliveries. The options really are limitless since you can program waypoints or a predetermined route into the radio and have it almost be an automated flight path.
Imagine being in a situation where you need an Observation Post / Lookout Post (OP/LP). You could further enhance this valuable asset by the use of a drone. The one caveat I would offer is that if you are concerned about predators of the two legged variety, then you may want to set your departure / return to site to not be right next to the drone pilot. I would also recommend the use of a spotter to keep the pilot safe while his attention is elsewhere.
All of that being said I find the benefits of a drone easily outweigh the cost of one, if done within a budget plan, following federal and local laws and regulations, and use your creativity.
Know that there are things called geofences. This an area where a radio signal is controlled so that something like the White House will not happen. Airports, military installations, and other secure areas would not want someone in a drone checking out their secure area. A geofence would prevent this. I’m not sure what it takes to put up a geofence because that would be handy for your home, property, or retreat.
A drone with camera capabilities would definitely be an asset to your intelligence gathering or defense. I’m sure there would be a way to weaponized these little things. I don’t think I would recommend that even for the experienced operator. It would be horrible to accidently hit a shoot button when it wasn’t intended. I suppose in a without rule of law situation a flying weapon would be desirable, but it would be a whole different animal.
In this world of technology a drone could be a force multiplier. Like any other tool it takes some training, skill, and experience to use it well. So buy $20.00 quad and have fun! Say to your wife, “But honey, I’m training!”

Semper Paratus
Check 6

Monday, July 13, 2015

Family Security: Why I Carry

I’ve been asked by numerous people, both LDS members and not, why I, a believing Christian, a priesthood holder and follower of Christ would have a need for, and use, an instrument of destruction made solely to kill. The dreaded gun. It seems inconsistent with Christian values to rely on a gun for safety and security. I do try and live my life by the Spirit. I rely on God, after all I can do. Some have said that the police or military is there to protect us. I’ve heard that even the new members of the restored church did not take up arms against their oppressors. The following is my explanation and feeling on these questions.
This country was founded on certain rights. The 2nd Amendment being one of the original Bill of Rights. The preamble to the Constitution refers to the “blessings of liberty.” To me this refers to God. Where do we receive blessings? Blessings don’t just appear, they are granted. So the liberty that we enjoy in this country, or this life, is a blessing of God. The right to bear arms is a blessing of liberty given us from our Father in Heaven. Now why would a God of peace give us a right to have and bear arms clearly meant for killing? I think that our Father in Heaven wants us to continue on this earth. He wants us to learn and grow and toil under the veil of liberty. Indeed, the war in heaven referred to in the New Testament was all about freedom. To keep us safe from evil people, our Heavenly Father wants us to defend ourselves. I find it hard to believe otherwise when we read in the Bible and the Book of Mormon of God supporting the righteous in defending freedom. Righteous men and prophets defended themselves with whatever weapons they had at the time. There is no question in my mind about this. Now you must be righteous for God to be with you as you defend yourself. So take heed to yourself.
The people of the United States look at their freedom different from the rest of the world. During the revolution it was guns that made the difference. Without those guns the United States would not be. We would be part of the crown still. The only way to win our liberty was to have a means to defend yourself. This was true during the World War II. Had Poland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Denmark, Yugoslavia, Greece, and Norway been able to defend themselves could Nazi Germany have occupied those countries? It’s been said that Admiral Yamamoto of the Japanese Navy said: “You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass.”
Whether or not Yamamoto ever actually said those words is really not the point. It was true of the time. The U.S. was just moving from an agrarian society to an industrial nation. Every farmer had a gun.
Another reason Americans won’t part with their guns is that to overthrow a tyrant you must be armed. That’s how most of those countries fell to Germany in WWII because they were either disarmed or already unarmed. Americans don’t want to be subjects again.
So why not just ban assault weapons? The answer lies in LDS scripture.
“We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.” D&C 121:39
So banning guns will probably lead to more bans until all guns will be taken. I don’t think anyone can say that it won’t happen here because there is inspired scripture that says different.
Some may say that the state militia is the National Guard. Even if that were true, and I don’t believe it is (“National” guard? Hello…), the National Guard is not controlled by the people but the government. The people need a means to defend their freedom from those wielding “unrighteous dominion”.
There are those that believe that if we have no guns that crime would be diminished. There is really no foundation for this belief. As you look at other countries you can see that crime is just as bad without the populace being armed. Even mass murder is not really changed with gun control. Regardless of what politicians say, mass killings do happen in countries that have gun control laws.
Freedom comes with a cost. Benjamin Franklin said “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” I would say that an amendment that is part of the Bill of Rights is an “essential liberty”.
I believe this country was founded by the hand of God. I believe He wanted us to remain free and righteous. To remain so means that the people control the government not the other way around. I believe that I have the legal right and the moral right to protect myself and my family with a gun. In “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” we read: “…fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families.” I call this the three P’s, preside, provide, and protect. I am learning to preside the best way I can. I am providing for my family. How do I protect my family? Alarm system? 911 on speed dial? I believe I protect my family by carrying a gun, taking the responsibility of learning to use it correctly, and incurring the cost that accompanies that responsibility. I do so legally, although I have not always carried a weapon legally. I also have taught my wife and children how to safely and accurately use a weapon. That is how I protect. This is why I, as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, justify a gun in defense.
In Joseph Smith's letter to Emma Smith, his wife, dated June 27, 1844, the day of his death, he wrote, “There is one principle which is eternal; it is the duty of all men to protect their lives and the lives of the household, whenever necessity requires, and no power has a right to forbid it, should the last extreme arrive, but I anticipate no such extreme, but caution is the parent of safety”. Joseph Smith Jr.
I’m sorry if you don’t agree with me. Some members do not subscribe to this philosophy. In the words of President Benson speaking about being prepared and those thinking it will not be needed, I believe "they may rue the day they ever harbored such a delusion." But I believe this to be true. Do I want to draw or use my weapon? Are you crazy? Of course not! But I want the option.
Taking our security into our own hands is a God given right that we should exercise.
Semper Paratus
Check 6

Friday, July 10, 2015

Gun Maintenance: Steps Of Cleaning a Gun

I like to clean my guns. Most people don’t say that but I do. When I clean my guns I have to watch the movie “The Green Beret” starring John Wayne. I don’t know how it happened but many years ago before cable and DVD’s and internet, I was watching that movie and had a hankering to clean a gun. I don’t know if it’s the John Wayne mentality or the Viet Nam war that got me thinking that way. But now I have the need to watch that movie when it comes gun cleaning time.
Cleaning your weapons should be a ritual that you do on a regular basis. It should be enjoyable. I love my guns and I appreciate them more by taking them apart and seeing how all those parts work together in one common goal. I think there should be a little more “reverence” for shooting. (see blog A “Reverence” For Shooting, 11/20/14) This is a quote from EC.E. Ed Harris, competition shooter and hunter: “The cost of sport shooting has been driven out of reach of most ordinary working people and is surely killing our Second Amendment heritage just as certainly as if the cursed liberals had done it legislatively. The "gentleman good guys" such as the late John Amber, Bud Waite and Col. E.H. Harrison are surely rolling in their graves.” Maybe I’m getting old but it seems that the tactical is trying to take over. Or should I say Tacti-cool. I like Ed’s reference to gentleman good guys. I hope that young people getting into shooting will understand that term and try to emulate the good people in shooting.
Here are the six steps to cleaning that I’ve come up with.
One. First and foremost is safety. Do not break the 4 rules of gun safety:
Every gun is always loaded
Never point the gun at something you don’t want to shoot
Keep your finger off the trigger
Know your target and beyond
Clear the weapon. Clear it again. Look and check with your finger to ensure there is nothing in the receiver or barrel. Clear it again.
Clean the weapon without ammunition in the room.
Two. Put together supplies for cleaning.
When you start out you’ll probably buy a kit already put together. This is a good start. Eventually you will put your own kit together. You will also add things like tooth-picks, cleaning cloths, and other items that will do the job.
Three. Clean the Chamber and Action
While there is not much work to be done on the chamber and action, wiping these areas down with a clean rag is a good idea. You can also use a cotton swab to gently pick up any dust and grime in difficult-to-reach places. Be careful that the cotton swab doesn’t leave any cotton wisps behind though as this can cause malfunctions and attract dirt. There are chamber brushes and mops that you can purchase to clean out your chamber, as well. While not absolutely necessary, they do come in handy. Dental picks can be especially useful as well for more fine-tuned cleaning. Add these to your gun-cleaning kit as you’re able.
Four. Clean the Bore
First, you’ll clean the barrel. The first and last inch of the barrel are the most important to avoid damaging. If damaged at all, accuracy will suffer. Keep that in mind as you approach your gun. While there’s nothing tricky about cleaning a gun, they do need to be handled with some care.
If at all possible, you want to clean the bore in the direction that the bullet travels. Some guns don’t allow for straight access, but for those that do, this is the best option. If you have a gun that won’t allow for straight rear entry, you’ll clean from the direction of the muzzle to the chamber. Or you can choose to use a bore snake. Whichever option you choose, soak a patch or a portion of your bore snake with cleaning solvent and run it down through the bore. If you encounter substantial resistance with your rod and patch, remove the rod and trim the patch before running it again. Allow the weapon to rest for five to ten minutes to give the solvent time to dissolve the fouling.
Next run a bore brush through the bore to loosen any grime. If you can, once the brush pops out the other end, unscrew it and pull the cleaning rod back out. Be gentle during this step. The solvent should have done most of the work for you. Don’t “scrub” away at the bore as this can damage the lands and grooves of the bore. Run the brush through and then move onto the next step.
Push another patch wet with solvent through the bore and let the gun rest for a few more minutes. One to three minutes is plenty. Next grab a dry patch and run it through the barrel. This one should pick up plenty of carbon residue, depending on how dirty the rifle is and how long it’s been since it was last cleaned. Continue to run dry patches through until they come out completely clean and dry. If you continue to see dirty patches, you can repeat the above process again with more solvent.
Five. Clean the Stock/Grips and Barrel
When you are finished cleaning the gun and readying it for storage, take a clean rag and wipe down the barrel with a very light coat of gun oil. Very light. This helps remove any water or fingerprint residue that may have gotten on the weapon during the cleaning process. CLP works well, but any kind of gun oil should do the trick. Stocks don’t generally need cleaning if they have a waterproof finish (all synthetics, and sealed wooden stocks). You can wipe them down with a clean rag and brush off any dirt that may have accumulated. Before you store the gun, wipe off any excess gun oil from the barrel. Close the action and safely drop the firing pin to release any tension before storage.
Six. Store in a Dry and Safe Place
Perhaps even more important than proper gun cleaning is the safe and dry storage of your guns. Rust can be an ever-present enemy to all guns, and proper storage is essential to keeping it at bay. Choose a gun safe that fits your collection. It is also a good idea to place some sort of dehydrator in your safe and check it periodically.
A thorough cleaning every once in a while should be more than enough to deal with moisture-attracting carbon buildup and keep rust at bay. Using the proper tools and supplies will ensure that you don’t damage your guns and should make cleaning a quick and simple process. Storing guns in a dry and locked area ensures that they will be ready for use for years to come.
Cleaning your guns doesn’t have to be drudgery. If you are organized and thorough cleaning can be quick and easy on you and the gun. Take care of your weapons and they will take care of you.
Plus you might see a good movie!
Semper Paratus
Check 6

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Trigger Control

There are a few things that make all the difference in your shooting. I feel those things are:
Sight picture
Target acquisition
Trigger control
Learning to maintain your trigger control while you shoot is one of the most important skills you can learn to shoot like a pro. Shooting a gun is not as difficult as some will make it sound or look. But there are basics to learn. The problem with concealed carry guns is most are designed to be small and light. The lighter the gun the less control you will have. Some sub-compacts are so small for someone with large hands, that I’ve seen people abandon a sub in favor of the larger weapon. I myself own sub-compacts but prefer my compacts for concealed carry because of the ease of shooting in comparison. I carry and shoot both, but if I had a preference, I’d shoot a compact or full sized 1911. My wife has slightly smaller hands than I (mine aren’t really big) and she doesn’t seem to have a problem with a sub-compact. So each must experiment and test, especially when buying your first gun particularly if it is for concealed carry. The difference in ratio between the gun weight and the trigger pull makes such a difference. Rifles are normally heavier than the trigger. A 7 pound rifle with a 2 pound trigger pull is a ratio that makes it easy to handle the weapon. But with polymer handguns you could realistically have a 2 pound gun. An acceptable trigger pull on a carry or duty weapon is 4 to 6 pounds. More than 6 and trigger control gets difficult especially on a 2 pound gun! Under 4 pounds is just asking for an negligent discharge. If you have a 2 pound gun and an 8 pound trigger pull it takes 4 times the weight of the loaded gun to make it fire. That opposite ratio doesn’t “feel” right and makes the target acquisition and control of the weapon more difficult than the above example of the heavier rifle.
Basically there are 4 aspects to a trigger pull: contact, stage, press, reset.
Contact with the trigger is when and where your finger touches the trigger. The index finger should be the only finger you shoot with. If you are used to something else, change that. The pad of the fingertip should be the touching point in my opinion although some instructors may say the first joint is acceptable. I feel you have better control with the fingertip pad.
Staging the trigger is the slack between the reset trigger (all the way back in the guard) and the mechanical release of the trigger or striker. Basically it means pulling the trigger until just before it breaks and holding it before it fires. There are several schools of thought on staging. I myself would rather press on through the slack straight to the firing of the weapon. Most competitors will tell you the same. Under duress of a fight or flight situation you can you’re your finger enter the guard too soon breaking safety rule #3 which is to keep your finger out of the guard until ready to shoot. Law enforcement are the biggest offenders of this when going into a stressful situation such as a raid. Sometimes it’s done without the knowledge of the shooter because of the stress. This is how negligent discharges happen and friendly fire incidents occur. Be mindful of this as you train.
The press is the actual firing of the weapon. The press should be even and smooth. We call it a press because there is a difference between a press and a squeeze. Some instructors will say and teach squeeze. The problem with squeezing is, try to squeeze with only one finger. Pretty difficult isn’t it? Yet we can press or pull with one finger and not the whole hand. Your hand is already gripping the gun so there is already some squeezing going on. If you squeeze you tend to squeeze with the whole hand and that tends to lower the shot because of the downward pressure. A press that is smooth will follow through the whole trigger action discharging the gun.
After the shot has been taken there is a natural spring back in the trigger to reset the mechanism. This is where staging can be beneficial. Sometimes the tendency is to remove your finger from the trigger. This is too time consuming in a life or death situation. Resetting the trigger is at a point before it is back in its original position and can be felt with an audible “click”. The trigger is ready to fire again at this reset point. In shooting your gun you will learn where this is. Each gun make and model is a little different. Double action revolvers are a little different in that they require a long pull and a full forward reset to rotate the cylinder.
Correct trigger manipulation is the difference between missing your target or being a dead eye shot. It’s really worth your time and determination to get it right. Luckily, it’s not a difficult skill to acquire. It does take some training and lots of practice. That is what I believe dry fire is for among other things. (See blog Benefits of Dry Fire 5/19/2015) Become proficient at working with your trigger and you may see a noticeable difference in your shooting. You will be more confident on the range and feel safer as you carry.

Semper Paratus
Check 6

China and Personal Information Security

Working on a military base I receive some crazy briefings. This one was given by our security officer. As you can see it’s a collection of portions of articles from 2 different websites. Anyway I found it interesting and of use for us civilians as I guess the military did too.
“China finally admits it has special cyber warfare units. Lots of them! For years the U.S. and many other countries have suspected China of carrying out several high-profile cyber-attacks with the country strongly denying the claims. For the first time China has admitted it does have cyber warfare divisions and several of them. In the latest updated edition of a PLA publication called “The Science of Military Strategy, China finally broke its silence and openly talked about its digital spying and network attack capabilities. China clearly stated it has specialized units devoted to wage war on computer networks. Joe McReynolds, an expert on Chinese military strategy at the Center for intelligence Research and Analysis, stated this is the first time China has explicitly acknowledged it has secretive cyber-warfare units on both the military as well as civilian government sides.
Chinese Cyber Warfare Units
According to McReynolds China has 3 types of operational units:
Specialized military forces to fight the network: The unit designed to carry out defensive and offensive network attacks.
Groups of experts from civil society organizations: The unit contains specialists from civilian organizations including the Ministry of State Security (China’s CIA), and the Ministry of Pubic Security (China’s FBI) who are authorized to conduct military network operations.
External entities: The unit sounds like hacking-for-hire mercenaries and contains non-government entities (state sponsored hackers) that can be organized and mobilized for network warfare operations.
According to experts, the above units are utilized in civil cyber operations, including industrial espionage against U.S. private companies to steal secrets. “It means that the Chinese have discarded their fig leak of quasi-plausible deniability,” McReynolds said. “As recently as 2013, official PLA (People’s Liberation Army) publications have issued blanket denials such as “The Chinese military has never supported any hacker attack or hacking activities.” “They can’t make that claim anymore.” and
Since May of 2014, the Chinese government has been amassing what can only be described as the "Facebook for human intelligence targeting" from the databases lifted from some of our most fundamental and essential systems. Why would anyone want healthcare records? If you take a step back, these records are part of a bigger picture, used in concert with the personnel records of US government workers and any other databases that have been stolen over the years. The beneficiary of that data can build an interesting picture detailing the confidential history, preferences, behavioral patterns, and more, of millions of potential intelligence targets.
The People’s Republic of China does not only conduct network-based espionage, they are a major government on the world stage. They have human intelligence collectors whose job is to identify people with access to interesting or useful information and to collect that information.
By combining these diverse data streams, human collectors can identify the vulnerabilities present in a target’s life, and determine the proper motivation to exploit them. With access to medical records or insurance information, an operator may be able to identify the person aiding a dying relative. Through financial data and court records, an operator can determine who is going through a bitter divorce or custody battle. If they are able to identify these openings, they can approach the target and offer a simple trade of money or services for information. This information may seem insignificant to the target, but in aggregate across many different sources becomes quite valuable to the collector. While there is not much a specific individual can control when this information is provided to an outside agency, ensuring family members and friends are aware that their actions can have an impact on you or your life or career could help mitigate some of these potential vulnerabilities.”
What I can surmise from all this is be careful about what information you put out there. I know we have to function in life and give personal information to appropriate agencies and institutions but limit what we can and be careful about who gets what info. I’ve questioned many times the need for a business or other entity to have my social security number or other information. Why the heck does my doctor need some of this stuff? As Kramer of Seinfeld said, “I don’t know. Why does Radio Shack want my phone number?”
Be cautious in what you do and how you do it. Information is power and we give up enough of our freedom in this country as it is.

Semper Paratus
Check 6

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

EDC: The Basics

“What the heck is EDC!?” I heard this question from a normal person the other day as I was spewing out acronyms like I knew another language. Sometimes I forget that normal people speak with words instead of initials and made up words. After working over 30 years on military bases I’ve got quite a lexicon of jargon that would drive a normal person nuts. EDC is short of Everyday Carry. Yeah, like saying the three letters is faster than the two words. Anyway, Everyday Carry is something that gear nuts have come up with to describe what is carried with a person all the time. Women have mastered this long ago with a thing called a “purse”. But tough tactical guys have to change that to a “man word” and finally initials like EDC. You’ll hear it thrown around a lot in military and law enforcement circles.
I am a long-time fan of a YouTube channel Nutnfancy. He is a retired Air Force pilot who I believe still flies commercially. I don’t know if he was the first to coin the EDC initials or not but it from him that I first heard it several years ago. Now I have always had EDC gear since I was a young Boy Scout leader in the 80’s. I’ve told this story before but I repeat it so you know where I’m coming from.
As a Boy Scout leader I had a need to carry a knife. My first official knife, other than pocket knives I carried as a boy, was a Swiss Army Knife,the Victorinox Fieldmaster. I no longer carry a Swiss Army knife but if I did it would be this one. I base my carry knives on this model. 3 things I use a lot beside the actual knife blade are the scissors, the can opener, and the saw blade. So when I look for a multi-tool, they must have these 3 features that are based on the Victorinox Fieldmaster. Anyway, again I digress. As I started to carry this knife I tried various pouches but finally found the Nite Ize Pock-Its. The reason I wanted this particular case was that it had a belt clip. I didn’t have to thread my belt through it and could remove the case anytime. The model I used first was a model that had a loop on the outside of the case for a mini flashlight. I decided to use this loop and bought a mini mag light to put into it. This combination was something that I soon could not be without. On occasion I would forget the case at home and always be grabbing for one or both of those handy tools. I finally upgraded to a Nite Ize XL Pock-Its case. It holds my Leatherman, my tac-light, my tac-pen, and other necessities I have found I need on a regular basis. I tell you this as an example of one person’s needs for EDC. I also carry a weapon in various places that work for me. I love the idea of appendix carry but have tried it and it is very uncomfortable for me. This is what you must do with your own EDC system to find what gear you need and what will work for you. My Nutnfancy friend has gone to a small fanny pack in his EDC. I have yet to try this but have thought about it. There is nothing wrong with getting ideas from others even on the internet. As far as You Tube “celebrities” go, I have watched a few for many years so that I know their ideas and what they think in terms of gear and why they carry certain items. I can’t say that they do not influence me because I know they do. But I do not buy anything just because “they” have it. Such as the fanny pack. I didn’t run out and try that because Nutn has one. Find web sites or channels that you feel you can trust for their ideas. Always watch and read these different ideas (including LDS Gunsite!) with a little critical eye thinking “would I really use/need that?” Then experiment. Do you want an external safety on your carry gun? Do you need an assisted open folding knife? Ask the hard questions and don’t buy something because of it’s “cool” factor. I like things that are a single item with multiple uses like my Leatherman. I also am a big proponent of light weight gear. If you watched Nutnfancy you would know he is this way also. As a Boy Scout leader I learned that the lighter my load out, the more gear I could carry and the easier the load I’d have to bear. This is why I watch Nutnfancy because he and I agree on many things. Find someone like that to gauge your EDC items with. It could be a friend you know and respect. This equipment can be expensive but there is a market for used items. If you find that one tactical light doesn’t do what you want it to and find something else that does, put the original on Ebay and recoup some of your funds.
There is a saying in preparedness and survival circles: Two is one and one is none. I agree with this statement but probably not in my EDC. Like I said, I deal in constraints of size, bulk, and weight. So two guns would probably not be in my EDC. If I were in law enforcement I might consider it. Or, if I knew I had to go into an area that was known to be pretty dangerous, I would alter my EDC. As a military member I supplemented our load out all the time. Plan accordingly. Depending on the situation I may supplement my current EDC with a bug out bag or other items in my vehicle.
The saying “You get what you pay for” usually applies to EDC type gear. For some reason when you add the word tactical to anything, the price triples. I found a flashlight that does not pit that saying. Walmart carries a Coleman brand flashlight. I require over 200 lumens in my EDC flashlight. I also want a thin light as opposed to short and wide. I also like AA or AAA battery lights. Coleman sells an aluminum LED bulb 220 lumen AA light known as the CT-24. It is only $24.95 and is carried by Walmart. I love this light! It has 3 settings and a one handed operation on/off button. It is just as good as some of my Streamlight lights I’ve bought in the past at twice the price. So, you can find bargains if you look and test.
Here are some suggestions for your EDC.
Mag lights are still good lights and come at a good price. Flashlight technology has come a long way fast. There are many lights out there to choose from without breaking the bank. I try to never be without a flashlight and use mine regularly.
First Aid
You must decide to what extent you will carry first aid items. I carry only a few band-aids. Always have. I know some people who carry a tourniquet all the time. I’ve never felt the need because I’m always close to a first aid kit whether I’m at home, work, or church.
Parachute Cord
There are so many things you can do with this. I usually have a paracord bracelet on or as a keychain. In my knife case I keep about a 10 foot hank.
I carry a small firesteel. Just in case. To me fire is so versatile I want something to make it with me all the time.
One of my rules that my children know quite well is never leave home without a gun or a knife.
Non-lethal Weapon
There are many but I usually carry a tactical pen.
Cell Phone
I know most all of Americans carry one but make sure you do.
A good knife has multiple uses. As a last resort it could be a weapon.
If you carry a weapon it might be wise to have a lawyer in your pocket. There are several legal defense firms around now that will defend you in the case of you having to defend yourself with lethal or non-lethal force. Look into this because it may save you legally one day.
There are other things you should possess when carrying a weapon and other EDC items.
One is the mindset of de-escalation. The last thing you want to do is actually use your weapon in defense.
Another is a heightened situational awareness. You really need to know what’s going on around you and a reality of what that is. If you get just a snap shot of what’s around you, you could judge that wrong and have an equally wrong response. The best way to stay out of trouble is to not stand out. Stay away from tactical clothing and gear that looks like you’re an operator. I’m not saying buy cheap stuff, just make sure it’s out of sight if it looks too tactical. Blend in with where you are.
Be mentally and physically prepared. I go through scenarios like “If he does this I’ll do this.” That’s only if you get to that point of course. Most situations will not escalate into a real threat situation. If they look like they are going that way, have several exit strategies already planned and execute one of them.
Know your gear and how it works. Know it very well. Train with what you carry. Use it all often so when it is needed you’ll be experienced with it.
EDC can be a life saver but is usually just a great relief or very convenient. Don’t leave home without it!

Semper Paratus
Check 6