Monday, December 19, 2016

Europe Being Attacked: What's It To You?

This year I have written a lot about situational awareness. I talk about it a lot. When I was in the military as a weapons instructor we were training not only shooting, but being aware of what’s going on around you. A battle field is a dangerous place but not knowing what’s going on can actually get you killed with friendly fire.
Today was a night of terror in Europe. A Truck plowed into a crowd of shoppers at a Christmas market in Berlin, Germany. The Russian Ambassador to Turkey was assassinated at an art gallery in Ankara, Turkey, in Zurich, Switzerland a gunman shot several people in a Mosque.
I’m willing to bet this is linked to causes connected to terrorism or in retaliation for terrorism.
When are we as a world going to acknowledge that Muslim extremists are terrorists? I know that “progressives” won’t even say the words. President Obama refers to ISIS as ISIL, an insult to Israel, and a deflection of the Muslim extremism that is ISIS and terrorism.
Situational Awareness is having your head up, recognizing what could turn into a terrorist attack and to avoid it. The Department of State issued a warning for problems in Europe during the holiday season. It said in part:
“The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens to the heightened risk of terrorist attacks throughout Europe, particularly during the holiday season. U.S. citizens should exercise caution at holiday festivals, events, and outdoor markets.”
Wow that was pretty specific. This warning was posted November 21, 2016.
If I had to be in Europe during this time I would have been hyper vigilant and would have spent as little time in Europe as possible.

We plan for a lot of things in our lives. But most of us don’t think about being secure in public. We live in a great country that normally is safe and secure. We also have the best law enforcement in the world so threats are not always there. We can get complacent. Laws and law enforcement do make a difference. But they can’t be everywhere at all times. Planning includes little things that may seem insignificant such as the route you travel, the time of day you travel, the crime in your area, and current events that may increase the threat in the area. Political rallies, patriotic events, and really any large crowds increase that threat. I’m not saying never go to another Basketball or Football game, but when you do, be aware of things. Do you ever avoid an area because of road construction or certain times of day because of traffic? Then you are planning already. Just do this every day. Look at people around you or vehicles around you with a critical eye. You do not have to be extreme in this and become paranoid, but be aware.
Being prepared.
Carrying a gun is obviously something I would recommend. But at a minimum, carry a cell phone, a flashlight, and some type of weapon.
A knife, pepper spray, kubotan, tactical pen, stun gun, or defensive wand would all be good choices if you don’t want to carry a gun. Get training on whichever you choose. Don’t just assume a You Tube video will teach you everything you need to know. Also know the legality of these weapons where you live.
I carry a gun, a tactical flashlight, a tactical pen, a knife and multi-tool, a cell phone, and several little items I think are important. You have to decide what you want to be prepared for but I believe there is a minimum.
Something as seemingly silly as knowing the weather you are going out into is important.
Being trained in basic medical procedures like First Aid, CPR, and AED are important skills that may save your loved ones as well as someone else.
Learn about Cooper’s Colors
In condition White, you are relaxed and unaware of what is going on around you. Ideally, a police officer is only in white when asleep, but realistically we often drop our guard when we are at home or in some other environment we assume to be safe, like maybe at church. Since even police stations have been attacked, it is better to be more alert even when you are in your “lair.” You simply cannot be on white very often.
In condition yellow, you remain relaxed, but are aware of who and what is around you. This merely means that you are paying attention to the sights and sounds that surround you whether you are at home or moving in society. Condition yellow DOES NOT equate with paranoia or any other irrational fear of persons or places. Instead, you simply have moved your alertness to a level of attention that will prevent you from being totally surprised by the actions of another person.
While walking through an area you will loosely keep track of anyone behind you. When choosing a seat in a restaurant, you will position yourself to see the entrance or to minimize the number of people who might be behind you.
You don’t need to insist on securing the “gunfighter seat” which will put your back to a dead corner and your face to the entrance, because you are not anticipating a threat, you are merely conducting an inventory of your surroundings and the other people around you. You will also be running a cursory “what if” mental visualization of where a threat could appear and what your reaction(s) should be.
If you are attacked in condition yellow, it should not come as a total surprise. Your response to a threat should have been pre-planned to some extent, allowing you to simply run an existing plan rather than having to make one up quickly while under fire.
In condition orange, you have identified something of interest that may or may not prove to be a threat. Until you determine the true nature of whatever has piqued your interest, your “radar” is narrowed to concentrate on the possible threat and will remain so focused until you are satisfied no threat exists.
If the focus of your attention in condition orange does something you find threatening, you will shift to condition red.
Notice here that condition Red IS NOT the firing stroke, as some instructors have misconstrued from Cooper’s teachings. Instead, condition red simply changes the focus of your attention from a potential threat to a potential target. You will draw your weapon, or move still further to sight acquisition, only if the potential target’s actions dictate such a response. Once you’ve shifted to condition red, you cannot be surprised by your primary adversary and you are fully prepared to repel boarders should he push the incident that far. But, your intense concentration on a forward threat will lessen your ability to maintain some degree of 360-degree awareness for unknown threats that may come from other directions. Effective training under high-stress conditions will help you avoid the tunnel vision that some describe as “akin to looking through a toilet paper tube.”
If possible, in both conditions orange and red, move to a position that will give you a tactical advantage. Ideally, you want a wall or previously cleared area behind you and some sort of solid cover you can move behind should shooting break out.
If you are attacked in red, you should be fully prepared to defend yourself. Whether or not you have a gun in hand or on target will depend on the circumstances, but mentally, you are already ahead of the game.
Some insist you cannot go through life using this system without becoming a paranoid person who is dangerous. I believe well-adjusted and trained people can run through the color code dozens of times every day and be no worse for wear. Most experienced law enforcement or military who learn the color code realize they have been taking these steps on their own all along.
Like most great training ideas, this four-step process merely codifies what many have done on their own. By teaching people this life-saving system for situational awareness, we can start them out with the knowledge others have gained through a lifetime of survival.
It’s not enough to train and practice these things only in your home, you must be constantly and with practice in everyday living.
Would some of this made any difference in a crowded outdoor market in Berlin? It may have.
Semper Paratus
Check 6
Here are some of my previous articles on the subject:
Pearl Harbor and Situational Awareness 12/7/2016
Happy Situational Awareness Day! 9/26/2016
Situational Awareness...Again 8/2/2016
Seeing And Hearing An Attack 6/29/2016
Learning From San Bernardino and Terrorist Attacks 6/10/2016
Vigilance and "Some Sort of War" 8/6/2016

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Turn Out The Lights And Train

Many if not all of the situations you run into as a concealed carrier that you may think about drawing your gun will be low-light situations. How do I know this? By looking at reports of those who had to defend themselves. Many are in a low-light time of day or place. That would mean that a flashlight should be in your EDC but that is a different article.
I believe we as concealed carriers should develop the skills necessary for effectively employing a semi-automatic pistol during a shooting confrontation in other than daylight conditions.
To do this this you should be able to identify or show:

Range safety
Different sources of light
How to adapt to low-light
Low-light threat identification

Light: Controlled or non-controlled

Controlled light is light under your control. A weapon light, flashlight, building or vehicle lights you have control over.

Non-controlled ambient light

Structure lighting, street, traffic, parking, or security lighting, moon light, any light you have no control of.

Ideas to help in low-light situations

Always have a light with you. As any police officer knows, you have to see. You will also be surprised how often a flashlight will be used in non-defensive activities.

The human eye requires as much as 30-45 minutes to adjust to darkness, therefore you can plan ahead!
Avoid looking unnecessarily at light sources.
Light sources can be detrimental to the Shooter by silhouetting their position, avoid backlighting yourself with any other source.
A decrease in the rate of dark adaptation and the degree of night vision capacity will occur with prolonged, repeated exposure to bright sunlight.
Remove sunglasses prior to entering dark area or when entering an enclosed darkened structure or vessel from the normal lighting conditions
Receive annual eye exams
Do not wear permanent tint or lenses that gradually change color density when out of bright light. Instead wear clip-on or glasses that cover your prescription glasses.
Smoking will impair an individual’s degree of night vision capacity by about 20%.
As light level decreases, color perception also decreases. Light and Dark colors at night can be distinguished only by the intensity of reflected light (Human eye will identify shades of gray).
Perception of fine detail is impossible in low-light.
ID of objects in low-light is based on perceiving general contours and outlines, not on small distinguishing features.
Depth Perception is impaired
Thus, a person’s ability to ID subjects and objects (weapons/threats) is impaired.

Target Identification

In a low-light situation, do not stare at objects, scan with your eyes. Use your peripheral vision and look “around” objects” instead of staring directly at them. This will reduce the effects of the “Night time Blind Spot”.

Figure 8 Method. By scanning in a horizontal figure 8 you increase your ability to identify threats and pick up on movement.

Shooting accurately in low-light conditions while using lights and lasers is an advanced skill and must be practiced if you have any hope of doing it under stress. The twisted irony is that the vast majority of firearm training is conducted when the light is best. Most ranges are closed during foul weather and at night. Nearly all public and private ranges have strict rules about shooting after sunset, and few police departments train in darkness. For those that do, it is normally for annual qualification and not a regular event. If you are serious about defending your life with a firearm, seek out realistic training and work at putting this type training in your dry fire and live fire practice.

Semper Paratus
Check 6

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Stop Being/Raising Wimps!

I am getting fed up! I am all for protesting if you feel a need to. It is free speech and a freedom the U.S. enjoys. Once it becomes stupid or violent then I draw the line. Protesting and infringing on others rights is not acceptable. Blocking a road, blocking a sidewalk or door way is not acceptable. Don’t protest what you think is an injustice and take away other’s rights to travel, be a patron in a business, or work at their job. And then there are the idiots who think they are protesting by beating up people or vandalizing vehicles or property. I don’t understand how violence is a protest? Violence doesn’t always beget violence, but often it will just because someone is trying to defend themselves.
These reasons are why liberal thinking just ticks me off. As I’ve said before, liberal usually equals spineless. I’m getting tired of those professing being followers of Christ leaning on teachings they skew to their own warped ideals. Christ-like love does not mean give a man a fish…for life! At times it can mean giving, but usually it’s more important to teach a man to fish! Stop being such a wimp about life! Stop trying to tell me that I am not a true follower of Christ unless I roll over and become a liberal wuss.
I try to control my language and am quite successful. But I can handle harsh words. I don’t need to go into counseling because someone was “mean” to me.
I don’t usually seek out dangerous places but am prepared if I must go into them. When I hear an opinion different than my own I don’t need a “safe place” where I won’t hear mean things. Counseling because of an election outcome? Really? Just shoot me in the face!
I don’t understand why everything has to be diverse and fair? That is not reality. We came to this earth to see how we would handle problems or every kind. They strengthen us and help us to handle other things that are hard.
Matthew McConaughey gave the 2015 commencement speech at the University of Houston, and may not be invited back. “Life’s not fair. It never was, isn’t now and won’t ever be. Do not fall into the entitled trap of feeling like you’re a victim. You are not.”
There were protests at Texas A&M University when an “alt-right” speaker came. I don’t really know or agree with alt-right beliefs, but I wonder what would have happened if this would have been a Black Panther meeting? Why can’t white people be proud of their race and heritage without being racist? I’m not talking about white supremacy or anything ridiculous like that. I’m tired of hearing about everything being unfair because of race! I’ve lived on the Mexico border and I can tell you what discrimination is and what being a minority is. Most of what I experienced was not racism, it was not understanding cultures or language barriers.
There is a comic strip that I have always liked called “Bloom County”. In one strip the character Opus is sitting at a bus stop. One person looks at Opus and says “Ya know…you penguin types offend me.” Another person says “Hey…I’ll tell ya what offends me… dirty words, that’s what.” Then all the people say the different things they are offended by. Then they all yell at the same time “My gosh…LIFE is offensive!” Then they all run away in different directions screaming. The last panel is Opus saying “offensitivity.” Sometimes I feel like the whole world is offended. Eleanor Roosevelt said: “No one can offend you without your permission.” If you are offended easily cowboy up. Stop being offended and calling everything you don’t agree with racist and “something-phobe.” Geesh, grow up.
Liberals who are not into self-defense should not go around saying things to people who are inclined to quite frankly punch them in the snoot.
One school district in Florida is eliminating the opportunity for students to get a “zero” as a grade; now, the proposal is that the lowest possible score a student can get is a 50. That’s right, a student can turn in a BLANK sheet of paper and still get 50% on it.
Now, they’re not talking about raising the bar of an ‘A’ to 150 points, just eliminating the zero grade. The hope is to ‘motivate’ students by not putting them down and hurting their self-esteem with a zero grade score.
One Bert Show listener thinks there’s an ulterior motive: by eliminating the zero grade and bumping it to 50%, there’s more of a chance for a higher graduation rate…which means more money for schools in the district.
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!” Every kid does not need a trophy! What’s so wrong with losing? If you look at successful people you’ll see a lot of losing!
Michael Jordan said this:
“I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
Teach our kids how to be tough. They don’t have to never be sad or disappointed, but they need to understand that losing is a part of life. They need to understand that learning to lose will not squash their self-esteem, but can make them strong and more determined.
Stop raising liberal thinking, “You’re all winners”, life owes me something, wimpy, whiny people! Raise Moroni’s and Helaman’s. Strong and steadfast and immovable. Does that sound like a wuss?
Semper Paratus
Check 6

Friday, December 9, 2016

Making Your Own Pepper Spray

Go with me back to a time in Reagan’s America. Being in the military during the Reagan administration was a joy. This country had a big budget for military and we could do our job and do it well.
My job in the military was not law enforcement or security. But I was a gun nut. I was on a mobility team and we played games and trained all year long. I had to qualify with an M16A2
Rifle twice a year. Since I was qualified with the sidearm (the Smith and Wesson M13 and the Beretta M9) and the M60E3 machine Gun, I had to qualify with these too. I lived across the street from the guy who ran combat arms training and maintenance and he called me every time they were doing some unusual training or shooting something different. I was also tasked to keep track of, schedule, and perform weapon qualifications for my mobility team. So I just told the police guys, qualify me as an instructor. My commander approved it and I went through the school. When they needed some help with training big classes and other things, they called me. It was great! It got me out of my regular job and I was doing something I loved!
In the process I was trained in the use of a defensive baton, and pepper spray. During the pepper spray training they required everyone to be sprayed with the spray. So naturally, a bunch of young guys with short haircuts, we turned it into a competition. After you were sprayed they had an eyewash full of milk there for you to stop the burn. We timed from the moment you were sprayed to when you hit the eyewash. Bragging rights were at stake. I went a full 68 seconds and came in 2nd. To this day every time I see pepper spray I cringe a little. It is painful.

Pepper Spray as the most commonly used form of nonlethal self-defense. It is readily available. In the event of an economic collapse or other unknown situation where you can no longer purchase pepper spray, you may come upon a situation where the firearm is not needed, conserve ammo, keep animals and pests away from plants or you just don't like guns. You may have to make it yourself. Please note: Making your own pepper spray involves risk of injury so don't accidentally spray yourself and use caution. If you have breathing difficulties have someone else make it for you or make it in a well ventilated area.

Caution: This is dangerous

Let's begin: It's as simple as stocking up on dried pepper/chili or growing your own and a delivery system. You can make it to carry on your person or make a wide dispersal device for groups. You can buy them at any do-it-yourself store, nursery, garden center as or on Amazon and do a search for any of the following peppers/chili. Selecting the Pepper/Chili: The following are types of peppers/chili recommended and the rating heat index of each pepper/chili: The Scoville Heat Unit is the rating or "hotness of peppers" that measures on a scale of mildest to hottest. I am going with the hottest and easiest to acquire. The lowest heat index recommended is the Red Cayenne pepper at 30,000 SHU to 60,000 SHU. The middle heat index is the Thai or Thai Bird Chili at 50,000 SHU to 150,000 SHU. At the top of the are the Scotch Bonnet chili and the Habanero chili at 100,000 SHU to 350,000 SHU, the Red Savina Habanero at 350,000 SHU to650,000 SHU and the Ghost Pepper or Naga Jolokia Pepper which is considered the hottest at 800,000 to 1,500,000 SHU. The 10% Capsaicin pepper spray issued to LE can vary from 2,000,000 SHU to 6,000,000 SHU compared to store-bought pepper spray containing 2% to 10% Capsaicin vary from 500,000 SHU to 2,000,000 SHU.

Delivery System: Homemade delivery systems can be as effective although you may not get the same results as the LE brands. I'm showing you how to make up for it. Delivery systems are as simple as a one to three ounce spray canister you get in the travel section for toiletries and up to 32 ounce spray bottles reminiscent of the glass cleaner bottles where you squeeze the trigger in a spray mist or stream. You can also make a delivery system with Garden handpump pressure sprayers as well as the one to four gallon hand pump pressure sprayers used for gardening, pest control and weed control. Of course the larger the container the more pepper/chili you will need.

The Process:
Step 1. Container preparation. Inspect your spray bottle or pressure sprayer for leaks by filling it with water. If the device leaks when tilted, lying on its side or after excessive spraying then choose another container. You don't want it dripping or leaking in your pack, vehicle, purse or hand. We will be making enough for a pint of pepper spray.

Step 2. What you need.
Six peppers or chili's, the hotter the chili or pepper the better. You can use more pepper/chili if you like to get it as potent as possible.
Garlic, two medium or one large-sized bulb or two table spoons of minced in a jar or powdered if you don't have it (the odor repels some bugs and people)
A method of drying the pepper/chili (dehydrator, stove, solar oven or sundried)
Rubber gloves (to handle the pepper and oils) Safety glasses (to keep it out of your eyes)
N95 mask or other respirator (prevent inhalation especially if you are sensitive)
Vegetable chopper or knife and cutting board to break it down.
Blender, grinder or coffee grinder (crush the pepper/chili and garlic)
Two sealable containers (I used a 32 oz. sports drink bottle and a16.9or 20oz. bottle)
Strainer or cheese cloth (to remove the pits and seeds that will block the
flow to spray)
Funnel (allows it to flow in the container saving as much as possible and
prevent a mess)
A well sealed container for storing unused pepper spray. Keep it in a cool place or fridge. Vinegar or Ispropyl Rubbing Alcohol (this is used as the delivery system and it keeps the pepper and Capsaicin in tact longer than water would as well as already contains an irritant to the senses)
Baby oil or mineral oil (this is used to latch on to the body or clothes) NOTE: If you are using this around plants, trees and vegetables to fend off pests and animals or don't have it, you can substitute the vinegar, alcohol and baby oil with water. If you are running low on vinegar or alcohol you can add water to make up the difference in measurements.

Step 3. Preparing the pepper/chili. I am giving instructions for those with and without a blender or grinder. Dry the peppers/chili by means of a dehydrator, sun-dried, solar oven or set in the oven at a low temp.
a. Place the peppers/chili in the blender.
b. Cut, chop or grind the peppers/chili as fine as possible then place in abowl.
a. Place the garlic bulb or bulbs in the blender.
b. Mince, chop or grind the garlic and place in the bowl.
a. Two table spoons of baby or mineral oil into the blender.
b. Two table spoons of baby or mineral oil into the bowl.
a. Add twelve ounces of alcohol or vinegar into the blender. Blend on high for two to three
minutes until purged.
b. Add twelve ounces of vinegar or alcohol and mash and grind until it's as close to being smooth as possible. You can slowly add the alcohol or white vinegar as you blend it to avoid splashing. Pour it into the larger bottle with a funnel to let it sit overnight in a cool place to react and increase the effectiveness of the solution. When ready get your funnel, strainer or cheese cloth and water bottle. Place the funnel in the smaller 16.9 oz. to 20 oz. water bottle then place the strainer or cheese cloth over the funnel. Pour the pepper/chili mixture into the water bottle using a funnel and strainer. Any leftover remnants from the strainer can be used in the garden or trash area to keep pests and animals away. You now have pepper spray and can store it in the refrigerator or a cool place and it's ready to pour in your sprayers at any time. Since it is sitting in vinegar or alcohol it should last anywhere from a month to three months. I sprayed an opossum in my trash can with a garden pressure sprayer and he darted out of there. I haven't seen him in two weeks. I used a solution around my garden and the neighbor's dog won't go near the fence.

Step 4. Cleaning the container and blender/grinder after use. A solution of bleach and water will counter the oils left behind in the container. Mineral Oil and soap and hot water can be used to clean out the blender or grinder. Use caution when cleaning the containers by wearing safety glasses and gloves. NOTE: You can make pepper spray with powdered/ground pepper instead of home-grown or store bought dried peppers/chili but the intent is to get the maximum use of the pepper/chili and garlic. If you do store Cayenne or hotter pepper/chili powder here are the instructions: Take eight tablespoons of Cayenne pepper or four table spoons of habanero pepper and pour it into a 32 ounce or 1L bottle Take two tablespoons of powdered or minced jars garlic and pour it into a 32ounce or 1L bottle. Add two table spoons of baby or mineral oil and pour it into a 32 ounce or1L bottle. Add 14 ounces of alcohol, vinegar or water and pour it into a 32 ounce or 1Lbottle. Shake bottle well and let it sit overnight in a cool place to react and increase the effectiveness of the solution. With a funnel and cheese cloth or towel you can pour it into the 16.9 oz. to20 oz. water bottle and you are ready to store or place it in your dispenser.

A second recipe.

Required: hot red pepper powder (I use Schwartz’s Cayenne Chilli Pepper Powder); surgical spirit (aka rubbing alcohol); baby oil; 2 small glasses (one with a lid); coffee filter paper, or muslin, or something like that; a funnel; a spray bottle.

1.Put 2 tablespoons of pepper powder into a small glass.
2. Add enough surgical spirit to completely submerge the pepper powder to a depth of 1 cm or so.
3. Give it a good stir. You want to dissolve as much pepper powder as possible, though a certain amount will remain undissolved even after 15 minutes of stirring.
4. Add 10 drops or so of baby oil.
5. Put the lid on the glass and shake well.
6. put the muslin/filter paper in the funnel, then use this to filter the mixture as you pour it into the second small glass. This will filter out the undissolved pepper powder – you don’t want it clogging up the spray bottle in your hour of need! Pour it slowly. Once it’s all been filtered, discard the filter and the waste powder.
7. Transfer liquid to your spray bottle. Obviously you can’t use a pressurized can as these can’t be opened and re-used. But some products, like Body Shop lotions and antibacterial hand washes, come in spray bottles that use a pump system to spray out their contents and can be opened and refilled. These spray bottles do not contain a propellant under pressure, so you can’t deliver a long, continuous spray – but believe me, with this stuff you won’t need to.
Now, I was pretty leery about putting too much faith in a recipe I found online. I could see from the list of ingredients that the spray was unlikely to blind or cause permanent damage to a target. But I didn’t much like the idea of spraying this stuff into an attacker’s eyes just for him to laugh at me before pounding my face into the ground. So I knew I had to test the stuff. And the only ethical way of doing this was to test it on myself.
First of all I dabbed some on my lips and the skin on my face. That didn’t do much at all. So then I sprayed a little into one of my eyes.
I was prepared, and it really was only a little spray: but the shock and pain still doubled me up. If I had been blasted in both eyes with a few shots, I would have been blinded and probably knocked off my feet. Yet 15 minutes later I was okay again. (Note: if you get sprayed, it helps a little to wash your eye with milk.)
So there you have it. If you are attacked and happen to have a bottle of this stuff on you, a few sprays to the attacker’s eyes should distract him long enough for you to make good your escape or whatever. But remember: it has to be sprayed into his eyes. Stuff like Mace, CS spray and proper pepper spray will hurt an assailant’s skin. But a pair of sunglasses will probably protect him from the effects of this stuff. So this isn’t some magic potion or Touch Of Death. Keep its limitations in mind.

Also, know the laws where you live. You must be careful making stuff like this, it should not be played with. It is dangerous and can possibly injury eyes. This is for informational purposes only. If you really want a decent pepper spray I recommend Sabre products. Anything else may perform poorly. Get trained with pepper spray and stay updated with that training. There are inert sprays out there that you can practice with.

Semper Paratus
Check 6

Thursday, December 8, 2016

GSR: Evidence Of Training

Do you have any GSR? No that is not a disease, or a new gun cleaner, it stands for “gunshot residue” and it is used by CSI investigators to determine if someone has shot a gun recently. Technically speaking:
Firing a weapon produces combustion of both the primer and powder of the cartridge. The residue of the combustion products, called gunshot residue (GSR), can consist of both burned and unburned primer or powder components, combined with additional residues from the surface of the bullet, surface of the cartridge case, and lubricants used on the firearm. Residues can be either inorganic or organic in nature.
So if you were tested for this would you pass? Would you be able to prove that you have shot your gun in the last day? The last week? The last month? More?
I would never pass this test.
I shoot sometimes 3 times a week. I think I probably sleep in GSR. Don’t tell my wife, she’ll wash the sheets every day.
Practicing anything is a matter of time management, desire, and responsibility. It’s like exercise. We all know we should do it, but until we are fully committed, we’ll be sporadic.
Here are some tips to plan and execute your training program.

1 Choose a time
How often do you want to shoot? How often can you realistically shoot?
I have shot for many years and have been an instructor for several years. I shoot at least once a week to keep my skills where they should be. But I dry fire daily to keep the basics up. I choose different drills and mix them up when I go to the range. My dry fire is a set routine. Remember safety in all things, especially dry fire. I use a training gun.

2. Find a location
I would highly recommend dry fire because it can be done almost anywhere, but safety is always a factor. You may be limited in your choice of gun ranges. If you know someone with property or a farm or ranch, they may give you permission to shoot there. Remember the 4 safety rules and make sure you have a safe range.

3. Choose drills that work on your weaknesses. Do an honest evaluation of your shooting skill. Or go to a good instructor and get his take on your skills.
4. Use dry fire as much as possible. Dry fire is safe, cheap, and effective. There are only a few things you cannot work on dry firing. The most important in my opinion, is trigger work. How well you use your trigger affects everything else. Dry fire can help that. Make sure to do it safely if you use a gun other than a trainer gun.
Here are basic drills that can get you started.
Walkback Drill (Live fire)
Skill Focus: accuracy, trigger control, sight alignment
Distance: 3 yards and greater
Target: 3×5 card
Instructions: Place a standard 3×5 white index card three yards away. Fire five rounds at the card with no time limit. If all five shots hit the card, move to the seven yard line and fire five more. If those are all hits, keep repeating the drill, moving back an additional yard after each successful 5 shot string. The goal is to go as far as you can without missing a shot. Once you miss, end the drill or start over at three yards.
A lot of shooters get sloppy with their marksmanship standards, often because they simply use targets that are too large. If you only ever practice shooting at an 8-inch circle or a large silhouette, it’s easy to get slack about proper sight alignment and trigger manipulation. This simple drill will show you pretty quickly if your fundamentals need work. It’s also a good way to check the zero for your carry gun. As you back up from the 3×5 card, your point of impact might start to shift up or down, and you’ll need to adjust accordingly. If you’re able to make it past 15 or 20 yards with this drill, the 3×5 target will probably be stretching the limits of the mechanical accuracy of your gun and ammo.
This drill was originally developed by Todd Green
The Wall Drill (Dry fire)
This drill was invented by George Harris, a former Sig Academy instructor. According to him, he came up it with while in the military. He called it the Wall Drill when he taught it to his students and the name stuck. The point of the drill isn't speed of draw or target acquisition per se, but rather developing trigger control, leading to muzzle control and thus greater accuracy. For this dry firing exercise, start with an unloaded firearm and a blank, ideally lightly-colored wall. For the sake of safety, do so in a safe direction with sufficient backstop; a basement is ideal. Bring the firearm up and align the front and rear sights, with the muzzle an inch or two away from the wall. Don't focus on a target, but rather the front sight through the rear sight. Once aligned, operate the trigger. What should happen is the gun will "click" and the front sight should not move. If the front sight moves, your trigger press is causing the pistol to move, which it shouldn't. Harder triggers tend to move the other fingers with the motion, so you want to adjust and refine your grip and trigger press until the front sight (and therefore the muzzle) doesn't move with the trigger press. The benefit of this dry fire drill is that if the muzzle doesn't move when you actuate the trigger, your accuracy while live firing should improve considerably.
There are many ways to practice. Find some simple ways that will work for you. Re-evaluate yourself often and change your training to meet your needs. Work as simply and realistically as possible. Practice often and you will have GSR to prove you are a shooter.
Semper Paratus
Check 6

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Pearl Harbor and Situational Awareness

Many years ago I was in basic training. I had the usual experiences one has in basic training. But an experience that stands out to me has to do with qualifying with the M16 rifle. The instructors asked if anyone had experience with a gun. Like an idiot, I raised my hand. There were a few others too. You don’t draw attention to yourself in basic. You don’t want any instructor to know that you exist. It’s safer. Luckily, the shooting instructors were not the typical training instructors. They liked to see someone do well with a gun. So they had us begin. Many of the guys I was with had never touched a weapon and you could visibly see that they were scared of it. All went well until it was time to score. I ripped a circle of about 3 inches center of mass on my target. I told the instructor that all 50 went through that 3 inch circle. He didn’t believe me so I told him to let me run through it again and he could check each shot. We did that and so I made a smiley face for him on a 2 ½ inch circle. Once he saw that he stopped me at 9 shots and told me he now believed me. That was my introduction to military shooting. I lived on base across the street from the NCOIC (NCO in charge) of CATM (combat arms training and maintenance). I got to know him to where he would have me come to the range whenever they were shooting anything crazy or unusual. Because of our friendship I was able to get qualified on all the service weapons and many combat weapons. Finally, I had spent so much time with these guys that I asked if I could be qualified as an instructor. They told me if it was OK with my commander they would put me through the school. I knew my commander pretty well and he signed off on it. That’s how I become a military weapons instructor when it was not even part of my job. I would help them with their training schedule when they needed someone. It looked good on my record and I loved every minute of it.
Earning that expert marksmanship ribbon with a bronze star meant a lot to me. It was more than a ribbon to me.
The military gave me a true appreciation for this country.
One thing the military taught me was to be aware of my surroundings, have some situational awareness. As we learn about 9-11 we learn that there were some signs of an imminent attack coming. We had some idea that something was coming but many of the pieces were not together. Had all intel been put together, a big picture might have been formed and possibly some action taken.
Pearl Harbor was no different.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt was warned three days before the attack that the Japanese empire was eyeing up Hawaii with a view to "open conflict."
The information, contained in a declassified memorandum from the Office of Naval Intelligence, adds to proof that Washington dismissed red flags signaling that mass bloodshed was looming and war was imminent.
"In anticipation of possible open conflict with this country, Japan is vigorously utilizing every available agency to secure military, naval and commercial information, paying particular attention to the West Coast, the Panama Canal and the Territory of Hawaii," stated the 26-page memo.
Dated December 4, 1941, marked as confidential, and entitled "Japanese intelligence and propaganda in the United States," it flagged up Japan's surveillance of Hawaii under a section headlined "Methods of Operation and Points of Attack."
The memo, now held at the Franklin D.Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum in upstate New York, has sat unpublicized since its declassification 26 years ago. Its contents were revealed by historian Craig Shirley in his new book "December 1941: 31 Days that Changed America and Saved the World."
Three days after the warning was delivered to the White House, hundreds of Japanese aircraft operating from six aircraft carriers unleashed a surprise strike on the US Navy's base at Pearl Harbor, wiping out American battleships, destroyers and air installations. A total of 2,459 US personnel were killed and 1,282 injured.
Some say the government knew it was coming and didn’t stop it, others say it was still a surprise attack, either way of thinking doesn’t change the fact that our country was attacked.
Knowing if and when an attack will come can mean the difference between loss of life and something less. If you are walking down a street and you see a gang of big, angry guys a ways off and you can turn around, or go to the other side, or make a turn, then you have the advantage. If you are blindsided then you have no time to prepare, you have few options.
First you should have a basic baseline for what is going on. What is the general sounds and sights? It would be unusual to see dancing at a funeral, sometimes behaviors seem out of place. Get an idea, a “read”, of the activity.

Imminent Threat Solutions has this advice:
“Three Obstacles in Situational Awareness
1. Not Monitoring the Baseline. If you are not monitoring the baseline, you will not recognize the presence of predators that cause a disturbance. Other events can cause concentric rings as well. Any unusual occurrence from a car accident to a street fight can create a concentric ring. One of the keys to personal security is learning to look for and recognize these disturbances. Some disturbances are dangerous, some are just entertaining.
2. Normalcy Bias. Even though we may sense a concentric ring that could be alerting us of danger, many times we will ignore the alert due to the desire for it NOT to be a danger. We want things to be OK, so we don’t accept that the stimulus we’re receiving represents a threat. We have a bias towards the status quo. Nothing has ever happened when I do this, so nothing is likely to happen.
3. The third interrupter of awareness is what we define as a Focus Lock. This is some form of distraction that is so engaging, that it focuses all of our awareness on one thing and by default, blocks all the other stimulus in our environment. This is when someone is texting and walks into a fountain. The smart phone is the single most effective focus lock ever invented. It robs us of our awareness in times and places where it’s needed most.

Three Effective Techniques to Stay Aware
1. Monitor the Baseline. At first, this will require conscious effort. But after a while, I find that I can monitor the baseline subconsciously.
2. Fight Normalcy Bias. This requires you to be paranoid for a while as you develop your ability. Look at every disturbance to the baseline as a potential threat. This will allow you to stop ignoring or discounting concentric rings and begin making assessments of the actual risk. But as you learn, people will think you are jumpy or paranoid. That is OK. It’s a skill that will save your life.
3. Avoid using the obvious focus locks in transition areas. It is ok to text while you are sitting at your desk or laying in bed. But it’s NOT ok to text as you walk from your office to the parking garage.”

These skills require some work on your part to master. You can practice all the time. Sharing what you’re doing with your family or friends will help them to understand why you’re acting a little more weird than usual. It doesn’t take long until these skills are natural as soon as you walk into a building or an event.

We remember this day with sadness and a resolve to never let it happen again. Even though 9-11 was similar. In our personal lives we need to ensure that there is no “Pearl Harbor” event.

Semper Paratus
Check 6

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

It Can Happen Anywhere

It can happen anywhere…

People often let their guard down when traveling in familiar areas; many live with an “it can never happen here” attitude.

Recently, I watched a video of a man being savagely beaten by a mob of gang members outside a gas station; the video highlights how quickly things can go bad. The man, Orrden Williams Jr., was trying to be a Good Samaritan by walking an elderly lady to her vehicle after she was frightened by a group of gang members who were yelling and throwing up gang signs in the area.

As soon as Williams had the woman in her car, the teens charged the man and began violently attacking him in broad daylight. Williams countered and fought back. In his interview it was made known that he was legally armed. Would you have drawn your weapon? He did not. He said he wasn’t really hurt very bad and these were teen agers. I find great comfort in a concealed carrier who uses discretion when being beat and decides not to draw. In watching the video I can see why he did not. There were many people around and he was not being “beat up” but was actually hit a few times. He also said he had family in his own car. So he did not head toward his own vehicle.

I also see occasionally see an ADT commercial. I’m not picking on ADT, it could be any alarm system.
In this commercial a family is playing a game at the kitchen table when someone breaks into their home. Then the selling of an alarm system starts. For some reason they put across the idea that having an alarm system would stop someone from breaking down your front door. They show someone being put in handcuffs later in the commercial. How does that work? Get the system, the police show up and arrest the guy before he can get into your house and rape and pillage? The only thing an alarm system is good for is semi-protecting your home from burglary. Maybe the signs outside or stickers on the window, but if someone wants to break in and grab and run, they can probably do it. Alarm systems do not stop crime! Hopefully they deter criminals. Alarm systems are good when you are not home or maybe an early warning system. But they will not stop violence from happening. It might be nice to know someone is on the way as you’re getting pistol whipped by a home invader, but it won’t stop the attacker. You must secure yourself. 911 will not keep you and yours safe. You must be able and ready to defend yourself from the very real dangers present in today’s society. That being said, sometimes the smartest action may be to just call the police.

While I’m all for being a Good Samaritan and helping people out, when you have a large group of thugs displaying aggressive behavior you need to think about the bigger picture. Part of situational awareness is having a sense of what may happen; in this case, walking into the Lion’s Den probably wasn’t the best course of action.

Self-Defense Tips for Dealing with Large Mobs

Arm yourself: If ever you needed a reason to justify carrying a gun, this is definitely one of them. In my opinion, violence in this country is reaching epidemic proportions, and everyone needs to be prepared to protect themselves and their families.
Study the art of Self Defense: Being prepared means knowing the ins and outs of self-defense. That means going beyond just “carrying a gun.” Any idiot can carry a gun; but knowing how to use it properly in a self-defense situation – or knowing what to do should it fail – is something that takes practice and commitment.
Situational Awareness: Being able to protect yourself begins with having a good sense of what’s going on around you. In this case that should have started before even pulling into this gas station. With this many thuggish individuals loitering in the area, this gas station was a ticking time bomb. A flash mob situation can happen in the blink of an eye. Being very aware of your environment is one of the most important safety precautions you can take in any situation.

Remember that all self-defense is not a gun (as much as I’d like it to be). There are other weapons. All require training and practice.

Pepper spray. This not lethal but if not used properly may just make an attacker mad and more aggressive. Learn to use it right and have another alternative if it fails. It’s also a “up close and personal” weapon. It normally won’t go more than 12 feet. That is real close.

Baton. These work well but can be lethal if used wrong. You can’t just wack someone and think that will stop them. You also can’t wack someone anywhere on their body and expect the same results. A hit on the side of the head with a baton can kill. If that’s what you’re shooting for then have at it.

Kubotan. You can buy a Kubotan, make one, or use another item, such as a tactical pen, as you would a Kubotan. These too require training and practice.

Knives. These can be very deadly but if used right, will stop an attacker. Often a knife wound can turn into a fatal wound, but not all knife fights are lethal. I think a knife is more difficult to use correctly than other weapons.

Key chain weapons. There are small keychain pepper sprays. But Kubotan’s are often on keychains. There are other pointed and blunt weapons. You can also use your keys themselves. Having a long, sturdy lanyard gives you the option of swinging the keys like a sling. Monkey fists are often on keychains too.

Stun guns and tasers. If you don’t know the difference between the two get training. You should be trained in their use. Depending on the weapon, they can be up close or from a distance.

There are personal alarms that may or may not, deter an attacker. I’ve never used one and know really nothing about them. If you can find someone who knows something about them, get all the knowledge you can about them. I personally don’t like the thought of them.

Hand to hand combat. This is more difficult than the rest. I think it takes longer to learn and more practice. But there are some basic things you can learn and practice that would be very beneficial.
Find a good instructor. Learn and practice.

Hopefully, I just piqued your interest. Everyone should take their security and safety seriously. You should have more than just one trick in your bag of tricks.

Semper Paratus
Check 6

Friday, December 2, 2016

December Drill Of The Month

This is a drill developed by Mike Pannone of CTT Solutions. I met him in Texas a few years ago. He is ex-military and that was about all we had in common. He has extensive military training and competes IDPA. This drill was developed for fast shooting of small targets.
These instructions are from an article “15 in 10 Drill” by Dave Spaulding in the April 4th, 2016 edition of Handguns magazine.
Shot on an IPSC target with A and C zones. It’s five rounds at 20 yards, five at 10 yards and five at five yards. Begin from the holster with hands in front of the body or hanging at the sides. On the start signal, draw and and fire five shots as fast as you can hit. Repeat for each yard line, adding the times together.
As the name implies, the the goal to deliver all 15 rounds to the A zone inside a combined time of 10 seconds—although one C zone hit is permitted at each yardage. As the distance to the target decreases, the shooter must speed up in order to make the 10-second time limit.
Hint: If you do not get the 20-yard shots in five seconds or less, making the 10-second time limit is tough.
I suggest starting un-concealed and then work into drawing from concealment as your skill level improves.

See “Overwatch: Drill of the Month” page

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Happy Birthday Oliver Winchester!

Winchester invented the Henry Rifle.
Oliver Fischer Winchester was born to an impoverished family in Boston MA on November 30, 1810. His father died a year after Oliver was born and his mother struggled to provide for her family. Winchester started working at the young age of seven, doing farm work to help his small family. In his early 20s, after apprenticing, he became a master carpenter.
In 1848, Winchester moved to New Haven, CT and opened the first shirt factory in the United States. The factory made Winchester a very rich man, enabling him to invest in other companies. In 1855, Winchester, along with several other stockholders, purchased the failing Volcanic Repeating Arms division of
. The division was developing the unsuccessful “rocket ball ammunition” and corresponding lever-action repeating Volcano Rifle. When Winchester took over, he retained the rights to the rifle and the ammunition.
Oliver Winchester believed the repeating rifle would be more successful than Smith & Wesson’s revolvers, but knew the Volcano would need improvement. Winchester hired gunsmith Benjamin Tyler Henry to work on improving the repeating rifle and develop a new cartridge—the .44 caliber. Production on the rifle started two years later. By 1865, the company became Henry Repeating Arms. It was not until a year later the name
Winchester Repeating Arms Company would be its final brand.
The Henry repeating rifle is one of the most important firearm developments in history as it was the first successful magazine-fed, breech-loading gun. Winchester strongly believed in his company’s repeating lever-action rifle and attempted to sell it to the United States military. He said about the rifle, “Probably it will modify the art of war; possibly it may revolutionize the whole science of war.” However, the Henry rifle did not pass the military’s stringent tests, and the U.S. passed on accepting it. Despite this, Civil War soldiers saw the value in the rifle that could shoot 28 rounds per minute, and many purchased the rifle with their own money. Confederate soldiers called the Henry “that damned Yankee rifle that they load on Sunday and shoot all week.”
After the war, Winchester hired Nelson King to make improvements and modifications again to the repeating rifle. This developed into the Winchester Model 1866—one of the most famous firearms in history. King was able to move the loading gate on the Henry to the side its receiver, enclosing the magazine and adding a wood forearm. It was the first rifle to bear the Winchester Repeating Arms name. Though the U.S. military did not adopt the rifle, introduction of the Model 1866 came at the right time when settlers were moving west. This is how the Winchester Model 1866 got the reputation as the “gun that won the west.”

Oliver F. Winchester built his empire from virtually nothing. His eye for innovation, research, new manufacturing processes and marketing ideas, made his company, family, and business incredibly successful. From one wise man’s vision and opportunity from a failing firearms company, Winchester built one of the greatest and best-known firearms companies in the world. With over one million guns produced, Winchester Repeating Arms has been building quality firearms and ammunition for over 150 years.
We remember Oliver Winchester and his contribution to the gun industry and a never ending legacy.
Semper Paratus
Check 6

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

We Gotta Get Outa This Place: City Evac

I’m really into all kinds of music and this particular song comes to mind when I think of living in a city. This song was a hit for Eric Burdon and The Animals in 1965 and was a big Viet Nam war favorite.

In this dirty old part of the city
Where the sun refused to shine
People tell me there ain't no use in tryin'

Now my girl you're so young and pretty
And one thing I know is true
You'll be dead before your time is due, I know

Watch my daddy in bed a-dyin'
Watched his hair been turnin' grey
He's been workin' and slavin' his life away
Oh yes I know it

(Yeah!) He's been workin' so hard
(Yeah!) I've been workin' too, baby
(Yeah!) Every night and day
(Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah!)

We gotta get out of this place
If it's the last thing we ever do
We gotta get out of this place
'cause girl, there's a better life for me and you

This is my plea to you, get out of the city. You gotta get outa that place, if it’s the last thing you ever do.

Out of the city? That is a strange request. Yes it is. Let me explain why. I grew up in a city. I lived in the suburbs, but it was a city.
I’ve said many times that I am a prepper. To be honest, I was preparing before “preppers” even existed! I think we were called “nuts” or “extremists” back then. Anyway, in my experience I would not want to be near a city in any kind of preparedness scenario you can think of. Being in a city only makes whatever preparedness scenario worse. There are maybe a few exceptions to this. More people can mean more like-minded people to ban together. You may have better access to training and resources. But all these things are pre-preparedness scenario. During a prep-scenario all those people can make things pretty bad.
Cities are harder to evacuate. There is more crime and more criminals. If you do not have an evacuation plan from a city, you could find yourself in a lot of trouble. Even with a plan, cities give you different challenges than a smaller town.
I’m not meaning to make this an anti-city rant, I just want you who are there to understand your challenges.
In reading an article written by a sociology professor who studies natural disasters and human reactions to them I learned something.
“Something happened in New Orleans the week of Aug. 29, 2005, that Dennis Mileti had never seen before in his more than three decades of studying natural disasters and human reactions to them: People were left behind during a mass evacuation.”

He had considered it a waste of time to plan for mass transportation to help evacuate a city. His understanding of human nature led him to count on the idea that neighbors would not leave neighbors behind. That’s what happened in evacuations prior to Katrina.

The breakdown in society has made people uncaring and selfish. There are a lot of good people out there but many are only looking out for themselves. You should not depend on the kindness of others to get you out of a city.

Sometimes you receive an evacuation suggestion (voluntary) or order.
There’s one major problem, however: human nature. Social scientists know that every evacuation involves a period of hesitancy when people mill about. For example, say the fire alarm goes off at work. Chances are people will gather to discuss what they should do, sometimes shouting over the din of evacuation alarms. Large groups tend to mill longer than small groups.

Studies of the World Trade Center evacuation showed that people in large work groups took longer to evacuate than people in smaller work groups.

Knowing when to leave is very important. That is where information and the Spirit is something that you should have in making this decision. Remember, if you are wrong and evacuate, coming back to a job, school, and anything else in your life is not that difficult after only a few days. I’d rather be safe than sorry. Be wise in your choice to leave, but the longer you wait, the more difficult it can become. As far as natural disasters are concerned scientists are debating whether global warming is to blame for the seemingly more intense and frequent storms, or if this is part of a more predictable cycle of heightened hurricane activity. Science will not find the answers because science is man’s limited knowledge. As you learn more about the signs of the second coming, you will know why nature seems to be more violent. I guess there probably is a scientific reason, but knowing that reason won’t stop the weather.

I’ve included a very basic evacuation plan for you to start your own.

Preparing an Emergency Evacuation Plan
An emergency evacuation plan has two parts: evacuation from your house, and evacuation from your neighborhood. An evacuation plan for your home is useful not only for disasters, but also for fires or other incidents in your home.
Important points to remember when creating an evacuation plan for your home are:
 You should have at least two (2) escape routes from each room.
 You should mark the locations of any escape ladders, or other special equipment.
 You should mark the locations of fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, first aid kits, disaster 72 hour kit.
 You should mark the locations of the shutoffs for gas, water, and electricity.
 For people with medical conditions or disabilities, mark their location as well as the location of any special equipment they will immediately need.
Emergency Evacuation Inventory
If you have to evacuate your house, you may have as little as 10 minutes. Under these circumstances, trying to think of what to save is very difficult. Take some time now to think about what items you would try to take with you. Write down a list of the high priority items you would take if you only had 10 minutes to evacuate your house. Remember, you may have to carry everything.
Evacuation Steps
If you have time during an evacuation, you may want to take steps to secure your house. Give some thought to what things you need to do to secure your house. Write down your plans and keep the paper in a safe and accessible location.
Household Emergency Evacuation Plan
 Draw your building’s floorplan, then draw your evacuation routes and a meeting place.
 Make one drawing for each story of the building. Keep in a safe place and review often with your family.
 Have maps ready for the following:
 Closest evacuation centers.
 Main and Alternative routes for leaving the city in North, South, East and West directions.
 Meetup spots outside the affected areas. For example: I live approximately 50 miles east of a nuclear power plant. Should there be an accident or an attack and the wind is blowing in an Easterly direction, our plan is to head north and meet up in a town approximately 60 miles north of my home.
Choosing An Out-of-Area Contact:
During an emergency local phone service may be limited, so you should arrange with someone outside your area to be your family contact.
Your contact person should have voice mail or an answering machine.
Ensure that every family member knows that they should listen to the radio or TV for telephone use instructions, then phone your out-of-area contact person to say how and where they are and what their plans are.
Keep calls short, and if possible, arrange to call the contact person back at a specified time for another check-in.
Choosing A Place to Meet:
At the time of an emergency, your family may not be together. It is important to choose family meeting places.
Remember that bridges may be out and roads may be blocked by debris, so choose your meeting places carefully with access in mind.
Pick places that are easy to identify, that can be reached on foot if necessary, and that are in an accessible, open area.
Take into account where each of you will likely be at different times and on different days.
The emergency evacuation plan for your neighborhood can be handy in a large disaster. By plotting out potential routes on a city map before the disaster, you will save yourself from having to figure something out while in a hurry.
Things to think about when crafting your neighborhood evacuation plan include:
You should plan two (2) routes for each direction. (North, South, East, West.)
You should avoid routes with obvious hazards, or routes which are likely to be impassible in a disaster. (You probably will want to drive the routes before deciding.) And avoid common routes that may be congested during an emergency.
Establish plans with other family members for meeting up outside of the evacuated area. Make sure each member knows the location of the established meeting points.
You should have a phone list of 3 contacts, outside of your area. Each family member should carry a personal copy of this list. In an emergency, communications may be down in your area. Family members can contact the persons out of the emergency area to pass along messages and to check on the welfare of other family members.
Be sure that each family member has a copy of the evacuation plan, maps and telephone numbers.
You should also allow for an evacuation scenario, while at work.
Keep your emergency evacuation plans in a safe location with your 72 hour kit.
In the military we practiced bugging out and relocating all the time. On the federal installation I work on we still practice that.
I can tell you from experience that bugging out is a stressful time. Make it easier by planning and preparing every needful thing.
I realize that most of us can’t just move because we want to. Living in a city is sometimes necessary or even preferable. That’s OK but know of the challenges living in a city brings when it comes to unrest and disasters. Plan accordingly.
Semper Paratus
Check 6

Monday, November 28, 2016

Family Security Plans

It’s family night, a Monday night tradition that you and your family have carried out for as long as you can remember. It’s a night for spending quality time together and having fun, playing board games and hide-and-seek in the dark. But this Monday evening, just as you’re making your way around the Monopoly board, you hear a loud crash from the other room, footsteps, and then mumbled voices. Realizing criminals have just broken into your home, adrenaline rushes through your body. As you look around at your spouse and kids, their eyes wide with fear, your mind fills with questions on what to do and how to get them to safety.

We all know our families are the most precious asset in our lives. When faced with danger, there’s nothing we wouldn’t do to protect them. However, sometimes life can throw you an unexpected curve ball that you have no idea how to deal with until all is said and done. But it doesn’t always have to be this way. When it comes to dangerous situations such as a home invasion, carjacking, robbery, or attempted abduction, having a family security plan in place can help save the lives of your family members, as well as your own.

Planning Ahead

Your home is the one place you have some control over when it comes to security and protection. However, when a family member leaves the home, they leave that security and protection behind. This is why having a family security plan for a variety of dangerous situations is crucial—it can be the one and only thing they have to save their lives.

When devising a family security plan, it’s always important to spend time thinking about the potentioal threats each of your family members encounters on a routine basis. Doing so will help you to devise a plan around each situation that will help keep them safe should they ever find themselves in the midst of those situations.

One of the best ways to create your family security plan is to have a family council so you can discuss and explore a variety of "what if" scenarios based on the real-life danger that criminals bring upon innocent people each and every day. For example:

What if someone invades your home when you and your family are inside? What should each member of the family do?
What if your spouse arrived home after picking the kids up from daycare and found the house ransacked? What action should they take?
What if your teenager goes shopping at the mall with some friends? What security precautions can he or she practice to ensure their safety?
If your child walks home from school, what if someone were to pull up in a vehicle and demand your child to get in? What should your child do?

Most people do not have a family security plan in place. Even worse, some families have never even taken the time to discuss potential "what if" scenarios with their loved ones. This is because most people don’t like to think about such scary situations. Instead, they convince themselves that horrible crimes such as home invasion, rape and murder happen to other people, not them. But nothing could be further from the truth. I can tell you firsthand that criminals don’t discriminate. It doesn’t matter if you’re white, black, poor, wealthy, male, or female, the risk of becoming a victim of a horrible crime is the same to you and your loved ones as it is to everyone else.

This is why having a thorough family security plan in place is so vitally important. Without one, you and your family will be left completely unprepared in the event such a horrible crime should occur. As a result, everyone will be left to their natural "fight or flight" instincts, which could be the wrong response.

No one wants to think the idea of being in such a situation themselves, let alone their spouse or child. But taking time out of your busy life to think about these tragic scenarios and devising a family security plan around them can literally safe your life and the lives of your family.

Implementing a family security plan can drastically improve your chances of surviving the ordeal. To increase the likelihood of survival, be sure to take the following into consideration when devising your plan:

Include emergency phone numbers in your plan.
Ensure the plan accounts for each crime scenario that every member of your family could potentially face.
Put your plan in writing and thoroughly review and discuss it with your entire family to ensure they understand the plan.
Rehearse the various plans put in place by enacting mock crimes with each family member. Continue to practice your responses.
When it comes to home crimes, include an escape plan and/or route for each member of your family. Also be sure to provide a copy of your plan to trusted friends or neighbors, making sure to review the plan with them so that they know the vital role they play if such a crime were to occur.

As a final note, although you may have little control over the safety and security of public environments, this is not the case when it comes to your home. Just as having a family security plan in place is important, so is ensuring that your home is equipped with multiple layers of security. By having these layers of security measures in place, you can deter and even prevent criminals from entering your home in the first place.

An alarm system is a good idea but can give a false sense of security. We live at least 15 minutes from the nearest town so unless a Sherriff happens to be near, we’re looking at someone to clean up and take a report by relying on law enforcement. I love the police! But when seconds count, they are minutes away.

Fortify your home as best you can. Learn self-defense. Get trained. Hand to hand combat is fine, but a gun can reach out and touch someone. Figure out what is best for you and your family. Formulate a plan, practice it and learn it. Keep looking for new ways to protect you and your loved ones.

Semper Paratus
Check 6

Untraceable, Anonymous Communication

Is there such thing as cell phone that is secure? Untraceable?
I tried to determine this and this is what I found.
Any phone that is on and in use is traceable. It can be triangulated and its location found. I think everyone knows that. Being secure, as in “We have this conversation, we don’t know who they are or where they’ve gone.” This is obtainable even though some will say otherwise.
Prepaid cell phones have no connection to the user except by the information asked by a store clerk. If you pay cash, wear a disguise, give fake information that Walmart doesn’t really care about, leave alone put in a database, then, you probably can get a phone without exposing who you are or any other private information.
Most prepaid cell service providers are what’s known as mobile virtual network operators, or MVNOs. (Traditional carriers like Verizon also offer prepaid plans of their own.) That essentially means they buy space in bulk on existing wireless networks and resell it to consumers at a low price. If your burner operates on Verizon’s network, Verizon is probably turning that data over to the NSA. But, that data may not be connected to a person.
I thought to myself, “How easy is it for a criminal to gain access to a untraceable cell phone?
What if they paid in cash? Would there really be no record of who made the purchase?”
All these thoughts started running through my head and causing tons of ”what if” scenarios to play out.
With all the bad things that happen on a daily basis in our country, I was confident that prepaid cell phones weren’t something that could be used for the wrong reasons.
Surely there would be some kind of identification check, right? That depends on the phone, the store where you are buying the phone, and what kind of phone it is. But generally the answer to the above question is “No!”
I bought a phone at a Radio Shack in a small town. I bought it with cash, and did not purchase any minutes with it. I bought those somewhere else. I also noticed that that particular Radio Shack had no obvious security cameras. I found this a little odd for and electronics store but the clerk told me they were transitioning to a new system. So I robbed him. I’m just kidding or course. But it was strange that he would even have told me that. Small towns…
The problem with all this is buying a phone for an emergency. Like an eminent disaster.
With the particular prepaid phone I purchased, I had to buy my minutes separate from the phone, and those minutes were only good for 30 days once activated.
The phone also had to be activated from another phone (land-line or cell phone) or their Web site, before it was able to accept the minutes and allow calls to be placed.
Calling the activation number put me in touch with an operator working in a call center in India.
After I read the IMEI number from the phone I’d purchased and let the operator know my name and address, a phone number and area code was created based on the address I provided.
Essentially that was it, no other personal information was required, and I now had a working phone and 30 days to use my minutes.
If the phone account is not refilled within 30 days after the service end date, the phone number will be lost and a new one will be generated when the phone is reactivated.
I realized that to use my new prepaid phone for emergency purposes, I’d need to purchase an optional minute plan where the minutes never expired.
Having a card ready to load in an emergency wouldn’t be a good option, because I’d have to wait through the process of activating the minutes and potentially having my phone number changed.
How hard is it for the government to trace your call? Easier than you think.
In 2006 the DEA arrested a man named Melvin Skinner, who was caught transporting 1,100 pounds of marijuana across the Southwest. The government was able to catch up with Skinner by tracking the signals being emitted by his two prepaid cellphones and subsequently triangulating his location. They had previously traced the burners back to Skinner. Skinner appealed his conviction on the grounds that the tracking of his cellphone signal constituted a breach of privacy. In 2012, however, a federal appeals court ruled that people using prepaid cellphones had no “reasonable expectation” of privacy, and that the government was free to track away. So if you’re going to use a burner and don’t want it to get connected back to you, you probably shouldn’t use it at your house, or your place of business, or any other location with which you have an identifiable connection.
When you use a burner, you have to remember to leave your real cellphone at home. In 2009 a medical student named Philip Markoff was arrested and charged with murdering a woman in a Boston hotel. Markoff had allegedly used a prepaid disposable cellphone to contact the victim beforehand; he had allegedly used similar tactics in another incident where he robbed a different woman at a different hotel. Both times, Markoff had had his real cellphone in his pocket, and, even though the phone was off, it was still communicating with cell towers. Police were able to determine Markoff’s identity in part by gathering information based on the signals emitted from his real cellphone. So keep that in mind.
In conclusion, burners can give you a measure of anonymity, but they’re by no means untraceable. If you’re looking for total assurance that your phone calls won’t be tapped, I recommend developing a “Book” cipher code, that would tell the person you want to communicate with to meet you on a predetermined Telegram channel which is so heavily encrypted that ISIS used it. Or you could try using two tin cans and a length of string.
Semper Paratus
Check 6

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Speed And Acuracy

The FBI says that it takes an average of 3 hits with defensive handgun ammo to stop an attacker, regardless of whether you’re shooting 9, .40, .357, or .45. But averages are deceiving. The majority of shooting encounters are stopped after 1 round is fired…regardless of whether that round hits or misses. (Thank goodness) What that means is that determined attackers regularly soak up 3, 6, or more solid hits before they stop being a threat. Like the Somali refugee who went on a stabbing spree at the St. Cloud mall last month. He was repeatedly shot and got up from the ground 3 times and eventually kept crawling towards his next intended victim like a zombie on crack…even though he’d been shot at least 6 times already. In a situation like that, you want to be able to repeatedly shoot and assess as quickly and accurately as possible so that you can stop the threat ASAP. Most people try to do this by simply moving faster. By forcing speed on random technique. They force a faster drawstroke...even if the drawstroke isn't consistent. And they slap the trigger faster...even if the sights aren't aligned. The result is BIG, fast, random groups in practice and a lot of misses when you add a little stress. Go to any range in the country and you'll see this play out on target after target. But there’s a better way. If you simply take a few hours over the next 3 weeks and slow down and focus on the fundamentals, the majority of shooters can cut their time between shots by 50% or more while shooting tighter groups at the same time. The secret to shooting fast without compromising accuracy is being able to execute consistent form, with no wasted movement…shot after shot after shot. And the best way to do that is with “slow training.” Let’s take a drawstroke as an example. If you start adding speed to your drawstroke too quickly, you’re going to end up with every drawstroke being different than every other drawstroke. That means your performance will be random. It might be fast, but it won’t be precise. And stress only makes it worse. When you slow down your drawstroke, it allows your brain to pay attention to every part of the drawstroke and remove wasted movement. Slowing down makes it possible for each drawstroke to be identical to the one before. And, when all of your practice reps are the same, you QUICKLY build muscle memory (neural pathways). Once you’ve got these neural pathways built, then speed will come naturally without compromising precision. How long does this process take? Like any habit, within 21 days. But you should see a difference within 10 days. How can it possibly work so quickly? Slow training is the answer. When you go slow enough that you can execute perfect, consistent, efficient form and stop practicing the second you can no longer do so, it slashes the time that it takes to master a skill. “If you polled a hundred experienced firearms instructors, the great majority would tell you that starting with speed and then trying to tighten up the hits will be like pushing a rope. History shows that the person who starts with accuracy and then accelerates the pace will reach the grail of fast accuracy the soonest. Accuracy is the foundation, and speed is easier to build on top of accuracy. Once the fundamentals necessary for accuracy are established, all that remains is to gradually accelerate until those accurate hits are coming sooner and, consecutively, faster.” Massad Ayoob The answer is always practice slow so you can hit fast. Mas also gave us this drill: “One drill I like to do with advanced students is what I call the “edge of the envelope.” How do you find out how fast you can do something right? Well, you keep doing it faster and faster until you do something wrong, and then you slow down. Obviously, you have to do this in the safety of a training environment. It works like this: Pick a given distance and a given target. Shoot a tight group in the maximum scoring zone, and then keep shooting faster and faster until your shots start straying out into the next lower scoring area. Then, slow down just enough to keep them in the spot you’ve pre-determined you want them to go.” Massad Ayoob Master fundamentals. Then master speed. Semper Paratus Check 6 Burn

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Burn Bags, Trash, And Shredding: OPSEC

What can you reveal with your trash?
I have a friend who is a retired police detective from a large metropolitan city. He told me that he can tell a lot about someone from their trash. If he had someone under surveillance he would often go through their trash. You can tell where a person eats out, what stores they frequent, insurance and work information, even if they have a dog. Return address and logos from the companies you do business with can be just as dangerous as the bills themselves. All this from one bag of trash.

Is there really a way to securely dispose of sensitive documents?

Today we’ll be looking at some of the most common forms of disposal for sensitive documents and offering some suggestions that either may have not occurred to you, or will hopefully be a refresher on how to properly dispose of these documents.

Before we address the most common methods of disposing of sensitive documents, let’s first define what sensitive documents are and why we should be concerned with properly disposing of them.

Most people would define their sensitive documents as anything containing account numbers, social security numbers, private correspondence, bank statements, bills, medical info, legal info, passwords, etc. We’d like you to think further and consider including anything with your signature, pre-approved credit card offers and even the envelopes that come with all these documents mentioned.
Why do you need to securely dispose of sensitive documents at all? The answer is two words, identity theft. Those responsible for inflicting such damage to hard working individuals like yourselves, can obtain your information through a number of sources, but today we’ll be helping you take away one of their biggest assets. Your trash.

Believe it or not, dumpster diving isn’t a crime if the trash is in a public place. This includes curbs, apartment dumpsters and anywhere it’s in public view. Where it becomes a crime is when your trash is concealed, like on the side of your house in your trash cans.

One last thing to mention is boxes and packaging from expensive items. Don’t invite trouble into your home by leaving these casually on your curb. At the very least break these down to make them indistinguishable to would-be thieves driving by. Why publish what you bought last weekend by leaving the boxes out on the curb? Want everyone to know you just bought a gun or gun related gear? What about those old ammo company flyers or catalogs? They all scream information. This is something you should pay particular attention to around Christmas particularly.

Putting it into simple terms, you only have one way in which your non-digital sensitive documents reach you and leave you. The mailbox and the trash can.

As we’ve already addressed the trash, let’s look at your incoming sensitive mail really quick. While stealing mail is a federal crime, identity theft is too. Unfortunately just the simple notion of it being a felony isn’t enough to deter a thief to begin with. One of the best purchases you can make to protect yourself from this kind of theft is a locking mailbox insert.

Identity theft is a huge topic, but suffice to say that if you can eliminate the variable of protecting your incoming and outgoing sensitive documents you’ll be leaps ahead of most of the many people that are victimized every day.

By far the most common method of disposing of your sensitive documents is shredding. There are many different kinds of shredders available on the market. Since we’re mostly addressing home shredding, we’ll be discussing the most common commercially available shredders and what their capabilities are.

There are security levels for shredding:

Security Level 1 (for shredding general internal documents): Strip-Cut – 3/8” or Cross-Cut – between 3/8” x 1-1/2” and 3/8” x 3-1/8”
Security Level 2 (for shredding sensitive internal documents): Strip-Cut – 1/8” or 1/4″
Security Level 3 (for shredding confidential documents): Strip-Cut – 1/16″ or Cross-Cut – 1/4” x 1/8”
Security Level 4 (for shredding secret documents): Cross-Cut – 1/16 x 5/8″
Security Level 5 (for shredding of top secret documents – DOD approved): Cross-Cut – 1/32” x 1/2”
Security Level 6 (for shredding of top secret documents – NSA/CSS approved): Cross-Cut 1mm x 5mm (approx. 1/26″ x 1/5″)

Most office supply stores don’t list shredders by their respective security levels, but most list the dimensions of the cut in the product details. It’s suffice to say that Strip-Cut is definitely not the way to go, and can lead to your sensitive documents being reconstructed.

Typically there are three classification levels for shredders that you’ll see commercially available, Strip-Cut, Cross-Cut and Micro-Cut. Strip-Cut and Cross-Cut are fairly on the money in terms of the security levels above, and Micro-Cut is around a level 3-4. Just note the cut size of any shredder you’re buying and compare it to the above security levels for what is best for you. We’d recommend nothing less than Security Level 4 (with the capability of shredding CDs) to ensure that would-be identity thieves are going to have a difficult time reconstructing your documents.

Some government shredders in the Security Level 5-6 range are called disintegrators, which is a term used to describe very large machines capable of generating a top secret level particulate from just about anything. This includes hard drives, cell phones, microfilm etc.

The reconstruction of sensitive documentation has been around as long as shredders have. According to NY Times article: reconstruction was first brought to light during the 1979 US Embassy takeover in Tehran. The Iranians elicited the help of local carpet weavers to reconstruct sensitive documents, which were sold on the streets of Tehran as a testament to US imperialism.

Just know that with some time and even the help of computer programs like Unshredder, there isn’t much reassurance that your documents will stay shredded.

While shredding can be an effective way to deconstruct your sensitive documents, even that must be put on the curb for anyone to pick up. To totally and securely dispose of these documents you’ll need a Burn Bag. The Government uses Burn Bags for the collection of classified materials that are to be destroyed.

A Burn Bag isn’t some magical bag that bursts into flames on command to erase your documents, it’s simply a bag which is easily identifiable that you can continually deposit your to-be-destroyed information into throughout the day. Then once the day, or however long you’re waiting, the bag gets incinerated. If you’re waiting multiple days in between incinerating Burn Bags, you’ll need to consider where you’re going to store it.

One of the best ways we’ve found to incinerate Burn Bags is to get one of those outdoor fire pits with the screened lids. It will keep your ashes from flying around everywhere while you’re cooking your documents. Of course when you’re done you’ll need to properly scatter the ashes. We use a burn barrel since we are in the country.

Burn Bags can even be used in conjunction with a shredder, as many documents stacked in a pile will not fully burn. The absence of oxygen on the interior pages of a book or large stack of documents acts as insulation and will not allow a complete burn. You’ll wind up with plenty of unburned material and have to repeat the process all over again.

The Burn Bags that the Government uses feature red and white diagonal stripes that makes them easily identifiable and harder to confuse with other trash.

You may have remembered seeing Burn Bags in the movie “Spy Game”, which is the first movie we’ve seen to actually use a Burn Bag. In the movie, Robert Redford’s character uses the bag to store sensitive documents, not for burning, but to deceive fellow CIA personnel by hiding them in plain sight.

What if you need a document disposed of, but don’t have a shredder? Do your best to rip up the papers, put them in a plastic bag and fill it with just a little bit of water. Slosh, roll, squeeze and or crumble the paper into a big, sloppy mess. When you're finished, you should be left with a waterlogged ball of incomprehensible pulp!
It's probably not the best solution if it's something you need to do every day, but for the odd item that needs to be securely destroyed, it's a pretty clever alternative.

Keeping your information safe is an ongoing battle. Make sure you win this battle by being vigilant and smart.

Semper Paratus
Check 6

Reholstering Safely

Negligent discharges happen often enough that you should be concerned when you handle your gun near your body. One of the most dangerous times is when you go to reholster your gun. This simple act is rarely talked about and often overlooked. Re-inserting the gun into a holster is a high risk activity for many, but it doesn’t have to be. Avoid pain and disability, or worse, by doing it the right way, every time. Here are some pointers about equipment and behaviors to keep you free of unwanted holes, not to mention looking competent on the range.

In this article and in many shooting classes, the term “firing grip” means the “V” of your thumb and forefinger is as high as reasonably possible on the backstrap, the three non-trigger fingers are wrapped firmly around the grip, and your trigger finger is straight and planted against the frame.

1) Maintain a firing grip throughout the holstering process

Keep a firing grip until the gun is secured. Keep fingers where they belong.

Never loosen your grip as you reholster. This is essential discipline for not only safety, but developing an automatic habit that will serve you in self-defense or competition when there’s other important stuff to think about.

2) Be sure the holster is clear of obstructions involving the holster itself

Be sure to clear outerwear material out of the way. Jacket zipper pulls are especially dangerous.

Some holsters have retention straps that tend to dangle over the opening. Some have trigger finger-operated retention devices that can, however rarely during rough use, collect snow or small sticks that protrude into the holster. There is nothing inherently wrong with either type, so long as you ensure that the opening and interior are clear before inserting your gun. Never use your muzzle to clear an obstruction, and never cross your support hand in front of the muzzle to clear the holster!

These types of holsters are good for practicing under low-stress conditions and for carrying or storing the gun in something that covers the trigger guard.

3) Be sure the holster is clear of potential wardrobe malfunctions

It’s best to tuck your shirt in tightly when wearing a holster outside the waistband. If not, or if you’re wearing a shirt that’s baggy, you risk pushing a fold of clothing or—heaven help you—a button into the holster. That can result in an unintentional discharge that chews up your leg.

Clearing baggy shirts from the holster area is best done by placing your support hand flat against your abdomen just in front of the holster, pressing against yourself as you draw that hand toward your mid line. This will clear the holster opening while preventing the muzzling of your own hand.

Pull loose shirt material toward your mid line with your support hand flat against your abdomen.

Outerwear, like an open jacket, is also of concern. Be especially careful if you’re wearing a jacket that has zipper pulls or a drawstring at your midline. These can get inside the trigger guard as you reholster, possibly offering no feeling of having to push harder to insert the gun before a round breaks and ruins your leg. If you must keep such a jacket on during practice, tighten the drawstring above holster level on your waist, and use the shirt-smoothing technique above.

If you feel resistance when holstering, STOP. Don’t insert the gun any further until you’ve inspected the cause.

3) Don’t use the muzzle to work the gun into a collapsible holster

Never reholster into a sheath that goes flat without first removing it. The muzzle is NOT a fishing tool…

My everyday carry holster is a Sticky brand. It works great for me, but one of its limitations is reholstering. Like several other soft-sided brands, its opening collapses flat when the gun is drawn. Flat as a pancake, in fact, when it’s in my waistband. The muzzle is not a fishing pole! Holsters that collapse upon drawing must be deliberately placed back on the gun—not vice versa. That means I have to remove the holster from my waistband and, using my support hand, lower it onto the muzzle from above. This way the muzzle never covers my non-gun hand or other body parts. It’s very little trouble since this is only necessary when I’m doing a chamber check or after firing.

4) Stand up first, reholster second

Avoid reholstering when not standing. It’s a great idea to practice firing from different positions once you’re safe and comfortable shooting from a standing position. It’s a big risk to reholster when prone, kneeling, sitting, and so on. Keep your muzzle in a safe direction with the gun in a firing grip in one or both hands as you rise. If you want to be pro-active in your training, visually scan your environment as you come up to a standing position. But if you are not really familiar with shooting from positions other than standing, concentrate on getting up and controlling your gun. Then go to the holster. Once you have went to get up many times while controlling your muzzle, you can start scanning. Be sure of what you’re doing.

5) Take you time

Gunsite Academy has many sayings. One important one is “draw quickly, fire slowly, reholster reluctantly.” This was often followed by “there are no awards for speed reholstering.”

This simple investment of a couple extra seconds will protect your life and health.

Safety is often overlooked in many areas. Especially when you are experienced. The most experienced shooters are sometimes the most dangerous because of their familiarity with guns. It’s easy to get complacent and over-estimate your knowledge or skill. Taking a lot for granted with dangerous things can get you killed or at least injured. Stay vigilant.

Remember also the importance of inspecting and maintaining your holster. Wear and tear can cause a multitude of problems. Make sure what you carry is safe.

Semper Paratus
Check 6

Monday, November 21, 2016

Feeling Home On The Shooting Range

Everyone can use a shooting range. Whether you hunt, plink, compete, or defend yourself, you will need to practice. I belong to a shooting range that is outdoors. I love it but feel I need the convenience of a home range. I’m in the planning stages.
Whether you shoot for fun, sport, or defense practice is required.
As retired NBA basketball star Allen Iverson so eloquently said, “We’re talking about practice, man, we’re not even talking about the game, when it actually matters, we’re talking about practice."
Correct. We are talking about practice. We are talking about how important time at the range is to a shooters overall chances of success. It’s not just about making sure your gun shoots accurately; it’s about you. Practice builds skills that improve your accuracy. Skills that make you a better, more confident shooter.
It seems bow hunters practice more frequently than gun hunters. This isn’t an all-encompassing fact, of course, but generally speaking, I believe it to be true if for no other reason than shooting a bow is more convenient (and less expensive) than shooting a gun.
Just about anyone with a quarter-acre in a tight subdivision can set up an archery target behind their house, pace off 20 yards and fling arrows. Firing off a 12 gauge in the neighborhood is probably not such a great idea.
Shooting firearms requires a proper location. Such locations include public or private gun ranges, rural property, or if you’re lucky enough, the backyard. Whatever your situation may be, make the most of it.
Let’s assume you do not have the good fortune of being able walk out the back door to a personal shooting range. Most people can’t. So where do you shoot? Thankfully, a number of organizations are working hard to ensure you have plenty of options.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the firearms industry, exists to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. A large part of their mission is making sure there are plenty of places to shoot. On the NSSF web site (, you’ll find endless resources for shooters. To prove just how serious it is about helping you find a place to shoot, the NSSF has designed a separate web site devoted to helping you find a range. The web site is simply called “Where to Shoot,” and can be found at The National Rifle Association has a similar web site located at
Shooting ranges are nice for a number of reasons. They usually have quality shooting benches and target stands set at established distances. There’s also the camaraderie. Chances are there will be other shooters at the range. Where else can you approach a complete stranger while wearing a Glock .40 on your hip and feel perfectly comfortable striking up a conversation while he’s busy reloading a 30-round magazine for his AR-15? Ahh, the comfort of kindred spirits.
If you have enough land and live where shooting is acceptable, you can build your own range. Having a gun range at home is convenient. After supper, you can grab your rifle or shotgun and head out to the range to practice a few shots. You don’t even have to use your centerfire rifle. Even regular practice with a .22 helps. The more you shoot, the better your hand/eye coordination becomes. Your trigger press improves and the overall process of shooting becomes more natural.
Putting together a decent shooting range doesn’t take much time or money. You really only need four things: a shooting bench, a shooting rest, a target stand and targets, all of which could be homemade or purchased from a sporting goods retailer.
If you choose to go with a homemade range, you can use or build a picnic table for a bench, fill a couple of sand bags for a rest, build a target stand out of 2x4s and use cardboard or paper plates for targets. If you’d like a bit more serious shooting range, companies like Caldwell Shooting Supplies and Shooter’s Ridge manufacturer everything you need. You can buy a weather-resistant shooting table, a quality shooting rest, a target stand and plenty of targets for well under $500. Get a couple buddies to pitch in the cash together. It won’t take long to see the value of your investment.
Make sure it is legal to have a range where you want to put it.
No matter what, safety must always be your first priority when shooting. Wherever you decide to set up your range, be sure you are in a safe location. Be positive of what lies beyond your target. Either set your target stand in front of a proper backstop, or take the time to build one. Mound up dirt or a wood pile. And of course, always wear hearing and eye protection.
Semper Paratus
Check 6