Monday, June 26, 2017

Rotating Carry and Defense Ammo

The other day my wife caught me replacing ammo in her gun. Actually she didn’t really catch me she’s seen me do it before. She just noticed this time and asked questions. “How often do you replace ammo? Is the replaced ammo still good? What do you look for when inspecting ammo? Is there any other time you would rotate it?”
These were all good questions. I also have some other things I’d like to point out.
Defense guns and ammunition are special items. These tools you must have work when you need them. They should be what you consider the best. Or at least the best that you can afford. One of my home defense guns is a S&W auto compact 9mm. Would I rather have a Sig Saur or a Kimber? Sure. But I like my S&W and I am accurate with it. We have other guns of other calibers hidden through-out the house.
Anyway, I like to switch out my ammo in our carry guns and home defensive weapons every 6 months. This is just a conclusion I came to many years ago from experience. If you Google “rotate your ammo” you’ll find several articles and forum threads on this topic. I also consider what type of gun I’m keeping ammunition in.
The difference between a semi-auto pistol and a revolver is obvious. But not so much how each type of gun treats its ammo. With a revolver, your rounds are dropped smoothly into the chamber. Every surface of the ammunition, save the face of the bullet, is protected, and there is no high-impact insertion into the chamber. Autoloading pistols have a tendency to beat the daylights out of the first couple of rounds in the magazine. When the gun is loaded, the first round is slammed rather violently into the chamber. The second round is subject to the slide’s movement over its case, and if you load and unload frequently, these two probably get cycled in and out of the chamber more than once.
The “revolver or auto” question also pertains to any spare ammunition you carry. With extra mags for a semi-auto, all of the ammunition in the magazine is protected by the magazine body with the exception of the first round. If you carry a revolver, things are a bit different. If you carry spare rounds in a Speed Strip in your back pocket then after a month or two, the rounds on this strip are discolored and usually one or two of the cases is at least a little dented. If you carry speedloaders in belt holders (or magazines in magazine pouches), the ammo will probably not age as quickly, but can still eventually encounter issues from exposure moisture and debris.
The next question you should be asking is, “How do I store the gun?” Is the gun a nightstand pistol that rarely leaves the bedside table? Is it a daily carry gun? Do you load and unload it daily? Your answers here may dictate how often you should rotate your ammunition. If the gun never leaves the bedside, the ammunition could probably last pretty much indefinitely. Because it is not exposed to sweat, humidity, temperature fluctuation, and daily handling, the ammunition should last much longer than ammunition in a carry gun. If you are like me and you check the condition of your firearm every time you put it into the holster, the ammunition in it can become a little worn and should be replaced more frequently.

You should inspect your ammunition occasionally. When I pull the rounds out of my gun, I am looking for some specific indicators that it should be replaced. First, I’m going to look at the bullet itself. Some discoloration from handling is normal, but alterations in the shape of the bullet are not. Did it get slammed into the feed ramp and is now misshapen as a result? This is probably a good indicator that the whole cartridge has suffered some abuse, and the change in shape may impact the bullet’s performance. If the bullet is deformed, replace those rounds.
Next, you should look at the position of the bullet in the case. A condition called “bullet setback” can occur when pressure is repeatedly applied to the bullet – from chambering and rechambering – and forces it backward into the case. This can compress the powder and create dangerously high chamber pressures, and ammunition exhibiting significant bullet setback should not be fired. If the bullet is set back, replace those rounds. Federal, Remington and Winchester all recommend that cartridges should not be chambered more than twice before being discarded. I usually shoot the rounds unless the setback is significant or there is other damage. (I reload so I have a bullet puller. I’ll pull the bullet and re-use the case if it’s not damaged)
Next, you should inspect the case. Non-nickel plated brass cases may be discolored. Some mild discoloration isn’t reason to remove them from duty, but corrosion is.
I then inspect for deformities, especially the kind that would prevent the round from feeding reliably. These include dents or slight bulges in the case or deformities around the case mouth. I find this to be most common with revolver cartridges carried in reloading strips. I carry these in my back pocket, so each time I sit they are liable to impact with whatever I am sitting on. If cases are badly corroded or deformed, get rid of them.
What do I do with the ammunition that comes out of the rotation? I shoot it. There is some value here, other than just an expensive range session. It also gives me confidence in my ammunition.
I admit this does cost a little money. For me, it’s totally worth it for the peace of mind in knowing that my ammunition will go “boom” when it has to.

Semper Paratus
Check 6

Friday, June 23, 2017

Don't Be A Sitting Duck!

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana has undergone surgery and will need further operations, after being shot by a man who opened fire with a rifle on an early morning baseball practice for Republican members of Congress in Alexandria, Va. Scalise was the most seriously injured of four victims of the shootings.
The suspect was fatally wounded during a gun battle with law enforcement, including a U.S. Capitol Police officer who had been shot.
“He was hunting us, and there was no place to go…
Most of us were at home plate, waiting for batting practice, and everyone hit the deck, flat on the grass, right off the baseline.
But we were sitting ducks…
I’m shocked that I am alive.
I don’t want to make a political statement about guns, but I’m just grateful they were there with the weapons they had…
The only reason why any of us walked out of this thing, by the grace of God, one of the folks here (security detail traveling with Scalise) had a weapon to fire back and give us a moment to find cover…
“He was coming around the fence line and he was looking for all of us who had found cover in different spots. But if we didn’t have return fire right there, he would have come up to each one of us and shot us point-blank.”
Congressman Mike Bishop (R) Michigan
This happened to be a Congressman. This could be anyone. Do you want to be a sitting duck? Do you want to be helpless? Most of you are out there. Do you think any of the members of Congress thought that going to practice softball would be life threatening? Think about what you did today. Was anything you did life threatening? Maybe, if you’re in law enforcement, firefighting, or soldiering. But most of us went to the store, went to work, or a theme park, or the pool, or a myriad of other public places that could have turned into “softball practice.”
People wonder why I carry a gun. The above situation is one of the many reasons I carry. I could always be surprised but mostly I am not a “sitting duck.” But don’t just get a gun and feel safe. One of my mentors Jeff Cooper said:
"You are no more armed because you are wearing a pistol than you are a musician because you own a guitar."
You must get trained. And continue training. To do this you must devote a portion of your time, your fortune (some money), and your mind, to such a serious endeavor. You must practice, and teach, situational awareness for you and your family. You must fortify your mind and your home. You must not be a sitting duck! If you do what these several Congressmen did you will lose! We must not let these few wolves, these few miscreants of society, win. This is your life! This is your community! This is your country! You and I cannot, will not, give in to those who prefer violence over safe liberty. I know that I am condoning violence for violence, but I cannot see any other way of defending myself against violence than with violence. I believe in Ghandi’s words. I believe in Martin Luther King’s words. And most of all I believe in Christ’s and God’s words. But until we can win the hearts and minds of the world we must be able to survive the world.
Get trained. Practice. Carry and defend what is right. And in the end do we not “mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor?”

Semper Paratus
Check 6

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Porter Rockwell Philosophy

I like OP Rockwell. Orrin Porter “Ol’ Port” Rockwell was born June 28, 1813. This is his 204th birthday! He was my kind of guy. He was rough but had a big heart. He could shoot and defended the Prophet Joseph Smith and the Church until his dying day. At one time he was a deputy sheriff, mostly riding shotgun for the Overland Stage. At what became known as the Great Bullion Robbery of `68, a bandit tried for $40,000, and Rockwell brought the man in after tracking him through the desert for a week. That fame helped to set Rockwell up as the territory's first private detective. Frank Karrick, a freighter out of Sacramento, lost stock to rustlers, and Brigham Young's advice was to "Get Rockwell." Later, Herman Reinhart also lost stock, and Young's advice again was to "Get Porter Rockwell." Both Karrick and Reinhart were suspicious. Hadn't that same Rockwell, back in `57, played some terrible part in wiping out a train from Arkansas bound for California? But Rockwell had then been in Wyoming, harassing Johnston's army and so could not have participated in what was becoming known as the Mountain Meadows Massacre. Rockwell made good his contracts with Karrick and Reinhart with about as much dispatch as he did everything else from when he had ferried wagons over the Big Blue. Both clients paid him readily (with Karrick throwing in the gifts of a silver-trimmed saddle and a keg of whiskey). But the appreciation of those two was as nothing alongside that of the territory at large when Rockwell teamed up with another sheriff and brought in Chauncey Millard, Utah's version of Billy the Kid. Little known in the annals of the West's killers, Millard's final story was that he shuffled off in leg irons to his firing squad while still eating the dollar's worth of candy he had gotten when he sold his body to a Provo physician. Rockwell was one to have witnessed Millard's execution, and increasingly Rockwell's taking part in the lawful business of the state seemed to drain the Samson out of him.
Porter was an avid concealed carrier. One time an Illinois sheriff had gotten the drop on Rockwell, and shaking him down, the lawman found the Mormon carried the fire power to get off 71 pistol rounds before he would have had to fort up and reload. That would have meant he had ten, eleven, or twelve guns on board, plus ramrods, wadding, and shot. For comparison, a Smith and Wesson .357 weighs 46 ounces, unloaded. A Ruger .44 weighs 48 ounces (an even three pounds). For either, a box of 50 cartridges comes in at a pound and a half. Figuring that a modern weapon weighs roughly what one of Rockwell's would have, along with its paraphernalia, he could have been riding along with as much as 38, to 40 pounds of steel slapping against him with his horse's gait. Add to that the weight of the hostlers and belts his outfit would have required. And more—add the weight of a formidable array of knives he had sheathed beside his guns. The sheriff, whoever he was, came away from the arrest with a story that was to last him a long time.
But Rockwell kept scaling down his arsenal until he carried just one .36 caliber Navy Colt, whose barrel he had sawed off to about two inches. The convenience of that was he could drop the gun into his coat pocket and go without a holster. In lightening up that way, he appears to have become like veteran cops, weary of the chaffing from gun belts and sick of the dangerous nuisance of the guns themselves. Maybe it was his age or experience.
Some famous advice purportedly given by Rockwell to Sir Richard F. Burton as he was embarking on an (apparently also now-famous) excursion through the desert: “Carry a double barreled gun loaded with buck-shot, to keep my eyes skinned especially in canyons and ravines, To make at times a dark camp, That is to say un-hitching for supper, and then hitching up and turning a few miles off the road. Ever to be ready for attack when the animals are being in-spanned and out-spanned, and never to trust to appearances in an Indian Country.”
I like his thinking. He believed in fire power and he believed in tactical thinking.
This is why I call this philosophy the OPR Philosophy in honor of Orrin Porter Rockwell. It goes like this:
I’ve heard many balk at this idea or philosophy and I respect that opinion. But it’s been my experience that this philosophy is true.
The philosophy basically is that there are 3 types of people. They are described as Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs. The sheep are most people that you know and see. They are good, productive members of society who would not hurt anyone or anything. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a sheep. Then there are wolves. Wolves are evil, selfish near-humans intent on taking what they want. They are not interested in who they hurt in this process. They are a large minority and many are locked up. Then there are sheepdogs. Sheepdogs care about the sheep even though sometimes the sheep don’t appreciate them. The sheepdogs want the sheep to be safe and to be rid of the wolves. I’ve read so many writers who don’t believe that sheepdogs exist. They think that those who believe themselves to be sheepdogs are camo wearing wanna-bes. I’m sure some camo wearers do exist. But I know enough people who, when confronted with violence, go toward it. Watch video of 9-11. Most people were running from the towers but a few were running toward them. This was not just because it was their job. There are many stories of people who helped others and went back into the towers and perished. Many people were going up the stairs while the masses came down. I’ve learned for myself that when shots are fired I go towards the sound. Much to the consternation of my wife.
Be prepared in all things. Be prepared in defense. Be like Port. This is what I call the OP Rockwell philosophy. Living among the sheep but doing my best to protect them. This is how I see Porter Rockwell's life.
Semper Paratus
Check 6

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Darknet: Mystery and Free Speech

I am constantly looking for anonymity on the internet. So when I read about TOR (The Onion Router) I was intrigued.
TOR, which can be downloaded online, operates like a browser — albeit slower because it is bouncing packets of data across several continents to protect anonymity. Journalists, whistleblowers, domestic abuse victims and dissidents living under repressive regimes use Tor to bypass government censors and prevent their online movements from being tracked. The U.S. State Department provides funding to the Tor Project to promote Internet freedom in other countries.
But the anonymizing software has also been used by whistleblowers to leak sensitive U.S. government secrets. Though it’s unclear whether Snowden used Tor to disclose details about NSA surveillance to reporters, Wikileaks has reportedly used the software to protect whistleblowers.
Tor masks people’s online activity by routing traffic through layers of servers, or “nodes,” around the world. Its creators likened the encryption method to layers of an onion, giving the software its original name: “The Onion Router.” About 500,000 people use TOR every day, according to the Tor Network, which consists of a global network of more than 3,000 volunteers who host servers and promote freedom of speech and online privacy.
Once you’re on a directory, one thing becomes overwhelmingly obvious: A lot of dirty, downright illegal stuff happens in TOR. You’ll quickly find links to credit-card scammers, forged documents and currency, weapons dealers, gambling sites, marketplaces for every vice imaginable, hacker havens, the types of illegal and disgusting porn that get chased off the Surface Web, and even the notorious Silk Road, the illegal drug trading post.
But wait! Don’t close your browser in disgust quite yet. Do be smart about your browsing, and above all else, remember Onionland’s anarchistic nature.
Remember you don’t have to click anything you don’t want to. You aren’t likely to stumble across questionable stuff unless you specifically seek it out.
Also remember that thanks to the TOR technology, this Darknet is truly anonymous. If something for sale on the Darknet catches your eye, ask yourself: Are the services listed in this major Onionland wiki legit, or are they fronts for people looking to separate fools from their Bitcoins? Many of the scarier listings in directories are flat-out scams.
But the same anonymity that makes TOR a haven for weapons dealers and perverts also makes it a bastion of a more noble cause: free speech.
Many countries lack the equivalent of the United States’ First Amendment. Darknets grant everyone the power to speak freely without fear of censorship or persecution. According to the TOR Project, anonymizing hidden services have been a refuge for dissidents in Lebanon, Mauritania, and Arab Spring nations; hosted blogs in countries where the exchange of ideas is frowned upon; and served as mirrors for websites that attract governmental or corporate angst, such as GlobalLeaks, Indymedia, and Wikileaks.
The New Yorker’s Strongbox, which allows whistleblowers to securely and anonymously communicate with the magazine, is a Tor Hidden Service. The Tor Project says that authorities offer similarly secure tip lines, and that some militaries even use Hidden Services to create online secure command and control centers.
Ultimately, you’re going to find reasons to love and hate the underbelly of the web.
By way of definition let’s define the Darknet.
There are three “layers” to the internet. But four terms.

Surface Web
Deep Web
Dark Web (aka Darknet)

The Surface Web
The surface web is what you probably spend about 85% of your time on. This will depend on your specific habits, but it’s a good estimate. The surface web is defined as anything that can be indexed by a search engine. This website is considered surface web because you can find LDS Gunsite on a search engine like Google or Bing.
YouTube, Google, the New York Times, etc. are all surface web sites (for the most part). You can find them and browse them by simply following the links in their navigation.
The Deep Web
This term is often confused with the Darknet. They are simply not the same thing.
The Deep Web is any part of the web that is accessed through your normal browsing but not indexable by search engines. Do you have to log in to access your bank account details? Are your friends the only ones that can see your posts on Facebook? Do you watch videos via Netflix? These are all examples of the Deep Web. You can access them through your normal browser, but only if you are logged in.
The Clearnet
Clearnet is a term used to describe either the Surface Web or the Deep Web. Essentially, it is any site that you can access through a normal browsing experience. This term may not be familiar to you. But once you move into the darkest bowels of the Internet, you will see it.
The Darknet
This is a part of the Internet that is intentionally hidden. This can include anything from direct communications to a company’s private network to the TOR hidden services. If people are trying to hide it, it’s in this category.
About a 2 years ago, a developer friend started asking some questions about the Dark Net. I knew she was a very religious lady. I thought this was odd. It turned out that, through her church group, she had made some connections with a Christian church in the Middle East. She wanted to help them develop a hidden church site where they could communicate without risking Muslim attacks.

As already mentioned, there are additional risks when accessing the Darknet. Just keep in mind that you might not like what you see. If you are offended by profanity, offensive topics, crime, or pretty much anything, you should probably stay away. A lot of it is just teenagers being rude, but they can really push the limits.
I’m going to share only one site with you. Here you can test out the browser and ask for more information. It is friendly to new users in that people will give responses, but do not go in here thinking it will be PG-13. I also want to make one final warning that you do not click any external links until you are comfortable and ready to accept responsibility for your actions on the Darknet.
Note: This will not open unless you are using the TOR browser.
Remember, there is a level of security in the Clear Net. My IP address is on this page and you can figure out who I am. There’s no such thing as accountability on the hidden web.
Semper Paratus
Check 6

Buying Food In Bulk by FLAG

A few years after our marriage we moved to a small town. A few towns over there is a farming community. I found that they grew corn and could purchase that in bulk. I was grateful but I didn’t use a lot of corn in our program when I started out. I found another farmer up north who would sell hard red wheat in buckets. So I purchased some from them. I still had to purchase oats and cream of wheat in the store which is expensive compared to buying it in bulk.
Then I heard about Walton Feed. I called and had a catalog sent to me. After talking to Walton Feed, I realized that I would have to do a bulk order and needed to get people in my community excited about grains so that the order would have enough weight. It was a challenge the first few years. Now I get calls from neighboring cities from people who want to be added to the grain order list the next time I do a bulk order. I would ask them where they got my number and they would tell me the name of the person, whom I didn’t know. I was grateful. The more weight the sooner the order.
I can still remember to this day my excitement of the variety of what was available to order as far as grains and beans. They also had dehydrated items, grinders, books etc. It has changed over the years and more products are available.
I got the catalog in the mail and started making a list of what I wanted to try. I ordered a bag of a variety of grains and beans. I was not sure of taste. What some of them looked liked. I just decided to think of it as an adventure and exploring a new world. By purchasing these other grains and beans, it opened more possibilities and variety to my food storage program. I was excited.
When I do a grain order people ask me to do a class about the different items available, their nutritional value, the best way to purchase an item, bag, bucket or can, I suggest to them to just buy it to try the item out. They are hesitant because of the cost of some of the grains. For example, quinoa is an expensive grain but I absolutely love the taste and nutrition of that grain. If they are not wanting to buy a bag of it, which is usually cheaper, I suggest they find a couple of friends and split the cost of the bag. If they can’t find anyone, just purchase one #10 can.
The questions that drives me crazy is, “Tell me what should I buy?” First of all, I can’t make that choice for a person or a family. Each family is different and have different tastes. I don’t like saying get this grain, have them spend the money and not be happy. No food storage program is going to be the same. A person is going to have to experiment with the different tastes and textures to find out if their family is happy with that grain or bean.
I always suggest that they get some wheat to store in buckets. It has a long shelf life if kept in a dry cool place and buckets are not damaged. But here again, they need to decide what kind of wheat to store. Should I store only hard red or hard white wheat? What about soft wheat? How much durum wheat should I store to make home made noodles or do I want to buy store bought noodles for my storage? There is also triticale which is a mix of hard red wheat and rye? Do some of my family members have a low tolerance to wheat? If so, spelt may be your answer. These are some of the questions I ask them. They give me the “deer in the head light look”, and respond, HELP!
I know some people who just hate hard red wheat. They stored it before white wheat started to be sold. They have now purchased enough hard white wheat for their family and call the hard red wheat, their “share” wheat when times get tough.

Personally, I store all of them and use them for many different types of breads, crackers, noodles and other dishes. There is just no way I would just have one kind of wheat. Home made graham crackers do not taste good with hard white wheat only. I need to use hard red wheat. My home made pancake and waffle mix is made out of soft wheat. Those are the only pancakes my kids will eat. When we got to functions where pancakes are being served, a 4th of July breakfast or a church camp out, I bring my own batter because my children detest the taste of bleached white flour pancakes. To them there is no flavor and they say it taste like paste. My children who are at college have me send them my home made mix to them. You might think they are spoiled, they are not, they just know what good food tastes like.
If you are interested in ordering in bulk, contact Walton Feed. They can tell you a person in your area that places orders with them. If there is no one close, you might want to start one in your home town and get it delivered to your door. You can have small amounts shipped through yellow freight or UPS. I usually co-ordinate my bulk order along with other people in cities close to mine so that we can get the truck in our area sooner. I have been very pleased with Walton Feed on replacing broken items, the quality of product and trusting me when I say I did not receive an item that they said that they have shipped to me.
Some of you may live in a city that sells grain and beans in bulk or can purchase them by the pound to try them out. If this is your case, what a blessing for you and take advantage of it. Start today by purchasing a new grain or bean and look on line for a recipe. Make sure that when serving the food to your family, don’t apologize for it, be excited. That way they won’t feel negative about the dish. Some of the dishes I have made have not looked too appetizing but have tasted great. My kids have learned to not judge a dish by it’s looks.

Buying in bulk is cheaper, helps you to take advantage of sales, helps to get your food storage moving, and is usually easier.
Good luck in your food storage pursuits!


Thursday, June 15, 2017

Perfect Practice: Good Habits

I spend a lot of time on shooting ranges. Lately I’ve noticed a new kind of shooter. They are relatively new shooters, but often they carry, and they practice more than the average. From what I’ve seen, the average concealed carrier practices once every 3 months. Of course that is on average. So they are not necessarily new shooters (less than 2 years) but practice more than average (about once a month). I’ve noticed also that they usually are a little experienced, but have very little training. Some of them have been shooting “their whole lives”. Sometimes that only means shooting 3 or 4 times a year. Or just a few during hunting season. Don’t get me wrong, that is some experience. Just being around guns and handling them puts you ahead of the average person who has never, or rarely, handled or shot a gun. Anyway, these have been my observations. For the first 10 to 12 years of my life I lived like the typical hunter. It wasn’t until I was 12 or 13 that I really developed a love for guns and shot them often (at least weekly.)
I have observed that there are certain things that my students did, and others I see almost every other day, that is cementing false muscle memory, or bad habits, into your brain. It’s not something you can’t change, but it takes a lot of work.
New and less experienced shooters have a tendency to squeeze the entire palm of their shooting hand. When shooting, whether using one hand or two, remember that your three-finger shooting grip must not move. Your trigger finger should operate independently. It seems awkward but it’s like learning to play a drum kit. Sometimes your hands have to operate independently of your feet.
If you practice by gripping three fingers tightly in a partial fist, or a three finger grip–the same three fingers on your shooting hand that grip the gun–and then slowly move your trigger finger straight and smoothly rearward, that will help. You might notice that your thumb will move too. Ideally, nothing but your trigger finger should move.
You can practice this technique with a racquetball in your three finger grip.
As any and every shooter must remember, sight alignment is critical, but don’t freeze your sights then slam or slap or jerk on the trigger–that’ll throw your round off every time.
Anticipating the shot or pushing the gun can be a problem too. I see it often and I even have the problem myself now and again. However, squeezing the entire palm of the shooting hand is sort of like someone who’s never milked a cow before trying to milk one because they think they think they have some idea of how the process works! Too often I see people milking their pistol grip, or squeezing it with all their might to “control” the gun. That’s not normal. You were born to be a shooter, not a dairy farmer.
When it comes to other factors affecting your accuracy, there’s a couple of other things to remember. It’s important not to blame the sights, which happens all too often. Fix your bad habits first. It’s not the gun!
I’ve had people swear up and down their problems lie in their “inferior” (fill in gun brand here.) I tell them it’s not and they think I’m crazy. I then ask to use their gun. It hit just fine and then I tell them their problem. Most of the time it’s not a difficult fix. Sometimes it’s more than one thing but correction is easily implemented. The problem will come with the false muscle memory. You have to sometimes retrain your muscles (your brain actually.)
Getting all the fundamentals of solid shooting is imperative. Considering your sights are lined up all the way through the break of the shot, and noting your trigger squeeze is smooth, constant and straight to the rear, reexamine your grip. Remember to allow your trigger finger to operate alone. Your grip should be tight, but the trigger finger is loose and caresses that trigger. Squeezing the whole palm can really throw off your shot.
Once in a while I will take a shooting class. Maybe once every 3 or 4 years or so. I will take a basics course. The instructors recognize some things about me that identify me as an instructor. They ask why I’m there. I tell them, to relearn what I may be missing so that I can shoot, and teach, fundamentals better. It’s also a good, humbling, experience.
Learn the basics and then practice them until they are part of you. Learn safety the same way. They say “Practice makes perfect.” I say “Perfect practice makes perfect.”

Semper Paratus
Check 6

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Learn To Embrace The Suck!

I did some military training at an Army base in Illinois in the 80’s. By virtue of my assignment, being attached to a particular unit, I was subject to the requirements of that unit. During my time with them we played some war games. Numerous times during that time did I hear the term “Embrace the suck!” The term “embrace the suck” is a term widely used in the military when talking about a job or task that is pointless, tiring, or downright lame. As preppers it’s also important that we “embrace the suck” because not everything we watch or read is as easy as it seems. We all see the pictures of a thriving garden or the perfect shooter, but we never see the behind the scenes work that went into the final product. Growing vegetables takes composting, weeding and constant attention. Being good with a gun takes time, practice, and determination. These behind the scenes details are the “suck” we need to embrace. These aren’t the flashy fun aspects of self-sufficiency, but they could be the difference between having a great final product, or a final product that leaves you disappointed. The mundane tasks like weeding the garden, inventory, rotation and shooting drills, are important if we want to get things right. Cutting corners might save you time, but could lead to a less than satisfactory outcome.
One of the Youtube channels I frequent, and recommend, is the Nutin Fancy Project (TMP). Nutin reviews guns, but also knives, watches, and adventure. He includes his family and friends. I highly recommend it. When they are testing and shooting guns they sometimes use a term “suckless”, meaning, “do it better.” Often I think we need to remind ourselves and others that we strive for excellence and if we suck, suck less. Improve. Be better than you are. Make the best of everything.
Anything you do can be a waste of time when you don’t pay attention to detail. These might seem unimportant during the process, but sometimes the small things are just as important as the big things. If you own a firearm, you also need to learn about firearms safety, cleaning and actually shooting it.
All this behind the scenes stuff, or the “suck” is also one reason preppers lose their motivation. We always think about the ripe tomatoes or what it would be like to be an Operator, but we don’t think about the process of getting there. The process itself could lead us to just put it off until later, and then later never comes.
There is not always an easy solution when it comes to preparing, but that doesn’t mean we don’t try and find one. The truth is, there are some things you just can’t throw money at, and it will take a little hard work to get it done. Shooting is one of those things.
It’s really easy to talk yourself out of something because our brains are designed to keep us safe and fear the unknown. We always think about the worst thing that could happen. The odds are, nothing will ever be as bad (or hard) as our minds made it out to be.
Getting your family to “embrace the suck” is a challenge, but important as well. Your children need to learn that it’s natural to want to avoid the hard things, but it’s important to “embrace the suck” of hard things.
Shakespeare wrote:
“Let thee embrace me, sour adversity, for wise men say it is the wisest course”

Even old Willie counselled us to embrace the suck.
There are two kinds of suckiness. Physical and mental. How do you get past a situation with both? (Combat, natural disaster, etc.) You have to accept the moment as your new reality. Usually it is temporary, but it is the new normal. With this you can commit to thriving rather than just surviving. You have to decide to get through this and maybe even learn and come out better. Ever hear the saying “There are no atheists in the foxholes?” A belief in God and that He is there and will help you makes an immense difference.

We all have a form of suckiness in our lives. Sometimes there is nothing that can be done to make it go away. That’s when we need to learn to Embrace the suck!

Semper Paratus
Check 6

Friday, June 9, 2017

When Is Fake, Real? When It's News

At one time in High School I wanted to be a journalist. Especially a photo-journalist. I worked for the High School newspaper and the yearbook. I took lots of pictures and wrote some articles. I learned about an article that was “directed” by the school Principal. He wanted the article to read a certain way. Basically, he was limiting the free press of the school and trying to put out his agenda rather than news. When I heard about this I appealed to the head of the Journalism department, a teacher I knew and loved and who influenced me greatly. It did no good. The article ran as the Principal wanted it. I was so upset by this that I started an underground newspaper called “Another View”. I told the story of the article and other things that I saw going on that I thought were wrong and unethical. This was in a time before cheap copiers and computers so I typed it up and ran a mimeographed copy of my paper. I went early to school and “delivered” my paper in each locker. Ever since I’ve been skeptical of mainstream media (MSM). I also was a kid in the 60’s and I never thought I’d grow up to be “the establishment”. But liberal thinking just annoys me. It’s not very logical and it plays on emotions. MSM cannot be trusted.
Joseph Goebbels served as minister of propaganda for the German Third Reich under Adolf Hitler—a position from which he spread the Nazi message.
These are some of Goebbels quotes:
“Propaganda works best when those who are being manipulated are confident they are acting on their own free will.”
“Think of the press as a great keyboard on which the government can play.”
These quotes remind me of mainstream media today. This is where the term “fake news” came from, propaganda.
Propaganda is: Information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to help or harm a person, group, movement, institution, nation, etc.
The deliberate spreading of such information, rumors, etc.

The particular doctrines or principles propagated by an organization or movement.
To be effective propaganda themes should be repeated over and over. Ever hear of a “news cycle?” This stories sometimes repeated many times over. Goebbels knew this and so do many today.
The easiest way the media keeps you from making up your own mind about what’s happening in the world is by simply ignoring stories that don’t fit their narrative. When was the last time you saw a news story about the ten thousand Christians being murdered every year in Myanmar (Burma)? No? Ask yourself why not. It’s human nature to fear the unknown, and so it isn’t surprising when the media preys on that fear to increase ratings.
One way I have tried to maintain a better world view is to stay in contact with two people. One is a Swedish businessman who travels because of his business. He buys and sells heavy machinery internationally. Some of this equipment is only made in a few places in the world so he travels a lot.
Another person I stay in contact with is a young ex-special forces operator who now works for the State Department. He works in Diplomatic security. I have a close friend who worked in Diplomatic Security with this young man. He travels extensively and reports what he sees and knows to my friend and me. I’m grateful for his insights into wars the U.S. is still involved in not including Afghanistan and Iraq.
If you’ve made the mistake of turning on your television or firing up the internet in the past several months, you’ve likely been subjected to a near-incessant drumbeat of “fake news.” It’s a term being bandied about by all sides of the political spectrum.
The accusation is that there are stories being reported as fact that happen to fit a political agenda, but are based on sketchy, if not outright fictional information. There is ample proof that this shoddy reporting has been used on all sides, bringing mistrust by the American people.
In my 25+ years working for the government, I’ve seen a more sinister way that the media shapes public opinion, and it’s more prevalent than you think. They use subtler methods to mold the culture and, in the process, insert themselves into the story in a very self-serving and perverse way.
One way the media influences how Americans think about certain issues is by framing the conversation in such a way that reasonable, decent people can only swallow one side of the argument.
Let me give you an example. With the news that President Donald Trump intended to enforce federal immigration law, the so-called “mainstream” media outdid themselves to paint him as racist, xenophobic, and just downright mean what has been regarded as sound executive policy under other presidents.
CNN then deployed its senior correspondent, Christiane Amanpour, to Jordan, where there are hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees, ostensibly just biding their time until they can move to a country that shares their Muslim culture. I mean, a country where they can get the government to provide them with a lifestyle at least 100 times better than they were accustomed to in Syria before the war. The Obama administration made an art form out of ignoring stories that went counter to its political position.
Amanpour interviewed scores of refugees living in tents—the more ragged the better—about how cheated they must feel because they missed the boat by not getting to the United States before that devil Trump seized power. The not-so-subtle message is that these people obviously deserve to come to the United States of Welfare because, “Look! They are living in tents and some of them need medical procedures.”
Never mentioned was the fact that for the cost to bring one refugee to the United States, we could support 13 refugees where they are, and make it more likely they will return to their home country to rebuild once the violence stops.
And just in case Amanpour’s empathetic frowns didn’t motivate you to call your congressman and demand he or she throw open the gates of our country to shiploads of military-age refugees, the intrepid CNN reporter brought her young son along on this trip for some great phot ops of him interacting with refugee kids his age. What could be cuter? How could we be so callous as to deprive poor children the world over of their God-given right to grow up in a free country their forefathers did nothing to build?
If you are noticing the sarcasm, that’s because I’m laying it on pretty thick. Look, the Syrian refugee crisis is a catastrophe, there’s no arguing that. But can you see that CNN is going far beyond reporting on the plight of the Syrian people and is purposely framing the story in such a way as to shape public opinion? This might not be “fake news” in the pure sense, but it is nefarious and dishonest at the very least.
Here’s another example of how the media endeavors to go beyond reporting to influencing public perception. In 2010 CNN was discussing Iraq.
I’d been encouraged by the progress U.S. troops were making in the Iraq. Casualties were way down and the number of roadside bombs that were exploding around the country had dropped immensely. Part of the reason was that our military had gotten very effective at finding and defusing them before they went off. Things were looking up. Violence in general was down and a sense of hopefulness was evident there.
CNN was having a roundtable discussion on the situation in Iraq. I don’t remember having a problem with the content of the discussion—various “expert” talking heads were expressing their opinion. But it was the footage CNN was playing in the background that jumped out at you.
As the experts were talking, CNN was showing footage of a fierce gun battle. U.S. troops appeared to be pinned down, engaged in heavy combat. The sense it conveyed to the viewers is that Iraq was a mess—a quagmire every bit as lethal as Vietnam had been.
There was only one problem. The footage they were running in the background was from the battle of Fallujah, five years earlier. While gunfight footage is “sexy,” no doubt, how honest is it to run five-year-old gunfight footage, giving the impression that it is current?
The media aren’t the only ones shaping the story before it gets to you. Politicians, in some ways, invented this game. The Obama administration made an art form out of ignoring stories that went counter to its political position. Even when calling for more gun control, President Obama defaulted to the Sikh temple shooting in 2012 (shooter was a white supremacist), or the 2015 Charleston church shooting. You can be sure he never mentioned the Fort Hood massacre or the San Bernardino shootings, because the perpetrators were Muslim and didn't fit his narrative that the only real threat to Americans is angry white men.
The news exists to report things out of the ordinary. Keep that in mind. If there’s a 10-car pileup on the freeway near your house, you know that’s a rare occurrence because you live there—you have context.
But when a bomb goes off in, let’s say, Colombia—and you haven’t been to Colombia—in your mind, bombings are everyday occurrences, and if given the chance to go to Colombia, you’ll probably pass. Never mind that you are statistically more likely to be the victim of violent crime in Chicago or Detroit. You don’t have context. It’s human nature to fear the unknown, and so it isn’t surprising when the media preys on that fear to increase ratings.
Ever wonder why most news is free? That’s because you are not the customer. You are the product. There is a war being waged for your mind. You must be the victor. You must not give into the hype and the rhetoric. Find better news sources. View or read MSM with great skepticism. Think for yourself and don’t be a victim of the Goebbels-style propaganda that comes from MSM.
“Fake news” has been out there a long time. One of things I like about President Trump is his disdain for MSM. I don’t like that much about the way he acts or what he Tweets, but I understand wanting to have access to the people that can’t be manipulated by CNN or the NY Times. I have the same disdain and distrust of MSM.
Don’t drink the Kool-aid, find real, honest, sources for your news. Stop, I beg of you, STOP! Getting your “news” from Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. These are NOT news outlets! Do your own research, find 3 or 4 credible sources and cite them. Don’t pass on crap that should die on the internet instead of living a long life. We can be better. We are better. And please for the love of all that is true, don’t believe everything you read on the internet!
Semper Paratus
Check 6

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Monthly Book Review: June

Monthly Read
Once a month I will review and recommend a book. I know in this digital world that paper books are a little out dated. Most hard copy books are now in digital form, often in PDF. I would recommend a good well rounded hard copy library in your home. Some of the best books are old and out of print. There are certain publishers and authors I really like. This will be books I like and really only my opinion. If you’d like to recommend a book for me to review e-mail me and we can make it happen. The subjects will be varied but will have to do with the theme of this website, LDS Gunsite. Guns, preparedness, LDS History, security, self-defense, and patriotism are just a few examples. I have a big library of mostly reference books so I will draw heavily from that.

May’s Monthly Read is:
“Principles of Personal Defense, Revised Edition” By Jeff Cooper
Publishers summary.
Jeff Cooper is perhaps the nation’s foremost authority on defensive weapon craft. He is renowned not only for his practical instruction on firearms marksmanship, mechanics and safety but also for his groundbreaking ideas on proper defensive mental conditioning. This new edition of Cooper’s classic Principles of Personal Defense with a fitting tribute by firearms expert Louis Awerbuck and all new drawings by renowned illustrator Paul Kirchner presents his timeless theory of individual defensive behavior clearly, concisely and practically. All free people who aspire to stay that way should read, study and share the wisdom found within these pages. Considered by many to be one of the greatest books on combat mindset and proper defensive mental conditioning ever written, it deserves a place of honor in every library.
Jeff Cooper is one of the true pioneers of weapon craft in the United States. His numerous accomplishments include founder of Gunsite Ranch, editor at large of Guns & Ammo magazine, winner of the Outstanding American Handgunner award in 1995, Rangemaster Emeritus of the U.S. Practical Shooting Association and long-time member of the board of directors of the National Rifle Association.
Cooper gives us 7 basic principles that can easily be adopted and used by everyone. They are the same today as they would have been in 1979, when he conceived the book. I think they are even more applicable today than any time in history.
This is really a book about having the mindset of personal protection and what is required of this mindset. Crime is everywhere in the world. There are 2 kinds of people: those that have been victims of crime and those that haven’t been victims of crime. Certainly, crime comes in many sizes, shapes and flavors. But his basic principles are that if we pay attention to our surroundings, have some counterattack plan, then we can be victorious in an attack on us.
Cooper writes that “It is true that a victim who fights back may suffer for it, but one who does not almost certainly will suffer for it. And, suffer or not, the one who fights back retains his dignity and his self-respect.” If you are attacked, the criminal is not expecting you to fight back. He’s not expecting you to have a plan. He is expecting you to do what he wants. He more often than not doesn’t have a plan if you counter attack. If he takes you somewhere else, usually he plans on killing you and leaving your body somewhere.
The right of self-defense does exist. It always has and always will. I do not want to down law enforcement, but they are not where crimes happen when they happen. They respond and report. Everyone has the right to protect themselves with any means necessary, whether it’s a firearm, sling shot, barstool or screwdriver.
Here are the principles Cooper believes everyone should possess:
1) Alertness
2) Decisiveness
3) Aggressiveness
4) Speed
5) Coolness
6) Ruthlessness
7) Surprise
This is a great little, quick book that is timeless. Cooper is very knowledgeable about self-defense. The principles he talks about have25 years ago and we can see that they need to be used now as much as any other time in history. It is something that everyone should be interested in. It doesn’t matter if you are a gun guy/gal, knife person or a parent. If you have the desire to put yourself in a better mind-space about self-defense, you should check out this book and anything that Jeff Cooper has written.
Semper Paratus
Check 6

Expand Your Situational Awareness With Drills

Situational awareness is not just for self-defense. Your whole world can be different as you start to notice and see everything around you. But for self-defense it’s imperative.
Before it can become part of your background thought process, or your subconscious mindset, you are going to have to be purposeful and do things to hone your skills.
• Play games with yourself; if you have kids include them in the process. When you enter a store, see how many exit points you can immediately identify. Look for obstacles, threats, or anything that could hinder your escape should something go down.
• Start watching people. Try to notice how people normally behave; what’s normal, what’s not? This is called a baseline. One of the best ways to spot trouble is to be able to read people’s behavioral quirks. You can avoid problems or threats because you pick up on things like body language, emotions, and changes in a person’s voice that can tell you something is about to happen.
• Limit outside distractions. When you are out in public you need to put down the phone, leave the electronic distractions at home, and really spend time being one with your environment.
• Start trusting your gut! At first you may be wrong, but in the end, you need to beware of those primal instincts that are built into your very being. The fight or flight response is a very real thing, something that can be used to your advantage if you can learn to control it and not give into the fear aspect which so many people in today’s society seem to be overwhelmed with.
Priority Awareness Zone
Imagine that you are the center of a 15-yard diameter circle. Look all around you—the entire 360 degrees—and evaluate each of the people within 7 or 8 yards of you. Start with those closest to you, and move out to your 8-yard radius. See anything unusual or noteworthy? Next, scan the same area, and see if you can pick out anything that could be used as a defensive tool—somewhere to hide, something that can be used as a shield or anything that can be used to strike. Finally, examine the same area and determine your best exit routes. For extra credit add the area above you, for a 540-degree awareness zone!
Head to Toe
Pick a person in your Priority Awareness Zone and describe that person in detail, paying particular attention to his or her most distinctive features—as if you might have to explain the person to the police. This helps you look more closely at people and process more information about them.
Here are some more tips.
Identify all the exits when you enter a building.
Count the number of people in a restaurant, subway or train car.
Note which cars take the same turns in traffic.
Take a look at the people around you and attempt to figure out their stories. Imagine what they do for a living, their mood, what they are focused on and what it appears they are preparing to do, based merely on observation.
Next time you’re in a parking lot, look for – and count – the number of cars with people sitting in them, whether you’re walking to the storefront, or coming back to your car, or even driving through.

Today find all the reflective surfaces that you can. See what those
reflections hold.
• Find the trees in the windows of your home.
• See the glint of the semi-truck in the window of a passing car.
• See the rippled reflection of the sky or yourself in a puddle of water.
• See the surroundings of the restaurant in the beverage glass before you.
• See the reflections of the road in the heat haze on the highway in front of you.
• See the distorted you in the corneas of the person you are speaking to.
• The only reflection to pay no attention to—that of any mirror.
• Find any and all reflections-and mark how many surfaces provide mirror images.

Awareness Drill

Take 3/Find 5

Select a 15-minute period in your day to execute this drill.

Take three steps, stop and list (verbally if possible) 5 distinct
things in your environment that you can physically sense, These can be
things you see, sounds you hear, scents, tastes on the wind, a breeze
on the skin.

Take three more steps, stop and repeat cataloging 5 more things. Do
not repeat anything in any of your prior inventory.

Continue until the ¼ hour is completed with no repetition of what you noticed.

If you take the time to honestly commit to this exercise you will find
there is far more to sense than we normally take in. We gloss over and
glide through so much of life that what we miss can be astounding.

There is a game known as “Kim’s Game” and it is played both by Boy Scouts and by military snipers to increase their ability to notice and remember details. It’s an easy game to execute: have someone place a bunch of different objects on a table (24 is a good number), study them for a minute, and then cover them with a cloth. Now write down as many of the objects as you can remember. You should be able to recall at least 16 or more.

These are real-world things you can do to help develop a situational awareness mindset.

Engaging in such simple situational-awareness drills will train a person’s mind to be aware of these things almost subconsciously when the person is in a relaxed state of awareness.
Warriors must be aware.
Aware of what? Everything.
A Warrior must be Awake. All detail is interesting, all detail may be
important. We do not know what detail will change our lives. We do not
know what detail will save our lives.

Semper Paratus
Check 6

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Overwatch: Drill of the Month for June

Unless you grew up on an Argentinian dove field with an eight-shot Benelli in your clutches, you likely don’t move and reload as fluently as you should while shooting a shotgun. But if your shotgun is your go-to arm for home defense, these actions should be as ingrained as hitting the snooze button on your alarm clock. There are several shotgun drills that can help.
Shotgunners need to be skilled in many areas, including shooting form, understanding their shotgun’s pattern at various distances, shooting while moving, shooting from cover, reloading and jam-clearing. Because the shotgun’s capacity is its weak suit, reloading is especially important, so all of the following drills should include tactical reloading, if possible.
Kick the Can: The trouble with most paper and steel targets is, unlike real assailants, they never move. So place two or more aluminum cans several feet apart, 7 yards away. Shoot the first can, and shoot it again before it quits tumbling backward. While it’s still moving from the second shot, transition to the other can and shoot it twice, and so forth. Incorporate a tactical reload.
While plenty of gurus would teach the low-ready position from which to start this drill, I advocate a ready position wherein the barrel is kept at eye level, with the strong-side wrist near the ribs. This is because most shotguns are long and many houses are cluttered. In my experience, punching the grip out and to the cheek is quicker than swinging the barrel up; plus hand-eye coordination is better when the barrel is always in view. Practice having the muzzle instinctively go to wherever you look. Then square up to the target zone (it’s OK to be slightly staggered due to the 12-gauge’s recoil) by stepping up with the lagging foot, never moving a foot backward. And remember to keep both eyes open while shooting so you’ll be faster on follow-up shots, transitions and situational awareness.
Shooting from Cover: Shotguns are often longer than carbines, so you must know how far from a wall is an ideal shooting position. Too far away and you’re overly exposed; too close could cause you to strike the barrel against the door jamb. Doing so not only slows you down, but creates an opportunity for a bad guy to grab your barrel. Place multiple targets 3 to 10 yards from cover, and start the drill by running to the cover and engaging all the targets while behind it.
Tactical Reload: A tactical reload means finding a shell with your support hand, shoving it in the open action, and pushing the action-release button on a semi—or cycling the action on a pump—all while holding the gun on target with your strong hand. Tactical reloads differ from 3-gun techniques in that the eyes should be kept ahead, scanning for threats. And because taking 10 seconds to fully reload the magazine is an eternity when bullets are flying, it’s best to reload one shell and shoot it and repeat until the immediate threat has passed. Therefore, you must learn how to reload without looking at your hands, shells or gun.
The drill is simple. With one shell loaded in the chamber and extra shells wherever you choose to keep them handy, practice taking five shots and, fast as you can, reload one and fire it on target. After the technique is mastered, repeat it while moving to cover. Next, turn out the lights. I recommend buying snap caps so you can drill in your living room.
Clearing Jams: A drill for jam clearing is best accomplished with a shooting partner. While on the firing line, swap guns. You set up a jam in your partner’s gun any way you wish, and they’ll do the same for you. Next lay the gun on the firing line. Time each other as you grab the shotgun, figure out what you must do to clear it while moving to cover and fire.

See “Overwatch: Drill of the Month” page for more drills

Semper Paratus
Check 6

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Warrior Checklist From Steve Claggett

Here’s a handy checklist, suitable for periodic review and reinforcement to recharge your warrior mindset.
These eight critical components of tactical performance were itemized by Dallas SWAT veteran Steve Claggett at the 25th annual conference of the Illinois Tactical Officers Association and in an interview with PoliceOne.
Are these consistently your personal priorities when you’re on the street?
1.) 540-degree Awareness
“Continually ask yourself: ‘What people, things, or uncleared spaces are around me or above my eye level that could hurt — or help — me?’ ” Claggett advises.
“As you approach a scene, pause and assess your 540-degree battlefield. Process individuals you encounter — their whole body, their hands, their pockets and waistband, their demeanor. What do you know about them…and what do you know about yourself in that environment? Don’t get hyper-focused on just one subject. Stay aware of potential secondary threats and threat locations.”
2.) Superior Positioning
“Sometimes a single step to the right or left can give you a better tactical edge,” Claggett says.
“Keep your battlefield in front of you. If you can get your back against a wall or something solid, you protect your six and cut your area of concern in half. If you create distance between you and your partner, you split the suspect’s focus — minimize your battlefield, maximize his.
“Does your position facilitate your ability to act and react, or restrict it? Is your nearest cover real, or imaginary? Do you keep the suspect between you and a potential secondary threat? Do you tend to simple but important details, like keeping your flashlight out of your gun hand? Do you recognize and adjust as new vulnerabilities arise?”
3.) “Attack-the-Attack” Ferocity
“When a suspect physically attacks you, defending yourself may need to be much more than just blocking his moves,” Claggett declares.
“If he’s going for your gun, for example, your life is on the line. Turn the attack on him with all the ferocity you can muster. Drive your thumb into his eye socket, punch him in the throat, bite him — you need to overwhelm him so he no longer wants to fight and can’t fight.
“Life-or-death physical combat on the street is likely to turn more on mindset than on skill, and your mindset must be to win, whatever it takes, not merely to survive.”
4.) Clear Mental Triggers
Establishing what Claggett calls “a clear mental trigger” means anticipating the evolution of trouble and having limits in mind in advance.
“Given the specific circumstances you’re in, know what action you will take when the suspect’s behavior reaches your trigger point. How close will you let a guy with a knife get before you shoot? How many times will you tell a gunman to drop his weapon?
“If you don’t know, you’ll more likely make no decision or a bad decision. Mentally drawing a line in the sand lets you avoid hesitation and prevents you from falling back on an unplanned startle response — two confirmed killers of officers. In a sense, you’re giving yourself the answers to the test before the test!”
5.) Personal SOPs
Equally important, Claggett believes, is honest dialogue with yourself to clearly define in advance what you are willing to do in a crisis. Will your personal standards of operation permit you to act confidently and decisively under stress?
“Would you shoot a dangerous suspect in the back when legally justified in doing so?” Claggett asks. “Would you run over someone with your squad car who was threatening to shoot you? Would you feel compelled to try some intermediate-force option before employing deadly force, even in the face of an imminent threat? The time to ponder your moral and ethical code and resolve potential dilemmas is not when lives are on the line.”
6.) Commitment to Movement
“Static positioning during range training leaves a terrible training scar,” Claggett says. “When you’re targeted by a deadly threat, movement is life. Ingrain that concept into your thinking and into your conditioned reaction. Get off the ‘X’. More laterally, not linearly, in relation to your adversary to make yourself a harder target. And if possible, of course, move to cover.”
7.) Uncomfortable Training
Quoting an anonymous sage, Claggett says in a crisis, “‘We do not rise to the level of our expectations. We fall to the level of our training’.”
To drive that level higher, “training needs to be uncomfortable, always pushing you to meet tougher challenges, acquire more demanding skills, make harder decisions, and build confidence and competence where any trace of uncertainty and mediocrity exists. We often get too little of that because we tend to train in our comfort zone. Think of training like an insurance policy: You hate paying the premiums, but when you need it you want the best coverage there is.”
8.) Unsparing Debriefing
Critique yourself after every stop and every call, Claggett urges.
“What were your strengths and weaknesses? What did you do that could have gotten you hurt or killed? What could you have done better? What do you need to improve on? Don’t let a good end result justify the means by which you got there. Be proactive about remedying shortcomings. Don’t just leave it to Fate, because Fate has a real good way of pointing out our deficiencies when it’s too late.
“Cops don’t like to hear — even from themselves — that they could do things better,” Claggett says.
“Ego can get in the way of self-improvement. True warriors put ego aside and make the principles of tactical thinking a lifestyle. They understand that hope is not a strategy and luck is not a skill. They not only recognize that they can be better, they take action to make it happen.”

Thanks to Police One dot com for this reminder. This was written in law enforcement context but applies to all of us civilians and military too.
(I tried to learn more about Steve Claggett but only found his name floating around in SWAT TV series circles. I know he worked Dallas, Texas SWAT and has worked in various tactical training companies. He’s law enforcement and I don’t run in those circles. He sounds like a very experienced, very competent tactical instructor.)
Semper Paratus
Check 6

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Part 3 of Jeff Cooper's Seven Principles: Ruthlessness and Surprise

This is my take on these seven principles. I’m not trying to “out do” or embellish these principles, I’m only giving you my opinion. I would highly recommend reading Jeff Cooper’s book "Principles of Personal Defense". His take and conclusions are great!

Many people think that this is an odd word in the context of self-defense, but in reality, ruthlessness is a vital element of fighting to stay alive. In our context, ruthlessness means “absolute single-mindedness of purpose.” Once the fight starts, there are absolutely no considerations other than winning! It doesn’t matter why he chose you; it doesn’t matter why he’s a criminal. All that matters is winning. Bear in mind, in our context, “losing” can mean “dying.” Hit him fast, hit him hard, hit him with everything you’ve got, then assess, and if needed, hit him some more. Remember self-defense is not competition. You must only win.
Basically, you should do whatever you need to do to get out of the situation alive.
Sometimes that means utilizing an object on your person as a weapon. Sometimes that means learning a new technique to be able to do maximum damage with minimal effort. And sometimes that means using lethal force.
Being willing to BE brutal does not mean you ARE brutal.
Awareness acts as a bug repellant. Looking unassuming can go a long way. But then if it comes anyway, hit fast, hit hard, and give your all.
Turn the tables. Do what your aggressor least expects you to do. Be bold. For us defending ourselves to use surprise we must also use speed
The other form of surprise is tactical surprise, and that is your weapon. If attacked, do something that he least expects. Make him react to you, rather than you reacting to him. Initiate a violent, explosive counter-attack. Action is faster than reaction.
He is just as culturally indoctrinated as anyone else. When he attacks, he believes that you are a helpless victim. What does he expect you to do? Whimper and whine belly up, and do whatever you are told. Think about it. If he points a gun at you and tells you to do something, what does he expect you to do? Comply, of course. The reason he didn’t shoot you was because he believes that you will comply. If you do something else, he has to process that information and decide what to do. And only then can he act. It should be over by then.

Semper Paratus
Check 6

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Part 2 Jeff Cooper's Seven Principles:Aggressiveness, Speed, Coolness

This is my take on these seven principles. I’m not trying to “out do” or embellish these principles, I’m only giving you my opinion. I would highly recommend reading Jeff Cooper’s book "Principles of Personal Defense".

Fighting is by definition an aggressive activity! The best defense is an explosive counter-attack.
At some point in an attack, it’s go time. Time to stop cooperating, cowering and/or running away. Time to start acting. Aggressively and violently. Because a defensive gun use is not defense per se. It’s a counter-attack. Unless you’re ready, willing and able to mount a pedal-to-the-metal counter-attack when you face a threat of grievous bodily harm or death, your odds of surviving a violent assault are not all that wonderful.
It’s best to have a “trip wire.” Mental and physical preparation is the key.
You need to be mentally prepared to shoot, kick, bite, punch, stab, head butt, do anything to survive. Some may disagree, but I believe you need to reconcile yourself to the possibility that you may suffer serious injury or death. Your ballistic response may end one ordeal even as it starts another even longer and more painful one. You may kill the wrong person, or fail to kill the right person.
Anger is sometimes good in controlled measure. Aggressiveness can be anger channeled.
You must move quickly. Speed comes from practice and economy of motion (not desperate hustle). In the military we call this “Most Rikki-tic”. Aggressiveness is linked to speed. Speed is linked to practice.
“…On a realistic note, I can point out that in every single successful defense against violent attack that I know of and I have studied this matter for nearly three decades – the attacker was totally surprised when his victim did not wilt.
“The speed, power, efficiency, and aggressiveness of the counterattack varied greatly, but the mere fact of its existence was the most elemental component of its success.”
Jeff Cooper

You must keep your head! You cannot miss fast enough to win. Front sight, press.
Practice tactical breathing. Tactical breathing was developed by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman. It’s a technique that soldiers and police officers use to quickly calm down and stay focused in high-pressure situations like firefights. Here’s how to do it:
1. Slowly inhale a deep breath for 4 seconds.
2. Hold the breath in for 4 seconds.
3. Slowly exhale the breath out for 4 seconds.
4. Hold the empty breath for 4 seconds.
5. Repeat until your breathing is under control.
Controlling emotion can bring calmness and training can bring confidence.

Semper Paratus
Check 6

Monday, May 15, 2017

Peace Officer Memorial Day

Today is Peace Officers Memorial Day. What does that mean? On May 15th of each year we pay tribute to officers who last their lives or were injured in the line of duty.
Many businesses and community members across the nation, especially those who lost family members, friends or colleagues who were local officers, will lower their flags in remembrance of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. Some police departments hold an annual law enforcement memorial ceremony on this day.
Each year, the Fraternal Order of Police and its Auxiliary organizes a national memorial service on the day, drawing thousands of people from many parts of the United States. The service is followed by the placement of a memorial wreath at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington DC. On this day, people are also reminded of the need to be vigilant against all forms of crime.
I feel it is also a time of remembering our law enforcement officers who put their live on the line every day for us the citizens of the United States. My back ground is in military, but I’ve trained with, competed against and with, and have had a brotherhood with many law enforcement officers. I admire them and respect their line of work. Some people don’t like them. But there are bad elements of every profession. In Law Enforcement these are few and far between. Please thank an officer today.
Each year, the president of the United States proclaims May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the calendar week of each year during which such May 15 occurs as Police Week.
According to the Legal Information Institute, the president is requested to issue a proclamation to: designate May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day; to direct government officials to display the United States flag at half-staff on all government buildings; and to invite state and local governments and the people to observe the day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.
FLYING THE FLAG AT HALF-STAFF: The pertinent section of the Flag Code says, "by order of the President, the flag shall be flown at half-staff upon the death of principal figures of the United States Government and the Governor of a State, territory, or possession, as a mark of respect to their memory. In the event of the death of other officials or foreign dignitaries, the flag is to be displayed at half-staff according to Presidential orders, or in accordance with recognized customs or practices not inconsistent with law.
In the event of the death a present or former official of the government of any State, territory, or possession of the United States, the Governor of that state, territory, or possession may proclaim that the National flag shall be flown at half-staff." The code also includes other related details including the specific length of time during which the flag should be displayed at half-staff, in the event of the death of a "principal figure"(e.g., 30 days for the death of a sitting or former President, 10 days for the death of a sitting Vice-President,etc.).
There are over-lapping theories on how and when the practice began. The first written information about the flag came as early as the 16th century when the Master of the British ship Hearts Ease was murdered by Eskimos while on an expedition in search of the Northwest Passage. As a gesture of mourning, the flag was flown over the stern of the ship when it returned to London.
Other articles have claimed the tradition began 100 years later, in the 17th century. But many experts observe the tradition probably began with nautical roots in the 14th or 15th century. Tall ships with high masts made it possible to lower the flag to half-mast. Smaller ships could lower the flag one-width down, supposedly to fly an invisible flag of death, which was very prevalent at the time. The space above the flag was also considered to be a “salute” to the departed.
Absent a ship’s mast, flags are flown at half-staff if on land. The flag can be flown at half-staff at the request of a state governor and the president to the United States. The flag is flown from sunrise to sunset on specific days, except on Memorial Day when the flag is flown at half-staff until noon, then raised to full-staff. The first half of the day remembers war dead; the second half honors Veterans who are still alive.

Semper Paratus
Check 6

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Part 1 Jeff Cooper's Seven Principles: Alertness and Decisiveness

This is my take on these seven principles. I’m not trying to “out do” or embellish these principles, I’m only giving you my opinion. I would highly recommend reading Jeff Cooper’s book "Principles of Personal Defense".

Always know the answers to these two questions: (1) Who’s around me? (2) What are they doing? Situational awareness.
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.

Select a course of action and get on with it. Don’t second guess. Good training will help in this.
“He’s decisive, I’m telling you,” said retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Michael Longoria, who commanded all close-air support teams during the invasion. “The question is, can he make that transition? His combat acumen is off the charts because decisiveness in combat, right or wrong, is 99 percent of the challenge.” On Secretary Of Defense Gen. James Mattis
Training is everything in making decisions and pressing forward. If you’ve trained enough you will know the course to take and not veer from that course. Good training givs confidence. Confidence helps in decisiveness.
In order to be able to make good decisions under the stress of a violent, in your face, encounter, it is necessary to have rehearsed responses to the kinds of violent situations you are likely to face one day. Of course, you cannot prepare for every situation, and each situation will be a little bit different, so when the balloon goes up, we will need to take into account the totality of the circumstances. However, when you have rehearsed and practiced responses to a variety of likely scenarios, when a situation does arise, you will have a reflexive set of responses to implement. You won’t freeze. You will act with decisiveness, and decisiveness is the key to survival.

Semper Paratus
Check 6

LDS Scouting Slipping Away

Today the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints started their exit from Boy Scouting. January 1, 2018 the church will no longer re-charter Venturer or Varsity units. It’s the beginning of the end. Eventually, the Mormon Church will split from BSA altogether, I predict. I could see it coming long ago.
In February of this year I said:
I have been a Scout leader since 1986, even before my boys were old enough for Scouting. Most Scout Troops in the Church operate in a very loose way. I mean, how many of us played basketball more than we did Scouting? But now I am called as a Stake YM President. When I have a ward that seeks counsel and direction from the Stake concerning their YM programs I feel obligated with my calling to encourage a well-organized Scout Troop. I have 3 Eagle Scout sons and my last just lacks his paperwork and board of review. I truly love this program. I love the history and the connections to the past through traditions. I love what the program teaches and how boys can learn from it. I love the preparedness and self-sufficiency it teaches. But as my wife said the other day, "I just want to get my son finished and earn his Eagle so we can be done with the program before it completely collapses." That seems selfish but I tend to agree. The program that I grew up with is going away because of political correctness and the need to be so "inclusive." If there was no Girl Scouts somebody would be screaming that a girl should be able to join Boy Scouts! I kind of wish the Church would abandon this program and create one like unto it. But until then, I will push the program that I love so much. I always tell everyone that I accepted the Scoutmaster position all those years ago just so I could go camping and use my calling as an excuse! But so many of "my" boys have loved this program with me. They have moved on to missions, college, and marriage. It makes my heart swell when I catch one of my "boys" from years ago in the Temple. We always talk about that "one" campout or hike or activity that we shared and bonded with. I see how Scouting has enriched their lives and my own boy’s lives. I am sad that possibly their own sons may not have that same experience. I really just want the Church to get out, rip it off like a Band-Aid! It would hurt less than to watch it slowly die."
And so it continues. Instead of getting out, they drag it on. I get to watch this program die a long, slow, death. It hurts my heart. But I understand why. The official line is those 2 programs were hard to implement. I’ve been involved in Scouting a long time, away from Salt Lake, and we’ve been fine with it. I know the Church will never say it, but it’s my opinion that Scouting is giving in to political pressure in the area of LGBT and gender crossing. I know the Church’s stance on these things and I think they would like better control of their youth programs. I would completely agree but losing Scouting saddens me.
What does this have to do with LDS Guns? Many people started shooting in the BSA. The Rifle and Shotgun shooting merit badges are good introduction to the shooting sports and shooting in general. I’ve taught these merit badges on numerous occasions. They fill up at Summer camps every year.
BSA is a good place to learn basic preparedness and survival skills. It still is a good resource for learning and teaching skills. Look into their merit badges and literature. It can be a great training aid.

Semper Paratus
Check 6

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Eating Healthy By FLAG

Eating healthy needs to be a life style and a change of thinking. A person can go out to eat and enjoy the company of friends and eat heathy. When ordering a salad, ask for extra veggies to be added and for them to put the dressing on the side. This way you can add a smaller amount of dressing, just enough to give a little flavor. Salads are very nutritional but the down side is the salad dressing. Loaded with fat. If a meal comes with fries, ask if you could replace the fries with a baked or mashed potatoes.
When adding more fiber and produce to your diet can sometimes add extra gas into the digestive track. This can make someone feel miserable but this shall pass as your body adjusts to the higher fiber diet. Sometimes changing our eating can be over whelming and seem boring after a while. Don’t be afraid to experiment with healthy ingredients and come up with your own recipes.
Remember you are eating healthy to help your body and mind function properly. Don’t get caught up with the scale and think all your work is doing nothing. Our bodies go through times when we retain water. We retain water because we are not drinking enough water. One of the ways a body protects itself when feeling a famine is it will hoard. So if not eating properly, your body is feeling a famine because of lack of nutrition. Your body will start storing fat. Fat is a double edge sword. Being overweight can cause serious health issues but if your body doesn’t turn the bad waste in to fat, you will get sick. Fat helps keep toxins from your vital organs. Your body can also retain water if you have too much salt in your diet.
Also if you are exercising and building muscle, there could be weight gain. Muscle adds weight. If you are exercising for proper health, often weight loss will not show because the body is shedding inches. DON’T base your success off of the scale. If weight is staying the same or going up. You need to re-evaluate what you are eating and the type of exercising you may or may not be doing. Don’t get discouraged. Personally, I think the scale should be thrown away.

Here are some heathy meal ideas and recipes.

I usually buy a big bag of corn tortillas. I make my own home made chips. I will take a tortilla, lightly brush olive oil on it so the salt with stick. You don’t need more than a drop spread around. I will do this with 10- 15 tortillas. I stack them after they are lightly oiled and salted. Cut them into 4 or 6 parts. Bake on a cookie sheet or pizza pan. I use my pizza pan with holes in it. You don’t have to flip them over. Cook at 350 about 13- 20 minutes. Take out and put in place to cool. These can burn easily, so make sure you watch them toward the end of time. Sometimes I eat a small bowl of them with salsa. Or I will make nacho chips with them. Put the chips at the bottom of a plate. Sprinkle with heated and thinned out refried beans. Cut fresh tomatoes, avocado, onions, cilantro and lettuce. Top with a little grated cheese and eat. I will also put lots of salsa on it too. I don’t use the liquid cheese because sometimes it is harder to control the amount of cheese added and that cheese is a more processed cheese. It’s very oily.

Tostada - I bake the corn tortilla the same as the chips. Use canned refried beans with no fat added. When heating up the beans I usually add seasoning, salsa, taco sauce and onions to give the beans flavor. Put a lot of shredded lettuce, tomato, avocado on top and sprinkle a little cheese on them. I usually buy the finely grated cheese, not the thicker one because it looks like you have more cheese on your food.

Bean burritos are another meal we eat but we make them healthy buy stuffing them with lots of veggies and a little cheese.

Chicken Tacos
This is a meal I make for our family that is healthy and fairly fast. Take a chicken breast with no skin and fat cut off. Cut the chicken meat. In a sauce pan sauté onions and chicken in a little bit of olive oil. Cook the meat until it is almost completely cooked. Add in mixed frozen veggies and sprinkle on some seasoning, especially garlic salt. While this is cooking. Heat up corn tortillas on another pan that has a few drops of olive oil. Cook until lightly brown. When chicken mixture is done put in to corn tortilla. Avocado can be added, a little bit of mozzarella or cheddar cheese. Top with green salsa. Tastes great.

This is a healthy, fast chili for college students. This can be done on a pan on the stove or in a crock pot. If making it in a pan, sauté all the veggies before adding the rest of the ingredients.

½ Onion, diced
1 Bell pepper, diced
3-4 garlic cloves, mashed, if you don’t have cloves use garlic salt
1 Jalapeno, unless you buy ranch or pinto beans with jalapeno added
2 Cans of Ranch Beans 1 Can of Tomato Dices
1 Can of Pinto Beans 1 Can of Tomato Sauce
2 TBSP Chili Powder 1 tsp Cumin
½ tsp Salt

If using a crock pot, throw all the ingredients into the crock pot and simmer on low all day. If in a pan, simmer on the stove. Sauté veggies in olive oil then add the rest of the ingredients. Heat up chili and simmer on the stove for an hour. If you like the chili a little thinner, add a little water.


This makes a refreshing snack. I make this every morning for my husband and I for breakfast. I also make 2 pieces of whole grain wheat toast for my husband with butter spread on it. You need a blender for this though.

In blender: Add about a 1 ½ Cups of 1 % milk, Soy milk, or Kefir milk. That is what you should be drinking if you are not drinking skim milk. I usually use my home made soy milk. Don’t buy soy milk in store, too much junk added to it. So 1 % milk will do. Put in 1 banana and 3 droppers full of stevia, or a few teaspoons of sugar. If the banana is very ripe, no sugar may be needed. Put in about 4-8 spinach leaves. If you don’t have spinach, that’s fine. I like the extra nutrition it adds to the drink. If you are not used to the spinach flavor, start small. Add 1-3 leaves to start off. Blend it. Slowly add frozen fruits. They sell strawberry, blue berry, mixed berry or mixed fruit. I usually make a strawberry/banana one for my husband and mixed fruit for me. Once it is thick, don’t add any more fruit.

Buy Popsicle containers at the store and make them with the smoothie mix. Freeze. They make a great snack.

Stevia: Is a natural, healthy sugar. It can be purchased at a health food store, whole food store or on Amazon. It comes in liquid and powder form. I usually use the liquid. It adds sweetness to foods but not the calories. It is concentrated so don’t use a lot. It may seem expensive but a little goes a long way.

Popcorn is another good snack. We use an air popcorn popper because we can control the amount of butter added. If you buy store bought microwave popcorn get the plain and add butter or get the lightly buttered one. We lightly spread butter and mix in through it so the flavor is spread evenly. We sometimes sprinkle ranch dressing powder, Julio’s seasoning or garlic salt to give the popcorn a different flavor.

I also keep pretzels, the small ones in a sandwich bag and may snack on them with some veggies I have taken with me.

Hope you are having some success with changing your diet to eating healthier, being creative and not giving up. You will notice as you change your diet and your body starts to adjust, that your body will start craving these healthy foods. Your taste buds will change and come alive and as your body starts to clean out, as you stop eating things laden with fat, like French fries, you will discover a whole new world of food.

Keep up the great job. Have a great week.


Jeff Cooper's Birthday: Seven Principles Series, Intro

In honor of Jeff Coopers birthday (would have been 97) I present the seven principles that were originally formulated by the legendary Lt. Col. John “Jeff” Cooper, USMC (1920-2006) in his book: “The Seven Principles of Self-Defense”

Always know the answers to these two questions: (1) Who’s around me? (2) What are they doing? Situational awareness.
Select a course of action and get on with it. Don’t second guess. Good training will help in this.
Fighting is by definition an aggressive activity! The best defense is an explosive counter-attack.
You must move quickly. Speed comes from practice and economy of motion (not desperate hustle).
You must keep your head! You cannot miss fast enough to win. Front sight, press.
In our context, this means absolute single-mindedness of purpose. Once the fight starts, the only thing that matters is winning.
Turn the tables. Do what your aggressor least expects you to do. Be bold.

This is the introduction to the seven principles series.

Semper Paratus
Check 6

Monday, May 8, 2017

Over watch Drill Of The Month For May

Walkback Drill
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 at

See “Overwatch: Drill of the Month” page for more drills

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Shotguns For Home Defense

You wouldn’t know it to look at me, but I really love shotguns. I don’t really own a lot of them. I have a couple Mossberg 500’s, a Remington 870, some odd old Pardner 20 gage but not really a lot for someone who likes them. I also keep a handgun hidden in a strategic place on our bed for home defense. So why not a shotgun? I guess I don’t feel our shotguns would be ideal for home defense. I’m not here to argue what is better for home defense because that’s very personal and depends on skill and experience.

The home-defense load for shotguns has traditionally been 00 buckshot. In a 12-gauge shotgun, this is generally a load of nine .33-caliber balls traveling at nearly 1,250 fps when they leave the muzzle.

Of course, some magnum shotshells increase both the number of pellets and the velocity. The downside of this increased performance is an increase in recoil and recovery time. A person is just not going to shoot their best with a load that really smacks them every time they press the trigger. There is much justification for going the other way when considering buckshot vs. birdshot for home defense.

A real problem for the homeowner who is defending his home and family is over-penetration. Rounds fired inside a house may break through walls and into other rooms that could be occupied by family members. Furthermore, it is quite possible for heavy defensive bullets to completely exit the house, placing neighbors in danger. One thing is for sure: The legal system is going to hold a person responsible for each and every shot he fires, regardless of his good intentions.

I read about an experiment with shot loads and home building materials at my favorite school Gunsite. This is his experience.

A while ago, I participated in an interesting buckshot vs. birdshot experiment. Ed Head, operations manager at Gunsite Academy , had his staff build targets from construction materials. They were made of two pieces of sheetrock with insulation between, but one had an additional layer of outdoor siding. These three targets were placed about 20 feet apart to simulate three walls of a house.

We began by firing standard 9 mm and .45 ACP defensive loads. These sailed right through all three walls. A 55-grain bullet from a .223 Rem. round showed improvement because it stopped in the second wall. Then it was time to try the shotgun loads.

First to be launched was a standard 12-gauge police buckshot load, driving nine pellets at approximately 1,250 fps. I thought the buckshot would be contained in the third wall. I was wrong. It penetrated all three walls with ease and sailed into the protective backstop. In an actual home, people in the other rooms would have been in grave danger. A 1-ounce, 12-gauge slug load gave the exact same results.

Our final test was a 12-gauge field load of No. 7 1/2 shot, a 1 1/8-ounce load running at 1,250 fps. This load entered the first layer of sheetrock, making one hole that was about 3 inches in diameter. It exited that wall completely, but merely splattered on the surface of the second wall. People in that second room would likely have been hit with birdshot, but it would probably not have been life threatening.

These simple tests convinced me that, between buckshot vs. birdshot, a standard birdshot load is usually best for a homeowner’s defensive 12-gauge shotgun. In close-range encounters, as found in most home-defense situations, birdshot can be deadly. But, it loses power so fast, over-penetration is much less of a problem. In a home full of children, it would certainly be my first choice.

The advantage of the shotgun is the variety of ammunition available. Choices range from birdshot to duck and goose loads to buckshot, and finally slugs. But remember, you will probably have to fight with what’s in the gun. There likely won’t be time to do a bunch of changing.

The shotgun is not as glamorous as a tacticool AR or a custom-tuned fighting handgun, but it’s a great fight stopper nonetheless. Make the wide variety of shotgun loads work for you by selecting those that will do the job without needlessly endangering those who don’t deserve to be hurt.

Shotguns are great because they are rarely included in bans or considered “military” or “assault” weapons. Law enforcement and military knows different. Used correctly and with the right loads, a shotgun is deadly and more menacing than any “black” scary gun you can build.
You can outfit a shotgun with short barrels (always be legal), folding and pistol grip stocks, and many aftermarket accessories. Remember the importance of a light for home defense.
There is an amazing amount of crazy ammo out there for a shot gun.
Birdshot ranges in size from Shot # 12 through 1, then B, BB, BBB, and T being considered birdshot, but is really buckshot if you ask me.
Buckshot ranges in size from Shot # TT, F, FFF, more common: 4, 3, 1, 0, 00, 000
Crazy loads include:
Dragon’s Breath. Which turns your gun into basically a flame thrower. It releases a 100 ft flame.
Macho Gaucho. This round shoots a bolo. This round has been found to be devastating when it works right. It shoots 2 steel balls connected with a steel cable.
Flares. There are several different colored and style flares that can be shot.
Rubber balls. There are also several sized rubber projectile shotgun rounds.
Bean bags. This is similar to the rubber projectile in that it’s not so lethal. But a bean bag coming at you really fast can be dangerous!
Pepper “spray”. These will blast with pepper spray.
Flechettes. This is a small metal dart. 20 in each round. Used in Viet Nam on snipers.
Drone Catcher. This is a net of cords shot at a drone that is supposed to take it down. Others have shot drones out of the sky and have had some legal problems. This won’t blow up the drone but will down it with a 6 feet wide net of cords. I’m not sure this would relieve anyone from legal problems though.
As you can see, a shot gun is versatile. I do not recommend any of the above crazy rounds. Know that many unconventional rounds are dangerous and unpredictable. Use with extreme caution!
Regular birdshot is still a good idea for home defense. Consider a shotgun.
Semper Paratus
Check 6