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 Pistol-Training.com

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

The Holy Grail: Shot Placement

I was at the range the other day. Several people were there with me and we had a great time. I had already done my “workout” we were just shooting recreationally. We got to talking about backgrounds and how we got into shooting. There were a few there that had some pretty good experience. When they heard I was an instructor one pretty young wife said “Teach us something for free!?” I think she was joking but that got us on what we thought was the most important thing in shooting. I finally said that it depends on what kind of shooting you are doing. If you are competing then speed and accuracy are king. When we got to defense I said most emphatically, “Shot placement!” They all looked at me. I finally said, “You want a free lesson then listen to this. In defense you can have all the theories you want about caliber and so-called “stopping power” but when it comes down to it, shot placement wins. I’ve done all the tests myself when it comes to caliber and load and bullet type. I’ve studied all the data and terminal ballistics and seen the penetration in ballistic gel. If I can hit an attacker in the brain, the heart, or the spine, I can stop them.” It mattereth not if the caliber is .22 or .45, if I can hit one of those body parts solidly, I can stop an attack. Now, I’m not saying start carrying a .22 or a .25, carry what you like and what you’re good with. I don’t think I’d carry anything smaller than 9mm. But if a .380 was all that there was, I’d carry it.
So how do you practice for shot placement? Get a target that may help.
There is a target HCT-1A Die Cut IPSC/IDPA Facer Training Target w/ Vital Anatomy. You can find these at Action Targets.com or Amazon. This was developed by Dave Spaulding of Handgun Combatives.
If you don’t want to get special targets try 3 X 5 cards vertically. This covers about the size of the heart. Also, if you shot the same size card horizontally placed on the head it would cover between the eyes, the nose, it would hit the brain. What I like about 3 X 5 cards over vital areas on a silhouette target is, you can just change out the card unless you’ve shot out everything behind it. But that would take some time and you could go through a whole session with one target but several cards. The total strike zone is a 6 X 10 vertical rectangle. Some instructors may not like the width of this target, but I think it’s pretty much real world like.

I like Dave Spaulding. I like his ideas and the way he teaches. He and I see eye to eye on many, many things. I’ve never met him but from what I’ve read written by him and the videos I’ve seen, I can see a little into his philosophy. He’s what I consider “One of the good ones.”

In my practice I use 3 x 5 cards and 11 inch paper plates as my targets. If you can hit these targets consistently and efficiently, the rest is movement, mindset, cover, and reality based training. I used to use force on force training. But I don’t feel that’s necessary for the average concealed carrier. Force on force training does give you a good idea what stress is that’s for sure! As a civilian I don’t think I’ll ever see combat again or be in a gun fight. It is possible, but not very probable. Even law enforcement engages at an average distance of 10 feet or less. Sometimes I think their uniform is like a target to some criminals.

As I’ve mentioned before, adrenalin has a major impact on cognition. For one thing, your perception of time slows down. You’re moving a lot faster than you think you are. If you slow down, take your time and focus on the front sight, you’ll still shoot quickly. But you’ll be far more accurate.
Given “stray” bullets’ potential for costly collateral damage, given the advantages of shooting the perp where it hurts, you can’t have enough accuracy, really. When push comes to shove, you want to worship at the altar of center mass. And here’s the kicker: you don’t need a lot of shots on target to win a gunfight. Because all you really need to do is slow the scumbags down.
Remember the rule: “When you’re in trouble, leave as soon as possible.” One well-placed hit on a person trying to kill or maim you and/or yours can be incredibly discouraging—for him (her, them). It may give you time to leave, when possible.

The strike zone can also include the head, if the shooter so chooses, as a headshot can be quite effective as previously discussed. I have opted to include the entire head for the same reasons as IDPA…I think a shot anywhere to the noggin can be a fight stopper, especially at close range. The eyes and nose are supplied to give the shooter an idea of where shots are best placed.

On Dave Spaulding’s targets, at the bottom of the target, is a series of 3X5 cards that can be used for various drills. You will note there is a dotted 3X5 card around the heart in the chest cavity portion of the target to help emphasize what these 3X5 cards represent.
At one time in my life I was into tight groups at considerable distances (30 yards or so.) That was a different time when I felt I had to hit that accurately. I don’t feel as strongly about tight groups and that long of distances. If my group is on my plate (11 inches) then I am happy. I prefer about a 3 to 4 inch groups on that plate but every shot in 11 inches is a hit to me. If I’m shooting wild it still is usually on the 11 inches. A 3X5 card is a pretty good measurement of whether I’m shooting decent. If I can do all of this from 15 feet then I’m right where I want to be. If I can do it at 21 feet then I’m golden. Those distances are not difficult to shoot at. Why are we so obsessed with shooting a handgun 40 feet away?
Shot placement is the Holy Grail of which I seek.

Semper Paratus
Check 6