Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Riot Security and Safety

Stay informed. Always stay informed, as civil unrest is rarely spontaneous. Monitor online and television news; monitor the local English-language press; and stay connected to your professional and local network.
Carry the essentials. Carry a mobile phone, passport, or other identification, and small denomination bills on your person at all times.
Area familiarization. Become familiar with your surroundings:
Develop multiple routes to/from your workplace and hotel or residence.
Be aware of possible protected areas en route, such as secure business compounds.
Know the precise location of your country’s and friendly countries’ embassies or consulates.
If you are faced with a major civil disturbance or riot:
Avoid high-traffic city areas. Avoid major roads, city center parks, squares, and other high-traffic areas that are likely to attract rioters. If possible, move on less-traveled side streets to avoid crowds.
Stay calm and keep your emotions in check. Riots coincide with intense emotions that boil to the surface, but if you want to survive one you would be better off keeping your own emotions in check. In the heat of the moment, your adrenaline and survival instincts will kick in, but try to think rationally and pursue safety in a methodical manner.
Avoid confrontation. Keep your head up and on a swivel, while at the same time looking for safe exit.
Stay on the sidelines. If you’re caught up in a riot, don’t take sides. Try to look as inconspicuous as possible, and slowly and carefully move to the outside of the mob. Stay close to walls or other protective barriers if possible but try to avoid bottlenecks. These are areas where the crowd can be squashed into a tight place, such as tunnels, pillars, high fences and walls that go on for a long distance.
Walk. Don’t run. Don’t stop. If you run or go too quickly, you might attract unwanted attention.
Don’t fight the flow. Riots are intense, with mob mentality causing normally peaceful people to abandon rational behavior. If you find yourself in the midst of an aggressive crowd, it could be hazardous to move against the flow, so go with it and slowly and cautiously move to the outside of the mob until it is possible to extract yourself by moving into a side street, or doorway.
Get inside and stay there. Typically riots happen in the streets, or somewhere outside. Being inside, especially in a large and sturdy structure, can be good protection to wait it out.
Keep your doors and windows locked. Don’t watch the riot from windows or porches. Move to inside rooms, where the danger of being hit by stones, bullets, or other is minimized. Try to find at least two possible exits in case you need to evacuate the building in a hurry.
If you’re caught up in a car, stay calm. Remain inside the car unless your car becomes a focus for the riot, in which case it risks being torched, smashed or rolled over. Calmly and swiftly leave it behind and get to safety if that happens. If people seem to block your escape route; honk your horn, and carefully drive through or around them at a moderate speed, and they should get out of the way. Try not to stop. Driving towards police lines can be interpreted by the police as a preparation to use the car as a weapon against them. DON’T DO IT.
Move away from the riot. The more time you spend in the midst of a riot, the greater your chance of being injured or killed. That said, in most circumstances it’s better to move out of a riot slowly. It can also be dangerous to move against a crowd, so go with the flow until you are able to escape into a doorway or up a side street or alley. Think of crowd movement like currents in the ocean. In a large riot, the crowd in the middle will be moving faster than the people on the perimeters. As such, if you find yourself in the middle, you should not try to move in a different direction, but follow the flow and slowly make your way to the outside. This requires patience in order to work properly.
Watch your footing in a mob situation. If you stumble and fall to the ground you’re likely to be trampled. This is especially dangerous in stadiums and other enclosed areas, where many unfortunate victims have been crushed to death. If you fall down, pull yourself up into a ball. Protect your face, ears and internal organs. In this position you are a smaller object that can be avoided. You will receive less damage if you are stepped on. If others trip on you they will help create a larger “pile” that rioters will avoid.
With increased instability in other countries and in the United States, having a safety and security mindset becomes more and more essential for you and your family. Teach your children these important points also as they go abroad and off to college. Keep your head up and remember situational awareness.
Semper Paratus
Check 6

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Responsible Self Defense

I’ve done it many times. I’ve advised people to arm themselves and take control of your own security. Let me now speak of the responsibility of that advice.
First and foremost is safety. If you don’t know anything about guns, don’t just think you can learn from watching the “Die Hard” movie series. Learn about handling guns, storing guns and ammo, children and guns, and shooting guns from competent instructors. Let me repeat, COMPETENT instructors! There are many instructors out there because frankly, it’s not that hard to become an NRA instructor. If you have a little experience and take the course, you can become a certified NRA Coach or instructor. There is a difference between NRA certified range safety officer (RSO) and an instructor. I’ve seen some RSO’s pass themselves off as instructors. Now they may be qualified to teach whatever they are saying they can, but to be truly sure, these individuals should really take the certified instructor course in whatever they want to teach (pistol, rifle, shotgun or muzzle loader) to give confidence to their students. I’ll be the first to say that there are many people trained and competent to teach these disciplines, but without that certification I would be careful. At present I am not certified. If I decided to teach again I would take the time and expense of becoming certified. I would owe that to my students. Just because you are certified doesn’t mean you are competent, but it’s a starting point. If a certified instructor is no good, their reputation will precede them. When picking one, ask around. Gun shops, gun shows, and shooting ranges are good places to find local instructors.
Storing your weapon is important. “Well Burn,” you say, “I use my weapon for self-defense so I won’t be storing my gun.” That may be true, but keeping a loaded, unsecure gun is asking for a problem. If you have children or grand-children who will be living or visiting your home you’d better figure some way of securing your weapon. For me, I’ve always had guns in the house and children. Lot’s of children. How do you cope with that? First I taught every child, boy and girl, safety and shooting. My children know the 4 gun safety rules. I drilled them into every child including my wife. One of my sons was at a friend’s house where his friend’s Dad was cleaning guns. The Father asked my son if he wanted to hold a real gun. I guess he thought he never had. My son said “Sure” and took the gun and cleared it like he’d been doing it his whole life. (He had!) Teaching respect and safety with a weapon is your best defense against any gun accidents. The next is to secure your weapons. I still have teen agers at home. They are very experienced with guns. If there is a gun on my bed from a day at the range or just being cleaned I know that they will either leave it alone, or pick it up, point it safely, and clear it. But even so, I lock up our guns except for the self-defense weapons. These are secure from small children (my grand kids, who have been taught gun safety by their parents) but accessible to anyone who knows where they are and how to get to them for self-defense. You may need to be creative with this. Don’t depend on a “hidden” loaded gun, or a gun “up high”. Little kids are amazing at getting into things, or up high.
If anyone is coming to your home with small kids that may not be taught safety, you might just break out the chamber locks or put them in the safe. If you are still concerned about a self-defense weapon being available, carry at home. There’s nothing more safe than a loaded weapon in the hands of a trained, experienced gun handler.
Know your local laws concerning weapons carry and storage. Follow those laws even though you may not agree with them. Make sure you know that you are complying with the law so that if anything does happen, you will have the security of the law on your side. I may not like a gun storage law, but if a negligent discharge happens and you have to answer for it, you want to be in compliance with law.
Most LDS members, or really any other Christian religion, even non-Christian members of other religions, would not think of harming another living thing. It is offensive to them as it should be. But if you allow an assault to happen unopposed you become an accomplice and share the guilt. I’ve heard this argument from men and women alike. Killing or harming another is not following Christ. I’m not sure I agree. I’m not advocating violence and certainly not killing. But are you ready to do either? Therein lies the responsibility. Being self-sufficient means defending yourself. As good as they are, can the police really protect you? In some cases yes! In many cases no. Defending yourself is the answer. Being a Mormon means we subscribe to what counsel modern prophets give. In 1995 President Gordon B Hinkley presented “The Family: A Proclamation to the World”. In this document certain truths and beliefs about the family are explained. As a Mormon Father, I take this counsel seriously. This proclamation says: “By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families.” I call this the three P’s, preside, provide , and protect. Most Fathers provide for their families and understand that responsibility, they get a job. The church teaches Fathers how to preside in love and righteousness. What about protect? Do we just say “The police do that…” I don’t think so. Nowhere in this proclamation does it talk about the police, or government, doing this. The Constitution talks about providing for the common defense. I don’t think that takes away any responsibility. Fathers should protect their family. Don’t pass the buck to the police who cannot do the job.
I recommend a book titled “Latter-Day Responsibility: Choosing Liberty Through Personal Accountability” by Connor Boyack. This book gives good information about responsibility.
Too many people buy a gun, get their concealed carry permit, and then shoot their gun 3 times a year and carry every now and then. This is very irresponsible. First of all you are not prepared to defend your family. Shooting is a perishable skill. I have shot guns for 30 something years yet I can see a difference when I miss a shooting session. I usually shoot at a range as often as possible, but at least once a week. I dry fire about four to six days a week. That’s what it takes me to stay proficient. Everyone is different and you should find your training curve. I love to shoot at the range but time and ammo don’t always let me. If you really want to defend yourself and your loved ones, you will take the responsibility and get the proper training. With that training will be practice. Otherwise you may do something with your weapon that you had not planned on. Experience on the range will help you to make correct decisions. You must do more in your practice than stand and shoot at a paper target. Paper targets have their place but most defense situations will be different than that. So shooting from behind things (cover), in different positions, under some stress, is what you need to try and do. Some of you may be saying “Burn, it’s not worth it.” Then please, don’t buy a gun and especially don’t carry one. You will just be a problem for all of us out there and may give gun carriers a bad rep. But if you so desire to carry a firearm, do what you need to do. There is great responsibility in carrying a gun. You may defend yourself or others but there is an obligation to others around you to not shoot an undesired target. There is even an obligation to the toad you shoot. Filling someone with holes because you can’t stop him is like carpet bombing in Viet Nam. Let’s drop a 1,000 bombs on an area and see if we hit something important! I don’t think that’s a responsible way to shoot.
Shooting can be work but it can be very enjoyable. For me it is therapeutic. So when you see me advise readers to buy a gun and take your defense into your own hands, the responsibility is also implied.
Be responsible.

Semper Paratus
Check 6

Monday, April 20, 2015

Survival Knots

I love knots. Ever since I was a young Boy Scout I’ve loved to tie and use knots. Yes I am strange. Knots are so useful. Depending on your footwear you use knots every day. I was watching a documentary on nuclear submarines. Nuclear submarines are amazing technological wonders. They have changed the way submarines are used. At the end of the documentary the narrator was standing next to a docked sub. He was making his closing remarks when I noticed something. This marvel of technology was tied to the dock with a rope in a knot! With all that futuristic electronic equipment and weaponry being run by a nuclear reactor, the boat still was tied to the dock with rope!
Knot work in the Boy Scouts is referred to as “Tenderfoot work”. Tying knots is a skill that will help you throughout your life. I enjoy knot tying so I tend to practice so that I will remember. Like any other skill this is one you need to practice.
1.The working end
In knotting terms the end of the rope that is used to actually tie and form the knot is known as the Working End, such as the end used to tie a Figure of Eight Re-Threaded. The working end can also be referred to as the tag end.
2. A Bight
A bight is a U-shaped section of rope usually used to tie knots on the bight. A knot tied on the bight will normally form a Loop-Knot.
3. The Crossing Point
A crossing point is where the rope crosses itself, this will happen if we take a bight of rope and twist it to form a loop.
4. An Overhand Loop
Depending on which direction we twist a bight to form a loop, we will either end up with an overhand loop or an underhand loop. An overhand loop is created when the working end of the rope lies over the top of the standing part.
5. The Interlocking Elbows
Interlocking elbows occur when a bight of rope is twisted twice to form two crossing points. Knots such as the Alpine Butterfly are tied by firstly forming interlocking elbows.
6. An Underhand Loop
If the standing part of the rope lies over the top of the working end, then an underhand loop is formed. An underhand loop is the opposite of the overhand loop.
7. The Standing Part
The standing part is the length of rope, cord or twine that lies between the working end and the standing end. If we were to abseil or rappel down a rope, we would attach to and descend down the standing part.
8. The Standing End
The standing end is the opposite of the working or tag end of the rope. When rappelling this would be the end of the rope that we send down to the ground or landing point. Never forget to tie a stopper knot near the standing end, even if the ropes do touch the ground or landing point.
When a knot is properly dressed, it means that each part of the knot is in the right place with the correct tension. The rope doesn't cross itself unnecessarily, and nothing is more slack or taut than it should be. Knots that are improperly dressed can lead to excessive stress and rubbing on the knots, which will gradually weaken the rope and, eventually, cause the knot to fail.
I think there are 7 basic knots everyone should learn.
The square knot (AKA reef knot):
The best known and most useful package knot. It should preferably only be tied with the two ends of the same material, but should never be used as a bend. It is the best knot for tying a triangular bandage.
WARNING: The reef knot should never be used as a bend to join two ropes that will be under load. The reef-knot is only useful in simple applications.
Good Points
· easily tied
Bad Points
· can slip
· can come undone under movement
· will capsize or jam under load
· its relatives, the granny, the thief-knot and the what-knot all have their purposes, but not as a trustful knot it is strictly a binding knot, reliable only when pressed against something
else and tied in both ends of the same material so restrict its use to bandages and all sorts of packages.

The Bowline: Loop knot
The most useful and one of the simplest ways of putting a fixed loop in the end of a rope. It is easy to tie and to untie, it never slips nor jams and has a high breaking strength. It has been called the “King of Knots”.
Good Points
· easy to tie and untie
· never slips nor jams
· has a high breaking strength
· it will not slip under load
· the more pressure applied, the stronger the knot
· easily untied
Bad Points
· cannot be tied or untied with a load on it
· though the Bowline isn’t generally bad, it isn’t secure enough for critical applications, especially where the line will see a lot of jerking and/or where stiff or slippery rope is used. If you tie a Bowline in polypropylene rope, and give it a few jerks, you’ll quickly discover its lack of security.

Two half hitches: Attaching knot
This knot can be used to secure a rope in a variety of situations. It can be placed under a lot of strain and is easy to untie.

Good Points
· it rarely jams!
· a good hitch in almost all circumstances
· easy to untie even after being subjected to a large strain
· easy to tie even when the line is under tension
Bad Points
· not many!
· possible to work loose if subject to spasmodic motion
· sometimes seen with more than two half hitches either to make it more

Taut Line (AKA Rolling Hitch):
Where a lengthwise pull from a pole or static
line is needed, this old faithful takes some beating.
Good Points
· strain can be applied sideways to this knot in one direction
· can be tied around a pole/ring or for attaching a light line to a rope
Bad Points
· can only cope with strain in one direction
Clove hitch: Attaching a rope to something knot
The nearest there is to a general utility hitch. It is easy to tie in a number of different ways and to untie. It has a wide variety of uses but care should be taken not to misuse it: it is so easy to use it when a more suitable hitch (e.g. a Rolling Hitch etc.) would serve better.
Good Points
· quick and easy to tie
· can be tied in the bight
· can be tied one handed

Bad Points
· can slip in wet conditions or in slippery rope
· weak when a load is applied to it rapidly
· needs constant tension on both ends
· without extra support, it is untrustworthy in any situation, except as a crossing knot
· if you have to use it, work it up properly; pull length-wise only at both ends before you load the working end
· the standing end should be secured if it is going to be used as an 'anchor' as it may work loose otherwise
· if you have to use it, work it up properly; pull length-wise only at both ends before you load the working end. It is better to use the Rolling Hitch instead

Figure 8 knot: Stop knot. This creates a larger knot than the overhand knot.
This knot is favoured by climbers because its distinctive shape makes it easy to check.
Good Points
· easy to spot if tied incorrectly
· easily tied
· secure
Bad Points
· cannot be tied with a load on it
· This is a very useful knot for climbing (e.g. attaching your safety rope to your harness) as you can see at a glance if the knot is tied correctly.
· A half hitch can be tied around the standing part to make the knot more secure

Sheet bend (AKA Weavers knot):
The sheet bend is very similar to the square knot, granny knot, thief knot, and particularly the bowline. In fact, the sheet bend can be tied using the One Handed Twist Method which is also used to tie the bowline.
Good Points
· very fast to tie
· when slipped, is one of the easiest bends to work with
· useful when joining two ropes of different diameters.
· it will not slip under load
· the more pressure applied, the stronger the knot
· easily untied
Bad Points
· it may jam
· hard to untie if wet and under strain (for instance in a towline)
· the knot is neither strong nor secure. It reduces the strength of lines by 55% and can spill if subject to spasmodic jerking

These are only 7 knots. There are so many more! Knots are so useful but could actually help you survive in a bad situation. I practice knots to relax. They are fun to me.
If you had only these 7 knots memorized you would probably not need any others. They could actually save your life one day.
So tie a knot and live!

Semper Paratus
Check 6

The Eternal Question: How Much Ammo?

I have searched the inter net for years with the question of how much ammunition should I have for each gun. I have yet to find anything that I feel I could follow so I will attempt to do it myself.
In the military on patrol you are generally given the standard load out of 210 rounds of 5.56 (7 magazines). I also know that depending on the location of the patrol, and how enemy contact has gone, has determined how much extra ammo a soldier will carry. If you’re going into a known “hot” zone you will carry as much ammo as you can stand! A soldier is unique because he can usually be “backed up” by others he is with, re-supply, artillery, and air support.
So you must decide why you need ammunition. Hunting, competition, target shooting, self-defense, or survival. Each of these will dictate a different amount you would want on hand.

With all of the scares these days from manufacturing capacity fluctuations, importation complications, the political climate, military supply demands, reports of huge government agency ammo stockpiling, wholesalers holding back, price fixing, dealers restricting sales amounts, federal agency threats to end certain kinds of ammo production, and all else, it is no wonder ammo consumers are in a panic mode to stock up.

Initially all shooters need to take a complete inventory of the ammo stores they actually have on hand. If you reload, then do the same for powders, brass, primers, and bullets. Know which calibers you shoot most and also the ones used the least. With this information in hand, one can better make decisions on what to buy and how much of it.

Can you determine how many rounds of ammo you use in a year under normal circumstances? For example, if you deer hunt with either the .300 Winchester Short Magnum (WSM) or the .35 Whelen. In a typical year of deer hunting you will fire less than five rounds of each cartridge. So, you would not be pressed to have a big supply of this ammo on hand.

Survival preppers on the other hand work to maintain a sizeable stash of ammo for those just-in-case events. Take your own pro or con approach to that line of thinking, but the ammo demands are real. Many preppers try to keep a minimum of 5,000 rounds of each of the primary cartridges they use. This might include the .22 rimfire, 12-gauge shotgun, .223, 9mm, 40 S&W, .45 ACP or others. This can make for a considerable cache of ammo. I know some preppers that keep 5 times that amount of ammo.

So, set your priorities on what to stock, at what level, and work on a realistic budget to acquire what you need or desire to keep on hand. Then you can proceed with your shopping strategies to build up your inventory to the level you want.

Before you set about shopping for ammo, decide what brands, types, bullets, loads, and other specifications you prefer to buy. You may need to standardize a few things. There are four major domestic brands of ammo, including Winchester, Remington, Federal, and Hornady. Even among these brands there are multiple offerings of bullet types, weights, and specialty ammo for hunting of all kinds of levels of game animals, self-defense ammo, target shooting ammo, and cheaper plinking stuff. Figure out first what exact load you shoot before you buy anything in quantity, though you may always want to test out some new loads by buying a box or two.

There are many other ammo brands as well, a sort of second tier as it were, to include brands like PMC, Speer, DRT, Magtech, Armscor, American Eagle, PNW Arms, and Buffalo Bore. This is not lesser quality ammunition, just not as well known in the overall consumer marketplace. You may never find these on a local dealers’ shelves.

Furthermore, there are several foreign brands of ammo that do not rate as well. Basically if a foreign ammo uses steel casings, Berdan primers, corrosive powders, and odd weights of bullets, then be careful trusting it as your primary ammo. Modern guns were not really intended to fire steel casings with just a lacquer coating on it.

Shopping for ammunition these days is made a lot easier and sometimes cheaper with the availability of the many internet sources that sell shooting supplies. The trick is to monitor these sites all the time to check what is in stock, what is the price, is it ever on sale, and what shipping restrictions or costs are involved. This may require signing up for email notices of supplier newsletters, sales flyers, and promotions of all kinds. It takes time to assess these and compare various sources against each other.
My favorite way to monitor not only prices, but availability is a website called I love this site! This site monitors about 80 retailers on the internet for ammunition, magazines, and reloading components. It covers 6 gauges of shotgun rounds, over 50 different calibers of rifle rounds, 30 calibers of pistols rounds, and 7 different rim fire rounds. It is pretty close to “real-time” too. It tells the price, the price per round, and whether it’s in stock. I’ve found it very handy. You can find ammo in large bulk amounts and some by the box. There is even a feature where you set your price per round and it will give you an alarm when that price is matched or under that set price. I absolutely recommend it and use it often.

Gun shows are another good source of ammo. They usually offer a good selection of ammunition at fairly competitive pricing, but rarely do I see it marked down. You just have to shop gun show tables very carefully and be prepared to buy if the deal is particularly good. If you hesitate, someone else will surely take advantage of it.

Though it is prudent to pick up a box or several of often used ammo as needed when you find it, it is better to buy high volume use ammo in quantity. Say, for example, if you shoot a lot of .223/5.56, then you can often find very desirable pricing if you purchase it by the 1,000 round case lot. Again, shop around. I think the internet is the best place for bulk ammo.

When you shop internet ammo sites, be careful of the shipping charges. Ammo is heavy and very often the shipping charges are too. If you watch carefully, there are some internet suppliers that occasionally offer free shipping. Strike while the iron is hot, or lead in this case. Be sure you take note of the shipping carrier, too. If it happens to be Fed Ex, you might have to be home to sign for it. If you work, that can be a problem.

I do notice that most internet ammo outlets now ship the commercial product brand packaging inside of another box with protective wrapping. Though a delivery driver has to guess what is in the box, it is not made obvious. It can be a little nerve wracking having them leave that box by the front door, but your neighborhood may be safe for this. Be aware.

So, don’t be perplexed or deterred about buying the ammunition you need. Prices go up and down all the time based on the paranoia climate of the country. Buy steadily, within a budget and it will add up. Stock some of what you have to have on hand, then be patient to buy more when conditions are favorable. Be sure to store all your ammo securely, safely, and in a climate controlled area. (See blog Ammo storage: Keep your powder dry! 9/19/2014) As I always say, “If you’re worried about the state of affairs in the world, just buy more ammo.”

Semper Paratus
Check 6

Thursday, April 16, 2015

OP Rockwell Philosophy

I was thinking about my outlook on things. I grew up in a prominently LDS area only a few city blocks from the temple. I have a good family who are all still active LDS members. I served a mission and married my high school sweetheart in the temple. I grew up around guns and hunting from both my Grandfathers and my cousins. I’ve hunted in Arizona, Utah, and Colorado. I don’t consider myself a violent man. I was never abused as a child and never really got into many fights. I don’t think I was exposed to violence other than the TV series of the 70’s. So why would I gravitate toward things of violence? I think that I have experienced enough violence to know I don’t want my family, or anyone else, to experience it. Maybe it was my military experiences that shaped my paranoia with security and self-defense. Regardless of where it came from, I believe in a certain philosophy that I like to bring up here occasionally. I call it the OPR philosophy. (Orrin Porter Rockwell philosophy)
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 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 of those 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.
Porter Rockwell was a sheepdog. He cared for the church and the leaders of the church. He never cut his hair because of a blessing Joseph Smith gave him that said if he didn’t cut his hair he would be safe. He only cut it once since then. To help a woman who needed a wig because of an illness. So he had a big heart but was vigilant about defending the church.
I feel most members are sheep. Good productive citizens. But they are not really sure how to deal with the wolves when they come into the fold. It is denial that turns people into sheep. Sheep are psychologically destroyed by combat because their only defense is denial, which is counterproductive and destructive, resulting in fear, helplessness and horror when the wolf shows up. Denial kills you twice. It kills you once, at your moment of truth when you are not physically prepared: you didn’t bring your gun, you didn’t train. Your only defense was wishful thinking. Hope is not a strategy. Denial kills you a second time because even if you do physically survive, you are psychologically shattered by your fear, helplessness and horror at your moment of truth.
Some individuals would be horrified if they knew someone was carrying a weapon in church. They might call him paranoid and would probably scorn him. Yet these same individuals would be enraged and would call for “heads to roll” if they found out that the airbags in their cars were defective, or that the fire extinguisher and fire sprinklers in their kids’ school did not work. They can accept the fact that fires and traffic accidents can happen and that there must be safeguards against them. Their only response to the wolf, though, is denial, and all too often their response to the sheepdog is scorn and disdain. But the sheepdog quietly asks himself, “Do you have any idea how hard it would be to live with yourself if your loved ones were attacked and killed, and you had to stand there helplessly because you were unprepared for that day?”

The opposite of fear is faith. Faith comes with preparedness. The scripture says “If ye are prepared ye shall not fear.” I propose that scripture be re worded to “If ye have more faith then ye shall be prepared.”
Living with LDS members who are sheep can be frustrating. But as a believer in Christ, and striving to be like Him, it's hard to explain to sheep why I am concerned about security and self-defense. I believe that Christ would want us to care for each other and to take care of each other. His Apostles were armed. Luke 22:36-38 says:
“36 Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.
37 For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end.
38 And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough.”
In the garden of Gethsemene when guards came to take the Savior one of His Apostles drew his sword. I'm sure the Savior knew he was armed. The key is to be able to defend yourself, but to not " live by the sword" . 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.
Learn all you can. Seek training in your self-defense art of choice. Be versatile. As much as I love guns, I know it’s important to be trained in other means of self-defense. When you are trained, practice. Be prepared. I know the whole point of this site is to talk about guns and self-defense, but I believe in a well-rounded preparedness. Food/water storage, bug out bags, comprehensive first aid and medical kits and training. This only scratches the surface and we should be actively pursuing this knowledge. Self-defense is only part of being able to care for your family and others. If you are not prepared for disaster or without-rule-of-law in the area of water or food, how can you be a sheepdog? If you are only worried about your family because you chose to ignore inspired counsel, I say you should say “Baaa”. Being prepared in most things is what I call the OPR (Orrin Porter Rockwell) philosophy. Be OPR ready.
Semper Paratus
Check 6

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Should You Hide Guns and Ammo?

What I’m about to talk about is controversial. Some of you may think I am paranoid already so that’s OK. The rest of you may now side with the first group after this article.
Let me say up front that the most important thing you can do with your guns is secure them from children. Don’t risk your children or grand-children by not locking your guns. There are many ways to do this. Don’t mistake height for being secure. If your gun is high and a determined toddler wants it, they may get it.
Determine what age you feel your kids should learn gun safety, how to handle a gun safely, and how to shoot, and then take away the mystery by teaching this information.
If you don’t have children in your home you can consider these ideas for hiding a gun.
Why hide a gun? So that you can have quick access to it, and/or to keep them from those that may want to return to steal them or (and this is my personal favorite) to keep the government from taking them. I do not want this article to be about what I think has and may happen to our gun rights, but how to hide them only.
Here are 23 ideas.
1. Fake electrical switches that are two to three outlets wide can be used to create a hidden location on wall. Simply pick up plastic electrical boxes and screw them into the wall. The fake electrical switches and plate is a great way to conceal a handgun or ammunition within. Keep in mind; a small screwdriver would be required to unscrew the faceplate to gain access to your hidden cache. You could create a similar hiding place in your home’s utility area using a dummy electrical break panel door.

2. For long rifles or shotguns, you install dummy heating-air-conditioning (HVAC) ducts and place them in your attic, crawlspace or basement. Simply place the firearms and spare ammunition inside the fake ductwork and mount the ducts next to the real ones. No thief is likely to look amongst your maze of ducts to find your guns. It should be noted that if you are storing ammunition in an attic, crawl space or basement, keep in mind it is not an ideal
environment for ammunition if there are significant swings of temperature and or moisture. Extra care should be used to vacuum seal (using a simple food vacuum sealer) the ammunition. Place the vacuum packed ammunition inside a US army ammo crate with a properly sealed rubber gasket to make it airtight and impervious to humidity. Note: it is always wise to add a coat of petroleum jelly on the gasket prior to storing ammo inside ammo cans. Be careful of too much weight in your ducts.

3. Another option for a nightstand is to take advantage of deep bottom drawers. Try creating a false bottom to the drawer. Like the false bottom, have a ¼” sheet of oak or pine cut to fit inside the drawer. Apply a similar stain to blend in the new addition to that of the other drawer(s). Affix four 2-3 inch tall strips of wood surrounding the edges of the drawer. Place the wood on the strips inside the drawer, creating a false bottom inside the drawer itself. Depending upon the size

4. Depending on the layout of your home, some coat closets are conveniently located underneath stairways leading to the second story. Placing a false wall that can be removed
inside the shallow closet may be an ingenious way to leverage the free space hidden by the staircase and behind this wall. Many older homes have wasted space around fireplaces that can be used for concealment. Early American homes often had hidden Indian shelters that are once again useful in an era when you need to hide your guns.

5. One inexpensive option is to hide a small handgun in a half empty cereal box in your pantry. We don’t recommend this method if you have children living in your home. Additionally, place the handgun in a Ziploc bag to protect the weapon from corrosion.

6. Long full-length vertical mirrors that are hung on walls can also be used to conceal wall safes behind them. When considering a wall safe, seeking out the wall’s studs is a must. Use a stud-finder available at any hardware store or home center to identify the best place to install your safe and hang your picture or mirror.

7. If you have a home office, take an old photocopy machine or printer-copier-scanner combos and empty the innards. You can also do this to an older model fax machine. We recommend going to various yard sales where you can always pick up used office equipment. In some cases, you’ll have all the space you need simply by removing the ink cartridge.

8. Having a large stereo subwoofer that no longer works is a great hiding spot. Simply place it next to your television and run some speaker wires to it to complete the deception and your’e good to go.
9. Take an old boom box and gut the insides and store ammo or small firearms in it. Now that everyone uses iPods, chances are good that even a thief might ignore a boom box.

10. Consider taking empty paint cans and store them in the garage. Properly cleaning them out and letting the paint can to fully dry is a great way to and store handguns and or extra ammunition inside them. Note: if you are storing these paint cans in the garage, vacuum seal your ammunition to help combat the temperature swings in your garage. Some preppers recommend sealing up gold or silver coins and submerge them inside semi-full paint cans and hide your valuables in plain sight. Should an enterprising thief go through the trouble of opening up a paint can, chances are they will ignore those that have paint inside!
11. Because of their size, hiding assault rifles can be a challenge but all one has to do is take a love seat or couch, lay it on its back and carefully remove the cloth on the bottom that hides the framework underneath. You will be surprised to see how much room is located underneath. One can easily use a series of Velcro straps and a staple gun that can be used to affix an AR-15 or Shotgun securely out of sight. Depending upon the size of your furniture an averaged sized couch could easily hide 3-4 long rifles.

12. If you are working on a limited budget or perhaps renting a home where permanent modifications would not be an option, simply place a handgun inside the pocket of an old winter coat hidden in plain sight inside a coat closet. If nothing else, this is a good intermediate term solution until you implement another of these gun-hiding secrets, and it’s certainly safer than keeping your gun in a dresser drawer as so many do.
13. A rifle or shotgun can be placed on a hook screwed into the drywall between the window curtains and the wall above the windows. Hiding your firearm here can’t be seen from the outside and if your curtains are heavy and or lined, the weapon can’t be seen from the inside, either.
14. You can place a shotgun in a soft gun case hanging from a hook, centered on the back of your bedroom or bedroom closet door. Then drape the gun concealed in the gun case with a thick bathrobe hiding it from view. Note: this method is not recommended if you have children living in the house because of the easy access to the firearm.

15. Large trophies are a great place to conceal a small firearm or ammunition. Most trophies are hollow inside and if it is large enough it can conceal either a small pistol or ammo. This may be a great excuse to break out those large bowling trophies you have in the attic or pick up at local yard sale. Or pick one up cheap at a yard sale or flea market.
16. Old boxes in the basement, attic or hall closet and clearly marked “Christmas” and stuffed with old Christmas decorations may be a great way to hide firearms or ammunition in plain sight. Remember the location of these boxes and potential for temperature shift when storing ammunition—especially if it is stored in your attic.
17. How about behind a working vent or cold air return? Before I got a safe, I would put a cased pistol in the vent work. I placed it out of sight, so if they pulled off the vent cover, they couldn’t see it. The cold air return was next to the bed, so it was easy to get to in the night. Again this is not ideal, but it’s a good stop-gap measure until your implement another of these tactic

18. Hanging over the doorframe in a hall closet. Most closets are “shallow” so even if a burglar does rummage through, he probably won’t look straight-up over his head.
19. Hollowed out book. Purchase a thick hardback at your local Salvation army and go to town with an Exacto blade. Oldest trick in the book.
20. False flooring. If you have wood floors, make an inconspicuous cut in an inconspicuous place, perhaps near a wall or behind a piece of furniture.
21. Custom or modified cabinets/bookshelves.
22. Behind a thick picture frame. I’ve seen great hiding places made by fastening holsters to the back of the actual picture and using an extra thick frame.
23. Inside large pottery. If you have large enough decorative pottery pieces, or a small enough weapon, you can simply drop your gun inside.
These are just some ways to hide your guns and ammunition. I didn’t mention a cache buried outside. That would be another article to describe how to do that. Be looking for one soon.
Quick access, burglars, or government confiscation. All of these are good reasons to have hiding places for your guns and ammo. I’m sure with some imagination you could devise your own unique places to hide these things.
Please always remember safety in hiding ammo and guns.
Semper Paratus
Check 6

Monday, April 13, 2015

EDC: Important Part Of Preparation

Everyone has an EDC system. You don’t have to be military, law enforcement, a prepper, into self-sufficiency, or any other label you can think of. Everyone does it. A young Mother may pack a purse catering to her baby or children’s needs. An electrician will probably have certain tools he always has with him. An EMT may carry certain tools or supplies that fit his training and expertise.
These days most people carry some common things. A cell phone, wallet, pen, sun glasses. This is all EDC. EDC is very tailored to you.
When I was younger I played a lot of basketball. Once in a while I would get a blister and didn’t want to stop playing. I started to carry a Band aid in my wallet and still do to this day. I upgraded to two Band aids because I’d use one and forget to replace it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used that band aid.
Some of you may have use for a multi tool. That may become your EDC. Not that it matters, but I carry a multi tool, a flashlight, something to start a fire (a firesteel), tweezers, a tac pen, safety pin, para chord, credit card knife, 2 band aids, gun, extra magazine. My car keys have a cheap button compass, carabineer, P38 can opener (this is more for nostalgia, it was my P38 from basic training), a pocketknife-key, and consecrated oil.
None of what I carry matters really. I carry these items for different reasons. Most of it I use on a regular basis. Some I have never used, but I’m comfortable carrying it. On occasion I will review everything and re-evaluate whether I should carry that item or not.
Think of your EDC in levels. With Level 1 is what you carry on your body. You should be able to survive the threat at hand with level 1. These items should support your next level.
Level 2 for me is my “Get home bag” that I carry in each of my vehicles. I’ve also always carried in each vehicle a first aid kit, small tool kit, and water.
My get home bag has food and other items in a back pack. If I had to, I could walk away from my vehicle to reach my next level.
Level 3 is not really EDC but my home. I have food, water, fuel, animals, alternative power, etc. I would prefer to shelter in place (SIP) in a disaster or emergency. But I have a contingency to SIP.
Level 4 is also not really an EDC level. It is our bug-out plan. It too involves a vehicle or on foot.
All of this comprises our preparedness plan. EDC levels 1 and 2 are a very important part of this plan.
Break down all these levels for yourself and look at what you carry in each level as building blocks. Redundancy should be present in your plan where it is necessary. For instance I believe shelter, water, food, fire, and security, the basics of survival, should have redundancy. (I refer to the basics by the acronym SWiFFS) Everything you store should be supported by skills. If you have a tool for instance, you should know how to use that tool properly. This goes for all your gear EDC or not.
What you carry and store should fit you and your family’s needs. This is why a plan is so important. Make a plan that will take care of your needs and practice it.
EDC is an important step in your preparation. I feel naked without my EDC. I hope to need none of it but also know better.
For me it’s easier to consider my preparation in small bites like levels. It makes it all less over whelming. Look at your EDC and tailor it to your skills. You should always be learning skills and changing your preparation plans and gear.
Semper Paratus
Check 6

5 Guns That Helped Shape The History of The Church and West

There are five guns that weave there way through Church and Western History. They helped shape Church history.

1. Joseph Smith’s Pepperbox
This is the gun that Joseph was given for self-defense at his martyrdom. June of 1844. Also Orson Pratt was sent to purchase $400 worth of these guns for the Saints as they started west. (See blog “Joseph’s Pepperbox 6/14/2014)
Initially Ethan Allen's firm manufactured single-shot pistols and rifles, but eventually moved on to early revolvers. The Allen & Thurber Pepper-box, known as the "Gun that won the East", was the most common repeating handgun of its day.
2. The Browning 1911
(John Browning was born in Ogden, Utah. He served a mission to Georgia and was an active member)
In 1910 the final prototype for the Model 1911 pistol, incorporating the addition of the manual safety lever, was put through an exhaustive test regimen. At one point, six thousand rounds were fired through a single pistol without a single jam or failure. On May 5, 1911 the Colt pistol was officially accepted as the “Automatic Pistol, Caliber .45, Model of 1911.” Following its adoption by the Army, the M1911 was also accepted by the Navy and the Marines. It was also adopted by Norway, for use by their armed forces. Supplemental production capacity was set up at Springfield Armory, in order to meet the heavy demand for the pistol. When the United States entered World War I, demand for the pistol was so great that contracts were let out to several other manufacturers. Only Remington/U.M.C. actually went into production, however, before the war ended, resulting in the abrupt cancellation of all outstanding contracts.
In service, the pistol was widely used as a side arm by officers and non-coms, as well as by such specialized units as the Military Police. It won a reputation for ruggedness, reliability and effectiveness, but a few more improvements were still to follow.

3. Mormon Battalion Harper’s Ferry Musket
Battalion members carried the US Model 1816 Flintlock Smoothbore Musket manufactured by Harpers Ferry Arsenal in 1827. The 1816 musket model was produced from 1816 until 1844 by Harpers Ferry, Springfield Armory and various other contractors. The 9-1/2 pound musket had the highest production of any US Flintlock musket and was the last flintlock martial arm to be produced. In total, all US government productions of the M1816 were 325,000 muskets produced at Springfield, Massachusetts and 350,000 muskets produced at Harper's Ferry in addition to 146,000 produced by other contractors. It served the US Army over 50 years and in two major armed conflicts. It saw service in the Mexican war in its flintlock version and in the US Civil War in both flintlock and percussion versions.
The flintlock ignition system employed a piece of flint clamped into the top of the musket hammer. When fired, the hammer fell forward, causing the flint to strike a spring-held vertical piece of steel called a frizzen. As the steel snapped back, the resulting sparks were forced downward to a priming charge of gunpowder. The ignition of this powder passed fire through a pin-sized hole and ignited the powder charge. The advent of the small brass percussion cap in the 1830s, with its self-contained explosive charge, eliminated the need for flint, steel, and priming powder and would eventually make flintlock arms obsolete.
It had a one piece full stock of walnut. The furniture and barrel were left in the white or browned depending on manufacturer and lot. The barrel was 42" long with a .69 caliber smoothbore (no rifling). The casehardened lock plate was marked with an eagle over "US" and dated 1816 on the tail. The 1816 had no front or rear sight. The bayonet lug was on top of the barrel at the muzzle. The three steel barrel bands were retained with barrel band retaining springs. A steel ramrod with button shaped head was stored under the barrel. The musket was converted from flintlock to percussion between about 1840-1860.
The earliest models of the 1816, including those dubbed the "Type I" musket, usually dated around 1817, featured a flat beveled lockplate and steel pan. There seems to be some variations between the placement of the bayonet lugs on the barrel, with some being produced for the 1812 bayonet and others for the 1816.
The next change of the 1816, the "Type II" muskets, produced 1822-31, are often referred to as the "National Armory Brown". It was called thus because of the browned finish on all metal parts except the lock and the sling swivel on trigger guard. These are often mistaken for "M1822" or "M1822" muskets.
The "Type III" muskets, produced 1831-44, are referred to as the "National Army Bright" models. Differences included a strengthened sling swivel and a bright finish on all metal parts.
A good deal is known about the Model 1816 flintlock muskets that were issued to the Mormon Battalion in August 1846 at Fort Leavenworth thanks to surviving weapons maintained by the LDS Museum of Church History and Art. These weapons have been authenticated by Battalion experts and are periodically displayed for the public by museum curators. All of the surviving Mormon Battalion Model 1816's in the LDS Museum collection are Type II weapons, stamped “Harpers Ferry” on their casehardened lock plates and dated “1827.”
Some US Model 1804 Rifles manufactured by Harpers Ferry Arsenal were also issued to the Battalion.

4. Orrin Porter Rockwell’s Navy Colt and Hawken Rifle
The first generation Colt single action Navy revolvers were produced in 1851. The most popular chambering was .45 but Port seemed to like the .36 maybe because it was smaller and not as heavy. He often wore two Colts in his belt for some open carry action.
The cylinder of this revolver is engraved with a scene of the victory of the Second Texas Navy at the Battle of Campeche on May 16, 1843.
He also carried the Hawken rifle. This was a .54 caliber black powder rifle. The Hawken brothers, Jacob and Samuel, were from St. Lewis, Missouri. They started to make guns together about 1825 to service the fur trade. This gun weighed about 8 ½ pounds, had a 28 inch octagonal barrel with a hooked breech system. The Hawken was known as an extremely accurate weapon and was used by Indians and settlers alike.

5. Robert LeRoy Parker’s (Butch Cassidy) Army Colt
(Butch Cassidy was born in Utah and was the son of stalwart members)
In 1873, Colt submitted a new pistol to the U.S. Army. It utilized an improved single-action mechanism coupled with a greatly-improved frame design. It was chambered for the newly-designed .45 Long Colt cartridge. The Army promptly adopted the new revolver as the new standard-issue sidearm. Colt also offered the pistol on the civilian market.
This was a very popular gun of the time.
In 1895–96, the Government returned 2000 SAA (Single action Army) revolvers to Colt to be refurbished; 800 were issued to the New York Militia with the 7 ½” barrel and 1200 were altered to a barrel length of 5½". In 1898, 900 of the SAA revolvers were altered the same way by Springfield Armory. The original records of the War Department do refer to these revolvers with the shortened barrel as the “Altered Revolver”. The name “Artillery” is actually a misnomer, which, it’s speculated, may have originated because the Light Artillery happened to have the first units armed with the altered revolver.

There you have it. Five guns that helped shape the history of the Church and the West.

Semper Paratus
Check 6

Friday, April 10, 2015

Mutual Security or Defending With A Partner

Personal security involves a lot of things. Defense choice, which is how you will defend yourself. Weapon choice, if you’ve chosen a weapon. Focus, what you will focus on pertaining to that defense. Training, how will you train, how often, where you will be training. All of these things are considered when preparing a personal security program. What we don’t usually plan for is doing this training with another person. Most of our lives we are with other people. If we don’t practice with another person, we’ll more than likely be lacking in our security. Looking at having a partner would make a difference in how you train. I know what you’re thinking. More than likely you who are reading this are a guy. If this is being read by a woman than some of what I’m about to say may apply to you differently. I realize that sometimes the roles I’m going to talk about are reversed. For ease of writing, and since I am a guy, I will write in those terms. How’s that for political correctness? A partner can mean many things. A spouse or significant other, or a family member. Each type of partner will give you different considerations. In the military or other type training there are 3 roles often referred to. These roles are often accomplished all by one person. But with a partner these roles can be shared and even switched quickly in a security event. These roles are Action, Security, and Load.
The Action role is one that accomplishes routine work tasks such as driving. During a security event this role will handle engaging a threat. This can be verbally or with a weapon, lethal or non-lethal.
The Security role deals with the security of the action role while performing tasks. They make sure there is no surprise or ambush. If a security event happens, the security role makes sure there are not any other actors to flank or rear. They make sure the action role is able to handle the threat, and acts as a backup. The security role will make contact with authorities and deal with them if needed.
The Load role deals with issues not pertaining to action or security such as equipment, kids, packages, and possibly elderly who might be with us. The load role can change quickly if someone is injured.
Often we do all three of these at the same time. But with a partner you can separate these roles. If you decide to do this, make sure you both train the same. Take a example from Special Forces. In specops each operator has a different job and specialty. But all are training in each other’s jobs. What if a team member is injured or killed? Someone must take his place. If everyone knows each other’s jobs then you can be assured the job will be done.
When agreeing upon roles, it is important to consider status within the relationship. Whether a person is the alpha or beta in a relationship is important to the fulfillment of role tasks. Relationships containing two alphas have to evaluate how they will handle a defensive incident. Ultimately, the phrase “lead, follow, or get out of the way” has to be considered, regardless of what individual partners consider their status in the relationship. Couples should also consider that status reversal could take place if, for instance, one partner becomes a casualty.
Internal communication has two components. One is communicating during the planning stage of family protection to ensure that all members understand what their roles are and what is expected of them. Second is communicating during the development and resolution phases of an incident.
An interactive approach should be used during the planning stage. This is the time for negotiating what will be done by whom. All parties must agree to the plan, even if it means less than optimal tactics are agreed upon. There should be some testing of acceptance and understanding.
Pre-established short phrases, code words, or visual signals should be used during an incident to convey maximum information with minimum possibility of misunderstanding or compromise. There should be phrases or words for alerts or to initiate immediate action drills. Some couples may choose to include duress phrases in their communication protocols as well.
External communication is not to be taken for granted either. How to use your partner’s cell phone is probably not a skill best learned on the fly during an incident. The question of who will interact with the authorities in the event of an incident should be decided in advance. This is best done by the partner in the security role. Defusing the initial contact with police can prevent a victory from turning into a friendly fire tragedy. Some form of “stand down” signal by the security partner should be included in the training repertoire to indicate the arrival of the authorities or closure of the incident.
In my opinion, one of the most important skills for those carrying weapons is learning to move around others with a loaded unholstered firearm. Having a Negligent Discharge into a family member or oneself would be a personal and tactical disaster. Any armed person should master the ability to avert their muzzle unconsciously any time they move around another person. Further, the armed person needs to be able to do this without endangering themselves. This doesn’t have to be done with a loaded weapon or even a real weapon. Doing the drill with a laser-equipped inert gun is an excellent way to practice this.
Working with others on any task can be difficult. In the context of a defensive encounter, it can become incredibly complicated. Planning and practicing ahead of time can make the situation much more manageable and the outcome more favorable. Planning is always key. Practice is important. Preparedness is essential.
Semper Paratus
Check 6

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Old Glory

I was driving through the town that we live outside of and I drove by the Wendy’s restaurant. Nearly 2 years ago my wife called this same restaurant to remind them that the ragged American flag they were flying needed to be replaced. I found the same situation. A tattered, faded facsimile of Old glory. I have to give them some credit, this flag flies 24/7 so it’s never really looked at because it’s not taken down. They do keep a light on it during dark hours. Wendy’s was very cooperative and changed out the old flag. This is the subject of my current article. Reverence for Old Glory.
What does the flag mean to you? It represents a lot to me. My father and Grandfather were both in the Navy. My Grandfather in WWI and my Father in WWII. These men are very special to me. They taught me much including to respect the symbol of this great nation. While serving in the military I felt that respect deepened.
Inspired by these three decades of state and local celebrations, Flag Day - the anniversary of the Flag Resolution of 1777 - was officially established by the Proclamation of President Woodrow Wilson on May 30th, 1916. While Flag Day was celebrated in various communities for years after Wilson's proclamation, it was not until August 3rd, 1949, that President Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14th of each year as National Flag Day.
As a Cub Scout I learned the proper way to display, care for, and fold a United States Flag. However, it wasn’t until I began to teach these things to Boy Scouts that I learned the meaning of the symbols of the act of folding the flag.
Symbols for the Folds of the Flag
The first fold of our flag is a symbol of life.
The second fold is a symbol of our belief in eternal life.
The third fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veteran departing our ranks, and who gave a portion of his or her life for the defense of our country to attain peace throughout the world.
The fourth fold represents our weaker nature; as American citizens trusting in God, it is to Him we turn in times of peace, as well as in times of war, for His divine guidance.
The fifth fold is a tribute to our country, for in the words of Stephen Decatur, “Our country, in dealing with other countries, may she always be right, but it is still our country, right or wrong.”
The sixth fold is for where our hearts lie. It is with our heart that we pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
The seventh fold is a tribute to our armed forces, for it is through the armed forces that we protect our country and our flag against all enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries of our republic.
The eighth fold is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day, and to honor our mother, for whom it flies on Mother’s Day.
The ninth fold is a tribute to womanhood, for it has been through their faith, love, loyalty and devotion that the character of the men and women who have made this country great have been molded.
The 10th fold is a tribute to father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of our country since he or she was first born.
The 11th fold, in the eyes of Hebrew citizens, represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon and glorifies, in their eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
The 12th fold, in the eyes of a Christian citizen, represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in their eyes, God the Father, the Son and Holy Ghost.
When the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost, reminding us of our national motto, “In God We Trust.”
After the flag is completely folded and tucked in, it has the appearance of a cocked hat, ever reminding us of the soldiers who served under Gen. George Washington and the sailors and Marines who served under Capt. John Paul Jones and were followed by their comrades and shipmates in the U.S. Armed Forces, preserving for us the rights, privileges and freedoms we enjoy today.
The source and the date of origin of this Flag Folding Procedure is unknown, however some sources attribute it to the Gold Star Mothers of America while others to an Air Force chaplain stationed at the United States Air Force Academy. Others consider it to be an urban legend. It is provided as a patriotic service to all.
Remember these things for they are important and I fear they are not taught in our schools anymore. June 14th is Flag Day.

Semper Paratus
Check 6

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Remembering Chris Kyle

I just wanted to say a few words about Chris Kyle. Today is his birthday. Before his book, death and the movie and lawsuit hype I enjoyed Chris’s accomplishments. Sometimes I wish he wouldn’t have written a book. He may still be alive or at the very least, less people would have a bad view of him. I never met him but I knew three people who did. They spoke highly of him and I trust the opinions of these three.
I hope Chris’s family is taken care of and that they can move on. My feeling is that Chris did his job as a sniper and did it well. He couldn’t picture himself at home and comfortable while his fellow military members were still in harm’s way. That is a true brother in arms. I admire and agree with that sentiment.
Happy birthday Chris. Rest in peace. We miss you.

Semper Paratus

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Concealed Carry: Defense As A Couple

I have been married to the same wonderful woman for many years. I love being married. We don’t always agree, but most of the time we are on the same page. She’s fun, thoughtful, smart, and nice to look at. She also carries a gun. I love the thought of being a team in every aspect of life including defense. If I leave the house or vehicle I’m armed. It’s nice to know that she can defend herself or anyone we are with. As times become unpredictable and criminals are emboldened by weak laws and corrupt politicians, concealed carry of a firearm is rapidly rising across the nation. The fact that Americans are starting to take active self-protection measures is encouraging. You and the ones you love are never safer then when they are at the side of an armed and trained family member. One of the newer trends emerging in self-protection arenas is women carrying firearms, and as a result that means that couples are now armed and can act as a team when confronted with threats.
Let’s talk for a minute about armed couples and some of the unique aspects.
The biggest advantage is teamwork. With an armed couple you can now maintain overall vigilance longer, share the carry of equipment, shoot, move and communicate and work together to protect each other and children or other loved ones during a violent encounter.
Having a second set of eyes and your arm around some one means you will be allowed to take a moment’s break from trying to stay on point at all times. No matter how good you are or well trained, you cannot stay in condition yellow for long periods of time without being distracted and lapsing in concentration. Having a partner means you can switch off and each of you can have an opportunity to shop, enjoy the sights and still know someone has an eye on your six. Having a second set of eyes also means you can overlap the areas you scan to prevent a potential threat being overlooked.
A man and a women often see the same object but will pay attention to different details. One example is a suspect description versus the vehicle he fled the scene in. If you want a good description of the clothing ask the female half. Women are keen on the fashion side and can usually give you a better physical description. If the suspect is fleeing in a car however, ask the male half as he is usually more familiar with the make, model and description of a vehicle as well as the direction of flight. No offense ladies, but most of you do not keep tabs on cardinal directions as well as most male counterparts.
Now we can start talking equipment. Equipment is a huge part of everyday concealed carry and it is very personal and specific to each individual. Chances are that a man and a women are not going to choose the same type of holster, belt, firearm, or even carry position. With the advent of firearms manufacturers courting women we have seen an unprecedented surge in off body purses, bra holsters, corset holsters, thigh holsters etc. Despite being tough and armed, the fairer sex will always want to maintain her feminine appeal. A woman is not going to switch her entire wardrobe over to tactical pants and baggy shirts to hide her 1911.
While men are less fashion conscious and have no qualms about a single preferred carry method like outside the waistband, inside the waistband or appendix carry, women are diverse and will choose the carry method based on the season, outfit and personal style.
What this means is when it comes to accessing your firearm, as a woman, you will have to develop several different draw stroke proficiencies. What this also means, is that the man in your life will have to know where you are carrying your gun and be equally familiar with how to access your weapon if necessary. You might want to spend some time as a couple using unloaded firearms and practicing drawing from a corset, bra or a purse.
In addition to the weapon, what other personal security tools do you carry that your partner can share the use of? Flashlights, multi-tools and folding knives are usually the responsibility of the male half, or if carried by a woman they are not typically in easy to access locations. No one wants to dig through a purse in an emergency trying to find a flashlight or pocketknife so if your better half is part of your self-defense plan, discuss the carry location of equipment items.
One final suggestion you should consider under the equipment category, is standardizing the caliber and type of firearm you carry. I bring this up because some police agencies in America make their officers carry the same or similar firearms of the same caliber so ammunition can be passed between officers during a critical incident. For example, various models of Glock, XD and Sig Sauer pistols come in different frame sizes from a full size, compact and sub-compact that use interchangeable magazines. This is worth considering in case one of the handguns stops functioning, you can keep the other one running with the additional ammo source. This also allows you diversify how many spare magazines need to be carried by each half of the self-defense team.
If the threat is so great that you have to bring out your firearm, having a partner in a gun fight is a priceless resource. No matter how skilled the bad guy may be, he will have trouble taking on two armed citizens both keen on stopping him. Any enemy that has to fight in multiple directions at one time is going to make decisions slower and lose the initiative. If you and your spouse can get inside the OODA loop of the bad guy, you are going to win the fight.
The other major advantage is that bad guys these days are cowards and need the support of their friends when they set out to perpetrate crimes. A solo sheepdog confronting a group of two or three threats is at a disadvantage, but a husband and wife with a plan and training can easily outflank, outsmart and out communicate a group of bad guys.
The key to being successful is always founded in good communication. As a couple I suggest you work out a short series of phrases or key words you can use to communicate the following: A particularly dangerous or suspicious person, an area that is suspect, when it is time to exit an area that is becoming uncomfortable or dangerous and a go word that it is time to draw your firearm. I suggest keeping these fairly mundane or something you might hear in an actual conversation to avoid drawing unwanted attention or the attention of the bad guy.
For example, if you see a suspicious person starting to approach you, don’t point to him and say, “Tango, left flank,” and begin describing the suspect’s clothing. Think of something more casual like, Honey, let’s check out the store on the left.” That will identify to your spouse or girlfriend you spot something out of place or a person with evil intentions on your left and you are alerting them.
If you are in a bad area where you feel uncomfortable you could say, “Honey, I left something in the car, we need to go get it.” This is a simple signal that only you two understand but that does not sound unusual and those who may overhear it will interpret differently.
One of the signal phrases my wife and I use when we are out and a large crowd gathers or we start to notice a situation turning badly and it’s time to get out, I tell my wife, “Honey, time for a smoke break.” Since I do not smoke the phrase sticks out to her, but to others who do not know me it sounds benign. When my wife hears that she knows it’s time to drop what we are doing, grab the kids and get out of the area.
If you do get stuck and have to resort to violence to save yourself, have a signal for that as well. For example, you can say, “Looks like I’ve been painted into a corner.” If your significant other hears that common phrase, he or she knows its time to draw a weapon and get ready to fight or flight. If it is a fight signal you should have a pre-planned out triangulation attack, a plan for a bounding extraction, or a flee signal which means one of you grabs the kids and goes with the other half covering your rear with the firearm. As you make your plan also consider non-verbal cues as well.
Whatever you decide, it needs to be worked out well in advance. You can’t expect these signals and plans to work without a bit of rehearsal and discussion so spend some quality time with your spouse or girlfriend and work out your offense and defense plan.
Remember, you are only as strong as the weakest link of your team so train hard, train together and stay safe.
Semper Paratus
Check 6

Friday, April 3, 2015

Training: Creating A Training Plan

I'm a big believer in preparation in every aspect of your life. I did not always feel this way, but the older I get, the more prepareder I get! Shooting is no different.
Has your firearms training hit a dead end? Not progressing as fast as you’d like? The problem likely isn’t with the instruction; it was with the input (or lack thereof) into the personalized plan you made to reach your goals. You did make a personalized plan…didn’t you? If not, don’t feel bad. Even some of the best shooters in the world don’t understand how to successfully put together an effective firearms training plan. If you adopt these three simple steps, I’ll get you off your dead end path and on the right course.
If you are not where you want to be in your shooting game, you’re either not motivated enough, you’re getting poor instruction or you’re not using a custom training plan. I’m putting my money on the last choice. Chances are pretty good you are following a training plan that worked for someone else or was just randomly made for anyone. However, there are three elements you need for any firearms training program to be effective. I call them the 3 D’s of effective training: definition, direction and drive.
Definition: Aim Small, Miss Small
As a shooter, you need to know exactly where you are in your training and where you want to be. 99% of training plans out there are cookie-cutter plans that are worthless. Everyone is at a different place in their learning process or skill level and has different goals they want to achieve. How in the world is a training plan for Mike going to work for Michelle? Answer: It’s not and it’s the biggest problem with most training courses today. It’s not the courses themselves, it’s with your plan and a course is not a plan. A course is something you take because it aligns with your plan. The first thing you need is to get an accurate assessment of your current skill level so you or your instructor knows what you need to work on or what course you should take. Next, you need to get clear about what your goals are and what you want to get good at. It’s easy to think that others have the same goals, but ask just a few shooters and you find out this is far from the truth. Once you know where you are and where you want to go, you can come up with a plan.
Direction: The Shortest Route From Point-A to Point-B
Only when you know where you are and where you want to be will direction be of any use. Your training plan could have the best directions ever invented – super detailed, awesome-video, surround-sound-audio, with turn-by-turn directions— but if you are starting at the wrong point, these directions will be meaningless. If your goal is different from the directions, you will NEVER end up where you want to be. Either way will lead to destruction of your training plan. Normally, the lessons you’re getting are not the problem. They might be a slower route or take you little off course, but you can easily stop and ask for directions
Drive: Skinny Pedal on the Right
Drive means that you have a reason for training. You love your family and don’t want some scumbag to take them away from you or you away from them. You love your country and want to protect it. Maybe you just love to win and want to be on the top of your division! Whatever it is, your drive is the reason you get out of bed early to train. It’s what makes you excited and energetic about learning and growing. Without having drive the best you can hope for is to be mediocre; you’ll get up early for a week or two, but then your little reserve battery runs out of juice and you find it’s easier to sleep in than to get up and train
The GPS Firearms Training Model
To get all of these things working together for you (and you do need all 3), you want to employ what I call GPS Firearms Training. GPS training works just like the one in your car. The first thing you need to do is tell the GPS where you are. If it doesn’t know, it can’t give you directions. If you don’t know where you are, a good instructor can also work like a GPS to define where you are. Now imagine if at this point the GPS just starting giving you directions. Where are you going? You need to tell the GPS where you want to go or you’ll end up wasting your time and driving around all day. Even then you may never get to where you want to go, there’s a pretty good chance that you’re going in the wrong direction. So only when the GPS knows exactly where you are and where you want to end up can it give you helpful directions. With well defined start and end points the GPS will also be able to tell you as soon as you veer off course and give you new directions to get you to your destination faster.

Are We There Yet?
After you’ve defined your points, the rest is up to you. Drive! Start moving, do something – if you’re heading in the wrong direction your GPS will tell you – “recalculating; make a U-turn as soon as possible.” But none of these critical elements will work alone and one or more is most training plan out there, for those that even have a plan. Again, a goal is not a plan, a course is not a plan and a class is not a plan – a plan is your personal long range path to get to where you want to go. Without a plan, you’ll never get to where you want to be. Don’t let it happen to you! Using a GPS Training model is the most effective way to get from where you are now to where you want to be.
Measure Your Success
Keeping up with the GPS analogy, you need to make sure your firearms’ training is measurable. Even if a GPS tells you what direction to go in, you’ll also need to know how far you need to go in that direction. This is called measurement. If you’re not measuring your training, what you’re doing is called playing. Yes it’s fun to shoot guns and I’m not saying not to have fun. In fact, if what you want to do is just play and have fun by all means, do so. Shoot safely for enjoyment. Just be clear and honest with yourself about what you’re doing. How much and what you measure is up to you and has a lot to do with your training plan. If your goal is for speed, then measuring points would not be as useful. Again, everything you do in training effectively comes down to using a GPS Training model. Figure out where you are, where you want to be and then measure the critical elements along the way. Make sure you keep all your data in a range book and review it often; this is the only way to know when it’s time to change direction…or even make a U-turn.
Like Drinking From A Fire Hose
Retention and transfer are the most important end results of training. Retention simply means that you remember what you learned. If you are given too much information too quickly, you’ll have overload and, over the long term, you will not retain as much. Think of this as going too fast in your “training car” and getting pulled over and put in jail. Everything was going great, but now you’ll need to go over that path again to get back up to speed. Take your time learning and only when you fully understand something should you move on to something else. Even if you’re an experienced shooter and want to improve, becoming a great shooter is not about learning new things; it’s about learning what you’re doing now that is limiting your shooting. The biggest key to improve your retention is to practice often in small amounts. Other strategies include writing down the information you learned, visualizing what you learned or even asking questions. Regular practice spaced out properly has been shown to increase retention by 200%!
I Hope The Bad-Guy Is Wearing A Shirt With Dots!
The other important outcome you want from any and all firearms training you do is called transfer. Transfer is your ability to take what you learned in a course and apply it in whatever setting you’re training for – combat, law enforcement, competition, etc. The way to have better transfer is pretty easy; make sure your training is realistic. Once you fully grasp the basics, make sure you’re incorporating stress. This is why competition is sometimes good for training. Competition can bring some level of stress. If you’re training on bullseye targets all the time and expect to be able to shoot a burglar in the middle of the night, you might find that more difficult than you thought because you haven’t worked on any transfer. You can safely increase transfer by using realistic targets, shooting at night/low-light, shooting under stress and using airsoft to set up realistic scenarios in your home. The more training you do and the closer you can get the two ends (training and application) the easier it will be for the learned skills to jump the gap to application.
Like any other preparation shooting, especially for defense, requires a plan. Otherwise you’re hit and miss (pardon the pun). Put together a simple plan and then work it.
Semper Paratus
Check 6