Friday, August 28, 2015

Safety Again

I know I revisit this a lot. But I also know that you can never have too much of certain things. Love, money, guns, ammo… or safety.
I hear all the time about a negligent discharge. Most of the time this comes from my friends in law enforcement. This just proves to me that revisiting safety is not a bad thing for anyone and everyone. I test my kids on these rules all the time. I want them to pick up a gun and hear my voice making them recite the rules to me for the billionth time.
They are for the one billionth and one time:
There are no exceptions. Do not pretend that this is true. Some people and organizations take this rule and weaken it; e.g. "Treat all guns as if they were loaded." Unfortunately, the "as if" compromises the directness of the statement by implying that they are unloaded, but we will treat them as though they are loaded. No good! Safety rules must be worded forcefully so that they are never treated lightly or reduced to partial compliance. All guns are loaded, period! This must be your mind-set. If someone hands you a firearm and says, "Don't worry, it's not loaded," you do not dare believe him. You need not be impolite, but check it yourself. Remember, there are no accidents, only negligent acts. Check it. Do not let yourself fall prey to a situation where you might feel compelled to squeal, "I didn't know it was loaded!"________________________________________
This is violated quite often, especially with pistols. Rule II applies whether you are involved in range practice, daily carry, or examination. If the weapon is assembled and in someone's hands, it is capable of being discharged. A firearm holstered properly, lying on a table, or placed in a scabbard is of no danger to anyone. Only when handled is there a need for concern. This rule also applies to your own person. Do not allow the muzzle to cover your extremities, e.g. using both hands to reholster the pistol Dryfire-practice in the home is a worthwhile habit and it will result in more deeply programmed reflexes. Most of the reflexes involved in the Modern Technique do not require that a shot be fired. Let it suffice for now that you do not dry-fire using a "target" that you wish not to see destroyed. (Recall RULE I as well.)________________________________________
Rule III is violated most anytime the uneducated person handles a firearm. Whether on TV, in the theaters, or at the range, people seem fascinated with having their finger on the trigger. Never stand or walk around with your finger on the trigger. It is unprofessional, dangerous, and, perhaps most damaging to the psyche, it is klutzy looking. Never fire a shot unless the sights are superimposed on the target and you have made a conscious decision to fire. Firing an unaligned pistol in a fight gains nothing. If you believe that the defensive pistol is only an intimidation tool - not something to be used - carry blanks, or better yet, reevaluate having one around. If you are going to launch a projectile, it had best be directed purposely. Danger abounds if you allow your finger to dawdle inside the trigger guard. As soon as the sights leave the target, the trigger-finger leaves the trigger and straightens alongside the frame. Since the hand normally prefers to work as a unit - as in grasping - separating the function of the trigger-finger from the rest of the hand takes effort. The five-finger grasp is a deeply programmed reflex. Under sufficient stress, and with the finger already placed on the trigger, an unexpected movement, misstep or surprise could result in a negligent discharge. Speed cannot be gained from such a premature placement of the trigger-finger. Bringing the sights to bear on the target, whether from the holster or the Guard Position, takes more time than that required for moving the trigger finger an inch or so to the trigger.________________________________________RULE 4: BE SURE OF YOUR TARGET
Know what it is, what is in line with it, and what is behind it. Never shoot at anything you have not positively identified. Be aware of your surroundings, whether on the range or in a fight. Do not assume anything. Know what you are doing.

You should be aware of distances your caliber and ammo may reach. This is the reason for knowing your target and what is behind or beyond it.

.22 Long Rifle 1 ½ miles
Centerfire pistol (9mm, .40, .45, etc) ¾ to 1 ½ miles
Centerfire rifle (30-06, 270, 308, .223) 3 to 5 miles
#8 – 9 shot 220 yards
#7 ½ shot 300 yards
00 Buckshot 600 – 800 yards
Make these rules a part of your character. Never compromise them. Improper gunhandling results from ignorance and improper role modeling, such as handling your gun like your favorite actor does. Education can cure this. You can make a difference by following these gunhandling rules and insisting that those around you do the same. Set the example. Who knows what tragedies you, or someone you influence, may prevent.
I have added a special rule 5.
This is a rule I’ve added when I teach to add a little humor but also to help students realize that shooting is a serious business. You should consider it as you would a profession and act as a professional would.
Knowing and following these rules is good for everyone. You tube is full of idiots that ignore these rules and make the rest of us look bad. I am tired of them. I sued to comment on them until it became a job to comment on them all. There are too many. There should be none. The problem is that being a gun owner does not make you a shooter. Following these rules makes you a shooter. Make sure you always follow the special rule 5 written exclusively by Burn.
Semper Paratus
Check 6

Trigger Press Basics

Trigger press (yes I'm obsessed with calling it press instead of pull!) is one of the most important things to perfect in shooting. Here are 5 ways to improve your press.
If the firearm is too big it will be hard to shoot and your shots will be all over the place. Make sure the gun fits your hand and that you are gripping it properly.
Dry Fire
Dry firing is an excellent way to improve trigger press away from the range. As you do this you can observe gun movement. Dry firing has no recoil or noise so being able to concentrate on trigger press is easy and muscle memory can be developed.
If your dry fire, do it safely.
Do not use any other finger but your index finger when shooting. Isolate this finger as you practice. Concentrate on moving only that finger. Ensure the rest of your hand is relaxed enough to grip the gun but not move away from the sight picture.
Take Your Time
Speed kills. As you master the trigger press you can speed up the whole shooting process. But until then, take your time. Unnecessary jerking of the trigger will always affect the sight picture. Do everything slow and methodical. Press the trigger as smooth as possible.
Focusing on the whole process will only help your accuracy. Think about the things you are doing and how you do them. Make sure you feel everything the same way every shot. You will get to know your gun so that you can squeeze the trigger without moving anything else. You will get to know the pressure it takes and how much space you have before the shot actually happens. Think about your finger and how it feels on the trigger and how it is moving. To oversimplify it “Be” the trigger.
Expect The Bang
Make sure you know the sound of your gun and that it doesn’t make you jump even when it goes off “unexpectedly”. Everyone knows a gun recoils. As you get to know your weapon you will know the recoil. The only thing that should be a surprise is the actual bang. Don’t anticipate the sound and the recoil. Follow through your shot by letting the trigger reset and controlling the gun with managing the recoil. Acquiring the sight picture as fast as possible ensures you’re ready for another shot.
Shooting a gun is not really a difficult task. If you follow the safety rules and master the basics you can shoot like a pro. As in any skill, you must practice, practice, practice.

Concealed Carry Skill: Gunfights Part 2.

I was looking at the email conversation that I had with my friend X concerning his research and information concerning gunfights. He is on a committee that will recommend some changes in the FBI curriculum at Quantico. That is the basis for the article “Concealed Carry Skill: Gunfights” 8/24/2015. I think I need to add to that first entry. This will be Concealed Carry Skill: Gunfights Part 2. I apologize for not including it in the first article.
“According to a study conducted by various police departments, the average human reaction time for 17 police officers to mentally justify firing their pistols during a simple decision-making scenario was 0.211 seconds. The same officers in a complex scenario took 0.895 seconds. In one study 46 police officers who knew they were going to fire their pistols, and it was simply a matter of doing so when they received the signal. This test resulted in an average action time of 0.365 seconds with the officers’ finger already on the trigger. More recent work by Dr. Bill Lewinski a law enforcement professor at Minnesota State University tested 101 officers. The average Reaction/Action time of 1.5 seconds is sufficient time for an attacker to close a reactionary gap of 22.96 feet.
• Time to Draw (a pistol) from a Holster 1.19 seconds
• Time to Raise (a pistol) and Fire 0.59 seconds
• Time to Run 15 feet 1.28 seconds”
So according to this information it would take about 3 seconds to draw, aim, and move 15 feet. Even without the 15 feet movement it is 1.78 seconds to draw, raise and make a decision to shoot.
We talked a little about shot placement and center of mass in the first article. There have been numerous videos on the internet of people getting shot in the chest clearly and continuing on. There was a man named Kenny Vaughan in North Carolina who was shot 20 times with a rifle 5 feet away and lived. As we said in the part 1 “Shoot until the target changes shape, or catches fire!” According to a doctor who specializes in gunshot wounds you have a 85% chance of surviving a chest wound. Center of mass is still the best bet, but several in the center of mass.
Adrenaline is something we cannot avoid in a high threat situation, especially in a gun fight for your life. When your body experiences an adrenaline overload, you may experience a few of these symptoms, tunnel vision, audio exclusion, shortness of breath, etc. There is a simple solution to overcoming the symptoms of adrenaline overload and get you back on top of your game…deep breaths. Your body needs the extra oxygen to deal with the extra stress. Yes… Just breath!
In teaching combat shooting I would incorporate a moving target into our training. It would only move as fast as a brisk walk, but that was enough to throw most shooters off. Beyond about 25 yards you need to lead the target. Closer than 25 yards aim and shoot. Most people miss in front of the target because they think they have to lead the target. As close as 25 yards that bullet is moving at 800 to 2,000 feet per second you do not need to lead anything.
Being in a gunfight is not like the movies. A bullet makes an eerie crack when it passes by your head (that’s the sonic boom from breaking the sound barrier). You are rarely in a great position because you dive for cover. Shooting around things or over things is dangerous and sometimes difficult. Long firefights are more stressful because of the ammo issue. Running out can ruin your day. Most firefights are short unless you are in combat. Gunfights are not glorious. They are not exciting and walking away from one unscathed is more difficult than one would think.
Prevention is the best course of action. Never put yourself in a position where you would have a gunfight. But if you are ever in one, do everything you can to have the edge. Think about that when you practice and train.
Semper Paratus
Check 6

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Concealed Carry in a Crowd

Carrying concealed is not always convenient. Finding yourself in a crowd of people where lots of people are close or touching you could be a problem. One, you’d like the fact that you carry to remain your business and two, you don’t want a gun grab. Of course this all depends on how you carry. If you happen to carry outside the waistband with a cover garment this might be felt by others or worse, the garment is swept back and reveals your “little friend”. Being aware can stop most of this. And some other tips.
First of all, avoid these kinds of crowds all together because of the opportunities for someone to discern that you are armed. Being legally armed is always your responsibility. Avoidance is not always an option I know.
As you see yourself going into a large crowd putting your hand on the outside of your clothing where your gun is located may be a give away, but it will protect anyone feeling anything other than your hand. It also will help in weapon retention if someone sees and wants to grab your weapon.
There is no single answer for protecting your carrying in a crowd but trying to keep body parts between your gun and others is a good idea. This does work, but if you’re in a crowd sometimes one or both hands are occupied carrying things—holding the hand of a child or two and/or your spouse, or using your arms and hands to maintain your space just to move in the crowd. You want to avoid this if at all possible.
You should keep your gun-side arm free to protect your gun (when you’re wearing it at waist level) by both covering and pressing inward on the gun. The downside is you are now moving awkwardly and perhaps drawing attention to yourself. Be aware of this at all times.
A security holster is a good choice, but only if you practice with the safety features until your draw is reflexive. However, don’t depend on those features completely, because there’s simply no one “best” security holster, for a few reasons.
Hand size, arm length, mobility of your limbs and manual dexterity vary. The actions needed to release the single or multiple retention devices are more “natural” for some than are others.
The overall holster design and material—be it leather, polymer or a combination of the two—may not be to your liking or particular needs. Some handguns are not good fits for some retention systems.
Modes of dress can cause changes in concealment needs. No holster system provides absolute security, and no holster makes such a claim, for if you can draw the gun, so can someone else. A security holster simply buys time for you to respond as required.
The primary gun retention defense is keeping it concealed. In crowds, you also need to step up your game. Some easy-to-do steps include buttoning or zipping up your outer garment. Pulling your shirt out and over your gun also helps if your first concealment efforts have been disrupted for whatever reason. I’ve done this two ways: Just pull my shirt out enough to cover an IWB-carried gun or pull the entire shirt.
The two choices are, of course, based on the size of the gun and if the holster is inside or outside the waistband. I go with whatever appears to look more natural. Should I look slightly sloppy with only part of my shirt pulled out or all of it out? The cut of the shirt often dictates this. This works well with an inside-the-pants holster and is a quick, standalone concealing action if you have to—or want to—remove your coat.
There’s no one good answer to how to protect your gun in a crowd, other than not being there. These are some suggestions that have worked for me and others. I think anyone legally armed has a moral, if not legal, responsibility to make every effort to prevent a gun grab.
However, I am specifically not suggesting any formal method or technique for defeating a gun grab. What I do suggest is getting formal training from a certified instructor whose curriculum covers the concealment needs of non-sworn citizens. That is, without a doubt, the best answer as to how to protect your handgun in a crowd.
Protecting your weapon is a primary responsibility for retention and safety. As a concealed carry participant you must have better situational awareness than average and be aware of everything going on around you.
Semper Paratus
Check 6

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Shooting Skills: Basics of Marksmanship

I was looking at some old pictures of my military days and it got me thinking about the many people I had the privilege of serving with. I also had the opportunity to train many good people how to shoot and how to keep up their skills at shooting. I like to think that I helped to save some individuals when they got in a tight spot in combat is some small way. These are some of the things I learned while teaching enlisted and officers on the shooting range.
One of the worst mistakes when being taught is having too much pride. Being unteachable because you “know”. Pride is one of the biggest problems to overcome as an instructor. Those with gun experience were the worst because they had bad habits that were difficult to change. Older people were difficult because sometimes their life experiences seem to teach them everything. I had less problem with younger guys and women. It’s easier to start fresh than try and rewrite people’s experiences. The best thing to have going into a course is humility and a desire to learn.
Trigger Control
The problem that I have learned is that even the wording is wrong. Hollywood and TV have taught that we “pull” a trigger. I always thought the better word description was “press”. Pulling a trigger to me is too much of a jerky motion. Even squeeze is not that great to me because it’s difficult just to squeeze one finger on your hand without the whole hand squeezing. Trigger press is simple and precise. Many people use the first joint of their index finger to shoot. I think there is less control and that is really what you need with a trigger, control. The pad of the tip of your index finger is what I have always taught. If the finger pad is squarely and flatly on the trigger you won’t jerk the weapon right or left. Using the joint is probably the most common bad habit brought to the range by experienced shooters. You can practice this with dry firing, a airsoft replica, or even holding a pencil with your non shooting hand and “squeezing the pencil with your shooting hand. The pencil should come straight back to you not to the side.
Sight Picture
This is the alignment of the front and rear sights. Sights on handguns are different than sights on a rifle and shotgun. Learn what your sight picture should be and be consistent with attaining it every time you shoot. If you are shooting a rifle your cheek should touch the rifle stock. This called the cheek weld. Doing this consistently in the same place every time you shoot will ensure the same sight picture. If you need to mark where to put your cheek this can easily be done with some masking tape.
Breath Control
Breathing is the cause of many a missed shot. There is a natural pause between when we exhale and before we take our next breath. Practice breathing in and out until you notice this pause. Before they take a shot, I instruct the trainees to breathe in, breathe out, and then fire during this natural pause. Some instructors will teach to take a breath, let it out slightly then pause and shoot. I was taught this until someone told me I was trying to make it too complicated. Just breathe naturally and use the natural pause. If you wait too long simply take another breath.
Shot Anticipation
This is a little harder to see when teaching shooting. Take away the other problems and that’s when it rears its ugly head. When your pattern is dispersed this often is the problem. It is the last problem on the list but is probably the easiest to correct. The shot should be a surprise and not anticipated. Sometimes anticipation comes when bracing for recoil. Eliminate this problem and you will see your groups get tighter and tighter. If you feel you are anticipating too much try taking the tension from the trigger. Every trigger has some “ride” before it actually shoots. Taking this slack out can help with anticipation.
These five things I put in this order of what I think is their importance. If you can master just these five things, you will become a true marksman. Review these often to ensure you have not lost some of these elements of shooting.
Semper Paratus
Check 6

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Hoplophobia: How To Talk to Anti-Gunners

“You advocate carrying a gun? What are you afraid of?” This is a question I’ve heard several times. One of my gun-heros is Col. Jeff Cooper. I had the opportunity of being trained by him annually at an instructor school for 6 years. I don’t agree with everything he advocates, but probably 98.7%. He used to say this often when asked if anyone ever asked about his being a proponent of carrying a gun.
“If you carry a gun, people call you paranoid. Nonsense! If you have a gun, what do you have to be paranoid about?”
I subscribe to this thinking whenever I have been asked about being afraid because I advocate carrying a gun. Very rarely will I come out and say “I carry!” I believe in operations security and so I like to always leave someone not quite sure if I carry a gun or not.
I do advocate the emphasis of faith and works. There is a scripture that says:
“…if ye are prepared ye shall not fear.” I like this scripture because I believe the opposite of fear is faith. I would propose a little different wording of this fragment of a verse. I propose the meaning of this verse is more “If ye have faith, ye will be prepared.” Since faith without works is dead, I would conclude that with faith you must have action.
The thinking (or lack thereof) of many people is that if someone carry’s a gun to protect themselves then they must be scared of something. I think we should explore the difference between preparedness and fear. Maybe someone who jumps right to fear if another person is prepared is because they are so afraid of life that they must project that fear to others. If you wear a seatbelt then clearly you are afraid of a vehicle and wheat can happen in one. If you own pepper spray then you must be afraid of an attacker. If you own a flashlight you must be afraid of the dark! I’m not sure how tools to keep you safe and secure make you afraid. That kind of thinking is wishful. If a knife wielding maniac in a restaurant starts stabbing people you would cower in the corner and hope his arm got tired before he got to you.
The most useful thing I carry is my flashlight. I carry it not because I'm afraid of the dark; instead, I simply realize that it gets dark every day.
It used to be that we actually cared for others. There was also a time when we took care of ourselves and didn’t expect anyone, or any other group, to take care of us. I’m not sure what happened but I would hope that if my family was in danger and I was not there, that someone would be there for them. I don’t depend on that though, that’s why I’ve taught them to care for themselves and each other.
I do not advocate anyone who does legally carry a gun, has been trained and practices, that they should, or do, think of themselves as a hero. In this sue-happy society you could go to jail trying to help out someone. If you feel you need to do so, do it with the utmost care and thought. I’d like to think that under the right circumstances I could help someone survive an attack. I can tell you, I don’t usually look for it. I do my best to avoid anything like that.
This is an original definition of hoplophobia from the term's creator, Jeff Cooper, through his daughter, Lindy Cooper Wisdom. She writes:
In Fireworks (copyright 1980), Chapter 3 is titled, "Open Letter: To a Legislative Hoplophobe." In it, Dad defines hoplophobia and puts a date to this definition of 1966.

It reads as follows:

HOPLOPHOBIA. (1966) From the Greek___(weapon) plus __ (terror).

An unreasoning, obsessive neurotic fear of weapons as such, usually accompanied by an irrational feeling that weapons possess a will or consciousness for evil, apart from the will of their user. Not equivalent to normal apprehension in the presence of an armed enemy. Hoplon also means instrument, tool or tackle, but it is the root of hoplite (man-at-arms, gendarme) and thus principally signifies "weapon" in English derivations.
Col. Jeff Cooper, widely acclaimed as "The Father of the Modern Technique of Shooting," introduced the two-handed grip at eye level, when it was standard for people to shoot one-handed, and often from the hip. Far less known, Cooper was a historian with a Masters Degree in History from the University of Calif. at Riverside and he held a B.A. from Stanford in Political Science.
Hoplophobes are common and should never be involved in setting gun policies. Point out hoplophobic behavior when noticed, it is dangerous, sufferers deserve pity, and should seek treatment. When confronted about their condition, hoplophobes typically go into denial, a common characteristic of the affliction. Sometimes helped by training, or by coaching at a range, a process known to psychiatry as "desensitization," a useful methodology in treating many phobias.
Hoplophobic behavior is often obvious from self-evident irrational responses to real-life situations, and is frequently seen in the news media and public debate. When a criminal commits a crime using a gun, hoplophobes often seek to disarm, or make lists of, innocent people who didn't do anything, a common, classic and irrational response.
The idea of creating an enormously expensive government-run 90-million-name database of legitimate gun owners -- which by definition would not include armed criminals -- is a prime example of an irrational hoplophobic response to the issue of crime. How writing your name in such a list would help stop crime is never even addressed.
Firearms instructor and Ph.D. psychologist Dr. Bruce Eimer
expands on the hoplophobia epidemic the nation is suffering under:
“As a psychologist, I have been treating people with the emotional disorder of phobias for over 30 years. Phobias are emotional disorders characterized by an irrational fear of specific situations, activities or objects. They all have an underlying psychodynamic mechanism.
Weapons phobias originate typically in childhood as a result of traumatic experiences that lead the afflicted individual to feel markedly vulnerable around knives, guns, sticks, etc. They do not necessarily stem from the phobic person's being a victim of an assault although in many instances that is the case. Often, hoplohobics were abused emotionally and/or physically as children.
As a result of their fears of annihilation, they feel vulnerable and angry. They both fear others and themselves such that if they were to lose control, they would be a menace too. The adult rationalization defense mechanism makes it safer to displace these fears on to an inanimate object such as a gun. Hence, the psychological unconscious really believes that guns have agency and kill. The idea of factoring bad people into the equation: gun + bad person = destruction does not occur to the psychological unconscious. It is too threatening to the psychological unconscious. It's less threatening CONSCIOUSLY to blame problems on inaminate objects.”
Dr. Sarah Thompson says this about Hoplophobia.
“About a year ago I received an e-mail from a member of a local Jewish organization. The author, who chose to remain anonymous, insisted that people have no right to carry firearms because he didn't want to be murdered if one of his neighbors had a "bad day". (I don't know that this person is a "he", but I'm assuming so for the sake of simplicity.) I responded by asking him why he thought his neighbors wanted to murder him, and, of course, got no response. The truth is that he's statistically more likely to be murdered by a neighbor who doesn't legally carry a firearm and more likely to be shot accidentally by a law enforcement officer.
How does my correspondent "know" that his neighbors would murder him if they had guns? He doesn't. What he was really saying was that if he had a gun, he might murder his neighbors if he had a bad day, or if they took his parking space, or played their stereos too loud. This is an example of what mental health professionals call projection – unconsciously projecting one's own unacceptable feelings onto other people, so that one doesn't have to own them. In some cases, the intolerable feelings are projected not onto a person, but onto an inanimate object, such as a gun, so that the projector believes the gun itself will murder him.
Projection is a defense mechanism. Defense mechanisms are unconscious psychological mechanisms that protect us from feelings that we cannot consciously accept. They operate without our awareness, so that we don't have to deal consciously with "forbidden" feelings and impulses. Thus, if you asked my e-mail correspondent if he really wanted to murder his neighbors, he would vehemently deny it, and insist that other people want to kill him.
Projection is a particularly insidious defense mechanism, because it not only prevents a person from dealing with his own feelings, it also creates a world where he perceives everyone else as directing his own hostile feelings back at him.”
She continues: “Also, it's important to remember that not all anti-gun beliefs are the result of defense mechanisms. Some people suffer from gun phobia, an excessive and completely irrational fear of firearms, usually caused by the anti-gun conditioning they've been subjected to by the media, politicians, so-called "educators," and others. In some cases, gun phobia is caused by an authentic bad experience associated with a firearm. But with all due respect to Col. Jeff Cooper, who coined the term "hoplophobia" to describe anti-gun people, most anti-gun people do not have true phobias. Interestingly, a person with a true phobia of guns realizes his fear is excessive or unreasonable, something most anti-gun folks will never admit.”
So whichever camps you are in, you can understand why those who oppose guns so much are going to try to make you feel foolish for defending yourself. It has been said that “a conservative is a liberal who’s been mugged.” I’m not sure that is true but I can understand it. If you find yourself confronted by a hoplophobic, responding with anger and aggressiveness is not the answer (As much as you would love to scare the crud out of the worm). To be honest, you really want to become friends with this person. As we change people’s minds with truth and logic, we gain ground. There are many ways of doing this that I don’t have time to go into here. Take a look at Dr. Thompson’s writing on this exact subject:
I highly recommend this site and this essay particularly.

Semper Paratus
Check 6

Monday, August 24, 2015

Concealed Carry Skill: Gunfights

I have a good friend from my military days. I call him “X”. That was not his call sign but a nick name I’ve given him from our mutual love of the “X Files” T.V. series. My friend is a retired field agent for the FBI. He now teaches at Quantico at the FBI Academy. For some reason he says I saved his marriage. I don’t know if that’s true, but over the years he’s been a loyal friend.
X was tasked by the deputy director for the FBI to review some curriculum that the FBI teaches concerning gun fights. So in the process of reviewing this curriculum, he did a study of gun fights by law enforcement. This is his report to me after we had a little e-mail discussion about it. I will put his report in quotation marks and then my comments throughout.
“Burn, here are my results.
I found that an agent’s technique did not seem to make much difference in a gun fight. Whatever you do in training, under the stress of fire, only about 40% will get through and be used in an actual event.”
That says a lot. Do you find yourself at the range every other month? Think about 40% of that training next time you carry. Do you practice enough?
When we worry so much about grip, stance, and crossed thumbs, we are wasting our time. No as an instructor I know I need to teach something in the way of technique. I will continue to talk about these little details in a beginning class. But as an intermediate or advanced student comes my way I may just mention a technique to them. If it works for you, and you are shooting accurate, then I say If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
“OK Burn let’s talk caliber. What I found with a firefight is that quantity matters. Caliber is just the size of the hole. If you shoot 10 .45 holes in an assailant as opposed to 20 9mm holes, the smaller caliber may win. But of course, if 1 .22 hits someone between the eyes the number of .357 holes doesn’t really matter. But as a whole (no pun intended) the larger the caliber the better the “stopping power”. Center of mass is probably still a viable target but having a small group hit center of mass may not be the advantage. If you have a larger group in center of mass you have a better chance of actually stopping the assailant. From what I can see a group of 6 shots 5 to 8 inches is more lethal than 6 shots at 3 inches. A head shot and center of mass is not always effective. The average of shots needed to stop a regular guy is 4. But that does not mean that you will ever come upon that situation.
I interviewed a Sherriff’s Deputy who was on a joint organization drug bust. The door of the building was breached and he went in first only to be shot. He told me he fell back through the door way and was out of the fight. The problem was that a .32 caliber bullet had hit his vest and hardly left a bruise. He was treated at the scene and released.
What had stopped this decorated veteran law enforcement officer from going into that apartment and doing his job? His belief was that when you are shot you fall down. Hollywood and television have taught even good cops what happens when you are shot and he responded. I found that this is about a 50% deal. Half of anyone, shot anywhere, with anything, stop. Not because they must, but they choose to stop. “I’ve been shot” is usually someone who has been shot in a minor place and is bleeding. Those who are shot in major places with hemorrhaging, don’t usually say anything, they just stop.”
I remember reading that 60% of crimes stop when the victim pulls a gun. The odds of you actually getting into a crime situation where you need to pull your weapon are slim as it is.
“Burn it was just the other day I had a class at the range and it was drizzling rain. I’d never heard such whining. They wondered why we were practicing in bad weather. I told them: ‘In real world, your gunfight may be in the dark, in the cold, rainy, shooting up, shooting down, and usually shooting around something, preferably cover! Do you want to know ahead a time how you operate in these conditions? Or do you just want to wait and hope for the best?’ I think they saw my point. There is an old Army saying that goes ‘Shoot until the target changes shape, or catches fire!’ Standing up to on the ground is changing shape.”
In the military we were told that a 5.56 ball bullet travelling over 3000 feet per second will have to hit the enemy about 3 to 7 times to stop him. Hollow points might bring that down to 2 to 6 hits. The average 9mm jacketed hollow point only travels about 1000 to 1300 feet per second. That’s a significant difference than a rifle round. Of course distance from the target makes quite a difference too. Compare that with a .45 hollow point at 900 to 1100 feet per second and you can see why “stopping power” is significant with larger calibers.
“Handgun velocities, and expanding bullets, is unpredictable. Add in weather and positon of the shooter and it gets worse. Through the research out there, there has been developed a general formula, subject to the above mentioned unpredictable circumstances:
2-3 hits with a .45
4-6 with a .40
5-8 with a 9mm
These are the number of hits to stopping a threat.”
And the gun control nuts think you only need 10 shots. If two guys were coming at you and you had a subcompact (generally 7 to 10 shots per magazine load) and you had a 9mm, you would need 2 to 3 magazines just to stop two guys! That’s IF you hit every shot and IF those shots are placed well.
“Last but not least is distance. The FBI stats state that most officers who are killed in a gunfight are shot within about 21 feet or so. I always balk at that stat and have many times in my own training. I want to see how far away the winners are, not the losers! I don’t want to learn how to lose a gunfight but how to win one. The magic 21 feet comes into play with other research. Most of what I have seen has told me that distance is your friend in a gunfight. Do not let that attacker get even 21 feet close.” That may be difficult as an law enforcement officer but possible for you and me. That means situational awareness and staying in Yellow should be a priority. Staying alert and choosing where you go and when will also enhance your chances of avoiding a fight. If you must get that close to strangers remember the importance of weapon retention especially if your open carry.
Gunfights are not pretty. No one likes to talk about the blood and guts too much but it is our lives we’re talking about. We should all continue to research and learn from gunfights and how they are won. It may make all the difference in the world.
Semper Paratus
Check 6
X and Burn

Preparedness Skill: Dead Drop

A location used to secretly pass items between two people, without requiring them to meet is called a dead drop.
You've probably seen those scenes in spy movies where the hero walks up, sits on a bench next to someone else, says the secret passcode, and the stranger hands over an envelope or walks away, conveniently leaving their briefcase behind. This is a live drop, because both people were there at the same time and an item changed hands. A dead drop is the opposite—one person leaves it without knowing if the other has—or will ever—pick it up. For that reason, dead drops need to be well hidden, but not so hidden that someone can't find it when it's needed.
Granted, you may not need to do this on a regular basis, but leaving a dead drop can be useful in a number of ways:
Geocaching is essentially the gamified hunt for dead drops, which can contain anything from prizes to secret messages to clues to find the next drop. Similarly, you can use dead drops to start your own scavenger hunt or game with friends for fun, charity, or just to explore an area you're visiting.
• Leaving a dead drop for a friend gives you a way to leave them an item on your schedule with the knowledge they'll pick it up on theirs, and will follow up with you later. Imagine leaving the keys to your house under the doormat, then making a small chalk mark on the door to signal to your dog-sitter that the keys are there. No mark, no keys.
• Leaving a dead drop for yourself will make sure you always have a cache of something where you might need it. But this I would probably label as a cache.

A dead drop found by the person it's intended for is valuable. To anyone else, it's either trash or a dangerous unattended package, so tread wisely here. Don't do anything stupid or dangerous, like leaving your drop outside an airport or police station. Even Geocachers have guidelines about where they're comfortable leaving caches so they don't get confiscated, destroyed, or stolen.
To that point, here are some tips to make sure your drop never gets found-except by the person you want to find it:
• Make sure you agree on a "the drop is here" signal. If you're leaving a key for a spouse or pet sitter, for example, you want to make sure you give them a clue that the item they want is actually there. Aldrich Ames, a CIA agent convicted of spying for Russia in 1993, used chalk marks on mail boxes to signal his handlers that he had left them something to pick up. Your signal could be a chalk mark, or even an post-it note in the corner of a window, or some other visual cue that's only meaningful to you and the other person. Whatever the signal that your drop is ready is, make sure you and the person picking up your drop know and agree on it, and that it's something that would never arouse suspicion from anyone else (like a huge arrow pointing at the drop.)
• Make sure your drop isn't so obvious that it attracts attention. The key example is a good one, but under the doormat? That's for amateurs. Want to leave your password for the IT admin who helps you out in your office? If it's in any of these places, you're doing it wrong. Instead, pick somewhere few people would look for that specific thing. That doesn't mean bury the key in the yard (although that's not a bad idea), but put it somewhere no one would look for a key, like in an empty soda can behind a bush next to the side door. Leave your emergency go-bag next to the coat rack in your office, where a bag wouldn't be out of place. The best dead drops are often in plain sight, but no one thinks they're noteworthy. Alternatively, you could go all out and hide your drop in a hollowed out book, behind a brick in the wall, or even an inconspicuous soup can next to the trash or on the side of the road.
• Consider how quickly your drop will be retrieved. If you need to leave a note for someone and you know they'll be there to pick it up shortly after you leave it, consider putting it somewhere high-risk but quickly retrieved. Think scavenger hunt: I can leave a note with the clue to the next step of the hunt in a specific book at the library. If I know my contact will show up at 11am to pick up the drop, I can put the note in the book at 10:45 and walk away. My contact gets the drop and neither of us have to know the other's identity. Of course, the longer you wait, the more likely someone will check out your book!
• Like we mentioned, the best drops are the ones that are in plain sight, or are only easy to find by someone who knows the signal and knows the hiding place. If you've ever been geocaching, the specific GPS coordinates of the cache and a few simple clues are used to lead you to the cache. Every cache I've found has been somewhere plain and public, where someone could find them if they knew where to look—it's just that most people don't think to look under that park bench and open the Altoids tin taped to the underside, or think much of the plastic grocery bag that's stuffed into a space between two brick buildings.
• Geocachers leave and hunt dead drops for fun and thrills, but you can do the same to leave an item for someone that they need to get, but that you can't be there to give them. Just borrow a few tricks from the spy's playbook and you'll be a master at covertly, discreetly leaving packages for the right people to find.
Dead drops are a skill that could be handy in a without-rule-of-law situation. Like any other skill practice to ensure your system and spot work.

Semper Paratus
Check 6

Monday, August 17, 2015

Concealed Carry: Part of a Man's Responsibility

As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints we have what we call priesthood authority. We believe this is the power of God given to man. As priesthood holders we get together every week in our church meetings and talk about how to use this power. Since the priesthood is given to men, we also talk about how to improve ourselves as men, as Fathers, and as husbands.
I have always looked for things that I could check myself against as I am trying to be a good Father and husband. One of those things for me to check myself with is “The Family: A Proclamation to the World”. In that proclamation it talks about the roles of fathers and mothers and what they should ideally be. Of fathers it says this, “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’ve thought about this statement for some time. I’ve wondered how I do these things in my life and how I can do them better. For the sake of this blog I will focus on what I call the 3 “P’s”. Preside, provide, and protect. Presiding over a family is something that we seem to talk about a lot in priesthood meeting and what we hear in Sacrament meeting and Conference. I think that is covered quite well by the Church. Providing for a family is touched on when life’s work and education is talked about. Also touched upon is protecting, but usually in a spiritual way. I agree that protecting your family spiritually is most important. But that does not mean we ignore the physical protection. In our discussion I heard the same tired arguments for not protecting your family from harm. I would bet that in other countries this is discussed differently than here in North America. We have relative peace here in the U.S. The problem with that is that it breeds lack of preparedness. Because we generally have clean water in the country most people don’t think it’s very important to have a supply of water. This works fine until the earthquake, tornado, or flood comes, then emergency water storage makes a lot of sense. The same is true of security and protection. Some of the arguments are, “That’s what the police are for” or “That doesn’t happen in my neighborhood.” These are the same tired old lines that could get your family in trouble. My advice is always lock and load, close and engage. Now I realize that some church members, and other Christians for that matter, take offense to this aggressive mindset. I believe fully that Father’s should be engaged in the security and safety of their family. Many are engaged. They have implemented code words and deadbolts and alarm systems into the lives of their families. I think this is great! But I only think it’s a start.
Teaching your family security I think is the responsibility of the parents, and primarily the father. Parents must decide when they will start this type of training with their children. Public school starts talking to children about staying away from drugs at an early age. I think it would be advantageous to start talking about security early with your kids. There are all kinds of things out there, stranger danger, and other programs. It doesn’t have to be scary and the more we talk about it the less scary it will be. It will be routine. This is why I started with gun safety early with my kids. We started at 8 years old. This is when Cub Scouts starts and I think that’s a good age. It could be earlier or later, but not too much later. The schools start with the drug abuse programs at about 10 years old.
Should you carry a gun? I think if you can legally carry you should. I think wives should also. This is only my opinion and I’m a gun guy. Even if you are not (my wife really is not) you can learn, practice, and carry. Everyone carries a cell phone and teaches our kids to use 911. Why not teach our kids gun safety, teach them to shoot, take the mystery out of guns, and then practice safe gun handling and storage as parents? Why not protect your family by carrying a gun? It is logical. Some people out there will be afraid and will think that a gun will only cause problems.
When I was a kid I was scared of cars. I could ride in a car alright with someone who could drive, but I didn’t like to be alone in a car. When my Mom asked me about this I told her I was scared the car was going to crash without a driver. She told me that the car would not crash if it was not on or there was no driver to crash it. That still did not help my fears. Eventually, I learned that cars don’t just crash themselves.
The same is true of guns. Contrary to Hollywood and T.V., guns don’t just go off. They need a “driver”. Just as if a driver of a car understands how to safely operate the car, and practices safety with the car, a gun can be safe with a safe operator. Just as if someone drives drunk, operates a car unsafely, a gun can be operated unsafely. Vehicles kill many people every year yet it’s not unusual for someone to operate one. Guns are no different. If you are stupid with a car you can kill someone. If you are stupid with a gun you can kill someone too.
How will you protect your family? Insurance only pays if someone dies. That may be financial protection. Locks and alarms may slow down or actually deter a criminal. But a gun can deter or stop a criminal. I think sometimes we as Americans can get a false sense of security. The police are minutes away but there are times you need them in seconds. There may come a time when the only thing between your family and criminals is you. I hope this never happens but the most common thing said by a victim of crime is “I never thought it would happen to me.”
I suppose there could be someone out there who could defend his family without a gun. There are other weapons and martial arts. I would recommend all of these. The martial arts also takes time and practice as a gun does. It also takes a certain physical conditioning. These are good things but as I get older I don’t see myself using the hand-to-hand combat training that I have. I am also not in the kind of shape I’d like to be for this type of defense. Other weapons besides guns are out there and I would recommend some training in something other than a gun even if you decide you want to carry a gun. Less than lethal weapons are a very good thing to have skill in. I can’t think of any weapon that would stop an assailant that would be as easy, convenient, and practical than a gun.
There it is my friends. The responsibility spoken of at the beginning of this article. It will always be there. What will you do today to protect those you have stewardship and responsibility for? There are many ways to start. I would recommend looking for ways to fortify and make your residence safe, and a place of refuge for your family. After that is accomplished, education and training for you, your spouse, and your children. There are many ways to do this but find good, competent instruction.
Carrying a gun is not paranoid. It is not a dangerous endeavor. It is a responsible response to an uncertain world.
Protecting your family is part of a “divine design” that each of us as husbands and fathers should respond to.
Semper Paratus
Check 6

Friday, August 7, 2015

Do You Red Team?

I was asked to be on a “Red Team” the other day. I had heard of Red Teams but wasn’t sure about what this request was for. Do you know about red teaming? This is where a team of experts tests or infiltrates a physical or virtual perimeter of an opposing force. Basically you ask someone to test your security or your preparedness. Red Teaming can solve problems through an indirect and creative approach, using reasoning that isn’t immediately obvious. It also involves ideas that may not be obtainable solely through traditional step-by-step logic. If you decide red teaming is something that can be useful to you or your organization, here are some things for the Red Team to consider.

Here are some Red Team rules from ITS Tactical.

1. Always Have an Escape Plan

You know your plans will fail, there’s no doubt about it. Always have a way out. This also applies to projects, operations and everything else you do. Always know where the exits are, always know what to do in an emergency and be prepared for them. This is such an important thing that it’s the 1st rule on the list.

* Always have a plan.
* Always have a back-up plan, because the first one probably won’t work.
* Always have an escape plan, because all the rest of your plans will fail.

This also goes along with the planning acronym PACE: Primary, Alternate, Contingency and Emergency.

2. Be Aware of Your Surroundings

Situational awareness.
So now you have an escape plan. What comes next is knowing where you are, what’s happening around you, what things that are out of place, or who might be watching you. Being aware of your surroundings will give you that extra fraction of a second to react and save your life, or that of your buddy.

On the Red Team side, being aware of what’s around you, both physically and digitally, might give you that extra edge. It will help you find that way in, find the faulty policy, or the question no one asked. So right after having an escape plan, is the need for situational awareness.

3. Assumption is the Mother of All Mess-ups

In the military it was SNAFU. Situation normal, all fouled up.

Assuming that something will happen in a certain way is asking for trouble. Never assume, always verify, ask, research, investigate, collect intel and inform yourself and your team.

This rule is one of those truths that has to be realized time and time again. We forget about it when we’re very involved with something and think we know all the answers. Don’t do it.

4. Always Have a Backup Plan

This rule is right up there with rule number 1. You know your plan will fall apart once you’re in the field, so always have a plan B and if possible, a plan C.

When you plan a project, designate a team member as the Plan B guy. He or she is in charge of saying that Plan A is bad and won’t work, so a Plan B will be drafted. Similar to the 10th Man Strategy, the plan B person will always work on contingencies. When in doubt always remember PACE (see rule 1.)
(The “10th Man” is a strategy that seems clouded in its exact origin, but the premise is that if you have 10 people in a decision making process and all nine agree on a specific direction to take, it’s the 10th man’s responsibility to offer a dissenting opinion, or disagreement with the majority. You could even use the term “Devil’s Advocate” here. The 10th Man philosophy is simply to offer an alternate viewpoint for the sake of fostering a different way of thinking.)

5. Never Get Caught

Within the worlds of covert ops and fieldcraft this is a golden rule; you never get caught. Bad things happen if you do.

In the Red Team world, if you get caught you’ve failed. If they discover your backdoor or catch you trying to walk through the main entrance of your target, you’re done. Great care should be taken not to get caught.

6. Keep Your Mouth Shut

OPSEC isn’t just important for national security. If you talk too much about your tactics, the way you do things, your tools and your people, you damage your team. The blue team, or opposing force, will prepare for this and you’ll be done.

7. KISS: Keep it Simple, Stupid

I said it many times before; the simpler the gear, the better it is. Your life depends on this. This also translates to planning and tactics. A simple plan with a flexible blueprint will survive real world contact far better than a complex, rule-bound plan.

Simple things are easy to change when needed and will adapt better to the ever-changing conditions in the field. So when you’ve got a plan, start simplifying it until nothing more can be taken away. This also applies to gear.

8. Simple and Light Equals Freedom, Agility and Mobility

Being small and light allows you to move faster, more fluently and more efficient.

Take packing gear for example, the heavier you are the slower you’ll be. Do you really need all that gear? Can you go lighter? Can you use some of the gear for multiple things or can you completely do without it? In most cases, you can.

The same thing applies to your team. You don’t need a big team to be successful, you just need the right team. The right people can perform at a higher level and be tasked with different things. Having a small team means you can adapt faster and that forward momentum can be stopped much easier. Meaning that if a Plan B that deviates 180 degrees from Plan A needs to be executed, it won’t crash the team.

9. Plan, Execute and Vanish

Leave no trace. Plan your way in, execute it to the best of your abilities and vanish. If they don’t know you were there, they can’t protect against you.
If you’re testing the target’s security team, this is key. You want to keep them guessing.

10. You Don’t Have to Like It, You Just Have to Do It

Sometimes you have to do things that make no sense. Suck it up. Do it and be done with it. The faster you do it, the faster it’ll be over.

11. Always Invest in Good Quality Stuff

Having the right gear and the best gear, means you can trust it. This also means less headaches, less maintenance and less mental energy in having to research new gear.

12. Trust Your Gut

Ah yes, the gut feeling. Sometimes you have a nagging feeling that something isn’t right. That you should be doing the exact opposite of what you and your team are doing. Listen to this. Your gut will let you know when Plan B is needed.

I want to thank ITS Tactical for these rules (www I’m new to the Red Team concept and appreciate their insight and ideas.

I think this is great for many different things From an organization to a family, this is a great tool for preparing. Even if you just want to know how your preparations are going to fair in real world the Red Team concept could be the test. I like realistic exercises so the more real the better. Especially in the area of security. Test my defenses. Make me think about holes I didn’t know I had. That’s Red Teaming!

Semper Paratus
Check 6

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Urban Survival: The Basics

Some of my kids live in what I would call urban environment. I think there are other definitions of the word “urban.” They live in basically suburbs. In a city but not like downtown Chicago or New York. My definition of urban covers both actually in the city, and the burbs.
First let us start out with a definition of “street smart”. The Urban Dictionary describes street smart as the prevailing trait of “someone who is intelligent, has good common sense, knows how to handle bad situations, and has the skills necessary to function where they live”. To me, “Street Smart” is the ability to recognize what is going on in the world and the place that you live. Also, having the physical and mental tools to adapt and survive within the world and that place. That is my definition and I like it. So imagine this:
There is chaos around you (due to a natural disaster, civil unrest, mass unemployment, whatever) and even though you stay close to home, you must venture out to go to your job, take your kids to school, and to periodically make a trip to the grocery store. And yet the moment you step outside you can feel the tension. What do you do?
“Urban” Survival
1) Trust your instincts and stay alert. You know those gut feelings of yours? Now is the time to pay attention. If something around you seems “off”, walk away and retreat to safety. Don’t be embarrassed or ashamed to admit that you are scared even if you feel foolish after the fact. Bad vibes are bad vibes so trust yourself and you will be fine. As members of the LDS Church we know these feelings as the Spirit. Follow that Spirit.
2) Risk assessment. Headed to an unfamiliar area? Evaluate the risks so that you are prepared. Dress to blend in, don’t carry a lot of obviously expensive electronics, and don’t call excessive attention to yourself. If the area in under siege, evaluate your need to even go there. Is it worth the risk?
3) Evaluate your home security and create a safe zone (stay in yellow). (See blog Color Code: Always Stay In Yellow, 7/27/2015) Make sure the outdoor area of your home is well lit and that the foliage and shrubbery is trimmed around the perimeter of your home site. The last thing you want is a convenient hiding place for the bad guys right there on your property.
4) Situational awareness: Teach yourself to actively look for signs of threats and danger. Crime can be anywhere but tends to be more prevalent in dark, quiet areas such as parking garages, alleys, stairs, and lonely roadways. As you enter these areas, look around for things that don’t seem quite right. Trust your gut!
5) Know your neighborhood: Reach out and get to know your neighbors and members of your community. I have said this before and will say it again: talk among yourselves and come up with a plan to work together and to look after each other during a crisis or disaster.
6) Every day carry (EDC) items. Increase your ability to defend yourself and get attention. This can be as simple as carrying a whistle, some pepper spray and a small flashlight. Or, depending on your situation, this could include a knife or firearm. Everyone is different and EDC will fit each of their skills and experience. An EMT would have a different EDC than say someone in law enforcement. Get training and carry items that augment your training. Carry legal items for your area.
You might also consider a “get home bag”. This is something I have in every vehicle. It’s not as extensive as my bug out bag, but if I have to shelter in my vehicle, flee to the wilderness or head out on foot, this bag will get me there.
One evening I was working a swing shift for someone and it started to rain. By the time I got to our street off the highway it was really coming down. There are a few low water crossings to get to my house. I felt I couldn’t cross the low water crossings safely so I waited it out in my car. It was not an emergency situation, but really wanted some water. I had no rain gear to check the low water crossings. After waiting about an hour, the water subsided to where I could cross and get home. That experience prompted me to build some get home bags.
What To Do If You Feel Threatened
Attitude is everything and can make a huge difference. Do not give off signals that you feel vulnerable and threatened. On the other hand, do not purposely walk in to a dangerous situation. Instead, withdraw as quietly and unobtrusively as you can and retreat to an area where there are more people around. In a worst case scenario, run away while making a loud noise (maybe that whistle in your EDC?).
The Final Word
Always remember that training trumps gear. Having street smarts takes common sense and the ability to deal with all kinds of people in a myriad of contentious situations. While having well honed street smarts is essential for urban dwellers, street smarts are also an important skill for those in a rural community or remote area. There is no better time than now to practice a street smart and street savvy attitude. Above all, be safe. If your head is up (situational awareness) then you’ve really won half the battle. This list is only scratching the surface but hopefully it’s a starting point for you to develop your own program.
Semper Paratus
Check 6

Vigilance and "Some Sort of War"

Today marks the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and the beginning of the end of World War II. I know, why would anyone want to remember that day? It was horrible. The allies figured that the Japanese would fight to the last person losing countless ally lives. They opted for a new bomb that they had just developed. I’m not sure they completely understood the power they were unleashing and how it would affect the world. True to the Japanese pride, they would not surrender under the ally terms which were complete surrender. So the U.S. dropped a second bomb on the secondary target of Nagasaki because of weather conditions. Kokura was the primary target. Can you imagine? Because of weather you and your family were spared being vaporized in a nuclear event. Anyway, after the 2nd bomb was dropped Japan realized it was not going to stop. And as we see memos that were passed 3 more bombs would have been ready for September and 3 more for October. I’m not sure there would have been anything left by October.
Why do I bring up such a horrible event? Because, this shows that an enemy with almost fanatical tendencies is difficult to deal with. The Nazi’s knew they were beat and surrendered. Japan would have never surrendered without something as extreme as an atomic bomb being dropped on them. Twice.
Terrorism seems like it’s far away. This only happens in France or a middle eastern country or maybe an African country. The U.S. has seen its fair share of home grown and foreign terrorism. So, we can’t live our lives letting the terrorist win and staying behind closed doors. We should enjoy the freedom that many countries hate us for.
To keep terrorists from winning we need to use caution in our everyday lives. Using this caution and situational awareness will also steer us away from crime which this country has an abundance of.
In February of this year I saw some caution come from the mainstream media (MSM). When the MSM mentions something like that I take notice because they are so out of touch with reality it’s hard to get them excited about anything but scandal and reality shows. The first one comes from Newsmax, a Republican leaning magazine.
“A terrorism expert just made a controversial statement about Muslim groups within the United States — but he may have a point.
Former CIA operative Wayne Simmons recently appeared on Fox News and stated that creating profiles of Islamic mosques is a necessary step in fighting Islamic terrorism.
“Without profiling, we are never going to be able to stop this the way we should,” Simmons said.
“I’m going to get hammered for saying this, but we need to do this to the mosques,” he told host Neil Cavuto. “The mosques are the breeding ground. We know they are breeding grounds for terrorism, for fundraising.”
The former intelligence operative explained that although the word “profiling” often alarms people, the tactic is frequently used by the CIA toward its own members, “just to make sure they’re not up to no good.” ( Feb 27, 2015 Newsmax)”
This is something that every single terrorist task force, and terrorist training instructor knows but does not voice. It’s not politically correct and it would end up hurting people’s careers.
The next little clip is from USA Today. A newspaper of dubious background.
“USA TODAY February 22, 2015
The secretary of Homeland Security warned shoppers at Minnesota's iconic Mall of America and similar venues to be vigilant in the wake of new terrorist threats.
"I'm not telling people to not go to the mall," Secretary Jeh Johnson said Sunday on NBC's Meet The Press. "I think that there needs to be a awareness."
He said, "I'm saying that the public needs to be particularly vigilant."
Hours later, department spokeswoman Marsha Catron said in a statement, "We are not aware of any specific, credible plot against the Mall of America or any other domestic commercial shopping center.''
Mall of America heightened security after a video threatening a terror attack was released purportedly by a Somali militant group with ties to al-Qaeda. The group, al-Shabaab, took responsibility for an attack in 2013 at the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, that left more than 60 people dead.
The experts are telling us that we should “remain vigilant” because terrorism will come to our shores again. There is an Army of law enforcement doing all they can to ensure that will never happen again.
The problem is, there is no way for them to do this forever. So we as citizens must “remain vigilant”.
What does this mean? says this about vigilant
Keenly watchful to detect danger; wary
Ever awake and alert; sleeplessly watchful.
Being vigilant is all those things. But I think it’s also the mindset that another attack is possible. It’s also the belief that it can happen to you. I’m pretty sure most of those who perished in 911 did not think about terrorism that morning. There also is a difference between vigilance and wringing your hands with paranoid worry. Preparation is the key. We do all we can, have faith in God, and keep our head up.
I don’t know what the future will bring. But I’m afraid, like extreme Japan, we will have to take the fight to them. Recently President Obama said this:
“Let’s not mince words: The choice we face is ultimately between diplomacy and some sort of war — maybe not tomorrow, maybe not three months from now, but soon,”
I have not, nor ever will, win a Nobel peace prize. It doesn’t take winning that award to see that you can “diplomacy” Iran or Syria or even Saudi Arabia forever and still not get anywhere with them. Diplomacy in the middle-east is just postponing the inevitable. I’m not saying go to war with any of these countries. I’m not saying drop an atomic bomb on them. What I am saying is, Islam is not a religion of peace. I apologize to the peace-loving Muslims that do live good, decent lives, but that’s the way it is. Making a “deal” with a country that does not allow anyone to speak out against their leader, but allows “death to America” rallies is going to be at conventional war with us eventually. Up until now these countries “tolerate” us. Give them any upper hand and the U.S. would be the recipients of mass destruction. I think Israel understands this. But not the arrogant U.S. And certainly not a President and other leaders who think, to paraphrase 2 Nephi 28:21, “All is well. The U.S. prospers, all is well.”
I’m afraid, Mr. President we are already in “some sort of war.” You just are living in denial. You seem to be out of touch with a lot of reality, like most “progressives”.
Remain vigilant. Watch your family. Watch your children. The government can’t. The President won’t. Nor should he I guess. You are the only thing standing between the actors in “some sort of war” and your family’s safety and security.
Semper Paratus
Check 6

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Trigger Pull

The amount of "pull", or pounds of pressure it takes to release the firing mechanism, is called Trigger pull. It doesn't mean that the best way to shoot is a pulling action.
Proper trigger manipulation is key to accurate pistol shooting. Some like me argue it is the most important factor when learning to shoot a handgun. For this reason alone trigger characteristics and pull weight deserve careful consideration when selecting a weapon to bet your life on.
As a general rule a serious use pistol should have a trigger no lighter than 4 pounds and ideally no more than 8 pounds. Average shooters will generally shoot a pistol with the same trigger pull weight from shot to shot better than a double action/single action pistol that has a long and relatively heavy first trigger pull followed by lighter and shorter trigger pull for each following shot. A perfect example would be a Glock 17 with a factory stock trigger that pulls at approx 5 pounds and is the same for each shot vs a Beretta M9 with a double action first trigger pull of approx 13 lbs and a 5 lb single action trigger for each shot after. Although double action/single action guns can be mastered, the average shooter will definitely shoot a pistol like a Glock better than a Beretta.
In addition, a trigger below 4 lbs can easily lead to accidental discharges under conditions of stress. Remember fine motor skills degrade rapidly under stress. Not only does the shooters ability to shoot accurately suffer, but because of this, a 4 lb trigger will feel like a 2 lb trigger when you are truly in fear for your life. Add to this sweaty hands, rain and/or cold, and possibly gloves and you begin to see why finely tuned match triggers of 3 lbs or less have no place on a serious fighting tool.
Another horrible trend is for Law Enforcement (LE) agencies to put a very heavy trigger on their issue service pistol for liability reasons. The most famous example is the Glock New York trigger that weighs approx 8 lbs and even worse is the New York plus that has a trigger pull weight of 12 lbs. Remember if your pistol weighs 2 lbs loaded and you have an 8 pound trigger pull, it will take 4 times the loaded weight of the the handgun to make it fire. This means for the typical shooter it is virtually impossible to shoot the weapon accurately under stress. This leads to misses and an unintentional spray and pray approach when in a gunfight. The danger to innocent bystanders is increased dramatically and the very thing that was meant to make the pistol safer (heavy trigger pull ) actually increases the danger to the public that LE officers are sworn to protect. This sad situation started as a byproduct of LE agencies that issued revolvers and relied on the long heavy double action trigger pull as a safety device. This lead to the unsafe habit of allowing officers to have their finger on the trigger when they should not. Enter a stock Glock 17 with a 5 lb trigger and no manual safeties of any kind and you have a recipe for disaster. A much better approach is to train and if need be re-train officers to keep their finger
off the trigger at all times except when presenting the weapon toward the target. Always keep in mind that a mechanical device is a poor substitute for safe gun handling.
Trigger pull, or as I like to call it, trigger press is such an important part of shooting that playing with the weight and letting students (LE no less!) keep their finger on the trigger is asking for trouble. Trouble with safety, trouble with officers and others being shot because a heavy trigger slows them down and ruins their accuracy. That says nothing of innocent bystanders and the danger of making a gun impossible to shoot well. I would hope that LE agencies do some research before picking a weapon as a service weapon.
As a civilian when choosing a gun do your homework. Know what you’re getting. I personally like a carry gun that has no safety and a heavier trigger. If you shoot a lot you will get used to it and shoot accurately with it. I would be sure it’s not ridicules. As I said before, 5 to 8 pounds is reasonable. What I like is 5 and 6 pounds but I can shoot well with a 10 pound trigger. If you are new to shooting, 5 to 8 should work for you.
I have a Smith and Wesson Sigma 9. I love this gun! It’s so much fun to shoot and it was not expensive. At first the trigger pull about 8.5 pounds. Too much for me. I did a modification and now it is a comfortable 4.5 to 5 pounds. Love it!
Trigger pull is always an issue with your accuracy. Be sure of what you can handle and what your gun is capable of.

Semper Paratus
Check 6

Training: Trigger Press

I just had a e-mail discussion with a friend of mine. He teaches at the FBI Academy in Quantico. He’s a retired FBI agent. His call sign was Det Cord in the military. (He had a volatile temper when he was young). We get into these discussions every now and then.
When I was at a military combat arms instructor school in San Antonio, Texas I went through a class taught by Gunsite Academy (orange) founder Jeff Cooper. He told us that he was bound by military curriculum to teach some things he didn’t agree with. He would always say “They didn’t say I couldn’t tell you I don’t agree with this part…” and proceeded to teach what he felt was right. Now many years later it’s been proven countless times that the most important part of shooting is trigger control rather than aiming. You still must grip the gun correctly and know how to use the sights, but the trigger changes everything. Colonel Jeff Cooper, emphasized a “controlled trigger press” as one of the key elements in being able to defend yourself in a gunfight.
I’ve come to this conclusion about terminology and different kinds of shooting. Hear me out here and then you can disagree all you want. This is a touchy subject for gun instructors so I’ll try and be kind.
I’ve always called shooting a gun a trigger “press”. I guess it was my training that lead me to that initially but I’ve come to believe that is the best adjective to describe trigger manipulation. Now I also believe that trigger “press” isn’t what has to happen with competition shooting. I think that competition shooting is more of a “squeeze” because of the accuracy that is needed to compete well. I think it’s more precision than a press. But then again, I also feel when skeet shooting or shooting a shotgun that it’s more of a “pull”.
I know, you say “potahto” and I say “potayto”. But I do think there is a distinction between the words and the actions. Squeezing is the way most new students are taught. It is much more precise It develops fine motor skills. That’s why it’s no good in combat. In combat the stress of the fear makes the body lose most of its fine motor skills. That’s why a press is taught in combat shooting. It takes less motor skills to press than to squeeze.
I know the instructors mantra has always been “Front Sight. . .Press. . .Front Sight.”
I suggest it should properly be, “Trigger Press. . .Let the Sights Wobble. . .Trigger Press.” I don’t think it will catch on…

Det Cord says that years ago he saw something that changed his point of view about teaching shooting. He said he observed a scientific approach to this in Quantico. Another instructor had him use a electronic training device, a video-trigger pressure setup hooked into a split-screen computer, all on a live-fire indoor range. With this, he can see what the shooter sees and the computer displays a graph of trigger pull and pressure.

He said that they showed that at 10 yards, burying the front sight to the left, right and down–but coupled with a good trigger press–bullet strike varied only four inches from point-of-aim. This is where he came to believe that trigger press is much more important than sighting is. He said he saw it over and over with different shooters and the same results.

It is this discussion and experience of Det Cord, and my own experiments, that lead me to believe that trigger press is the most important thing in shooting. Put this together with good grip, and good aim and you’ll be shooting like Jerry Miculek in no time!
Well, just in case you try this a couple times and you are not shooting like Jerry, here are some drills to help you get there.

I looked all over the internet for drills that I thought were any good for trigger control. I found several that I liked the way they sounded. So I took them to the range. These are the ones I’ve actually used and recommend. Thank you to Tactical Defense Institute in Ohio for these drills. (

The Wall Drill
With an unloaded gun, in you practice area with no ammunition, in a safe direction, take your normal firing grip on the gun with your trigger finger off the trigger and high up on the frame/slide of the gun. Extend your arms out with the gun toward the wall so that the muzzle is about 1” away from the wall. Line up your sights concentrating only on the front sight THROUGH your rear sight. Place your finger on the trigger and press the trigger until you hear “click”. After the click, stay concentrated on the front sight for a second or two as a follow through. Any movement of the front sight within the rear sight notch indicates movement of the gun during the trigger press. This will move the bullet impact off target in live fire. Your presentation of the firearm to the wall should look something like this.

To repeat the process, the first thing that happens is your trigger finger comes off the trigger and up on to the frame / slide of the gun. Then your support hand cycles the slide to reset the trigger. You now re-grip the firearm and repeat the process.

With every repetition of the dry fire practice, you get these six benefits. You are training yourself;

1. To concentrate on the front sight THROUGH the rear sight.
2. To press (note that it is not a squeeze or pull; it is a press) the trigger straight to the rear without moving the rest of the gun and disturbing your sight alignment as indicated by sight movement within the rear sight notch.
3. To place your finger on the trigger when the firearm is on target and take your finger off the trigger when the firearm is not on target.
4. To place your trigger finger high up on the frame / slide of the gun, well away from the trigger when the firearm is not on target.
5. To re-establish your grip.
6. To follow through concentrating on the front sight THROUGH the rear sight and not looking at the target and where the “shot” went.

Why a blank wall (or any blank surface)? Why not practice while watching TV? There is nothing to distract your eyes on the blank wall. The only thing in front of your eyes is the important front sight. Consider this; with TV’s, there are thousands of images a second bombarding your eyes and brain for attention. Images are moving, colors are changing, the sound goes up during the commercials. Your whole job with dry fire trigger management is to concentrate on the front sight as you press the trigger. So, eliminate distractions. More important, it has been my experience that TV’s are never located in a muzzle safe direction in case something goes wrong.

The Balance Drill
1. Check, double check, and triple check that the gun is unloaded and no magazine is in the magazine well.
2. Present the gun toward the target and have a partner balance a spent casing (penny or dime if sight will not allow a casing to be balanced), taking care to not pass his or her hand or fingers in front of the muzzle of your gun.
3. Perform a trigger press as if firing the gun, taking care that the object balanced on the gun does not fall off. Concentrate on pressing the trigger straight to the rear, with the only movement in your finger taking place perpendicular to the face of the trigger. Look for movement up and down as well as left and right. If the gun moves left or right, adjust the amount of finger on the trigger (more if gun moves left, less if gun moves right for a right-handed shooter).
4. Reset the trigger by manipulating the slide (double checking the gun is empty), and repeat for a total of five repetitions.
5. Load the firearm with ONE round, and fire for accuracy.
6. Unload the weapon. Check, double check, and triple check the weapon is unloaded and no magazine is in the well, and repeat the process as many times as needed.

Check your target for the grouping of your fired shots. Are the groups tightening? Are they on target? Low and left? Vertically strung? Your target will tell you a lot about what you still need to work on. We recommend firing your shots at a minimum of 10 yards. The further you are from the target, the more precise your fundamentals must be to get your hits.

One criticism we hear of this drill by the uninformed is that it is easy to keep the gun steady when you know it is not going to fire. Our response is yes, exactly! That is why we use this drill to help hone that skill set into subconscious muscle memory by performing many repetitions. The more trigger presses you perform properly, the more likely you are to perform the task the same way when the gun is going to go BANG. This portion of the drill can be performed at home sans the live fire, in a room with no magazines or live ammunition, and facing an outside wall.

I hope these drills will help you to understand better the trigger press and how much it influences your shot. As I’ve said, grip and aim must be done correctly also.
Semper Paratus
Check 6

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Concealed Carry: Be A Smooth Operator

Making concealed carry a smooth operation

When I was in the military we would have a checklist for everything. We would do things over and over the same exact way, in detail, so that we could carry out a specific mission almost from memory. Almost second nature. And if you were not sure, you had a checklist to refer to.

Your concealed carry “operation” should be a flawless mission. You should be able to carry in all kinds of situations, weather, and with different weapons like it is second nature. The reason I say this is, at the time of actual need, a self-defense situation, everything you do should be smooth and almost automatic.

Here are some tips to help your operation and system run smooth.

These are some things I wish I’d have known when I started down the concealed carry path.

Don’t act like you’re carrying.

In Star Wars there is a great quote from Han Solo.
“Keep your distance, Chewie. But don’t look like you’re keeping your distance, I don’t know, fly casual!” I’ve spotted some new carriers because they don’t “carry casual.” They are a little too nervous. There is actually too much situational awareness! Relax. You are legal and not being stalked by a tiger or a ninja…

Quit checking your weapon!

Have you ever seen someone rearranging their coat, shirt, or in the case of a woman, her bra strap? I see it all the time. Some carriers obsess about their gun. They are certain everyone knows and everyone can see that you carry a gun. No one knows. Most sheeple out there are more concerned about themselves than you. But if you sit there and fiddle with your shirt all the time they may wonder why. This goes along with the first tip.

Try that new gear at home.

If this is your first time carrying or you’ve done it for years try out that new holster at home. I work in my holster and do all kinds of things that I probably will never do in public. If it works at home doing all that I do there, it will work anywhere. Remember to sit, bend, even use the restroom. You must know that the weapon is retained and that the system is comfortable.

Practice with your gear.

Take all your carry gear with you to the range. Practice dressed the way you dress in public or at work. Use the system and gear you would use in your everyday carry. Get as much experience with using your system because it is the system that may save your life one day.

Dry fire safely

Dry firing is a great activity to build muscle memory and practice the basic of shooting. If you dry fire with you actual weapon, make sure you are doing this against a “cover” type backstop. If for some reason your “unloaded” gun becomes mysteriously loaded, your errant round will be contained. I use about 10 paperback books taped tightly together. It takes about 7 inches of paper to stop a 9mm bullet. The average paperback is about 1 ½ to 2 inches thick. My 10 is about 18 inches thick.
Make sure when you dry fire there is no ammo in the room.
When you are done with the dry fire exercise take a 10 minute break or so before you reload the gun. There needs to be a separation between your dry fire and real world. Otherwise you could load the gun and actually shoot it like your dry fire exercise. Even though you know you just load the gun with live rounds. Muscle memory is pretty strong. There has to be a separation between practice and real world.

These tips will help you to be a smooth operator carrier.

Semper Paratus
Check 6

Concealed Carry Mistakes Review

There are many mistakes you can make in your life. Most are not life threatening. Some are more serious. Making the decision to take control of your own security is a big decision and a big responsibility. In that decision if you decide that carrying a gun is part of that security there are some things you should learn. Most of them are safety oriented. Never be found not being safe. Making the choice to carry a gun also demands that you decide if you can take a life. Do you want to deal with that? If you do not, or cannot, DO NOT carry a gun.
If you have done all that is necessary to be responsible and have decided to carry a gun there are some things you should know.

Here are some things you should never do if you carry a gun.

1. Ignoring the 4 firearm safety rules.

(1. All guns are loaded, 2. Don’t point the gun at anything you don’t want to destroy, 3. Keep your finger off the trigger and out of the guard until you intend to shoot, 4. Be sure of your target and beyond.)

Some people think that in a stressful, defense situation that safety is no longer an issue. That is completely not true. In fact it’s directly the opposite. If you’ve committed yourself and have drawn that gun, you are responsible for every round. There is more chance for a problem than ever before. You must be sure of your target. Is that guy actually a threat? You must be sure. I’m not saying take 5 minutes and try to figure it out because you don’t usually have 5 minutes. Although, historically, you would have some time. Most confrontations are not lightning fast. Being responsible for each round makes it your business to be safe always.

2. Firing warning shots

Just as was mentioned in the first 2 items, you’re responsible for your rounds. A warning shot is just foolish. You have many options with that gun drawn. You can reholster. You can give verbal commands. You can watch your attacker run. There are many other things besides pressing the trigger. Don’t fall into the trap that now that you’ve drawn your gun you don’t have any options but to shoot.

3. Not securing your weapons

My firm belief is that children should be taught proper gun safety at an early age and to shoot later. But weapons (guns and others) should be secured if you have children in your house. Your children may be trained but their friends are probably not. Your kids may be trained but grand children or other visitors may not be. I was too confident in my children’s training and in my storage practices. My guns were seldom loaded but not really locked up. Lock them up. Use quick access vaults for defense weapons or carry your gun. Having your gun in a purse or bag is enough security unless the bag is locked.

4. Choosing convenience over safety

I’ve carried for many years and have been involved in gun training for several years. I thought I’d seen everything but occasionally I’ll see something new. There are many ideas in how to carry a gun. There are some holsters that do not protect the trigger guard. I even have some of these although I don’t use them for everyday carry (EDC). My EDC holsters always protect the trigger. I’m not an idiot and I know how to handle a weapon. But I don’t “tickle the tigers tail” with my gun. Too many have shot themselves accidentally because they thought they had a safe gun. Do not do these things. Be safe and responsible. If you have to change your clothing choices then do what needs to be done. You can’t be complacent! Your gun can be your life.

5. Carrying “Tucked”

Do I have to really go through this? Do not do it! The safety issues are too numerous to write here. Retention comes into play also. If you carry in your waistband you’re asked for a problem.

6. Point and Shoot/Practice

If you do not practice shooting without aiming you will probably not hit your target. Actually you should practice every part of the carrying process. Drawing and re holstering should be practiced. Shooting from all kinds of positions too. If you incorporate dry firing into your practice program all of these things can be practiced easily. But go to the range too. Don’t expect to remember everything about your gun and shooting if you haven’t done it in a month. I love to shoot and have been for some time. I can tell when I haven’t been to the range. I go two to three times a week. You need to plan your own training program.

7. Overestimating your skill and underestimating your attackers

The most dangerous habit a concealed carrier can get himself into is assuming he knows more than his opponent. Most people in the United States will be able to live their lives without being the undue victim of gun violence or gun crimes. For the very few who will deal with it – siding on the side of caution is always the right move. Never assume anything about your opponent or the situation you find yourself in. Judge it critically, quickly, and always move towards the option that promises safety first. Prepare and train for uncertainty and never assume an enemy will act like a paper target – these are good steps towards avoiding overconfidence as a concealed carrier.

8. One magazine

Carry a second magazine. The odds are you won’t need it but if you did it would be good to have. Most events do not require more than 5 shots. But it’s always better to be prepared.

9. Inserting yourself into conflicts

Self-defense is a necessary down side to our lives. Defending someone, other than who you’re with, is an idea you will have to decide on. Often it’s not a good idea unless you can see bodily harm actually happening. Even then, you must be careful. Doing the right thing can land you in jail. I’m not saying a life is not worth that, but be extremely careful about inserting yourself into a conflict. A police officer will tell you that one of the most dangerous situations they can go into is domestic violence. The same goes for you. There are also legal ramifications.

10. Not carrying

I’ve known many people who have a concealed carry license but rarely carry. This is a personal choice but if you go through the cost and time of a concealed license why wouldn’t you carry? Or, if you only carry on occasion. I don’t understand this. I can see forgetting your weapon at home because it takes a while to get in the habit of carrying. I sincerely hope you are not put in a position to need a weapon and that happened to be the day you didn’t want to carry. You take a chance by not carrying. Carrying is a commitment besides a responsibility.

These are just some of the mistakes that I’ve witnessed to someone just starting out in concealed carry. There are probably more that I did not list.

Get licensed, get trained, practice, and carry always.

Semper Paratus
Check 6

Gun Safety and Kids

I was having a discussion with a man who was in his 70’s. He expressed how he regretted that his grand-children and great grand-children would never have the opportunity to learn to shoot a gun at public school. I was wondering what he could be talking about? I expressed that schools are the last place I would expect anyone to learn to shoot. Why would he say that? Some of the worst mass murders have happened in schools. “Don’t you know?” he said, “That up until the 70’s schools had rifle and skeet gun clubs and teams. There were even many schools with gun ranges in them.” I know that I looked completely taken aback. I mean I’m not really that young. I thought I knew a lot about gun history. Apparently not! A gun range in a public school!?
Shooting clubs, now quietly becoming extinct, were once such a mainstay of American high-school life that in the first half of the 20th century, they were regularly installed in the basements of new educational buildings.
While researching for this article I found an article from the Sunday Gazette in Schenectady, New York dated January 9, 2000. There is a High School there that still had a shooting team. The article was about how the interest in the shooting team was waning. But they still have a team! In 2000!
“In 1975, New York state had over 80 school districts with rifle teams. In 1984, that had dropped to 65. By 1999 there were just 26. The state’s annual riflery championship was shut down in 1986 for lack of demand. This, sadly, is a familiar story across the country. The clubs are fading from memory, too.”
“A Chicago Tribune report from 2007 notes the astonishment of a Wisconsin mother who discovered that her children’s school had a range on site. ‘I was surprised, because I never would have suspected to have something like that in my child’s school,’ she told the Tribune. The district’s superintendent admitted that it was now a rarity, confessing that he ‘often gets raised eyebrows’ if he mentions the range to other educators. The astonished mother raised her eyebrows — and then led a fight to have the range closed. ‘Guns and school don’t mix,’ she averred. If you have guns in school, that does away with the whole zero-tolerance policy’”
But how wise is that “zero-tolerance policy”? Until 1989, there were only a few school shootings in which more than two victims were killed. This was despite widespread ownership of — and familiarity with — weapons and an absence of “gun-free zones.” As George Mason University economist Walter E. Williams has observed, for most of American history “private transfers of guns to juveniles were unrestricted. Often a youngster’s 12th or 14th birthday present was a shiny new .22-caliber rifle, given to him by his father.” This was a right of passage, conventional and uncontroversial across the country. “Gee, Dad . . . A Winchester!” read one particularly famous ad. “In Virginia,” Williams writes, “rural areas had a long tradition of high-school students going hunting in the morning before school, and sometimes storing their guns in the trunk of their cars during the school day, parked on the school grounds.” Many of these guns they could buy at almost any hardware store or gas station — or even by mail order. The 1968 Gun Control Act, supported happily by major gun manufacturers who wished to push out their competition, put a stop to this.
The notion that guns should form a part of education has a rich pedigree in our republic. In 1785, Thomas Jefferson wrote to his 15-year-old nephew Peter Carr with some scholarly advice. Having instructed him to read “ancient history in detail” and expounded a little on which works of “Roman history” and “Greek and Latin poetry” were the most profitable, Jefferson counseled that “a strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercise, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball and others of that nature are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be the constant companion of your walks.”
Guns are not the problem in schools. Kids and their upbringing, (parenting, or lack thereof). Why do you think schools had gun ranges? Many years ago before the unfounded paranoia against guns, kids used to be around them a lot more often. Many states had holidays on the first day of hunting season because the kids would go out with their parents hunting. Some states and towns still practice this.
In the 50’s shooting was so common that a teen ager with a gun in their car or even over the handlebars of their bike was not a problem. Now in 2015 there are programs that teach kids to not touch a gun if they find one. I’m not criticizing these programs but do you really need a program to keep your kids safe from a gun? I think if my oldest son found a gun and was afraid for other kids, he would have cleared the weapon and secured it. Then he would tell an adult. He knew how to handle a weapon at the age of eight if not before. All of my children learned at least that young. I’ve even tested them with a weapon they were not familiar with and one that I knew was safe. They would always keep the rules, even if they were not sure how to clear the weapon.
Each parents must determine at what age they can teach safety. I don’t think that 6 is too young depending on the child. Just teaching safety and the rules at that age without actually letting them handle a weapon would be a good start. By the time my kids were teenagers, they had been shooting for several years. A gun was not a mystery. They did not have a curiosity of guns. They knew how to shoot, clear, manipulate, and safely handle a hand gun, rifle and shotgun. As adults I have asked my kids if they had ever taken a gun out when my wife and I were not present. They said they had not because whenever they wanted to see a gun I would let them reminding them of the safety rules and teaching a little about the gun. They never were curious because guns were common enough to quell any curiosity.
When I was younger I probably was too cavalier with my gun storage. I should have locked them up instead of just keeping them “up”. My Grandkids are a little safer even though I, and their parents, have taught them safety also.
Kids should learn about guns from you. The school used to teach this because of how common it was. They knew, and so did parents, that this was a part of their education. Many of these traditions were just as common in the UK too.
We don’t have a gun problem with kids, it’s an adult problem. Adults set the tone for whether out kids are afraid of guns or if they regard them with respect. We determine if our kids keep themselves safe or must rely on others to keep them safe. Give your children some independence and self-sufficiency. Teach them gun safety and how to safely handle a gun.