Monday, December 19, 2016

Europe Being Attacked: What's It To You?

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

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

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Turn Out The Lights And Train

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

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

Light: Controlled or non-controlled

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

Non-controlled ambient light

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

Ideas to help in low-light situations

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

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

Target Identification

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

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

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

Semper Paratus
Check 6

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Stop Being/Raising Wimps!

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

Friday, December 9, 2016

Making Your Own Pepper Spray

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

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

Caution: This is dangerous

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

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

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

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

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

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

A second recipe.

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

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

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

Semper Paratus
Check 6

Thursday, December 8, 2016

GSR: Evidence Of Training

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Pearl Harbor and Situational Awareness

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

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

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

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

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

Semper Paratus
Check 6

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

It Can Happen Anywhere

It can happen anywhere…

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

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

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

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

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

Self-Defense Tips for Dealing with Large Mobs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Semper Paratus
Check 6

Friday, December 2, 2016

December Drill Of The Month

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

See “Overwatch: Drill of the Month” page