Sunday, December 27, 2015

Fundamentals Of Home Defense

The reality of the world we live in is that you are more likely to attacked in your own home than you are in a public environment. Because of this it is incumbent on the well prepared home owner to have at least a basic plan for home defense.
There are many things a home owner can do to mitigate an invasion before they happen. There are the obvious things such as locks, closed circuit television cameras and access controls systems. Another thing that can be done is to implement Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design principles. Things like planting of thorny shrubs under windows to discourage intruders or trimming trees to afford betters fields of view from inside the residence. However the context of this article will be some of the basic consideration in using handguns for home defense.

The individual domestic situation in each home and local laws will determine the method of storage for the handgun used for home defense.

Storage options must satisfy these three criteria
  1.   Secure the handgun from unauthorized access
  2. The handgun must be accessible
  3. The handgun must be in the proper condition when it is needed.
Your handgun can be stored in several configurations.
  1. Unsecured- The handgun is stored openly such as on a nightstand or counter
  2. Hidden and Unsecured- The handgun can be hidden in a drawer, book or some other unlocked but hidden storage area.
  3. Secured- The handgun is stored in a quick access safe. This method is the most efficient and recommended.

The handgun can be stored in a variety of conditions
  1. Unloaded- A loaded magazine is available but not inserted into the handgun. This condition is the safest but is the least efficient due to the complex motor skills needed to load the weapon during a home invasion.
  2. Loaded- A loaded magazine is inserted into the handgun but no round is in the chamber. The negligent discharge risk is lower in this condition but the need to chamber a round will effect efficiency.
  3. Chambered-A loaded magazine is inserted into the handgun and a round is chambered. This is the most efficient however the risk for a negligent discharge while reaching into the quick access safe is present. This risk can be mitigated by storing the handgun in a holster inside the safe.
Due to the propensity for the grasp reflex to be triggered while under stress and the subsequent possibility of a negligent discharge while reaching for the handgun the recommended condition to store your home defense handgun is in the loaded condition or chambered and holstered in a quick access safe.

When formulating a home defense plan you should apply these Five Fundamental Principles in the context of your individual circumstances.
  1. Evade or Escape-Individuals should create distance and minimize exposure to the threat. This fundamental includes marshalling family members or moving to rally/barricade points. Empowering family members to evade individually is important.
  2. Arm- Arm yourself as early as possible. Individuals should have the tools to defend themselves or their family as early as possible if needed.
  3. Barricade- Your preplanned barricade point should be the safest place possible. Your barricade point should be 90 degrees off any point of entry. You should be greater than two arm’s length from the point of entry in a position that will allow you to shoot from full extension if needed. If it is necessary to move, move with a purpose without exposing your handgun.
  4. Contact- Call 911. When calling 911 stay on the line. Give your location. Give your location within the structure. Tell what is going on. Tell who is involved. ID yourself and any family members (give a description) and that you are armed. ID the assailant (give a description if possible).
  5. Counter- Respond a necessary to a lethal threat.
       The aftermath of a home invasion will be chaotic. Initially you may be detained or even arrested. It is important that you communicate to investigating officers the evidence of a threat, any evidence of injuries, damage to the home and any prior relationship with the assailant. Be the victim.
       Finally practice your plan and make sure all members of the household are fully involved. Recognition is the tool of the expert. You can only recognize something if you have been previously exposed to it. Through frequent and realistic training you can use the power of recognition to respond more efficiently during a home invasion.

Concepts and principles in this article courtesy of I.C.E Training Company, Rob Pincus, and the Defensive Firearms Coaches Course.

Heartsaver First Aid CPR course 12.23.15

Holiday Safety From PDN

Some good articles regarding holiday safety

Personal Defense Network has been posting a series of Holiday Safety & Security Articles at their Blog with some great tips for you and the whole family. The articles have been submitted by various PDN Contributors who are active personal defense teachers.

Grant starts out talking about keeping perspective during the holidays… have fun &  enjoy the time while taking simple steps to be as safe as possible. He goes on to offer tips for Home Security, Houses of Worship and attending Holiday Events. Grant finishes up by reminding you what it means to give the Gift of Personal Security to yourself and those you care about.


Paul offers three tips to help you and your family enjoy the holidays while staying secure: Keep a low profile, Lock-Up and Maximize your Avoidance Skills. All of his suggestions are easily implemented, even during the busy holiday season.

Deryck offers some simple advice that will also add to the enjoyment of your holidays while making it less likely that you will be a victim of crime. When you’re home, Keep an eye on your Front Door. He also offers some great tips for when you venture out to the mall and finishes up by reminding you that  Not being a Grinch makes your holidays more enjoyable and conflict less likely.

All of these articles are worth taking a few moments to read. PDN’s Executive Director has said that they are sharing this series of articles “…in the hopes that your holidays are not just happy, but also as safe and secure as possible for you and those you care about.”

Sunday, October 4, 2015


Recently there was another shooting on a College Campus. Of course all the predictable reactions on both sides. Calls for more gun control, calls for better mental health screening, background checks, elimination of "gun free zones." You get the picture. But one story widely reported illustrates the number one self defense tool an individual possesses. The will. Reportedly a US Army veteran stood up to the gunman. Although wounded severely he potentially saved many lives. What struck me as odd is not that we have individuals willing to sacrifice themselves for others but that we have many more individuals that willingly did nothing to save themselves. Individuals in this country are still conditioned to rely on others to "save" them.

This folks is the fallacy.It took law enforcement 10 minutes to respond in this instance. The national average for law enforcement response is 7 minutes. 7 long minutes. You need to empower yourself to survive. Give yourself the permission to act in your own self interest. I want to let you in on a dirty little secret. I am armed with a handgun probably less than 50% of the time. Many reasons for that, work related etc.. However I am armed 100% of the time with the will to survive.

Every time I enter a new situation I visualize the "what if's." What if this happens, what if that happens? What do I have on me I can use for a weapon, what is around me? Visualization is a key component to survival. Animals do it why don't you?

Harden your mind to your survival. Run through your options. If a lethal threat presented itself right now what would you do? Run? Lock down? Fight? All these things can be an appropriate response depending on the scenario but it is up to you. Your survival is your responsibility. Training can make you harder to kill but the will. The will to survive is yours and yours alone to employ.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Private Training 4 Sep 2015

Safety Brief

Stance and Grip

Extend Touch Press

Balance of Speed and Precision


Saturday, August 22, 2015

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Defensive Tactics For Emergency Medical Services

Recently a video was posted over on showing two firefighters attacked by a knife wielding bystander as they responded to a request for medical assistance .

This sort of incident is often talked about in the self defense training world. The methodology I subscribe to prepares us for a counter ambush mindset. We accept that an incident such as this will be surprising, chaotic and present a lethal threat. During firearms training I talk to my students in the context of a lethal threat that is farther than two arms length away.

Emergency Responders generally do not have this luxury. To properly assess and treat a patient   you have to get up close and personal. You need to get inside that two arms length space. It is drilled into EMS personal that they need to ensure a scene is safe before proceeding. However scenes do not always remain safe. Furthermore in a rural environment LEO may not be available during an incident that may require immediate medical intervention. EMS personnel need to be trained to escape a violent encounter and defend their own life as an essential job function.

 There are a few organizations that offer this training such as DT4EMS . However they are not nearly as prevalent as organizations offering training to Law enforcement or the public in general. I encourage EMS Service Directors to organize a DT class as part of the  regular training cycle. I also encourage State Departments of Public Health to advocate the implementation  of Defensive Tactics training. The next life EMS saves may be their own.


Sunday, June 14, 2015

Open Carry: Could vs Should

Recently Texas signed into law an open carry bill Joining many states that allow open carry of a firearm. The issue of open carry illustrates the key training concept of  Could vs Should. Or simply just because you can do something doesn't mean you should always do it. Responsible gun owners should seek to be critical thinkers in all phases and situations of carry. First as a firearms trainer and a Second Amendment supporter do I think the right to open carry should be abrogated? Absolutely not! The right to carry a firearm whether openly or concealed should not be infringed on by the government. Rights are not bestowed on us by government but are ours by virtue of our existence. The right to self defense is not up to any government entity. That being said what is the advantage to open carry?

Many open carry supporters claim they are exercising their rights and a right not executed is lost. I see the point however most of the open carry displays I have seen in the news and locally are done merely for shock value. Do you think this gentleman garnered any sympathy for the second amendment?

I see no advantage to open carry other than to give a potential attacker a target upon which to fixate. Those individuals that claim the presence of a firearm will deter attackers are deluding themselves. Many criminals will target you specifically to take your firearm and potentially use it against you. How many of the open carry activists practice their weapons retention skills? I would venture to say not many.

Additionally news coverage of open carry is generally negative. Lets face it a scary black rifle slung acrossed someones back at Taco Bell makes people nervous. As someone that carries concealed a person openly carrying would then become an object of interest to me as well as a potential threat. Open carry is not helping the cause of the Second Amendment anymore than graphic pictures of fetuses helps the anti-abortion movement.

Open carry is a right that should be exercised under appropriate circumstances and in an appropriate context. Just because you could doesn't mean you should.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Home storage options

Those that choose to keep a firearm in their home for self defense also need to properly secure the firearm from unauthorized access. Most states require this and may even have laws mandating secured storage for those with underage members of the household. I will briefly give some recommendations for firearm storage specifically handgun storage.

Storage options need to satisfy three conditions:

1. The firearm should be secured from unauthorized access.
2. The firearm needs to be accessible.
3. The firearm  needs to be in the proper condition when needed.

Depending on members of the household individuals may store firearms in a variety of ways and conditions. Storage options include:

Unsecured- If you live alone and you do not have underage visitors you may choose to store your firearm in an unsecured location. Example of this would be a counter or nightstand. This allows quick access but has the obvious drawbacks of allowing easy unauthorized access.

Hidden/Unsecured- Examples of this method include hiding the firearm in a drawer or book. This method can also be used when the risk of unauthorized access is low. However ease of access is affected.

Secured- This is the preferred method and the most efficient. It is recommended that the firearm be stored in a quick access safe. These safes allow easy access via biometric or keypad access.

Image result for quick access gun safe
Storage conditions include :

Unloaded- This condition is defined when the magazine or ammunition is outside the firearm. This condition affords the highest level of safety during storage but the possibility of leaving the magazine or ammunition behind during a dynamic critical incident or home invasion is high.

Chambered- This condition is defined as the firearm having a magazine or ammunition in place and a round is in the chamber. The conditions allows the fastest degree of access and employment but the chance for a negligent discharge is high, should the homeowner touch the trigger inadvertently as they remove the firearm from storage.

Loaded- This condition is defined as having a magazine in the firearm but no round in the chamber. The risk for a negligent discharge is lower in this configuration but the need to chamber a round slows the speed of firearm employment somewhat. This is the preferred storage condition in the home.

Other things to be considered is the placing of a flashlight in the quick access safe in conjunction with the firearm. As well as a device to cover the trigger guard to mitigate negligent discharges due to inadvertent trigger manipulation during access attempts.

So the preferred home storage method for your home defense firearm is: Stored in a quick access safe in a loaded condition. It is also recommended to have a quality flashlight available and something covering the trigger guard.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

The Road to Tashkent and Why I Carry a Gun

This is reblogged from my personal blog Former Action Guy:

In the fall of 2001 I was part of a Special Forces detachment that was training Uzbekistan Spetsnaz in Counter terrorism. I wrote about it in this post Baxmal . We would train our counterparts during the week and on the weekends most of us would make the 200 kilometer trip to the capital of Tashkent. There we would have a little rest and relaxation. The trip from our remote base to the capital was through some very dangerous country, on one of the only paved highways in the country. Although Uzbekistan is purportedly a civilized country, outside the cities it is in middle ages. The chief mode of transportation is the horse or burro and the people in the countryside live in mud houses with stables attached to the house. Goats are prized possessions.

Just like the middle ages the countryside crawled with terrorists and bandits. These ruthless individuals would rob or kill any target of opportunity they encountered. No one traveled the countryside with out arming themselves. Personally we were armed to the teeth. Often we would pass iconic Uzbeki autobuses on our journey to Tashkent. If a autobus got a flat tire the passengers had to unload and wait for the driver to hitch a ride with the tire, get it repaired and return. The passengers would build a fire and then post guards around the bus to protect themselves from bandits. These guards came from the passengers themselves and they pulled their Kalashnikov rifles from off the bus. These passengers realized that no police or military would be able to come to their aid should any bandits choose to pay them a visit. They needed to be responsible for their own safety.

That is a mindset I had to internalize over my years in Special Operations. This was necessary for survival. Often our missions would take us into remote areas where help was days even weeks away. I mean when your escape and evasion plan involved moving thousands of kilometers to link up with "friendly forces" you were pretty much on your own. No help was coming and you had to rely on yourself to protect yourself, your teammates and what belongs to you.

Fast forward to today. I live in a smallish city by some standards and a larger one by others. It is the second largest city in the state and has about 200,000 residents. Generally it would be considered "safe." However we do have a few murders yearly and violence seems to be on the rise. In the last 3 days there has been a shooting in an area close to where I work and a car jacking within running distance of my house. My own daughter experienced a car jacking attempt just a few weeks ago at a stop light. The police did not arrive until after all these incidents. So I carry a weapon. I have the training, the ability and I think the duty as a responsible armed citizen to protect myself and those I love.

The key word for me is responsibility. No one is going to protect me but me. I would be negligent if I stood by and let my family or anyone else come to harm. I know this is not for everyone and that is ok. But for someone with my background I feel it would be criminal to ignore my duty to act. The biggest component of this is I have the proper mindset. That is also something others may not have, that is also ok.

So I have laid out the reasons that I carry a weapon. You can choose to carry or not depending on your personality, experience and training. I think this is true for all citizens of this country. I also think it would be an injustice if those that have never been in harms way and have never experienced anything outside their insular world take away my choice to defend what is mine. De Oppresso Liber and Molon Labe

Monday, May 4, 2015

Choosing a Handgun and Ammunition for Home Defense or Concealed Carry

People that know my experience and training have asked me on more than one occasion what the best handgun for home defense or concealed carry might be? This then gets in to ammunition as well. I am not here to get wrapped up in a debate or cater to preferences. What I hope to briefly show is the logical and most reliable choices based upon my training and experience.

The two most important criteria when choosing any handgun are reliability and efficiency. A reliable handgun is one that is simple to use with a consistent moderate trigger press. A handgun that is efficient accomplishes its goal with a minimum of time,effort and energy. Based on these criteria different handgun operating systems can be categorized.

Acceptable - Double Action Only ( example SIG P250). These handguns have a higher bore access,higher felt recoil and a heavier trigger press. This heavier trigger press can affect your ability to stay on target ( deviation control.)

Mediocore--Double Action/Single Action (example Beretta 92 FS). These handguns have a different and inconsistent trigger press depending on if they are in single action or double action mode. They have the most complicated of operating systems.

Poor- Single Action Only (example 1911). These handguns have a complicated operating system that requires an external safety. They also have a lower cartridge capacity than other operating systems.

*DAO Revolvers are in the acceptable to mediocre catagory

Preferred- Modern Striker Fired Pistol (example Glock, M&P Series, or XD Series) They are simple, reliable and consistent. They have no additional external controls and they have a lower bore axis which aids in recoil control.

When choosing a MSF Pistol for home defense you should choose a full size handgun. When choosing one for concealed carry you should decide based on the handguns reliability and concealability. Choose the largest handgun you can effectively conceal.

You should also look at the fit, feel and cost of your handgun. Fit means your handgun allows you to manipulate all the controls with one hand while not breaking your firing grip. How does the handgun feel to you? If it meets all criteria but feels uncomfortable in your hand ( I am looking at you Kahr CW40) then you won't practice. Finally what is the cost? You need to get the best handgun you can afford.

Ammunition can also be categorized.

Ball ammunition is used for training and practice.

 Hollow point ammunition is used for self defense.

Your self defense ammunition should be a bonded hollow point bullet heavy for that caliber.

Acceptable defensive calibers are - .380- 10mm

Viable defensive calibers are - .38-.45 (. 38, 9mm, .40, .45). Wound characteristics between viable calibers is negligible.

Preferred- 9mm. The benefits of 9mm are cost. 9mm is generally less expensive than other calibers so theoretically individuals can afford to practice more often. Handguns chambered in 9mm have higher magazine capacity than those chambered in other calibers. 9mm has less recoil than some of the other calibers so affords the opportunity for more efficient recoil management. This translates to more efficient deviation control. These three benefits translate into a higher wounding capacity for the 9mm caliber.

So to sum up an individual should choose a Modern Striker Fired semi automatic handgun chambered in 9mm. Utilizing a bonded hollow point with a bullet heavy for caliber.