Email to students in the 3 March 2018 A.D. Defensive Pistol course --
We're seven months out from our class and we already have questions
that I feel I should answer to everyone.
Never fire warning shots.
A warning shot is not legally justifiable under any legal theory
in any state in the United States. (Yes, Vice President Joe Biden is an idiot.)
There is no safe place to fire a warning shot. Any shot fired into the
air will come down with approximately equal speed as it went up.
(Gravity is a conservative field.) 400 feet per second is sufficient to
break skin. Your 1800 foot per second bullet will kill when it comes
down on someone.
Any shot fired into the ground will ricochet off the asphalt road,
concrete sidewalk, or rock in the ground, and hit someone, maybe you.
If you fire a warning shot, that's reckless endangerment.
If you hit someone with a warning shot, that's gross negligence.
If you kill someone with a warning shot, that's negligent homicide.
And these are all best case scenarios. (Simply presenting the pistol,
without pointing it at the person, without legal justification
is assault in most states.)
If you had time to fire a warning shot, you were not in
immediate threat of death or grave bodily injury. So, you lose
your claim of self defense.
Never shoot to wound.
Shooting in a high stress combat situation is extremely difficult.
Hitting your intended target is a low probability event. Hitting an arm
or leg is a zero probability event.* That means that you will
almost always miss. Every miss is destroying property and injuring
innocent bystanders, perhaps killing them.
So, you must always shoot to the center of mass of your target.
There are only two reasonable targets to stop the attack
[We never shoot to kill. We always shoot to stop the attack.
This is very important. This is what you must say to the police.
This will play at your trail, if you are prosecuted for your self
defense shooting.] :
the high thoracic cavity, defined by the nipples and the notch
at the top of the sternum; and
the cranio-ocular cavity, defined by the eyes and nose.
(These are from the frontal aspect of the assailant.
For other aspects, see the lesson plans.)
If the enemy is behind cover, then the target may be a foot
or an elbow. In that case, it is tactically correct to shoot to the
center of mass of that target. Because, whoever inflicts the first
hit will usually win the fight. Minor injuries can cause a
psychological stop, as opposed to a physical stop. [Physical
stops require damaging the central nervous system or massive
Carrying a firearm without a solid understanding of the law
of self defense is an act of criminal stupidity.
Understanding the law gives you confidence.
Which allows you to move quickly. And act decisively.
A lack of confidence will cause hesitation, which will result
in your death or the death of the ones you are trying to protect.
* Zero probability events happen all the time. Zero probability
does not mean the event can't occur. It means the measure
of the probability space of that event is zero.
"almost always" is a technical term in mathematics. It doesn't
mean that the complementary set is null. It just means that the
measure of the complementary set is zero.
***** Mindset *****
Learning Close Quarter Defense | Angel Naves | TEDxOaksChristianSchool
This video has nothing to do with Close Quarter Defense.
It's about you making a decision.
"Why High Performers Feel Awkward In Mediocre Groups,
And What They Can Do About It"
". . . most underachievers are seeking an experience, not the pursuit of excellence."
Please take the author's words to heart. Aaron is talking to YOU, about
what you are doing in your defensive pistol practice (and the rest of your life).
The author uses the acronym GWOT which stands for Global War on Terrorism.
This war was declared by the second President Bush by executive order.
(Yes, I know that Constitutionally, only the Congress may declare war.
But, I'm talking reality, not legality.) I've received written orders that
cite this executive order. There is also a classified executive order that
we operated under. To the best of my knowledge every President since has
signed a document to the effect that all executive orders of my predecessors
remain in effect. They are of course, superseded by new executive orders.
Did you ever wonder why there are relatively few terrorist attacks in
the United States compared to the rest of the world (Europe and Africa for
instance)? It's because we kill the terrorist before they attack.
Such killings are not murder because they are not illegal. They are extralegal.
More words to look up in your dictionary, more concepts for you to research.
Because it is important you understand the world you live in. Ignorance allows
you to live in bliss, until reality rudely awakens you or kills you.
"Law enforcement can arrest them. That will keep us safe."
What happens when we arrest them and send them to Gitmo? President Obama
releases them and they return to their units and kill us in the field. So, we
end up having to kill them in the field. The scary thing is that this actually
makes sense to some U.S. citizens and elected politicians.
"Mindset is the Fairy Godmother of Survival"
Not exactly an opposing opinion, but I seriously consider clear articulate
thinkers who say that what I teach is wrong.
If there is any doubt, there is no doubt.
Pass it by. Trust your intuition.
***** Training *****
John Farnam on The Nature of Bad Habits
"Push your shooting skills beyond what you think you’ll need"
You have to be physically fit to run down 44 flights of stairs to escape
the burning building. But, if your child came to work with you, you have
to be able to carry your child down 44 flights of stairs.
You have to have swimming skills to get to shore if your plane ditches.
But, if you love your spouse, you need to be able to defeat his panicked
struggle and pull him to shore. Life saving skills are an order of magnitude
more than swimming skills.
"Stick to One Concealed-Carry Gun"
"I've got one kind of concealed-carry gun and
it's carried in the same location that it
has been toted for quite a number of years now.
. . .
Keep it simple."
Hick’s Law: Reaction time increases with the number of choices.
Hick, W.E. (1952), “On the Rate of Gain of Information”,
Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, Vol. 4, pages 11-26.
(I could not find a hyperlink for this article.)
So, always wear your equipment in the same place.
Always execute immediate action when the gun doesn’t go bang.
It will be obvious when something else needs to be done.
Always shoot to the center of mass of whatever the
available target is.
The fewer decisions you make, the faster you go.
The fewer options you have to choose from in each decision,
the faster you go.
"Fighting: Technique and Equipment"
When you are not prepared to confront your own death (with a grim smile)
and chose to fight courageously, and die when that is the final outcome,
for values and beliefs that are more important to you than life itself,
then you are, in truth, unprepared and should never consider yourself
'well trained.' -- Ron Avery
On impact weapons
"Swing For the Fence" by Paul Sharp
"Patterns of Training - Frontline Debriefs"
John Farnam on W. I. N.
What's Important Now (W.I.N.). Do not perform a diagnoses.
"Training for Close-Range Defense with Your Concealed Carry Gun"
In combat (as opposed to training) the signal to initiate
the use of force will be visual, not audio. So, having your
training partner cause a visual change that signals your action
is reasonable. For instance, when the flashlight illuminates
the pistol that the target is holding. If your flashlight is
not bright enough to be seen in daylight conditions, you should
probably get a brighter flashlight. (Or, put something reflective
on the target, so that it will flash when your flashlight covers
"Don’t Fidget With Your Gun, Or You Could Shoot Someone"
"300 Negligent Discharges: Comprehensive Data Science Reveals
Gun Grabbers and Gun Owners are Both Wrong"
About half the people injured by negligent discharges were not
the person handling the gun at the time.
About 1/3 of the people involved in negligent discharges died.
How to Use a Revolver
***** Tactics *****
Notice the significant number of law enforcement officers killed
with their own weapon,
That is why weapon retention training is an essential part of
your training. I once caught a football only to have a defensive
lineman pull it away from me and run it in for a touchdown. And I
was hanging on tight and correctly as I was taught. No matter how
big and strong you are, there is always someone bigger and stronger,
who will rip that pistol out of your hands. If you give him the
chance. So, if you're not holding the pistol at arms length to aim,
you have to keep your pistol pulled in tight to your body in a
compressed ready or close contact position. Holding the pistol
out at a low ready position is wrong, because it makes it easier
for the enemy to take it from you. Yes, as a matter of fact,
criminals practice disarming techniques in prison. Prison is higher
education for criminals.
***** Techniques *****
Gunfight Science: Gun Malfunction Busting Tips/Tactics
AIMING IS USELESS (if you move the gun when you fire)
"The Counting Game"
Try it with your children.
"Scary strangers, children, and boundary setting in the grocery store"
"Managing the Initial Police Contact"
John Farnam on Katrina Gunfight
You must be able to change techniques
based on the environment.
Staging an emergency cell phone
Old cell phones that are off contract are still capable of calling 911.
(So, don't let little children play with them!)
Push Me Pull You (long gun technique)
***** Philosophy *****
THE IMPORTANCE OF "WHY" - REACTIVE WEAPON MANIPULATIONS
I often post articles that conflict with what I teach.
If your gun does not fire, I teach "Tap, Rack, Point In (which
means to align the sights, place the top of the front sight on
the center of mass of the target, take the slack out of the
trigger, and assess the situation)", because I think the
shooting should always be an intellectual decision,
not a programmed reflex response.
Gabe Suarez disagrees in this article.
Please consider his argument.
***** Gear *****
A former student told me that while test firing his pistol,
a Rorhbaugh 9mm, the slide of the pistol jammed to the rear.
Yes, you have to test fire your firearms. But, that's not enough.
You have to stress test them, by doing a training course with them.
Only then will you find out under what conditions they will fail.
Test firing on a square range will not give you sufficient information.
Many, many of my students have determined that certain pieces of
equipment don't work or need fixing to make them work reliably.
In this case, the Rorhbaugh cannot be reloaded using commonly
taught techniques, and the operator cannot clear malfunctions
using commonly taught techniques, because it does not have a
magazine release button or lever accessible by the firing side
hand. And worse, commonly taught one handed techniques for
reloading and malfunction clearing won't work with this pistol.
There are many expensive, finely made pistols that are not
designed correctly for combat use. As John Farnam says, many
manufactures don't have any operators on staff to field test
their prototypes before they start manufacturing. (Personal
communication in the context of a holster that he had written
about in one of his quips.)
Why Penetration is too Important to Ignore
RED DOT PISTOLS TRAINING AND EQUIPMENT
Serpa holsters are the most marketed and most poorly
designed holsters on the planet. Truly, I would say
you are far better off carrying a pistol with an empty
chamber, stuck in your belt holsterless like a common
thug, than using a Serpa.
Student: I frequently draw from concealment which
for my everyday pistol means a pocket holster.
You are right. So much depends on type of pants and
if you are standing or seated.
Jon Low: A pocket holster is a bad idea on many
levels: The pistol is not accessible when in a seated
position. You can't keep anything else in that pocket
because anything can get inside the trigger guard,
which will foul your draw or fire the pistol. When
seated the pistol is pointed at the person across the
table from you (or worse, at your femoral artery),
which violates our safety rule. I read a long list
once, but I can't remember all of the other reasons on
Inside the waist band holster at 3 o'clock
(or 9 o'clock for left handers) is the best. Because
it allows you to present from the holster to the
target without covering yourself or anyone around you.
***** Instructors *****
John Farnam on Middle Finger Negligence
Instructors, you must watch for this and
prevent your students from doing this.
***** Pedagogy *****
Teaching Tip: Avoid "Pseudoteaching"
Make sure to read,
"10 WAYS TO SPOT THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN
PSEUDOTEACHING (PT) AND REAL TEACHING (RT)"
in the article.
Tactical Thought Crime And The War On Derp
Excerpts: (I paraphrase. -- Jon Low)
The instructor who says, I don't need to learn anymore because I
am just teaching beginners, is being disrespectful to his students.
I see a huge number of instructors who are woefully unprepared . . .
Teaching beginners is actually the hardest work in the training industry.
Is your life worth defending? . . . Some students have not given
themselves permission to protect their own lives.
You may be the only person who has spoken to the student about
self defense, and self defense with a gun. You have a high responsibility
to know what you're talking about, and get it right. Because you may be
the only voice they hear in their mind's ear at 03:00 AM when they are
attacked in the dark by the home invader.
Take classes with the best instructors. Take the class left handed
if you are right handed. Take the class with a revolver if you usually
carry a semi-auto. Observe how the instructors teach you. So, you can
model their behavior for your students.
Take the class to learn how to teach better, not to learn how to
-- Kathy Jackson, The Cornered Cat
***** Education *****
Statistics from John Farnam:
Having presented your pistol to an assailant,
the odds that you will have to shoot him are 1 in 30.
The average American will buy a pistol
and run 7 rounds through it in his life time.
When a gun shot wound arrives in
the emergency room, only 3% will die.
"How Vision Impacts Your Shooting"
Range Etiquette & Safety
Law of Self Defense Podcast 8-14-17
Road rage -- Don't stop. Drive away.
Once you present your pistol, you have a non-zero
probability of dying, you have a non-zero probability of
going to jail. There is no way to reduce the probabilities
[Once your case goes to trial, you have a 10% to 20%
chance of being convicted (assuming you are morally
innocent), because the jury is made up of people who were
not smart enough to get off jury duty. And the prosecutor
would never prosecute an innocent person. But, that's okay.
It's better to be alive in prison than dead. Why aren't you
dead? Because God still has work for you to do. In prison,
you might be able to bring a lost soul to Christ.
If you stop thinking about yourself and concentrate
on helping others, YOU WIN! -- Jon Low]
***** Legal and Political stuff *****
"Scientific Theory v. Legal Theory"
"States ask Supreme Court to halt unjustified searches of lawful gun owners"
Amicus brief in opposition to
en banc (16 judge panel) 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling,
Original 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling (3 judge panel),
Conflicting ruling from the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals,
Guns.com article about original appellate ruling,
Blue Sheepdog article with background on ruling
"Concealed Carry: A New Legal Consideration!"
"Concealed Carry and Police Encounters"
4 Self-Defense Insurance Options To Protect Your Six
"There is a feeling of personal dignity and independence
in grasping, literally, the power to back, with lethal force,
your refusal to be a target of violent crime.
This is not a 'sense of power.' It is the experience of
escaping from a sense of powerlessness."
-- John Longenecker
Dr. John Lott (http://crimeresearch.org)
On Armed American Radio
"To discuss how law-abiding permit holders are."
Democrats are trying to keep poor people
from being able to defend themselves by imposing
taxes on the acquiring of carry permits.
Democrat Chief Law Enforcement Officers
are preventing racial minorities from being able
to defend themselves by refusing to issue carry
permits to them.
***** Survival Tips *****
***** For Beginners *****
***** Miscellany *****
The Responsible Patriot at
has a link to DefensivePistolcraft.com.
And refers to it as ". . . one awesome blog."
"Skill Set: Flying with Firearms"
If you would like the lesson plans for my
NRA Defensive Pistol course, send me an email,
and I'll send you the latest version.