May God have mercy on the unarmed, for history never does!
Emails to students --
I like police. I think it is an honorable profession.
I was a military policeman for a period while in the Marine Corps.
I like military operators. I was one for a while in the Marine Corps.
But their training, perspective, and rules of engagement are
different from that of a civilian engaged in self defense.
The policeman cannot retreat. He has a duty to arrest.
Pursue and arrest. He cannot let the suspect go.
The civilian's primary objective is to escape. The pistol is
just a tool to overcome anything that may try to prevent your
The operator in the armed forces rarely generates the order
to kill. The order always comes from higher authority. So, the
operator never takes responsibility for the killing. He's just
The civilian must decide to use deadly force and takes the
responsibility for the use of deadly force. This is much harder
than what the soldier is doing.
The civilian suffers the aftermath, civil law suits,
criminal prosecution, and all kinds of other bad stuff.
The soldier leaves the country and goes home. He's not going
to get court martialed for anything he does. He may even get
[Ya, I know there are exceptions to every gross generalization.]
Concerning marksmanship -- the three essential things are:
Sight alignment. Top of the front sight level with the top
of the rear sight. Front sight centered in the rear sight
notch. There has to be lots of light on either side of the
front sight post in the rear sight notch. Otherwise, you
won't be able to center it in low light conditions. 80% of
muggings occur in low light conditions, generally in parking
lots (statistically speaking, Wal Mart parking lots).
If you are using anything other than fixed iron sights,
you are wrong and must change the sights. Adjustable sights
are fragile and will move when smashed against a concrete
Sight picture. Place the top of the front sight where
you want the bullet to go. Hard focus on the front sight.
You have to be able to see the serrations on the front
sight. If you don't intentionally focus on the front sight,
you will be focused on the target, and your front sight
will wander all over the place, and you'll never notice it.
And you won't hit what you think you're aiming at. So,
focus on the front sight.
Trigger control. Touch the trigger. (Because you don't
know where it is, especially in a high stress situation, when
you have grabbed the pistol while lying on your back while
being stabbed, punched, or kicked; and your hands are
covered with blood.) Take the slack out of the trigger.
(You can't get an accurate shot, if you yank through the
slack. You have to take the slack out first.) Smoothly
press while holding the sights on target. DO NOT FIRE
THE SHOT! Just smoothly increase pressure.
The pistol will eventually fire and you will get a surprise break.
I know this sounds like a long and complex process,
but with practice it compressing in time and becomes very fast.
If you intentionally fire the shot, your autonomic nervous system
will cause you to push, flinch, jerk, freeze, etc. The
surprise break defeats your autonomic nervous system
by letting the bullet get out of the muzzle before your
brain knows that the gun is going to fire.
Instructors often talk about the front sight epiphany,
when the student concentrates on the front sight and the
bullets magically group tight, right where the student
aimed them. Or, the surprise break epiphany, when the
student achieves the surprise trigger break and the shots
no longer scatter low left (for a right handed shooter,
because he was anticipating the shot and pushing against
the recoil; low right for a left handed shooter).
Expansion on a previous essay --
Eye dominance is not correlated to vision acuity.
You might see better with your non-dominant eye.
Eye dominance is only mildly correlated with
handedness. You might be right handed, but left eye
Eye dominance can change under stress. Matches
induce stress. Combat induces stress.
Eye dominance is not necessarily left or right.
It could be 70% left, 30% right. It could be 50%
right, 50% left. Or, something else.
I haven't been able to find any literature in
the peer reviewed journals indicating a correlation
between eye dominance and right or left brain
hemisphere dominance (concerned with high order
intellectual or cognitive things). [I mention this
because a student asked me.] Eye dominance is
an optical thing, controlled in the back of the brain.
The high order intellectual cognitive stuff is
controlled in the frontal lobes of the brain. (But,
I'm not an expert in the field. I just spent too
much time in the psych department as an undergrad.)
So, it doesn't necessarily make sense to
shoot left handed because you think you are left
eye dominant. (Especially if you are ambidextrous.)
It may make sense to shoot with the eye that has
higher visual acuity. Or, the eye with less
astigmatism. You have to get an eye exam to
determine this. Put a copy of your eye exam in
[When I say eye exam, I mean a medical eye exam
with an ophthalmologist, not an optical exam with an
optometrist. If you don't know how to interpret the
report, ask your coach. If you don't have a coach,
contact the Civilian Marksmanship Program, the
National Rifle Association, or USA Shooting to find
a level 3 (or higher) rifle or pistol coach that can
help you. (Don't expect this help to be free.
Everyone has bills to pay.)]
It makes sense to shoot your pistol with
your more dexterous hand as you firing hand (trigger
finger hand) and to aim with your dominant eye.
If both of your eyes are open you will get a
double image. Close your non-aiming eye for the
fraction of a second when you are actually shooting
to avoid shooting at the wrong image. Murphy's Law
says that anything that can go wrong, will go wrong,
at the worst possible time. Which means that in a
high stress situation you will be shooting at the
wrong image. For right handed shooters, your point
of impact will be way off to the left. So, close
your non-aiming eye!
***** Mindset *****
NDs (Negligent Discharges)
Righteous gun-handling is an attitude, more than
a "method" or "practice." Righteous behavior always
proceeds from principled mental posture,
not a "set of rules."
Be Clark Kent, Not Superman
When Practicing Concealed Carry
We always carry because we cannot predict when
a criminal will attack us. We always buckle our seat
belt because we cannot predict when a drunk or distracted
diver will ram us. We always keep a fire extinguisher
in the abode because we cannot predict when a fire will
start. We always shower, floss, and brush our teeth
before going out in public because we cannot predict
who we may run into. It may be your future ex-wife.
[Ruthlessly stolen from several country songs.]
"The percentage of mistakes in quick decisions is
no greater than in long, drawn-out vacillations,
and the effect of decisiveness itself
'makes things go' and creates confidence."
-- Anne McCormick
Age of Terrorism!
***** Training *****
Real-Life Zombie Totally Unfazed When Officer Hits Him Three Times
"A good reminder that even multiple shots from a
service-caliber handgun regularly fail to stop violent
attackers. This guy was smoking “wet” (Marijuana
laced with PCP). I’ve seen a similar lack of reaction
after being shot from totally sober people as well."
-- Greg Ellifritz
At a recent IDPA match, Major Ken Sircy
(Cookville, TN Police Department) told us a story that
was originally used as a teaching lesson at a law
enforcement training session at an NRA annual meeting.
An off duty cop was eating at a mom and pop restaurant
with a fireman friend of his, when a heroin addict entered
with a sawed off .22 caliber rifle. The addict pointed
the rifle around telling everyone to get up against the
counter and put their hands up. The addict then demanded
that the cashier give him all the money. Not getting much
money, the addict then started robbing the individuals.
The police officer signaled to his friend that he was
armed and to get away from him when the addict approached
him. When the addict demanded money from the plain
clothed off duty cop, the cop presented his pistol and
fired two rounds into the addict's high thoracic cavity.
(The autopsy photos showed a tight group that had
destroyed the addict's heart completely.)
The witnesses said that after the cop fired,
the two of them just stared at each other for a long time.
("A long time" in a high stress situation is actually a
short interval of real time.) The addict then beat the
officer to death with the sawed off rifle. The addict
then ran out of the restaurant and down the street,
before crashing through a store front window and dying.
The point of the lesson was that the officer had
been trained on the range to fire two rounds into the
high thoracic cavity and then holster. Which is exactly
what he did.
The better training would be to continue firing
until the enemy (police call them suspects) is
incapacitated, and then to perform after action drills:
quick check, final check, and scan. If the enemy was
still standing and holding the rifle, the correct
action would have been to shoot the enemy in the
A side note was that no one came to the aid of
the officer during the beating. So, you can't depend
on anyone helping you, even if your friend is near by.
The fireman was not a coward. He had done many
courageous things in the past. He had just never
prepared for this situation and so froze in shock.
If you don't prepare, you might freeze. So, get
training and practice. Visualize such encounters
to get your mind prepared for them.
This past weekend, 29 September 2017 to 1 October 2017,
I attended the Rangemaster Instructor Development course
taught by Tom Givens et al.
It was a difficult course. Just because you paid your
tuition didn't mean you're going to get a graduation certificate.
Some did not. There was an extensive written test and two
shooting tests (under serious time limits).
I'm going to have to change all kinds of things in my
NRA Defensive Pistol course curriculum, because of things
that I learned in the course. Which is exactly why I took
Setting up a target at the range and shooting at it
to see your lovely tight groups is not practice.
That's just masturbation. You are too advanced for that.
The practice should force you to assess and analyze.
You should be thinking: Which ones do I shoot?
Which ones do I avoid shooting? Which one do I shoot first?
Which one do I shoot next? Which way do I move?
Where is the cover? Who do I have to draw fire away from?
Who do I need to protect? Who do I not need to protect? . . .
I love this quote, "I will forget I have a gun unless
it is needed to terminate an immediate deadly threat to me
or someone for whom I am responsible."
Tom Given has trained thousands of people. 65 of his
students were involved in self defense shootings. Of those
63 who won, zero were arrested, much less indicted, prosecuted, or
convicted. Unfortunately, 2 of his students were involved
in lethal force encounters but were not wearing their gun
at the time. They both died. Moral of the story? Always
Jeff Cooper (Gun Sight) is dead. Louis Awerbuck (Yavapai) is dead.
Ignatius Piazza (Front Sight) doesn't teach anymore.
Ken Hackathorn (Aztec) will be retiring soon. John Farnam (DTI) is older
than I am. Tom Givens (Rangemaster) got out of a hospital bed to
give us the Instructor Development course. Now that's dedication.
So, make your reservations and take your training now,
before the wisemen are gone.
***** Tactics *****
The Blueprint of a Criminal Attack
Protecting yourself and family during an armed robbery
Using the Element of Surprise as a Personal-Defense Tool
***** Techniques *****
Scanning for Multiple Threats
Accept your wobble. If you achieve a surprise trigger break,
you will get good hits, no matter how much your sights look like
they are wobbling. Yes, actually it is magic. (Any sufficiently
advanced technology will appear as magic to the ignorant.
God's creation, the human, is very advanced technology.)
***** Philosophy *****
If you can't get a loan to buy your house,
find a "manual underwriter".
Not having a credit record is a good thing.
It means you don't borrow money. You save up for
what you want and you pay cash. That is the
responsible, spiritually mature, thing to do.
Some knucklehead in a cubicle looking at your
credit score is not going to understand that.
Any person who would take the word of some
credit reporting company over the word of an
honorable person (you) is not someone you want
to deal with. That is not someone you want to
pay money to to do anything for you.
[Ruthlessly paraphrased from Dave Ramsey.]
***** Gear *****
Should You Mount a Light to Your Concealed-Carry Gun?
Don't hang shit on your pistol!
-- Louis Awerbuck
Reviewed: New Handgun Holsters
You can adjust where the glasses sit on your face by
moving the piece that rests on the bridge of your nose
up or down. I'm not describing it well. You have to get
your hands on a pair to see how neat they are. Your prescription
lenses go inside. The outer lenses curve around correctly
so as to be distortion free. Ya, they are very expensive.
You get what you pay for in this world.
Pay Attention To Gun Warnings
Excerpt: "WARNING - GUN WILL FIRE IF ROTATED BY HAND"
Please do not carry a revolver as your primary self defense gun.
Revolvers are old technology. They are difficult to shoot because
they have long heavy double action triggers.
[Firing modern double action revolvers in single action mode
by thumb cocking the hammer is wrong on many levels. Thumb cocking
the hammer is an extra operation that takes time. You never have
enough time in combat. The trigger weight of a revolver in single
action mode is very light and there is no slack. Which means it
is uncontrollable in a high stress situation. If this is not obvious
to you, you lack the experience that would make it obvious to you.]
They are difficult and slow to load, and difficult and slow to
reload. When they malfunction, there is no way to clear the
malfunction in real time. The revolver has many moving parts that
must be precisely timed to work properly (you have to open the action
to see this, not open the cylinders, open the action, it will look
like an old mechanical watch).
So, if someone tells you that the revolver is a good self defense
gun because it is reliable and simple, he is lying to you, if he
knows what he is talking about; or he doesn't know what he's
Please do not carry an automatic weapon as your primary
self defense gun, e.g. machinepistol, submachinegun, etc.
Automatic fire in a high stress situation is uncontrollable.
If you don't believe this, it is because you lack the combat
experience with automatic small arms that would cause you to
understand this. [My intended audience does not include
Uncle Sam's Misguided Nephews, who burn 1000's of rounds
a day in specialized training.] Even if you can modulate
the trigger to fire 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 rounds bursts on
demand with an Uzi or M-2 (.50 caliber machinegun)
(slow rate of fire), that's not the same as doing it with an
MP-5 or a pistol version of the M-16 (high rate of fire).
And doing it in combat is an entirely different world.
***** Instructors *****
Qui docet, discet.
Who teaches, learns.
Please give your students written documents to
read before the class. If they hear novel information
for the first time when you say it in class, they
probably won't understand it. If they have read it
previously, there is a much better chance that the
time they have cogitated on it will help them to
understand the concept when you verbally explain it.
Your students may not understand what you are
saying because there was environmental noise, you
spoke to fast (because this is the 500th time you've
said it), you mumbled, your accent is too strong, etc.
The student may not wish to disrupt or slow the class
by asking questions (thinking that they will ask
later, but forgetting to do so), so you have to
handout documentation covering what you said.
"Oh, but my precious copyrighted material
will be reproduced and distributed, causing me
to lose profit."
Well, that is just a bad attitude and a bad
business model. If you don't believe distribution
of your material to be good advertising for you
and that it will enhance your reputation, you may
be too mercenary for the teaching business.
Jesus said, "I have sent you to reap what you
have not worked for." Book of John 4:38.
This is how God works. Others will reap what
you have sown. What you sow may not be ready for
harvest in your life time. What you taught the
mother, she taught to her daughter. Who used it
to save the life of the granddaughter. You were
long dead by then.
"Therefore, we can rest in the tasks before us,
not being hoodwinked into thinking that we are
responsible for the outcomes." -- Amy Boucher Pye
Teach carefully, because as Sara Ahrens says,
your students will do whatever you teach them, no
matter how ridiculous. Your students will do
whatever they practice, no matter how ridiculous.
So, make sure they are practicing correctly.
Tom Givens says you must test your students
1. forces practice of skills.
2. identifies weaknesses (the student has to know what to practice).
3. verifies progress.
4. allows comparison to historical standards.
5. induces stress.
6. determines timing (How quick can I hit it? Time vs. distance. Time vs. size.).
7. provides documentation (good for resumes and evidence at trial).
"The better you know something,
the less you remember how hard it was to learn."
-- Steven Pinker
***** Pedagogy *****
***** Education *****
2018 Tactical Conference
You can expect this event to sell out
by October 2017.
Northwest Regional Tactical Conference
Fri, Jul 27, 2018, 8:00 AM –
Sun, Jul 29, 2018, 6:00 PM
Firearms Academy of Seattle, Onalaska, WA
Changing Demographics of Concealed Carry Permit Holders Across the United States
The video presentation,
For you data geeks, the paper and the slides,
Women and blacks are the big winners!
1st Black women
2nd Asian women
3rd native American women
Concealed carry permit holders are way
more law abiding than the general population
(36 times) and more law abiding than police
Fees, taxes, and required training effectively
prevent poor people from getting permits. Which
occurs in Democrat controlled areas.
Background checks on private transfers
Dr. Lott explains how background checks are
really done. They don't look at middle names.
They don't look at differences in spellings.
Mass Public Shootings and Gun-Free Zones
All mass public shootings occur in gun-free zones.
Criminals may be crazy, but they are not stupid. The
shootings are not random. The criminals intentionally
choose gun-free zones. Many countries are gun-free zones.
The murder rate goes up after guns are banned,
no exceptions anywhere in the world.
When concealed carry is legalized the mass shootings
decrease by 2/3rds.
"So the next time someone tries to tell you that gun
control is about saving lives, look at these facts . . ."
-- Jim Marking
***** Legal and Political stuff *****
The "Say Little" approach
The YouTube.com videos referred to in the above blog posting are the following:
Don't Talk to Cops, Part 1
Don't Talk to Cops, Part 2
Police say three employees of a Cleveland Taco Bell
opened fire on two armed robbers, killing one.
Women Are Driving Force for Millennial Gun Sales
ATF has released Procedure 2017-1,
which addresses the ATF's interpretation of law
regarding how a federal firearms licensee is
required to handle private party sales between
The procedure outlines requirements that a dealer
must satisfy to handle private party sales and what
has to be done if a proposed sale does not
immediately result in an approval on the background
Individuals who are doing private party sales
that decide to involve a dealer for the transfer and
those who are required to use a dealer for the
transfer (for example, an interstate sale) should
review this new procedure and be familiar with it.
Tennessee Firearms Association
Why do I not teach government regulated courses?
A gentleman who runs a company that teaches an
alcohol class here in Tennessee told me about one of
his instructors who dismissed his class early (did
not give the students the required number of hours).
This resulted in a $1000 fine for the instructor and
having to call the 15 students to tell them that
they had to take the class over.
The government creates disincentives to be
efficient and succinct. Hence the government
discourages good English and good teaching.
Andrew Branca says, don't buy self defense
insurance that reimburses after an acquittal. You
will need the money up front to pay the attorney,
private investigators, expert witnesses, etc.
Without the money up front, you might lose the case.
So, reimbursement programs are worthless.
The NRA claims that their self defense
insurance program reimburses, because they can't
pay for an illegal activity. This reasoning is
nonsense. A person is innocent until proven guilty
beyond a reasonable doubt. So, the defendant has
not engaged in illegal activity until the jury or
judge rules at the end of the trial. The NRA is
assuming the self defense shooting was illegal
until the court rules that it was legal. This
is completely backwards.
The George Zimmerman trail cost the defense
team 1.7 million dollars. So, you have to have
the money up front to prevent the case from
going to trial.
"War on Guns" by John Lott
$1.99 for the Kindle version
"You are responsible for every innocent bystander
you hit (or cover) during your lethal force encounter."
-- Kent Harville
You can't claim it was an accident (well, you can
claim anything, but no judge will allow it as a legal
theory). Just covering the innocent bystander is assault.
You may have immunity from civil and criminal liability
by statute in your state for shooting the bad guy in
self defense. But, you cannot evade liability for
shooting innocent bystanders.
Solution to this problem? Practice, so you don't
When the Founding Fathers wrote and signed the
U.S. Constitution, they had the vivid memory of
overthrowing their government. The Second Amendment
is to ensure the people always have the ability to
overthrow the government.
It has nothing to do with personal self defense,
hunting, sports, collecting, or anything else.
The militia was not regulated by the government.
The government tried and failed to regulate the militia.
Well regulated militia means a disciplined military force,
as opposed to a mob.
***** Survival Tips *****
"Because we have an armed citizenry,
a dictatorship has not happened in
America. Anti-gun fools are more
dangerous to Liberty than street
criminals or foreign spies."
-- Theodore Haas (Dachau Survivor)
***** For Beginners *****
How to Use a Semi-Automatic Pistol: Part 1
How to Use a Semi-Automatic Pistol: Part 2
***** Miscellany *****
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.