***** Mindset *****
Practice is the small deposits you make over time,
so that in an emergency, you can make that big withdrawal.
-- Chesley Burnett Sullenberger, III
A Study in Situational Awareness and Preparation Failures
". . . personal defense is a lifestyle, not a hobby."
-- Sheriff Jim Wilson
More thoughts about the Duel at the Dumbster
Guns are special purpose defensive tools that are useful
only in a minuscule (very small) spectrum of our lives.
Thinking of them as general purpose defensive tools is a
Serious Mistake and sets oneself up for a Negative Outcome.
"A good solution applied with vigor now is
better than a perfect solution ten minutes later."
-- Patton Jr., George S., "War As I Knew It",
New York, Bantam, 1983. Page 408.
THE SECRETS: SIX MYTHS OF THE GUN WORLD
I am the kit fox,
I live in uncertainty.
If there is anything difficult,
If there is anything dangerous to do,
That is mine.
-- Sioux warrior's song
***** Safety *****
Jeff Cooper's Rules of Gun Safety
RULE I: ALL GUNS ARE ALWAYS LOADED
[Hundreds of persons are shot every year in America by persons
cleaning their unloaded guns and persons showing their unloaded
guns to others. -- Jon Low]
RULE II: NEVER LET THE MUZZLE COVER ANYTHING YOU ARE NOT WILLING TO DESTROY
[Pointing your gun at someone is a very threatening behavior
(legally considered aggravated assault everywhere in America)
and could easily result in you getting shot. -- Jon Low]
RULE III: KEEP YOUR FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER UNTIL YOUR SIGHTS ARE ON THE TARGET
[Keep your trigger finger in the register position until your sights
are on the target and you have decided to fire. When your sights
come off the target, immediately place your trigger finger in the
register position. -- Jon Low]
RULE IV: BE SURE OF YOUR TARGET
[Be certain of who you are shooting at. Use a flashlight if necessary.
Know what is behind your target. What's going to get hit if your miss,
or your bullet passes through your intended target? Know what may move
between you and your target. Untrained persons panic in high stress
situations and run around randomly while screaming and shouting. No,
as a matter of fact they do not freeze and drop to the ground. That's
why we have to teach children to drop and roll when on fire. It's
not natural. Nothing about shooting is natural or instinctive.]
“The fast and/or emphatic reholster
is an awesome way to shoot yourself.”
-- Chuck Haggard
***** Training *****
"You train for the people who love you."
-- Tatiana Whitlock
Losing A Legend Mourning Mike Voigt
Top instructors don't live forever. Get your training
while they are still alive.
Why do I need to train?
"To each there comes in their lifetime a special moment
when they are figuratively tapped on the shoulder and
offered the chance to do a very special thing, unique
to them and fitted to their talents. What a tragedy if
that moment finds them unprepared or unqualified for
that which could have been their finest hour."
-- Winston Churchill
Gabe White Pistol Shooting Solutions
"We are what we repeatedly do.
Excellence is not an act.
It is a habit."
***** Tactics *****
-- Carl von Clausewitz
Your Tactical Training Scenario - Shot Through the Door
Hard Lessons: Fights
"Get out of there before [the police] show up (in which
case it's [the other party's] word against yours), or call
first - which is petty and stupid."
[I don't think calling first is petty or stupid. I think
it is essential. Because as Massad Ayoob says, there are only
two blanks on the police report: Complainant and Respondent.
You want to be the Complainant. You want to be the one who
called first and complained about the other guy. Because whoever
calls first is assumed to be the victim. Good guys call the
police. Bad guys don't. Unless they are petty vindictive
little shits, who are trying to get the police to do their
dirty work for them. So, be the first to call 911. -- Jon Low]
3 Gun Helped Me Survive
“My comfort with my weapons, knowing their capabilities
and mine, kept me calm and focused.”
Who Dares Wins.
-- motto of the Special Air Service
***** Technique *****
"I would like to see every
woman know how to handle
guns as naturally as they
know how to handle babies."
-- Annie Oakley
Why We Focus On The Front Sight
Defending Yourself Against Dog Attacks
STREET SMARTS: Countersurveillance Techniques
Shooting With Your Eyes Closed?
May I invite your attention to the top right photograph?
The burning (glowing) powder is caught in a soleton (solitary wave form).
Most waves are dispersive (expand in space) and dissipative (lose energy
with time and distance). Soletons are neither. Theoretically,
they are tori shaped wave forms that are symmetric about the direction
of propagation. The example pictured is a little distorted.
The particle motion (as in the sense of retrograde or prograde) is
that the inside of the doughnut moves forward (in the direction of
propagation) and the outside moves backward, circulating around the
small diameter of the torus.
I worked with soletons in fluids of many different viscosities in
grad school in attempts to model geologic things under Prof. Dave
Bercovici. He was at the University of Hawaii back then.
He's at Yale now.
Craig Douglas of Shivworks Fights from the Deadly Triangle on Trigger Time TV
"The shorter the fight, the less hurt you get."
-- John Holschen
***** Gear *****
Avoidance, Deterrence, and De-escalation
-- John Farnam
I Made A Huge Mistake While Carrying My Gun. Learn From My Experience.
Rule Four in Self-Defense: Bullets On and Beyond Your Target
This is truth. In police shootings (because the government collects
data in these incidents) where the bullet was a hollow point (as just about
all of them are), of the bullets that hit some human, 41% expanded. Because
all kinds of things can prevent the bullet from expanding (clothing plugging
the bullet cavity, the curtains that you shot through, the glass that you
shot through, etc.). Depending on which data set you're analyzing, the
bullet average penetration is around 2 inches. Not sufficient to reach a
vital organ to cause incapacitation. Because many things can block or
impede a bullet (leather jacket, heavy layered winter clothing, body armor,
other body parts, etc.).
I asked for suggestions for a pistol for persons with
small hands on the Rangemaster Instructors Facebook page and
got the following responses:
Smith & Wesson M&P Shield with small insert
Smith & Wesson M&P Shield EZ in 380 auto
Sig Sauer P365
Walther PPS M2
A lot of instructors are saying that the Smith & Wesson
M&P Shield EZ in 380 auto is the way to go for small hands
and/or weak hands (arthritis, etc.).
We have also had success with a small grip on a Sig P320,
and a Ruger American with the grip (back strap) removed.
You might want to go to a gun store and see how these
pistols fit your hand. Or, go to a gun range and rent these
pistols to see if they work for you. Can you get your finger
tips to point back toward you? Can you get your trigger finger
on the trigger such that when you take the slack out of the
trigger, the last bone in your trigger finger is perpendicular
to the bore axis (when the bore is in line with the bones of
your forearm and the trigger is in the middle of your finger
print)? The trigger can be moved by your gunsmith, or the
trigger can be replaced to allow you to get your trigger finger
in the correct position.
Folding Knife Selection, Carry & Access
Lucky you live in Tennessee. There is no such thing as an
illegal knife in the Volunteer State.
The problem with carrying a folding knife with tip pointing
up, is that it may open while still in your pocket.
"Hey, Staff, why would it do that? How could it do that?"
Because Murphy's Law says that anything that can go wrong,
will go wrong, at the worst possible time. So, it is essential
that you eliminate anything that can go wrong.
A visible pocket clip draws attention. Don't draw attention
to yourself. Put your knife inside your pocket. Don't let the
clip show outside your pocket.
I was getting malfunctions with my Ruger American in .45 ACP.
I bought it new and had fired about 500 rounds through it.
When the slide went forward, the cartridges would dive down into
the magazine, rather than jumping up into the chamber. I checked
several web sites and found the problem reported on a couple of
instructor forums. So, the problem was not unique to me.
I contacted Ruger on their web site. They asked me to shoot
the pistol with several different ammunition types to be sure it
was a pistol/magazine problem and not an ammunition problem.
I did, and still got the malfunctions (2 or 3 within a box of
50 rounds for each type of ammo that I tried). So, Ruger sent me
a Fed Ex shipping label (2nd day express). I packed the pistol
and my three magazines and shipped them off to Ruger. They
notified me to say they received the package and asked me to
give them 5 to 7 days to work on it. They actually took 2 days
(assuming they don't work on weekends), and then shipped it back
This is what they said they did:
Replaced all 3 magazine followers.
Replaced all 3 magazine springs. (The new springs are much stronger.
I speculate that these stiffer springs are not standard because they
make charging the magazines difficult.)
Repaired the barrel. (They chamfered the mouth of the chamber,
and polished all contact areas between the chamber and cartridge.)
After repair, pistol was function fired 35 rounds of Black Hills
230 grain full metal jacket, without malfunction.
So, I took it to the range to see how it worked for me.
After firing a few rounds of factory new 230 grain FMJ loaded
to the standard speed of 850 feet per second at the muzzle.
(I don't like the term "muzzle velocity", because velocity is a vector.
850 fps is a speed, which is a scalar.) It works fine now.
Shooter’s Tips: Learning the Red Dot
Things people say: “Don’t carry a nice gun.”
"Once in evidence, your gun will not be returned to you until
after all legal proceedings are settled. Even then, it may be
months or even years after the case has been closed before you
get your firearm back. Many people have had to file legal
proceedings to persuade the authorities to return their rightful
What happens to your gun?
Life in an evidence locker isn’t pleasant. Items are tagged
and simply thrown in, without regard for maintaining their
appearance or function. Some evidence rooms are in unheated
basements where the humidity is high and rust is common. If your
handgun or rifle goes into evidence, don’t expect to get it back
in the same condition it was when the police took it from you.
This is just one of those little realities of life.
It’s something you have to accept as part of the cost of self
***** Instructors *****
Adaptive Shooting Techniques
Developing a New Grip
Reduced Hand Strength or Lack of Support Hand Can Be Overcome
IDPA Tactical Journal, Volume 22, Issue 4, 4th Quarter 2018, page 15.
If you're going to be an instructor, learn how to help
your students develop a proper grip.
"Every time I teach a class,
I discover I don't know something."
-- Clint Smith, Director of Thunder Ranch
I've never gotten through the first day of a class without
having compiled a list of things that I have to find out for my
students. That's why I am presently using the format of a 12 day
course taught on 12 consecutive Saturdays. It gives me time to
answer the students questions and fix equipment problems (e.g.
The pistol does not work for you. You can use one of my pistols
and gear for today. But, you have to get a pistol that works
We either bring in experts or go to experts for:
Law of Self Defense, Andrew Branca, online course.
Force-on-force using Simunitions, Bob Allen of Royal Range.
Judgment (no-shoot / shoot) exercises on video simulators,
Bill Hayes of Axiom Training.
First Aid, Kevin Hunt of Prepared Medical Response.
Tactical scenarios, one of the local IDPA or IPSC clubs.
Colonel Robert Lindsey to his fellow trainers:
"We are not God’s gift to our students.
Our students are God’s gift to us."
As such, you have a duty and responsibility to teach
competently. You have to have a deep understanding of the
material that you are teaching. You have to avoid teaching
anything of which you lack a deep understanding.
If you are going to use another instructor's lecture
and give due credit to that instructor, then you have to
read it to your students verbatim. Otherwise, you have to
tell your students that you are paraphrasing. Otherwise,
you have to tell the students that this is your lecture,
some of the ideas of which you have stolen from so and so.
As my fencing coaches told me, there is nothing new
under the sun. There are no secrets. There are just
things that the novice hasn't learned yet. In self defense,
the rules for establishing innocence or regaining innocence
are amazingly analogous to the rules for establishing or
regaining the right of way in foil fencing. Most foil
fencers do not understand the subtleties. So, under
competent judging, they lose. Most carriers of weapons
don't understand the laws of self defense. So, as Claude
Werner says, they have negative outcomes.
Plagiarism is bad. But, using the information and
ideas of others is flattery. And they should graciously
accept your flattery. Citing sources is good. But,
eventually best practices pass into common knowledge.
At which point, citation is a courtesy more than a
"I invented that."
Well, no, you didn't. You may have independently
discovered it. Which is good. But, if you do a literature
search, you'll find it (probably before your birth).
So, stay humble. It avoids embarrassment.
***** Pedagogy *****
Qui docet, discit. (He who teaches learns.)
-- motto of the American Society of Law Enforcement Trainers
"Train, Practice, Compete are the key
elements in the development of humans."
-- John M. Buol, Jr.
***** Education *****
"Cogito, ergo armatum sum." (I think, therefore armed am I.)
– John Farnam
You can get a free download from USCCA by going to
and typing in your email address. They will then email the documents to you.
Ya, it's an advertisement for USCCA, but it's got some useful information
for the neophyte. You might want to forward it to friends of yours who are
new to our lifestyle.
“Destiny doesn’t make appointments,
nor does she waste her time with the naive and unready!”
-- John Farnam
***** News, Legal, Philosophical, and Political stuff *****
How do you win a gunfight? Don’t be there.
Martin Luther King Jr. Was Denied Concealed Carry Permit for Self-Defense
9 Cases That Prove Why We Need AR-15-Style Carbines and Pistols
The AR-15 is an assault prevention rifle.
The AR-15 is a lifesaving emergency rescue tool, by design.
All kinds of good stuff at
Crime Prevention Research Center
Case Of The Week: Regaining Innocence: Real-World Example
Enter the Night!
If you think this could never happen in America,
you are naive.
If Gun Control Fascists Didn’t Have Lies . . .
Amazing that the State of Arkansas has a duty to retreat.
Louis Awerbuck: The Exception to the Rule
If Louis said the Springfield Armory XD is the pistol to use,
that's good enough for me.
School Hires Combat Vets With Rifles To ‘Put Down’ Active Shooters
Yet another Mass Public Shooting in another Gun-free zone:
at the Henry Pratt Company in Aurora, Illinois
All mass murders occur in gun-free-zones, because those are
the only places that have unarmed victims for armed criminals to
In gun friendly zones, the prospective victims shoot back.
Only the communist would see a problem with that.
The murderer was a convicted felon, prohibited from
possessing a gun. So, every gun control law failed to prevent
The murderer was a repeat offender. In Turkey and Saudi Arabia,
they have no concept of a "repeat offender", because they have no
repeat offenders. When I was in Ankara, I saw a little girl
walking to the grocery store in the middle of the night, by
herself. I asked her where her parents were. She told me they
were at home and had sent her to buy groceries (so she was alone,
carrying a large amount of cash, in a big city). She laughed at
my concern. I approached a policeman (armed with a submachinegun
slung over his shoulder) and told him. He assured me that she
was perfectly safe. And she was.
Stop appointing liberal judges, and you don't have repeat
offenders prowling the streets. Of course, that would require
not electing liberal politicians who appoint the liberal judges,
or not electing liberal judges. Now whose fault is that?
Are you aware of what's going on with West Virginia's
Supreme Court? Judges aren't above the law, they just think
UPDATED: Why we shouldn’t depend on mental health professionals
to detect mass killers:
Elliot Rodger’s slipping “under the radar” is hardly rare
Expecting mental health professionals to detect and report
people who are in fact a threat to themselves or others is
nonsense, and always has been (as the above examples show).
The false positives would do horrendous damage to the
reputation of the falsely accused persons, and might permanently
prevent the falsely accused person from possessing a gun. After
a psychiatrist labels you crazy, how do you prove to a anti-gun
liberal judge that you are sane? If you think that is easy,
you are naive. Liberal judges think that wanting to possess a
gun is prima facia evidence of paranoia, a mental illness.
South Dakota becomes 15th state to allow concealed carry without a permit
Yeah! Governor Kristi Noem, pro-gun, and smoking hot
(you have to see her in person). Rush Limbaugh says politics
is akin to movie star celebrity for ugly people. Noem has an
IMDb web page.
Defensive gun uses by people legally carrying guns over the past two months
Why is Dr. Lott able to do a much better job of reporting
these incidents than the NRA official journal, American Rifleman?
Because his agenda is entirely different from that of the NRA.
At Townhall: Background Checks Bill Would Turn Many
Well-intentioned Americans Into Criminals
. . . "Virtually every time the government stops someone
from buying a gun, it is a mistake." . . .
If you think getting your name off of the prohibitted list
is not a nightmare, you are naive. Even the late U.S. Senator
Ted Kennedy had a hard time getting his name off the "no fly" list.
Some nameless faceless bureaucrat can put you on the list
without due process, without oversight. The government does not
have to prove that you committed a crime (of which there is a
public record). You have to prove that you do not pose a threat
to yourself or others. How would you prove that?
“Hard times create strong men
Strong men create good times
Good times create weak men
Weak men create hard times”
-- T.J. Weber
***** Survival Tips *****
"If you prepare for the emergency,
the emergency ceases to exist!"
-- Dr. Sherman House
Why Hearing Protection is Important
"Hearing loss is permanent and cummulative."
-- Medical experts at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, CO
at a lecture during a level 3 coaches course.
Failed Kidnapping Leads To Lessons Learned | Active Self Protection
Don't go to stupid places.
Don't do stupid things.
Don't hang out with stupid people.
-- John Farnam
***** Basics *****
"Panic is simply the lack of preprogrammed responses."
-- Tom Givens
Women's Self-defense Technique -
Man Pinning Both Wrists in Mount Position
You have to have unarmed techniques,
because you may not be able to access your
"Fear is an instinct. Courage is a choice."
-- Rear Admiral Joseph Kernan, USN
***** Miscellany *****
A Warrior, Defined
War Just Might Be The Answer - Iliza Shlesinger
This is one of the inventions from my company,
Military Systems Group.
Maybe you need one in the back of your pickup truck?
In a previous blog posting, I listed credentials
that would allow the carry of weapons: courier card
(Armed Forces), armed guard license (state), written
contracts with the U.S. State Department (federal),
written orders from the king of the country (foreign),
SOFA treaty (international), and being born into a
royal family (but we can't choose our parents).
My friend, Joe, who is deploying under the
auspices of a United Nations Peace Keeping Force,
has the best yet, a light blue passport. Yes, diplomatic
immunity. The worst one could legally suffer would
be expulsion from the country as a persona non grata.
But, in a contested area, who is going to expel him?
Who would have the authority or inclination to expel
a field grade officer and U.N. Peace Keeper?
When I was at Columbia University in New York,
I had classmates who were the children of diplomats.
They all carried.
And then there are written orders based on
executive orders (such as the early President Bush's
order concerning the Global War On Terrorism).
And then there are letters, such as those issued
by Congress under authority of the
U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 8, Clause 11.
Unfortunately, the modern ones are not public record.
But then again, much of our government's budget is
not public record. But, if you follow current
events and notice things that don't make sense or
don't logically follow, you can detect them.
That's what intel analysts do.
For the latest version (it changes almost daily)
of my lesson plans for my NRA Defensive Pistol course,
send me an email. Jon_Low@yahoo.com
The McDonalds restaurant by the Long Meadows
rifle range in in Greenbrier, TN sells "Senior Coffees".
I ask the young lady at the counter, what's a Senior Coffee?
She tells me it's a coffee for anyone over 40 years old.
I give her a quizzical look, because 40 is not a senior
anything in my life experience. She responds to my
look by saying, 40 is really old. I imagine she was
16 or 17. I didn't have the heart to tell her I was 60.
I had forgotten how hard it is to tell a person's
age when you are very young. I remember as a child,
understanding that people grew up and got big, but
I didn't understand that people actually grew old
and died. So, there was always time to do important
Get your training while you can. Because good
instructors have experience, so they are old. They
aren't going to be teaching forever. People like to
retire. Some people can't retire, because the teaching
is a calling, not a job. But, God has put an expiration
date on all of us.
You can't take a course from
Col. Jeff Cooper, USMC
Louis Awerbuck, South African Defense Force 1 Spesiale Diens Bataljon
CWO2 Pat Rogers, USMC
or . . .
Jonathan D. Low