***** Mindset *****
Avoidance, Deterrence, and De-escalation
-- John Farnam
As a civilian, you have no duty to pursue and arrest. You have no
duty to close with and destroy the enemy by fire and close combat.
You have the overwhelming duty to escape, and to ensure the escape of
your loved ones. The pistol is merely an emergency tool you use to
overcome anything that would prevent your escape.
***** Safety *****
“The fast and/or emphatic reholster
is an awesome way to shoot yourself.”
-- Chuck Haggard
The incorrectly designed holster is also an excellent way to shoot
"But, the U.S. Army uses them."
Doesn't that prove the point?
***** Training *****
"The real value of training, though, is that it improves competence,
which leads to a higher level of confidence."
-- Rehn & Daub
A Beginner Takes an Advanced Class and Tells the Tale
A tale of encouragement.
Care enough to continue your training.
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
Two ways to improve firearms training
“There are two reasons to attend training:
to learn something new, or to validate that what you
are currently doing is still the best thing out there.”
An email to my junior rifle team members -
"Why can't I shoot high standing scores?"
Because you don't have balance. Unlike prone and kneeling,
standing is an unsupported position. So, in prone and kneeling,
you relax to be still to shoot well. In standing, if you relax,
you fall down. So, you have to constantly adjust muscle tension
to maintain balance. In order to do this, you have to practice
"I can stand still."
No, you can't. The SCATT traces show you wobbling all over
the place. You think you are still because you lack the kinesthetic
awareness to detect your movement, because you haven't practiced
enough to develop the kinesthetic sensitivity.
Practice does not eliminate errors. Practice increases
sensitivity, which allows you to notice the errors that you were
always committing, but never noticed. Once you notice the errors,
you will correct them, often automatically (if you are educated
enough to recognize them as errors). So, it appears to the
ignorant that practice is eliminating their errors. But,
practice is just making the shooters aware of their errors. They
still have to have the intellect to recognize the error as an
error, and know what to do to correct it. That takes reading
of your textbooks and questioning of your coaches. If you
think you can do it without help, you are on a fool's quest.
"What can I do to improve my balance?"
You are fortunate to be a biped. Monopeds, as cranes,
cannot do much to improve their balance.
But, you can stand still on one leg, for long periods of time,
until you can do it indefinitely (on either leg). Standing still
means not moving at all. Balance by adjusting muscle tension,
not by movement of mass.
Then, you can do deep knee bends with one leg, until you can
do it gracefully. Watch yourself in a mirror. Are you wobbling
around or are you in complete control?
Then you can stand on one leg while leaning forward,
other leg in line with your torso. Then lean back, keeping
your free leg in line with your torso. (The leaning should
be to the limits of your range of motion. If your range of
motion is poor, stretch twice daily.)
Then you can do the above with your eyes closed. Because,
we wish to develop inner ear balance, not just balance based
on visual cuing. Because when we are aiming, we are mentally
focused on sight alignment and sight movie, not on visual
cues for balance. We might pick them up out of our peripheral
vision, but if we are wearing a hat and blinders, probably not.
Tell your yogi or yogini what you are trying to accomplish.
They can help you. (If you let them.)
When I was your age, I practiced the balance exercises
twice daily and mastered fine balance in one month. At which
point I was able to shoot 95 out of 100 on the old NRA smallbore
targets at 50 feet back in the late 70's. So, I think you
should be able to master fine balance in one month with
dedicated practice. Less dedication, less self discipline
will stretch out the time to accomplish your goal.
As with most things in life, it's not hard to do.
It's hard to force yourself to do it consistently and long
enough to achieve the goal. Once you achieve the goal,
it's fairly easy to practice enough to maintain the fine
balance. Until you get distracted with other things.
That's why you have to strive for your Olympic medal
before you get married. You have to strive for your
doctorate before you have children. Life is full of
distractions. Saying no to the distractions is extremely
difficult. It takes will power, self discipline, that
most people don't have.
Of course, if your legs are weak, you will have to
exercise correctly, eat correctly, and sleep correctly;
to have enough strength to do any of the above.
"You train for the people who love you."
-- Tatiana Whitlock
So you Wanna Take a Shooting Course?
I love his point about socialize, make friends.
"Training is NOT an event, but a process.
Training is the preparation FOR practice".
-- Claude Werner
I took a "Use of Force" class presented by attorney Marcos M. Garza,
(I think I met him when he was a JAG officer at Quantico many years ago,
but I'm not sure.) and sponsored by U.S. Law Shield,
What I took away from the lecture:
We don't kill people over stuff.
It is reckless to give a statement at the scene. (Police don't
give statements until 72 hours later. Some 48 hours.)
Invoking your Constitutional right to have your attorney present during
questioning supersedes all other rights. Invoke it and shut up.
A given set of facts can be presented in many different ways
from many different perspectives. If you give a statement without
your attorney present, you prevent your attorney from presenting the
facts in a favorable light. Compare:
"The lady fired two shots a the intruder. The first shot missed.
The second shot struck the intruder and killed him."
"The lady fired a warning shot. The intruder continued to advance
on her after the warning shot. She fired a second shot that struck and
killed the assailant."
Same facts, different narrative.
You ain't that smart. You ain't that sophisticated. And you're
under terrible stress. So, keep your mouth shut. Let your attorney
talk for you. Because he is not under stress, so he is objective.
Don't consent to anything. Your attorney cannot fight your consent.
But, he can fight a search warrant, a drug test, etc. after the fact.
If you find yourself in North Carolina check out,
Apache Solutions LLC
5239 US 601 Hwy
Yadkinville, NC 27055
Sergant Tim kelly was a mortor man in my son's company in the
The unidentified moderator on Shop Talk at Concealed Carry
says Dave Spaulding is going to retire. Get your training while you can.
Everyone has an expiration date.
I attended a Civil Liability lecture from attorney John Harris,
He is the Executive Director of the Tennessee Firearms Association.
Civil liability requires a "preponderance of the evidence" (51% certainty),
not "beyond a reasonable doubt" (95% certainty).
In reality, the Castle Doctrine is easily overcome by the plaintif.
In reality, the No Retreat Doctrine is easily overcome by the plaintif.
Any unlawful activily will void the claim of self-defense. For instance,
you were in voilation of some zoning ordinace. The unlawful activity doesn't
have to have anything to do with the self-defense claim.
Get training from qualified experts who will testify for you at trial
and are in fact good witnesses. [This is one of the reasons taking Massad
Ayoob's course is worth far more than the price of tuition. He will testify
for his students. It's up to the court (the judge) as to whether or not
your witness will be considered an expert by the court. It is up to your
attorney as to whether or not it is a good legal strategy for this expert
witness to testify for you.]
[I write in my lesson plans that I give to my students that I will
testify for them at no charge. I consider it my duty. Whether or not
they ask me to testify for them is another thing entirely.]
Always carry a cell phone that can make video and audio recordings.
Have your 911 script prepared and memorized, NOW! Otherwise, you
will screw it up later.
Know who to call. Attorney [I give my students a list of competent
attorneys. Any legitimate self-defense insurance program will have a
number to call to get an attorney sent to you immediately.] Bail bondsman.
Friend (who can actually help you). Spouse (who is willing to help you).
Write a will and estate plan. Structure your finances, so you don't
lose everything in an civil judgement. If you don't know what I'm talking
about, call an attorney with expertise in estate planning. Prepared
people don't get bankrupted by civil judgements.
"Life is hard. It's even harder if you're stupid." -- John Wayne
Don't be stupid. Structure your finances.
Wiley Clapp, field editor for the American Rifleman magazine, wrote an
article in the July 2019 issue of the American Rifleman paper magazine, in
which he explains in detail why you have to focus on the front sight when
aiming. Unfortunately, the NRA web site,
neglected to publish his article on the web site. So, read it in the paper
magazine if you can. Clapp recommends you shoot a blank piece of paper,
instead of a target, to hone your sight alignment skills. In particular,
focusing on the front sight.
My archery coach, Al Lizzio, would refer to the bullseye target as the
one eyed monster, because it distracts the shooter from concentrating on
the shooter's form, and instead caused the insufficiently trained shooter
to fixate on the target. Which always leads to failure.
The NRA Whittington Center
34025 U.S. 64 West
Raton, NM 87740
has courses you might be interested in,
5 Biggest Mistakes Concealed Carriers Make
If you wanted to learn to scuba dive or fly an airplane,
a smart person would realize the importance of getting training.
It is no different with personal defense: It only makes sense
to get good professional training.
. . .
Carrying a concealed handgun is a way of life. In many ways,
it changes the way we dress, the way we act and the way we think.
It changes our priorities to the point that we pass on a vacation
in order to spend time and money on training. Taking it seriously
will help a person avoid these five pitfalls to concealed carry.
SHOP Talk: Concealed Carry Tips
***** Practice *****
Practice is the small deposits you make over time,
so that in an emergency, you can make that big withdrawal.
-- Chesley Burnett Sullenberger, III
Armed Self-Defense: 4 Reasons to Practice Movement Drills
Slow is smooth. Smooth is efficient. Efficient is fast.
***** Techniques *****
These articles were written for rifle shooters, but they directly apply to
combat pistol shooters.
What Causes Poor Trigger Technique?
Check each item carefully and adjust the trigger,
your position, or your grip as necessary. Don’t be satisfied
until you are correct.
[Yes, as a matter of fact, you can move your trigger (or your gunsmith can
move it for you). Yes, as a matter of fact, you should move your trigger.
The probability that the factory settings of your trigger are correct for
you is infinitesimal.]
[The first stage of the trigger that the author is referring to is the slack;
perceptible movement of the trigger, but no sear movement. The second stage
of the trigger that the author is referring to has no perceptible trigger
movement, but has sear movement.]
Our Guide To Help Develop Proper Rifle Trigger Technique
"When you shoot, you receive and process not only sensory information
but also the thoughts in your own head, which can influence your shooting
results. These thoughts are generally unrelated to your sensory input —
things like what happened at work today or what you need to do tomorrow."
[That's why yoga practice is an essential part of your training program.
Level III Rifle Coach Jonathan Low says, this is the difference between
winning and losing the match.
Advanced Pistol Instructor Jonathan Low says, this is the difference
between winning and losing the gunfight.]
. . .
"Follow your shot plan."
[This means you have to have a shot plan. This means you had to have
been taught what a shot plan is, written it out in your own words, and practiced
it until it became automatic.
If you don't have a shot plan, even God can't help you. Because God will
never violate your free will. And by not having a shot plan, you have chosen
to be negligent in your training.]
“Use only that which works, and take it from any place you can find it.”
-- Bruce Lee
8 Self-defense tips for men
"I would like to see every
woman know how to handle
guns as naturally as they
know how to handle babies."
-- Annie Oakley
How to use the small fixed blade knife with Craig Douglas of Shivworks
"Real fights are short."
-- Bruce Lee
Shooting Through Doors and Walls [always a bad idea]
As Greg says, you have to positively identify your target before
RULE IV: BE SURE OF YOUR TARGET (Jeff Cooper's Rules of Gun Safety)
When I was an artillery forward observer, the instructors at the
U.S. Army artillery school at Schofield Barracks told us to call Marine Corps
pilots for air strikes because the Marines would fly low and inverted
over the target to positively identify it before attacking it. Do likewise.
The U.S. Air Force pilots flew high (to avoid getting shot down) and
scattered their bombs everywhere (nearly hitting us). Everyone serves a
purpose, even if it's to be an example of what not to do.
Skill Set: Fundamentals, Pt IV: Cover
Mastering Jim Cirillo’s Technique For Coarse-Aim Shooting
I do not teach nor do I recommend this technique.
But, I cite it as something you may want to experiment with.
***** Tactics *****
You win gunfights by not getting shot.
-- John Holschen
Considerations for Fighting With a Little One at Your Side
Excerpt: "You Should Make the Hardest Decisions Now"
This article is full of counter intuitive truth.
-- Carl von Clausewitz
Skill Set: Fundamentals Pt V -- Shooting
The pelvic girdle probably isn't the best place to hit,
but it's the best place to aim (John Farnam also teaches this),
because it moves the least.
***** Gear *****
9mm Ammunition for Serious Purposes
The Secrets of Gunpowder
Some history on our armed forces rifles.
All About Flashlights
Stick any flashlight from this page into your cart and
use the code FlashTalk at checkout to take 15% off.
***** Instructors *****
Colonel Robert Lindsey to his fellow trainers:
"We are not God’s gift to our students.
Our students are God’s gift to us."
The following is a letter that I wrote to my son's friend who has
been conducting firearms training for about two years.
My advice concerning firearms instruction as a business,
vocation, or calling --
* Continuously seek top level training.
I have attended the Tactical Conference for the last 5 years. Three days of
quality training for $400.
It's really important to be taking classes regularly. Otherwise, you fall behind
and get lost. You end up teaching things that are not best practices. They made
sense when you learned them, but things have changed since then. If you don't
think the fundamentals change, you're wrong. (Trigger finger in the register
position was not always taught. It's a fairly recent development. Now days,
* Carry insurance.
I carry one million dollars of general liability and five hundred thousand dollars
of professional liability (in case someone sues me for something that I taught
one of my students).
"If I do things right, I will never get sued. So, I don't need to carry insurance."
No, that is false. Neglecting to carry insurance is stupidity incarnate.
I use the NRA instructor insurance through Lockton. But, there are many
available. Best to shop around.
Knowledgeable students are going to ask for your insurance. Any range that
you want to use for your classes is going to ask for your insurance, and they
are going to ask you to add them to your insurance policy.
* Regularly communicate with your students.
Write a blog, such as
Send out a monthly newsletter.
So, your students don't forget you. So, your students will refer others to you.
To give your students an avenue to ask you questions. To keep your students
involved and thinking.
* Encourage your students to take courses from other instructors.
You don't want a cult following. And you want your students to be talking
about you with other students who don't know about you.
* Accumulate credentials.
There is no rush on this, actually it will happen naturally.
Getting an NRA instructor certification will allow you to post your courses
on the NRA web site. And it will get you all kinds of discounts and freebies
from companies that like to do business with the NRA. As a certified NRA
Instructor, you are allowed to post your non-NRA courses on the NRA web site.
Front Sight has a free 5-day instructor development course. It's free because
they expect you to work for them. But, you don't have to.
Rangemaster has a 3-day instructor development course for $685
Defense Training International has an Instructor Program for $725
description near the bottom of the web page. I'm going to attend this course
in Nashville, TN at Royal Range on October 5th and 6th. You should too.
Get your state's certification, so you can teach your state's course for
whatever concealed carry licensing your state might have.
All this credentialing is to give you legitimacy, so people feel comfortable
going to you for training and referring their friends to you.
* Price your classes commensurate with your experience, credentials, and
intended audience. At Front Sight we charged $2000 for a 4-day handgun
course. That is a well defined demographic. When I taught weekend classes
for little old ladies in the small town of Dowelltown, TN, the tuition for the
class was a very small tax deductible donation to the church that was hosting
the class. I didn't make any money, but I got a lot of good will.
Don't deceive yourself. Good will is invaluable. Good will gets you referrals.
Little old ladies have daughters and granddaughters, who will eventually
realize that they need your training services. Hopefully before the traumatic
event, but probably after. Be prepared for these students.
There is a service,
that you might want to sign up for. I haven't used them much, as they just
started up recently. But, they seem to have a good business model.
Get in bed with self defense insurance companies, e.g. U.S. Law Shield,
Invite them to come to your classes and give their spiel about the benefits
of their self-defense insurance program. They in turn will drive students
to your classes. Explain to your students that they carry life insurance
to protect their loved ones in case they lose the fight, they carry self
defense insurance in case they win the fight.
* If you don't have your own range facility (or even if you do), get in
bed with the local ranges, so you can use their facilities for your classes.
It's a symbiotic relationship. It's like a doctor having privileges at a
hospital. If you don't, people will wonder what's wrong with you.
I use the Strategic Edge Gun Range, the gun ranges at Long Meadows
Farms, Davidson County Sportsmans Club, and several private properties.
Sometimes you will want to shoot at night or do things that some ranges
won't allow, like bringing cars onto the range to do car jacking scenarios
where you shoot out of the car. (accessing a concealed pistol while buckled
into a seat in a car and shooting out the window usually requires
* Don't tell war stories. They waste the student's valuable time.
Nobody cares what a great special forces operator you were. Nobody cares
what a heroic cop you were. All your students care about is what you can
teach them that will be useful in protecting themselves and their loved ones.
* Have an emergency plan and explain it to the students. Who has first
aid training? Where is the first aid kit? Who is responsible for calling 911?
Who will run out to the street to direct the ambulance to the range? Etc.
The plan will make the students feel safe and comfortable. They will
think you are an experienced professional.
* Be aware that beginner classes are the most difficult to teach,
because so much of what the student knows to be true is false.
"Every time I teach a class,
I discover I don't know something."
-- Clint Smith, Director of Thunder Ranch
Dustin Solomon, in his book “Building Shooters” states that
an instructor should not expect any learning to take place
the first time new information is presented.
[Hat tip to Bill Hayes of Axiom Training.]
Avoid using acronyms like the plague, because your students
won't ask you what they stand for. No one wants to look stupid.
***** Pedagogy *****
Qui docet, discit. (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
Law of Self Defense
Live Online Class on August 24, 2019
“Destiny doesn’t make appointments,
nor does she waste her time with the naive and unready!”
-- John Farnam
How To Secure An Apartment Or Condo From Intruders
***** News, Legal, Philosophical, and Political stuff *****
How do you win a gunfight?
Don’t be there.
-- John Farnam
Street Survival: When it comes to using deadly force,
are you a P.O. (Police Officer) or a C.O. (Conscientious Objector)?
[You have to register to access the article, but registration is free.]
When a police officer has to use deadly force to save innocents from a killer,
that officer must be unencumbered and purposeful in his mission. They must be able
to seek out that killer, take aim and fire a bullet into a vital area to stop the
To be able to do this while making the right decision in doing so takes not
only a great deal of ongoing training, but also a quantum of soul-searching in
advance to determine that the officer is a P.O. (Police Officer) who can do what
needs to be done, and not a C.O. (Conscientious Objector), who can’t.
Lt. Dan's other articles are at
The Law-Abiding Gun Owner's Guide to Firearms Customization
Ignorance may be bliss, but what you don't know can
get you arrested, prosecuted, and imprisoned.
Do you understand the term, "illegal constructive
possession"? If not, you better read this article.
Did you know that the NFA prohibits vertical foregrips
on pistols? Do you understand what that means? If not,
you better read this article.
U.S. House of Representatives, oversight hearing --
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D - N.Y.):
"How bad does the mass shooting epidemic have to get before
you will adopt common sense gun safety policies like other
banks have done?"
Mr. Tim Sloan (CEO of Wells Fargo Bank):
"We just don't believe that it is a good idea to encourage
banks to enforce legislation that doesn't exist."
As Herr Professor Doctor Albert Einstein said,
never underestimate the power of large numbers of stupid people.
Tennessee is a "True Man" state.
“Soft” v. “Hard” Stand-Your-Ground: A Case Example
“She died defenseless”
"I don't believe. I know and decide.
No maybes. No in-between. Yes must be yes. No must be no.
Never change your mind.
Vows are sacred. Never play with the D word. (Divorce)
Your life is a sermon."
-- Pastor Mike Ayon
Not only is your life a sermon that is on display to the world,
many persons whom you don't even know exist
are listening and watching your sermon.
President Trump signed H.R. 1222 Target Practice and Marksmanship Training
Support Act into law on 10 May 2019.
***** Survival *****
"If you prepare for the emergency,
the emergency ceases to exist!"
-- Sherman House
Why You Should Carry Medical Gear: Part 1
Why You Should Carry Medical Gear: Part 2
Don't go to stupid places.
Don't do stupid things.
Don't hang out with stupid people.
-- John Farnam
SWAT Raid or Home Invasion?
I’ve never seen a home invasion where a criminal used
a weapon mounted light or ballistic shield.
If you don’t see any badges, it isn’t a legitimate police raid.
Real cops wear belts.
All the cops on a raid will have a police radio (walkie-talkie).
It may be on the vest or clipped on the belt. SWAT teams will likely
have helmets with mounted radio headsets using mouth or throat
microphones. I’ve never seen a reported home invasion where the
criminals are using radios (even the commonly available walkie-talkies
you can buy at a sporting goods store). No radios = no police.
If you are hearing lots of ineffective beating at the door,
it’s likely home invaders.
. . . during a raid, ALL of the officers will be yelling “Police”
to identify themselves. If you aren’t hearing lots of identifying
words and verbal commands, you are likely dealing with home invaders.
To buy yourself time, you need to harden your house. . . .
All of those interventions will slow down both the police and
home invaders, giving you more time to make a better assessment
about what is really going on. If there is any doubt, call 911
***** Basics *****
"Panic is simply the lack of preprogrammed responses."
-- Tom Givens
"Fear is an instinct. Courage is a choice."
-- Rear Admiral Joseph Kernan, USN
***** Miscellany *****
"The shorter the fight, the less hurt you get."
-- John Holschen
When it’s least expected, you’re selected.
-- John Farnam
Jonathan D. Low
God can do more than we can hope or imagine.