***** ***** ***** Software ***** ***** *****
"Arms discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe,
and preserve order in the world as well as property.
Horrid mischief would ensue were the law-abiding deprived
of the use of them." -- Thomas Paine
1. Training $$$ (Otherwise, you won't know what to practice,
or what gear to buy.) Ongoing expense.
2. Dry practice won't cost you any money and will prevent you
from wasting your time watching TV. Decide what you're
going to work on before you start. Execute to your plan.
3. Live fire practice $ (for ammo, range fees, and gas)
[Only effective if you have a plan and purpose. Otherwise,
you're just plinking.] Ongoing expense.
4. Weapon system $$ [holster (must satisfy requirements:
secure, accessible, concealable, comfortable),
belt (must fit and support the holster; and suspenders),
magazine and flashlight pouch (must fit the belt),
cleaning gear, flashlight (Must be bright enough to
blind the enemy, at least 500 lumens. Then you might
not have to shoot him; a big win for you.), pistol
(must fit your hand, trigger must be in the correct
position for your trigger finger when the slack is removed,
sights must work for your aiming eye), magazines (stainless
steal, recently cleaned, with springs in good condition),
ammunition (must feed and chamber reliably)]
The primary characteristic of a weapon system is reliability.
Ongoing expense, because things wear out if you practice
with them, or neglect them.
----- Mindset -----
Avoidance, Deterrence, and De-escalation
-- John Farnam
Example of good mindset, preparation, and decisiveness.
It's not what happens to you, it's how you process it.
"We’re not combatants performing tactical operations
taking down terrorists to save the world. Self-defense
isn’t “tactical,” as in a carefully planned action toward
a military objective. Self-defense, regardless of current
trends in the training world, is actually very “un-tactical.” "
". . . you shoot to stop the threat. You are not
shooting to kill!"
"The defensive application of force in response to
a threat is an acquired skill.
None of these actions — . . . — are instinctual or natural."
"After training comes practice. The real learning occurs
"And if forced to shoot, you shoot to save life,
not take it. All of this is very un-tactical."
[I need to put that on a tee shirt. "I shoot to save lives."
-- Jon Low]
Violence is a 'come as you are' event.
Situational Awareness Skills: Teaching Kids Observation Skills
We always teach our students to stay at the scene and
immediately call 911 to report the incident. Fleeing the
scene demonstrates a consciousness of guilt. This is Biblical.
"The wicked flee though no one pursues,
but the righteous are as bold as a lion."
-- Proverbs 28:1
[Actually, everything we teach is Biblical. I don't
always cite the scripture, because I do not wish to belabor
the point. -- Jon Low]
Student: What if I miss the bad guy, and hit a good guy?
Instructor: Rely on God, not yourself. The training on which
you have spent so much time and money will give you confidence.
The thousands of hours that you have spent practicing will
give you confidence. The hours of study of the laws of self
defense, color code of mental awareness, combat mindset,
aftermath of lethal force encounters, and such will give you
You will know that what you have done is right. So, you
will not plea bargain. And you will not suffer from Post
Traumatic Stress. Because you will understand that there is
nothing to be stressed about. You will have the peace of God
that surpasses all understanding.
Women Need to Develop a Concealed-Carry Mindset
Practice Command Presence: posture, movement, eye contact, voice and more.
Your body language is your first line of defense. Command Presence will
cause the enemy to decide not to attack you. Training will help to develop your
----- Safety -----
Don't go to stupid places.
Don't do stupid things.
Don't hang out with stupid people.
Be in bed by 10 PM. Your own bed.
Don't look like a freak.
Don't fail the attitude test.
-- John Farnam
Trigger Finger Positioning, Hand Clenches, and Accidental Discharges
"A study of all firearms discharges in Federal Agencies (FBI, DEA, ATF)
from 2000-2003 found that out of 267 total discharges, 102 of them were
accidental discharges. Weapon handling skills and trigger finger
discipline are universally lacking, even among supposedly
'well trained' individuals."
"The fast and / or emphatic reholster is an awesome way to shoot yourself."
-- Chuck Haggard
Living with Guns
This is actually a link to all of the January 2007 articles.
Fortunately, the article of interest is the first.
NDs means negligent discharges.
Muzzle direction is the primary safety;
always has been, always will be.
-- Bill Rogers
----- Training -----
". . . fools despise wisdom and instruction."
-- Proverbs 1:7 NRSV
"Reasons for training:
1. You don't know what you don't know.
2. Much of what you know is wrong.
3. It's good to have some of the answers to the test before taking it."
-- Claude Werner the Tactical Professor
I have taken classes from Tom Givens. I have read his works.
I have corresponded with him. If you ask him a question by email,
he will answer your question. Which puts him head and shoulders
above most professors that I've had (including the ones at the
Ivy League universities). He has corrected me on many things and
has never spoken down to me.
Tom Givens says -
The private citizen should work toward competence in:
Presentation from concealment while moving off the line of force.
Anatomically important hits at 3 to 7 yards.
Anatomically important hit out to 25 yards.
These skills should be mastered before other skills are added
to one's repertoire. It's all about remembering what's important
and keeping things in perspective.
Inspect the ammo that you will be carrying:
Check the primer, is it there? is it sticking out? is it backwards?
is it damaged?
Check the case mouth and rim, burrs? damage?
Check the bullet, tight? correct seating depth?
Check the cartridge, (after you have disassembled the pistol)
drop the cartridge into the chamber, head space? loose or tight?
[If it disappears into the chamber or sticks out of the chamber,
it's probably the wrong ammo. Discovering these things in combat
would be the definition of a bad day. -- Jon Low]
If you are worried about family members getting access to your
pistol, lock it up. Don't unload and load daily, as this will
damage the primers, making the cartridges unreliable.
Move your visual focus from the target to where the front sight
will be when you bring the front sight to your line of sight.
(This is subtle and was initially difficult for me to do.
But, it speeds up the presentation considerably. -- Jon Low)
The armed person must train in:
2. Gun handling
The 3 equally essential elements of shooting are:
Speed, derived from efficiency, not hustle.
[Sun Tzu said a fast moving army does not look like it is moving fast.
But, every time you look at it, it is moving. Similarly, fast shooters
do not look like they are moving fast. Because they are not. (There
is a physical and physiological limit to how fast humans move.) It's
that they have eliminated all extraneous movement. -- Jon Low]
Power, what you chose to bring to the fight.
Accuracy, only hits count.
Seek out some competent basic hand-to-hand training.
Trying to work on everything at once leads to improving nothing
significantly. It is far better to concentrate your attention on
one or two skills in each session. (So, you have to have a plan
for the training session.)
Never rely on your subjective idea of how well you are doing,
you will just about always be wrong. (So, you have to time and
A properly designed course of fire can accomplish several things:
1. It adds structure and accountability to your session.
2. It makes you cycle through all the skills you need to work on.
3. It provides an objective view of performance, rather than a
subjective view which is often not accurate.
4. It identifies weak areas, so you know what to work on.
5. It allows you to check your skill against a known standard.
6. It allows some stress inoculation.
7. It provides documentation of work done and progress made.
Watch their hands.
Stay out of doorways.
Stay away from corners.
Maintain light and noise discipline.
Do not relax too soon.
From "Concealed Carry Class" by Tom Givens, Gun Digest Books, 2019.
This book is full of insights. I will be changing many things in
my classes based on Tom's wisdom. Tom and I don't agree on many things,
that's why I so enjoy reading his books.
"The real value of training, though, is that it improves competence,
which leads to a higher level of confidence."
-- Rehn & Daub
Zak George says,
"The irony about teaching . . . is that the faster you try to get
results, the slower your progress will be. Take your time and you'll
achieve success sooner."
"You will not be able to teach . . . if your attention is divided."
[Similarly, you will not be able to learn if your attention is divided.
So, leave your phones out in your cars. If you are so important that
you have to step out of class to take a call, you are too important
to be in the class in the first place. Just leave. -- Jon Low]
". . . training is an unregulated industry. Anyone without any
qualifications whatsoever can call themselves a . . . trainer. And
believe me they do! This obviously leads to a lot of bad options out
[The NRA Instructor certifications may not be the gold standard,
but they do maintain a standard and they are inexpensive. Tom Givens
does a good job of vetting the instructors that he invites to the
annual Tactical Conference. You can find a list of instructors and
a description of what they teach at
And of course, personal referrals are good. -- Jon Low]
"When introducing new concepts during your primary training sessions,
you should be in a familiar environment such as inside your house.
[I've taught many classes in my living room, or the student's living room,
or a room in the student's church building. I strongly agree with Zak's
statement. -- Jon Low]
In general, one hour of formal training per day, split up into 3 to 6
training sessions, is best. But that's not all! You have the rest of
the day to do more casual (or secondary) training in real-world situations."
[Absolutely, when I take my class to lunch at a restaurant, we are all
carrying concealed to practice carrying concealed. We are all vying for
the tactical seats. We are all looking for escape routes, doors,
windows, first aid kits, fire extinguishers, cash registers, etc. As
the students eat, the instructors give the lectures. Everyone is in
condition yellow. We are also training when we are walking to and from
our cars in the parking lot; looking for lines of fire that don't
endanger bystanders and safe backstops for our bullets. So, not a minute
is wasted. -- Jon Low]
[Some instructors teach way too much material in a block of
instruction, because they claim that otherwise the student doesn't
feel he's gotten his money's worth. Only when the student has that
drinking from a fire hose, overwhelmed by information, experience
does the student feel he's getting his money's worth. That may be
so. But, it's not conducive to learning. -- Jon Low]
"You train for the people who love you."
-- Tatiana Whitlock
If you don't have a log book for your training, you're not serious
about training. If you don't plan exactly what you're going to do when
you go to the range or during your dry practice session at home, your
practice session isn't going to be very productive. If you are not
recording the results of your practice session in your log book,
you will have nothing to read to plan your next practice session.
So, you won't be starting from where you left off the last time. Rather,
you'll be starting from scratch all over again. It's the difference
between 20 year of experience and one year of experience repeated 20 times.
Don't laugh. I've seen such persons in the software industry. I was
a Lead Member of the Engineering Staff at Lockheed Martin for many years.
"The real value of training and practice isn't gaining technical competence,
it's achieving confidence in your abilities."
-- Claude Werner the Tactical Professor
[You might want to read that sentence again. It's sort of deep. -- Jon Low]
Training vs. Experience
The bad guys have more training than you do. 40% in the military,
that means 60% in the private sector. [When I taught at Front Sight,
there were students who were members of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club.
When I taught in South Carolina there were students who were members of
the Pagan's Motorcycle Club. They had no criminal record.] What training,
beyond the state mandated training to acquire your permit to carry, do you have?
The bad guys practice more than you do. 23 times a year.
How many times a year do you practice?
The bad guys have more gunfight experience than you do.
More than 40% of the criminals identified in the study had at least
one gunfight experience before attacking the officer. 25% of the
attackers had been involved in more than five gunfights.
How many lethal force encounters have you been in where you did
not have to fire? How many where you had to fire? How many
where you actually hit the enemy? How many where you actually
caused a confirmed enemy casualty? (That includes dogs.)
I won't ask how much collateral damage you caused.
Care enough to continue your training.
"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
Requisite level of skill
How to achieve skills development through virtual training
Real-Life Disparity of Force Case
He told me: “As I went to draw my gun, I thought
‘I should have taken more training.' ”
Shooting Through Doors and Walls
Shooting at anything that you have not positively
identified is an act of criminal stupidity.
I attended the Forward Observer course in the Artillery School at
Schofield Barracks in Hawaii. The Army instructors told us to call
on Marine pilots when calling in an air strike. Because Marines would
fly in low and inverted over the target to get a positive visual
identification before attacking the target. If we called Air Force
pilots, they would drop their bombs from high altitude, scattering
their bombs all over the place. Perhaps hitting us. (Losing your
aircraft is a career killer in the Air Force.)
Yes, as a matter of fact there is a significant difference between the
branches of the Armed Forces. That's why I am so pleased with President
Trump's selection for command of the Space Force, General Jay Raymond.
THE CONCEALED CARRY TRAP – ARE YOU CAUGHT IN IT?
And what will you do if you are?
"Training is NOT an event, but a process.
Training is the preparation FOR practice".
-- Claude Werner
----- 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
The proper way to dry practice
"Be careful what you practice.
Because you will do in combat whatever you have practiced,
no matter how ridiculous."
-- "Shooting in Self-Defense" by Sara Ahrens
Slow is smooth (because you can control what you're doing).
Smooth is efficient (because elegance automatically removes inefficiencies).
Efficient is fast (because there is no wasted motion).
That's what people mean when they say, "Slow is fast."
"It's not daily increase but daily decrease - hack away at the inessentials!"
-- Bruce Lee
Proof that sufficient practice will allow you to do any task fast
and without conscious thought. Unconscious competence.
----- Techniques -----
"Use only that which works,
and take it from any place you can find it."
-- Bruce Lee
Video: How to manage .45 recoil with only 2 fingers
As Mike Ox says, the video is a demonstration to make a point,
not a how-to video.
This technique is what I learned at Front Sight in 1996.
High tight grip. Push forward with firing side hand. Pull
backward with support side hand. Voila! No muzzle flip.
Amazing how the same techniques are learned, lost, and
rediscovered over and over.
"Real fights are short."
-- Bruce Lee
Your Tactical Training Scenario- Shaking Hands
Tactics of Physical Penetration Testers
This is included in this section because maneuver is an essential part
of combat. Some day, you may need to get through that door.
----- Tactics -----
You win gunfights by not getting shot.
-- John Holschen
Timing . . . a Missing Component in Training
You Don’t Have to Shoot First; But You Better Do Something!
You don't have to let the enemy shoot first. Because once
you get shot, you might not be able to do anything.
Never shoot to wound. That is an act of criminal stupidity.
Never fire a warning shot. That is an act of criminal stupidity.
Check out the times cited in the article. The untrained person
has no concept of these times. You should have a deep understanding
of these general times and your specific times.
-- Carl von Clausewitz
----- Education -----
"You will never get smarter or broaden your horizons
if you're unwilling to learn from others and read."
-- Becca Martin
Why Do Stupid People Think They're Smart? The Dunning Kruger Effect (animated)
"Low ability people do not possess the skills needed to recognize
their own incompetence or lack of knowledge. Their poor self-awareness
leads them to overestimate their own capabilities."
"Cogito, ergo armatum sum." (I think, therefore armed am I.)
-- John Farnam
Cogito, ergo sum. (I think, therefore I exist.)
-- Rene Descartes
A philosophical proof of existence.
In case you missed John's allusion.
Spyderco Triangle Sharpmaker Instructional DVD
Highly educational. Bet you didn't know you could sharpen your
nail clippers and pinking shears.
***** ***** ***** Hardware ***** ***** *****
"I would like to see every
woman know how to handle
guns as naturally as they
know how to handle babies."
-- Annie Oakley
----- Gear (which includes you) -----
"Preparation doesn't assure victory. It assures confidence."
-- Amit Kalantri
Tips on Winter Wear for Concealed Carry from Chris Cerino
In Defense of the Elderly
Survival for the “Seasoned Citizen”
(in the context of pistols for weak people or people with arthritis)
"The 9mm Walther CCP sports a novel reverse gas piston design
offering a very mild racking force. The 1911 pistols in .22TCM from
Rock Island Armory are also comically light to charge. Some pistoleros
will poo-poo the idea of carrying a gun throwing a tiny 40-gr. JHP
bullet at 2,000 feet per second for defensive purposes. I’d be
willing to bet those skeptics have never been shot with one."
"By properly maintaining your machine and packing the right
iron you can remain tactically viable well into your golden years."
Massad Ayoob on why the Springfield Armory XD pistol is good.
Greg Ellifritz on why the Springfield Armory XD pistol is bad.
I've been using and carrying a Springfield Armory XD Tactical
in 45 ACP since Louis Awerbuck (1 Special Services Battalion,
South African Defence Force) recommended it. Lt. Bernardo Diaz
(1st Radio Battalion, Fleet Marine Force Pacific) arranged for
Yavapai Firearms Academy to come to Hawaii to give us a class.
A friend at work asked me for my recommendations on a shotgun
for his wife, who is small, weak, and frail for home defense.
I told him that I did not know, but I would ask experts.
Vicki Farnam, John Farnam, Tom Givens, and Massad Ayoob responded
to my request for information. They all recommended carbines that
fired pistol cartridges.
[Study] Home Defense Overpenetration: Shotgun, Handgun, Rifle
----- Technical -----
"The shorter the fight, the less hurt you get."
-- John Holschen
Gunsmithing - How to Extract a Broken Shell from a Rifle Chamber
Sig Sauer sells replacement parts for their
'double action / single action' pistols, such as the P226,
that drastically reduce the length of the reset.
Which makes trigger control much easier.
Adam (a friend at work), who is competent, was able to do the job
in a few minutes on his desk at work. But, I would recommend you
take it to a gunsmith, because it's not an easy job.
"Destiny doesn't make appointments,
nor does she waste her time with the naive and unready!"
-- John Farnam
***** ***** ***** Instruction ***** ***** *****
Colonel Robert Lindsey to his fellow trainers:
"We are not God's gift to our students.
Our students are God's gift to us."
----- Instructors -----
Remember, the students who require the extra effort are the ones who need us the most!
-- John Farnam
What is the difference between the master and student?
The master has failed more times than the student has tried.
John Farnam says we are here to fail magnificently.
We learn from our failures. We don't learn much from our
Qui docet, discit. (Who teaches, learns.)
-- motto of the American Society of Law Enforcement Trainers
"Be careful what you teach. Because your students will do in combat
whatever you have trained them to do, no matter how ridiculous.
Be careful what you practice. Because you will do in combat whatever you
have practiced, no matter how ridiculous."
-- "Shooting in Self-Defense" by Sara Ahrens
"Every time I teach a class,
I discover I don't know something."
-- Clint Smith, Director of Thunder Ranch
----- Pedagogy -----
Teach positive. Teach what to do. Don't talk about what not to do.
-- John Farnam
"The biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has happened."
-- (Attribution unknown)
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.
"Train, Practice, Compete
are the key elements in the development of humans."
-- John M. Buol, Jr.
***** ***** ***** Legal, Political, and Philosophical ***** ***** *****
How do you win a gunfight?
Don't be there.
-- John Farnam
--- Start, Concerning the White Settlement, TX Church ---
Firearms instructor took out gunman at Texas church service
The facts indicate a high level of training and discipline
on the part of the church security team. Six persons on the
team presented their weapons from concealment. But, only one
person fired. And that one person fired only one shot.
They were all looking for lines of fire that did not endanger
any good guys and safe backgrounds in case they missed or their
bullet passed through the bad guy. Bravo!
Analysis of Murders in White Settlement, TX Church
YouTube.com has put a snowflake button on the video.
You have to click on the button to see the video.
The first guy to get shot, took more than 3 seconds to present from concealment
and fire. He never fired a shot, because the bad guy shot him at 3 seconds. If he
had presented and fired in less than 3 seconds, he would have gotten the first shot.
If you practice, you can present from concealment and fire in about 1.5 seconds.
The first guy to get shot had to stand up to present. That's why you should
carry your pistol in such a manner that you can present from a seated position.
He was in a position to fire on the bad guy without standing up. If you stand up in
such a situation, you're going to draw attention to yourself.
Firearms instructor who trained parishioners brought down Texas church gunman with a single shot
Gunfight start to finish in 6 seconds. When did the first cops show up?
The greatest deterrent to the next mass shooting is a good person with a gun
Jeoff Williams, regional director of Texas Department of Public Safety,
told reporters, “The citizens who were inside that church undoubtedly saved
242 other parishioners.”
Congressman Thomas Massie, Kentucky Republican, said,
“I shudder to think what would have transpired had that church been a gun-free zone.”
On One America News: Discussing the Concealed Carry Permit holder who stopped the Texas Church Shooting
Armed Citizens Stop Murderer After Gun Control Fails at Texas Church
Situational Awareness Skills: Texas Church Shooting Take-Away
Important lessons learned.
The purpose of gun-control laws and gun-free-zones is to create
unarmed victims for armed criminals to prey upon. The resulting
carnage is then used by liberals to advance their political agenda.
Of course, it doesn't make sense to you. But, it does make sense
to the people who vote for liberals. They don't think the way you
think. They think the way criminals think. That's why liberals
pass laws to reinstate the voting rights of felons. That's why
liberals pass laws to give voting rights to criminal aliens. All
illegal aliens are criminals, by definition. We cannot change the
way liberals think, because it's not a matter of education,
because it's not a matter of ignorance. It's a belief system.
It's not a philosophy, because philosophies are philosophically consistent.
Which means there are no logical contradictions, no hypocrisies.
--- End, Concerning the White Settlement, TX Church ---
Homicide Numbers: Up or Down?
Witness statements and the self defender's statement
Tennessee's alternative "concealed only" permit and why you should not pick it
"THAT is why law-abiding citizens buy millions of these firearms."
-- Amy Swearer To House Judiciary
USMC Firearm Policy Updated to Allow Concealed Carry for Self-Defense
Sheriff Offers Free CCW Classes So Churches Can Shoot Back
118 Virginia Local Governments Now 2nd Amendment Sanctuaries
Virginia's 'Second Amendment Sanctuaries'
7 keys to winning a use-of-force lawsuit
"You don’t want your attorney to be a first-timer . . ."
An Open Letter to Women Who Want Gun Control
Statistics for the nerds among us
"More Guns in Private Hands Than Previously Estimated"
15 Forgotten Benefits of Shooting – Infographic
Andrew Branca has a valuable gift for you,
an info-graphic describing the 5 elements of the law of self defense.
You may download a copy free of charge at
***** ***** ***** Survival ***** ***** *****
"If you prepare for the emergency,
the emergency ceases to exist!"
-- Sherman House
How to Spot a Bad Guy
A Comprehensive Look at Body Language and Pre-Assault Indicators
Gunfight anatomy: The Richard Mendoza incident
Hearing loss is permanent and cumulative.
Don't get shot: Dealing with police during a traffic stop
24 things cops know, but most people don’t
7. If you grew up with guns in the house, you probably knew how to get to them,
even though your parents thought they had them hidden or locked away.
Don’t think your kids are any less ingenious.
“Of all human lamentations, without doubt, the most common is,
‘If only I had known!’
But, we don’t get to know!
Days of death and fire begin no differently than those of love and warmth!”
-- Tom Clancy
***** ***** ***** 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 ***** ***** *****
When it's least expected, you're selected.
-- John Farnam
When the angels are busy, God uses humans.
The government advised a man to evacuate because a hurricane was
coming. He said no, because God will send a miracle to save him.
A convoy of trucks and busses passed by his house and tried to get
him to get in and leave the area. He refused, saying God would save
him. As the waters rose, a boat came by to rescue him. But, he
refused their help, as God would rescue him. As he sat on the roof
of his house with water lapping at his feet and the winds howling,
a Coast Guard helicopter lowered a line to rescue him. He refused.
When he got to heaven, he asked God why He had not rescued him.
God said, "I sent you a warning, a bus, a boat, and a helicopter.
What were you waiting for?"
When you get to heaven, I hope God doesn't have to ask you,
"What were you waiting for?"
Semper Fidelis (Always Faithful),
Jonathan D. Low
The Warrior's Prayer
Please give us discernment to distinguish
friend from foe from innocent bystanders.
Give us clear vision so our aim is true.
Give us calm so we execute correctly.
Give us spiritual maturity so that we stop the attack
without excessive force, without revenge.
In Jesus name,