***** ***** ***** Software ***** ***** *****
It’s about prevention, not response.
-- Michael Mann
----- Mindset -----
"Panic is simply the lack of preprogrammed responses."
-- Tom Givens
"Why You Should Trust Your Gut With Personal Defense" by Sheriff Jim Wilson
Avoiding Surprise Attacks by Ron Borsch
". . . they [think they are] multi-tasking . . . however . . . they are actually Multi-MISSING."
". . . there are three instances where there can be an unintentional discharge. According to
Dr. Roger Enoka, they are the startle effect, loss of balance, and maximum exertion with the non-gun hand."
"Murphy’s Law: “Nothing is as easy as it looks; everything takes longer than you expect;
and if anything can go wrong – it will, at the worst possible moment”. "
Duel at the Dumbster (Part VI) by Claude Werner
I love the quote from the "The Godfather" by Mario Puzo.
Concealed Carry: Armed Self-Defense by John Murphy
Dos and Don'ts
"In fact, just a 1.0 second's warning - when properly leveraged - can give you
an astronomical advantage . . . even over a younger, better-armed and
"In order to pre-position . . . and in order to stay out of check . . .
YOU NEED TO SEE THEM COMING."
"First, you need to have been aware.
This allows you to be aware of their presence.
Which allows you to be aware of their possible intent."
-- Patrick Kilchermann
If you haven't received expert training and practiced the technique, you won't
have confidence in using the technique. So, you're not going to try to do it.
If you've had expert training in the technique and practiced it (2000 repetitions),
you're going to feel confident in your ability to use it in combat, under stress.
So, it becomes a viable option. It's in your repertoire.
This is the difference between taking that left handed shot around the corner
from a squatting position (to be able to shoot under the table), and not even consider
You saw the situation and recognized what needed to be done. If you have the ability /
confidence to solve the problem, you execute. If not, you . . . (Hey, fleeing is
sometimes the smart thing to do. It's always a judgment call.)
Some instructors preach that you don't need a large repertoire. They say you
only need to master a few basic techniques. I think that is the bigotry of low expectations.
(Hat tip to the second President Bush.) In training, the student will rise to the
level of expectations. Or, fail. Which is okay. Failure is the path to the higher
level. John Farnam says so.
Self-defense is never what you practiced. Because you don't dictate the engagement.
If you've been able to practice the scenario before execution, you're on offense.
Self-defense is always defense. Which is much harder than offense.
"Fear is an instinct. Courage is a choice."
-- Rear Admiral Joseph Kernan, USN
----- Safety -----
Jeff Cooper's Rules of Gun Safety
RULE I: ALL GUNS ARE ALWAYS LOADED.
RULE II: NEVER LET THE MUZZLE COVER ANYTHING YOU ARE NOT WILLING TO DESTROY.
RULE III: KEEP YOUR FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER UNTIL YOUR SIGHTS ARE ON THE TARGET.
RULE IV: BE SURE OF YOUR TARGET.
“No live ammo . . .” by Kathy Jackson
"Safety rules and protocols are like multiple layers of Swiss cheese.
Every single one of them has a hole or two. We stack them up so that no
one hole goes all the way through the stack."
"The Best Age To Teach Kids About Guns" by Jacob Paulsen
Teach safety. Who knows what tragedy you will prevent?
Teach those who cannot attend the prestigious gun schools. Who knows how
many lives you will save?
Let the priests save souls. We are here on Earth to save lives. As our
Bible tells us, store up your treasure in heaven, not on Earth.
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
----- Training -----
You need training because:
You don't know what you don't know.
Much of what you know is false.
It's good to the have the answers before the criminal tests you.
-- Claude Werner (paraphrased)
"Friday Fundamentals 01 – Establishing Your Baseline" by the Tactical Professor
"As in any journey, you have to know where you’re starting from
before you can get to where you want to go."
"Your Tactical Training Scenario - Bank Robbery Gone Wrong." by Greg Ellifritz
"Are You Training For Fads, Fantasy Or A Fight?" by Tom Givens
"The real value of training and practice isn't gaining technical competence,
it's achieving confidence in your abilities."
-- Claude Werner
I had a luncheon meeting with a young lady (age 26). Though I offered to buy her lunch,
she declined, so I ate in front of her. I was hungry. She explained to me that she needed
a Tennessee Handgun Permit, because it would allow her to get acting gigs in New York. She
lives in New York city, but was living with her parents in Brentwood, TN during the Covid-19
pandemic. I offered to give her 20 hours of classroom training, so that she would be
competent in safe gun handling and manipulation (and hopefully have a better mindset). But,
she wasn't willing to invest the time or effort in such an undertaking. She seemed to
think that she could be John Wick without training. I assured her that Keanu Reeves has
invested a lot of time and effort training and practicing. (There are YouTube.com videos
of him at Taran Tactical.) And to many of us, he still looks silly, though not cringe worthy.
There is no substitute for training.
I had an email conversation with a lady (in her mid 30's, I think) who told
me about her firearms training with persons whom I was unfamiliar with. So, she gave
me details and I looked up her instructors. There is a whole industry of instructors
who specialize in firearms training for movie and TV actors. This training is very
different from what one would find at Tac Con or one of the gun schools that we are
familiar with. I tried to explain to the lady how her theatrical training differed
from what I would call real world training. The dominant difference being mindset and
self-defense law (or lack thereof).
I was on the fencing team (foil) at Columbia University (the one in New York city)
and I fenced for a while on my own (foil and epee) after college. So, I sort of know
how to fence. I audited a theatrical fencing class (because of a girl) and quickly
realized that that training would not have prepared the actors to participate in an
International Fencing Federation (FIE which stands for Fédération Internationale d'Escrime)
match. Similarly, theatrical firearms training is not going to prepare you for street
combat. I know this is obvious to you. But, it is not obvious to everyone, so I write
about it. Because you may encounter this in the future.
“You are no more armed because you are wearing a pistol
than you are a musician because you own a guitar.”
from Principles of Personal Defense by
Col. Jeff Cooper, USMC, (1920 – 2006 A.D.)
Places to get training:
The annual Tactical Conference is really the best training per dollar.
(You have to be patient. It may take several minutes for the page to load, until then
only the splash screen will appear.)
This 3 day training fest goes in March of every year, but sells out by October
of the previous year.
Rangemaster Firearms Training Services, LLC
Defense Training International, LLC
Active Response Training
The Law of Self Defense
Massad Ayoob Group
Yavapai Firearms Academy Ltd.
http://www.yfainc.com/ [web site does not work]
[They no longer offer training. I just list it because it brings back fond memories.]
The following will cost you a bit more (~$2000 for the 4-day handgun class):
Dr. Ignatius Piazza likes to refer to his gun school as a resort.
They send a cadre out to Nashville, TN every year to teach their 5-day handgun class at Royal Range.
Clint Smith says that every time he teaches a class, he discovers the doesn't know something.
What a beautiful attitude.
You have to write to the following gentlemen to request training.
I don't know of any open enrollment classes.
He's listed as an instructor at The Academy at 355. I took a class from him at Tac Con.
When you practice at home or on the range, think everything through.
When you go to competition or are in combat, don’t think. Just attack
the problem, because that is what will happen in combat. In a high stress
situation you won’t have time to think, you will revert to your training.
You will not panic. You will execute as you have trained. That’s why
training is so important. (Thanks to Mike Maples)
General Patton said that trained soldiers do not panic in combat;
they behave as they were trained.
Tom Givens says that panic is the result of not having a pre-programmed
response to the situation that you automatically default to. So, having
pre-programmed responses prevents panic, because if you have practiced them,
you will automatically execute them.
“No one rises to the occasion. That's just a myth.
They sink to the level of training that they have mastered.”
– Ken Alexandrow, Agape Tactical
"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 Dry Practice Starter Kit" by Nate Parker
[Years ago the National Rifle Team coach told us that we should be visualizing
10 perfect shots for every shot we fire dry. A few years later, I remember Ignatius
Piazza telling us that we should be dry practicing 10 perfect shots for every live
shot fired. So, in reality, serious dedicated practice requires very few live rounds.
A lot of the maneuver and decision making can be practiced dry. -- Jon Low]
"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
My experience in the Marine Corps was that the important missions were always done
by small groups that were hand picked from the larger units. When Marines disappeared
from the unit, they had been tapped for special assignments.
Stop-and-Go Drill by Jeff Johnston
"Coach & Shooter: Getting Help Is Smart" by Tiger McKee
"Each single performance during practice is critical. Experts agree for every
one bad repetition around 40 or more good repeats are necessary to push the bad
one over to the side — but it’s still in the memory “bank.” Remember the saying,
“You don’t rise to the occasion; you default to your lowest level?” Those bad
repetitions are your lowest level of competency. Making mistakes in your practice
is detrimental to the learning process, and your performance when responding to a
dangerous attack. With the Coach & Shooter technique mistakes are identified
immediately and corrective actions applied — before they become a habit."
"Why You Should Practice Drawing From Concealment" by Sheriff Jim Wilson
This article is about the preparation for the presentation.
"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
----- Techniques -----
"Use only that which works,
and take it from any place you can find it."
-- Bruce Lee
"How to Use Verbal and Non-Verbal Communication for Self Defense" by Sheriff Jim Wilson
". . . defensive communications should be as loud as they are clear."
Notice how these single word signals are similar to those used in mountain climbing.
I remember learning the military hand signals for maneuvering units in the field.
The only one I remember is "squad". We only used them for noise discipline, and only
until first contact (when the shooting started). Now days everyone's got radios.
Which are fine, until the Russian jammers kick in. Russian jammers are cheap and everyone's
got them. Especially, the bad guys (including the Mexican drug cartels).
"How to Handle Squib Loads and Hangfires" by Il Ling New
Logical advice on handling hangfires. Immediately clear the malfunction.
Do not wait to see if it goes BANG. Read the article to understand why.
"Handgun Skills: Clearing Malfunctions – Keep it Simple" by Salvatore
You have to read carefully to follow Salvatore's logic. He is sacrificing
reliability (in the sense of taking care of a low probability event) for speed.
Whether or not you consider the case getting stuck in the chamber and requiring
several racks to eject, a low probability event is your judgment call.
It's important to know what to do. It's equally important to know what not to do.
If nothing else, so you can inform newbies as to why they should not do that.
"Leave Cross Draw To Lee Van Cleef, Unless You Can’t Help It" by Sam Hoober
"Man Defends Neighbor Against Pit Bull Attack, Shoots Dog And Victim" by Mark Ehlen
[In Ralph Mroz's class, he teaches to lock up (physically grab a hold of the
good guy and hang on tight) with the good guy and then do a contact shot into the bad guy
(or dog as the case may be). That minimizes the possibility of shooting the good guy.
I've practiced this technique in force-on-force classes. It works. -- Jon Low]
[I wouldn't be concerned about over penetrating a dog. My friend from the
Palmetto Gun Club in South Carolina shot a dog that attacked him with 5 rounds of
45 ACP ball ammo. All 5 hit. None exited. -- Jon Low]
"Being able to see the sights and how much it matters" by Nate
"For now, there is also a decision that has to be made. Do I shoot without a light
and give up a little time on the front end, or employ the light and give up the time on
the back end? My gut feeling is that getting a faster first hit is more important than
being faster to hits 3, 4, or 5. That is just a gut feeling though, and not based in
anything actually concrete."
[Data is good. It strips away all the non-sense. Look at Nate's data.
Ya, getting the first hit on target sooner is good, assuming you can positively
identify the target. Can you? without a light. -- Jon Low]
Yes, as a matter of fact this does pertain to you shooting your pistol.
Can you see how?
"Jasmin Ouschan Ep. 12 Stance #tablestories" by Jasmin Ouschan
Consider carefully what she says about aiming and eye dominance.
"Aiming starts with the feet."
Now where have I heard that before? Musashi perhaps? Depends on which
translation you read.
Did you notice that her explanation of how to hold the cue is exactly that
used in fencing? Of course, no one is trying to take your stick from you when
playing pool, so the analogy is not perfect. But, the mechanics are similar.
I had a student who was using a pistol with a small grip (because it was a small
pistol, because he wanted concealability). He had large hands, in particular he had
long thumbs (relative to the size of the grip). He shot with a thumbs forward grip.
Problem: His trigger finger would stop when it made contact with the tip of his
firing side thumb when he shot one handed. He thought that he had hit break dawn
(having taken all the slack out of the trigger), but he had actually hit his thumb.
So, the pistol would not fire.
Solution: Use a high thumb grip. Thumbs up, not forward.
"Shooting Stance: Does It Matter In A Defensive Situation?" by Richard A. Mann
". . . during a life-and-death fight for your life on the street,
there are no rules, and you cannot out-point your adversary."
[You never need to turtle up. Tense muscles are slow muscles. -- Jon Low]
When shooting from close contact with one hand, we generally teach to pull
the elbow back as far as possible, press the bottom of the pistol grip against your
rib cage, and tilt the top of the pistol away from your body to prevent the slide
from getting fouled in your shirt.
If you've got big breasts, a longer barrel would reduce the probability of
shooting your breast. Tilting the pistol further out away from your body would
help. Turning you body would help. Moving the pistol forward would help,
but that gets the pistol closer to the bad guy and makes it easier for him to
grab your pistol.
I used to teach "pressing the bottom of the grip against your rib cage and
tilting the top of the pistol away from your body so the slide doesn't get caught
in your shirt." The problem is that the pistol will pivot freely around the
contact point without an index for a consistent position. Now days, I teach
"High thumb grip. Thumb also pressed against the rib cage." I believe every
thing should be positively indexed (touching something, preferably pressed
solidly up against something, preferably bone) so that nothing is floating
around in space. This makes for a more consistent position.
Consistency is accuracy.
"Unarmed Defense: 8 Steps to Take Down an Active Killer" by Ryan Hoover
"What the hell does “Run-Hide-Fight” mean?"
The author, Jake, is glossing over deep psychological science. So, I hesitated
to include this article at first.
"Gunfighting and Neuroscience: Why Using Your Front Sight Might Kill You" by Jake
"Less experienced shooters will need a hard focus on their sights to verify
their gun is aligned correctly. They do not have the requisite practice time to
look at a spot and line the gun up subconsciously."
"Scared people are trigger happy, and less accurate."
"With practice it can feel like the gun presents itself while you watch the assailant."
The primary source,
"Improving Visual Processing During Deadly Force Encounters and Recommendations for Officer Training"
by Steven C. Chraca
This is a survey paper, not an experimental paper. The author, Chraca, is drawing
conclusions from the research of others.
Louis Awerbuck would be pleased that he is still being referenced in scholarly papers
lo these many years after his death.
It is good that the author, Chraca, notes the use of misdirection in magic tricks.
This paper has to be read carefully. The rookie officers looking at their gun does
not mean they were looking at the sights of their gun to aim, it means they were looking
at their gun (perhaps to reassure themselves that their gun was there). And I had to
trace back to the citation,
Ripoll, H., Papin, J. P., Guezennec, Y., Verdy, P. & Philip, M. (1985).
"Analysis of visual scanning patterns of pistol shooters." Journal of Sports Sciences, 3:2
to figure this out.
So, what the author, Jake, is talking about are persons who have achieved a level of
unconscious competence. As in --
"Intentionally Incompetent" avoids training for fear of exposing his incompetence to others;
"Unconsciously Incompetent" doesn't know what he doesn't know, because he has had
no training or poor training;
"Consciously Incompetent" knows that he is incompetent, and so hopefully is motivated
to seek training;
"Consciously Competent" knows what to do and how to do the techniques and tactics,
but must think about what he is doing;
"Unconsciously Competent" knows what to do and doesn't have to think about how to do it,
because through practice it has become automatic.
But, there are very few persons operating at an unconscious competency level.
And once you take them out of their book (chess term) or normal scope of operations,
it is unlikely they can maintain a level of unconscious competence.
Visual focus is closely correlated to mental concentration. You are concentrating
on what you are focused on. If you're not concentrating on it, even if it's in your
field of vision, you can't see it. Such is "inattentional blindness". (Remember the
gorilla video?) The author's reference to the "quiet eye" is a reference to visual focus,
which is the object of what the mind is concentrating on. The author, Chraca, discusses
subjects reacting to things in the field of view that are not being concentrated on,
but this is very nuanced with all kinds of caveats.
These blog postings are hard to write, because the audience is laymen, but the
discussion is of a technical nature in a specialized field. So, I know I'm not doing
"Bring the gun up, not your head down." by Tamara Keel (I think? The author doesn't
identify herself anywhere on her web site.)
"Bring the gun up to your face, don't try and stuff your face down on the gun."
[I wish I could get the kids on my junior rifle team to do this. -- Jon Low]
"It's not daily increase but daily decrease - hack away at the inessentials!"
-- Bruce Lee
----- Tactics -----
How do you win a gunfight?
Don't be there.
-- John Farnam
"Pizza Delivery Drive Defends His Life Against Armed Robber, Then Is Killed By Accomplice"
by Mark Ehlen of https://www.marksmanshipfirearmstraining.com/training-blog/
"It’s probably just a case of the girl not appearing like any kind of a threat
as she walked across the street toward him. Most 17-year-old girls just don’t look
dangerous to a 37-year-old man. Essentially, it looks like she ambushed him when
his guard was down and was probably quite shaken from the first attack."
"Stay alert. Don’t be too quick to reholster your gun. And don’t let anyone
approach you that you are not sure is safe."
"Tactical Moment" by John Holschen
"Homeowner Exchanges Gunfire With Would Be Intruder On Other Side Of Front Door" by Mark Ehlen
"Normally shooting through a door is a major no-no. Homeowners have gone
to prison over that move. Besides grossly violating Universal Safety Rule No. 4,
know your target and what’s beyond it, shooting through a door usually means
that you don’t know who or what’s on the other side. It can also be argued that
if the threat is still on the other side of the door are they really a deadly
force threat at that point?"
Yes, there is a greater than zero probability that your pistol bullets will
penetrate body armor. There are all kinds of body armor on the market, between
the rubbish issued to military police and the plate carriers issued to artillerymen.
[Artillerymen don't run around and maneuver as infantry, so they generally wear the
best (heaviest) armor.] (The Jihadists in Garland, TX wore body armor, but the
police officer, Gregory Stevens, shot through it with his standard issue pistol.)
You win gunfights by not getting shot.
-- John Holschen
----- Education -----
"You will never get smarter or broaden your horizons
if you're unwilling to learn from others and read."
-- Becca Martin
"Concealed Carry: Issues and Perspectives" by John Murphy
After a few years in academia, I came to realize that professors do not write their textbooks
to educate their students. They write their textbooks to impress their peers. The opinion of
their peers determines their reputation (and the number of votes they get for tenure), not the
opinion of their students.
We are fortunate in our firearms / self-defense industry that because the vast majority of
our writings are on blog postings, instructors actually write to educate their students.
Language of the art and arcane terminology are almost non-existent. An instructor's reputation
is whether or not a student will recommend a given blog posting to another student.
“By three methods we may learn wisdom:
first, by reflection, which is noblest;
second, by imitation, which is easiest; and
third by experience, which is the bitterest.”
"How to Read More: 8 Reasons and 7 Strategies to Read More Books" by RYAN HOLIDAY
The Physics of Machine-Gun Fire
Hat Tip to Practical Eschatology at
A series of videos by John Murphy
"Cogito, ergo armatum sum." (I think, therefore armed am I.)
-- John Farnam
***** ***** ***** Hardware (which includes you) ***** ***** *****
"I would like to see every
woman know how to handle
guns as naturally as they
know how to handle babies."
-- Annie Oakley
----- Gear -----
“Mission drives the gear train.”
-- Pat Rogers
"Features to Avoid When Buying an IWB Holster" by Greg Ellifritz
You can get an excellent inside the waistband holster from Craft Holsters,
I recommend the "OPEN-MUZZLE IWB HOLSTER"
If you're wondering why they are so cheap (cheaper than the Galco King Tuk
which is mass produced), it's because of currency speculation between the U.S. dollar
and the Slovak koruna. (The holsters from Craft Holsters are handmade when you
The market can remain irrational longer than you can stay solvent.
Ya, it takes a long time, but that's because they start making it when you
order it. They don't keep stock in inventory. In the U.S. you have to pay taxes
on inventory. In Slovakia it's worse. You ever wonder why no one saves money in
Israel? The inflation rate is too high, the money loses value faster than the
interest rate on any financial instrument. Many countries have gone through hyper
inflation. If you think it could never happen in the U.S. you're being naive and
ignorant of history. It's like people saying, "We don't have to worry about being
arrested and thrown into prison camps. That could never happen in the U.S." Ask
U.S. citizens of Japanese ancestry who were around during World War II. When the
National Socialists, NAZI, controlled Germany et al, they arrested enemies of the
state and threw them into concentration camps and executed them. When the Democrats
were in control of the United States, they arrested the Japanese and threw them
into internment camps. (And the Democrat controlled U.S. Supreme Court ruled that
the internment was Constitutional. That's what happens when you allow Democrats
to pack the courts.) The U.S. citizens of Japanese ancestry couldn't work, so they
defaulted on their mortgages. So, when they were released, they were destitute.
What do destitute people do? They take government welfare. Now they are beholden
to the government and will vote for whichever politician promises them the most
welfare benefits. Being addicted to welfare generation after generation is
effectively the same as slavery. Think it couldn't happen here? It already has.
If the Republicans under President Abraham Lincoln had not initiated
The War of Northern Aggression against the Democrats, we would still have slavery
in the United States. Sometimes war is necessary to achieve policy changes.
Oh, does that hurt your delicate sensibilities? It should.
That's why we practice self-defense. We object to the policies of rape, robbery,
murder, etc. But, unlike the vast majority of the population, we are willing
to wage small scale shooting wars to enforce our policies.
"Oh, you people are so violent."
No, we people are so sane.
Here are the five factors we here at CCU recognize as all being equally
critical in holster (AND carry position) selection.
#1 - Safety. (It has to keep your trigger guard 100% secure and hold your
pistol firmly during a sprint or jumping jacks.)
#2 - Comfort. (If it's not comfortable, you won't have it on you when you need it most.)
#3 - Concealment. (It's got to be hidden. Otherwise, you're not going to want to carry it;
you won't ever be at ease; other people - good people and violent threats - may see
it and adjust their attack accordingly.)
#4 - SPEED. You should be able to get your pistol drawn and fire your first shot in
a MAXIMUM of 1.5 seconds from a multitude of 'body situations/positions'. This may sound
hard but it's not.
#5 - DISCRETION!!! The ability to draw SILENTLY and SECRETLY.
-- Pat Kilchermann
The Well Armed Woman sent me an email advertising Sticky Holsters. These
holsters collapse. So, you won't be able to holster with one hand. You have
to think ahead. What are you going to do to safely secure your pistol before
the cops arrive, so you don't get shot by the cops. Remember, cops are not
highly trained, nor do they practice much (if at all). No, you might not have
two hands available. You might be holding a baby (maybe not yours), you might
be injured, . . . No, dropping your pistol on the ground is not a good idea.
Someone else will take it. (And maybe use it against you.) You have a duty
to keep control of your pistol at all times. (until the cops take it from you)
You have to be able to holster with one hand. Otherwise, the holster is
not designed correctly.
If feasible, you are going to holster and conceal before the cops arrive.
Pay attention, so you see the cops before they see you. Which should be
possible (maybe not easy) as they will have flashing lights and sirens on.
["A gun can be destroyed when hit by a bullet in a fight." If you're not
familiar with the documented history of gun fights in the U.S., you might think
this far fetched. It's not. The author is not talking about shooting the gun
out of the other person's hand. He is talking about a gun getting hit by flying
bullets in the chaos of a real gunfight. Actually, there are lots of documented
cases. -- Jon Low]
"Lessons from an accidental discharge" by Dave Reichek
[Front Sight forbids use of Pyramid Triggers because their students have
had so many similar problems with these triggers. -- Jon Low]
Jewelry does not feed, clothe, or house anyone. So, to buy jewelry is wrong.
To wear jewelry is vanity. It's the same as flashing stacks of cash. You are
effectively saying, "I am rich.", "There exist people who will pay large ransoms
for me." If you need to show off to other people by displaying jewelry, you are
not spiritually mature.
I got a leather gun belt (1.5 inches wide)
and an inside the waistband magazine pouch (for my SA XD 45 ACP magazines)
from Craft Holsters.
The material quality and workmanship are very nice.
When I punched out holes along the entire length of the belt (as James Jager
had taught us, instructors, to do in John Farnam's instructor development class
to allow adjustment for student's use) I could see the quality of the leather.
The belt is not as thick as others, but it is very stiff (a good quality for a
gun belt that will have to support the weight of the pistol and ammunition).
The IWB magazine pouch is designed to allow the user to tuck in a shirt over
the magazine pouch (something I would never do). The leather is thick and
rugged. The pouch was tight on my magazine and after a month of daily use is
still just as tight.
I enthusiastically recommend these products.
"How to Conceal Spare Ammo" by Massad Ayoob
"News/Q&A Show: Feb. 11, 2021" by Andrew Branca
"But they [Tasers] often don’t work, folks. And they’re not that hard to defeat
by a suspect if the suspect knows what he’s doing. And you only get one or two shots
out of a TASER. And then it’s done until you go through a relatively complicated
[Andrew's point is that the banning of carotid choke holds (which are effective)
has forced law enforcement to use other means to subdue the violently resisting suspect.
My experience coincides with Andrew's view. Tasers, generally, don't work in the
real world. And when they do, they sometimes kill the suspect.
We were taught to use the blood choke in the Marine Corps. It's part of the
Marine Corps Martial Arts Program at the first level. -- Jon Low]
"Statutes don’t mean what they appear to mean, when you read them.
They mean what the courts say they mean, how the courts interpret and apply
those statutes. And that can be quite different than the plain English
meaning of the statute. So the best way to learn the law is not just rely
solely on a statute, although of course, you do need to know that. But to
also understand how the courts actually interpret and apply that statute.
And you can only learn that by reading court decisions."
[Andrew also writes about "Battered Spouse Syndrome" laws that waive the
"imminence" requirement from the 5 elements of self defense. So, the attack
does not have to be imminent, but the evidence has to show that the attack is
inevitable based on past behavior. And that evidence is allowed, when normally
it would be excluded as irrelevant. -- Jon Low]
Your hands cold? Elk skin gloves. I don't know the physics behind it,
but they work to keep your hands warm.
For 14% off almost anything they sell.
(When you hit their web site, the splash page should offer you 15% off your
first order in exchange for your email address.)
Free shipping on orders over $50.
Their store / bicycle shop is in Nolensville, just south of Nashville, TN.
I like to try on shoes before I buy them. The "Hoka One One" shoe has a thick
soft sole that is very nice for walking around on hard surfaces. I use them on
the job; and it has allowed me to work in-spite of bone a spur on my heel.
A student reported that the cold temperatures (around 11 degrees Fahrenheit
here in Nashville, TN) caused his pistol to freeze up and get stuck, as in the
sear was stuck to the bottom of the striker where they engage, and so would not
Keep your pistol warm, by keeping it close to your body, by carrying it in an
inside the waistband holster.
If you keep your pet mouse in the outside pocket of your down jacket,
when you get him out of your pocket he will be frozen solid. High order
animal, warm blooded, can't bring him back to life. If your pet is a bearded
dragon (a type of lizard) maybe you can warm him up and bring him back to
life, cold blooded, lower order life form. Your pistol is an inanimate object,
so you will definitely be able to warm her up in a few minutes and she will
function perfectly. The problem is 2-2-2, in civilian gunfights 1 or 2
rounds are fired from a distance of 2 yards in 2 seconds. Win or lose, the
gunfight is over in 2 seconds.
Of course, if you clean and lubricate your pistol correctly, it won't
freeze up, and will work in cold temperatures. But, keeping it warm is still
a better solution, because the low temperature will affect the burn rate of
the powder charge. So, the point of impact might not be where you think it
would be. You probably won't notice the difference in pistol combat, but
you will in artillery.
RECOIL magazine has a web site that lists available bulk ammo for sale.
“Your car is not a holster.”
– Pat Rogers
----- Technical -----
"Real fights are short."
-- Bruce Lee
"How to inspect your duty ammunition" by Mike Wood
"It sounds like a lot to do, but the process only takes a few minutes,
and it’s cheap insurance."
"The shorter the fight, the less hurt you get."
-- John Holschen
***** ***** ***** 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
Please learn from my experience (pieced together from witness observations).
After a shooting exercise in a class that I was teaching, the student removed his
magazine from his pistol. He racked the slide to clear the pistol. Nothing ejected
as expected, because there was nothing in the chamber, because he had completed the
exercise correctly. He did a chamber check by holding the pistol as if to rack the
slide, and then pulled the slide back to see that nothing was in the chamber.
He let the slide slam forward into battery.
So, what happened?
When he first racked the slide, he did not rack hard enough to eject the cartridge.
That's why you have to rack hard. Support side hand should hit the firing side shoulder
in the follow through.
When he pulled the slide back to check the chamber, the extractor claw was holding
the cartridge against the face of the bolt (slide). He couldn't see the cartridge
because his hand was hiding the cartridge from his view. His hand was too far forward,
covering part of the ejection port. That's why you have to do a proper chamber check.
Or, lock the slide to the rear and look.
So, ya, you can go through all the motions and still have a round in the chamber
if you're sloppy enough. Sort of like playing a sleight of hand trick on yourself.
Be careful what you teach.
Because your students will do in combat
whatever you have trained them to do,
no matter how ridiculous.
-- "Shooting in Self-Defense" by Sara Ahrens
----- Pedagogy -----
"The most valuable resource that all teachers have is each other.
Without collaboration, our growth is limited to our own perspectives."
-- Robert John Meehan
"Women’s Shooting Groups – Good & Bad" by Kathy Jackson
A deep dive into some painful psychology.
Teach positive. Teach what to do. Don't talk about what not to do.
-- John Farnam
Some papers on learning and technology assisted learning.
Hat tip to Marcus Wynne.
Some of you may be thinking, "What does this have to do with firearms or
self-defense training." or "How could I possible use this technology in training
my students." Look at any smallbore rifle team. They all have SCATT type systems.
It's hard to get the necessary data without the technology. Often, the shooter
does not know what he is doing, without the technology.
"I thought I was doing X. I know that I was doing X."
The SCATT says you are not doing X. So, guess what? You are not doing X.
X could be following through, or holding the sights on the target as the shot is
released, or releasing the shot between heartbeats, or breathing during the
shot process, or any number of other things. (I remember a shooter at an IPSC
match who nearly passed out at the end of a course of fire. He thought that
the stress had exhausted him. But, he was gasping for air because he hadn't
taken a breath from the buzzer to the last shot.)
I remember when the common way to get to and from Hawaii was on ship.
I remember friends and family taking the ocean liner Lurline to the mainland
and seeing them off at the port of Honolulu Harbor. I remember my Uncle Dave
Keane saying, "If God had wanted man to fly, He would have given us wings."
But, things change. You don't have to be a first adopter. But, you don't
want to be a dinosaur.
“The one important thing I have learned over the years
is the difference between taking one’s work seriously and
taking one’s self seriously.
The first is imperative and the second is disastrous.”
-- Prima Ballerina Dame Margot Fonteyn
An instructor should not expect any learning to take
place the first time new information is presented.
-- "Building Shooters" by Dustin Solomon
***** ***** ***** Legal, Political, and Philosophical ***** ***** *****
"Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.
It is wholly inadequate for the governance of any other.
-- John Adams, October 11, 1798
News/Q&A Show: Feb. 4, 2021 by Attorney Andrew Branca
Minnesota and Hawaii legislatures advancing stand-your-ground bills.
Expanding the scope of circumstances that allow for deadly defensive force.
Witness to shop-lifting decides to shoot at thieves, hits store employee instead.
[Incompetence has dire consequences. That's why you have to get training, and
you have to practice. -- Jon Low]
DON'T LET THE "IDEA" OF AMERICA DIE”
by Roy Huntington
“The prestige of government has undoubtedly been lowered considerably by the prohibition law.
For nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land
than passing laws which cannot be enforced.”
-- Albert Einstein, 1921
[We did the prohibition experiment and it failed. So we repealed that Constitutional
amendment. To repeat the same mistake with drugs, guns, prostitution, poverty, etc. is
an act of criminal stupidity. War on poverty? To think that such is possible is insanity.
-- Jon Low]
"ARMED “CASTLE” DEFENSE: GO OUTSIDE ???" by Steven Harris
Please note the nuances of Florida law. Yours might be very different.
You have to be alive to be prosecuted for a crime. Better to be alive and
prosecuted than dead. If you carry concealed correctly, nobody knows you are
carrying and you never get prosecuted. If you don't carry and bad things happen,
you and your loved ones are dead.
"Our Return to Feudalism!" by John Farnam
"Feudal Follow-up" by John Farnam
All of my friends who used to live in Chicago have left.
The last time I was in Chicago, we were sitting at a table on the sidewalk in
front of a restaurant, eating and drinking, and watching a riot down the
street. The Bulls had just won a national championship. And apparently,
the people of Chicago celebrate by rioting and looting. If the two tables
on either side of us were not occupied by my friend's body guards, I would
have left. But, so as not to insult the competence of my friend's security
detail, I feigned relaxation and watched the riot as entertainment.
Now days, I would never go to Chicago for any reason.
In America (as in most other places as well) your guilt or innocence has
nothing to do with whether or not you get convicted or acquitted. The dominant
factor is the prestige and power of your attorney. If you get a good attorney,
he will talk to the prosecutor and all charges will be dropped. Of course,
you have to get an attorney from a powerful law firm (where one of the partners
is a former governor of the state, New Jersey). In order to get there, you
have to ask one of your college classmates who works at the firm. In order to
have met that classmate, you had to have gone to the Ivy League university
in New York. Which means your parents had to have thought it important enough
to sacrifice to make that happen.
We work hard to make money, to gain advantage for our loved ones. That is
the capitalist way.
My sister would joke about how dad never practiced law. They just cut
deals in back rooms. Au contraire, the deals are made on the golf course
or in the dining room of certain country clubs.
"The Power to Impoverish!" by John Farnam
Looks like Colorado is moving back into the wild west.
"Utah to Become the 17th Constitutional Carry State on May 5, 2021" by Luke McCoy
"I have asserted the right of Negroes to meet the violence of the Ku Klux Klan
by armed self-defense – and have acted on it. It has always been an accepted right
of Americans, as the history of our Western states proves, that where the law is
unable, or unwilling, to enforce order, the citizens can, and must act in
self-defense against lawless violence."
Excerpt from "Negroes with Guns" by Robert Franklin Williams, first published in 1962.
ISBN-10: 0814327141, ISBN-13: 978-0814327142
Mr. Williams was a U.S. Marine and a World War II veteran.
Mr. Williams received a charter from the National Rifle Association in 1957
and founded the Black Armed Guard. (NRA charters were a way to get around the
gun control laws of the times.)
"News/Q&A Show: Feb. 18, 2021" by Andrew Branca
"So when you hear people talk about common sense, gun control, think through
what those things actually mean, folks, because they don’t necessarily mean just
the feel good version of the people who are advocating for those laws. And always
beware, of course of unintended consequences."
As Andrew points out, if this incident had occurred in Massachusetts, the
grandmother would be in prison and the grandson would be in foster care. That's
why thinking sheepdogs don't live in Massachusetts.
There is a great one minute video of a guy with an AR-15 stopping a porch
pirate from stealing a box from the home owner's front door. Sometimes good guys
Andrew talks about some self-defense pre-paid legal plans (not insurance policies).
I've talked to several attorneys who work for U.S. Law Shield, and their description
of their financial arrangement with U.S. Law Shield is different from what Andrew
You have got to do your own research because all plans are different, very
“Is there no virtue among us?
If there is not, we are without hope!
No form of government, existing nor theoretical, will keep us from harm.
To think that any government, in any form,
will insure liberty and happiness for an dishonorable population
represents the height of self-deception.”
-- James Madison, 1788
***** ***** ***** Survival, Medical, Security, and such ***** ***** *****
"If you prepare for the emergency,
the emergency ceases to exist!"
-- Dr. Sherman House
If someone can change your behavior by calling you a racist, your mind is weak.
Remember what Jaba the Hut said, "Your Jedi mind tricks won't work on me."
"Depressing statistics" by Kathy Jackson
Mrs. Jackson has gotten to the truth behind the statistics.
When it comes to survival, “just barely” beats the heck outta “not quite good enough.”
-- John Connor
***** ***** ***** Basics ***** ***** *****
"Train, Practice, Compete
are the key elements in the development of humans."
-- John M. Buol, Jr.
“No possible rapidity of fire can atone for habitual
carelessness of aim with the first shot.” -- Theodore Roosevelt,
(26th President of the United States) The Wilderness Hunter, 1893
***** ***** ***** Miscellany / History ***** ***** *****
"Good habits and skill beat luck every time."
-- Sheriff Jim Wilson
"Amateurs And Experts" by Roy Huntington
"Many of you do know a great deal more about firearms, shooting, reloading,
their history, proper use, care and the law, than many of your fellow shooters.
Well . . . put it to good use and help out at the local club doing demonstrations
or seminars on your particular area of expertise. Offer your services to local
attorneys pro-bono for pro-gun cases, help scouting groups, talk to service clubs
about gun issues, write for the local neighborhood paper about scouts shooting
BB guns. Anything you can do to enhance and grow our sport,
our passion — our right — is good. As the word says: “We love to do it.”
Let’s support it."
[Sometimes it takes amazingly little to be an expert witness at trial.
The trial judge has all the discretion. -- Jon Low]
"Kelsey DeSantis: The Marine Vet, MMA Fighter, and All-Around Badass" by Karen Hunter
The epitome of a good attitude.
All kinds of neat stuff at:
Practical Eschatology by Docent
The Tactical Professor by Claude Werner
Active Response Training by Gregg Ellifritz
Quips by John Farnam
Rangemaster newsletter by Tom Givens
CIVILIAN DEFENDER by Sherman House
Handgun Combatives by Dave Spaulding
Active Self Protection by John Correa
“In the long-run, there is no such thing as ‘luck’.
However, the short-run is longer than many individual lifetimes!”
Decades ago, when I worked for Applied Signal Technology, before they were acquired
by Raytheon, I was attending an in house lecture given by the chief scientist of the
company. He started by doing a pantomime with his two hands and asked the audience
what he was doing. No one answered, so I raised my hand and he called on me. I said,
you are winding up a paper tape. He seemed genuinely shocked. It had been many years
since the last teletypes were used.
What color is the tape?
How many holes are punched in each row?
What is the encoding?
Where were you trained?
Cory Station. (Naval Technical Training Center, Cory Station, Pensacola, Florida)
You're not old enough. (He had mistakenly assumed that I was a recent college
grad, as were most of the others in the room.)
A long time ago, when I worked for the National Bureau of Standards, the division
chief walked into the mass spectrometry lab and did a pantomime with one hand, and asked,
What am I doing? No one said anything, so I said, you're unscrewing the cap off of a
How would you have known that?
We used such test tubes in high school.
Why would you know how to do it with only one hand?
I was holding something with the other hand.
(The Chief smiled, knowing exactly what I was holding.)
I hope you attend a lecture in the future where the lecturer does a pantomime
and you are able to recognize that he is racking the slide of a pistol (long since
obsolete) or reloading a revolver (only viewable in museums).
The Founding Fathers were smart enough to use the word "arms", for they knew
I hope you live to see the day where a U.S. Supreme Court Justice writes in a
majority opinion (addressing the legislature),
"What part of '. . . shall not be infringed.' don't you understand?"
Rush Limbaugh (1951-2021 A.D.) R.I.P. He passed on the morning of 17 February 2021 A.D.
Listened to him on the radio. Watched his TV show. Read his newsletter.
I'm glad we had President Trump to give him the medal before he died.
(Hat tip to Matt Drudge.)
I can't imagine any other president who would have.
God works in glorious ways!
Jonathan D. Low