Tuesday, March 23, 2021

CWP, 23 March MMXXI Anno Domini

 Hi Sheepdogs,
     "Be an example to your men, in your duty and in private life.  
Never spare yourself, and let the troops see that you don't in your
endurance of fatigue and privation.  
     Always be tactful and well-mannered and teach your subordinates
to do the same.
     Avoid excessive sharpness or harshness of voice, which usually
indicates the man who has shortcomings of his own to hide"
-- Erwin Rommel
*****     *****     ***** Software *****     *****     *****
“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.)
----- Basics -----
     "Train, Practice, Compete
are the key elements in the development of humans."
-- John M. Buol, Jr.
"Be Smart" by Greg Ellifritz
     "Make sure you and your family/friends don’t get shot.  That’s it.  End of lesson."
     “Not your people, not your problem.”
"Parents, Grandparents, kids and guns
There is no room for error" by Brent Wheat
     "So, you still believe your kids “would never touch your guns?”
     Sorry, you’re just wrong."
     “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
----- Mindset -----
"Panic is simply the lack of preprogrammed responses."  
-- Tom Givens
     "Abide by the 4S Rule, carry your gun, and be careful in parking lots!"
(The 4S rule by John Farnam is stated below in the Safety section.  The
author of this article states it a little differently.)
"Fear is an instinct.  Courage is a choice."
-- Rear Admiral Joseph Kernan, USN
"More Proof That You’re On Your Own When Seconds Count" by Mike Ox and David Morris
     ". . . former Seattle Police Chief, Carmen Best told local businesses
that police would no longer intervene in the event of more riots."
     "Most cities operate with 1 patrol officer for every 4,000-10,000 people
on duty at any given time.  As a society, we have decided that this is enough
and that the additional cost of more officers and a faster response time is
not justified."
"Denzel Washington's Life Advice"
     "Failure is an indication that someone tried to do something." -- Ingersoll
"Eliminate the Enemy" by Brian Enos
     When silently aware, it’s impossible to worry.  Every response will be flawless.
"LIFE SKILLS | If You Go to Guns You Failed" by Steve Tarani
     “If you go to guns you failed” means that you failed multiple opportunities
to take preventive measures in ensuring your personal security and that of those
who you are responsible to protect.
It’s about prevention, not response.
-- Michael Mann
"Developing and Understanding A Strong Defensive Mindset" by Jacob Paulsen
----- Safety -----
Jeff Cooper's Rules of Gun Safety  
"Safe?" by John Farnam
"The 51% Rule: How To Be The 'Grey Mouse' " bought to you by Recoil TV
Sheepdog Response on Recoil TV
"Why Staying Alert is Key for Personal Defense" by Sheriff Jim Wilson
     Some time ago, a women’s magazine ran an article suggesting that women
should not make eye contact with strangers.  Their suggestion was that this
might encourage unwanted attention.  I find that concept misguided.  Making
eye contact lets others know that you are alert to what is going on around
you.  A crook might even think that you can more easily describe him to the
police since you took the time to actually look at him.  Making eye contact
also exudes an air of confidence which suggests that you might not be a
person to mess with.  
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 -----
“Starve your distractions, feed your focus.”
     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)
"1 Quick (life saving) Lesson From First Gunfights . . ." by Mike Ox
     Even the guys in Special Forces have to learn this.  Because you
don't know what you don't know.  
"The real value of training and practice isn't gaining technical competence,
it's achieving confidence in your abilities."
-- Claude Werner
From an email from Mike Ox.
[concerning shooting from other than a perfect normal stance]
. . .
     They all take advantage of something called "compass drills" where you
move in the 8 directions of the compass...N, NE, E, SE, S, SW, W, NW with
North being the direction towards your dry fire target.
    Leans.  Lean in each of the 8 compass directions one at a time, draw,
present, and do one dry fire rep.  Start by leaning, THEN drawing and
progress to drawing and presenting as you're leaning.  Try it with your
feet together and feet apart.  
    Lunges.  Lunge in each of the 8 compass directions, draw, present,
and do one dry fire rep.  For straight forward & straight back, try
lunging with both the right and left foot.  This will give you 10 reps
instead of 8.  
    Turns.  Face each of the 8 cardinal directions, rotate your body
without moving your feet as you draw, present, and dry fire engage your
target.  If you must move your feet, see how little you need to move
them to make the shot.  
     Here's the crazy thing . . . you can combine each of these to give
you 8 x 10 x 8 = 640 different combinations!  
     Why's that important?  
     It's important because the variety and challenge will stimulate your
brain more and cause you to learn quicker and with less effort.  
     If you ever find yourself shooting from one of those awkward positions
in a situation where lives depend on your performance, it won't be the first
time . . . your brain will already know what to do . . . how to create a
stable shooting platform in an unstable situation.  
     The more you get comfortable with it in practice, the more natural it
will be at full speed when lives are on the line.  
"How to Get the Most From Your Range Training" by Sheriff Jim Wilson
     The only real mistake is confusing the fun stuff with the need to work at
improving our skills.  Keep the two separate in your mind.  Have a plan for
your practice and keep those sessions short and focused.  Then reward that
concentration with some fun shooting.  Plan your practice sessions — it’s the
smart thing to do.
"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
"Student Involved Incident #51" by Tom Givens
Page 2.
     ". . . Be alert, and as you draw near your home or other destination,
check your rear view mirrors!  If you have made some turns and the same
vehicle is right behind you, don’t go home.
3. Practice!  Not all defensive shootings involve a suspect a few
feet away.  In this instance, the wife had to shoot past her husband
from the second floor window, without hitting him."
Why practice?
    "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
     Winston Churchill was talking about the lady in the above article.  
"Student Incident #52" by Tom Givens
Page 4.
1.  Don’t be lazy or complacent. The ignorant or naïve may ridicule you for carrying
a handgun on a sunny Sunday afternoon.  BM is alive today because he carries a gun
every day, Sunday or not.  We do not get to pick when, nor where, we will need a gun.
Someone else makes that decision for you.  
2.  Your gun should be concealed.  This suspect had no idea BM was armed.  The element
of surprise was a key ingredient in BM’s success.  
3.  When it is time to act, act!  An aggressive, explosive counter-attack is the last
thing a thug expects.  Don’t give him time to recover from the initial shock when you
make your move.
"How fast should you dry fire so you don’t outrun the gun in live fire?" by Mike Ox
"Dry Practice on the Road" by the Tactical Professor (Claude Werner)
"Skill Set: Tools for Dry-Practice" by Tiger McKee
     "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
"Part 2: The Call to Follow Through" by Brian Enos
"Pistol School - Proactive Reload" by Gabe Suarez
     Staging an extra magazine in your support side hand, interesting.  
Definitely an offensive technique.  
     Brandishing or the display of a pistol stops the attack 90% of the
time as taught in the NRA Personal Protection class (before it bifurcated
into Personal Protection Inside the Home and Personal Protection Outside
the Home).  
     According to John R. Lott, Jr., Resident Scholar,
American Enterprise Institute in a speech delivered on May 25, 2004,
at Hillsdale College National Leadership Seminar in Seattle, Washington,
brandishing stops the attack 95% of the time.
page 5, second to last paragraph, first line.  
"How to Deal with Tunnel Vision" by Sheriff Jim Wilson
    The Sheriff is referring to the California Twitch (Front Sight started in
Bakersfield, CA), but he is too professional and polite to say so.  People love
making fun of Front Sight because they are so big and institutional.  They were
a real trail blazer when they started in 1995.  Their teaching was Dr. Ignatius
Piazza's interpretation of Col. Jeff Cooper's Modern Technique.  And they had
a good attitude.  Naish would send Brad Ackman, the Director of Training, to
take classes from all of the other schools around the country.  So, they would
constantly be trying to incorporate best practices into their curriculum.  
Not always successfully, but always in good faith.  They used to have a policy
of no more than 5 students per instructor.  Not so much now days.  
The partner training was not so good.  You really can't have students who don't
know what they're doing coaching other students.  But, live and learn.  
“What is "Point Blank Range"?” by Col. Kenneth Haynes (Ret.)
     "At very close or very long distances, you have to aim high, and in between,
you have to aim low.  Only in the two places where the round crosses your line
of sight will the shot be exactly on target."
     [Actually, this does apply to your pistol.  The distances are just much
shorter.  From muzzle to about 2 yards, you have to aim high.  At 2 yards,
you are point blank.  From 2 yards to about 100 yards, you have to aim low
(about 5 inches low at 25 yards).
At 100 yards, you are point blank.  Beyond 100 yards, you have to aim high.  
This is for a 230 grain copper jacketed round nose 45 caliber bullet exiting
the muzzle at 850 feet per second (the standard military loading). -- Jon Low]
"Tangling With The Trigger" by Roy Huntington
     “You know, it’s all about trigger control.  
Sight picture ain’t that important.” --Clint Smith
     What the author means by "trigger control" is "surprise trigger break".  
Col. Jeff Cooper taught this.  All of his disciples teach it.  I don't know why
some modern instructors don't teach it.  
     Do not intentionally fire the shot.  Line up the sights, take the slack out of
the trigger, and then smoothly increase pressure on the trigger.  Don't fire the shot.  
Just keep increasing pressure on the trigger.  The pistol will eventually fire.  
With a bit of practice, you will get a surprise break.  And this will result in a
tight group and all of your shots going where you aimed them.  Because the surprise
break defeats all of the human body's autonomic nervous system responses to recoil
and report.  That is to say, because the brain does not know exactly when the shot
is going to be released, the bullet is out of the muzzle before any autonomic
nervous system response, such as pushing against the anticipated recoil, jerking,
flinching, freezing, closing the eyes, tensing muscles, etc.  The surprise break
does not prevent these reactions.  But, because they don't affect the point of
impact, the student thinks that the reaction did not occur.  
     If you didn't see the orange muzzle flash (yes, you can see it, even in bright
daylight conditions), you closed your aiming eye.  It's a natural reaction to the
loud report (BANG!) and recoil (jerking push from the pistol).  But, you can train
yourself not to blink, by looking for the muzzle flash.  When you see it, you will
know that you have achieved your goal.  Once you are able to keep your aiming eye
open, you will be able to follow your front sight through recoil.  This will allow
you to call your shots.  That means you will be able to say where your bullet
impacted, because you saw where your front sight moved during recoil.  
     Yes, it is amazing.  You will enjoy it when you have mastered it.  
"5 Commands Every Family Should Train For" by Jeff Gonzales
"What’s Wrong With My Grip?" by Melody Lauer
     The pistol must fit your hand, otherwise no tinkering will fix your grip problems.  
When the skin between your thumb and index finger of your firing side hand are bunched
up under the tang of the pistol and the bones of your forearm are inline with the barrel
of your pistol, the tip of your middle finger (and possibly your ring finger) MUST be
pointing back towards you.  If not, the grip is too big for you and you MUST find a
smaller grip.  If necessary, remove all of the plastic grip back straps and palm swells,
and use the bare pistol.  If necessary, change pistols.  
     A grip that is too small for your hand is still usable.  A grip that is too big
for your hand is not really usable.  
"Defending Yourself Against Dog Attacks: Man Bites Dogs" by Molotov Mitchell
"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
"Decisions and experience" by the Tactical Professor
     My practice regime has not changed due to the national shortage of ammo.  
(Because I haven't noticed the shortage.  Because I stockpile.)  
Because I haven't noticed the shortage.  Because I visualize the operation ten
times for every time I perform the operation dry, and I perform the operation
dry ten times for every time I perform it on the range with live ammo.  So,
I don't use much live ammo when I practice.  (I don't lose a lot of golf balls
when I golf.)
     Most of my ammo expenditure is demonstrations for my students during
classes.  I am a firm believer in dry and live fire demonstrations, if nothing
else, for the tempo.  
     "Oh, that's how slow you're suppose to do that?"
     Yes, because shooting faster than you can think is a real problem.  
In an IDPA or IPSC match it's just a penalty point, in combat it's shooting
the wrong person.  In the shooting games, just about all the targets are shoot-targets
with maybe one or two no-shoots.  In the real world, in the shopping mall
or the church, just about everyone is a no-shoot with one (maybe two) shoot-targets.  
"Tactical Moment" by John Holschen
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
     You should read through the back issues of the Rangemaster newsletter.
They are archived back to January of 2009.  Well worth the effort.  
"Concealed Carry: Issues and Perspectives" by John Murphy
     You can get on the emailing list for John Farnam's Quips by going to
and signing up.  
"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
"Skill Set: Sights" by Tiger McKee
     "I like a rear sight that has edges that can be hooked on something in
order to cycle the slide during single hand manipulations. “Snag-free” sights
are just that; it’s difficult to get a good purchase against your belt or the
corner of a wall to rack the slide."
     Detailed explanation as to why the Blackhawk Serpa holster traps the pistol
when the pistol is inserted backwards (which is the one handed technique taught
at all the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers, and many other schools).
     From Tactical Talk, December 2009 (the Rangemaster newsletter)
Page 5.
"Serpa Holster Information"
The following was sent to me by another firearms instructor.
     At a recent Summer Firearms training I witnessed an officer practicing the
support hand (only) reload and stoppage drills.  The officer had inserted his
G21 reversed, into his Serpa holster and was unable to draw it out, until the
holster had been partially disassembled.  A screw was removed and a part of the
holster fell out, allowing the pistol to be drawn.
     I mentioned this to a list member who reported the following regarding
Glock pistols, and I’ve subsequently had notice of the same circumstance taking
place with a S&W M&P.
     From a technical evaluator:
“I was able to duplicate the problem. Look inside the empty holster. Along the
back wall, there's a plastic bar that starts in front of the trigger guard and
ends about halfway to the bottom of the holster.  As the gun is inserted,
that bar is compressed against the holster body by the dust cover, creating a
friction fit.  If you insert the gun upside down as described, that lever is
compressed first by the front sight, then by the balance of the slide, creating
the same friction fit.  The trouble starts after the front sight clears the end
of that bar.  The front sight is taller than the slide, and after the end of
the bar clears the front sight, the bar snaps down onto the slide.  When you
try to pull the gun back out, the bar catches the front sight, locking the gun
in place.  You can correct the problem by removing the screw that holds the bar
in place, or you can slide a long narrow paddle of some sort in to raise the
bar above the front sight allowing it to clear.
     Fatal flaw: This cannot be corrected while in the fight.  The gun is stuck.  
I could duplicate this holster failure with Glocks 17, 21, and 23 and the
appropriate Serpa for each.  Unknown how other designs might be impacted.  
If users insist on keeping the Serpa, they must not employ this particular
method of reloading the gun.  There are many other, high quality, holster
options which have no such problems.”  

     But, the Serpa holster must be okay, because the U.S. Army has purchased
thousands of them.  
     Consider what that says about the U.S. Army Contracting Command (ACC) .  
     "We often get students who are emotionally attached to a gun or a piece of gear.
There are various reasons for this.  It’s not an issue if the gear affords a good
learning experience.  Sometimes their attachment to the gear can be a hindrance
to the learning process.  You may see some of the traits described in this
article in your friends/students.  You may see some in yourself." -- Aqil Qadir
     "The Psychology of Previous Investment" by Greg Ellifritz
     “Dude, that thing’s a piece of shit.  Ditch it.  That’s why God made gun shows.”
     "Do you suffer from the psychology of previous investment?  Take a hard look
at your weapon selection, clothing choices, and training experiences.  Recognize
when its time to cut your losses."
3-13-2021 Exile armory (256) 613-8042, (256) 294-2409 (Northern Alabama)
     They've got lots of stuff in stock, unlike all the stores here in Nashville, TN.  
     I taught a class in South Carolina where a lady attended who had neither of
her arms below the elbows.  I did not know how to help her.  But, things have changed.  
"Nika uses Esper Hand." by Esper Bionics
     If you know people in need of hand prostheses, they can apply here to get one - https://esperbionics.com/en/users
"How to Choose Eye & Ear Protection For Shooting" by Serena Juchnowski
“Your car is not a holster.”
– Pat Rogers
----- Technical -----
"Real fights are short."
-- Bruce Lee
     An object moving through our atmosphere loses energy to air resistance.  
The faster the object is moving, the greater this loss.  When you drive your
car down the road at 55 miles per hour, about half of the power (energy per
unit time) output of your engine is used to overcome air resistance.  [Half
of the chemical energy stored in your gasoline is lost to heat when your
engine converts the chemical energy to kinetic energy.  Half of that kinetic
energy is lost to air turbulence and heating the air.  Electric cars are far
less efficient, because in addition to the afore mentioned losses, half the
energy transmitted on electrical power lines is lost heating up the power
     In the case of bullets (objects the size of bullets, with the density
of bullets, traveling at the speed of bullets) at standard temperature and
pressure, air resistance is proportional to about the cube of the speed.  
So, a slower moving bullet is much more efficient, loses much less energy,
hits the target with more of the energy that it started with out of the muzzle.  
There is a huge jump in loss of energy at the sonic speed (which is a function
of temperature, pressure, humidity, and other things, around 1120 feet per
second), because the bullet loses energy to a sonic boom shock wave as long
as it is supersonic.  
     That's why match grade smallbore ammunition is subsonic.  
It never exceeds the speed of sound, so it never suffers the turbulence of a
sonic shock wave.  That is to say it is never in its own shock wave as it
transitions from supersonic to subsonic.  Because it is never supersonic.  
     That's why the effective range of center fire rifle bullets is the
range at which they remain supersonic, in front of their sonic shock wave.  
When the bullet transitions from supersonic to subsonic, it is in its own
shock wave, which makes it unstable.  
     That's why the 45 Auto is so efficient.  It's subsonic.  And has twice
the mass (~230 grains) of a 9mm (~115 grains).  You put a suppressor on a
45 and it's very effective.  You put a suppressor on a 9mm and you still
get that supersonic crack when the bullet exits the muzzle.  If you down
load a 9mm to subsonic speed, it won't expand reliably on impact.  
Engineering constraints are what they are.  We operate in the real world
and so have to deal with real world constraints.  
"Why Do Handguns Have Lightening Cuts on the Slide?" by Tamara Keel
     Reliability is the only reason to machine material out of one's slide.  
If you are not increasing reliability, you have no business cutting on your
slide.  Such is just self mutilation.  
     In order to make a Remington RP45 reliable, machinist Aidan Hoffman
had to reduce the mass of the slide by cutting out a lot of metal.  Exactly
how much mass and exactly where to remove the mass, because both translational
inertia and rotational inertia are affected, required graduate level calculus
(calculus of variation) and a knowledge of engineering dynamics.  I knew there
was a reason I took those classes, and here, only 20 years after retirement,
I'm using that knowledge for the first time.  (Okay, I confess, I did the
brain work after Aidan had done the machining.  It just looked so pretty,
we couldn't help ourselves.)
     "New" generally means new in the box, never been fired (not necessarily reliable).  
     "Used" can mean a piece of junk, or it can mean thousands of dollars and hundreds
of hours of expert gunsmithing have turned the pistol into a reliable combat weapon.  
Some of the things a gunsmith might do:  
     Throat and polish the breech to allow reliable chambering of all bullet types.
     Contour and polish the feed ramp for reliable ammunition feeding.
     Tune and polish the extractor for reliable extraction.
     Install an extended thumb safety (if your pistol has a thumb safety) for ease
of operation. Remember, in a high stress situation, easy things become difficult
and difficult things become impossible.  So, you must ensure that everything works
easily.  And you must train with them, so that you can easily operate them.  Or
better yet, use a pistol without a manual thumb safety.  Grip safeties, trigger
safeties, and internal safeties are better and simplify the manual of arms.  
Simple is faster. Simple is more reliable. Simple is better.
     Bob the hammer (if your pistol has an exposed hammer) to prevent snagging
on your clothes.  [There is no reason to thumb cock the hammer on any modern
pistol.  The hammer is cocked by racking the slide in all manual of arms. The
hammer is released by pulling the trigger after unloading. There is no reason to
gently release the hammer. If you are trying to gently release the hammer on a live
round, you are WRONG!]
     Install a stronger recoil spring to reduce the impact of the slide hitting the
frame when shooting +P loads or just from shooting a lot.  Buffers to prevent the
slide from banging the frame are also nice.
     Deburr; remove all sharp edges from everywhere on the pistol and equipment.
Otherwise, you're going to need to carry Band-Aids.
     I generally won't sell a pistol by itself.  I generally sell complete systems
that I have thoroughly tested:  
1.  pistol (that has been made as reliable as possible and thoroughly tested;
and so is "used"),
2.  holster (inside the waistband),
3.  belt (1.5 inches wide, laterally stiff, longitudinally flexible, continuously adjustable),
4.  magazine pouch (generally inside the waistband or at least inside the belt),
5.  flashlight (that generally fits in the pouch with the magazine or in its own
pouch inside the belt), and
6.  a set of Perry suspenders that attach to the belt to help to distribute the weight
and make wearing the rig more comfortable.  
7.  I will also sell them 1000 rounds of ammo at the same time if they want.  
Because some people don't know which ammo to buy and might go to the gun store
and buy ammo that doesn't fit their chamber.  Don't laugh!  (Or worse, fits in
their chamber but is the wrong length.)
8.  I will also sell them a complete cleaning kit and explain to them that they
need to clean their pistol often.  Not cleaning regularly is akin to not feeding
a pet.  The pet will die, the small fine springs in the pistol and magazine will
rust and not function properly.  Some people never clean their guns.  If you're
one of them, hang your head in shame and repent.  
     If you don't give the customer/student everything up front, they may never
get everything right.  Giving/selling complete systems that work correctly together
is the right thing to do.  
"Everything You Need To Know About Modern Hearing Protection" by John Parker
     "Hocks Noise Braker® Standards"
are $10 each when you order 10.
I always order a bunch, so I have some to give away.  
No electronics, so no battery.  Washable.  They work.  
"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
"Beware the Helpful Fool" by Keith Finch
     "The factory worker with 30 years in a plant is almost certainly very good
at their daily tasks, this does not make them an expert on the product they
build or able to speak on the final product in the way the engineer or designer
could.  It doesn’t preclude them from being an expert, but it in and of itself
does not confer expertise."
     "My own first instructor, the man who certified me, put it succinctly.  
The sign of a good instructor is a good thief.  They know and can recognize
what is valuable and continuously add to their base.  The sign of the best
instructors are properly accrediting where things were developed and where
they picked them up from."
     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
     “Nothing in life is to be feared.  It is only to be understood.  
Now is the time to understand so that we may fear less.” -- Marie Curie  
     ". . . students will rarely verbalize their fear.  
But, they will ‘tell’ you in other ways.  If you are firearms instructor,
you will get the occasional phobic student.  If you fail,
you cannot un-ring that bell.  What you can do is be prepared to
facilitate understanding and help someone conquer their fear."
Teach positive.  Teach what to do.  Don't talk about what not to do.
-- John Farnam
     “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
"I respectfully decline the invitation to join your hallucination." by John Farnam

"When the “cure” is worse than the “disease” " by John Farnam
--------------------- Blog post on self defense insurance ------------------------
(I keep re-posting this because things keep changing.  And people keep asking for it.)
     Michael Mann did a video on insurance and pre-paid legal plans for church security teams.  
"Do you Need Carry Insurance? Lawyer Andrew Branca shoots us straight"
Excerpts:  (paraphrased)
     Most people are not at zero knowledge.  They are at negative 20, because
they know so much stuff that is false.  So, to get them to 100% knowledge is
very difficult.  You have to educate them out of all of their deeply held
     You have to get the money up front for bail, attorney fees, expert witnesses,
private investigators, expert consultants, etc.  
     You have to be able to choose your attorney.  
     The insurance company has to have enough money to actually give it to you.  
-------------------  Articles comparing carriers -----------------------------
CCW Insurance – Protecting Yourself After You Protect Yourself by Ryan Cleckner
Virginia Citizens Defense League
VCDL legal-plans comparison chart
     You have to scroll down through the web page, or you can download the PDF file at
     The numbers to the right of the questions refer to the page numbers, which
are only visible in the PDF document.  
     This is a very comprehensive comparison.  It's a little dated, as it still has
the NRA Carry Guard listed.  But, they obviously surveyed every company and got detailed
6 Concealed Carry Insurance Options To Protect Your Six (comparison in text)
by Gun Digest Editors
Self-Defense Gun Owner Insurance Programs Compared (comparison chart)
     This web page, the chart, and the PDF file are updated on a regular basis.
Know Your Concealed Carry Insurance Options by Recoil Staff
-------------------  End articles comparing carriers -------------------------

-------------------  List of carriers ----------------------------------------
US Law Shield
     State licensed armed guards buy this policy, because they will cover state licensed
private armed security guards.  The others won't.  
CCW Safe
     Recommended by Andrew Branca.
Legal Shield
     There are links on this web page to the PDF files with the policy details.
Self Defense Fund
Firearms Legal Protection
Second Call Defense
Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network
     They only pay if they think it was self defense.  Which is a real problem, because
there is always a perspective from which what you did was not self defense.
     They only pay if they think it was self defense.  Which is a real problem, because
there is always a perspective from which what you did was not self defense.
"USCCA Sued in Federal Court: Refused to Cover Platinum Member?" by Attorney Andrew Branca
Self-defense, or not? Who decides?  By Attorney Andrew Branca / October 25, 2019
Attorney Andrew Branca
October 24, 2019 at 5:16 pm
     I’ve personally been told by lead counsel that charges were dropped against
their client primarily for the reason that Law of Self Defense had been retained
on the case.  Why?  Because our being involved means it’s going to be a much harder
fight for the prosecutor than would otherwise have been the case.  Doesn’t mean
they can’t necessarily win – but it means they’re going to have to work a lot
harder to get that win than they might have anticipated at the start.  The reverse
is also true – every prosecutor knows that if they’re facing a defendant with
limited resources, they’re facing a more vulnerable defendant.  Absolutely plays
a role in their decision making.
Attorney Andrew F. Branca
Law of Self Defense LLC
-------------------  End list of carriers -------------------------------------
     You have to do your own comparison to see what works best for you,
because these plans have significant differences.  Check out which states
they are not valid in.  Check out all the things they exclude.  
Check out all the caps (limits on the amount of money that they will pay).  
Some of the carriers will only pay if they think it was self-defense.  
(This is a real problem, because there is no such thing as a perfect combat
operation.  No matter how justified you think your actions were, there is
a perspective from which what you did was murder.)  The devil is in the details.  
     Most of these plans won't cover domestic disputes.  We never consider
having to defend ourselves from our spouse, lover, etc.  But, ask any detective,
"Who is the prime suspect in any non-gang-related homicide?"  They will tell
you, the spouse, the girlfriend/boyfriend, the lover; because statistically,
that is the person who did it.  (No, really, I was a cop.)
     Yes, there are lots of other insurance plans, but if I thought it was
stupid (like Lockton), I did not list it above.  I did not list any of the plans
that reimburse upon acquittal, because they have a huge financial incentive
to see you convicted.  And you need the money up front to pay for bail,
attorneys, private investigators, expert witnesses, consulting experts, etc.  
So, buying a reimbursement plan is an act of criminal stupidity.  
     I also did not list a program that Andrew Branca did an in depth analysis on
in his Thursday, January 14th of 2021 podcast.  That program stops funding you
if you are convicted, and then attempts to force you to repay them for your
legal expenses.  Buying such a policy is criminal stupidity.  Especially,
when other programs will continue to fund you through your appeals of a conviction
and will never attempt to get any reimbursement from you.  
     Just like criminals, prosecutors are looking for an easy win, not an
expensive fight.  So, if you can convince the prosecutor that you have money
and expertise to fight them, they are more likely to drop the charges or
offer you a better plea deal.  
     If you take a plea deal (confess to a crime that you did not commit),
you will have to explain your lie to God in the end.  
--------------------- End blog post on self defense insurance --------------------
"Cognitive Operators, “Operationalize Don’t Intellectualize,” and Special Operations Design"
by Marcus Wynne
     "When the [U.S. government] dumped hundreds of the most experienced black [meaning
secret, not Negro] special operators in the world out the door with no retirement
benefits after the Church Commission in the 70s, a fair number of the most dangerous
US operators found ways to leverage their skills into lucrative areas like freelance
training, smuggling, and organized crime.  The collapse of the Soviet Union and the
end of cash support to client states like Cuba, East Germany, Bulgaria, etc. [caused]
many elite military special operators and paramilitary intelligence officers
[to take] their skills into the black market for the highest bidders.  This contributed
to the rise of narco-cartels around the world and a quantum leap in non-nation-state
actors ability to create and maintain nation-state level intelligence and paramilitary
operations.  As warfare along the southern border of the US illustrates."
     I can attest to this.  I have written to many of my colleagues in the signals
intelligence field, urging them to resist the temptation of obscene salaries, weekly
flights home to be with the family, monstrous bonuses, and fully funded private
retirement accounts (as opposed to under funded pension accounts that states and
cities have), and fringe benefits such as girls and drugs, as offered by the drug
cartels.  Unfortunately, enough have decided to work for the drug cartels that
their radio communications systems are encrypted (beyond NSA ability to crack) and
reliable (resistant to jamming, spread spectrum, frequency hopping, etc.).  
     I have heard (seen?) of the drug lords using hand held radios using burst
technology.  I've seen a few of my ham operator friends with such units, but it's
rare.  "Burst" means that when you press the button to talk, the device records
your voice message.  When you release the button, the device compresses your
message and transmits it in a very short burst.  The shorter the transmission,
the harder it is for direction finding units to locate the transmitter.  
Our submarines have used this technology since before I started in the Marine Corps
back in the early 80s.  The sub releases a buoy with an antenna to the surface,
transmits the day's message traffic in a short burst of a few seconds, and then
     If the directional antenna is pointing up to a satellite, the side lobe
radiation is very low.  So, it's almost impossible to detect the transmission.  
     You can see man-made satellites in the night sky.  They are the objects
moving fast, because they are in low Earth orbit.  The natural heavenly bodies
are far away and so appear to move slowly.  The geosynchronous satellites
don't to move at all, but they are in very high Earth orbits and are difficult
to see (and induce significant time delay in communication).  But, they are
not armored and everyone knows exactly where they are, so it won't be hard for
the ChiComs to destroy them when they decide to.  
     Most of the communication satellites orbit over our equator (or ecliptic,
for extra credit, why the ecliptic?  [Oh, sorry, this isn't my physics class.  
Sometimes I have flashbacks.])  Usually going west to east, as it takes a lot
less energy to get them into orbit when using the Earth's rotation to help us
get them up to speed.  The spy satellites are moving north-south, because it's
easier to maneuver them into the correct position from such an orbit.  
     Data compression of message traffic is lossless, as opposed to audio or
video compression which is lossy, because the human can't tell the difference.  
Data compression (to get rid of redundancy), error correcting coding (to add useful
redundancy that allows for the correcting of environmentally induced errors at the
receiving end), and encryption (to prevent enemies from reading the message) are
the three basic data processes that message traffic goes through.  And then, the
hardware puts the signal through all sorts of physical processes for physical
transmission through the real world.  
     Space is the medium through which electro-magnetic radiation propagates.  
Just as air is a medium through which sound propagates.  In regions where there
is no space, there is no electro-magnetic propagation.  Oh, yes, such regions do
exist, and not just theoretically.  
"Sad Necessity!" by John Farnam
     “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
"Tourniquets Can’t Fix Everything. Why You MUST Learn Wound Packing" by Brian McLaughlin
"How to Pack a Wound in 6 Easy Steps" by Brian McLaughlin
When it comes to survival, “just barely” beats the heck outta “not quite good enough.”
-- John Connor
*****     *****     ***** Miscellany / History *****     *****     *****
"Good habits and skill beat luck every time."
-- Sheriff Jim Wilson
"Elden Carl
A trend-setting “Original Combat Master” " by Massad Ayoob
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
     Marcus Wynne
     Having worked in the intelligence field as an intelligence analyst and cryptologic
communications in the signals intelligence field, I know that the gathering, analysis,
and dissemination of intelligence is extremely expensive.  And in this world, you get
what you pay for.  So, you can bet that the "news" that you get for free is worth what
you paid for it.  That means it is not intelligence.  It is propaganda.  
     Prof. Yerkes was my English teacher at Columbia.  He once told me, referring to
the Columbia University School of Journalism, there is no journalism, there is only
propaganda.  Consider George Stephanopoulos, one class behind me at Columbia (though
he was poli-sci, not journalism).  
     Go to your friendly neighborhood university library.  Check out the price of the
peer reviewed journals.  That's why they are in the library.  Nobody can afford to
have a personal subscription.  Because real intelligence is very expensive.  
"Untold Endings" by John Connor
     This past winter when there was ice all over the ground in Nashville, TN,
I slipped and fell.  Initially, nothing hurt, but in a few days my left shoulder
hurt and I could not lift my left arm.  I immediately shifted to carrying right
handed.  Good thing I've practiced carrying and shooting right handed.  Easy
transition.  Practice pays.  
     I just received the documents for my insurance policy.  I carry $1,000,000
of general liability and $500,000 of professional liability (in case I get sued
for something that I taught a student) through the NRA's program with
Lockton Affinity.  I noticed that they have added an exclusion for nuclear bomb
attack and radioactive fallout.  Made me wonder why they consider this
significant enough to add it.  
     So many of my friends and colleagues have back pain to the extent that they
feel it necessary to take drugs, epidural anesthesia, and surgery that I felt
compelled to write the following.  There is another way.  Daily stretching,
weekly yoga, and monthly massage therapy (more often than monthly initially).
     Daily stretching -
     In yoga they refer to this as the cat cow position.  Get down on you hands
and knees, as if you were going to high crawl.  Exhale as you try to touch your
forehead to your pubic bone.  Inhale as you try to touch the back of your head
to your tailbone.  Repeat at least 10 times.
     From a neutral cat cow position inhale.  Exhale as you strain to get your
right ear to touch your right hip bone.  Inhale as you return to the neutral
position.  Exhale as you strain to get your left ear to touch your left hip
bone.  Repeat at least 10 times.  
     From a neutral cat cow position inhale.  Exhale as you thread your right
arm through the space between your left hand and left knee, placing your right
shoulder on the ground as you turn your head to your left and look up at the
sky.  Twist as far as you can, using your left hand to push you further.  
Inhale as you return to a neutral cat cow position.  Exhale as you thread your
left arm through the space between your right hand and your right knee.  
Stretching as far as you can.  Turn your head to the right to look up at the
sky.  Use your right hand to push you further in your twist.  Repeat at least
10 times.  
     Sit on the floor, legs out straight, spread your legs as far as you can.  
Strain to touch your hands to the ground in front of you.  If you can do this,
touch your head to the ground in front of you.  If you can do this, touch your
chest to the ground in front of you.  If you can do this, spread your legs
farther apart and try again.  Next, nose to your right knee, or chest to your
right thigh.  Next, nose to your left knee, or chest to your left thigh.  
Next, nose to the ground to the right of your right knee.  Next, nose to the
ground to the left of your left knee.  Next, left hand reaching for the sky,
right shoulder to the inside of your right knee.  Next, right hand reaching
for the sky, left shoulder to the inside of your left knee.  
     Lie on you back on a flat surface.  On a yoga mat is okay.  No pillow
under your head!  Place a 60 degree foam wedge under your right hip at your
belt line.  (A rolled up towel will do just as well.)  This will hold your
right hip up.  Relax.  This might hurt, especially if you've never done it
before.  Breathe through the pain.  Hold the position for at least 7 minutes.  
Maybe longer if your muscles are really tight.  It takes time for the muscles
to relax and release and.  At some point you will feel the epiphany.  Trust me
you will.  It might take weeks or months.  But, you will feel it and think,
oh that's what Jon meant.  Next, lying flat on your back, lift your left
hip and place the wedge or towel under your left hip, and relax for 7 minutes.  
     Place an ammo can on the floor.  Place a pillow over the ammo can.  Lie
on you back with the ammo can just below your shoulder blades.  If your
buttocks and your head simultaneously touch the ground, use a taller ammo
can.  Relax for a few minutes or until the snapping and cracking stops.  
Move so that the ammo can is an inch (or the length of one of your vertebrae)
closer to your tailbone.  Relax for a few minutes or until the popping stops.  
Continue down your spine until the ammo can is just above your pelvic girdle.  
     Weekly yoga -
You're going to fee exhausted after the session.  You're going to have sore
aching muscles.  You're going to feel frustrated that you can't achieve the
poses.  Especially when the young ladies around you are doing it so easily.  
Just stick with it.  And enjoy the scenery.  Self discipline!  
     Monthly massage therapy -
This is extremely painful.  This is therapy akin to physical therapy or
occupational therapy.  This is not a relaxing spa experience.  If you are
enjoying the experience and fall asleep, you are in the wrong clinic.  As
with any doctor or pastor, you're going to have to shop around to find one
that works for you.  This requires time and effort.  (If you're paying
$60 an hour that would be unusual and on the low end.  If you are paying
$200 an hour that would be in the normal range.  Of course, New York city
and rural Tennessee would have different prices.)
     When I got back from Operation Iraqi Freedom, I was in physical therapy
twice a week for several months.  I thought it was just torture.  I could
not see the sense in it.  But, I stuck with it, because I believed that
they were helping me regain the use of my left shoulder.  And of course,
that was truth and it worked.  But, you have to have faith through the pain.  
You have to get to the end.  If you quit, you won't achieve your goal.  
This is not the sort of thing that you can come back to later.  Because
later you will find yourself on an operating room table with a robot
cutting holes in your back. (My daughter is in medical school.  She tells
me all about it.)  
“In the long-run, there is no such thing as ‘luck’.
However, the short-run is longer than many individual lifetimes!”
-- Anon
Semper Fidelis,
Jonathan D. Low

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