Thursday, March 31, 2016

This is why we conceal carry....

Another Mass Shooting Prevented By Armed Employee in Florida

Mar 23, 2016 |

Armed citizens do prevent mass shootings more than we know


It does seem like we hear about mass shootings more and more. Is it the fact that our media thrives off of these stories, or that they are becoming more frequent? Either way it’s sad that this kind of story is extremely under-reported.


Jacksonville, FL — It’s a story of bravery, coming out of a tragedy.

After the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office says an employee of B & L Landscape Company on the Southside opened fire Wednesday, killing a co-worker, witnesses now claim another employee stopped the incident from getting any worse.

They tell us Joseph Curry pulled out his own gun and stopped the shooter in his tracks. Now we’re hearing Curry’s side of the story.

Curry says he had just arrived at work that morning, when the shooting started.

“I get out of the car and everybody’s screaming, active shooter, active shooter,” Curry says.

That’s when he apparently pulled out his own gun, once he saw the shooter pick up a bat, after his gun jammed.

Curry says, “He’s like, ‘no, you need to put the gun down’. I was like, ‘that’s not gonna happen man. It’s not. You just killed someone. I can’t take my gun off of you. I can’t.'”

Curry tells us he held the shooter at gunpoint, until he heard police sirens in the distance.

JSO arrested the suspected shooter shortly after, a few blocks away.

At this time, neither the victim, nor the suspect, have been identified by police.

This, again, is what our Second Amendment right is all about. We have to be prepared, you never know what each day holds.

Buildings are designed keeping earthquakes, plane crashes, high winds and extreme weather in mind. Every building contains (or should) a fire extinguisher.  You hide a spare key outside your house or give one to your neighbor. You carry a first aid kit and spare tire in your car.

The world is full of ‘just in case’ scenarios, some of which we think are a little extreme. And yet how much more important is it for us to carry a ‘just in case’ life protecting device? Or a mass shooting prevention device? Or a crime deterring device?

It’s time that a lot more of us be thinking about this or making steps towards acquiring a gun for protection. It’s outlined in our constitution that this right is ours and it’s vital that we have it.

We can all learn a lesson from this man, Joseph Curry. It’s never a bad day to defend and carry.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Trigger Control Errors...

Trigger control errors and how to fix them

In my years of training shooters, I have observed major trigger control errors in my students. I have also experienced several of these mistakes myself, so I want to share some advice to help other shooters. 

I have learned the hard way that the first step in overcoming our mistakes is to identify what the problem is, so I want to specify seven trigger control errors, briefly give you my observations, and some general tips to fix these miscues.

1. Jerking

Jerking the trigger at the last second is a mental and physical issue, but primarily a mental one. Shooters must understand the necessity for mentally focusing on their trigger press and train the jerk or slapping motion out of their mechanics. If shooters are consistently shooting to the lower left (as a right-handed shooter), they are probably quickly yanking the trigger back and, perhaps, not even realizing it.

A jerk comes from the attempt to fire the shot quickly at a specific point in time that coincides with when the gun becomes immediately positioned on the target. I learned for myself that my eye was usually focused on the target and not on the front sight. Some call this "timing" the shot.

At that instantaneous point in time when the shooter sees the sights on the target, he quickly and suddenly yanks on the trigger with the trigger finger so as to hurriedly and immediately fire the shot. The shooter jerks the trigger if he presses the trigger the instant he has a perfect sight alignment.

However, this quick reaction or slap usually results in the movement and compression of the rest of the fingers of the dominant hand on the grip and/or the muscles in the hand and wrist to move the muzzle off the target just before the bullet exits the muzzle.

Believe me I know all about this error. Sometimes for me, my anticipation and anxiousness are the genuine culprits for my jerk error.

I have improved, but must continually discipline my mind to overcome my jerk by mentally concentrating and focusing on the trigger press fundamentals and having a slow, smooth and deliberate trigger press with minimal movement of my other fingers and hand, while focusing on only the front sight. Sounds easy, but a challenge for me.

2. Flinching 

This is more of a physical response to a shot being fired where the shooter perceives the bang to be unpleasant and possibly dangerous. Flinching is stimulated by the loud noise and movement of a dangerous weapon near the face and head.

We know that firing a gun will make a loud noise and there will be recoil. So, it also is a mental issue because we are thinking about and anticipating the recoil and loud noise. Anticipating the upcoming recoil with the loud bang causes our premature reaction to the sound and results in a flinch.

With right-handed shooters, rounds usually impact high to the right or left. Also, if your shots are hitting all over the target in a wide group, you might be anticipating the recoil and flinching.

I actually have had some new shooter students who close their eyes while pressing the trigger and simultaneously shove the gun away from their face and head. Most did not even realize they shoved the gun at the last second before the shot. Of course, this movement often results in moving the gun's muzzle off target and affects accuracy.

Sometimes a flinch is confused with a jerk. The result of a flinch is usually a shot farther from the desired target hit than a trigger jerk, but both do not achieve the desired target hit. I have observed students with a flinch even missing the entire target, as well as having widely-dispersed hits.

I must remind myself to physically maintain control of the gun at all times, grip the gun firmly, continue to follow through after my shot, not anticipate the noise and recoil, and be comfortable with the sound of the gun. I have found that putting a lot of rounds down range through practice helps me to overcome my flinch, to accept that I am in control of the gun, and to understand that the movement and noise are not related to my safe shooting practices. I do not fear the gun and noise and so have no reason to flinch.

Here is a helpful technique to identify and overcome flinches. I have found I can verify the flinch error by students by loading one of their magazines randomly with snap caps or dummy rounds mixed between regular rounds. So they do not know if the round they will be firing is a real round or a snap cap/dummy. Often a flinch is masked by the recoil of the gun itself, so shooters do not know nor recognize they are flinching.

Several students have emphatically said to me they are not flinching, but I knew better. By mixing the rounds, it is evident to the shooter that they are definitely flinching. When they press the trigger and the dummy round does not fire and they cause movement, they will then have strong, positive feedback that they are indeed anticipating the noise and recoil and are flinching.

3. Milking 

Milking the trigger is a common trigger control error. Milking means that your grip fingers are also contracting as your index trigger finger contracts to press the trigger. Of course, just your trigger finger should move, and it should move straight back, smoothly, continuously, without interruption and nonintermittently (not stop-and-go.) Milking is extra movement that affects accuracy.

Fundamentally then, only the trigger finger should move when pressing the trigger. That movement should be straight back, rather than sideways or up or down. The trigger finger should be isolated from the other fingers of your shooting hand and your index trigger finger should be the only finger that moves.

Shooters must recognize that when you grab or press something with one hand and fingers, especially while under stress, your opposite hand and fingers may want to unintentionally mirror that movement with a sympathetic response.

Studies have shown some inadvertently fire their gun while doing something with their nongun hand or fingers, so be careful! Shooters must focus on using the trigger finger independently so as to minimize extraneous movement, while maintaining a constant, consistent grip on the gun with the rest of the hand. Practice develops the muscle memory.

4. Heeling

This occurs when the shooter exerts excessive forward pressure with the heel of the hand as the gun is fired. This pressure forces the front sight up just as the trigger trips the sear. It will usually result in a shot group high near the 12:00position on the target. 

Diagnosing and fixing trigger control heeling errors (as well as any of these errors) is not an exact science because several other factors may be involved, like problems with proper grip, sight alignment, sight picture, stable stance, etc. A complete and deliberate focus on the front sight, both mentally and visually, will usually help cure this error.

Of course, do not anticipate recoil, do not push the heel of the hand forward when the shot breaks, and do not break your wrist upward.

5. Thumbing

Thumbing is squeezing the thumb or applying too much trigger finger/thumb pressure when firing the shot. For example, if a right-handed shooter rotates his thumb clockwise to the right during the trigger press, the rounds will likely hit to the right, a thumbing error.

Without a doubt, the point of bullet impact is dependent on the movement of the shooter's trigger finger, thumb and hand at the moment the trigger is pressed. Proper grip is a key factor to help prevent the thumbing error. I like to rest my strong thumb firmly on top of my support thumb and try to not move my strong thumb and fingers sympathetically with movement of my trigger finger during the press.

6. Pushing

Pushing the gun up, down or to either side with no follow through is a common error, especially for new shooters. Placing too little of the finger on the trigger causes the finger to push the trigger back and to the left instead of straight back, so bullets impact the target at 9:00 or 10:00 or miss high. 

If too little trigger finger is accompanied with a breaking wrist action, either up or down, then bullets impact at 12:00 or 6:00respectively. Be certain to firmly lock the strong-hand wrist, grip the gun firmly, do not lean backward, and do not push the gun in any direction at the last second before firing the shot. You should experience a "surprise break" when the shot fires. 

A surprise break is absolutely essential to achieving any kind of accuracy with a handgun. For the gun to fire with a surprise break, we apply pressure to the trigger gradually and evenly until it fires. And when it actually does fire, we are surprised because we have not anticipated the exact moment of the break. 

The key to perfecting the surprise break is a lot of practice where you put steady and incrementally heavier pressure on the trigger until the gun goes bang.

7. Holding too long 

This error draws out the trigger press because the shooter wants a perfect shot and target hit. I see this in new handgun students frequently because they want to qualify and not have bad shots, so they are slow, indecisive and overly cautious in their trigger press.

They do not exert positive and proper pressure on the trigger at the proper time. Instead of 3 seconds or so, they may take 7 to 8 seconds for just one shot in basic training. They hold their breath and shot too long. 

A consequence of a long hold is that the shooter's breath control is poor, and there usually is undesirable movement and less accuracy. The shooter may not have enough air to hold his breath for the long time to minimize movement, and this actually causes just the opposite of what he wants — a miss or an inaccurate shot because of more movement.

Naturally, in a real-life encounter or tactical situation, this delay could be deadly. So for your initial training as a new shooter at the range, get that shot off in no longer than 3 seconds, if not sooner. But remember, train for accuracy first with proper fundamentals, then train for speed.

Continued success!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Concealed Carry Reality!!!

Concealed Carry Reality...Reality Bites!

Reality (re·al·i·ty noun \rē-ˈa-lə-tē):the quality or state of being real, a real event, entity, or state of affairs, the totality of real things and events.

Have you heard the phrase “reality bites”? As you can see from this Webster’s Dictionary definition, reality is the state of being real…not what want reality to be, but what it is. Every time I talk with a reader or student about the subject of concealed carry I can’t help but think of the phrase “reality bites”. Why? As I listen to why people carry guns, they are seldom based in reality…”I won’t actually use the gun, I just want to scare them so why carry a big one?” How about “I don’t want this to change my lifestyle, I just want to know it’s there!” My all time favorite is “Why do I want a permit? It’s my right!” I agree it is your right to be able to protect yourself…what does that have to do with carrying a gun? 

What do I mean by this? Personal security does not come from the barrel of a gun; it comes from having the willingness, commitment and training to employ the gun if the situation warrants it. I am a student of armed conflict; I have been my entire adult life. Not just in the tactics and techniques of how to do it, but in the history of how we have arrived at where we are. Learning to use the handgun for personal protection has been a long process, something that has been going on for centuries, yet many still cannot get their head wrapped around the concept that being able to repel an attack does not come from a piece of hardware, it starts in the mind. Being combative (ready and willing to fight) is a mental and physical process that is 90% mental and 10% physical. And the mental process starts with truly understanding what armed conflict and accepting it’s reality…it’s bloody, dirty, probably close, fast and final. It is probably not what you envision.

Mark Moritz stated decades ago, “The first rule of gun fighting is to have a gun”. While Mark hit it right on the head, can’t help but add “enough gun”. What is enough gun? I can’t answer that, only you can answer it for you, but I am willing to state it should probably be a hand full of gun. The gun should be large enough to fill your hand without fingers hanging off the bottom of having to change your grip in order to reload it. By having a hand full of gun, you probably have one large enough to control in rapid fire (what are the chances you will miss under the stress and duress of combat?), it likely has useable (read that view-able or reasonably visible) sights and it is large enough to practice with on a regular basis without pain. While training with your carry gun is certainly important, practicing with the gun once training is completes is equally important. Is the gun you have selected for concealed carry large enough to fill your hand? Have you trained with it? Practiced regularly with it?  If not, do you really feel you can protect yourself (or your loved ones!) with it? Yep, reality bites!

What do you view as your potential threat? Are you concerned about being mugged in the parking lot of the shopping mall? An active killer/shooter situation? Rape? Kidnapping? How about good old wrong place at the wrong time? What if I told you that all of these were a possibility? Are they probable? I don’t know, only you can decide this and it should be based on a no B.S. assessment of your real world of work and play. All of us should consider ourselves potential victims of random violent crime while any female should consider themselves a potential rape victim. Kidnapping, terrorism, active killer/shooters can and have happened and statistically the possibility of such events is remote, but do you trust statistics? Hard questions, but if you truly wish to enhance your personal security, they must be considered.

A full size 1911 .45 is certainly a powerful handgun that is easy to shoot, but how many people will really put up with the bulk and weight on a daily basis? I know some who do, but I know many more who “talk a good game” about carrying “full size fighting handguns” and then slide a snub .38 in their pocket. I was attending one of the major training schools and right after receiving a lecture on carrying a “real” gun, I saw the instructors pack up to leave and slide Smith & Wesson J frame revolvers in their pockets. There is nothing wrong with this, but it seemed a bit contradictory considering what they had just said. What I think this incident represents, however, is the reality of concealed carry. People want to be armed they just don’t want it to interfere with their lifestyle…which is impossible. If the gun is small enough to require no change in dress of behavior, the gun is probably too small to be of use in a fight.

This reality was brought home to me many years ago when I was a young police officer. My wife and I took our children out for a nice dinner (a rare event on my then salary!) and while I cut my oldest daughter’s food, I heard the front door of the restaurant open and looked up to see a man enter with a rifle. I was “armed’ (if you want to call it that) with a .25 caliber Baby Browning with no reload because it was “convenient” but was it effective? In a split second I realized I might as well be unarmed as much good as a .25 would be against a rifle. The first rule of gun fighting is to have enough gun for the confrontation at hand and I did not have enough. Fortunately, the gun was not a threat…it was an antique muzzle-loader headed to the antique shop located above the restaurant. My wife was oblivious to all of this but as she looked up and saw me pale and sweating she asked, “are you feeling alright?” Hell no! I was unhinged! 

You would think I had learned my lesson, and I did for a number of years, but as time went by I allowed complacency to once again take over. What brought me out of this was an incident at a drug store I frequent involving a man with an AK-47 assaulting the pharmacy in search of drugs. The suspect was stopped by a very brave township police officer who confronted him with his Glock sidearm and shot him as he launched rounds through the windshield of his cruiser. The moral of this story is bad things happen to good people in nice neighborhoods. Lesson learned (again)! I split my time between a Glock 19 and Ruger SR-9 both of which are fine combat handguns. Both fill my hand and are reasonably easy to conceal under a jacket or large shirt. The problem arises when hot, humid weather is the norm and wearing such clothing is not only impractical, but actually stands out as looking odd. “Regular” folks don’t notice, you say? Don’t bet on it…they notice when someone wears a vest, jacket or some other garment when the weather is hot especially in tourist areas. I was in Florida several years ago wearing a concealment vest when a man I didn’t know saw me in a restaurant and said, “Going on safari or are you carrying a gun?” Hmmm…

Concealed carry is not only a lifestyle commitment; it is a compromise that must be carefully considered. The easiest thing to do is just carry a smaller, lighter gun but we have already discussed that so I decided to find a thinner, more compact version of my regular carry gun, but one that will fill my hand. The search was not as easy as you would think. The most important feature would be a trigger with a similar feel and length of travel as my carry gun(s). A sub-compact Glock or SR-9 would be the obvious choice but both are still wide and I wanted something to conceal under light summer clothing. After trying a number of guns, I settled on the Walther PPS in caliber 9mm. The PPS is very thin making it easy to slide inside the waistband in a pair of shorts covered by a tee-shirt. Though the gun is tall in the hand, the grip feels very good and with interchangeable back straps, it can be adjusted to fit a wide range of hand sizes. Today, the PPS has been replaced by a Glock 43 as this pistol is even more compact!  

My choice of carry ammo is obvious…at least to me: Corbon 115 grain DPX +P. The all copper bullet expands unlike any bullet containing a lead core and penetrates well due to the lack of fragmentation or jacket separation. Two six round magazines (with one in the pipe) give me a fighting chance even in an extreme situation like the AK toting drug abuser I talked about earlier. Don’t misunderstand, I don’t want to take on a rifle wielding suspect with a handgun but I certainly feel better doing it with the 43 or PPS than I would a pocket .380 or .25 auto. 

There is no way to totally avoid danger save never leaving your home, so all of us assume some risk just living in modern day society, but this doesn’t mean we must sacrifice personal security. By staying “switched on” to our environment and trying to avoid or evade danger, it is possible to minimize our chance for conflict while maximizing our enjoyment of life. Think about the environment in which you work and play and give it an honest assessment. Carefully select a gun that is a reasonable compromise between concealment and combative capability and then try to stay alert for danger as we must all be active participants in our own rescue. As WWII German Ace Erich Hartman was quoted as saying, “The pilot that sees the other first already has half the victory!” This from a man that flew over 1,000 combat missions with 352 kills and never lost. Certainly something to think about…

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Illinois Concealed Carry Weapons (CCW) License Class

$250 - Illinois Concealed Carry Weapon (CCW/CCL) License Training Class


Get your Illinois Conceal Carry License... Plus get 3 other CCW's licenses FREE! (Utah CCW, Arizona CCW & Florida CCW) - together safely and legally conceal carry a handgun in over 37 States...!!!

Price: $250 (NO other class fees), 
price includes;
1. Range fees ($25)
2. Illinois Livescan digital fingerprints ($70)
3. Utah & Arizona ink fingerprints ($25)
4. Passport photos ($15)
5. CCW application paperwork 
6. Assistance with CCW application paperwork 

Class Date: April 2-3rd (16 hours)
Location: VFW- Villa Park, Illinois 

331-642-8110 /

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Don't let what you can't do interfere with what you can do


Posted by 

I have a friend who is an inspector for OSHA – the Occupational Safety & Health Administration. Say what you will about the silly OSHA regulations (and he has a lot to say about some of the stuff he’s required to enforce), but he does clean up some workplaces that any reasonable person would call “deathtraps”. I asked him once why people would voluntarily work in those companies; didn’t they value their safety enough to work in a place that wouldn’t expose them to death or dismemberment on a daily basis?

He shrugged his shoulders and said “I guess they need the jobs.”

His statement came flooding back to me as I contemplated the horrific mass murder that occurred in my own state of Oregon on Thursday. At Umpqua Community College (UCC) in Roseburg, a logging town in the southern half of our beautiful state, ten people were killed and several were critically wounded by a killer who used a gun to do his despicable deeds. I have friends and relatives in that town who had connections to the victims.

As I write this the details are still emerging; the local Sheriffs Office is being careful to release only information they’re sure about. What we do know is that UCC, like most colleges in the state, was a posted “gun free zone” — the courts having given public colleges the option of prohibiting legal concealed carry in their buildings on campus. (This was a decision which seems to fly in the face of our state’s preemption law and is, I’m told, being appealed.)

Now whether they can or cannot prohibit the general public from carrying on campus, most of our public colleges and universities have clauses in their student handbooks (which the student agrees to follow when they register for classes) that forbid the carrying of otherwise legal concealed weapons. If the student wants the education, he or she must “voluntarily” surrender their right to efficient self-defense. People need diplomas.

See the connection? We all have things we need and want, and not all of them are compatible with defensive firearms.

Many people work in companies which forbid lawful concealed carry; many people go to entertainment events which bar them from having a defensive firearm on their person or worship in congregations which do likewise. Still more get on an airplane after being searched for any sort of weapon, not just guns. We do these things because we decide, ahead of time, that the value of doing them exceeds the risk we take. The trouble is that many times we don’t do anything to compensate for that risk.

If you’re a regular concealed carrier, there are going to be lots of places you can’t take your gun; you’ll then have a choice to make. Whether the choice is voluntary or “voluntary”, you can’t let the lack of a firearm reduce your options to zero even in the face of, or perhaps especially in the face of, a mass murderer.

I’m not talking about studying martial arts for decades to become a black belt, either. What I am talking about is a resolute decision, made ahead of time, that you will not go quietly into the night when faced with the possibility of your life being ended by another. Whether it’s fleeing the scene or improvising a weapon for a response, you need to decide now that your life is worth living and that you won’t let anything keep you from protecting yourself (or your loved ones.)

Too many times after an event such as this people lament “if only one of the good guys would have had a gun…” What do you do when you can’t have a gun — do you stop being one of the “good guys”? I certainly hope not! It’s your thoughts, plans, and attitudes that keep you safe, not your gun. The lawfully carried firearm just makes their implementation more efficient.

Have you ever considered what weapons you can carry in non-permissive environments, or are you fixated on just your firearm? Take away the gun, take away the knife; what do you have on your person, or what could you have on your person, which would give you an advantage — no matter how slight — on an attacker?

What items in your non-permissive environment might be pressed into weapons? Have you thought about what you’d do at work if a disgruntled employee (every company has a few of those) decided to take out his aggression on his former workmates? Have you thought about escape routes, places to barricade, and things that you could use to disrupt an attack — and what you’d do if someone else’s disruption provided you with an opening to act?

During the coming days and weeks we’ll see calls for more gun registration as the only sure cure for these events, and at the same time insistences that “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” Both are dangerously myopic.

The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy (or gal) who decides not to be a victim. The tool is immaterial. My best friend, who has lived through this kind of violence (and is a solid trainer in his own right) has a saying that I’ve adopted and repeated many times: don’t let what you can’t do interfere with what you CAN do!

Words to (quite literally) live by.

$100 Utah, Arizona & Florida CCW license class - for Illinois residents

$100 -  Utah, Florida & Arizona CCW License Class - for Illinois residents

Get three (3) non-resident Utah, Florida & Arizona CCW permits / licenses - together legally and safely conceal carry handgun(s) in over 34 States. 

Location: VFW Villa Park,  Illinois 
Date: April 2nd (9AM - 1PM)

Cost: $100.00 

331-642-8110 /

Friday, March 25, 2016

Do you conceal carry chambered???

Should you carry or keep your self defense gun on an empty chamber?

I recently read a story where a civilian who was concealed carrying fought back against an armed bank robbery and won. He shot the guy 3 or 4 times and the armed robber didn’t shoot back once, instead, he turned and ran out of the bank before collapsing.

That’s not the surprising part …

The surprising part is that the civilian was carrying without a round in the chamber (sometimes referred to as “Israeli Carry” for reasons I’ll explain in a moment).

So, does that mean that you should not carry a handgun with a round in the chamber?

Is it safer?

Here’s the story …

What is Israeli Carry? 

So called “Israeli Carry” is another name for “Condition 3″ carry. In short, there is no round in the chamber, the hammer is uncocked but a fully loaded magazine is inserted in the mag well.

That means that before you can shoot the gun, you have to rack the slide to chamber a round.

It’s called Israeli Carry because the Israeli military apparently used to teach it along with a standard curriculum on how to draw, rack and fire a first shot.

The technique/doctrine actually has its roots in the time period when the autoloading pistol was first developed …

From about 1907 to 1940 when Fairbairn and Sykes were working with the Shanghai Municipal Police they even made it a part of their curriculum.

Shanghai was a cesspool of crime from the Opium trade and fights with Triads were common for the police. After teaching those police, these are the same men who were recruited by the British Secret Service to develop the training for the British Commandos for the world war. When the US needed a similar training program for the OSS, they taught many similar methodologies from this lineage through Col. Rex Applegate.

Then it spread around the world, and Israeli somehow became the most recognizable military that used it. I’m not sure but I’m guessing that’s because they were still using it for the longest period of time (up until about 20 years ago).

Condition 1 (carrying with one in the chamber, cocked and locked) became the dominant method of carry when Jeff Cooper pioneered the so called “modern technique” later on.

Why Do Some People Not Carry A Loaded Gun

Quite simply, I think that most people don’t feel “Safe” with a loaded gun.

The idea of walking around with one strapped to their hip makes them nervous.

They think the gun could go off and accidentally shoot themselves or someone they love because it’s “cocked and locked”.

Let me go ahead and get something out of the way now …

When I First Carried a Gun, Having It Loaded Made Me Nervous

It actually did.

I had this fear that the gun would just “go off” simply because it was loaded. After all, the gun is loaded, so couldn’t the firing pin fail or something and just fire accidentally?

The truth is, learning the facts eased my mind.

You see, with modern guns, this simply doesn’t happen. The first gun I carried was a DA/SA Sig P225. That means that the first trigger pull was extra long (and heavy because it was actually a P6 German Police model gun) and it simultaneously cocked the hammer and THEN fired it.

It’s impossible for a Double Action pistol to “Go off” by itself unless you pull the trigger.

The gun I switched to, and now still carry, is a Glock 19 Gen 4 which is striker fired. There are no “external safeties” with the Glock pistol, so you would think that keeping it loaded is dangerous and that it could “fail” and the gun would just go off. But that’s not true either because the Glock was designed with multiple, redundant internal safeties they call their “Safe Action System”.

There’s the trigger safety, the FIRST in the series of 3 devices that must be engaged for the gun to fire.

If the trigger safety is not depressed, the trigger will not move rearwards and allow the pistol to fire.

Then there is the spring loaded Firing Pin Safety.

The spring-loaded firing pin safety projects into the firing pin channel and mechanically blocks the firing pin from moving forward. When the trigger is being moved rearwards, a vertical extension of the trigger bar pushes the firing pin safety upwards, clearing the firing pin channel. During the slide cycling process, the firing pin safety automatically reengages.

And lastly, there is the drop safety.

The rear part of the trigger bar, which has a cruciform shape, rests with both arms on the drop safety shelf located in the trigger mechanism housing. When the trigger is pulled to the rear, the trigger bar begins to move down off the shelf until finally separating from the firing pin lug. During the slide cycling process, the trigger bar is lifted and caught by the firing pin lug. The trigger bar is reengaged by the firing pin lug.

Essentially, you HAVE to pull the trigger for the gun to fire. It simply can NOT just go off due to the three safety measures.

This is NOT me bragging on Glock about how amazing their safety system is, but what I want you to understand is that modern handguns are extremely reliable and well made and generally have redundant safety measures like “drop safeties”, etc

Once I realized that a modern, loaded gun simply can not mechanically fire unless the trigger is depressed I became much more comfortable at carrying a loaded gun.

That and I actually forced myself to just carry the thing loaded. Do anything, enough, and you will grow comfortable with it in short order.

Why Condition 3, Carrying On An Empty Chamber, Is Obsolete Now (Just Like Point Shooting)

The truth is that carrying on an empty chamber was developed in a time when handguns simply weren’t mechanically reliable.

Further, it was developed and promoted by people who had to train a LARGE amount of “wet behind the ears” recruits quickly and safely to use a handgun.

It’s important to keep in mind that this was also the time period when “Aimed Fire” was thought to not be effective. In short, everyone was taught to “point shoot”  (not using the sights) and shoot one handed most of the time too. The Fairbairn book is actually called, “SHOOTING TO LIVE WITH THE ONE-HAND GUN” because during this time period it was accepted doctrine that handguns were fired with one hand, and not aimed with the sights.

I actually have a friend that is Israeli and served in the military during that time and later became a firearms instructor (he also wrote a few articles for gun magazines).

I asked him about Israeli Carry and referenced an 80’s video on the method and point shooting and here’s what he said:

 “… the system–and my opinions–have evolved since that video was made, around 20 years ago.  For example, a lot of Israeli instructors used to be very doctrinaire about not carrying a bullet in the chamber.  This makes sense in certain circumstances, and was very logical in Israel at the time, and even now to some extent. (I can explain, but it’s probably boring.)  By contrast, in the US, this is less practical and I advocate carrying with a loaded chamber in nearly every circumstance.  

    The grip, stance and maneuvering are all pretty much the same. While they don’t look pretty, they are based soundly on human physiology and very well-vetted over many, many conflicts.”

Of course, I did not think it was boring and wanted to know every detail. So I got him to tell me more …

 “In the earlier years of Israel, a lot of people were called to arms for security duty, but had little or not training with gun handling and marksmanship.  To complicate matters more, there were multiple handgun models circulating around the various security forces.  So one reason for the condition 3 carry was to get everyone up to at least a minimal level of skill as quickly and easily as possible. 

    “Carrying chamber empty means every semi auto operates in exactly the same way, whether single or double action, with or without manual safeties.  So one single method could be taught that would work on all handguns. It also makes all modes of carry equally safe. (Holstered, tucked in waistband, “thunderwear” carry, etc.)  

    “Particularly with people who aren’t inclined to or even able to train a lot, condition 3 is the safest mode of carry.  There is zero chance of a negligent or accidental discharge while carrying.  So this is yet another advantage.  

    “Utilizing the Israeli method properly also causes the gun to be seated  in the web of the hand, almost insuring an excellent grip on the handgun.  

    “So there are definitely reasons to carry condition 3. 

    “Having said that, Israel’s particular security threat is markedly different from ours.  In Israel, at least when I lived there, there was virtually NO violent crime.  (As an aside, it’s quite common to see soldiers on leave in line at places like the bank, with an assault rifle slung over their shoulder.  You take your weapon home with you in the Israeli military, so often these guys aren’t even in uniform.)


“In the States, the primary reason to carry a firearm is protection against violent crime.  Specifically violent crime in which you are the intended target.  Contrast this with a generalized terror threat in Israel, and the distinction is obvious; Terrorists target groups of individuals, and are more readily identifiable.  So in Israel, (like the States) you may be one of many who are armed on the street. But you may need to get your weapon into action to address a threat that is more distant from you than a typical violent crime.  (Like if a terrorist is shooting into a crowd, or attacking someone with a knife, etc.)

    “In the US, the most likely situation to draw and fire your weapon is during an attempted violent crime, such as a rape or robbery.  Frequently, this involves one or more aggressive males crowding and focusing on a single individual.  The dynamic is different, and I simply feel better prepared (after LOTS of practice!) carrying my firearm condition 1. ”  

Now, when you see where the method gained popularity … and why it was developed … it makes more sense.

Does that mean it’s right for you?

Why You Should Keep Your Self Defense Gun Loaded

First, modern handguns are extremely MECHANICALLY safe. Almost all service caliber, sub-to-mid-size guns by the reputable gun manufacturers can be loaded and will NOT fire unless the trigger is depressed. They almost all have drop safeties and other redundant safety features.

That means the only variable when it comes to safety is you which is why it’s so important to follow the firearms safety rules.

Second, if you carry your gun in a holster that covers the trigger guard and trigger, then the ONLY risk is essentially getting the gun into the holster without touching the trigger. Once it’s in the holster, it should be impossible to fire.

Third, while you can carry with an empty chamber. Why would you?

The potential downsides are too great in my mind …

1. Racking the slide takes extra time

2. Racking the slide (usually) takes two hands. Whenever possible you want both hands on the pistol as quickly as possible for the best gun control.

3. Racking the slide is adding ANOTHER thing you have to do to successfully get the gun out of your holster, on target and shoot. In other words, it’s another thing that you can (and most likely will) mess up under stress.

The data shows that most gunfights happen in 3 seconds or less. 

IF you think that carrying with an empty chamber is correct for you, then I encourage you to go to the range and see if you can draw from your every day carry concealment and rack the slide and make an acceptable (anatomically valuable hit) on the target in less than 3 seconds.

If you get a friend to time you, or set a timer on your cell phone, or set a par time on a shot timer — I think you’ll be surprised.

Just a little bit of stress can make it very easy to mess up even simple things like even moving a shirt out of the way to grab your gun and draw it. Adding more things to do is simply silly. In fact, that’s one of the benefits of carrying a gun without a manual safety (like a Glock but we’ll cover that at a different time).

What are your thoughts? Do you ever carry or store your gun with an empty chamber? If so why?

Thursday, March 24, 2016

The deadly force paradigm


     “If your head tells you one thing, and your heart tells you another, before you do anything, you should first decide whether you have a better head or a better heart.”                                                                                    Marilyn Vos Savant

I framed the SHOULD element of my deadly force paradigm as — do you employ deadly force and risk everything you are/have and will ever be/have. It often presents as whether you should come to the aid of another person. As suggested in my prior paradigm posts, the SHOULD analysis likely goes to the “core of your being.”  So, don’t expect the answer from another (including me (HERE) ).  Moreover, your answer will be part of a complex split-second decision you will likely make alone. Thus, it behooves you to give it serious thought and make the necessary analyses ahead-of-time.  (If you’re an LEO, you have agency requirements and training imperatives — and case law trends — to factor in as well). The key is mental preparation. Before the event, you have one or more “plans” —  if this particular balloon goes up, I disengage/leave/summon help, or I respond with X, Y, and/or Z.

Arguments against employing deadly force are the possibility of a CAN failure (you fail in your use of deadly force and your life or that of another innocent is tragically lost, or someone is unnecessarily injured) and/or a MAY failure (your use of deadly force is a “success,” but results in loss of your freedom, a felony conviction and related civil disabilities, loss of property (due to civil liability), or irreparable loss of standing and respect (self, colleagues, community, family, friends).  Thus, to minimize the chance of failure on the SHOULD, more is better on the CAN(mindset, physical fitness, equipment, and skill, sufficient to “succeed” including with firearms, less lethal, and defensive physical tactics) and the MAY (knowledge of the law – is the use of deadly force lawful, good intentions notwithstanding).

Notwithstanding my broad disclaimer, I can offer some concepts which might intersect with the SHOULD decision.  Assume you have full freedom of choice, act in good faith, are not compelled on the MUST (to a reasonable certainty your life or the life of someone you cannot live without ends if deadly force is not applied), and have more than “enough” on the CAN, and the MAY.  The SHOULD then takes front and center stage.  In no particular order:

  • Who waits at home for you?
  • Whose life is in jeopardy? A stranger? A public servant (LEO, other first responder)?  (HERE)
  • Is the threat you are responding to actually imminent?
  • Is the jeopardy to life a result of the commission of a violent crime?
  • Did you witness the entirety of the jeopardy creating event?
  • Might you be deemed an “aggressor” or other disfavored legal status?
  • Did you or another voluntarily and unnecessarily put your/her/himself into jeopardy?
  • Were/are you otherwise acting lawfully?
  • Is the event a disagreement between individuals who have “consented” to mutual combat?
  • Will innocents be threatened/harmed by your action?
  • Might less lethal be a better choice even though deadly force is lawful?
  • Is there “immunity” from criminal prosecution and/or civil action for the lawful use of deadly force in defense of self/others?  (HERE)
  • How are SYG/retreat applicable? Is pursuit involved?
  • What are your moral/religious beliefs respecting the taking of human life? (HERE)
  • Do you have to leave a safe, ensconced position?
  • Will you be fully committed?  (HERE) and (HERE)
  • Are medical/trauma supplies/care nearby?
  • Is there time to notify LE? Will LE be able to respond before deadly force is necessary?

Some (sworn and unsworn) I know and respect who go armed would routinely decline in the SHOULDmoment discussed here.  For others (sworn and unsworn), it is often going to be a go, simply because it is the “right thing to do.”  Either way, as Louis Awerbuck might say, I hope you are as good as you think you are and can prevail (HERE and (HERE).  Even with good intentions and my good wishes, does it not remain a “crapshoot”?  (HERE)

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Looking for concealment...

Looking for Concealment

The human brain is an interesting machine that somehow manages to survive the ongoing contrast between conscious and sub-conscious. For our part we tend to see the conscious as the equal and, if we were honest with our egos, the "better half" of the brain. After all, this is where we as individuals do our daily living. Yet the conscious mind has a problem. It is subject to preconceived notions, prejudices, memories that fall into the spectrum of truth and half truths and our own idealism.  

And we bring these pre-packaged synaptic firings with us into every self-defense situation we face. The sub-conscious however is free from such clutter. Take for instance when you unexpectedly hear an explosion of some type. The neurons fire so fast that your head and upper body cringe into a protective posture almost as fast as your ears can hear the deafening noise. It is only after the incident, even if it is mere seconds, or less, that your consciousness kicks in and a threat assessment is conducted, "Oh that's thunder" or "that was a rifle shot, a pistol shot, etc.."

Much like our conscious brain is filled with pre-conceived prejudices that can impact an outcome, so can our tactics in a self-defense scenario. Take for instance cover and concealment. On the surface we all agree that anything that stops a bullet from making contact with you is in fact a very good thing. However once we start talking about concealment, we transcend from cover "AND" concealment to "versus". For many people within the self-defense and dare I say "tactical" communities, seeking out concealment during a hostile encounter is often little more than an afterthought.

We live in a world of inconsistency when it comes to finding cover and concealment and we have to understand how they can work in concert with one another. Because while concealment is about hiding it is not about cowering and whereas cover does in fact act as a barrier against incoming fire it can also become a trap. If you can not effectively fight and stop an attack from that cover or if need be, move and take flight from it, then it is only as good the time provided until a shooter re-positions themselves to change the angle of fire. Ask yourself this, in your daily life what do you encounter more of? Concealment or cover? Which offers more flexibility to fight and move or possibly just move. A large dumpster in a parking lot next to a thirty foot section of hedge is going to stop a lot of small arms fire, while the hedge row, to borrow a term from executive protection world, can get you out of the kill zone. The more distance you create the smaller the target you can become. 

And while you may have thoughts in your head of crouching behind a small concrete barricade and returning fire, the first question I would put forth to you is, is there enough cover to protect anyone and everyone who is with you. Because alone is one thing, with your family is quite another. 

Do not misread the intent here. This is not a campaign to minimize the importance of cover. It is intended to encourage you to think differently and to make tactical decisions amidst violent situations. Concealment's role against an armed attack is do to precisely that. Conceal you. If properly done, or done enough to be sufficient for the time being, it can help you move to cover and hopefully keep moving. A bad guy can not target with any effectiveness that which he can not see. Hence concealment. Therefore, while a concrete support pillar or wall might be your ideal cover, if you look around you'll see that such things are limited in the world, and who's to say that once the shooting starts they won't become quickly occupied by other people trying to do exactly what you are doing. An office hallway lined with drywall and hollow core doors doesn't offer any protection against bullets going through it. They can however by you time to get out a window, find secondary cover within that concealment or find something in which to mount a defensive response. 

Along with facing the possibility of not being able to find cover there is also the distinct possibility that you won't have your favorite handgun with you when the feces hits the impeller. Ever travel where you are not armed? Mind you it doesn't have to be any place exotic, it can be your child's school or where you work. In July 2002 Hesham Mohamed Hadayet walked up to the El Al ticket counter at LAX International Airport and proceeded to shoot at more than ninety passengers waiting in line until he was shot and killed by Chaim Sapir, who was employed as security by the airline.  

Going to the range and shooting seven yards, running through an IDPA match, or continually practicing mag changes are all good things but they are also rudimentary elements that are not going to prepare you for the shock and awe of real world violence. You have to think differently and train accordingly. 

Confucius once wrote that when a wise man points at the moon the imbecile examines the finger. If you are of the mindset that you don't need to seek out training in order to better prepare yourself for a gunfight I can assure you, you're not pointing at the moon.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Semi-Auto Pistol Grip...

The Semi-Auto Pistol Grip: The how’s and why’s

I recently sat with a number of law enforcement firearms instructors and listened to them debate the correct grip for the semi-automatic pistol. One advocated thumbs forward and another pushed for thumbs up. One even made the case for the thumbs being held away from the frame, so they wouldn’t apply undue pressure on the side of the gun…pushing the muzzle off target. I sat quietly and didn’t get involved for several reasons. One, if I’m talking, I’m not listening, and it’s through listening that I learn and two, I don’t really think the thumbs matter when it comes to applying a proper firing grip to a pistol …at least doing what the “grip” is supposed to do which is to apply inward pressure. 

What Thumbs Do

Try something for me. Make a tight fist with your shooting hand and hold it. While retaining the fist, straighten the thumb forward and then up. Did the position of the thumb affect how tightly you could hold your fingers? I didn’t think so. The truth is, your shooting-hand thumb could be half gone and you’d still be able to grip a pistol provided there was enough thumb left to create a pocket for the grip, as the shooting hand applies pressure from front to back as if you’re squeezing a pair of pliers. The front and back straps of the pistol are what the shooting hand engages, leaving the side-to-side pressure to the support hand. This front-to-back pressure is both good and bad: It’s consistent with the rearward travel of the trigger, thus the index finger can efficiently apply pressure. This is the same reason that it’s bad. Because the hand is a sympathetic mechanism, it’s very hard to separate the trigger finger from the rest of the hand, and, as we all know, a convulsive grip of the entire hand as the trigger is being pressed will take the muzzle off target. Depending on the distance, this could cause us to miss our attacker completely.

The support hand applies side-to-side pressure, as if it’s squeezing a rubber ball.  The fingers are applying pressure toward the heel of the hand and, once again, the thumb doesn’t come into play. If the support hand is going to make maximum contact with the grip, the heel of the hand needs to make as much contact as possible with the available grip surface. Thus, it’s a good idea to vacate this area, allowing the support hand to be seated. This means that the shooting-hand thumb must be flagged or at least moved out of the way, which a normal thumbs-down grip doesn’t provide.

If the thumb is locked down and the support hand attempts to apply inward pressure, the thumb creates a gap in the grip that provides recoil a travel path.  By removing the thumb from the exposed grip panel, the heel of the support hand can fill the space left by the shooting hand with the support fingers wrapping around same. The support hand then squeezes inward on the grip and shooting hand, creating a 360° wrap on the gun’s grip with inward pressure all around.

The 360° Wrap

Why is a 360° wrap on the pistol’s grip important? Because it helps keep the gun on target through the firing cycle and the recoil that results. How do you now if you have good recoil control? The gun returns where it started! When the gun fires, it sends a bullet down the barrel and the slide assembly moves to the rear. Recoil actually travels backward, but the shooting hand applying forward pressure makes the muzzle rise as it seeks the path of least resistance.

By applying a continuous 360° wrap around the gun’s grip, which includes backward pressure to the gun’s front strap, and applying a forward lean by the upper body and arms into the gun, muzzle rise is greatly reduced or eliminated depending on the weapon being used. If a gap in the grip is evident, the gun will torque in that direction making it more difficult (read slower) to get back on target quickly for fast follow-up shots. Why are fast follow-up shots important? No one ever misses with their first rounds, right? In addition, the history of pistol fighting as revealed multiple shots are likely to create the level of incapacitation needed to stopa determined adversary. 

How tight should the two hands be? After all, we’ve all heard of applying 60/40 or 70/30 pressure to the grip, meaning that 40/30% of the grip is applied by the shooting hand while 60/70% is applied by the support hand. Is this necessary? Not really. Try making a fist with your shooting hand, and hold it as tight as possible. Now release just your index finger and move it as of it were trying to work the trigger on your pistol. Notice how the other fingers loosen up a bit? It’s something that just happens, so don’t worry about how tight to grip the gun. Just apply as much pressure as you can and your shooting hand will compensate for the movement of the index finger. Just focus on proper trigger control, and the rest will fall in place. Also consider the convulsive interaction of the hand as you try to depress the trigger as discussed previously. Will having a loose firing hand help or work against this phenomenon? A tight grip is much less likely to tighten and then loosen. 

Are the thumbs important for combative shooting? I think so, but it has nothing to do with applying inward pressure to the grip. I like the thumbs forward, as they offer a secondary sighting device when trying to get the gun on target during the pandemonium of armed conflict. They also help apply greater pressure to the front strap and help lock the wrists. Point your thumb at the wall and open your hand. Note how the fingers point down towards the floor? Place a pistol in this open hand and wrap the fingers around the grip. The fingers will apply rearward pressure to the front strap, camming the muzzle down. Do you tink this could come in handy when te gun fires? 

Another Experiment

Take your empty hand, and hold it as if you’re gripping a pistol with your thumb straight forward. Separate your index finger, as if it were on the trigger face. Look at an item on the wall 15–30 feet away, and point your thumb at it, as if you were extending a pistol to shoot. Notice how the gun comes naturally into your eye/target line? The felt aspects of shooting are grossly under-rated.

What do I mean by this? All too often, shooting is made into a visual exercise with instructions such as, “look at the front sight before pressing the trigger” or “you won’t be able to see the front sight due to stress; you’ll focus on the threat.” The problem is that the eyes have nothing to do with shooting the gun. Shooting is a kinesthetic exercise and it should be thought of as such. 

In reality, we all point shoot even if we are sighted shooters. What do I mean by this? When does the front sight come into play when shooting a handgun? At the last moment before the trigger is pressed once the gun gets to the eye/target line. What got the gun to this point in the process? Physical manipulation that must be consistent and practiced so it can be accomplished without conscious thought. Would this not be a form of target focused or point shooting? 

Proper Body Manipulation

Does anyone really think they can thrust their pistol out in front of their body, chase down the front sight and get a quick and accurate shot by relying on the front sight alone? Even the father of front-sight focus, Jeff Cooper, stated, “The body aims, the sights confirm.” It’s practiced body movement and manipulation that gets the gun to the eye/target line quickly and accurately. By using the felt index of the thumbs-forward grip, the accuracy of this movement is merely enhanced.

Am I advocating point shooting? Not really, as I don’t see a big difference between the two techniques. If a person practices using their front sight to confirm proper body manipulation when delivering their pistol to target, but then during the actual event they focus on the threat, does it really matter as long as the gun arrives where it’s needed? The truth is that it’s more likely that the shot will be missed due to improper trigger control than to sight alignment. It is also wise to keep in mind it is VERY difficult to pull our eyes away from something that is trying to kill us. 

In Sum

The handgun is controlled by two things: a proper grip applied to the pistol in a 360° full-contact fashion and the straight rearward travel of the trigger. Sights are nice to confirm that the body did what it should’ve done, but they’re not critical in a close-quarters gunfight. 

Should you use them if you can? Hell yes! But if you can’t, proper body motion will likely get them there for you if you’ve taken the time to note how it feels to properly deliver the gun to the target. Recreating that feel is worth practicing and, if front-sight focus/confirmation helps anchor this, then what’s the harm? Obtaining a proper grip on the gun, proper trigger control and forward body position are all kinesthetic exercises and must be practiced correctly or they’ll do you no good when you need them. These are basic skills, what many call fundamentals…I prefer to call them ESSENTIALS. Remember: As Bruce Lee so eloquently said, “Advanced skills are the basics mastered.”