The Role of Questions in Personal Protection

Who is around me and what are they doing? – Tom Givens

What are you capable of? – Ken Hackathorn

What’s the object of the exercise? – the Tactical Professor

What is the best use of my time right now? – Alan Lakein

METT-TC is a well developed structure for asking questions when developing plans for Personal Protection.

  • Mission
  • Enemy
  • Terrain and Weather
  • Troops and Support Available
  • Time Available
  • Civil (Legal and moral) Considerations

SALUTE is a good structure for gathering information in the moment.

  • Size
  • Activity
  • Location (proximity)
  • Unit
  • Time
  • Equipment

When we are children, we are constantly asking questions. As adults, we usually get in the habit of providing opinions, experiences, and self-promotion instead of asking question. Information gathering is a vital skill in Personal Protection. Putting ourselves back into the question asking mode requires a shift in our thinking patterns that requires practice.

asking the wrong questions annotated

My thanks to John Correia of Active Self Protection for stimulating my thinking about the topic.

My Patreon page is where I go into more depth on Personal Protection topics. https://www.patreon.com/TacticalProfessor

Muzzle direction is the primary safety

Muzzle direction is the primary safety. Always has been and always will be.

–Bill Rogers of the elite Rogers Shooting School

“He told police he was oiling a handgun and had put a magazine in it and racked the slide when it fired, hitting his wife as she sat on a couch nearby.”

Man sentenced to probation in shooting of his wife

I absolutely despise the meme from Blackhawk Down that shows a trigger finger with the phrase “This is my safety.” Trigger finger discipline is a good thing but there’s a reason it’s Number 3 in the Four Rules of Gunhandling. Muzzle Direction is Number 2, as it should be in the scheme of things.

this is my safety no

Informal Instruction

A colleague of mine had the opportunity to give a short (15 minute) informal block of instruction to a friend of hers. Most firearms instruction in the US is informally done between friends or relatives.

Their session didn’t involve any live fire and was conducted in their office. It was simply a short briefing on basic safety rules, gun handling, and model specific instructions on how to operate her handgun.

An interesting comment came up in our discussion about the session. It’s worth keeping in mind any time we teach somebody something, whether the subject is firearms related or not.

I talked with her not at her.

When we teach an adult, it’s always worth remembering to approach it that way. Even if we are a Subject Matter Authority, the person is one of our peers and deserves to be treated respectfully. They should be treated like a client in an Adult-Adult relationship, not a grade school student in a Parent-Child relationship.

Mutual respect will garner the rapport necessary for the instruction to be effective and add value to the person’s life.

The Mission

If I went out looking for bad guys for 8-10 hours a day every workday, I’d be carrying a high capacity autoloader too. And I’d be wearing a helmet.

Discussion about snub caliber choices

#wheelgunwednesday

Someone contacted me on my Tactical Professor Facebook page regarding selection criteria for a snub revolver. It was a good discussion and well worth reproducing. For clarity, my answers and comments are in italics.

Where can I find info on 22 mag (probably the Hornady round) in comparison to 38 special (target wadcutters) out of a sub-2 inch barrel revolver?

In terms of what criteria? Penetration, recoil, terminal effectiveness?

I guess the concern would be for ballistic performance. The 22 mag has the higher capacity.

Ballistic performance has a lot of variables. I’m not trying to be pedantic but in the gun community we frequently don’t do a good job of defining our goals.

In general, both of the rounds will achieve the desired penetration. The .22 Magnum will have much more concussion than the .38. The .38 will have more recoil. Our human performance factors are a much more important consideration than ballistic performance of any handgun. Given the opportunity, the best move would be to shoot 5^5 with both and see which one you can shoot it better with. That drill, as originally developed by Gila Hayes and extended by me, was designed as the entry level criterion for choosing a handgun.

Start Shooting Better Episode 2: 5×5 Drill – Lucky Gunner Lounge https://www.luckygunner.com/lounge/start-shooting-better-5×5-drill/

Although it carries two more rounds [in a Smith & Wesson], you should assume the .22 Magnum will be much more difficult to reload than the .38. There will also likely be issues with ignition reliability of the .22. You should assume that you will never be able to achieve a trigger pull on a .22 Magnum that you can with a .38, precisely because of ignition issues.

I agree with that. I’m looking to pick up a Ruger LCR has a back up gun. It’ll spend almost the entire life in an ankle glove or in a pocket.

The 22 mag has 3 more rounds in it but they are smaller rounds and rimfire.

I believe there is one thing incorrect in your assumptions. The LCR in .22 Magnum holds 6 rounds. The .22 LR holds 8.

I’ve read several write ups that the 38 out of those smaller barrels tends to fall short in terms of penetration.

Does the 22 mag follow that trend as well or is it worse? I may be gaining extra rounds but if the 22 mag performs less than the 38 in general then I’m not much better off than with 5 38 wad cutters.

The reliability issues you pointed out makes a lot of sense. That might be the answer I needed.

What you read is untrue. My colleague Chuck Haggard has done more ballistic gel testing for snubs than most people in the industry. His results were that .38 wadcutters penetrate more than adequately.

So you’re only gaining one round. Before I would go that route, I would personally go with a .327 Federal and load it with .32 H&R Magnum.

https://ruger.com/products/lcr/models.html

Ruger® LCR® * Double-Action Revolver Models

Big difference. I wouldn’t go that route for just one extra round. This was the conversation I needed. Again, thank you very much Claude for helping a dude out.

Summary of the discussion

After certain minimum criteria are met, caliber discussion is a relatively low level priority. Massad Ayoob’s Priorities of Survival; Mental Preparation, Tactics, Skill, and finally Equipment, are a good example of this hierarchy. Priorities of Survival is the critical tool used for this week’s Patreon Incident Analysis.

Patreon topics update

  • H&K VP9SK evaluation
  • Shooting test protocol for carry guns
  • Store robbery with hostage taking – an in-depth analysis of the incident
    • Situation – convenience store robbery. One of the employees was taken hostage immediately. Eventually, a satisfactory resolution was achieved when the cashier shot the robber. The shooting was a downrange incident, i.e., the shot had to be taken with a friendly/non-threat downrange of the shooter and in proximity to the shootee.
    • Cast of character development along with 28 point play by play incident timeline.
    • 17 different Personal Protection tasks identified in the incident.
    • Discussion about possible improvements of the actions immediately after the shooting but before the POlice arrive.

I’m able to cover topics more in depth on my Patreon account than I can in my blog. If you’re interested, you can subscribe for $5 a month here. https://www.patreon.com/TacticalProfessor

FTC Notice: I have no relationship with Ruger nor do I receive any compensation for mentioning their product. The LCR was specifically asked about so I responded.

Thinking about what’s important

Man shot in neighbor’s home charged after allegedly undressing in 12-year-old’s bedroom during break-in

https://www.wdrb.com/news/man-shot-in-neighbor-s-home-charged-after-allegedly-undressing/article_184841ce-5f90-11e9-be1f-e328e3b39e3e.html

Although this incident occurred in April, it recently re-surfaced as an example of a Defensive Gun Use. As is frequently the case, Internet common taters had numerous things to say about it.

  • Needs more practice.
  • Only six? Should have emptied the magazine!
  • Too bad the dirtbag’s not in the morgue.
  • Etc.

It’s easy to focus on the unimportant aspects of an incident. All of the commentary focused on feelings, which are unimportant, instead of Lessons to be Learned (LTBL), which are important.

How do we focus on what’s important? One way to start is to identify who was involved by role rather than name. Most the time, news stories use last names but that tends to obscure who did what. Substituting a role for names in the story leads to more clarity about the actions of the participants. For this incident, it would look as follows.

Cast of characters in the drama

Donald Oliver – Intruder

Tina Burton – female of household (Female)

Ali Bracey – male of household (Male)

Daughter

Important aspects of the incident

  • The Male knew there was an actual intruder because of the Daughter’s text.
  • Despite knowing it wasn’t just a ‘bump in the night,’ the Male went to confront the intruder unarmed.
  • The confrontation between the Male and Intruder started verbally and then turned physical.
  • It was either an entangled fight or within arm’s length.
  • When it went physical, the male employed an improvised weapon, to wit: a broom.
  • The broom was apparently ineffective in the confrontation, so the male continued using unspecified improvised weapons.
  • They had a gun but didn’t think initially to bring it to the fight.
  • The Female eventually brought the gun to the Male to use.
  • There was a weapon handoff from the Female to the Male.
  • Shooting the gun caused the Intruder to flee.

Unimportant aspects of the incident

  • The intruder wasn’t killed.
  • The householder didn’t practice enough at the gun range.

Lessons To Be Learned (LBTL) and other important aspects

Guns are not useful if you don’t bring them to the fight. Have a plan ahead of time about how to handle an intrusion.

You can’t practice appropriately for an entangled or close range fight at a gun range anyway. This would most likely have been best handled as a retention shooting situation. Retention shooting is a skill best learned by taking a class from someone who knows what they’re doing. Few instructors are qualified to teach this task. I can recommend Brian Hill of The Complete Combatant, Greg Ellifritz of Active Response Training, and Craig Douglas of Shivworks.

Males of the household will often confront an intruder unarmed. It’s not uncommon for another family member to have to access the firearm and bring it to the fight. A handoff to the Male periodically occurs at that point. This means that several implied Personal Protection tasks for the other family member come into play.

  1. Know where the gun is.
  2. Be able to access the gun. Is it in a safe and can the family member open it?
  3. If the gun is not stored Ready to Fire, be able to place the gun into Ready to Fire condition.
  4. Move safely from the storage location to the fight location. Having an Unintentional Discharge en route will probably be a Tactical Disaster.
  5. Either be able to engage the Intruder with the firearm, or
  6. Safely hand off the firearm to the Male engaged in the confrontation. If the confrontation is physically entangled, a handoff may not be safely possible.

Whether the Intruder is killed or not is completely irrelevant. Let’s keep in mind The Cost of Killing. Achieving a Break In Contact is our objective as Non-Sworn Citizens. Note that in this incident, the Intruder had to be taken to court in a wheelchair. That probably means that he has some serious injuries, perhaps debilitating for his entire life.

We need to focus on the important tasks in Personal Protection incident analysis and not our feelings, which are unimportant. That is what I will be doing in the monthly incident analysis on my Patreon page.

https://www.patreon.com/TacticalProfessor

My Patreon page is live

I’ve created a Patreon page and it’s now live. My plan is to create at least four posts monthly about Strategies, Tactics, and Options for Personal Protection.

https://www.patreon.com/TacticalProfessor

I’ll still be posting a few short articles here monthly but the Patreon page will allow me to do some things I wasn’t able to before.

My first article is an evaluation of the H&K VP9SK pistol. My object is to create a more rigorous and standardized evaluation process than I generally see pistols subjected to. I will not be accepting any compensation for the hardware reviews I do. Each month I’ll be reviewing one handgun with an emphasis on subcompact and compact guns because I think those are the real concealed carry pistols.

There’s also a printable trifold brochure that describes the shooting tests I plan to use. It’s a good reference guide for anyone who wants to use it.

trifold pic 2

 

Other subjects I’ll be addressing will be things like the decision process, incident analysis, practice drills, non-firearms personal protection topics, surveillance detection, et al.

I hope you’ll subscribe to my Patreon page. I guarantee it will have value for you.

 

The Basics and Beyond

#Fridayfundamentals

The NRA Basics of Pistol Shooting course qualification has changed in the past few years. The old standard was to be able to hit a paper plate at 15 feet. The new standard is 5 shots/5 hits into a 4 inch circle at 10 feet. It must be done 4 times to qualify at the first (Red) Level. The tries do not have to be consecutive. Additional qualifications at 15 feet (White Level) and 20 feet (Blue Level) are available for those who pass the Red Level. There is no time limit. This is deceptively simple but many people who think they can shoot to this standard cannot.

Here is a target that you can download to try it out for yourself. It’s printable on standard printer paper.

4 inch circles with one inch centers portrait

You should be able to make the five hits in four consecutive tries at all three distances if you consider yourself a proficient shooter. If all the rounds don’t hit the circles in four consecutive tries, then dry practice all 20 cycles at the distance you didn’t make it. The dry practice should help you tune up your sight picture and trigger manipulation. After the dry practice, reshoot the stage at that distance. This totals a minimum of 60 rounds of disciplined fundamental shooting.

Putting the Qualification on Steroids

After you are able to successfully complete all three levels (Red, White, and Blue), you may want to really challenge yourself. Here’s the qualification on steroids using the downloadable target.

Start at 10 feet (Red Level). Shoot one shot into each circle as five separate strings. String one starts on circle one. String two starts on circle two. String three on circle three, etc. Finish with String five starting on circle one.

Putting it on steroids will teach you the visual patience to make sure your sights are well aligned before you break the shot when you are transitioning from target to target. It will also force you to press the trigger smoothly when you make a target transition.

Tactical Professor books (all PDF)

Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make http://seriousgunownermistakes.com

Indoor Range Practice Sessions http://indoorrangepracticesessions.com

Concealed Carry Skills and Drills http://concealedcarryskillsanddrills.com

Advanced Pistol Practice http://bit.ly/advancedpistolpractice

Shooting Your Black Rifle http://shootingyourblackrifle.com

‘Good Guys’ is a relative term in this video

From my Strategies, Tactics, and Options for Personal Protection Class:

Triumvirate of Success in Decision-Making (adapted from David Brin’s The Uplift War).
In no particular order:
• Consequences [nee Cost and Caution] – financial, political, and physical.
• Decency or Civility [nee Propriety] – honor and nobility. Actually being ‘the good guy.’
• Courage [nee Beam and Talon] – Aggressive spirit, daring and seeking out opportunities.

Failure to achieve some balance of the three factors significantly increases the possibility of a catastrophic failure to achieve the objective. In this incident, there was no sense of decency or civility among the ‘Good Guys.’

Unintentional Discharge (causing the death of an innocent) – Serious Mistake

Mistaken Identity Shootings – Serious Mistake

After the fact beatdown of an innocent party – Serious Mistake

Most likely spending a long time in a Brazilian prison – Negative Outcome.

What gets people in trouble is usually not marksmanship but instead Serious Mistakes in the Decision-Making process. There are exceptions but that’s the general rule. The reason we become proficient with firearms is not because the marksmanship problem is likely to be difficult but rather to avoid having the tool (firearm) become our focus in the moment instead of the situation.

Tactical Professor books (all PDF)

Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make http://seriousgunownermistakes.com

Indoor Range Practice Sessions http://indoorrangepracticesessions.com

Concealed Carry Skills and Drills http://concealedcarryskillsanddrills.com

Advanced Pistol Practice http://bit.ly/advancedpistolpractice

Shooting Your Black Rifle http://shootingyourblackrifle.com

Worst Possible Case and 100 percent Standards

#Fridayfundamentals

Last night, I had an interesting conversation with John Daub of KR Training about the new NRA CCW Course. KR Training is one of, if not the, premier provider of firearms training in Texas, so his thoughts about the CCW Instructor Course he and Karl recently completed were something I wanted to hear. One of the most interesting items of the conversation was that the NRA has adopted a 100 percent hit standard for the NRA’s Qualification Course, if instructors choose to use the NRA’s Qual Course.

I’ve been a big believer in 100 percent standards for a long time. The importance of an exacting standard was emphasized by a recent Incident where a woman in Oroville, California shot and paralyzed her husband as a result of taking a Hostage Rescue shot on a home invader. Although she killed the home invader when she “emptied the clip” at him, her husband is now paralyzed for life. That incident reminded me of how imprecisely we use the term Worst Possible Case.

‘Worst Possible Case’ discussions inevitably devolve to one of two possibilities; TODD, the heavily armed criminal who is as impervious to gunfire as Superman or becoming involved in an entangled fight. However, there are numerous possibilities of what could be the Worst Possible Case as listed in Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make. So there actually is no single Worst Possible Case, there are various Negative Outcomes; it’s situationally dependent. The situation will dictate which of the possible Negative Outcomes is the ‘worst.’

It’s very important for us to understand our capabilities. The CAN, MAY, SHOULD, MUST paradigm developed by Steve Harris, Esq. puts CAN first for a reason. CAN, what are you able to accomplish at that moment?, has two components – Mental and physical. The Oroville woman had the mental part of CAN but not the physical. Let’s compare and contrast her incident with that of Meghan Brown, who also shot and killed a home invader during a struggle.  Ms. Brown had been to the range with her pink Taurus revolver and knew she was not a very good shot. As a result her strategy was to close with the struggle and take the shot at a point where she was sure she could make her hits.

The ‘Downrange problem,’ in which an innocent person is downrange of the shooter, is far more common than we think. Those who keep a firearm for Personal Protection need to keep in mind that the situation may not be ‘self-defense’ but rather protecting another person.

How to put this into practice becomes the question. The Decisional Exercise Family taken hostage from Concealed Carry Skills and Drills is one example. Simply use two sheets of paper as the hostage. Put them on the same side as your Support Hand so you maximize your opportunity to hit them if you jerk the trigger. If you hit those two sheets of paper, assume you seriously wounded or killed a member of your family.

Q hostage 4

To add some realism, you can put a facial photo of a family member above the printed sheets or just draw a face above them. Here’s a Non-threat PDF Printable Non threat Silhouette torso that is included in Advanced Pistol Practice and Shooting Your Black Rifle. When practicing on an indoor range, you probably won’t be able to set up the full scenario but you can still do the individual strings.

What’s the Worst Possible Case? It’s a situationally dependent individual decision. Using a little forethought and doing some practice may help you solve it without a Negative Outcome. Going to the range and figuring what distance YOU can make 100 percent hits will give you a very important piece of information in the context of Personal Protection.