Safe Gunhandling Rules

There are several sets of rules regarding safe gunhandling. All the sets of rules emphasize the concerns of their originators. However, many similar things are said but stated in different ways.

Which set of rules you choose to use is less important than picking a set and following it scrupulously. Firearms are instruments of ultimate personal responsibility and can be very unforgiving of even a moment of carelessness. Gunhandling is just as important as marksmanship, but many people are careless about the way they handle firearms, which can result in death or serious injury.

The National Rifle Association’s set. Link

The National Shooting Sports Foundation’s set. Link

Glock has its own set. Link

Like most competitors in the Action Shooting Sports, I use The Four Rules originally developed by Jeff Cooper. Lists of more than three or four items are difficult to memorize, so I still prefer them. There are minor variations but they all follow the same pattern.

  1. All guns are always loaded.
  2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.
  3. Keep your finger off the trigger till your sights are on the target.
  4. Identify your target, and what is behind it.

When talking about gun safety, we need to be careful about taking our subject matter knowledge for granted, especially nuance. Each of the Four Rules has a given amount of unstated subject matter knowledge inherent in them. I have had this discussion before and I continue to maintain the following: telling people with little experience four sentences and expecting 100 percent positive results is ridiculous.

The Four Rules are a memory aid like OCOKA, not a teaching paradigm. Glibly reciting them and expecting people to understand the depth involved in them is like showing someone a flashcard about algebraic formulas and then expecting the person to understand Mass-energy equivalency. The written explanation I provide my students about the Four Rules is three pages long with multiple (2-7) subsections explaining the nuances of each Rule. In the case of Rule #2, there are seven subsections.

“Never point your gun at something you’re not prepared to destroy,” to someone who doesn’t know much about firearms, can be easily interpreted as “Don’t horseplay around with your gun and act like a toothless buffoon by pointing it at your wife or dog.” There are multiple nuances that are not immediately apparent in a one sentence reading. For instance, here is one subsection of my handout:

“c. In many cases, you will have to choose between pointing the gun at an inanimate object, such as the floor or gun cabinet, or pointing the gun at a person; always choose the inanimate object, never point the gun at a person.”

I speak for no one else but there’s nothing in a gun shop I am prepared to destroy when I handle a gun. However, the choice between shooting a gun cabinet and shooting the person behind the counter is fairly easy to make.

Granted a few people are exceptionally stupid. For instance, the guy who disabled his hand by negligently shooting it and then did it a second time because he insisted the only way he could manipulate the slide was by pushing it against his disabled palm. He posted pictures of the second incident on GlockTalk years ago and almost seemed proud of them. People like that are untrainable.

I think most people would be much more competent if we in the industry didn’t take so much for granted. People who have never operated a handheld device more complicated or dangerous than a coffee maker need an explanation first and the memory aid second to reinforce the explanation.

When explaining the Four Rules, I always include the statement:

In addition to the Four Rules, always store firearms so that they are not accessible to unauthorized persons.

The attached explanation is NOT all inclusive of the implications of the Four Rules. However, it is a starting point to allow shooters to think about the proper way to handle guns safely. Feel free to distribute the PDF to anyone.

FourRules expansion

Contingency plans

Watching the end of The Bridge Over the River Kwai last night, something occurred to me. There should have been a contingency plan that if the British Major Warden fired the two inch mortar, it was the signal to blow the bridge early. Granted, that would have removed much of the Hollywood drama but it’s food for thought, nonetheless.

Situations and operations don’t always go according to plan, which is why it’s good to have contingency plans. Going to guns is actually a contingency plan. When we display or fire our weapons, it means that our plan to follow our other priorities has failed. In my particular case, those other priorities are Avoid (barriers are a component of Avoid) and Escape.

Even if we find it necessary to use force to resolve an issue, we need to have contingency plans, both technical and tactical. Malfunction clearance drills and reloading are just technical contingency plans for dealing with stoppages (unintentional interruptions in the cycle of operations). Displaying the weapon may not intimidate the villain into leaving. Given the appropriate MAY and/or SHOULD, the tactical contingency plan in that case is to actually employ the weapon, whatever it may be.

And sometimes weapons don’t have the desired effect. The Seattle couple who tried using wasp spray to repel a home invader  found it to be ineffective. Then the husband went to an impromptu contingency, hand to gland combat, what the FBI calls ‘personal weapons.’ When that failed, the wife was forced into a second impromptu contingency, getting a large kitchen knife and hacking the invader to death. Sidenote to anti-‘Assault Rifle’ folks, note in the table that knives are used for more homicides than all long guns put together. The important thing was that the couple didn’t give up; sometimes you invent contingencies on the fly, as they did.

Contingency plans don’t have to be elaborate.

As long as all they’re doing is robbing the [convenience store], I am going to act like a CPA from Akron and be a good witness. But if they start searching people, making people get down on the floor, or forcing people into a back room, my wife knows to get away from me because I am going to start shooting.

Evan Marshall, on off-duty incident planning

Note in the above contingency plan, family members are aware of the plan, as well. Your family and associates should know what you plan to do also or the situation could become even more complicated. If the Major had fired the mortar at the two colonels without telling the Lieutenant what the plan was, the Lieutenant might have misinterpreted that as covering fire and still waited for the train.

mortar shell explodes

A contingency plan stated by a very savvy friend of mine is one that everyone should keep in mind. I’ve mentioned it before but it bears repeating.

When they get the duct tape out, it’s time to make your move, ready or not. Nothing good comes of being tied up with duct tape.

Contingency planning is an inherent part of wargaming and developing our personal guidelines for using force as part of our Personal Protection plan. What do I, or we, do if the planned Course of Action doesn’t go according to plan?

holden with knife

Practicing Awareness – Part III

How do you do ‘situational awareness?’ You can’t ‘do’ a noun.

Craig Douglas

First of all, let’s distinguish between training and practice. My definition of training is something you do under the guidance and supervision of someone else. Practice is something you do on your own to maintain or hone skills you have or are developing.

Although Jeff Cooper’s Color Codes (White, Yellow, Orange, and Red) are the most popular way to describe states of awareness, I prefer to use the NRA format. As a sidenote, Cooper did not include Black as part of his system and actually objected to its inclusion.

The NRA format is described in the Personal Protection In The Home course and book.  Military and police personnel tend to use insider jargon to describe things. Jargon is both a shorthand and, linguistically, also a way of excluding outsiders from the group. Shorthand can be useful in some circumstances but to a trainer exclusion is not, so I prefer the NRA terms.

  • Unaware             (Doi, doi, doi, doi, doi, doi, doi; as we used to say in Chicago)
  • Aware                   (I know who and what is around me and what is going on)
  • Alert                      (Something has caught my attention and makes me uneasy)
  • Alarm                    (Something is definitely wrong in my right world)

Wearing earphones and listening to music automatically put us into the Unaware state. Constant talking on the phone does the same thing, as does concentrating on watching your dog take a dump. If you want to be Aware, you have to be mentally present where you are, not in a musical venue or someone else’s location. Sorry, there’s no way around that.

Tom Givens of Rangemaster mentions two things he thinks are relevant to situational awareness.

1. Who is around me?

2. What are they doing?

To those, I would add three more:

3. Where am I?

4. What is going on? (Not necessarily at this moment)

5. Points Of Likely Concealment (a component of Positioning to be discussed later)

When walking or running, we have an excellent opportunity to practice our situational awareness and positioning. It’s also a good habit for your safety.

You know how they say running is good for your health? In my neighborhood, it can save your life.

–old Chicago joke

To start the practice regimen, the default position for your eyes is on the horizon. It’s true that when walking or running we have to look down periodically to watch out for dog turds and other hazards on the ground. However, most people walk around like they’re continually playing the game “Step on a crack, break your mother’s back.” Having the eyes down makes it very difficult to see anything outside of the Near Phase of Social Space, in terms of proxemics. The boundary between the Near and Far phases (~7 feet) of Social Space is where untrained people will tend to make their final Force decision (Critical Distance). Being fixed on that point makes it impossible to do any information gathering prior to having to react. It’s a failure to follow Items 1 and 2 and a self setup for disaster. There is a discussion of proxemics and its implications in an earlier blog post Situational Awareness and Positioning (part III).

To get into the information gathering mode, something I do when out is to read every sign or anything that has words on it. I do this whether I’m walking or driving because it keeps my head up. As Tom says, most drivers stopped at a traffic signal tend to watch the signal with rapt fascination as if they expected it to start to sing and dance. Reading everything around you keeps your head moving and your mental focus outward.

There are many apartment complexes and residential subdivisions along my walk route. There are also numerous small cross streets with street signs. I make it a habit to read each of these signs every time I pass them, even though I’ve read them hundreds of times before. This accomplishes two things. First, it puts me in an outwardly directed mental state. Second, it makes sure I know exactly where I am at all times; Item 3 on the list. If I had to call 911, being able to say “I’m at the entrance to the Wyndham Hills apartment complex on Nesbitt Ferry Road” or “I’m at the intersection of Peachtree Road and Sequoia Trace” gives any responders a good idea of where I’m at. I also read the address number of every mailbox I pass. This gives a precise location if I’m not near a complex, cross street, or subdivision. Don’t depend on the GPS locator of your phone to give your exact location; it may not.

As I approach and pass the complexes and subdivisions, I look as far as I can past the entrance. What I’m looking for is outgoing traffic and any changes or construction. This is mostly just mental exercise for Item 4 but has helped me avoid being run over by distracted soccer mom drivers on several occasions. Heavy construction equipment near the entrance can also be a Point Of Likely Concealment, Item 5, for criminals, especially at night.

Graffiti is another thing to look for. The appearance of graffiti where it didn’t exist before can be an indicator of a new gang presence. The presence of beer cans is another detail worthy of note. The detritus of cans tossed out the windows of drunken drivers’ cars is not that much of a concern, unless you’re in their path. However, a quantity of cans noticed in a single location over a period of time is. That could be an indicator of nighttime party spot that is best avoided.

Another thing I look for is Small Dead Animals (SDAs) and Large Dead Animals (LDAs), as we called them when I was in the City Planning program at Georgia Tech. Once again, this is mostly mental exercise. However, as the deer presence in my area has increased, I’ve had occasion to call Public Works several times to report dead deer that were hit by cars.

Checking out the drivers in cars waiting to turn when you approach an intersection is mandatory. Any doofus who has their turn signal on and is talking on the phone or texting is a potential assassin. I never make the assumption they’re going to see me and not run me down when I get in the crosswalk. That’s not to say the ones who don’t have their turn signal on won’t try to kill you, either.

Of course, we want to scrupulously follow Item 1 and be aware of other persons around us.

  • Walkers and joggers
  • People in their yards
  • Workers
  • Low-lifes

Engaging the normal people is something I always try to do. Just saying ‘Good Morning’ helps engender a small sense of community. Be aware that it’s also a good way to seem like you’re part of the neighborhood, even if you’re not. This technique is used extensively in surveillance work and criminals use it too. It’s also fun to wave at people you don’t know and have them wave back. They go home thinking “Maybe that person knows me but I can’t remember who he is.” This is also another technique for establishing a false neighborhood identity. Workers can be fun because they’re often working in obscure locations and require active work on my part to locate and identify them.

I don’t mind walking past low-lifes but it’s important to be mentally prepared to deal with them and fail the interview. Someone once said that I give my students permission to be rude; that’s totally true. There’s a difference between rude and mean, though. In my vernacular, being rude relates to enforcing my boundaries. Being mean is encroaching on someone else’s boundaries. That can set you up for trouble. If you don’t like the look of them, though, there’s nothing wrong with crossing the street or changing direction to avoid them. Don’t hesitate to turn on your heel and go back the way you came if that seems appropriate.

Earlier posts about Situational Awareness

As the real Dr. House mentioned at the Hebrew Hogger last weekend, it’s better to have an option to avoid a situation than to have a tool to get out of a situation.

Hebrew Hogger 2016

Hebrew Hogger 2016, held in Nashville, has come and gone. It was a great one day training event held to defray the costs associated with a justified self defense shooting by a member of our community. There were 58 attendees, some of whom came from other States to attend. Six presentations were given, both in the classroom and hands-on. There was no livefire firearms training at all. Following are a few of my notes from the speakers. If I have butchered anything they said, it’s my responsibility.

Dr. William Aprill – Violent Criminal Actors

  • Get VCAs to pick someone else; fail the interview.
  • Too much eye contact with VCAs can trigger their aggression.

Dr. Sherman House – Becoming the Civilian Defender

  • Better to have an option to avoid a situation than to have a tool to get out of a situation.
  • The importance of Defensive Driving training.

Dana McLendon, Esq. – Dealing with the aftermath of a shooting

  • The goal is to go home without dealing with law enforcement or emergency medical services.
  • Mitigation of risk.
  • Very few people will attend training events like Hebrew Hogger because they don’t think deeply enough about the issues associated with personal protection.
  • Assume everything is being recorded. He noted how often recordings of incidents include a shout about being posted to WorldStar.
  • A shooting may happen in an area where you are unsafe afterward. You may need to arrange to meet the police at some place they specify. Do NOT simply flee the scene.
  • Trials are now about stories and narratives.
  • A shooting is likely to have at least a five figure cost, assuming it doesn’t have to go to trial. The incident leading to the Hogger is a perfect example.
  • “You will rarely regret having said too little.”
  • His favorite movie lawyer movie is My Cousin Vinny because he thinks it’s the most realistic.

Know the rules Input

Eli Miller – emergency wound treatment. I wasn’t able to attend this one because of all that was going on.

Dr. William Aprill – disarms. I couldn’t attend this one, either.

Andrew Branca attended and contributed copies of his book the Law of Self Defense to the cause. He and I had an interesting discussion about the tortured nature of personal protection law in some areas of the country.

My presentation was a small segment from our upcoming class, Violent Criminal Actors and You. Given the situation, I thought Strategies, Tactics, and Option for Personal Protection (STOPP) would be the most appropriate. Some of the highlights were:

  • “Immature strategy is the cause of grief.” –The Book of Five Rings
  • Parallels exist between the Book of Five Rings and Boyd’s work
    • “…timing of cunning by knowing the enemies’ timing, and thus using a timing which the enemy does not expect.” – The Book of Five Rings. This is a more succinct way of expressing Boyd’s O-O-D-A Loop.
    • This is a link to a free download of Five Rings
  • If you have any weapon at all and aren’t familiar with the law about self defense of your State or any State you travel to, “You are wrong as two left legs.” One of my First Sergeants was fond of saying that to our Beetle Baileys.
  • At least be able to cite the number of the code section for your State. Don’t assume the police will even know it exists, much less know where to find it.
    • 16-3-21 for Georgia
    • 39-11-611 for Tennessee
  • I provided several references – ACLDN pamphlet on What Every Gun Owner Needs to Know about Self Defense Law, The Law of Self Defense, Deadly Force – Understanding Your Right to Self Defense.
  • The importance of Defensive Driving training (echoed from Sherman’s presentation)

A lady who attended and I had an interesting discussion about the differences between 20th Century feminism and 21st Century feminism. Her interpretation is that 20th Century feminism was based on actual empowerment and the desire for true equality. She contrasted this with 21st Century feminism, which she feels is based on inherent victimhood and the need for safe spaces, which she cannot identify with. The discussion came about from the Woman’s Gun Pamphlet I posted a while ago. She and her husband had driven 14 hours to attend the one day training event.

Without going into details, the event was necessitated by the unfortunate politics a shooting resulted in. It’s a great case study of how a very justifiable response can be muddied when the recipient is politically connected or a prosecutor is politically motivated. Even justifiable shootings can have enormous consequences. It emphasized to me the need to think ahead of time about the third battle ahead of time.

The extremely cool morale patch for the event is available for sale, for those who would like to make a contribution to the cause but couldn’t attend. I will post an update with the purchase link when it’s available.

Hebrew Hogger patch

 

Sidenote: I have made a small update to my Indoor Range Practice Sessions eBook. The download now also includes a separate Excel worksheet for logging the results of your practice. The Excel worksheet is included in the price. I will be emailing it to previous purchasers shortly.

IPRS image

Indoor Range Practice Sessions

In response to queries and comments about the Pistol Practice Program, I have created a downloadable eBook called Indoor Range Practice Sessions. It is structured as a PDF eBook that you can download to your smartphone or tablet and take with you to the range. That way you always have your practice session with you. Most (99%) gunowners only have access to an indoor range, so the Sessions are designed with this limitation in mind.

The book contains 12 Practice Sessions and 12 Courses of Fire from various States for their weapons carry licensing process. The Sessions are designed to progressively increase in difficulty so when done in sequence they challenge shooters without overwhelming them. The Courses of Fire were chosen to be complementary to a respective Practice Session. Each Session or Course of Fire is 50 rounds or less. They are all structured to maximize the effectiveness of your range time. It also contains sections on:

  • Four Rules of Safe Gunhandling
  • Gripping the Autoloading Pistol Properly
  • Trigger Manipulation
  • Using the Sights
  • Use of Force philosophy
  • and more!

There are considerably more restrictions placed on shooters at indoor ranges than at outdoor ranges. These Sessions were designed with those restrictions in mind. For example, most indoor ranges do not allow drawing from the holster, so the Sessions work on the general idea that no drawing is possible. Similarly, multiple target arrangements are not possible when shooting in a booth at an indoor range, so the Sessions do not include multiple targets.

IL Course

These Sessions are intended for people who have purchased a firearm for personal protection. They are directed toward newer gunowners; however, ‘newer’ is a relative term. Many people who have owned, and perhaps shot, firearms for years aren’t as proficient as they think they are. Being a hunter, military veteran, security guard, or even police officer is no guarantee of being competent with a pistol. The difference in contexts is huge and often misunderstood.

Learning to shoot is an ongoing process. A misunderstanding that people have is thinking they can take a short training course, attend a seminar, or read a book and then feel they are ‘trained’ or ‘knowledgeable.’ Nothing could be further from the truth. We can only absorb so much information at one time. If we don’t practice what we’ve learned, that skill or knowledge slips away quickly. Repetitive reinforcement of our learning is key to developing and maintaining skill.

The eBook is available for download HERE.

The cost of killing

‘too bad they didn’t kill him’

‘needs to get more practice at the range so they have better aim [to kill him]’

–Internet common-taters

Often when a story surfaces in which an armed citizen wounds but doesn’t kill an attacking criminal, statements such as that will quickly show up in the comments section on the Internet. Persons who make such comments have no clue about the cost of killing someone. Even when there are no legal and financial costs, the emotional, psychological, and social costs will be considerable.

As in every class I attend or teach, I learn something from the students. Yesterday was no exception. I attended, as a student, the Proactive Mindset class taught by The Complete Combatant. The trainers graciously allowed me to give a short presentation at the end. One of the things I mentioned was the psychological cost of killing. The incident I cited was that of the citizen near Chattanooga who shot an old man with Alzheimer’s. The killing was ruled justifiable and he was not prosecuted. Coincidentally, someone who knows him was in the class. When the class was over, she came up and filled me in on how things developed after the incident. Suffice it to say that the emotional costs to him were enormous and continue to this day.

The cost is not only borne by the individual who does the shooting but also by their family. At some point their children are going to go to school and one of their classmates is going to taunt them with ‘my daddy says your daddy is a murderer!’ No matter how justifiable the shooting may be, someone in the community who feels that self-defense is an unacceptable concept will express their feelings to their children and the children will pass it on to your children.

Even one of the great police gunfighters of our time, the late great Jim Cirillo, bore the cost. Despite the fact that all his shootings were eminently justifiable and he didn’t suffer psychologically, he still had to pay the social cost. When his superiors recognized his bravery and devotion to duty, they recommended him for promotion. The promotion was turned down in the upper echelons of the NYPD because they said it would send the wrong message to the department and the public. ‘We don’t promote people for killing.’ This is one example of what Massad Ayoob calls the ‘Mark of Cain syndrome.’

Now imagine what it’s like for people who unintentionally kill a member of their own family. A parent who kills their child or someone who kills their spouse will probably never get another good night’s sleep as long as they live. The saddest part of these incidents is how avoidable they are. A flashlight and the ability to verbalize ‘who’s there?’ would have prevented almost all of them. A small flashlight was included in the goodie bag given out for Proactive Mindset. Great idea; everyone should have a couple of flashlights. Good ones are very inexpensive now.

That’s why our priorities should always be:

  1. Avoid,
  2. Escape,
  3. Confront,
  4. Resist

When we jump to Confront and Resist before we absolutely need to, we’re being emotionally hijacked by the situation, our pasts, our current influences, and our egos. Allowing an emotional hijacking is no more a recipe for success than going along with any other kidnapping attempt. There’s always going to be a very high cost.

Internet common-taters take note; it’s not you who will pay the cost, so STFU.

Situational Awareness in Social Settings

Hey Professor, I’m doing a security gig at [a large function] for an event involving [a number of people]. [Some dignitaries] will probably be there. The night before they want me to give a quick security briefing on awareness and what to do if Big Sarge needs to handle the threat. U got any bullet points or words of wisdom I could share that they will remember?

–A retired Army buddy of mine who now works high end security details

Use the same skills as in any social setting (looking for contacts) with an additional focus. Does someone or something seem out of place? “What’s wrong in my right world?” Have some faith in your intuition.

Practice surveillance detection, especially when leaving. Remember that ordinary crime occurs around events, as well. Identify safe areas along your route in advance. Ask for security assistance if you’re uncomfortable with the situation. Have some faith in your intuition.

Watch for targeting indicators; paralleling, hard focus, forces surrounding, etc.

Stay aware of exit locations. If you will be in a fixed position for a while, e.g., seated at dinner, identify the nearest exit to you, just as on an airliner. Note exits near restrooms immediately upon entering the venue. We tend to be distracted when we need to visit the restroom so it’s best to identify these in advance. Consider non-traditional exits, such as through kitchens or maintenance areas, if necessary.

Beware of the possibility of secondary devices; clear the area completely if there’s an incident. Go back to your hotel or residence immediately, don’t hang around the venue.

Discard unattended drinks. Once it’s been out of your control, get a new one.

If someone makes you feel uncomfortable, don’t ignore it, explore it. Alert others, preferably security, about issues. Have some faith in your intuition.

Increase and decrease awareness as the situation requires. E.g., increase awareness when going to or leaving the venue since there will be less security presence outside. Don’t try to be on ‘red alert’ all the time. It’s neither possible nor mentally healthy.

Ditch high heels if you have to move quickly.

Fleeing is preferable to hiding under a table if an incident involving small arms occurs. Gunshot wounds from a distance tend to be survivable. Close range executions are usually fatal. Determine a nearby point that offers cover or concealment and move quickly to it. Assess the situation and then repeat the process to escape.

Note locations of fire extinguishers. They are useful in case someone is on fire following a bomb and also as an improvised weapon. If you are on fire, drop and roll to put it out before running.

Sidenote on using improvised weapons:
There is no need to challenge or warn an active killer! That is only for TV and the movies.
Get behind him [her], focus your attention on the back of the head and,
without warning, smash it as hard as you can with the fire extinguisher
or whatever you have. Continue to nail them until they stop moving.
Then run away to safety.

If there is an incident, accept being separated from your party. Leaving the area and finding shelter should be your primary emphasis, not looking for others, unless they are small children.

Look for things or people that you may enjoy, as well. The object of terrorism is to change our society for the worse. Don’t let it do that to us.

Here is a PDF of these comments for anyone who would like to use them. Situational Awareness in Social Settings handout

Mindset and Decision Making

Then I guess it will just be time for him and me to be with Jesus.

Caleb Causey of Lone Star Medics related a mind-boggling story recently about one form of mindset. He posed questions to some friends in the context of encountering two burglars in their home. The concept of giving scenarios and asking people questions about their anticipated reactions is often far more effective than pontificating about what they ‘need’ to do.

The friends are a couple who have a 10 year old son. The wife is a petite woman who is a practitioner of boxing; good for her. What Caleb did was to posit a scenario of initial violence and asked her what she would do. She replied she would fight them. Since the scenario was two burglars whose combined weight was three to four times hers, he continued escalating the scenario in his questions. In the event her resistance was overcome by the two burglars, the sequence of escalation he gave was:

  • her being badly beaten in the fight,
  • her being raped,
  • her child being raped,
  • both of them being murdered.

The lady’s reply to the escalation of murder was the above quote about ‘being with Jesus.’ She apparently had accepted that as an outcome. However, her husband, who was listening to the conversation, did not find that acceptable. At the time of the conversation, they owned no weapons, other than perhaps a butcher knife. While butcher knives can be used to defend one’s family, especially when wasp spray doesn’t work, it’s unpleasant and quite messy. The questions and subsequent conversations led to a better understanding of their options and possible decisions for defending themselves.

Make good decisions model

A few days later, I related the story at dinner to another friend. His comment was “people with that kind of mindset really don’t understand what the events leading up to ‘being with Jesus’ are going to be like.” The beginning (assault) and end (being with Jesus) can be grasped but the process in the middle is much harder for people to understand. The Petit family murders  are an example of just how horrible the process can be. I’m not sure if Caleb had the Petit murders in mind as he was talking to the couple but his sequence of events was very similar to the horrors the Petits were subjected to.

It’s hard for good people to understand the depravity that exists inside many criminals. That’s the main reason I teamed up with William Aprill for our Violent Criminals and YOU course. The more decent a person is, the harder it is for them to grasp just how evil and FITH some criminals are. A mental health professional is in a better position to describe that than a trainer who teaches physical skills. It’s also why we’re offering a discount when bringing a family member; family members are part of the decision process.

My friend at dinner also made the comment “Two days sitting in a classroom is a long time and might be tiresome.” That’s understandable, which is why William and I are teaching in alternating two hour blocks of instruction. I’ve taken many many weekend classes and I know hearing the same voice continually for 16-20 hours can be a chore, regardless of how engaging the instructor is. Splitting it up will help keep things from being monotonous in our class.

He and I also talked about teaching decision-making. For a long time, I have had reservations about how the industry teaches decision-making. He’s been to a Force on Force class I was a role player in for many years, so I asked him “In the crawl/walk/run training progression paradigm, where does Force on Force fit?” “Run” “How many repetitions of decision-making did you get in those eight hours of training?” “Six or seven”

His answers reflect my reservations about our current methodology. Giving students a few ‘Runs’ with a simulated gun in a FATS machine or with live role players does not represent a particularly effective adult teaching methodology, in my opinion. What we essentially do is throw someone in the deep end of the pool a couple of times and then call them a combat swimmer. ‘What’s wrong with that picture?’ as the saying goes.

To improve on this, I have devised a process where students will get dozens of repetitions of decision-making with the full range of the personal protection options available to them in a few hours. The patent application for the process is not yet complete, so I’m not at liberty to disclose more than that. I can say it will be an experience unlike anything else in the industry. Because the full range of options will be available, the process is NOT limited to gun owners. Excluding the full range of options is a major weakness in our current methodologies and my process corrects that. Family members may have a different opinion about what the appropriate options and decisions are, at least for them.

Mindset and decision-making; think about them hard, regardless of what training you choose or choose not to take. My research into Negative Outcomes has made me realize how much more important they are than the weapon or caliber debates the gun community loves to indulge in.

I have a friend who will kill you with a .25 Lorcin and there’s nothing you’ll be able to do to stop him.

–a well-known and respected trainer

Violent Criminals and YOU course information

RIP Jim Cirillo

Jims card lighter redacted

Today is the anniversary of the 2007 death of Jim Cirillo. He was a wonderful guy and a good friend of mine. His wit, wisdom, and profanity will always be remembered by those of us who knew him.

Jim was a firearms trainer, par excellence. He was also one of the founding members of the NYPD Stakeout Squad. Jim’s book Guns, Bullets, and Gunfights is one that everyone who is serious about personal protection should read.

Jim wasn’t only a highly accomplished marksman; he was also a master tactician. My notes from the lecture where I met Jimmy are attached here. Jim Cirillo notes 05192001. Despite being from 2001, they’re still timely today.

Massad Ayoob wrote an eloquent eulogy about Jimmy, saying more than I can in his article Lessons of Jim Cirillo.

An excellent book about the exploits of the Stakeout Squad is Jim Cirillo’s Tales of the Stakeout Squad, written by Paul Kirchner.

I’ve previously written about one of the Stakeout Squad’s lessons.

An article about the Stakeout Squad appeared in New York magazine in 1972. The Deadly Score of the Stakeout Squad.  The article probably led to the eventual disbanding of the Squad for ‘efficiency’ reasons. The Stakeout Squad was highly ‘efficient’ at permanently removing violent criminals from the streets, which was no more acceptable in 1972 than it is today.

After surviving 18 gunfights, Jimmy was killed in a motor vehicle crash. That’s ironic and another reason I recommend that everyone who is interested in personal protection should take a Defensive Driving Course. The course can pay for itself. Georgia law requires that insurance companies reduce your premium 10% if you take it voluntarily. Many insurance companies will give you a break even if they’re not required to. That’s a good Return On Investment for $30.

claude werner di certificate-001

RIP Jimmy, we’ll always miss you.

Sheepdogs almost get bitten

[Seven soldiers] said they had witnessed a disturbance between [the couple] in a parking lot, and they said they intervened. They said they believed they had deescalated the situation and began to walk back to their vehicle.

Police said Gallegos and Garzes are boyfriend and girlfriend. As the soldiers started to leave, they said Garzes [the girlfriend] ran to her boyfriend’s truck and pulled out a handgun.

She handed it to Gallegos [the boyfriend], and the soldiers told police he began firing the weapon.

Pair arrested after firing at Fort Hood soldiers

One possible strategy in the context of personal protection is ‘being a hero.’ This is one of the underlying motives for ‘sheepdogism.’ However, it’s useful to remember that the highest award given by our country for heroism is the Medal of Honor, which is often awarded posthumously.

 

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