Author Archive: tacticalprofessor

Breaking Contact (Part 3)

#fridayfundamentals

The CCW Safe https://ccwsafe.com/ series about my concept of Breaking Contact continues with Part 3.

https://ccwsafe.com/blog/34532

Part 2 of the series focused on situations where the concealed carrier initiated contact. Part 3 focuses on incidents where the carrier was initially approached and failed to take the opportunity to Break Contact.

I hate platitudes when they’re used in an attempt to simplify a complex topic into a sound bite. “Better to be tried by twelve than carried by six” is one of the most commonly parroted sayings in the firearms community. While many times we are presented with the optometrist’s question, “Which is better, A or B?,” decisions that are made in advance and are going to affect the rest of our lives seldom are binary. I like to think we’re smarter than parrots that have been trained to say one or two things.

As Shawn points out, the decision process has several more options.

When the goal is not necessarily to kill or disable a would-be attacker, a defender is open to other options that carry less legal risk and may produce more positive outcomes.

When breaking contact is the goal, sometimes it is better to disengage rather than attempt to de-escalate.

My personal paradigm is:

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

Any attempt at de-escalation, even when benign, is a part of Confront. Disengage is part of Escape. Escaping is higher on my priority list than Confronting.

Similarly, in the Gerald Strebendt incident, he unnecessarily moved up the paradigm from Escape to Confront. A confrontation inherently carries more risk associated with it than an escape. As John Hall, former head of the FBI Firearms Training Unit put it:

Any encounter carries with it an element of chance.

My initial post about Breaking Contact (Part I) is located here:

The second is here.

If you would like to purchase my book, click on the image below. The detailed investigations and reports of incidents involving off-duty LAPD officers are very instructional for understanding the differences between Avoiding, Escaping, and Confronting.

Downrange Incident in Rock Hill

This story is about what I call a “downrange incident,” meaning that innocent parties are downrange and in close proximity to the criminal when the shot needs to be fired.

During the initial investigation process, officials learned the 19-year-old allegedly initiated a verbal altercation with others in the apartment. Authorities said the altercation then escalated when the 19-year-old began assaulting those in the apartment and threatened to kill them. The 19-year-old strangled a male who[m] he assaulted, officials said, and was then shot by another person in the apartment in an attempt to stop the attack. Officers said the 19-year-old then turned and started strangling a female in the apartment. He was then shot a second time, then collapsed.

https://www.wcnc.com/article/news/crime/19-year-old-shot-in-rock-hill/275-32c631c0-bb0c-415e-98c2-e8db8a9cd2a9

These types of situations happen more often than is commonly thought. Having it happen twice in one incident, such as this one, is rare however. Making a clean close range precision shot should be part of our practice regimen.

From my old YouTube Channel that I can’t access anymore.

The Magic of Knowing that You Can Shoot Quick and Straight

#mindsetmonday

J. Henry Fitzgerald’s book Shooting was published in 1930. Some things in it are dated but most of the book is still very worthwhile. The entire book is available online, courtesy of Sportsman’s Vintage Press.

http://sportsmansvintagepress.com/read-free/shooting-table-contents/

The chapter on The Magic of Knowing that You Can Shoot Quick and Straight is an example of practical mindset. Many times, explanations of ‘mindset’ are vague and nebulous but Fitzgerald’s is straightforward and actionable.

http://sportsmansvintagepress.com/read-free/shooting-table-contents/shoot-quick-and-straight/

Some things related to human nature and performance haven’t changed one bit. Fitzgerald’s commentary on the Dunning-Kruger Effect https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect is a hilarious example.

I have listened to many officers explaining how good they could shoot and when they got on the firing line they couldn’t hit a cow in the head with a snow shovel.

J. Henry Fitzgerald

It’s not necessary to be a great shot to defend yourself but having a degree of demonstrated competence is a valuable asset to your mindset. Drills like 3x3x3 are one way to demonstrate your competence to yourself. Shooting some of the drills from Indoor Range Practice Sessions and Concealed Carry Skills and Drills are another. Click on the images to purchase either or both books.

FTC notice: I am not affiliated with Sportsman’s Vintage Press and receive no commissions from them.

3X3X3 – Level One

Three Shots, Three Seconds, Three Yards has been discussed in the context of gunfights since the 1970s. It is the most commonly cited statistic about gunfights.

Practicing to hit the silhouette every time using the 3X3X3 basis is Level One of learning to shoot the drill well. It is a good baseline for entry level shooters and those who have never measured their performance.

Level One – hit a silhouette consistently

Level Two – hit a sheet of paper consistently

Level Three – hit a half sheet of paper consistently

Level Four – hit a quarter sheet of paper consistently

The dry practice drill was discussed in a previous post.

Here’s the live fire version.

When I wrote Real Shootouts of the LAPD, I wasn’t surprised that NYPD Lt. Frank McGee was pretty much on the mark when he first described it. Almost all of the off-duty shootouts fit into that statistic.

A related note is that I fired about 100 .22 Long Rifle rounds through my 317 snub with a standard (8.5 lb) mainspring. There was not one Failure to Fire during the session. Ammunition for my .38 is precious and hard to come by so I used the .22 for demo purposes. For those who think that was cheating, I also shot with my SCCY CPX-2 9mm.

If you would like to purchase my book about actual shootouts that are not a figbar of someone’s imagination, click on the image below.

Breaking Contact (Part 2)

CCW Safe continues its series about my concept of Breaking Contact as our primary goal (Mission).

The article is available here.

https://ccwsafe.com/blog/breaking-contact-pt-2

Understanding our Mission and thinking ahead of time about how to fulfill it are critical to our continued health and well-being. Not only are we affected by our attitudes and actions; our families and loved ones are affected just as much as we are.

Even as elite an organization as the Los Angeles Police Department discourages its officers from “taking off-duty enforcement action.” My book contains incidents where the Board of Police Commissioners criticized off-duty officers from taking action off-duty when it was hazardous and exposed the officer’s family to unnecessary danger.

Click on the image if you would like to buy my book and read some examples.

The post about Part I of Breaking Contact is here.

Occupational Hazards

#mindsetmonday

The training community is often obsessed with and overestimates the value of what we do and say. The Most Dangerous Man in the World cautioned me about becoming too enthused about hearing myself talk (not me personally but rather as an occupational hazard) as a firearms instructor. More and more, I appreciate his wisdom in that regard.

Is training a substitute for practice and experience? Even bad practice will generally lead to some action.

Doing anything, even the wrong thing, is better than doing nothing.

Ranger saying

I’m not sure the same is true for training, especially when it occurred more than 30 days ago. That’s the half-life of hands-on training, according to Army Medical Department studies.

If you would like to purchase my book, click on the image below.

I’m working on the next volume, Tales of the Gauge, about LAPD shotgun shootouts. It’s very interesting.

Practicing the First Shot

This really should be #fridayfundamentals but I feel compelled by some recent conversations to send it.

As I mentioned previously https://tacticalprofessor.wordpress.com/2021/04/09/the-importance-of-the-first-shot/, the importance of the first shot shouldn’t be underestimated. How to practice that remains a bit of mystery when people are shooting. Shooting multiple shot, often full magazine, strings of fire is the most common way people practice. Unfortunately, that masks the result of the first sight picture and trigger press.

For new shooters, we also need to keep in mind the concept of ‘progression,’ which is a fundamental concept of two of the world’s elite shooting schools, the Rogers Shooting School https://rogersshootingschool.com/ and the Mid-South Institute of Self-Defense Shooting https://weaponstraining.com/ .

The concepts of First Shot Drill and progression can be easily combined. Consider a series of Levels for hitting with the first shot. Start out at the 3 yard distance.

  • Level 1 – hit a silhouette consistently
  • Level 2 – hit a sheet of paper consistently
  • Level 3 – hit a half sheet of paper consistently
  • Level 4 – hit a quarter sheet of paper consistently

Shoot each Level using a progressively difficult start position; Low Ready, Midpoint of the drawstroke, and from the Holster.

You can use any silhouette you like. Having a face, a weapon, and an aiming point is more important than the type of silhouette used.

For those who don’t have access to or don’t wish to purchase a silhouette, a perfectly acceptable substitute can be made out of posterboard.

Start by doing dry practice. Level 1 would look like this.

My colleague Lee Weems https://thatweemsguy.com/ made an incisive comment at the Tactical Conference.

Enough Force used soon enough means less force used later.

Lee Weems

That could also be paraphrased as ‘a good enough hit with the first shot means less shooting later.’

If you would like to purchase my book about actual shootouts that are not a figbar of someone’s imagination, click on the image below.

Every Day Skills

While there are plenty of posts about ‘Every Day Carry’ for personal protection, there are very few about Every Day Skills for personal protection. Tools are only useful if they are used with some degree of skill. Also many of the skills we use for personal protection don’t involve tools at all, other than the one between our ears.

I am now undertaking a long term project for a Fortune 500 retailer that involves being in their stores. So, I’ve taken my own advice and ‘gotten a real job.’ Dear Instructors, Get a Real Job Being back in ‘The Real World’ is an interesting experience, especially because I’m on the road, working different hours, and staying in motels.

A few of the things I’ve had to work on are:

  • Surveillance Detection
  • Situational Awareness (consider it in the context of changing a tire in the rain, for instance)
  • Securing my tools repetitively
  • Camouflage
  • and numerous more

Chronicling my experiences with what personal protection for normal people really involves will be quite interesting. I am quite looking forward to it. It will be an adventure.

Breaking Contact – Our Objective

#mindsetmonday

An interesting aspect of reading Use of Force reports by different POlice departments is seeing their varying views about how to interpret the incidents. While the LAPD provides a very detailed analysis of officer marksmanship for each incident, the NYPD has a quite different view, at least in its public releases.

“Objective Completion Rate

The [NYPD] does not calculate ‘hit percentage’ when describing ID-AC [Intentional Discharge – Adversarial Conflict] incidents. The NYPD uses an ‘objective completion rate’ per incident to determine the effectiveness of police firearms discharges. When a uniformed member properly and lawfully perceives a threat severe enough to require the use of a firearm and fires properly and lawfully at a specific threat, the most relevant measure of success is whether the member ultimately stops the threat. This is the objective completion rate. Regardless of the number of shots that strike a particular subject, the objective is considered completed when the actions of the subject that threaten imminent serious physical injury or death are stopped by a member’s use of deadly physical force, i.e., a subject stops their threatening actions after being shot.

In 2019, uniformed members of the service successfully stopped the threat by discharging their weapons in 24 of the 25 ID-AC incidents, with at least one subject shot in each of those 24 incidents, for an objective completion rate of 96%. The objective completion rate is used for statistical and informational purposes, and is not a factor considered in the investigation of the individual incidents.”

NYPD Objective Completion Rate

In other words, when the officer actually hit the “subject/perpetrator/assailant” with at least one round, the objective of stopping the Violent Criminal Actor’s action was achieved.

NYPD Intentional Discharge – Adversarial Conflict

Unlike the LAPD analysis, NYPD data doesn’t provide us information that’s useful in terms of developing physical skills. However, it does provide us with an interesting philosophical viewpoint on what’s important in Defensive Gun Uses. Our ‘objective’ as Private Citizens is exactly the same as for officers of the NYPD, whether we call it “stopping the threat,” “breaking contact,” or use some other term.

The initial post about Breaking Contact (Part I) is located here:

https://tacticalprofessor.wordpress.com/2021/04/10/breaking-contact-part-i/

If you would like to purchase my book about LAPD Shootouts, click on the image below.

Someone thought their car was a holster

Investigators said initial reports indicated the 9-year-old had found a handgun inside the car.

9-year-old believed to have fatally shot 11-year-old boy in car in Pleasant Grove, Dallas police say

https://www.dallasnews.com/news/crime/2021/04/11/9-year-old-suspected-in-fatal-shooting-of-11-year-old-boy-inside-car-in-pleasant-grove-dallas-police-say/

My tolerance for this kind of idiocy gets lower and lower with every one of these incidents I read about. Anyone who leaves an unsecured gun in a car is a fool. People who do it can sugar coat their reasons all they want and I’m still going to say:

If you leave an unsecured gun in your car, you’re a fool. If you consider this an acceptable practice, please unsubscribe from this blog; I don’t suffer fools gladly.

When a child gets shot because of an adult’s carelessness about securing a firearm, it’s no different than if the child was killed while the adult was drinking and driving.

Mommy and Daddy, where’s my older brother?

He’s not with us because you killed him when we left you alone in the car with an unsecured loaded gun.

Think about having that conversation any time you feel like leaving your gun in the car.

Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make