Category Archives: decision making

Recognition Primed Decision-making (part IV)

RPD in the context of Personal Protection has two components. The first is Recognizing what is happening. The second is making a Decision about what to do about it. That Decision is the result of overlaying our ‘Options’ on ‘People’ and ‘Situations’ to achieve an appropriate response. Our response represents the Confront and Resist components of the Avoid, Escape, Confront, Resist model. The best decisions are made in advance and then implemented in the moment of need.

Part I of the series Recognition Primed Decision-making (part I) discussed the types of people we might encounter.

  • Benign person
  • Angry person
  • Predator or angry person with personal weapons (fists, shod feet, etc.)
  • Angry person or predator with a contact weapon
  • Predator or angry person with a projectile weapon(s)

Examples of situations were also discussed.

  • Area of limited visibility such as a parking deck
  • Walking alone in unfamiliar territory
  • Being in the presence of a person who makes us uncomfortable
  • Having an unknown person approach us
  • Being home in a state of Unawareness or Unfocused on personal protection
  • Etc.

Part II Recognition Primed Decision-making (part II) listed our Reactions or Options to an attempted predation.

  • Freeze
  • Submit (at least temporarily)
  • Negotiate
  • Posture
  • Flight
  • Fight
    • Unarmed
    • Non-Lethal
    • Lethal

Our Confront and Resist Options are based on our personal situation and value choices. These can change over time or rapidly, even second to second. A person may not be initially comfortable with carrying potentially lethal tools but be perfectly comfortable with unarmed combat or non-lethal tools. As time goes on, they may become more comfortable with a wider range of Options or they may not.

Changes in available tools varies with the situation. For instance, a person may not choose to carry a firearm in their place of employment but instead to lock it in their vehicle while working. During the walk from the business place to the vehicle, they might only be equipped with pepper spray and a flashlight. Immediately upon entering and locking the vehicle, the person may don a handgun and impact tool. During the walk, the person may choose a previously developed response tactic that only involves using the tools on their person. While this may not be the optimal solution, it is the one available at the time. Upon upgrading their Defense Condition https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DEFCON with a handgun, the chosen tactic may be different.

It’s useful to view the context of Boyd’s Process as an iterative and interactive model between two parties rather than the single party static model usually described. In a predation, the predator will make the first move, the intended victim will respond with a Reaction or Option, and then the predator will choose or react from his/her range of Options.

A predator also has a group of Options/Reactions when the intended victim begins to Confront or Resist rather than being caught up in the Victim Mix. Part V will explore what these are and how they affect our Decisions.

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Low Light Indoor Match

#flashlightfriday

I had the opportunity to attend a low light shooting match at a local indoor range yesterday evening. My goal for the evening was to observe closely so I didn’t shoot it. The format consisted of clearing three rooms and a hallway constructed of plastic sheets. It was done three times with targets moved around each time. The shooters had a look at the layout lighted the first time but subsequent stages were not.

Non-threat targets (Don’t Shoots) were designated with hands painted on them.

These non-threat targets were interspersed among the threat targets.

Some of the shooters had weapon mounted lights but many did not.

A few observations:

  • Some attendees, although regular shooters, had never shot while using a flashlight.
  • Most of the shooters had some familiarity with flashlight technique but mostly on a theoretical basis.
  • The cadence of shooting, in terms of splits, transitions, and moving from position to position, really slows down when using a flashlight in low light.
  • The difference in light intensity when going from almost no light,

to illuminating with a high intensity light

can be momentarily disconcerting, even to the person holding the light.

Matches like these represent the practical application of theoretical techniques. They are a valuable exercise for everyone who participates.

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Recognition Primed Decision-making (part III)

The Victim Mix

Elements of The Victim Mix

  • Lack of Awareness
  • Lack of Preparation
  • Failure to React

In 2007, the FBI’s Law Enforcement Bulletin described a series of inputs to what the authors called “The Deadly Mix.” https://leb.fbi.gov/file-repository/archives/jan07leb.pdf/view While this article and concept pertains principally to law enforcement officers, it also provides a model for how we can think about enhancing our own safety.

Altering just one element of the deadly mix can provide a multitude of changing circumstances and outcomes with which to challenge each officer.

The Deadly Mix

Our end goal for the Recognition Primed Decision-making process in the context of Personal Protection is to avoid becoming victims. RPD allows us to set ourselves up for SUCCESS instead of FAILURE.

Awareness = Recognition

Preparation = Primed

Decision-making = Action

A key part of that process is to understand our internal processes that lead to failure. The Victim Mix uses the concept of ‘tolerance stackup.’ In that way, it is akin to the Four Rules of Gun Safety. Violating one Rule or Element will rarely lead to problems. Breaking two or more can, and often does, result in failure.

On the other hand, a person who is Aware, Prepared, and Ready to React is very difficult to victimize. The article illustrates its point by summarizing two actual incidents. Part of the analysis of the incidents described the impact of perceptions and assumptions in the encounters.

In the two incidents presented, it was the offender’s perception of both officers’ behaviors and the assumptions that he made that significantly altered his actions and resulted in the attack on the one officer and not on the other.

The Deadly Mix

Understanding the inputs to The Victim Mix allows us to reduce our vulnerabilities. Reducing our vulnerabilities allows us to Avoid and Escape undesirable situation before it becomes necessary to Confront and Resist predators. That is key to setting ourselves up for SUCCESS.

A fight avoided is better than a fight won.

John Farnam

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SureFire® SideKick® Initial Review

#flashlightfriday

The first of SureFire https://www.surefire.com/ flashlights from the Try-Out Haul to be evaluated was the SideKick® https://www.surefire.com/products/illumination/flashlights/sidekick-a/ It arrived in a battery depleted state but was quickly recharged via the supplied USB cable.

It has proven to be useful and yet relatively unobtrusive on my keychain.

The carabiner attachment has been handy for removing and reattaching the light to the keychain. When setting the light down as an impromptu worklight, the flat shape is much better than a round light, even one with a limited roll aspect.

The switch has two options, which are an improvement over some of the complicated switching patterns often found on tactical lights. Pressing the switch and leaving it puts the light in the High mode. If the switch is pressed a few seconds later the light turns off. The variability of output is controlled by quickly pressing the switch multiple times. Mine cycles from High (300 lumens) to Medium (60 lumens) to Low (5 lumens) and then Off in order. The literature says this is the opposite order of the factory order setting but that’s how it came. The order can be reprogrammed during the recharging process.

Comparing the SideKick to the 6P LED showed some noticeable differences. SureFire’s website says:

MaxVision Beam® floods your boundaries with light; triple output: 300, 60 and 5 lumens

The throw pattern is clearly different than the 6P LED. The 6P has very bright center spot with a less intense spill surrounding it. The SideKick throws a much wider pattern that is much more even throughout.

The Target ID test for it was on a prototype Recognition Primed Decision training target at 10 feet. This showed that both High and Medium modes would provide more than adequate illumination to make the Don’t Shoot/Shoot decision. The Low mode’s usability for this would depend on the user’s eyesight but that’s probably irrelevant for this usage.

One thing the SideKick doesn’t do as well as the 6P is function as a shooting assist light. Because of its size and switch location, none of the commonly taught flashlight shooting techniques will work with it. That’s not the SideKick’s intended role but if it were pressed into service for that purpose, the user would have to be very careful not to get the hand holding the flashlight in front of the gun muzzle.

When I have the opportunity, I’ll have someone shine the SideKick in my face to see if it’s as blinding as the 6P is. That’s another good testing criterion for a flashlight.

As a reminder, the flashlight shooting chapter of my book Indoor Range Practice Sessions is free to download. If you own a pistol for personal protection, you should know how to use a flashlight along with it. Your flashlight should be as close or closer to your bed as your pistol is.

Flashlight Chapter of Indoor Range Practice Sessions https://store.payloadz.com/details/2505573-ebooks-law-indoor-range-session-11-flashlight.html Free

Indoor Range Practice Sessions https://store.payloadz.com/details/2501143-ebooks-education-indoor-range-practice-sessions.html Not Free

FTC Notice: The SureFire products were sent to me gratis but I receive no compensation for writing about them.

Recognition Primed Decision-making (part II)

Dr. Klein explains gives a brief explanation of his model in this interview about RPD.

Examining our Options

The NRA Guide to Personal Protection Outside the Home (PPOTH) lists these “Psychological Reactions To A Threat” in Chapter 6.

  • Freeze
  • Submit
  • Posture
  • Flight
  • Fight

We could further subdivide ‘Fight’ into:

  • Unarmed
  • Non-Lethal
  • Lethal

To the ‘Submit’ option, we could include the caveat, ‘at least temporarily.’ Being taken to a 2nd crime scene is generally not a good idea but it might be unavoidable. In one of his student’s incidents recounted by Tom Givens, two stickup men got the drop on the victim in a parking lot and had guns to his head. However, they failed to realize he was carrying a concealed pistol. The stickup men kidnapped him and eventually took him to the 2nd crime scene, his home. There, he waited for his turn in the OODA sequence and killed both the predators.

‘Posture’ could simply mean saying NO! in an unambiguous way.

Another option we should consider is ‘Negotiate,’ a tactic included by The Most Dangerous Man in The World as part of his PARRR system. Even a Sixth Army boxing champion, obviously no slouch with his fists, found this tactic useful in an encounter with Razor Willy, a local prostitute in the Fort Campbell area. She became enraged and threatened him with her EDC, a straight razor, but he managed to talk his way out of the encounter with neither party becoming a casualty.

It’s apparent that our Options extend beyond the simplistic “Fight or Flight” and ‘Gun or None’ possibilities that we usually hear about. Thinking about what our Options are ahead of time gives us the freedom to program an appropriate level of force, or none, when we become concerned for our safety or that of our loved ones.

Part III will go into overlaying our ‘Options’ on ‘People’ and ‘Situations’ to develop a personal Avoid, Escape, Confront, Resist model.

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Recognition Primed Decision-making (part I)

Recognition Primed Decision-making is a concept developed by Dr. Gary Klein. It has become a widely accepted model for first responders, the military, and in aviation.

The RPD model is based on the idea that experience allows people to make decisions quickly without having to sort through a series of possibilities. Rather, if a situation appears similar to a past experience, the solution that worked in the previous situation can be applied or modified to provide an adequate solution for the current situation.

Since most people have not been mugged, had their home invaded, or been murdered in a previous experience, the relevant question for an Armed Private Citizen is about acquiring the experience. That is to say, ‘How do we train and practice RPD in the absence of experience?’

In order for us to think clearly about self-defense and personal protection, we need to consider ahead of time the types of people and situations we might encounter. Then we consider what our options are, based on our personal preferences and choices. Finally, we can choose ahead of time which option is best suited to deal with the person and situation.

Types of people we might encounter

  • Benign person
  • Angry person
  • Predator or angry person with personal weapons (fists, shod feet, etc.)
  • Angry person or predator with a contact weapon
  • Predator or angry person with a projectile weapons

Examples of situations

  • Area of limited visibility such as a parking deck
  • Walking alone in unfamiliar territory
  • Being in the presence of a person who makes us uncomfortable
  • Having an unknown person approach us
  • Being home in a state of Unawareness or Unfocused on personal protection
  • Etc.

What we want to avoid is the Typical, or at least Common, Self-defense Process.

Model of unsophisticated decision-making by David Blinder

Part II will go into our Options and an interview with Dr. Klein about the model.

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Package Deal Update

I’m gratified that Thinking Clearly about Self-Defense and Personal Protection has been well received. One reader sent me the following comment, which I found quite gratifying.

I went through the book quickly and my initial impression is that it is superb. Tremendous intellectual effort and incredibly sage and mature counsel on the subject. It’s also incredibly in-depth and thoughtful.

J.T.

I want to spread the word as far as I can so I’ve now included it in the Shooting Drills Package https://www.payloadz.com/go/sip?id=3348053

The Package still includes Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make, also.

I appreciate the loyalty of those who have already purchased the Package, so I will be sending previous purchasers a download link for the book.

Two non-gun related books heavily influenced me in writing the book. The Art of Thinking Clearly by Rolf Dobelli and Small Data: The Tiny Clues That Uncover Huge Trends by Martin Lindstrom are both very insightful books about topics that aren’t often discussed.

Without knowing a proper name for it, I’ve been working with ‘small data’ for decades. I think Lindstrom would have approved of the Deloitte & Touche Real Estate Capital Markets Database that I created years ago. It started out with a few notes in Word and eventually grew into the broadest analysis of Wall Street’s entry into the commercial real estate finance business that has been done. Even the Wall Street soothsayers were only tracking 20 percent of the data in my database.

Contrary to the popular opinion that “the plural of anecdote is not data,” Lindstrom’s work shows that the opposite is actually true. All of Gary Klein’s work about decision-making is based on small data. Concealed Carry Skills and Drills, one of the books in the Package, is based on the concept of small data.

The collection of books in the Package presents a very comprehensive view of using firearms and other tools for preservation of life. Tools, skills, philosophy, and pitfalls are all covered. Those who are serious about our Art will find them useful reading, I am sure. I hope you will consider purchasing the collection.

Surveillance Detection

#fridayfundamentals

I had an encounter yesterday with some unpleasant people while grocery shopping. When I got back to my car, they pulled up nearby at a somewhat odd angle in the parking lot. Since I wasn’t sure if they planned to initiate a confrontation, I quickly drove out of the lot.

After such an encounter, it’s prudent to take a Surveillance Detection Route that does not lead directly home afterward. Doing so isn’t particularly difficult but it does require a little thought at the time. You also need to use your rear view and side mirrors regularly during the process. And have a safe place to go if it turns out you are being followed.

First of all, turn out of the parking lot in the opposite direction that you would take to go home. As you drive, look for signalized intersections to turn onto non-arterial through streets. If possible, hit the red light. Sitting at the red light for a minute will allow you to scan the cars behind you without being an inattentive driver. Make at least three turns watching your mirrors after you turn. Contrary to popular opinion, they don’t all have to be Right Turns. Sitting in the Left Turn lane at a signal will frequently give you a better scan of the cars behind you by using your driver’s side mirror than you can get through the rear view mirror. You’ll also have a slightly longer view of the traffic behind you as they turn.

Image courtesy of US Department of State

What you are looking for is vehicles that repeatedly make the same turns as you do. It doesn’t have to be the same vehicle that was involved in the initial encounter. Pairs of people often have two cars and the other vehicle might be the one following you.

Once you go into the Surveillance Detection mode, make a conscious determination you aren’t being followed before you decide to head back in the direction of your home. If you are being followed, don’t go home. Go to a safe place. POlice stations are overrated as safe refuges because they are often unmanned after shift change. Even Atlanta Zone Headquarters in the middle of the afternoon are sometime completely locked up. A woman was murdered in the lobby of an unmanned small town POlice station a few years ago by her estranged husband who was following her.

A better choice is someplace that is usually occupied by some kind of First Responders. Fire stations are one example and hospital Emergency Rooms are another. Even these aren’t fool proof but they are generally a better bet than going to the POlice. Think about several possibilities ahead of time and have them in mind as contingencies if you do need to go into the Surveillance Detection mode.

You could also call 911 but that requires you to able to link up with a patrolling POlice car or go to some place you’re directed to by the dispatcher to wait for help. Waiting for help in a stationary location when you’re being followed is an invitation to disaster. Driving to a safe place is probably a better idea.

Sound your horn even before you get into the safe refuge. Turn on your flashers and, if possible, activate the car alarm. If you have any kind of defensive tool, think ahead about how you might employ it should the situation require. That’s another good reason not to have a pistol stashed under the front seat or some other place it might have shifted around from.

Usually, when someone following you realizes that you are aware they are following, they will break off the pursuit. Don’t count on it though. You want to be prepared to play the game completely to the end. Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re NOT out to get you.

On a separate note, a reader of Thinking Clearly about Self-Defense and Personal Protection sent me the following note. It is spot on so I am reproducing it verbatim.

Hi Claude,

You might want to put a notice at the beginning of your book to make sure you have an Internet connection when reading the book, because a lot of the text won’t make sense until the reader reads the article at the hyperlink. And there are a lot of them.

Good thought. Thinking Clearly about Self-Defense and Personal Protection contains numerous references to incidents in The Real World™ to provide context for the concepts in my articles. For copyright reasons, I can’t reproduce the articles in the book, so I link to them. An internet connection will be invaluable for understanding the context behind many of the concepts.

Thanks for the tip. Winner, winner, he receives the complete package of my books with my compliments for his suggestion.

Thinking Clearly about Self-Defense and Personal Protection

My new book is finished and available on my Payloadz store for download as a PDF.

https://www.payloadz.com/go?id=3377208

Fighting is a ‘game’ of minds.

–Rich Grassi, Editor of The Tactical Wire

Mental preparation for Personal Protection using tools is what the book is all about. Mr. Grassi’s comment encapsulates that concept superbly.

This book is a collection of my articles and essays, some previously published, some unpublished, some published but no longer available. The focus is on the mental processes that lead to achieving Positive Outcomes and avoiding Negative Outcomes. Many of the articles reference actual incidents to provide context from The Real World™ for what would otherwise be hypothetical or theoretical topics.

As alluded to in the title, Self-Defense is only a subset of Personal Protection. Often the person being protected is not ourselves but a loved one, friend, or innocent bystander. While gunowners usually think of a confrontation occurring between themselves and a criminal, the fact is that we are usually around other people. The possibility that another person will probably be peripherally involved and perhaps in danger is high. This simple fact requires serious thought ahead of time because people do unexpected things under stress.

The book is organized into several sections. Each section contains a number of articles that pertain to a topic. In many cases, an article relates to several sections so the most appropriate category was used.

  • Mindset
  • Awareness
  • Know the Rules
  • Decision-making
  • Incident Analysis
  • Negative Outcomes
  • Appendix of shooting drills

No publication can be a definitive work about such a broad subject but my hope is to stimulate thinking about the complexity of the subject from a different perspective than usual. It’s 105 pages of discussion that often gets overlooked when we talk about Personal Protection.

If you would like to purchase a copy for only $7.99, here is the link.

https://www.payloadz.com/go?id=3377208

As with all my books, Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make is included with your purchase.

Man shot and killed for peeing in public – Or was he?

Title of the story:

Man urinating in Houston street shot dead after being confronted by angry residents

https://currently.att.yahoo.com/news/man-urinating-houston-street-shot-114605999.html

This certainly implies that this poor gentleman was killed for relieving himself.

However, more details come out further down the page.

Houston Police Department spokesperson Lt Ronnie Willkens said witnesses told police the victim was in the neighbourhood [sic] to buy drugs, and that an unspecified number of residents confronted him when he started urinating in the street.

Then the plot thickens further:

Fuentes and the suspect then got into an argument, during which both men pulled out guns. The suspect shot Fuentes-Buezo and then fled the scene.

The details are sketchy so far but there’s a distinct possibility that ‘Mr. Pee Pee’ pulled a gun on the wrong person in the group that confronted him.

Of course, there’s the de rigueur regurgitation of anti-gun statistics at the end of the article.

Here’s the original story by The Independent.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/crime/houston-man-shot-urinating-texas-b1865280.html

The headline looks like this on a Google search.

It’s called Yellow Journalism https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow_journalism in the US and Tabloid Journalism https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tabloid_journalism in Lost Britain (formerly known as the United Kingdom). This story is a very pure example.

The sadly entertaining thing is that The Independent tries to put on the image that it isn’t a Tabloid Journal.

Anyone who thinks there’s not a Culture War going on is sadly mistaken.

The BOGO on Tactical Professor books continues

I’m grateful to my subscribers who send me news reports about the Negative Outcomes gunowners encounter. The ones about children gaining unauthorized access to guns really make me sad, especially because some folks defend practices that lead to those tragedies. Consequently, the purchase of any Tactical Professor book now includes a free copy of Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make.

In addition, I have reduced the price of Serious Mistakes by itself to $4.99. I’d make it free except that people only value things they pay for.

If anyone who has purchased any of my books would like a free copy of Serious Mistakes, email me through the About section above and I will send you one.

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