Category Archives: firearms

Equipment is not a proxy for skill

Yesterday, this article showed up in the search that I continually have running for personal protection incidents and I shared it on Facebook.

Prosecutor: 13 bullet holes showed self-defense for man cleared of murder charge https://www.victoriaadvocate.com/counties/dewitt/prosecutor-bullet-holes-showed-self-defense-for-man-cleared-of/article_def55934-d637-11e8-9546-637075a1ed02.html

When I share things, I often quote what I consider an important point of the story. For this incident, I thought this was important.

The number of bullets fired by Martinez [27] stood in stark contrast to the single, fatal shot from Kirkman’s antique, bolt-action .22-caliber rifle.

winchester 22 rifleSomeone immediately took me to task about the .22 caliber aspect. Apparently, they thought I was advocating carrying a single shot .22 rifle for personal protection. I don’t recall saying that, I merely used the quote as an illustration of the difference between being a spray and pray artist vis-à-vis aiming and getting a good hit. Perhaps that wasn’t clear from the quote.

antonio shooting giphy

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Too quick on the trigger?

Every month, Tamara Keel pens a page called Good Guys Win https://www.swatmag.com/articles/more-articles/good-guys-win/ in SWAT magazine. It’s similar to The Armed Citizen from the NRA Official Journals in that the stories are based on real life incidents rather than ‘Ninjas Coming from the Ceiling’ fantasies. One of her stories this month came from this incident.

Cable man opens fire during robbery attempt while working in north Houston

Police say one of the suspects was shot in the leg.

Whenever I see an incident in which the Good Guy shoots the Bad Guy in the leg, which happens on a regular basis, I wonder if it’s because GG got on the trigger too quickly. While ‘shoot him in the leg’ is a rather popular meme, I doubt it’s something that people do instinctively. We’ve got to practice getting the gun into the eye-target line before putting our finger into the trigger guard. Another possibility was some serious trigger jerking, which is why we need to learn to press the trigger smoothly, even when we’re stressed.

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Consistency

Consistent. Merriam-Webster defines it as:

marked by harmony, regularity, or steady continuity: free from variation or contradiction

During his Technical Handgun: Tests and Standards class last weekend, John Johnston of Ballistic Radio commented to me that the class had been heavily influenced by two conversations he and I had. In one, I said

You’re a good shooter but your consistency sucks.

He took that to heart and developed a personal program to increase his consistency. Technical Handgun is his road show about how shooters can use a personal program to increase their consistency and competency. Good shooting, even decent shooting, is the result of consistency. By that I mean the ability to perform at some level with a high degree of regularity. As we develop our consistency, the level we are able to perform at ‘on demand’ increases. Many shooters are perfectly content with being incompetent. Many others are not but don’t know how to go about increasing their competency.

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Measuring your capabilities

Last Sunday, The Complete Combatant hosted a class for which I was the Guest Instructor. The Class is called Personal Performance; this particular class is for Ladies Only. This is the third iteration of the class we have done, the first having been in October of 2017.

The class is based on the NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program Course of Fire called Defensive Pistol I. The MQP has numerous Courses of Fire for a variety of different firearms and shooting disciplines. Unfortunately, it’s probably the NRA’s best kept secret.

The Defensive Pistol I Course of Fire is described as “designed to supplement the Personal Protection In The Home courses.” Since PPITH does not include doing any work from the holster, neither does DP I. This is a good place to start measuring one’s performance capabilities because the variable of drawing from the holster is eliminated. The Course of Fire consists of six levels of increasing task complexity and decreasing time limits.

DPI table

Since its addition to the MQP in December 2012, I’ve put nearly 200 people through Defensive Pistol I, both men and women. The results have been both surprising and informative, to say the least.

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Conversation about pocket pistols

Chris Baker of Lucky Gunner was so kind as to interview me about pocket pistols and their role in Personal Protection at the 2018 Rangemaster Tactical Conference.

It was an interesting interview and he makes a number of worthwhile points in the video.

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Lessons from the Duel at the Dumpster (Part III)

garbage buffet dumpster crop

An unedited version of the Dumbster Fire video, entitled Two Fat Hillbillies Kill [Man whose mouth writes checks that his ass can’t cash] Over Garbage, is available on LiveLeak.

https://www.liveleak.com/view?t=9SIw5_1537458941

Note that the LiveLeak video is raw footage and contains language that some may find offensive. While the first minute and a half is woofing and Monkey Dancing, after that it starts getting very serious.

Deploying and Preparing for Combat

About 1:30 into the LiveLeak video, the son Deploys into a position where he can use his weapon. He still has his weapon across his shoulders. The Father and Son have at that point achieved a Position of Advantage because they can both use their weapons from where they are at but Orange Shirt can only get one of them before the other gets him. Prior to deploying to his right, the Son’s position wasn’t good because he is right handed and his Father was obliquely to his right. While this positioning isn’t exactly an L-shaped Field of Fire, it’s reasonably close considering the terrain. Being in the beaten zone of an L-shaped Field of Fire is not where you want to be when the loud noises start.

Approximately 30 seconds later (2:07), the Son takes the weapon off his shoulder and assumes a ready position with it. He is now Prepared for Combat. He has achieved a Position of Advantage and has his weapon in a position to use it quickly. Preparation for Combat doesn’t have to involve readying a weapon. The POlice often encounter criminals who take their shirts off at some point in an interview or confrontation. By doing so, the criminal has removed something that an Officer could use to restrain him or gain an Advantage. This is another example of Preparation for Combat.

When one side Deploys and Prepares for Combat, that means the situation is going to go bad VERY SHORTLY. If you have any way to withdraw at that point, you need to take it immediately because the action WILL begin within a matter of seconds, as we can see from the timeline of the incident.

  • 1:30 – Son Deploys to Position of Advantage.
  • 2:07 – Son brings his weapon to Ready. Preparation for Combat complete.
  • 2:10 – Father fires first pistol shots.

Using weapons adequately

At 2:10, the first pistol shots are fired by the Father. At 2:13, two things happen simultaneously; the Father bends to his left, leaving a clear shot for the Son. The Son chambers a round, brings his weapon into his eye-target line and fires two rounds. The smoothness, rapidity of movement, and effectiveness of his fire leave little doubt that he had practiced this before.

The Son’s weapon was a Shockwave, a weapon that fires shotgun shells but because of a clever design, is not categorized by the BATF as a ‘Short Barreled [i.e., sawed off] Shotgun.’ The Shockwave, its Remington counterpart, and pistol gripped shotguns are almost universally ridiculed among the ‘cognoscenti’ of the firearms community. However, Orange Shirt is now in no position to either agree or disagree with that Point Of View because he took a devastating hit in the head from it.

His son fired with a shotgun [sic] and I guess it was a scattershot because it took his eye, the top of his head, his ear

–the fiancée

Say what you will about the Shockwave but the Son understood the importance of getting his weapon into the eye-target line to use it effectively. He must have worked with the gun to the point where he was competent with it.

shockwave howardmurder crop

Don’t be deceived by appearances, just because someone looks like a goof doesn’t mean he can’t kill you with gear he is capable of using well. As my colleague Tamara Keel commented:

This is, however, tangentially related to the maxim that just because you’re carrying a Roland Special, [a high end pistol tuned for fighting] it don’t mean the bullets from a Hi-Point .380 are gonna bounce off you. A dumb [person] can kill you with crap gear adequately wielded.

The cost of killing

Regardless of the legal proceedings and outcome, the Father and Son will have a tough row to hoe for a long time. They’ve both been charged with murder, there is damning video evidence of the incident, and whether they win or lose in court, they’ll most likely be broke for the rest of their lives. The Cost of a Killing is always high, whether it is righteous or not.

Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

Proverbs 16:18

Pride and ego caused the whole mess. Recognize the pitfalls they can lead to ahead of time and stay out of trouble.

I’ve written two different eBooks for those who are interested in improving their skill with handguns. They provide a roadmap to improving your competency at your own pace and within the resources you have available to you. For less than the price of a box of ammo, you’ll be able to use your time and other resources much more effectively.

For those who carry a concealed firearm, Concealed Carry Skills and Drills, is appropriate for you. The link to the downloadable eBook is here. http://concealedcarryskillsanddrills.com

For those who don’t carry a concealed firearm but keep a handgun for home defense, Indoor Range Practice Sessions, is appropriate for you. The link to the downloadable eBook is here. http://indoorrangepracticesessions.com

My downloadable recording, Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make,  http://seriousgunownermistakes.com is particularly appropriate when analyzing this incident.

Previous posts about the Duel at the Dumpster

Serious Mistakes – Unjustified Killings

https://tacticalprofessor.wordpress.com/2018/09/20/serious-mistakes-unjustified-killings/

Lessons from the Duel at the Dumpster (Part I)

https://tacticalprofessor.wordpress.com/2018/09/21/lessons-from-the-duel-at-the-dumpster-part-i/

Lessons from the Duel at the Dumpster (Part II)

https://tacticalprofessor.wordpress.com/2018/09/22/lessons-from-the-duel-at-the-dumpster-part-ii/

Safety Solutions Academy Podcast

Paul Carlson and I had a good conversation.

This is episode 441 of the SSA Podcast and I am so pleased that you have joined us.

Today’s guest, Claude Werner and I discuss personal protection and the firearms training industry through the lens of data. Claude is a self proclaimed “Quant” meaning that he has a strong focus on collecting, analyzing and applying data to solve problems. His focus on the application of data to personal protection helps to bring quality solutions to people that they may not find from other sources. I really think you are going to enjoy this episode of the SSA Podcast!

Screenshot_2018-09-25 441 Claude Werner the Tactical Professor – Safety Solutions Academy

Topics we spoke about:

  • Making decisions based on data instead of emotions
  • Evaluating a defensive gun use based on financial criteria
  • The defense of others and how third party defense can be significantly more difficult to avoid negative outcomes
  • Dynamics of home invasions that may surprise you
  • Negative outcomes and why Claude focuses on mitigating those negative outcomes
  • How competence can increase your ability to deal with a defensive gun use more efficiently

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Lessons from the Duel at the Dumpster (Part II)

dumpster fire

There are even more lessons we can take away from the Duel at the Dumpster, which we probably could also call the Dumbster Fire. Perhaps the most important lesson of them all relates to the human dynamics of confrontations.

You’re always on video

We have to assume we’re always going to be on video. This is especially true when there are other parties nearby, whether they’re Seconds or just bystanders.

Here is a reasonably good transcript of the first minute of the confrontation.

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Lessons from the Duel at the Dumpster (Part I)

The dictionary defines ‘duel’ as a contest with deadly weapons arranged between two people in order to settle a point of honor. While the Abilene confrontation wasn’t pre-arranged, it certainly turned into a duel. The ‘Monkey Dance’ is a more commonly used term nowadays but the degree of outward emotion is the only difference between the two terms.

burr hamilton dumpster

The Duel at the Dumpster in Abilene https://ktxs.com/news/local/caught-on-camera-abilene-father-son-kill-neighbor-over-trash can provide us with a number of lessons. Some of them relate to avoidance but other aspects of personal protection can also be learned.

  • Murder definitions
  • Emotional Hijacking
  • Dealing with the mentally ill
  • The role of Seconds or Partners
  • Options – especially withdrawal
  • Stand Your Ground (or not)
  • Preparation and Deployment for Combat
  • Using weapons adequately
  • The cost of killing
  • You’re always on video

It’s rare that we have video that shows most of an incident that covers from almost the beginning to the very end. Looking at it closely and objectively can show us some valuable lessons. Although one title for the video is “Two fat rednecks kill Father over Garbage,” we shouldn’t assume that any of us couldn’t get caught up in an equally consequential incident.

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Plinking Day

I took a break today from tactical things and did some plinking with my Marlin Model 60 .22 rifle. Fortunately, my gun club has a designated rimfire range with overhead cover so the rain wasn’t as issue. No one else was there so I was able to burn several hundred rounds knocking down the steel reactive targets.

Reactive targets

The rain broke for a bit, so I was able to put up a paper target and confirm the zero of my rifle with several different types of ammunition. Different types of .22 ammunition will group differently, so it’s good to know where a particular type of ammo shoots and how well it shoots.

Marlin target at 50 yards

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