Category Archives: home defense

Why we practice marksmanship – number 2

Investigators say Mills walked into the bathroom where the female homeowner was showering. She screamed and her husband ran in to confront Mills. Police say Mills had a knife and stabbed the husband in the face and stomach before running from the home.

https://www.wsbtv.com/news/local/brookhaven-couple-attacked-their-home-yesterday/VFLHWHIBVNANFJ4JIF5NEGR6OY/

A downrange drill including standoff.

Once again, we’re more likely to need to do a close range precision shot on a predator than a 25 head shot on a terrorist. Let’s use ‘hit a 4 inch circle at 10 feet’ as a definition of ‘close range precision shot.’ That’s the standard to pass the NRA Basics of Pistol Shooting course. Just like BOPS, our standard should be 100% hits for a five shot string.

‘I live in a nice neighborhood’

This week, a 50-year-old transient man (aka bum) was sentenced to 141 years to life in state prison after being convicted for a 2014 crime spree in the high end Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles.

https://da.lacounty.gov/media/news/man-sentenced-carjacking-kidnapping-pacific-palisades-crime-spree

scumbag-BRIAN-THOMAS-CRUZ

Note from his picture that he was already a violent bad actor. The criminal used a box cutter as his weapon for this series of crimes. The crime spree occurred on August 11, 2014. He was sentenced on July 6, 2020.

There were three crime scenes in the high end neighborhood where the day’s drama began on a sunny Monday morning at 7:45 a.m. First, there was a home invasion in an apartment complex, which currently has a rental rate of $4,800 per month. After two subsequent crashes, including a second car that he carjacked, he invaded a home which currently has an estimated value of $2,705,500. In that home, he threatened the female occupant and stole the occupants’ Lexus.

Lessons to be Learned

Keep your doors closed and locked. Have a plan and be ready for unwelcome visitors. Serious crime knows no borders, regardless of how nice your neighborhood is.

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Crawl, Walk, Run

A discussion came up on a Firearms Instructor group that decried the fact that many indoor ranges only allow NRA training https://firearmtraining.nra.org/ and don’t teach ‘Concealed Carry’ classes. Let’s bear in mind that 999 out of 1,000 gunowners only have access to an indoor range. That’s a calculated number, not a SWAG.

More people don’t carry than do. According to John Lott, the current figure for those having some kind of weapons carry license is 18.66 million people. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3463357 The Gallup Poll indicates the 43% of US households have a gun. https://news.gallup.com/poll/264932/percentage-americans-own-guns.aspx That would be 51.4 million people, which is probably underreported as compared to licenses. My personal experience is that the demographic with the economic means to afford training is most likely to NOT have a carry license.

When we teach people, either formally or informally, we do ourselves and the gun owning public in general a disservice when we place so much emphasis on the techniques for carrying a gun. It’s unfortunate that the NRA’s philosophy of Personal Protection training is buried in the Instructor manual for the Personal Protection Outside The Home course.

A synopsis of the NRA concept as excerpted from that manual is as follows:

The NRA Basic Personal Protection Series is based on the building-block approach, moving from the simple to the complex.

The first course in this series is the NRA Basics of Pistol Shooting Course, which develops in your students the basic skills of handling, shooting, and cleaning the firearm, as well as a thorough grounding in firearm safety.

The second course in this series is the NRA Basics of Personal Protection In The Home Course, (which builds on the skills already learned in the NRA Basics of Pistol Shooting Course). In this second course, participants learn to use a defensive or flash sight picture, …

The third course in the series is the NRA Basics of Personal Protection Outside The Home (which builds on the knowledge, skills, and attitudes learned in the NRA Basics of Personal Protection In The Home Course).

A very intelligent female friend explained to me her personal journey to carrying a gun. It involved five phases over the course of three years for her to consistently carry a gun and feel comfortable with it. That’s far more common than most people who teach, either as formal instructors or just friends giving guidance, seem to realize.

The NRA philosophy has a great deal of logic behind its structure. It pains me when our training community ignores it. We spend a fair amount of time talking about the ‘Crawl, Walk, Run’ approach to training but what we actually teach is ‘Run and then Run some more,’ period. Maybe it would be a good idea if we tried to guide people through a process one step at a time instead of ‘feeding them with a firehose.’ There’s a reason I wrote Indoor Range Practice Sessions before I wrote Concealed Carry Skills and Drills.

crawl-walk-run

Tactical Professor books (all PDF)

Conducting a Defense – Terrain Analysis for the Homeowner

The AR-15 rifle has become popular as a tool for Home Defense. However, there hasn’t been much discussion about how to use rifles to deal with deadly threats outside and yet threatening one’s home. The escalation of Civil Disorder has heightened our awareness of a broader range of necessary home defense. Conceptually, this might be considered FORWARD Home Defense.

One of the first aspects of preparing for such a Forward Defense is to conduct a terrain analysis of the area outside the home. This analysis should consider both the Area of Influence (where a homeowner could actually disrupt an attack) and the Area of Interest (where a homeowner could detect an attacker’s intent outside of the Area of Influence.) We can use the Terrain component of METT-TC as a structure for our terrain analysis. The 1992 edition of Field Manual 7-8 INFANTRY RIFLE PLATOON AND SQUAD https://www13.shu.edu/offices/rotc/upload/FM-7-8.pdf describes the analysis as follows:

(3) Terrain. The leader considers the effect of terrain and weather on enemy and friendly forces using the guidelines below (OCOKA):

(a) Observation and fields of fire. The leader considers ground that allows him observation of the enemy throughout his area of operation. He considers fields of fire in terms of the characteristics of the weapons available to him; for example, maximum effective range, the requirement for grazing fire, and the arming range and time of flight for antiarmor weapons.

(b) Cover and concealment. The leader looks for terrain that will protect him from direct and indirect fires (cover) and from aerial and ground observation (concealment). (Author’s note: Cover and Concealment also applies to what the Enemy might use.)

(c) Obstacles. In the attack, the leader considers the effect of restrictive terrain on his ability to maneuver. In the defense, he considers how he will tie in his obstacles to the terrain to disrupt, turn, fix, or block an enemy force and protect his own forces from enemy assault.

(d) Key terrain. Key terrain is any locality or area whose seizure or retention affords a marked advantage to either combatant. The leader considers key terrain in his selection of objectives, support positions, and routes in the offense, and on the positioning of his unit in the defense.

(e) Avenues of approach. An avenue of approach is an air or ground route of an attacking force of a given size leading to its objective or key terrain in its path. In the offense, the leader identifies the avenue of approach that affords him the greatest protection and places him at the enemy’s most vulnerable spot. In the defense, the leader positions his key weapons along the avenue of approach most likely to be used by the enemy.

(f) Weather. In considering the effects of weather, the leader is most interested in visibility and trafficability.

Some aspects of the terrain analysis may surprise you. For instance, Google Maps can be used to measure distances around your home. You might find that the distance from your front porch to the furthest Avenue of Approach and Point of Likely Cover is 236 feet (79 yards).

Doing a terrain analysis gives you an idea of the area you need to defend and also what tools you might use to defend the approaches to your home.

There will be further explanation on my Patreon page https://www.patreon.com/TacticalProfessor but this is worthwhile food for thought to start.

Tactical Professor books (all PDF)

Store guns out of sight and inaccessible

A very recent incident related to me by a friend.

  • A man (and his live-in girlfriend) were given a handgun by his grandfather during the Beer Plague.
  • They live in a small apartment on the second floor in a large city.
  • He placed the gun on top of the bedroom dresser.
  • This week, a thief used a ladder to get to the bedroom window and cut the screen to get in.
  • The handgun was immediately apparent so it was the first thing the thief picked up.
  • The man, who was alone at the time, was sleeping on the sofa in the other room when the thief made entry.
  • The thief awakened him at gunpoint.
  • The thief stole much of the couple’s possessions, including clothes, laptop, etc. in addition to the gun.
  • The thief also demanded the keys and took them.
  • After the thief departed, the man called the POlice.
  • The POlice Department took the report about the home invasion over the phone.
  • The man arranged to have the locks changed but that will take a while.
  • The next day, the thief came back and tried to unlock the front door with the keys he had stolen. The door has a cross bar that was in place so the thief was unable to get in. The man yelled at him and he went away.
  • Unsurprisingly, the man and his girlfriend are concerned and frightened.
  • Fortunately, the thief did not injure the man.

Lessons from the incident

  • This is a clear example of a Negative Outcome.
  • The purpose of this type of incident report is not to denigrate the person it happened to. Rather, it is to provide important lessons to the rest of us, our family, and our friends.
  • Leaving guns in open view is NEVER a good practice.
  • Store guns where they are not accessible to unauthorized persons.
  • Even a small lockbox or toolbox would have prevented the thief from immediately gaining access to the handgun. The man might have then awakened on his own and been able to achieve a more Positive Outcome.
  • For the mechanically handy, most nightstands can be fitted with a drawer lock. While this will not deter a determined thief for long, it will not allow a thief to immediately gain access to your weapon. Such a lock will also prevent children from gaining access to a firearm.
  • Guns that are on display as heirlooms or for other reasons should be disabled.
  • Some burglars are also known as ‘Second Story Men’ https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/second-story%20man for a reason. Do not assume that living above the ground floor prevents unlawful entry. Even upper story windows should have devices that prevent them from being opened too far when ventilation is wanted.
  • Criminals are opportunistic. This incident started out as burglary and then turned into a home invasion. If the man had struggled when he was awakened, it could easily have turned into a murder or homicide. Neither is desirable.
  • Even if keys are not obviously taken, you should assume that a burglar has them. This means locks need to be changed and door locks supplemented until the change is made.

“There’s three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few that learn by observation. And the rest have to touch the electric fence.” –often incorrectly attributed to Will Rogers, American humorist

Tactical Professor books (all PDF)

Sad incident

Restraining orders aren’t worth shit; I want a Glock.

–a former gf who was in a position to know

Well-known sex therapist murdered, former boyfriend arrested

https://abc7chicago.com/well-known-sex-therapist-murdered-ex-boyfriend-arrested/5938962/

“According to TMZ, Harwick had “recently expressed concerns about an ex-boyfriend.” The Los Angeles Times reports that Harwick applied for orders of protection against Pursehouse twice before, in 2011 and again in 2012. A judge granted Harwick’s request for protection following evidence given by Harwick and Pursehouse. The restraining order ended two weeks before Harwick’s death, according to TMZ.”

https://heavy.com/news/2020/02/gareth-pursehouse/

 

 

 

Thinking about what’s important

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cast of characters in the drama

Donald Oliver – Intruder

Tina Burton – female of household (Female)

Ali Bracey – male of household (Male)

Daughter

Important aspects of the incident

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

Unimportant aspects of the incident

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

Lessons To Be Learned (LBTL) and other important aspects

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

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

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

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

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

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

https://www.patreon.com/TacticalProfessor

Worst Possible Case and 100 percent Standards

#Fridayfundamentals

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q hostage 4

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

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

The odds and stakes of home protection

The discussion of shooting someone in your home without warning or identification has reared its ugly head again. “I’ll shoot anyone in my home” is probably the second most foolish and ill-considered dogma among gun owners today; “It’s not loaded” being the first.

During the Sack of Béziers in 1209 AD, the Abbot of Citeaux, Arnaud Amalric, head of the Crusaders, is reputed to have said: “Kill them. For the Lord knows those that are His own [Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius].” Although it is disputed whether the Abbot actually said this, it is the source of the quip, “Kill them all and let God sort them out.” If you consider it for just a few seconds, “I’ll kill anyone in my house” is philosophically not very far from this. Hopefully, we’ve gotten a little smarter and humane over the course of nine Centuries.

Children sneak in and out of the house, spouses get up to go to the bathroom, friends try to surprise you, and people who are mentally challenged, either permanently or temporarily by intoxicants, enter into homes without malicious intent.

I now have close to a hundred Negative Outcome mistaken identity shootings in my database in which someone shot their spouse or child. Those people will never get another good night’s sleep as long as they live. For the ones where the shootee survived, I doubt the relationship will ever be the same. For those who think they’ll check to make sure all their family members are in bed first, that doesn’t always work, either.

Tragedy: Florida Man Shoots, Kills Fiancée Day Before Wedding

And shooting some poor old geezer who has Alzheimer’s isn’t any better, just because he’s not a member of your family. In that particular case, there was no prosecution but the Cost of Killing was still enormous.

On average, my research indicates that someone mistakenly shoots their spouse, child, or other innocent person in their home every single week in the United States. Two words, “Who’s there?” and a flashlight would go a long way to prevent these tragedies. “Challenging will give my position away,” “The flashlight draws fire,” “blah-blah-blah;” that’s all foolishness parroted by people who have no understanding of METT-TC. Mission, Enemy, Terrain and weather, Troops and support available, Time available, and Civil considerations.

australianparrots-crop

Veterans who should have learned about METT-TC, but didn’t, annoy me greatly when they prattle this kind of foolishness. To be fair, I really didn’t understand it until I was a Staff Sergeant and even then only vaguely. This is another reason not to listen to opinions from people whose only real claim to fame is that they qualified Expert with some weapon in the military. Someone’s ability to Qualify with a rifle has ZERO to do with their understanding of any tactics at all, much less tactics about highly ambiguous situations. A better criterion than Qualification would be “How many Operations Orders have you written?” If the answer is Less than ten or especially None, then the person’s ability to plan any operation is questionable.

staff-sergeant

The odds that the bump in the night are an intruder are low. I’ve calculated them at three percent but I can accept other numbers. More likely, it’s an innocent party. How many of us have investigated a bump in the night as compared to how many of us have then found someone who needed shooting? The stakes are very high, the life of a loved one or innocent party. Some localities are now prosecuting Mistaken Identity shootings as Manslaughter or Second Degree Murder. Even when there are no legal consequences, the psychological toll will most likely be for a lifetime.

The Flashlight chapter of Indoor Range Practice Sessions is a FREE download. https://store.payloadz.com/details/2505573-ebooks-law-indoor-range-session-11-flashlight.html Please get it, practice using your light, learn to speak while holding your gun, and think about identifying people before shooting at them.

You could even buy the whole book, if you want to learn something about shooting. https://store.payloadz.com/details/2501143-ebooks-education-indoor-range-practice-sessions.html

Deliberate Practice

This is a great article. It contains many useful tidbits that can be applied to those want to improve their proficiency not only with firearms but also to a broad array of personal protection skills.

https://getpocket.com/explore/item/the-beginner-s-guide-to-deliberate-practice-1576022377

Deliberate practice refers to a special type of practice that is purposeful and systematic. While regular practice might include mindless repetitions, deliberate practice requires focused attention and is conducted with the specific goal of improving performance.

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