Category Archives: Serious Mistakes

Protecting and Securing Firearms

I shouldn’t have gotten in trouble for it but I did get in trouble.

– my cardiologist

I had to make a visit to my cardiologist last week. We had an enlightening conversation about the gun story of his childhood. He comes from a country where there is no gun culture to speak of but double barrel shotguns are sometimes found in rural homes. As a young boy, he visited his uncle’s country house. There, unsecured in a mud room, he found the uncle’s shotgun. Being an intelligent and inquisitive young child, he picked up the shotgun and brought it into the house. The gun was loaded. Fortunately, a family member came from behind him and took the gun away from him before any harm resulted. Then, he got in trouble. Although incidents where a child causes an unintentional discharge tend to be well publicized, the ones where a small child gets hold of a gun but doesn’t fire almost never do. I’m willing to bet there are many many more incidents where the gun doesn’t go off, fortunately.

What probably happens in those cases is the same thing that happened to him; the child ‘gets in trouble’ and is either scolded and/or punished. In our times of constant media bombardment that guns are bad, per se, having an Early Childhood Trauma https://www.nctsn.org/what-is-child-trauma/trauma-types/early-childhood-trauma involving a firearm is likely to prime the platform for that child to dislike and fear firearms. I would call that a long term Negative Outcome for our Second Amendment right.

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Neutralize the threat (or not)

“According to the document, Roberts said in the process of leaving the room, he noticed Garcia on the floor at the bedroom doorway and shot him again to ‘be certain he was deceased to eliminate any threat of having another altercation’.”

http://www.wlox.com/2019/02/12/court-documents-saucier-shooter-claims-self-defense-says-boys-death-was-accidental/

Big problem. “Neutralize the threat” isn’t always the right course of action.

Roberts is facing first degree murder and manslaughter charges, both felony offenses.

That’s going to be a Negative Outcome.

In the original report about the shooting, it’s unclear whether the two year old boy was killed intentionally or just a downrange failure.

http://www.wlox.com/2019/02/10/two-year-old-boy-man-dead-after-shooting-saucier-home-suspect-arrested/

No matter what the Outcome, the shooter’s life has now become a shambles and will be for the foreseeable future.

Book Promo

For those who are interested in improving your pistol shooting skills, my books are available as downloads.

Concealed Carry Skills and Drills downloadable eBook. http://concealedcarryskillsanddrills.com

Indoor Range Practice Sessions downloadable eBook. http://indoorrangepracticesessions.com

Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make, downloadable audio recording. http://seriousgunownermistakes.com

Shoot/Don’t Shoot and METT-TC

Every time we pull a gun on someone, a binary decision, ‘Shoot or Don’t Shoot,’ immediately ensues and continues until the gun is put away. That decision is not necessarily either conscious nor intentional. Because of that, we need to be very mindful of when we choose to place ourselves into that position. Two recent incidents, one involving a personal friend and one involving a gun celebrity, have reinforced that to me. In fact, we probably should change the common usage to Don’t Shoot/Shoot instead of vice versa.

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In Fear for My Life is not a ‘Get Out of Jail’ card

‘I was in fear for my life’ has become something of a mantra for those who carry weapons for Personal Protection. However, ‘fear’ has no bearing on whether a shooting is a legal act. Only the ‘reasonableness’ of the act is germane in a Court of Law. Stopping your car, getting out of it, walking back to a school bus behind you, and then shooting at it is unlikely to be viewed in court as ‘reasonable.’

https://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2019/02/06/caught-on-video-man-shoots-school-bus-on-i-35w-in-minneapolis/

“Lilly told officers that he feared for his safety and that is why he shot at the bus driver.” The responding officer was unimpressed and took the shooter into custody. He is now being charged with Attempted 2nd Degree Murder and other charges.

https://www.hennepinattorney.org/-/media/Attorney/NEWS/2019/Lilly-Kenneth-cplt.pdf

Pure luck and poor marksmanship are the only reason this person isn’t being charged with Murder. As it is, he’s still facing 20 years or more in prison. The prosecutor is planning to throw the book at him and rightly so. That’s a Negative Outcome.

The actions of Mr. Lilly were outrageous and it was sheer luck that neither the bus driver nor the little girl were killed

https://www.hennepinattorney.org/news/news/2019/February/Lillie-Kenneth-attmurdcharge

know the rules

Not understanding the rules is one of the topics addressed in Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make, my downloadable audio recording. http://seriousgunownermistakes.com

It’s probably just as well that he was no more skilled than what he was.

Concealed Carry Skills and Drills downloadable eBook. http://concealedcarryskillsanddrills.com

Indoor Range Practice Sessions downloadable eBook. http://indoorrangepracticesessions.com

The Tactical Professor’s SHOT Show Odyssey (Part III) – Site visit to the Duel at the Dumbster (continued)

More thoughts about the Duel at the Dumbster

Legal issues aside, the Duel also demonstrated how proxemics come into play during Defensive Gun Uses. Shootings and gunfights involving Private Citizens almost universally occur in Social Space (4-12 feet) as defined in the science of Proxemics. That’s my conclusion after studying the over 5,000 DGUs in my database. When they start out with ‘Monkey Dancing,’ as this one did, it’s unavoidable that the shooting will be close. Monkey Dancing can’t be done at much of a distance. While Law Enforcement Officers need to be concerned about the Tueller Principle, the dynamics of Private Citizen encounters are far different.

Proxemics

Diagram by WebHamster

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The Tactical Professor’s SHOT Show Odyssey (Part II) – Site visit to the Duel at the Dumbster

Phase 1 of the Odyssey – The drive there

Since we were driving through the Southwest, I felt compelled to make a visit to the site of the Duel at the Dumbster in Abilene. Actually seeing the lay of the land always helps me gain a better understanding of the dynamics of shootings and gunfights.

For those unfamiliar with the incident, here’s a quick synopsis. A father and son confronted another man about placing a discarded twin mattress by the dumpster in the alley. After approximately two minutes of monkey dancing between two prideful fools and a man with mental health issues, gunfire erupted. A few seconds later, the individual with mental health issues didn’t have to worry about his issues anymore because he took a load of ‘scattershot’ to his head, along with other wounds. The fools are now in jail awaiting trial for Murder.

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The Tactical Professor’s SHOT Show Odyssey

I just returned home after a two week Odyssey to and from the 2019 SHOT Show. My approach to the Show this year was completely different from previous years. After two weeks on the road and the Show, I have 21 pages of notes with many more yet to be written. The chronicles of my journey will be the subject of quite a few blog posts over the next two weeks.

My Odyssey had three phases.

  1. The drive from Atlanta to Las Vegas.
  2. The Show itself.
  3. A 52 hour bus ride back to Atlanta from Las Vegas.

Phase 1 – The drive there

A friend wanted to make it into a road trip to see part of America, so he rented a large comfortable SUV for the trip. We spent seven days on the road driving from Atlanta, through the South and Southwest parts of the USA, to Las Vegas. It was quite an interesting journey. To put things in perspective, it was a longer distance than from the Nazi submarine pens at La Rochelle on the coast of France to Moscow.

Phase 2 – The SHOT Show itself

This year I was on a ‘jihad’, as my colleague Tamara Keel calls my occasional bursts of enthusiasm, at the Show. The jihad was about storage solutions for firearms because I am tired of collecting articles about children shooting themselves with nearby adults’ guns. While we often think as security solutions to ward off theft, my focus was more about preventing unauthorized access. Although the topics are akin, they aren’t the same and I wanted to address the latter. A chance hallway encounter with my colleague John Holschen yielded this gem.

Don’t buy a gun until you have a way to secure it, even if it’s just metal toolbox and padlock.

Another thing I wanted to do was to interview people who aren’t ‘equipment obsessed’ about their experiences with firearms. Many of them come from Gun Culture 2.0, as Professor David Yamane calls it. The process of interviewing, rather than informing, was tremendously enlightening and useful to me. It was perhaps the most useful part of the journey, overall. Several of the conversations highlighted how important and useful some form of distance learning, such as my ebooks, is to many shooters who have very valid reasons for not attending training. Links to my books are at the bottom of the page.

Phase 3 – The journey home

It’s easy to get into the habit of always being comfortable when traveling. However, ‘the worst possible case’ doesn’t always involve having a deadly encounter with TODD or a band of ninjas armed with automatic weapons descending from the ceiling. For example, my friend was in one of the Baltic countries when Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland erupted in 2010.  His adventures getting back to his home in Western Europe were not unlike a grand Escape and Evasion exercise covering thousands of miles.

We often talk about ‘Bug Out Bags,’ but what if you’re faced with having to get home while living on your wits? Another of my friends was caught on the other side of the US when air travel was grounded by the 9/11 attacks, so this isn’t something that only happens to Special Forces soldiers in Denied Areas. I thought a little practice might be in order so I seized the opportunity.

Highlights (for now)

Phase 1

One of our stops was Vicksburg National Military Park. It is the site of one of the pivotal campaigns of the Civil War or War of Northern Aggression, depending on one’s preferred terminology. The underlying reasons for the four year conflict are still being debated but the motivation displayed by the participants committed to their causes remains amazing to this day.

3d Battery OH Lt Arty.jpg

3 overwhelming firepower

We also made a visit to the site of the Duel at the Dumbster in Abilene so I could get a first hand feel for the terrain of the shooting. Someone asked me at the Show if there were lessons to be learned from the incident. My immediate reply was “About foolishness and stupidity, a great deal.”

Phase 2

There were many interesting devices for securing firearms available at the Show, some new, some old. There was not much activity the several times I visited the Project ChildSafe booth, which I found disheartening. The folks at the booth were very friendly and had a lot of information. Similarly, there wasn’t much activity around the areas that displayed securing devices. Not many people seemed interested in preventing kids from shooting themselves in the face with an adult’s gun. I has a sad because of this. ☹

project childsafe edit

zore gun lock booth

Phase 3

It was a long and sometimes arduous journey home. My friend bought me a nice dinner of Linguine alle Vongole before my departure for which I am very grateful. Finding decent food during the trip wasn’t easy and I was glad I had eaten a good meal before leaving. As a thought reconnaissance in preparation for a lengthy and difficult return trip home, it was very useful and I learned a great deal.

bus itinerary crop

linguine alle vongole

More about the Tactical Professor’s Odyssey tomorrow.

For those interested in improving your skills with a handgun, I have written two books.

Concealed Carry Skills and Drills downloadable eBook. http://concealedcarryskillsanddrills.com

Indoor Range Practice Sessions downloadable eBook. http://indoorrangepracticesessions.com

For those who wish to avoid Serious Mistakes and subsequent Negative Outcomes, I have made a downloadable recording.

Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make, downloadable audio recording. http://seriousgunownermistakes.com

Multiple categories of Negative Outcome

This could go into three different categories of my Negative Outcomes database; ‘Poor Judgement,’ ‘Unjustified Shootings,’ and ‘POlice Involvement.’ For now, it gets filed in Poor Judgement.

Florida man shooting at target in backyard hits neighbor sitting at dining room table, deputies say

https://www.wfla.com/news/florida/man-shooting-at-target-in-backyard-hits-neighbor-sitting-at-dining-room-table-deputies-say/1682358419

This is a Serious Mistake and a clear violation of Rule #4 “Know your target and what is beyond and around it.” ‘Target’ includes the target’s backstop.

Concealed Carry Skills and Drills downloadable eBook. http://concealedcarryskillsanddrills.com

Indoor Range Practice Sessions downloadable eBook. http://indoorrangepracticesessions.com

Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make, downloadable audio recording. http://seriousgunownermistakes.com

Downrange Failure

As [the Officer] struggled with Villalon, [the homeowner] drew a handgun and fired in their direction, striking the officer on his right arm, according to police.

Homeowner shoots McAllen officer who responded to burglary

This is the Negative Outcome I categorize as ‘Downrange Failure,’ i.e., hit someone downrange who wasn’t the criminal. It’s the smallest category of Negative Outcomes but the consequences tend to be high.

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One and two shot presentations

#wheelgunwednesday

NV CFP 38

Nevada Concealed Firearm Permit Qualification fired with 1 and 2 shot strings

Becoming reasonably skilled with a handgun isn’t always a fun process. A lot of it is simply repetition of basic techniques until we have achieved automaticity, which is frequently and incorrectly referred to as ‘muscle memory.’

The reason most POlice and CCW qualification courses consist of high round count strings is simply to get the testing over with as quickly as possible. The underlying object is to facilitate the evaluation process, not to ‘train’ the shooter. When we’re practicing on our own, ‘getting it over with’ doesn’t have to be our primary concern, nor should it be.

When we’re practicing for skill development, almost all of our time should be spent firing one or two shots at a time. For competitive shooters, using Bill Drills to practice recoil management does have value. For purposes of personal protection, however, the reality is that learning to put the first shot on target every single time has a lot more value.

When learning to shoot at distance, single shot drills are almost mandatory.

Taurus 82 15 yards

15 yards, 1 shot per presentation from Low Ready

As a refresher, here are some links to previous articles about aspects of learning to shoot well.

Press the trigger smoothly

Too quick on the trigger?

Consistency

Comparative Standards

Most of the drills in my eBooks are three shots or less. They’re workbooks, which implies to use them, you have to do some work. Work is not always fun. Sorry, that’s just adult life. It doesn’t mean you can’t have fun shooting but rather that learning to shoot well isn’t always a fun process.

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 incidents, not necessarily Defensive Gun Uses, involving firearms.