Lessons from an Armed Robbery

Barry Fixler, former Marine and Viet Nam veteran, owns a jewelry store in New York State. On Valentine’s Day 2005, a couple of criminals decided to relieve him of his merchandise. It didn’t turn out the way they planned. We are fortunate that much of the incident was captured on video. There are numerous lessons we can draw from the incident. Let me preface all my commentary by saying that I greatly admire Mr. Fixler’s courage and how he handled the situation.

Bottom Line Up Front: Good Guy 1, Bad Guys 0; that’s clearly a commendable victory.

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The ‘Wizard Drill’ and the J Frame

Ken Hackathorn created a very simple skill evaluation drill that he calls the ‘Wizard Drill.’ It only requires five rounds of ammo and can be shot on any range that allows work from the holster

Take an IDPA or IPSC (USPSA) target and place a 4 inch circle centered in the head of the target. You will shoot 4 strings of fire at 3, 5, 7, and 10 yards. Each string of fire has a time limit of 2.5 seconds with 2.7 allowable because of the length of the buzzer’s beep. The drill is shot from a concealed holster. If you use a pocket holster, you may start with the gun in your pocket and your hand on the gun. Otherwise, hands normal at sides, not touching the gun until the buzzer.

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Why think ahead and why practice?

Today’s news contains an article with several lessons in it for the Armed Private Citizen.

Police: Man outside Walmart shot [his gun] in self-defense

The lessons cut across an array of topics relevant to Personal Protection. Let’s use the CAN/MAY/SHOULD/MUST paradigm as a basis for the discussion.

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Free Books for download

via My Paladin Press books available now for free download

Caveat Emptor

Know what you’re buying. This is even more important when you can’t see it in person. When it’s an intangible, such as information, you must be especially careful.

As part of my research for The J Frame Project, I was perusing eBay last night for J Frame stocks. One of the items I came across was a ‘Hogue Tamer‘ for a very low price. It didn’t look quite right (a color I didn’t recognize Hogue ever making) so I czeched into it a bit further. I realized that someone had replaced the stock on their Polymer Bodyguard with the Tamer and then put the Bodyguard stock back in the Tamer package.

faux hogue tamer

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What do you teach the students?

What do you teach the students in your classes, Claude?

That question was posed to me recently by an older gentleman at my gun club.

I teach them how to handle guns safely and how to hit the target, Ray.

He looked at me quizzically when I said that. He’s a competent shooter who can hit a six inch plate at 50 yards with a handgun. I could tell he didn’t understand so I told him a story.

I received a call a while ago from a range I used to teach at, which has subsequently burned down. The call was from the guy working the counter where they sign people into the range. “Can you come down right now and give a lady with a snub nose revolver a lesson right now? She will pay you and she’s willing to wait for you to get here.” It was 20 minutes away so I grabbed my gear and went.

The lady had a very nice 2 inch Model 15 Combat Masterpiece. She had purchased it at a gun shop when her husband died. This was her second visit to the range to ‘practice.’


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Sometimes I say the damndest things

I was recently interviewed on Civilian Carry Radio. It was an interesting discussion.


Muzzle direction is the primary safety. Always has been and always will be.

–Bill Rogers

Garland man accidentally fatally shot in head while teaching son to shoot

What’s so sad is how many different recent incidents the search string ‘son accidentally shoots father‘ brings up. Both fathers and sons are on the receiving end.

Firearms are relentlessly unforgiving of the slightest lapse in attention or knowledge of their manuals of arms. The details of this incident aren’t stated but they’re almost irrelevant. Does anyone think that poor boy will ever have a well adjusted life? I doubt it. Who’s fault is that? Certainly not the boy’s.

Just because a person “has been around guns all my life” doesn’t mean they know anything about them. All that frequently parrotted phrase means is that the person has beaten the odds so far. Don’t be ‘that guy.’ It’s not a hair dryer; learn about your firearm(s) and any of the sets of basic safety rules. The number of people who can’t recite, from memory, at least one set of firearms safety rules is astonishing.

There are several sets of safety rules. The NRA Rules are a good start.

ALWAYS Keep The Gun Pointed In A Safe Direction
This is the primary rule of gun safety. Common sense dictates the safest direction, depending on different circumstances.

ALWAYS Keep Your Finger Off The Trigger Until Ready To Shoot
When holding a gun, rest your finger alongside the frame and outside the trigger guard. Until you are actually ready to fire, do not touch the trigger.

ALWAYS Keep The Gun Unloaded Until Ready To Use
If you do not know how to open the action or inspect the chamber(s), leave the gun alone and get help from someone who does.

Let’s be careful out there.





No one is above the rules

One of the students involved in this went up and took the blank gun … from the instructor’s [emphasis mine] waistband and placed that against the instructor’s back and fired

Not the student’s fault. No one is supposed to have weapons capable of causing injury at such an event.
Either the school’s training protocols are incorrect or the instructor didn’t follow them. Either way, this incident is on the cadre not the student. This is a Serious Mistake on the trainers’ side. There are reasons we have rules about how to conduct Force on Force. This is an example of why. Fortunately, it appears the injury wasn’t serious but the incident is an example of how Negative Outcomes occur.
Guns are deadly weapons. We can never relax our vigilance around them. Thinking that anyone is exempt from the rules is “cruisin’ for a bruisin’.

Keep your tape loops short

One word is best.

As much as I like the:

You look familiar. You got any warrants?

method, last night I defaulted to ‘No’ when I was approached last night by a female panhandler in the Publix parking lot. Because I keep my head up, I saw the encounter coming.

“Something, something, car, homeless.”




“Okay.” She then walked away.

I didn’t say it in an ugly way, just very firmly. The power of a firm ‘No’ is very strong.

No_Revocatoria_Lima_2013 Simbolo

I also had my pepper spray in hand in case things went any further.