Tag Archives: home defense

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

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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

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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

The Importance of Target Identification

Deputies found a 32-year-old man who said that he and his wife were sleeping when they heard a noise in the kitchen.

The husband took his handgun and walked in the kitchen area, where he shot the victim.

After the shooting the husband recognized the victim as his younger teenage brother.

Man shoots, kills brother thinking he was burglarizing home

Yet another tragic example of why I stress target identification so much. These situations are absolutely preventable. As I’ve said before, if you live with anyone else, my analysis is that there is a 97 percent probability that the ‘bump in the night’ is a member of your own household. With those kinds of numbers, gunowners cannot take the risk of shooting someone at home without establishing a positive ID.

This kind of situation is a further example of why I say we have to be very cautious of what we take of from our training, and even more so, what we read. Much of the good training available is conducted by former law enforcement or military personnel. Just as much as any of us, they are subject to unconscious biases resulting from their experiences and training. Since most reading now is done on the Internet, you have to assume everything you read is wrong because most of it IS wrong.

Responding with a firearm to a noise at night in the home absolutely requires that you visually verify your target before shooting. You probably will need a flashlight for that. And stealth is not your friend, it is your enemy. Therein lies a major divergence from the law enforcement officer or soldier, to whom stealth is an ally. The notions that ‘the light draws fire’ or that criminals will wait in ambush for you if they hear you coming are nonsensical. Those are bad paradigms for us to insert in our thinking. If your background is such that having assassins waiting in ambush for you in your own home is a concern, you need to work on some serious hardening of access points to your home.

If you keep a gun at home, put a flashlight next to your gun; no ifs, ands, or buts about it.

pistol and light

Next time you go to the range, take the flashlight with you. Instead of just blasting 50 holes in a silhouette, shoot two shots at the silhouette 25 times. Sequence is very important in how you do this.

  • Have your gun in your shooting hand and your flashlight in your support hand. The gun is not pointing at the target and the light is off.
  • Before each two shot string, say out loud “Who’s there?”
  • Wait to listen for an answer. If you go to the range with someone, have them stand behind you and sometimes respond with “it’s me, Daddy” or something similar.
  • If they say that, immediately put your gun down on the bench and abort that sequence.
  • Then illuminate the target without pointing the gun at it.
  • Finally, bring the gun up and fire the two shots.

One of the things you will find when using this sequence is that the worthwhile two handed shooting techniques don’t work well for it. Harries is both clumsy and dangerous to assume when you already have the light on the target and are keeping it illuminated while presenting the pistol. The Rogers/Surefire technique takes some time and manipulation skill to assume. What you will discover is that only the Cheek Technique or the FBI Technique work well in this context.

6 LL Dryfire cheek ready

That means you have to learn to:

  • Speak while holding your gun.
  • Abort the shooting sequence if there is not a threat.
  • Do a dissimilar task with the other hand, i.e., orient the flashlight and work the switch, while keeping your gun off target and your finger off the trigger.
  • Shoot with one hand only while continuing to perform the dissimilar task.
  • Manipulate the safety or decocker of your weapon with one hand while holding something in the other.

For the final 5 repetitions (10 rounds), put up a clean silhouette target and shoot the LAPD Retired Officer Course (10 rounds at seven yards). Measure how well you do. You’re going to find it’s a lot harder than you think.

That sequence is obviously rather involved; practice it before you have to do it for real or you’ll forget to do it or get it wrong. Forgetting to do it is what leads to tragedies.