Tag Archives: personal protection

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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Myths and Misconceptions

I was privileged to be the Guest Speaker at The Mingle 2018, a firearms community networking event this past Saturday. My topic was Myths, Misconceptions, and Solutions in the Firearms Training World. There is such a myriad of examples that I have decided to start writing #mythsandmisconceptionsmonday. I would like to acknowledge the influence John Farnam, Greg Hamilton, and Craig Douglas have had in the development of my fascination with the topic.

The misconception that resonated the most with the audience was Training is not an event, it’s a process. Too often in the training community, we put on a training event and our clients then leave with the impression they are ‘trained.’ Nothing could be further from the truth. Training is only the preparation for practice.

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Course Announcement

I am pleased to announce the opening of registration for:

Violent Criminals and YOU: A Thinker’s Approach to Decisions about Personal and Family Protection

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

— The Art of War by Sun Tzu [Giles translation]

  • How do violent criminals think of us and how do they target us?
  • What do we need to do to avoid or counter their attacks?

This course is a collaboration between myself and eminent mental health professional, William Aprill. We have designed a course about personal protection that is intended for your brain rather than your trigger finger. William will be presenting his material about Violent Criminal Actors, how they think, and how your mindset preparation can position you to defeat them. I will be covering Strategies, Tactics, and the decision-making process with particular emphasis on avoiding Serious Mistakes and Negative Outcomes.

Defensive awareness is rooted in the realization of risk. Defensive preparation adds the commitment to prevent or mitigate threats. The objective of this course is for each student to unify those two elements into defensive decision-making strategies and tactics appropriate to their individual needs. The goal is that an actual life-threatening scenario will not be the first time participants have honestly faced and decided what will be necessary to survive and thrive in the aftermath.

Topics of the course

  • Understanding Violent Criminal Actors (VCAs) (WTA)
  • Strategies, Tactics, and Options for Personal Protection (STOPP) (CW)
  • The 5 W’s of Risk: Constructing an Effective Pre-Need Defense Paradigm (WTA)
  • The Environment of Decision-Making: Structure and Pitfalls (CW)
  • How VCAs Identify their Victims (WTA)
  • Decision-making drills – Recognition, Timing, and Triggers (CW)
  • Kidnapping/Abduction concepts used by VCAs (WTA)
  • Scenario based decision-making exercises based on actual events (CW)

Course details

October 8-9, 2016 – two full days of training

Classroom only, no shooting or physical contact involved

Norcross, Georgia

$400 for the weekend. Lodging, meals, etc. not included.

Registration available at:

Registration link

Bios of the Instructors

William Aprill is a licensed mental health professional with over 19 years’ experience across the continuum of clinical care. He presently maintains a private practice and consultancy specializing in post-traumatic interventions and other disciplines. William is a former deputy sheriff (Orleans Parish, LA, Criminal Sheriff’s Office) and Special Deputy US Marshal (Eastern District of Louisiana). He has presented his material on violent criminals and their decision-making, defensive incident aftermath, mindset development and defensive preparedness at numerous conferences and events throughout the country.

Claude Werner is a retired Army Officer who spent the majority of his career in Special Operations and Intelligence. Post military, he was Research Director of three commercial real estate firms and eventually became the National Director of Real Estate Research for Deloitte. He has been an NRA Certified Instructor in six disciplines for 25 years. For five years, he was the Chief Instructor of the most difficult shooting school in the world, the elite Rogers Shooting School, where he taught numerous Special Operations units and SWAT police officers. He blogs as The Tactical Professor. www.tacticalprofessor.com

Endorsements

“William Aprill is one of the most important thinkers in the defensive shooting world today. His insight into what makes criminal attackers ‘tick’, as well as his understanding of the psychological aspects of training and response, are valuable to everyone who has a firearm for personal defense.”

— Grant Cunningham, Personal Security Institute

“Claude is one of the deepest thinkers in the training community.”

— Rob Pincus, Personal Defense Network

“The gun is certainly a wonderful and very powerful tool, but it’s not wise to pin your survival strategies entirely upon the possession of that tool. [William] arms you with information. Critical crucial knowledge that may not be needed every day, but if the ‘Unthinkable’ actually happens to you it gives you enough exposure to know there is almost always something you can do to improve your situation. The exposure opens your mind…”

GunNuts.net

“Claude Werner is the preeminent researcher of armed citizen-involved shootings.”

— Ralph Mroz, retired Police Officer and author of The Street Standards blog

Situational Awareness and Positioning (part III)

When he got within 5 or 6 feet… Lawler leveled the Glock and fired once, hitting DeCosta in the groin.

Man pulls 13-inch knife during fight, gets shot

A previous post discussed The Tueller Principle, or as Dennis put it originally “How Close Is Too Close?” In light of the above incident, The Tueller Principle and two related concepts bear further clarification and quantification.

A concept that is seldom discussed in the personal protection community, among either instructors or practitioners, is proxemics. The term proxemics was originated by a cultural anthropologist, Edward Hall, in his book The Hidden Dimension.  Its meaning is how we, as humans, interpret and manage the physical space around us. This should be an integral part of planning for personal protection, but usually is not.

Professor Hall’s work breaks out several spatial zones that we perceive around us. Most important to us regarding the realm of personal protection is that we make instinctive judgments about whom we allow into these zones and what our reactions are to those who enter, or try to enter, the zones.

  • Intimate Space – where we only allow loved ones to be.
  • Personal Space – the area in which we are comfortable having people we know and trust.
  • Social Space – the zone where we communicate and/or interact with others generally.
  • Public Space – an area where we accept that people in general can be, regardless of whether we know them or are interacting with them.
Diagram by WebHamster

Diagram by WebHamster

It is also important to note that Hall’s work was preceded and partially inspired by the work of a Swiss zoologist, Dr. Heini Hediger. After extensive study of animals in the wild, Dr Hediger, in his book Wild Animals in Captivity, introduced several concepts about predator-prey behavior that are particularly relevant to the personal protection community.

  • Flight distance – the distance at which prey will seek to escape the approach of a predator.
  • Defense distance – the point at which pursued prey, which is being overtaken by a predator, will have a ‘defense reaction,’ in the words of Dr. Hediger.
  • Critical distance – the boundary at which prey that is cornered, or feels it is, will initiate a counter-attack on the predator. I.e., the prey has lost its ability to maneuver or escape (decisively engaged) and then reacts in an emergency mode.

Dr. Hediger states that these distances “are specific, within certain limits, and may be accurately measured, often within inches.” p20 When he says inches, he is referring to very small animals; larger animals will generally be measured at intervals of feet or yards/meters. The larger the animal, the greater each distance will be, generally speaking.

The questions that then arise are: 1) what is the overlap between the works of Tueller, Hall, and Hediger and 2) why is that overlap important? Hall theorized that Hediger’s concepts of flight, defense, and critical distance are no longer applicable to humans. However, I do not believe that is true. Human behavior during a criminal predation tends to follow Dr. Hediger’s concept quite closely.

The incident described in the first paragraph is an excellent example of a phenomenon I observed in my long term study of The Armed Citizen and other reports of armed self-defense by private citizens. My impression after the study of thousands of incidents was that people tended to allow human predators to encroach not quite to arm’s length before shooting. When I say encroach, I do not mean actually shoot at, as in a gunfight, but rather attempt to close the distance, whether armed or unarmed.

Encroaching is actually more dangerous than a full throttle attack. If an armed predator runs at us at full speed, it’s obvious what his intent is and our decision becomes fairly simple. On the other hand, an encroachment induces uncertainty into the encounter, in the form of the question “How Close Is Too Close?” Of course, if gunfire is being exchanged, then typical spatial boundaries and zones no longer apply.

Shooting a human predator, especially when he is encroaching, is a communication and social transaction. It is the strongest form of communicating “Stop, don’t come any closer!” Dr. Hediger would term this the critical reaction that occurs at ‘Critical Distance.’ My impression is that it will most likely occur in what Hall termed the ‘near phase of Social Space.’ For North Americans, this zone is between four and seven feet. In other words, our Critical Distance lies within that zone. We will do what we need to do to prevent a predator from crossing the boundary between Social Space and our Personal Space.

How does this relate to The Tueller Principle? The minimum safe boundary established by Tueller is 21 feet. However, the boundary that Hall theorized between public space and social space is only 12 feet. What this means is that we will have an inherent tendency to allow people, and specifically predators, to approach us well with the boundary of safety established by Tueller. That 12 foot boundary for Social Space may be the maximum boundary of our Flight Distance, even with a sketchy character. If our Critical Distance is only 4-7 feet, that could represent a major problem when dealing with a predator.

My late colleague Paul Gomez periodically quizzically commented that “people don’t shoot criminals far enough away.” The relationship between the concepts of Tueller, Hall, and Hediger may be the reason why. It’s something we in the training community need to do a better job of explaining and training.

Situational awareness is not just about seeing what’s going on; it’s also about interpreting that information and what to do about it.

At least a half-dozen times, I ordered him to stop.

Another of my colleagues commented to me “We only say ‘Drop the gun’ once around here.”