I Can’t Believe This is Happening!

Screen Shot 2013-12-27 at 10.14.58 PMWhen the average person is faced with some kind of traumatic situation, be it a car accident or a physical assault, generally the first thought they have is, “I can’t believe this is happening.”  That thought creates a moment of hesitation, or worse, complete panic.  It may not be a big deal in a traffic accident, but if you are about to get robbed or rapped, that hesitation or panic will result in bad things happening to you.  The bad guy will have the upper hand, because any hesitation on your part allows him to gain an advantage that you will most likely not be able to overcome.

Panic and hesitation are products of lack of training and preparedness.  If you are confident in your ability to defend yourself and you have prepared yourself by acquiring the skills needed, you will be less likely to panic and hesitate.  I remember when I was younger and absolutely hated public speaking.  The solution for me was to prepare and practice to the point that I could deliver the speech in my sleep.  My confidence improved so much that I now thoroughly enjoy public speaking and teaching as long as a prepare beforehand.  (It’s a good thing, because teaching firearms to a large group of people kind of requires some public speaking.)

So work on your personal defense skills, including your handling of a concealed carry firearm, and you will be less likely to panic and hesitate in the face of adversity.  But that’s not the end of the conversation, we also have to develop a different mindset when it comes to crime, and the probability that it will happen to you someday.

Lets take a look a an everyday scenario as an example.  You walk into a room and as you break the plain of the door, somebody jumps out and scares you.  You, not expecting somebody to leap out, jump back and let out a scream.  Now, take the same scenario, but this time you are expecting somebody to leap out and try to scare you.  Instead of jumping back in fear, you laugh at them for their failed attempt at humor and continue walking into the room as you shake your head.  Same set of events unfold, the difference is that in the second scenario, you are expecting it and thus aren’t surprised when it happens.  You don’t hesitate or panic, you just continue on with your business.

Same set of circumstances except in the second instance, you are prepared because you are expecting it.  The same kind of preparedness can occur in your everyday life when faced with a confrontation that the bad guy is thinking will result in him getting the upper hand.  If you are expecting it to happen, when it does, your mind will not say, “I can’t believe this is happening” and you won’t hesitate because you have already reconciled that it is going to happen.  Your mind will say, “here we go,” or, “it’s on,” and your training will take over and you will prevail.  In fact, because most violent criminals don’t expect any resistance or fighting back, their brain will think, “I can’t believe this is happening!”

So prepare and train for “it” to happen and accept the fact right now that sometime in your lifetime, “it’ will happen to you, the odds favor it, and when the day comes, don’t hesitate and don’t panic, just take care of business.

Don’t just survive, thrive!


Carrying a firearm for personal protection brings with it an awesome responsibility.  You have the power to change a person’s world forever, and even the power to take their life.  It is you duty as a responsible gun owner to always obey the cardinal rules of firearms safety and to understand the laws where you live and travel with your gun.  Do your due diligence become educated on the use of force continuum and become proficient with your firearm before you leave home.


Are You Really at Risk?

Screen Shot 2013-12-22 at 5.05.18 PMThere are millions and millions and millions of firearms currently in the hands of private citizens in the United States, and that in my opinion is a good thing.  We in the U.S. have a unique relationship with guns because it was firearms in the possession of private citizens that was the key to securing our freedom from the tyrant King George III.  And it is these same privately owned firearms that continue to keep America free, not only from tyrants in government, but the tyranny that results because of violent criminals and their willingness to rape, rob and murder without regard for the impact on innocent people.

It is a verifiable fact that the violent crime rate in the United States is significantly lower than in most of the rest of the free world.  What can be debated I suppose are the reasons why, although I firmly believe it is firearms in the hands of law abiding citizens.  With that said, I am continually amazed at how many people use the excuse that violence isn’t likely to happen to them as a reason for not taking an active role in their own safety and security, whether it be firearms ownership or some other form of personal protection.

Lets take a look at how likely it is that you will be the victim of violent crime.  (Note that where you live and your lifestyle does have an impact on your likelihood of being a victim.)

According to FBI crime statistics for 2011, there were 1.2 million acts of violent crime.  You are 58 more times to be assaulted than to be injured in a residential fire.  Even so, most people have working smoke detectors in their home and many have a fire escape plan, but many of these same people do not have a plan for personal protection.  Did you know that there has never been a child killed in the United States at school because of a fire?  But, there has been several killed at the hands of violent criminals.  And yet, there are smoke detectors, fire alarms, sprinklers and regular fire drills in every American school, but not a plan to deal with violence.   So why  don’t we do more to protect ourselves and our children from violence?  That is a question I really don’t have a good answer to, but I suspect it’s one, people don’t think it will happen to them, two they think the police will protect them, and lastly, they have a fear of firearms which is usually rooted in ignorance.

I advocate a multi-pronged approach to personal protection and security with firearms being a part of that approach.  There are circumstances in which a firearm is not an appropriate response to violence, and there are times when they are.  But given the statistics I just shared, if you have a smoke detector in your home, you ought to also have a firearm, it just makes perfect scene.  If you have a fear of firearms that is the product of ignorance or your inexperience with them, don’t worry about it, it is never to late to educate yourself, your safety and security may someday depend on it.


Carrying a firearm for personal protection brings with it an awesome responsibility.  You have the power to change a person’s world forever, and even the power to take their life.  It is you duty as a responsible gun owner to always obey the cardinal rules of firearms safety and to understand the laws where you live and travel with your gun.  Do your due diligence become educated on the use of force continuum and become proficient with your firearm before you leave home.




Your Primary Weapon

Screen Shot 2013-12-18 at 12.37.30 AMIn an armed encounter, what is your primary weapon?  A Glock 19, a Smith and Wesson M&P, how about a Springfield XD-S 9 or a Ruger SR9c?  All fine weapons and all suitable for everyday concealed carry, but none of them are your primary weapon during an armed encounter.  Your primary weapon is that gray matter between your ears better known as your brain.

Unless you walk around with your gun in your hand, when bad shit happens, you will first have to mentally process what has just happened and what your best response to the bad shit that has just happened should be.  Should I run, should I engage verbally or physically with the bad guy, should I draw my weapon and go to work, or is my best option to stand down and give the bad guy what he wants?  Each scenario will be different and each scenario will require a unique response which begins with you sorting out what is happening and what is the best course of action to take to survive and thrive.

You hear it in sports all the time whether its golf, or baseball or football, all the experts will tell you that it’s a mental game.  One of the things that has made a guy like Tiger Woods so dominate on the PGA tour is his mental approach to the game.  Tiger gets into the heads of the other golfers before they even hit their first shot and when the going gets tough on Sunday, Tiger usually finds a way to be mentally tougher than the rest of the field and more times than not prevail in the end.  I would submit that life itself is a mental game with those who a thoughtless usually ending pulling the short straw.  Armed encounters are certainly no different.

It is critical to your survival that you mentally prepare for the day when bad shit comes knocking on your door.  It can be an armed encounter, a car accident, a natural disaster or a terrorist attack, all require a certain mindset to prevail in the end.  And I’m not necessarily talking about specific actions you will take because how you respond to an armed robber will be different than how you respond should you find yourself caught in a natural disaster.  The details will be different, but your mental attitude and your commitment to surviving and thriving will be the same.  Decide now what your optimal outcome will be and commit to achieving that outcome from the moment you realize that “it” has just happened.  Make sure your primary weapon is in good working order and you will come out on top in the end, not matter what the situation you find yourself in.

Dont’ just survive, thrive!



The Case for Carrying Extra Ammo

spy_packing_some_heat_800_clrIn the world of firearms and personal protection, there are few topics that garner more enthusiastic debate than the debate over which caliber is best.  Despite all the studies that have been conducted on the topic, to include a recent one by the FBI which has concluded that the 9mm in 115 grain is the best round for personal protection, the debate will no doubt rage on.

I was surprised to find out, however, that there is debate surround ammunition that has nothing to do with caliber, but which can often garner just as much spirited debate.  I’m talking about the debate over ammunition capacity, and whether or not to carry extra ammo.

In the pages of this site, when I speak of firearms, I do so as it pertains to the civilian side of personal protection, but from a perspective that comes from the law enforcement side.  More often times than not, the end game of an armed encounter will be very different between the two.  As a peace officer, the mission is to not only stop the threat against oneself, but also to stop the threat against innocent citizens, which often times means engaging a threat longer than would be advisable for a civilian.  As a civilian, you should be trying to stay out of trouble; a law enforcement officer often times must put himself in harm’s way.  And if you find yourself in the thick of it as a civilian, you need to be finding an expeditious way to get out trouble.  Cops, well, cops can’t run and hide, they have to stay in the fight and go toe to toe with badguys because it’s what they have sworn an oath to do.

Okay, I’ve gotten myself a little off track, but I do have a point.  It is expected that law enforcement officer are going to carry extra ammunition, and often times even more than one gun.  But when it comes to concealed carry for civilians, the idea of carrying more ammunition and extra magazines usually is met with some skepticism, thus the spirited debate I mentioned earlier.

During my classes to civilians, especially my concealed carry class which is often given to novices, I always encourage the addition of an extra magazine to the list of accessories that should accompany the firearm.   My reasons, I believe, are well thought out and come from basis of solid facts based on circumstances that civilians have found themselves in for which I have personal knowledge of.

As it relates to semi-automatic handguns, the single most prevalent equipment malfunction is magazine related.  (Dirty guns, bad ammunition and operator error no doubt account for more malfunctions, but we are strictly speaking about malfunctions related to equipment.)  Given this fact, it makes sense to carry a backup magazine that can easily be substituted for the malfunctioning magazine.

Next, it is important to understand that in most cases, badguys will work in teams of 2 or 3, meaning you may have to shoot multiple times, even if the first shot eliminates the target because there will still be 1 or 2 other guys.  And don’t think that just because you shot one badguy, that the others will run off.  Shooting their buddy sometimes just pisses them off more.

Lastly, I’m tired of hearing people say that if you can’t take care of business with one shot, then you need to practice more at the range.  In the vast majority of shootings, numerous rounds are fired by the good guys.  There are two reasons for this;  first, statistics say that during an armed encounter, because of the high level of stress, you will miss the target three quarters of the time.  You may be able to punch holes in a paper target with ease, but let the paper target shot back, well that’s a completely different game.  If you empty a ten round magazine, statistics say you will miss your target completely 7 times.  I don’t mean that you will hit low or wide, I mean you will completely miss the target.  (Incidentally, this is why one of the cardinal rules of firearms safety is knowing your target, and what’s beyond it.)

Now, let’s assume that you have determined that you need to use deadly force, and that you are justified under the law in doing so, (A standard that must be met no matter who you are, civilian or law man.) and you fire a good and accurate shot at the badguy.  You aim center mass and your bullet strikes the badguys chest, pierces the skin, and navigates the rib cage and impacts said badguys heart.  You have delivered a lethal shot, but is the fight over?  Again, I rely on those pesky things known as facts.  Even if shot in the heart, a motivated person can continue to function for 15 seconds before the necessary blood has left their system causing his body to shut down.  During this 15 second period, are you going to stand there and hope that this motivated bad guy misses all his shots?  Ah, no, you are probably going to continue shooting, in fact, you aren’t even going to know that you have delivered a fatal shot, you just know that said badguy is still in the fight.  And so you should be as well.

For the reasons I have described above, I always carry extra ammunition, and I always recommend others do so as well.  Even if you carry a revolver for personal protection, you should consider carrying more ammo in the form of a speed loader.  I don’t have any delusions that this settles the debate on carrying extra ammunition, but it’s at least food for thought.


Carrying a firearm for personal protection brings with it an awesome responsibility.  You have the power to change a person’s world forever, and even the power to take their life.  It is you duty as a responsible gun owner to always obey the cardinal rules of firearms safety and to understand the laws where you live and travel with your gun.  Do your due diligence become educated on the use of force continuum and become proficient with your firearm before you leave home.