Bad Decision Plus Firearm Equals Dead Instructor

A recent video is making it’s way around the internet showing a 9 year old girl losing control of a fully automatic Uzi resulting in the death of her firearms instructor.  A horrific outcome that will haunt that poor little girl for many years to come, and it wasn’t her fault.

I preach constantly here on my website and during my firearms classes about the importance of practicing responsible gun ownership.  A firearm is a incredibly effective tool in the right hands, and an incredibly dangerous tool in the wrong hands.  This video clearly shows the power of such an effective tool put into the wrong hands.

There is much blame to go around for what happened to the instructor.  First, the range should never have had a policy that allows children that young to handle fully automatic weapons.  If you have never shot a machine gun, then you cannot appreciate how difficult they can be to control.  A 9 year old girl, especially one that is not experienced with firearms is not capable to controlling the recoil of a machine gun as is evidenced by the video.  She should never have been allowed to try.

Next on the list of those responsible, her parents or guardian.  Even if they were themselves not experienced with firearms, common sense should have said that you don’t let such an inexperienced shooter use such an advanced weapon.  I know that we aren’t talking about a ray gun or any some such advanced weapon, but an inexperienced 9 year old little girl should be shooting a .22 semi-auto pistol or rifle until she proves she can handle more power.  I can see from the beginning of the video that the girl isn’t sure what she should be doing.

Last on the list of those responsible for the instructors death is the instructor himself.  As a firearms instructor, safety is my number one priority.  Among many factors we must consider, one of the most important is to evaluate whether or not a person is capable of handling a firearm and to what level their abilities rise too.  I don’t care how persuasive a person is, I have never and will never take a new shooter out to the range and hand them a firearm that they are not capable of handling.  It’s not safe and it hurts the new shooters prospects of ever becoming a good shooter.  The instructor in the video should have known better.  I don’t know what he was thinking or why he did what he did, but his poor decision cost him his life and will hopefully serve as an example that will hopefully prevent a tragedy like this from happening in the future.

I regret having to even write an article like this because I can appreciate how a tragic event like this affects those involved, even those who had a role in causing the tragedy in the first place.  But it is critically important to stop things like this from ever happening again because the next time it might be the 9 year old girl who is killed.  Learning from the errors made here becomes a positive moving forward and will no doubt saves lives.

Lastly, it should be evident by now that there will be those who seize upon tragedy’s like this to try and take away our guns.  They will point to the gun as the problem because they are ignorant or just plain don’t care about facts.  The gun had zero to do with what happened.  It was the line of people who thought letting an inexperienced 9 year old pick up and shoot an automatic weapon.  It’s yet again another isolated incident that the anti-gun crowd will point to in an effort to take away my guns and yours.  We have to be smarter than we are or else they will be successful in their quest in making millions of law abiding gun owners into felons.

My heart goes out to those who have been affected by this tragedy and I pray that the 9 year old girl will be able to some day understand that none of this was her fault and she can move on without the weight of this tragedy bearing down on her.  And I pray that something like this never happens again.  Every gun owner has it within them to ensure that it doesn’t.

Don’t just survive, thrive!



Gunlights: To Attach or Not To Attach

Screen Shot 2014-05-27 at 11.44.30 PMIn my last article I explained why it is important to have a flashlight if you rely on a firearm for personal protection.  Here I will try to answer the next logical question, should the light be attached to the firearm or of the handheld variety.

As with most tactics involving personal protection there are pros and cons to both attaching the light to the gun and carrying it on your person.  And like most other tactics, the situation will dictate your approach to low or diminished light situations.

<<<Fight At Night: Tools, Techniques, Tactics, And Training For Combat In Low Light And Darkness>>>

The advantage of affixing the light to the firearm is that it frees up your support side hand to do other things.  Generally that other thing is establishing your support side grip onto the gun.  Certainly holding a flashlight in your support hand and also gripping the gun with the same hand is doable, but it does take some practice to master before it will feel comfortable.

In addition to using the support hand to grip the pistol, you may need it to open a door, turn on an interior light, give a hand check to a bad guy or carry a child to safety.  In all those situations, having a flashlight affixed to the firearm is a real plus.  It’s also nice to know that if you need a light, it will always be there on the firearm.

Now, there will be times that you will need a light, but not the gun itself.  Your gun should never be brandished unless there is a potential that it’s lethal abilities may be needed.  So if you need a light to look for the keys you just dropped, using the one affixed to the gun while its still affixed to the gun is a huge no no.  Maybe you see what might be a potential threat heading your way in a dark alley or parking lot but you aren’t sure.  A handheld flashlight is your only option until you can say for certain that that shadowy figure heading your way is a threat.  If you are at home and you hear a suspicious noise, you don’t want to use the gunfight to identify it, especially if the suspicious noise was caused by a loved one getting a drink of water.

So as far as a handgun is concerned, my preference is to utilize both a gun mounted light as well as a handheld light that I keep in my pocket.  In doing so I am ready for any contingency and I maintain a degree of redundancy that is always a plus in any SHTF situation I might find myself in.

Should your choice of firearm for home defense be a long gun, be it a shotgun or a rifle, your only option is a gun mounted lighting system. I would certainly not ever elect to utilize a headlamp that is generally used for outdoors activities unless you want a beacon that serves as a giant bullseye on your forehead for the bad guy to aim at. Since you should be using two hands on a long gun, a gun mounted light is your only option.

Lastly, when deciding on what type of light to purchase, be it a gun mounted light or handheld, you should go with an LED over an incandescent.  If you need to use the light in short on off bursts for searching and you don’t want to illuminate your position more than needed, the incandescent light will give off a second or two glow after it is turned off.  This glow is sure to give away your position where an LED will turn off and not glow as soon as the switch is engaged in the off position.  There are tactics that can be employed with incandescents to minimize the glow the bad guys sees, but since LED’s are so readily available these days, to me it’s a no brainer.

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.


The Mandatory Accessory for all Gun Owners

Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 4.16.25 PMIf you possess a firearm for personal protection, be it for everyday carry or home defense, a flashlight is a mandatory accessory.  Just like peanut butter and jelly, ebony and ivory and Abbot and Costello, a firearm and a light go together perfectly.

According to FBI statistics, 80 percent of police shootings occur in low or diminished lighting conditions.  And you don’t have to look at statistics to know that bad things generally happen at night because it offers a tactical advantage to the bad guy.  There are several ways to take away this tactical advantage, one of which is the use of a flashlight.

Even if you aren’t out after dark, you may find yourself in low light conditions during the middle of the day.  Pulling into your garage, walking into a basement or an interior room at work are just three examples of low light conditions during the middle of the day.  And all three put you, the law abiding citizen at a tactical disadvantage.

The right flashlight can also be used as a weapon, both as an impact weapon and as a means to temporarily blind or stun a bad guy by shinning it in their eyes.  The later can give you the extra couple of seconds needed to deploy another weapons system or retreat to safety.

A flashlight is also a must have even if you aren’t carrying a firearm or if the situation you find yourself in doesn’t warrant the use of a gun.  During the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center, many of the surviving victims said that finding their way to the exists was a major problem, probably costing lives because without power, there was no light.  A simple flashlight in the pocket would have solved the problem and perhaps saves some lives.  And even if you don’t find yourself victim of a terrorist attack, low light conditions can be the result of a natural disaster or because of a simple electrical storm that knocks out the power.

The last critical use for a flashlight is target identification.  A responsible gun owner is responsible for every round that is fired from their gun.  And there is never, ever a circumstance when you should be firing your gun at a target that you have not yet identified as a threat.  In low or diminished light conditions, it becomes difficult if not down right impossible to do that without the aid of artificial light.

In a county not far from where I live, a police officer shot and wounded is own daughter when she set off the house alarm sneaking back into the house.  The officer grabbed his firearm when he heard the alarm and shot his daughter by accident.  His critical mistake was not illuminating the “target” to identify it as friend or foe.  Doing so would have prevented what was almost a catastrophic disaster.  And that incident is not an isolated one, I have heard similar stories in the past.

So as you can hopefully appreciate, a flashlight is an absolute must if you have chosen to defend yourself and your loved ones.  And  a light doesn’t have to cost you a fortune, a good one can be had for around 30 bucks so there is not excuse for not doing so.

In my next article, we will go into the types of flashlights available and whether or not you should choose a stand alone light or the weapons mounted variety.   Stay tuned.

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.

Two Often Forgotten Components of Your Gun Cleaning & Maintenance Routine

Screen Shot 2014-08-08 at 3.57.27 PMI am a vocal advocate for regularly cleaning and ops checking your concealed carry firearm. When you really need it, there aren’t any second chances. It will either go bang or click with the latter leading to some very unpleasant ramifications. So if you aren’t at least performing monthly cleaning, oiling and operational checking of your firearm(s), you should start doing so immediately.

Your regular routine to ensure your firearm is running smoothly shouldn’t end with the firearm itself; after all, there are other critical components to your concealed carry system. Two of those components that need as much attention as your gun are the holster and the ammunition. Both have to work flawlessly when called upon or those unpleasant ramifications will rear their ugly head.

When inspecting your holster, ensure that there are no cracks or tares, no missing or loose screws or rivets and make sure the firearm is held securely in place without any unnecessary play. And lastly, make sure the firearm will come out of the holster when needed. If you are using a leather holster and it gets wet, there is a chance the leather will shrink making the firearm hard, or down right impossible to draw. I know of an individual who never separated the firearm and holster, he just took the holster off with the gun in it to store it. There came a time when the gun and holster found themselves out in the rain while this individual was on duty. A few weeks passed and while at the range, the staff wanted to inspect all the weapons. When this individual attempted to remove the gun for inspection, it would not come out of the holster because the leather had contracted. The firearm was so stuck that the holster had to be cut off. Now imagine needing that gun in an emergency.

I store my gun in the holster to protect it, but I always remove it before I put the holster on and further draw the gun out a few times to ensure everything is in working order.

If you have a holster with some kind of mechanical retention system, every time you strap it on, you should be ops checking the holster to be sure the retention system releases when it should and retains the gun properly when it should. Also be sure to clean out the mechanical device should it become dirty while in use.

The next component to be regularly inspected is the ammunition. The gun and holster can be working fine, but if the ammo is bad, the pesky unpleasant ramifications will poke their head out.

First of all, I strongly suggest you use ammunition manufactured for personal defense for everyday carry as opposed to ammo made for target practice. While both are generally manufactured on the same assembly line, the quality control standards are higher for your “duty” ammo. When I find bad ammo, it’s almost always practice or target ammo, but on occasion you will find “duty” ammo with flaws. Some you won’t be able to detect, but most you will. Look for missing primers or primers that are pressed too far into the casing to be struck by the firing pin. Look for ammo with a bulge in the casing. Sometimes the bullet isn’t perfectly lined up when it is pressed in causing the casing to protrude out ever so slightly. This will cause the round to either not feed or if it does feed, it won’t eject properly. I recently saw a casing like this get stuck in the barrel requiring a vice and mallet to free. So when you load from the box, take the time to inspect for defects.

Lastly, humidity can create issue with the ammunition over time. Even if your gun doesn’t get wet, if you carry it next to your body, the moisture from your body will create a humid environment. In and out of the heat can also create issues with humidity building up on the firearm and the rounds. So inspect for any signs that humidity has damaged the round and rotate you duty ammunition yearly replacing it with a fresh box.

So remember, its good practice to regularly clean and inspect your gun(s), but don’t neglect the other key components to you firearms successful operation, the holster and ammunition. Remember, a click during a gun fight is the loudest sound in the world.

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.