RCAT!

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Here is a basic handgun defense principle.  “RCAT” – Redirect, Control, Attack and Takeaway. 

First we redirect the muzzle of the weapon from all body parts.  This might also mean that you move your body, not just push the weapon away.  Get the line of fire off your body.

Next we control the weapon.  Remember leverage!  Once the muzzle is redirected, you should get control of either the weapon or the weapon hand. 

The third step is attack.  An aggressive counter attack is suggested.  This might be accomplished with an empty hand , knife or even you own handgun.  If you decide to engage with your handgun, just remember, you are up close and personal, do not give your adversary your firearm.  Maintain a good weapon retention position while you are firing and watch out for your own arm.

Finally, disarm the assailant.  This might be accomplished when the bullet penetrates his chest cavity or after the empty hand counter attack you get two hands on the firearm and dislodge it from his grip.

Practice, practice and more practice is the key.  Also do not forget realism and safety.  During a violent encounter or combat and activation of the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) will occur.  The activation of the SNS is often referred to as the “Fight or Flight Syndrome”.  It is activated by FEAR of Death, Serious Bodily Injury or Pain.  Realistic Force on Force drills utilizing proper protective equipment can create a reasonable facsimile of combat.  These drills are extremely important to include in your daily training. 

Remember this quote and make this a goal of your training, “To master self-defence so well as to never have to kill anyone…” –  Imi Lichtenfeld

Effective Self Protection!

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I am constantly reminded by events that happen, that the keys to effective Self Protection have little to do with actual physical fighting skills.  Do we need the fighting skills, absolutely!  However, if you practice the following three things, you can certainly keep yourself out of a lot of trouble.

  • Practice good Situational Awareness! Look around, keep your head on swivel and look for pre-incident indicators.  There are usually warning or danger signs that precede an attack.  Do you know what they are and have you honed your abilities to see these signs.  Remember and practice Colonel Jeff Cooper’s Color Code system of Mental Readiness.
  • Maintain Distance or Space between you and a potential adversary.  If not distance, find an obstacle or barrier at get behind it.  Most trainers describe the reactionary gap as 6 feet or more.  If you can not maintain this gap, then get your hands up and prepare for a potential assault.
  • Always look for an Escape Route. Again, put you head on swivel, if you can find an opening to disengage, take it.  There is nothing wrong with running away and seeking a better tactical position.

Simple enough:  Situational Awareness, Maintain Distance or Space, and look for Escape Routes. These are all skills that can be trained daily.  Train effectively and often and remember to always pay attention!

What is the BEST gun?

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I get asked this question at least once a week, what is the best gun?  The best gun for what?   Is it for concealed carry, home defense, personal safety, vehicle defense or family protection?  Here is the short and simple answer! The best gun is the one that you will train with and become extremely proficient with.  It really does not matter to me what type of firearm you decided to purchase or carry, as long as you do it legally.  All I do suggest is that you buy something that you will train with.  You can buy a .22 caliber pistol, train with it daily, shoot from all types of positions; seated, standing, kneeling and or grounded.  Learn to draw it from a concealed holster from all of the above mentioned positions.  Practice force on force engagement scenarios with a non-lethal training weapon and build your skills to deploy this firearm effectively in legally justified shoot scenarios.

In my opinion, the firearm that you are most proficient with is the BEST!  In the heat of the battle, we do not have time to consider how to disengage the safety or load the magazine or sight the weapon properly.  We need to be making the determination if deadly force is authorized and if it is, then we need to deploy our firearm immediately, proficiently and effectively.

So there you have it!  BTW, if you really want my opinion on the best gun, buy a Glock 19 and train with it until you proficient with it as you are with your toothbrush.  Thanks!

 

What is your threat?

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You must know your enemy.  Sun Tzu, Chinese General and military stratagiest stated:

 It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.

I define your current enemy as Criminals, Crazies and Crusaders.  Let us look at each of these in detail.

Criminals are looking for a target of opportunity and often do not have any great plan of attack.  This is not always true, but most crimes just happen, except for crimes against a person, such as sexual assault or abduction.  Making yourself a hard target, in most situations, will deter the criminal and he will move on to find an easier target.  Criminals are like a disease.  They have no place in society and we should all be prepared to deal with them.  Criminals target easy prey; do not allow yourself to become complacent.  Be like the hunter, not the hunted.  Since criminals are looking for a target of opportunity, being unpredictable will help to ensure that you do not become a target.  If you want to know more about the type of crimes that criminals are committing, please visit http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/ucr.htm#cius.  This is the location of the Uniform Crime Report, a great resource conceived in 1929 by the International Association of Chiefs of Police.  Decide right now to become more aware of your environment and make yourself a hard target!

Crazies are very interesting.  They are unpredictable and have some extremely violent tendencies.  Crazies are often called Emotional Disturbed People (EDP).  A good example of a potential EDP is your local homeless person.   Keep in mind that the thought process of an EDP is not that of a normal person.  This could be because of the medication they are taking or even lack of medication in their system.  Crazies are potentially or completely uncooperative.  Either way, they are dangerous and you must be prepared to deal with them.  They will often exhibit superhuman types of strength and have a pain tolerance exceedingly higher than the normal person.  They will use weapons of opportunity, so awareness of edged weapons and blunt objects is important.  You can try, but you will most likely be unable to reason with Crazies.  Whenever reasoning stops, run!  If you cannot run, hit them hard and keep hitting until they are down and out, then run and call 911.

Crusaders, or terrorists, as they are often called, are detail-oriented threats.  Bombing, assassinations, kidnapping & hijackings are all part of their normal modus operandi.  The scariest and most likely new threat presented by the terrorist is in taking control of one of our schools.  Many of you probably remember the Russian school incident in Beslan.  Terrorists went into the school, took several hundred hostages, killed many, and waited for the Russian Elite Special Forces to assault.  Once the assault was completed, 300+ hostages were dead and many more injuried.  Can you imagine the impact this would have on our society if this occurred in the United States?  Look at the aftermath of September 11, 2001!  We are still dealing with this issue.  Responding to a terrorist incident requires a precise and planned response.  Awareness is the most important aspect of your security plan to thwart the terrorist.  Once the threat is identified, notify the proper authorities so that they can apprehend the suspect as quickly as possible.  The terrorist is very concerned about being identified prior to the completion of his mission.  Obviously, you should get in the habit of keeping your eyes and ears open.  If something seems wrong, do not dismiss it–notify the local authorities.  Your viligance could be the catalyst in preventing a major offensive attack against the United States.  Security of our country is the responsibility of ALL CITIZENS.  Remember: know your enemy.  When you are dealing with any of these threats, make yourself a “hard” target.

Levels of Awareness!

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Survival begins long before you step out the door of your home, office or car.  YOU must prepare yourself in order to survive.  Failure to understand the dynamics of armed confrontations may become a matter of life or death.  We must put ourselves in touch with the reality of violence.  Being shot atExchanging gunfireHearing shotsSeeing death may cause you to under-react, over-react or not act at all during a violent encounter.  You should always be aware of the dynamics of a critical incident.  Keep in mind the following:

  • How fast are things happening?
  • What is the violence level?
  • How prepared are you…MENTALLY?

The reality of an encounter exists, but being prepared can help prevent a violent encounter.  It has been said, “Things seldom happen when you’re fully prepared for them”.  Always having a plan, possessing an attitude that stresses anticipation and the use of the following tactics are the greatest tools to utilize for mastering the fundamentals of survival techniques.  If you prepare yourself mentally for an attack, you will be prepared for an “unexpected” encounter because you will expect it.  You will be able to evaluate and mentally rehearse the event, and emerge victoriously.  Winning, never losing!

In order to deal effectively with an incident, you must be switched “on” and be alert to what’s going on around you.  Law enforcement officers, military, and trained civilians are taught different “Conditions of Readiness” in a color code system that approximates different levels of awareness that a normal human being experiences.  Your response to any situation is largely determined by the “condition” you are in at the time.  You obviously do not want to live your life oblivious to the world around you and become a walking target.  On the other hand, it is not practical or appropriate to live it with your finger on the trigger of a firearm.  The following color code system is designed to help you construct the proper readiness mindset for security in your own daily world.

Condition White:  This first “condition of readiness” really has nothing to do with “readiness” at all.  Still, it is the state of mind in which most people spend their lives.  In Condition White we do not expect any trouble, nor do we look for it.  We are largely unaware of our surroundings and the events taking place there, nor do we believe anything will happen to us.  Condition White is the state of “readiness” of most victims.  It is also the state that criminals love to see you in!

Condition Yellow:  This is the condition you want to be in when you walk out the front door of your home or any otherwise unsecured location.  It is the mental equivalent of the yellow traffic light that you will see at an intersection while driving.  It dictates that you should proceed with caution, maintaining 360-degree security at all times.  You must also be tuned in to any instinctual feelings of danger.  NOTE:  Gavin De Becker’s interesting and informative book, The Gift of Fear will help you truly appreciate the importance of Condition Yellow.   Some people may consider Condition Yellow as that of a “paranoid” state.  It is not.   It is just using good sense.  You are simply in a state of relaxed, yet heightened, awareness.  Keep your head up and keep looking around.

Condition Orange:  At this level, you realize that something is definitely wrong.  There is danger.  You are in a state of alarm.  You must either move away or prepare for action.  Your main focus should be on identifying the danger, accepting it, formulating a plan of action and implementing that plan.

Condition Red:  In condition Red, action is imminent and the threat is upon you.  As soon as the threat is apparent, you make your move.  Whatever response you have planned for should be delivered with total commitment and aggression.

Remember, we must: See the threat, Accept the threat, Formulate a plan, & Execute the plan!

B.E.A.T.!

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When you are in the middle of a fight for your life, is not the time to decide which vital areas on your adversary to strike.  This decision should be made well in advance.  A great acronym to remember four specific striking areas is B.E.A.T.  B.E.A.T is short for Brain, Eyes, Abdomen and Testicles.  These striking areas should be used to distract your adversary long enough for you to exit the threat zone.  They should not be considered blows that will incapacitate.  They might, but most likely they will create a very short time period in which your adversary is not thinking about you but is thinking about pain.  That is your window of opportunity.  RUN!

I was first introduced the B.E.A.T model in Frank Albert’s great book One-Strike Stopping Power – How to Win Street Confrontations with Speed and Skill.  This book is available at www.paladin-press.com.

BRAIN – Rock the brain and you reboot the computer.  Slapping the side of your adversary’s head will usually get their attention and cause a distraction.  If the distraction works, run.  The best self-defense technique is running away from the threat.  Remember that slapping someone is only a distraction; follow-up strikes are obviously necessary if the distraction does not work and you plan on winning this encounter.  Always have a follow-up plan.  Preprogram Murphy’s Law into the equation.  Plan for the worst and when it does not happen, cool!

EYES – If they can not see, it is very hard to find you.  We all should be able to agree that shoving your fingers into the eyes of someone that is attacking you will most likely upset them.  It will also usually cause them to drop or let go of whatever they are holding and retract their hands back towards their eyes.  Again, this is the golden moment for you to exit the threat zone.  Do not stand around admiring your handy work, RUN!

ABDOMEN – Have you ever had the wind knocked out of you?  A good straight punch or better yet, a knee delivered to the abdominal region should do the trick.  Where do you want to strike?  Well, make it simple, and hit them around the navel region.  Drive your strike through the navel; do not just strike the surface.   Here is something to think about: Melchor Menor, a former two-time Muay Thai world champion was tested on the power of his knee strike.  Menor delivered a knee strike to a monitored test dummy, and the power of his knee strike was equal to the power of a 35 mile per hour car crash.  That would certainly cause some destruction!

TESTICLES – Ok, nobody really wants to talk about this one but grabbing the soft area of the testicles and attempting to rip them off will certainly get the attention of any would-be rapist.  Obviously, this is a little more difficult if he still has his pants on.  You will have to grab through a lot of cloth.  The only problem is that the testicles are well protected by the large leg muscles and getting a direct hit is difficult.  A simple strike or flick of the fingers into or towards the groin region will cause just about any man to take a step backwards, or at least flinch. That certainly does not put him out of the fight; however, do not be discouraged. Aim low and hit hard.  If you do get a direct hit, you will have most likely hit payday.  Stun and RUN!

So, there is the B.E.A.T. model.  Train it, practice it and prepare yourself for battle.

Soft or Hard Target!

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Learning how to protect yourself is an interesting process.  Your first step is to do a threat assessment.  What is your threat?  Living in a high crime area, you are possibly faced with a more serious personal threat than living in a million-dollar subdivision.  But is this really true?  Only you can answer that question.  I would suggest to you that you need to make a conscious decision today to be a hard target.  What is the difference between a Soft target and a Hard target?

A Soft target is usually unarmed and unaware.  Do you know how to use your personal weapons like your head, elbows, and knees?  Do you carry a firearm, a knife or some other type of improvised weapon and know how to use it properly?  If you do not, then you are relying on luck and you are most likely unarmed.  You are unarmed if you do not have good situational awareness.  Most victims are unarmed both mentally and physically.  Do not be a victim, be the victor!

A Soft target is accessible and predictable.  Accessibility is all about controlling your personal space and environment.  Do not put yourself in a bad situation.  If you must go some place that by normal standards could be consider dangerous, then use the pack or gang mentality.  Travel in a group.  There is strength in numbers.  Muggings occur when people are alone, not when they are with a group.  Do not be predictable.  Please change your routines or patterns.  Now you do not have to do this everyday, but you should do it.  I am not talking about adopting a state of paranoia; I am talking about healthy awareness.  Yes, I know, most criminals are looking for a target of opportunity, but some do not.  Some are looking for a pattern, an opening into our daily defenses.  Take a moment and look at yourself from a third party’s perspective.

“We don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are.” –Anaïs Nin

Use your awareness skills and see things as they are.  This is the greatest self-defense technique you already have in your arsenal: your ability to be aware!

A Hard target is armed with the capacity to perceive and accept the threat.  You must see the threat, and hopefully before it is upon you.  You must also believe that the threatening action is actually happening to you and not shut down to it.  Do not “Freeze”, take action.  Never become complacent, always maintain a heightened state of awareness and be alert to potential threats.  Practice these skills daily; present moment awareness really is the key.  What do you observe as you move through your environment?

Once a Hard target perceives and accepts the threat, a process of analysis and evaluation of the threat’s potential for harm needs to be conducted.  Obviously, this process must occur relatively quickly.  Studying pre-attack indicators and body language will go a long way in giving you the ability to size-up the situation quickly.

Lastly, a Hard target is unpredictable and takes action.  After the situation is assessed, action must be taken, which usually entails running or fighting.  My suggestion is that you Fight to Run.   Fight long enough to create space and then run like you have never run before.  This may not be possible if you are with a loved one, unless he or she has already run away (and hopefully called the police).  Do not fight just to be fighting.  Remember that situations quickly change; one minute you are the victim and the next minute you might just be the aggressor in the eyes of our court system.  Fight and Run, then contact the local authorities.

“When you are hungry, it is foolish to hunt a tiger when there are plenty of sheep to be had.”  Baader-Meinhof slogan 

Your goal today is to become a “Combat Hard Target”!  Be the Tiger!