Paper! What does it mean if you do not have a mission.

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I was reading an excellent article in the July 2013 issue of Concealed Carry magazine.  The title of the article is “Just Ask:  What should you look for in a Firearms Trainer?” by George Harris.   Mr. Harris suggests that you ask one of the following question to your instructor, is the class you are teaching for a Responsible Citizen or an Armed Professional.  WOW!  This is a great question.

Harris states, “that the mission of a civilian is to stay out of trouble and engage the bad guys when no other alternative is available.”  The mission of the armed professional, “is to contain, control and effect the proper disposition of the bad guy as appropriate.”

This question got me thinking about my certificates, which are paper by the way and what type of instructor am I?  Here is a short list of my instructor certificates;

NRA Basic Pistol, Personal Protection in the Home, Shotgun and Rifle
FLETC Firearms Instructor Training Program (FITP –209 A)
Shotgun Instructor Training Program (SITP – 1304)
Federal Bureau of Investigation Firearms Instructor School
Simunition Scenario Instructor and Safety Certification
Georgia P.O.S.T. Firearms Instructor
Glock Firearms Instructor
Off-Shoots Firearms Instructor

What does all this paper mean?  In my opinion, it means nothing if I do not have a mission.

So based on the article, my new mission is to be the best instructor that I can be for both groups; the Responsible Citizen and the Armed Professional.  Actually, instructing the Armed Professional is easier for me, I have been one for 31 years.  I have carried a firearm both open and concealed carry for 31 years.   So teaching this group, comes very natural.  I can relate to them.

However, teaching the Responsible Citizen will surely be more challenging.  So how do I accomplish this goal.

1.  More education!  I will attend additional training courses that cater to the Responsible Citizen.  This will help me gain a different perspective and understand the issues and challenges associated with this group.

2.  Read, Read and Read!  I will need to read more articles and books published by excellent authors like George Harris, Michael Martin and the crew at Concealed Carry magazine.

3.  Practice my Craft!  I will continue to teach all groups and make sure that I am focusing on the missions of both groups. I will practice my craft as often as I can and get feedback from my students to ensure that I am headed down the right path.

So there you have it.  Get the training, get the paper but please have a mission.

Both the Armed Professional and Responsible Citizens need fewer “Paper Dragons” and more trained, dedicated professionals.  I plan on being a more dedicated professional instructor for both groups.

Gunfighting 101: The basic Threes!

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Recently, I taught a firearms course in Liberty, SC at Foothills Firearms Training Center.  We were discussing gunfighting and the question came up, so what Gunfighting 101 skills do we need?  I believe it all starts with the Basic Threes!

1.  Most gunfights happen a 3 feet or less.

2.  Most gunfights are over in 3 seconds.

3.  Only 3 rounds or less are shot during the actual event.

Ok!  So where does this information come from; The internet, interviews of criminals, actual police shooting or did we just make it up?  Well, I say does it really matter?

In my opinion, the answer is no it does not matter.  We need to start our basic firearms training with some point of reference, so lets start with the Basic Threes.    Here are a few suggestions;

1.  Practice until you can draw and fire your weapon from concealed carry position in less 3 seconds or less.  This will take a little effort but it can be done.

2.  Practice to effectively fire three shots to body or head in 3 seconds or less. 

3.  Now do all of the above, standing, seated, sitting, kneeling or from any other position.  This will certainly be a challenge but it is not impossible. 

Who knows, maybe next week, it will be determined that 5 feet is the distance with 4 rounds and 6 seconds.  If that happens, then we will re-group and start our training from a different reference point.  However, until that does happen, I am going to stick with the Basic Threes! 

As always, I look forward to hearing your comments, opinions and thoughts about training and what you are doing.  Please train safely and effectively.

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

How Simple and Efficient is your Training?

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After 31 years of fighting and shooting, I have begun to understand that the simplest solution in self-defense is often the best one.  We all love the fancy or sexy stuff, that we see all over You Tube.  Some of these techniques are truly beautiful, indeed.  However, under extreme duress, some of these techniques will often fail due to their complexity or your body’s inability to perform them under stress.

That is, of course, unless you absolutely drill them into the ground and they becomes like gross motor skills.  Is this possible, absolutely!  Visit the book titled  “The Little Book of Talent: 52 Tips for Improving Your Skills” by Daniel Coyle to learn the secrets of efficient and simple practice.  

So let us look at the act of drawing your firearm from a holster.  It is a 4 step process that is easy to master if you practice.

  1. Obtain your “Master grip” while the firearm is in the holster
  2. Lift you dominant side “Elbow up“.  This clears the firearm from the holster.
  3. Drop you dominant side “Elbow Down“.  The weapon is now in a position to be fired
  4. Lock” the firearm into several different positions.  The positions that I teach are Close Quarter or Weapons Retention position, Body Point Position, One Handed Full Extension or Two Handed Full Extension.

In the beginning, I suggest you practice this simple 4 step process daily.  Watch yourself in a mirror, while conducting the practice.  It should be noted that this should only be done with a properly cleared and safe pistol.  There is no need to place any additional vent holes in your roof or in your walls.

Once you have the basics down and you have alleviated all unnecessary motion, pick up the pace by adding a timer into your training session.  There is obviously more to do and train, but this is a great place to start.

There you have it.  Get out there and practice and please let me know how you are doing.

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!

 

SO WHERE’S PART 2? RIGHT HERE BABY!

REMEMBER, DON’T BREAK INTO JAIL! Part 2

 By Burton J. “Jimi” Brown, JD, PhD

Last time I wrote about the potential problems arising during the aftermath of a citizen involved shooting incident. The type of shooting incident where you, the good guy, shoot and kill, or wound another person, the bad guy. Keep in mind that I’m working off the assumption that you, the citizen shooter, is the good guy and the other guy, the “shootee,” is the bad guy. I’m going to talk about this topic again but before diving in let me provide you with some simple words to remember:

STAY ALIVE!

First and foremost the idea is to stay alive! You must survive the violent encounter! You must live to fight another day if that unfortunate event were to happen again. That said, here’s the rub. In surviving you live to face the results of the police investigation and, if the bad guy is dead, a likely grand jury conducted by your local prosecutor. If you don’t survive, none of this matters. The stressful hassle of the post shooting inquiries won’t be important to you if you’re not around to participate. So, once again, Stay Alive! Failure to do so is both lethal and permanent.

You may be thinking, why should I be so careful about what I say to the investigators at the scene? Why can’t I tell them I’m a black belt in Kick Ass Fu? What exactly do you want me to say? Fair enough, lets get to it.

You: Officer, I’ve had tactical hand gun training and I’m a pretty good shot!

Investigator: Really? That’s great! Who’d you train with?

You: Charley Crux over at The Kill Fu Studio. I’ve taken all the pistol courses and I believe him to be one of the best tactical shooters in the country.

Investigator: Really! Cool! Clearly you’re a great shot. You put 2 in this guys bean under stress from about 7 yards! Most cops couldn’t do that. Hell, I don’t think I could do it. Hey, have you taken any of Crux’s other classes?

You: Oh yeah, I’ve been taking his Kick Ass Fu for five years including the edged weapon defense courses. I’ll soon be a Black Belt!

Investigator: Most impressive! (Pause for dramatic color.) I was wondering why you didn’t use your Kick Ass Take the Knife Away Fu instead of shooting? I’m also wondering why you put two impressive shots in the guys bean when you could have run away screaming like a little girl with her hair on fire?

You: Uhhhhhhhhh! I believe I have the right to stand my ground!

Investigator: OK, whatever you say.

Now think about this. You may have just set let loose the hounds of hell straight from the bowels of Pandora’s Mythical Box. Worse, your lawyer may find it extremely difficult to put the hounds back in the box. The thing about the Hounds of Hell is that they are bigger than the box they came out of. This is one of life’s great mysteries. You’ve provided the gasoline before the fire was even lit. Your first question may be that the investigators are going to find this out on their own. Yes, they probably are but during the timely process of investigation and AFTER you’ve been coordinating your defense with a lawyer. If you provide all this information before the fire there will almost certainly BE a fire. If it is learned during the natural course of investigation it may not.

As I mentioned in the first article, most law enforcement officers are not looking to jail a citizen shooter. This included myself. If it appears to have been a self defense incident then we were OK with the bad guy getting shot. No guarantees of course but you get the point. However, if you put damaged fruit in the basket while it is empty the investigator is now going to have to deal with it because it is, after all, the only thing in the basket other than the bullets fired. As long as the bullets are the only thing in the basket, leave it that way.

The Bottom Line: Do Not Break Into Jail.

You: But like I said, they’re going to find out I trained with Crux and have studied Kick Ass Fu! How’s it going to be different?

Because you’ve trained in pistol combat techniques and martial arts does not mean you were not scared into a maximum, bowel emptying, defecation episode. Even if only in the figurative sense. (By the way, don’t be surprised or ashamed if you actually do so. In point of fact, a good pants loading could work for you, provided it’s naturally occurring.) If you’re running on about it you risk the possibility that you won’t be able to use fear as a defense. Someone might infer that you were out looking for trouble and simply won a gun fight. Do not go there! Remember, you should be asking to be taken to the hospital and not on the scene engaging in idle chit chat with the investigators, the press, or standers by.

You: The press? What do you mean the press?

It’s a shooting of a person involving a gun toting citizen! Damn right the press. If they approach you say nothing. If you get pressed by the press, say nothing except to ask a nearby policeman to get you to the ambulance. You are, after all, not feeling well and need a full check over. Your attorney can coordinate press releases later.

You: A grand jury? Why? That seems unnecessary. I’m going to touch on grand juries in part 3 of this series. For now understand that in some states it might be required by law when a person has been shot and killed. Grand juries are conducted as a type of investigation by the prosecutor of the jurisdiction in question. So for now don’t worry about it. It is another post-shooting possibility and one best worried about by your lawyer.

One final note. In no way do I want to leave you the impression that I don’t recommend taking pistol combative training and other martial arts. Not at all! You SHOULD take these courses, practicing, and getting good. All I saying is shut the hell up about it. Becoming proficient is how you increase the odds of surviving an armed encounter. So, stay alive and stay out of jail. You can do both.

Practice Deploying your Firearm!

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I have had the wonderful privilege of training with some of the best firearms instructors in the world.  I have learned so many things about gun fighting and pray that I never have to use any of these skills.  I have fired thousands and thousands of rounds on every type of civilian, military and law enforcement ranges but the one skill that I have practiced without shooting an actual bullet or worked with one of these professional instructors is the actual deployment of my firearm.  Yes, drawing the firearm out of the holster.

All the training in the world amounts to nothing if you can’t get your weapon out of the holster and able to engage your threat.  The practicing of deploying your primary and backup firearm should be done from open carry, concealed carry, standing, kneeling (one or two knees), seated, prone (on your back, on your stomach, or on either side), in your vehicle, in your bed, and just about any other place you can think of. You should also practice while you are defending yourself from an adversary attack. All this training can all be done without firing any rounds and it cost absolutely nothing, except your time.

My good friend and instructor, Hock Hockheim has taught many students to practice drawing your firearm from the Stop 6 positions.  These are the six common stopping or sticking points/collisions in a fight.

Stop 1 – The Stand-off/Showdown/Interview

Stop 2 – Hands on Hands/Fingers in Fingers

Stop 3 – The Forearm Crash Collision

Stop 4 – The Biceps/Neck Line Collision

Stop 5 – The Bear Hug “Clinch”

Stop 6 – The Ground Stop

Once you have worked through the Stop 6 positions, the next step is conducting a few “Pressure” drills or what Tony Blauer calls Ballistic Micro-Fightsä.  These realistic scenarios & drills are conducted with all participants wearing some type of protective equipment and problem solving is learned in a controlled but physically demanding environment.  The end goal of the training is the justified deployment of the firearm to resolve a deadly force situation.

Stay tune for some future clips on exactly what I am talking about in this Blog post.  Until then, train smart, train safe and train each and everyday!