Just a little preparedness goes a long way!

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Ok, the gunfight is over, the threat is incapacitated and the police are on their way to the scene.  You start your post engagement rituals which includes checking yourself for injuries and you realize you have been shot in the leg.  You are bleeding!   Couple questions, do you have any first aid or trauma medicine training?  Do you carry a small trauma medical kit?  Do you know how to use the kit?  How about a tourniquet?  These are all questions that should probably be answered prior to the deadly force engagement.

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The military teaches a program titled Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC).  The TCCC guidelines provide battlefield medics and corpsmen with trauma management strategies that combine good medicine with good small-unit tactics. The three goals are of TCCC are:

1.  Treat the Casualty – Which obviously in a non-battlefield setting, may be us treating ourselves because there is no EMTs immediately available.

2.  Prevent Additional Casualties – Deal with the threat and make sure they are incapacitated prior to attending any type of medical care.

3.  Complete the Mission – For us civilian folks, completing the mission, it winning the gunfight, legally, mentally and physically and enjoying our form of adult beverage with our family by our side.

In future blogs, I will discuss MARCH principles – Care Under Fire:

M – Massive Bleeding

A – Airway

R – Respirations

C – Circulation

H – Head

MARCH is part of one of the three phases of TCCC.  The three phases are Care Under Fire, Tactical Field Care and Tactical Field Evacuation. These three phases are not exactly applicable to civilian life, but many great trainers and instructors have made appropriate modifications.  I will address these in future blog post.

NOTE:  Although I am a ASHI Emergency First Responder/Level 7 Instructor, AHA BLS Instructor, TCCC Instructor and have received advanced trauma training, I am not a medical doctor, or consider myself an authority on Emergency Medicine.  I am a reporter and I will discuss my thoughts and ideas on what I consider appropriate emergency medical training.

As you know, you are responsible for yourself and your education, please do your homework and become informed about trauma medicine.  Just a little preparedness goes a long way!

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.

Lowering your Victim profile – become the “Grey Person”!

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In a August 1996 Guns & Ammo article written by Jim Grover a.k.a Kelly McCann, the following points were outlined to help you lower your victim profile.

  • Dress to blend whenever possible
  • Watch the overt display of affluence
  • Walk with another whenever possible
  • Move away quickly from sudden impediments to your movement
  • Keep away from walls (i.e., stay out of arm’s reach) when turning corners while walking
  • Use physical barriers whenever possible
  • Develop contingencies
  • Don’t let embarrassment or pride deter you from using good security precautions
  • LOOK for trouble
  • Always carry a less-than-lethal weapon
  • Don’t second-guess yourself if you truly believe, This is it!!!!

I believe the image you want to project is the one (the grey person) that the average person will forget the second he takes his eyes off of you, however, you also want to project one that the bad-guy “DO” notice and know you are not to be messed with.  You can do this by projecting a positive, aware and alert image! Everyone agrees that the criminal is looking for the easy target.  Don’t be that target! Just be careful not to be the one identified as the Guy or Gal with the gun.

How do you become the individual that is aware, alert, and is not a soft target? You do this by training and actually being capable of putting up a fight, by looking alive when you have to, yet not look like a human radar when the situation doesn’t require it. No need to be paranoid, but be ALERT!  Think in terms of Colonel Jeff Cooper’s condition yellow;

CONDITION YELLOW-   This is a relaxed state of general alertness, with no specific focal point. You are not looking for anything or anyone in particular; you simply have your head up and your eyes open.  You are alert and aware of your surroundings.  You do not expect to be attacked today but you recognize the possibility.

Anything or anyone in your immediate vicinity that is unusual, out of place, or out of context, should be viewed as potentially dangerous, until you have had a chance to assess it. When your mental radar picks up on a blip, you should immediately be prepared escalate up to the next level.

Here is one additional suggestion, watch what you wear.  Consider dull colors, current fashion and be careful about wearing the latest 5.11 fashions, tactical rigger belts and vests.  I am not suggesting that you never wear these types of clothing, I do.  My suggestion is to blend them with other civilian clothing and try not to look like the latest tactical fashion model or civilian private security contractor.  Take a little time and do a 360-degree evaluation of yourself and see yourself through the eyes of others.  This is obviously the pathway to self-awareness and will certainly enhance your self-protection skills.  The following Scottish poet by Robert Burns praised the importance of the 360-degree evaluation:

Oh that the gods
The gift would gi’e us
To see ourselves
As others see us

Being the Grey Person take a little effort but is extremely important in the world today.  The 3 Cs, criminals, crazies and crusaders are looking for the easy target, don’t be that target.  Remember the motto, “Train Today for Tomorrow’s Battles!”

Try this next time you want to learn something!

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Here are some short cuts to learning a new skill or if you are an instructor, consider trying a new teaching methodology;

General Skill Acquisition:

  1. Find a good reason to learn.  You need an ignition source!  Spark your motivation.
  2. Observing the expert: deep observation.  Suggestion: watch a video of an expert in the area of study you are attempting to learn before going to bed at night.  Test the skill in the morning.
  3. Engraving/Modeling the skill: Acting “as if” we have the skill for 15 minutes per day.  A kinesthetic activity.
  4. Steal from the best: take bits and pieces, ideas—the good information that serves you–and make it your own.
  5. Training Journal: for recording progress.  TEST, TEST & more TEST!  Record the results.
  6. Practice in an environment that offers the least luxuries and distractions. The more Spartan, the better.
  7. Precision in early practice develops the initial neural pathways correctly.  Fundamentals are critical.  Focus on fundamentals and instructions regarding these basics should be clear and to the point.

Read the Talent Code and the Little Red Book of Talent by Daniel Coyle for more information.

Here is a great blog on Sparking Motivation!  http://thetalentcode.com/2013/10/10/how-to-spark-motivation-step-1-shut-your-mouth/

Invent Daily Test!

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This idea comes from the great book titled “The Little Book of Talent” by Daniel Coyle.  Coyle states that “to invent a good test, ask yourself: What’s one key element of this skill?”  WOW!  What a great question.

In the world of Self Protection skills, there are many tests that we can conducted.  There are physical fitness test, firearms shooting test, martial arts skill test and the list goes on.  I recommend that we all set aside some time each day to design some simple Warrior skill tests.

I would love to hear you comments on simple tests that you design and develop to enhance your Warrior skills.

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.

Which is best? Spartan or Luxurious Training Facilities!

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So which is it?  I know we all love comfort and I know that luxury can be very intoxicating. I have had the opportunity to train at both state-of-the-art facilities and hole-in-the-wall facilities.  Which was best?  I chose Spartan facilities any day.  I find that I tend to relax too much when I workout in luxury and my effort is not the same. Luxury can be very distracting.  This may be a personal thing but, think about it and let me know your thoughts.

The photo approve is a firearms range training facility in the country of Jordan.  I would say it could be considered very Spartan.  The training conducted there was very intense and the practice that occurred was deep-seated because there were obviously no distractions.

Please do not misunderstand me!  I love modern range facilities with moving and turning targets and all the other cool stuff.  However, when it is time for some serious combat training, nothing beats a simple range, where you must use your creativity to make the training beneficial.

In the “Little Book of Talent”, by Daniel Coyle, it is stated that “Simple, humble spaces help focus attention on the deep-practice task at hand: reaching and repeating and struggling”.

So what do you think?  I would love to hear your thoughts on this issue.  While you are thinking about it, I am going to get some dry-fire practice in.  All the best.