Owning a gun can give us a false sense of security that is, frankly, dangerous. In fact this false security could cost you your life.
Why would a police officer, who believes in the 2nd Amendment and believes that most law abiding citizens should be armed, make such a statement?
The reason stems from my weekly experience at the local indoor firing range. Given the typical array of guns and gear, the average clientele of the range I frequent caters to middle to upper middle income folks who are likely to, on average, have at least an undergraduate degree (based on socioeconomic research). So, these are reasonably intelligent folks with good equipment. The problem is, many of them are dangerous with their firearms and after watching thousands of rounds fired over the years, I am convinced that most could not use their firearms to save their lives or the lives of their loved ones in a situation of violent attack.
Why do I say this? Well, if standing still, you can’t hit a stationary paper target kill-zone at least 75% of the time, there is little chance you are going to hit something that is moving while under stress.
100% of violent encounters create extremely high stress. The vast majority of these encounters are not stationary and the targets always shoot back. In fact, violent offenders usually make the first move putting you at a significant disadvantage.
Lets assume you practice using your weapon regularly, when should you begin to feel like you can handle a tough situation?
The picture on the left is a target from range training today with one of my students. They were using the smallest Glock made, a model 42, chambered in .380 caliber. Most of their magazines had a plus-two extension providing them with nine rounds with one in the chamber. Most notable is that these guns are very small and thus far more difficult to shoot accurately than my duty weapon; which has a much longer barrel and a lot more to hold on to with respect to grip etc.
The first photo reveals the results of 100 rounds of fire with movement under stress. The stress induced in this exercise was the requirement of movement before each shot. Each shot had to be taken within either three or five second intervals, magazine changes were required without allowance for extra time between shots, and commands to hit the various areas on the target were random.
The target areas were head, chest/center mass, hips (requiring a specific rapid firing sequence), and four 3” precision targets outside of the body. The distance was within the range that most gun related self-defense scenarios take pace based on FBI statistics. Here’s what you should notice:
The second photo at the bottom of this post that reveals the same target after about 250 rounds. In this exercise I had the student focus on trigger reset for repeat fire requirements and magazine changes while moving. I also had them speed up their center-mass and shots to the hips. I spray painted the backboard green so you can better see the shot patterns. Here's what you should notice:
Now, you might wonder how much training and practice was required for this level of accuracy? This student has been seriously engaged with Cognitive Combat Shooting for a little more than one year. They are a very busy business executive with a mostly sedentary job. They exercise daily at home but are not any more than average athletically.
The bottom line? This level of shooting proficiency can be achieved by almost anyone in a relatively short period of time and is really the beginning of someone who is able to safely use a gun in high-stress self-defense scenario. They still have a lot more to learn with respect to drawing and shooting from concealment, moving while shooting, target selection while under high stress, etc. But, they are, at this point, responsible, safe gun owners who have good reason to be confident in their abilities.
If you would like to gain this level of proficiency and confidence through one-on-one Cognitive Combat Range Training, I charge $75 per hour for individual students and per-person rates go down with larger groups. Each student is required to have passed or demonstrate proficiency that covered in my Combat Safety and Functional Foundations course.
For more information, check out our training page HERE
Be prepared, stay vigilant, and remember that you are your first line of defense.
At some point any professional shooter needs to make a decision regarding their go-to-ammo. This is particularly true when blowing through hundreds or thousands of rounds a week. Recently I had to make that choice.
Based on trial and error and rigorous ballistics tests, one small company rose to the top, Precision One Ammunition. The other reasons they rose to the top is that they are 1) an American company, and 2) they are small but obviously committed to quality.
Up until last week I had burned through thousands of Precision One rounds with no issues regardless of caliber or configuration. Last week during a training session I experienced lots of clicks with too few big bangs. As I investigated the rounds, the primer strike was good. Still, I didn’t want to blame a great product so I brought out another pistol of the same caliber – click – bang – click - click. Not good.
So, I sent an email in to Precision One explaining the situation. The response I received was quick, “Please give us a call. I have a few questions. We will get it straight.” I talked briefly with the owner, Jeff, and he indicated that they had discovered a slight setting issue on their primer press. He looked at the order receipt and without hesitating he sent me 500 replacement rounds for the entire batch I had ordered. End of story.
Customer service, especially in this industry, is extremely poor. I am even aware of one tactical products company that is proud to use four letter words in response to customer complaints or concerns and even brags publically about it. Instead of taking this approach, Jeff at Precision One was prompt, professional and demonstrated a level of integrity that is rare in our time.
I don’t know who makes the absolute best ammo on the market but Precision One has earned my loyalty.
Before I sign off I have one favor to ask of you. If you are planning at any time in the near future purchase rounds, do yourself a favor and give this small American company with sound values and great product a chance. You won’t be sorry you did.
Be prepared, stay vigilant, and remember that YOU are your first line of defense.
I wish I could say “yes” to this question. Let me say that there are plenty of good and well-qualified experts in gun shops. However, those who are uninformed or take a flawed approach to firearm selection probably far outnumber those who know what they are talking about. There are a million lines of bad advice that pass over gun shop counters every day but there are two telltale signs that you can rely on to know when the advice you are getting is off base:
If you hear either of these myths emerge from the mouth of a gun shop guy, just smile, say “thank you very much” and move on.
If you live in the Birmingham Alabama area, I would be happy to schedule a time to provide you with a basic concealed carry course and help you pick out the gun that is best for you.
As always: Be prepared. Stay Vigilant. Remember that YOU are your first line of defense.
I have a confession to make. I knowingly carried a gun in a gun free zone. I saw the signs, the red circle and line striking through the image of some sort of handgun, and yet, I kept my weapon on me anyway. Tucked away hidden and accessible only to myself, its existence known only to myself; I carried a gun in a gun free zone.
Let me be clear about something, I am not, nor would I ever condone breaking the law. However, what people need to understand is that the majority of the time you see a gun free zone sign, it isn't law, but actually a suggestion. A misguided proposition implemented out of ignorance and fear.
Now to be clear, in some places those signs may actually be “law’. This is something everyone needs to be aware of. Since the law changes everywhere you go, you should take note of your local ordinance and decide whether or not to carry accordingly. In some places the penalty should be discovered is a fine, and in others carrying in a “gun free zone” may be punishable by law.
I in this case and in most cases, I choose to disregard the signs and retain the ability to protect myself. This is a decision you must make on your own accord. My decision is based on a simple reality; it is better to be judged by twelve than carried by six.
The results of my decision?
Nothing has happened. The world didn’t implode. No one died. Everyone went on living their life none the wiser. Most importantly, I kept my ability to protect myself and those around me.
Be Prepared. Stay Vigilant. Remember that YOU are your first line of defense.
A friend of Radix Tactical submitted this analysis - it is very good and worth your time. He is a student of the tactics we teach in our Concealed Carry and Home Defense Course.
First, I am very happy these folks are safe, especially mom and baby. Here’s what we can learn from this encounter:
I have no doubt these are good folks. However, knowing the area, their attempts to reassure their neighbors that it is safe is simply wishful thinking and bad advice. A brief review of robberies and assaults within a ten mile radius would tell a very different story. This is a suburb of Birmingham - regularly in the top ten cities in the United States for violent crimes.
There is no such thing as a safe neighborhood in this area or anywhere. There are only more, or less safe neighborhoods depending upon location and other factors. We can, by our behavior, be safer in less safe neighborhoods… but we can’t do that if we have wishful rather than realistic thinking.
The father said, “I knew that my only job was to make sure that he (his son) was ok.” He was right. However, the fact is, he was completely unprepared and unable to fulfill this duty. He was immediately rendered helpless and the robbers could have EASILY done MUCH WORSE to him, his wife, and his newborn baby. Again, I have no doubt that he is a good man, however, he was completely unprepared to avoid this situation (state of mind regarding actual risk) and his ability to respond (dealing with the assault once initiated).
What went wrong and how could he have better dealt with this situation?
1) Gain a factual and realistic understanding of the actual (not perceived or experienced) rate of crime in your neighborhood and surrounding neighborhoods. You can usually do this through local police station web sites or by talking with your local police officers.
2) Spend as little time walking around after dark as possible. If you must be out, NEVER be alone and try to be in as large a group as is possible and spend as little time as possible in this situation. This couple was out at after 10:00 pm in this neighborhood. This is very bad idea and an invitation for bad guys who use night conditions as a cover for crime.
3) Be prepared. There are several things that these folks could have done. First, if they had taken a good personal defense course, they would have already been in heightened state of awareness, condition orange, because of the time of night and location. One report indicated that the vehicle passed them and then went into reverse. This would have put a trained mother and father into condition red and ready for action. Once the vehicle door began to open, they would have realized the threat and began to run and yell for help. If dad was educated, prepared, and armed, he would have had his gun in hand by the time the door opened ready to address the threat as his wife and baby ran for cover.
It is rare that these kind of encounters result in such positive outcomes. Don't be a victim.
As Jordan always says, when the police are minutes away, you are your first line of defense. Be prepared and stay vigilant.
Here's one of the news report videos:
Crestwood couple robbed at gunpoint with infant in stroller.