A Piece of Paper

Last week in a small town 25 miles north of Raleigh, North Carolina a woman was shot in the head by her ex-boyfriend. Sad to say but somewhat typical in domestic abuse cases. The sadder part to me was the woman was armed and it did not need to happen the way it did had she only spent some time on LEARNING to use the tool she selected and learned about the tactics of armed self-defense.

One Shot Almost Enough to Save Woman Whose Gun Jammed

In NC there is a minimal training requirement to obtain a CCW, eight hours with some live fire. Certainly not training but enough to provide political cover should something go awry as it did this time.  The courts and Law Enforcement were fully aware of the dangers the woman faced in fact the woman’s family said she spent hours on the phone talking with both parties in the Legal System that may have been better spent training and practicing. The court of course provided her with a bullet proof protection called a Domestic Violence Protective Order. We involved in armed self-defense call it a piece of paper.

TRO

 

 

 

 

The Legal System provided the woman with another piece of paper, a North Carolina Concealed Handgun Permit. Again just another piece of paper. 

The woman went out and obtained two handguns.

ruger-lc9-bWhile certainly at this point the majority of people believe the woman should be able to defend herself but they were wrong. When attacked the woman, who had little to no skills with the gun much less a solid defensive mindset, pulled out her little gun and fired one shot striking her assailant in the leg muscle and then the gun failed to eject because no one had taught her how to clear a malfunction. The woman ran with the assailant in pursuit ending it with a bullet to her head.

This is wrong on so many levels and it could have been perhaps avoided or perhaps she could have escaped and if need be been able to get the gun back into the fight quickly had there been a more serious level of training.

Just to be clear, a restraining order cannot protect you, a Concealed Carry permit cannot protect you, and even a gun cannot protect you. Only you can protect you and your loved ones and the only way that can be accomplished is to learn. You have to have the right mindset, you have to have the best skills and a reliable tool.

It all starts with the mind, that you will not be a victim and you will make it a priority in your life to ensure you have the skills needed should you be called on to defend yourself or others.

Minimal training is not training. It should start with taking a beginning class, learning about the gun, sampling many guns so you can make an informed purchase.

After your introduction to handguns and your purchase you should practice with the gun so you can manipulate it without any conscious thought through the use of dry practice, then go measure your ability with a narrow focused course of live fire.

At this point you are ready to take a class that will give you the needed skills both in mind and in armed self-defense and go further with obtaining your permit. Please, please, please . . . do not just take the minimum required by law. Do not assume because you were in the military 20 years ago you know what to do, nor assume because you punch holes in paper at the range monthly that you are now capable of defending your life.

Program your mind for success, take training regularly, dry practice daily, shoot and measure the effectiveness of your practice . . . and repeat. Only you can defend yourself and your loved ones and it takes more than a piece of paper.

Failing to train IS training to fail.
Liberty Firearms Training


 

The Triad of Armed Self-Defense

Whenever we talk to new shooters or people who are looking at guns for the first time there is often a huge disconnect between what they’ve heard from the myriad of experts versus the reality. We often refer to a lot of those stories as ‘Old Guys Tales’. Much like the proverbial old wives tales, Old Guys Tales are perpetuated generation after generation, sworn to as if it were the Gospel but are almost always factually wrong. Go to any gun forum on the internet, walk into any gun store in America, heck even take a class from an amateur instructor and it is virtually guaranteed you will hear one of these misconceptions within the first 15 minutes.

Everyone seems to want to focus on the gun in their search for the Holy Grail of gun fighting. I taught a student a couple of months ago, former military, who had come in to requalify for his CCW, clearly a person you would believe knew how to operate a handgun. Time and life however marches on, as had the skills he had 30 years ago. During the qualifying course of fire he barely qualified with two guns and failed with a sub-compact .45 ACP. At the time he stated he wanted to get a different gun and come back so he could add his new gun to the permit. A month later he came back with a sub-compact 9mm 1911 with the belief that this new gun was the solution to the problems he had with the sub-compact DAO. We set up the 15 yard course of fire and he goes to work . . . and fails to qualify. You see it was not the gun, it was the shooter. Certainly some guns will be easier to manipulate incorrectly and still make hits but in the end, accuracy comes from the shooter, not the gun.

The bottom level of the triad is the tool. A real shooter should be able to pick up any gun and make the hits. They might not make a perfect first hit but the remaining shots fired will all be practically perfect. I shot the aforementioned gun before my student tried to qualify, put seven rounds inside a three inch circle at seven yards rapid fire. It wasn’t that hard to do with the action of the gun.

Poorly Shot Target

The caliber argument can simply be resolved with ballistic gelatin testing using the FBI Standard. With the new design in bullets today the 9mm is as effective if not more as the other common handgun calibers. Some bullet makers are more consistent in terms of penetration through different materials without over penetration. In terms of lethality the correctly placed 9mm will do the job. The myth that the larger the bullet the better is bunk. If you are going to stop the bad guy there are only two ways of doing that if when you present your gun he decides to stay a fight. You have to hit the Central Nervous System or the organs such as heart and lungs that will bleed rapidly leading to the loss of consciousness. All of the records show, there is no such thing as stopping power from a handgun so the bullet size is to a large degree irrelevant.

So in selecting the tool keep in mind two critical points, pick a gun that will function flawlessly every time you press the trigger and pick as large of a gun you can conceal. Any criteria beyond that is simply handicapping yourself.

Skills are certainly more important than the tool. carrygunsAs mentioned, a shooter should be able to pick up any gun and shoot it fast and accurately. The smaller the gun and the heavier the bullet your accuracy and speed WILL fall off, that is a simple fact. Little tiny 1911’s chambered in .45 ACP require constant attention to the condition of the gun and a perfect grip. Any failure in grip WILL cause a malfunction of the gun. Any failure in the grip WILL cause inaccuracies during rapid fire. That is not to say that a highly qualified shooter cannot shoot these guns, but the average shooter stands no chance of doing as well than they would with a full sized 9mm.

Full size guns are easier to quickly obtain a perfect grip. Full size guns will not muzzle flip as much as the tiny gun. Lighter bullets have less recoil and muzzle flip. Those are factual statements proven in testing. Should someone see your gun by accident, it is not against the law. You do not have to carry a wee, tiny sub gun to conceal a gun.

Train under stress, regularly, either in competition or under physical stress that will increase your heart and respiration rate. Demand accuracy from yourself. When you shoot your gun do so in a manner that scores your effectiveness. DO NOT just go to the range and throw bullets at a piece of paper. Aim for smaller and smaller target placed farther and farther away. Analyze your errors, have an instructor analyze your errors and then GO HOME and DRY PRACTICE.

We stress dry practice. It is pretty darn boring. You can do it wrong which in fact makes it worse on you if you didn’t do any practice. Practice dry VERY SLOWLY. Dry practice programs your neuro-pathways so you remember on a subconscious level, how to grip, where to place the gun, how many pounds of pressure on the trigger to fire the gun, where to place the gun on the target so you can make ACCURATE hits FAST.

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How will you learn these skills? From the YouTube video? How about gun mag articles? While certainly you can pick up some tips but real training, really learning skills comes from taking professional instruction. There are a ton of instructors in America today, so which ones are professional? How do you pick an instructor? A professional instructor teaches full time, it is not a part-time job done on Saturday and Sunday. There are several really good schools out there but of course that requires travel and time but after all you are learning skills that you are literally betting your life on so you would think some expense would be appropriate. Far more instructors teach GROUP classes rather than individuals. In group instruction you reduce your cost but you also reduce the contact time with your instructor, which is why you went to take training, to spend time with an instructor. Schools will almost always teach groups. Group classes are going to a large degree minimize the amount of material they present due to the sheer size of people they have to watch.

Skills are important, they have to be committed to subconscious memory so during stress you will perform as you have trained and practiced.

The Mind is the Weapon. What is the best way to win the violent confrontation? Don’t get into one. This is accomplished in a myriad of ways. Situational awareness simply means knowing your surroundings, who is around you and how can you get out if you need to. It does not require you have your head on a swivel, it is a simple act of being focused and not being distracted. Give this a try, get on a busy freeway and try reading a blog article on your phone. Virtually guaranteed being distracted will cause you to get into a violent confrontation with another car.

Knowing the law is a must. If you cannot articulate the four basic requirements of when you can use deadly force most likely you should not be carrying a gun on the streets. In almost every state where I’ve reviewed their laws it boils down to four things, the bad guy has to have the ability to cause you or another grave bodily injury. The bad guy has to have the necessary proximity to the victim to employ that ability and it is imminent. The bad guy has to have shown the intent to cause said injury. You have no way out, all other options have been explored, using the gun is the last res AND a reasonable person in the same or similar circumstance would agree that deadly force was required to stop the threat. Not that difficult until we start running scenarios with photo realistic targets in a threat recognition exercise.

Just because you have to present your gun does not mean you have to shoot. It is not against the law to present the gun if you believe it is going to happen. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO SHOOT! Bear in mind however that should you present your gun the three criteria still have to be in place. Pulling your gun to get some guy to move away from your car is a guaranteed ride to the police station for brandishing.

We use threat recognition exercises, using photo realistic picture designed to force you to quickly make that Shoot/Don’t Shoot decision. We provide you with plenty of cover to get behind which could increase the time you could take to make those decisions. If you have to shoot we make certain your gun will fail. The entire intent of the exercise is to drill home, under great stress, when you can use deadly force. It is a mental exercise with some shooting involved because in the end the Mind is the Weapon and it is the most important aspect of the Armed Self-Defense Triad.

Triad

Failing to train IS training to fail.
Liberty Firearms Training


 

 

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