You Sure Are Pretty

There is something pretty about a knife. Not sure what the attraction is exactly but I like them. I also know that I don’t like getting stuck with one and therefore I have much respect for them.

So, I’ve been looking for a new knife, something I could carry, and preferably a fixed blade knife. This of course has led to what seems like 100’s of websites and most all come back to knife fighting. Remember that is not where this started nor is it what I’m interested in, with perhaps the simple use of weapon retention. My concept on that subject has always been, if they don’t know you have a gun you won’t have to fight for retention.

Well I’ve found some beautiful knives but then I ran across KNIFE laws. Were you aware that there are laws regarding the carrying of knives? Concealed or open carry? The world has changed since I was a young man. Back then if you broke a law you were punished. Today it seems that if someone breaks a law the government wants to create a new law that punishes the rest of us . . . but that is the subject of another day.



These are very nice looking knives, I want one. They are from Dynamis Alliance, check their website.












During this search for knives of course I ran into a lot of blogs. I found this one, “Knife Fighting, A Reality Break” and the article struck me because I could apply the same thoughts to firearms training. Lots of good stuff to read at No Nonsense Self-Defense.

The source of violence is not poverty.
It is not gender. It is not race.
It is not lack of education. It is not society.
It is self-interest. And on this front,
the self-proclaimed pacifists are no less violent
than those who use physical violence… they
just use different methodologies and tactics.
Marc MacYoung

As with guns if you choose to use a tool for a weapon there is a ton of things you must know. You must have the correct mindset. You must know the laws. You must take training. You must practice frequently. If you’re not happy with the “Must-dos” then don’t, carry them.

Failing to train IS training to fail.
Liberty Firearms Training




A set of Principles

a)  there’s no reason to fight a fight that I don’t have to: know the true cost of what I’m fighting for

b)  if fighting, fight as hard as I can as fast as I can: shoot fast, hit first

c)  when fighting always put something between me and the hurt: distance, time, people, structures, etc

d)  while fighting, there’s always someplace better I can be: always work to improve my position

e)  once the fight is over, it’s not over: recognize I’m never done fighting

And now back to the beginning. There’s no reason to fight a fight I don’t have to….

People often mistake the tool for the solution.  For personal security the most tactically advantageous part of an engagement is disengagement.

Taking Ownership


Failing to train IS training to fail.
Liberty Firearms Training


The MOA Drill

Often it is hard to get to a class where you can run and gun but you still need to get some trigger time to measure the effectiveness of your dry practice.

Clearly the key to placing fast and accurate rounds on target is to place accurate rounds on target and working on that extreme accuracy is critical in developing bullet proof neural pathway programming. One drill that will help you get there is the MOA Drill.

The concept is to be able to shoot within a certain degree of accuracy regardless of distance. All handguns that I’ve ever shot can shoot a 25 MOA so let’s start with that.

Standing at two yards away from a blank white target backer. Shoot one shot at a blank area and then try to hit that hole with two more rounds. Repeat this for five groups of three shots. You will find this challenging because you have no visual reference for your first shot. I got 80% yesterday, successfully making three one shot holes on four of the five efforts.

Second step will be shot again standing at two yards, using 5 of the ½” circles from a sheet of Shoot N C targets, place three rounds touching the dot on each of the 5 dots. Record your score. Yesterday I got 80% or I made three hits on four of the five dots. The score is not how many bullets hit the dots, it’s how many dots where hit with all three bullets.

Next step is standing at three yards, using five 1” Shoot N C dots repeat the drill, three shots at five 1” Dots. Yesterday I missed one shot of the 15 for an 80% or making the three hits on four of the five targets. This was easier than the first two steps. The one inch dot looked huge at three yards.moa

Now let’s move to five yards and repeat the three shots on five 2” Shoot N C targets. Again, the target looks huge and apparently it was because I made all 15 hits for a 100% score.

Moving back to seven yards, shoot five 3” Shoot N C targets, it was far easier because the target appears big.

Moving back to thirteen yards, shoot five 6” Shoot N C targets with three rounds each. Again, this was easy.

Had I started with the 6” target I believe the drill would have been psychologically more challenging but by starting with a blank piece of paper with nothing to aim at and having to hit that hole on demand, everything just got easier at each distance.

In essence the degree of accuracy from the tip of your muzzle to the target of each of these is ½” per yard or 25 MOA. When you get to where you can do this at 100% you can increase the challenge in several different ways. Set a time limit for each shot or increase the distances. When you can shoot this at 100% your confidence should increase dramatically and it will validate all those dry trigger presses you have been doing at home. Additionally, it can be done at any range, even indoors while it is pouring rain outside.

Priorities, Motivation and Wishful Thinking

Some people have opined that Americans are lazy. Is it laziness or simply prioritization of our time?

In my life there are ‘have-to’s, things that have to be done, most likely now or very soon. On a second level there are the ‘need-tos’, things of a lower priority that could wait until later but yet still at some point must be accomplished. And then finally there are the ‘want to’s, things that I want to do, often these are lower on my priority list because there are too many of the others. action-expresses-priorities[1]

Whenever I teach a new student I always ask the simple question(s), what is your interest in guns, why do you want a CCW permit? I’m really more interested in what motivates them, if anything other than ‘want to’ and this is going to give me a lot of insight into how well that student will do. Almost all start with the standard answer, self-defense, yet when I dig further most have nothing more than they think it is wise to be armed, never having considered what the consequences are.

Fear is an awesome motivator, it is an emotion and often is not based in reality. With self-defense, emotions will almost always let you down and when they rear up they can literally land you in trouble. Motivation[1]

I carry a gun much like I wear a seat belt. I’m not a bad driver but I realize that there are some very dangerous people out there that I could come across and I know the seat belt could save my life. With the gun, I’m not a bad person, I don’t go to places where I am exposed to those types but guess what, there are a lot of them and there is a chance I might come across one. Putting that gun on EVERY day is a must-do, just like putting on the seat belt. If you’re going to wear a seat belt might as well make it a good one. Bucket_seat_with_Schroth_six-point_harness_in_a_2010_Porsche_997_GT3_RS_3.8[1]

When I was learning how to drive I was tentative, took my time even though I was young and to some degree reckless. As I got more time behind the wheel I became more comfortable and my skill set improved the more I did it correctly. I was actually learning how to drive a deadly weapon on the public streets with innocent people all around me.

Today I am still learning to drive my gun. I drive it a few minutes every day, I am very comfortable with it, meaning I seldom have to look at it during manipulations, I know it inside and out. I know what it takes to drive it safely and I am getting pretty good at driving it fast which is quite exhilarating. It has become a have-to need-to want-to kind of thing and for the most part takes priority over many other things in my life. johnnysummers2[1]

Someone asked if I felt safer carrying a gun. I responded with the question asking them if they felt safer wearing a seatbelt. Of course they could not answer that question because their intent was political, not to discover answers. I don’t feel safer; I feel secure knowing that should I run into a bad actor I have a good chance of surviving that encounter should I not be able to avoid it.

The reality of this, what makes me dry practice every day, do focused and measured live practice and measure my success with increasingly difficult drills. I don’t do it necessarily for me, I do it for those I love. I imagine and visualize what could happen to my loved one should I fail to perform if needed. That is my motivation. I have to admit, I don’t like dry practice yet I do it every day as I know without it I will NEVER rise to the next level of proficiency . . . and mediocre is not something I’ve ever hoped to accomplish. Mediocrity Green Road Sign with Dramatic Clouds, Sun Rays and Sky.

As instructors we see all sorts of people. The majority of our students come to us because they are seeking the best training they can find. They want to learn to drive safely, some want to learn to drive fast and those are the ones who put in the effort, they turn their training and practice into a Have-To in their lives. They do not embrace wishful thinking, they do not believe that since they carry a gun they will be fine, they do not dismiss the need for continued training and focused practice.

As I’ve said before, we have the best students ever, they have their priorities set, they are motivated by logic and reason and understanding of reality and probably the only thing they wish for would be a few extra hours each day to accomplish more. Yes, we are lucky. DSC00234

Failing to train IS training to fail.
Liberty Firearms Training



Accuracy is Final

There is the old saying attributed to Wyatt Earp that “fast is fine but accuracy is final” and there is a lot of truth to that. Wyatt-Earp-Photo-2

When faced with a deadly threat in a violent encounter we often say he who gets the most violent the fastest will prevail, that you need to embrace your inner violence however; one important key is missing here . . . making the hits. Wildly spraying rounds downrange will not accomplish the goal of stopping the threat. If when shooting at the range your target looks like it was hit with a shotgun rather than a rifle you need to take a step back and work on your fundamentals.

To stop a threat who will not be deterred by your shooting at them requires one of two things to happen. First you must cause rapid blood loss that will eventually (perhaps up to two minutes) cause loss of consciousness or your shot connects with the brainstem essentially severing any electrical impulses going from brain to body. The first target is much bigger; heart and assorted plumbing, lungs, liver and most are massed in the upper thoracic cavity. As the skull for the most part has greater strength than concrete there are really only two openings to the CNS, eyes and nose, which are very difficult to hit during the violent encounter. FYI, instant incapacitation seldom happens and most often the threat is psychologically defeated. LFT-PH2_L

Today’s handguns have an amazing degree of accuracy built in to them. Although not widely advertised by manufacturers most handguns today can achieve a 4 minute of angle degree of accuracy. This means that without human induced movement the gun can shoot into a 4″ group at 100 yards. So clearly, handguns are way more accurate than the people who shoot them.

So the reality is, can you shoot accurately enough, fast enough to survive the determined adversary. Most people cannot, fortunately for them in most cases when a citizen presents their gun the threat turns and runs away.

In all of this it seems as if we are relying on the tool to make the decision for us rather than delineating the problem, forming a suitable solution and employing the correct skill to correct the problem, and often the gun is not the right tool. We in the business of firearms training seem to forget we should be teaching equally the use of the mind to solve the problem for as Abraham Maslow has been quoted, “if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail”. hammer-f

So back to the topic at hand, if you wish to shoot fast and accurate you must first be able to shoot accurately. Now given the constraints of the accuracy of the tool it would stand to reason that you should be able to stand at 3 yards away for a target and place 10 bullets touching, essentially one hole. The tool is also capable of doing the same at least out to 10 yards. Here’s the rub, virtually no one has that ability so what degree of accuracy would you consider acceptable? And how long does it take per shot to achieve that level of precision shooting?

In our SDS classes we work on this topic in our series called Time on Target (ToT). How fast and accurately can you shoot was the premise. If you consider that in the citizen involved violent confrontation from the first shot fired to last you have about 2.5 seconds to survive . . . or not.

What we determine is how fast can you shoot when accuracy is not an issue; point gun at the berm and fire a shot on the start signal. Most students do this in about 0.25 seconds. The second measurement is how fast can you fire a string of shots, assuming the split times between shots could equal your single shot time. Most students take over three seconds for an 11 shot string, essentially due to recoil control they have to slow down but still 11 rounds in 3 seconds is pretty fast.

Next we add in a degree of accuracy required. In the first scenario you are 3 yards from the threat, at the start signal you draw and fire as many rounds as you can in 2.5 seconds. An arbitrary objective was determined, you were required to get four hits in a 6″ circle in the upper chest or one hit in the critical tee box (CNS) on the face which encompasses the eyes and nose. IMG_1936

During the first go through with the ToT exercises a few people were able to make the four heart hits. Interestingly no one tried to make the CNS hit. The assumption was it was too small to hit but after a series of exercises starting with extreme precision shooting, then adding in speed and precision 75% plus of the students were making the CNS fast. One student was able to get 8 rounds in the CNS box in 2.5 seconds. This degree of speed and precision occurred by programming the mind to repeat a series of movements and then getting out of the minds way and letting it run the gun.

So we know people have the ability to shoot very fast and very accurately. It comes from quality programming aka training, coached and focused practice and then letting go trying to consciously run the gun.

This series of classes are held regularly and we have some students coming to every session, so much so we are having to add additional dates. Obviously a successful program as the market has dictated.

Want to shoot fast and accurate?

Failing to train IS training to fail.
Liberty Firearms Training



In Your Eyes

Eye protection is always required for our students. In most instances the purpose is to simply prevent dust and firing debris from hitting the eye. After a day at the range we always recommend you wash your face and hands before rubbing your eyes as both seem to be covered with fine particles.

In over 1500 classes taught we have never had a spontaneous disassembly of a firearm. This is when the gun fails under pressure of firing and metal and plastic fragments go flying with enough force to cause serious injury including your eyes. screenshot-s23 photobucket com 2016-07-12 11-42-57

Today we are awash with quality and attractive looking eyewear that meets the standards needed to deal with forceful impact. Every maker of products are trying to grab a piece of the firearms market but, you want to choose eyewear that exceeds the simple impact standard of ANSI and instead go for glasses that meet the military specification.

ANSI Z87.1 Standards
Shooting glasses that comply with ANSI 287.1 standards simply means they’ve been tested to offer impact or non-impact protection against hazardous objects such as fine dust particles, mist, optic radiation, liquid droplets and splashing.

U.S. MIL-PRF-31013 Standards
The minimum requirements of shooting glasses that meet U.S. military standards are such that the protective glasses must always be able to withstand a 5.8 grain, 0.15 caliber, projectile with a T37 shape, traveling at a velocity of between 639 and 661 feet per second.  raptor-900_lbs

Lenses are made of plastic which started out years ago being cheap with poor light control and easily scratched. I have an old pair of Maui Jims, not cheap at the time, which were scratced before I even got them home. Today there is new material that gives UVA/UVB protection, has great Light Transmission and with specialized coatings to minimize the risk of scratching. 3512

Polycarbonate:  Polycarbonate is the most commonly used material in shooting or tactical glasses. It is an unbreakable, lightweight lens material and is available in Clear, Tinted, Polarized or Transitions. The strength of Polycarbonate is partially derived from its flexibility. phpThumb_generated_thumbnail

Trivex:  Trivex was originally developed by the US Military as an improvement over polycarbonate. Trivex is the most durable lens available.  Trivex has a higher Abbe Value than polycarbonate, so there is less Chromatic Abrasion in a Trivex lens (less peripheral color distortion). To get a Polarized Trivex you can order SR-91 lens material. Sawfly_Kit_Complete_b-440x330

A few of the companies today that meet the U.S. MIL-PRF-31013 Standards are listed below. Keep in mind that all make glasses that do not meet the standard so you will need to check. They meet the need for style for many and literally could be worn every day. Currently I use Wiley-X and Oakley and am very satisfied with those two products.

Bolle –
Edge –
Kaenon –
Numa –
Oakley –
Revision –
Smith Optics –
Swiss Eye –
Under Armour –
Wiley-X –

Failing to train IS training to fail.
Liberty Firearms Training


Is Mediocre Good Enough?

If you carry a gun how good do you believe you need to be? World Class Competitor level? Competition level? Handgun Enthusiast level? Law Enforcement level? Public Range shooter level? How about I own a gun and that is good enough level?

Rate yourself.
3. Bad
4. Mediocre
5. Good
6. Very Good
7. Scary Good
8. Professional
9. Great
10. The Best

In improving it is really, really easy to go from FAIL to Mediocre. Taking those next steps to get to Good takes most people YEARS and YEARS of self-learning. Do yourself a favor, get a professional instructor to shorten that by YEARS.10933936_10153585737373902_7714202772995129757_n

I’m always shocked when I review the firearms industry as a whole when I look at how much money is spent on guns, ammo, gadgets and training. According to NSSF less than 1% of dollars spent goes to professional instruction.

Some folks will spend $2,000 on a new gun believing it will make them a better shooter yet they never take any training nor follow any kind of structured practice regime. How about a $500 reflex site and a machined slide to hold the site? Is that going to make you shoot better? If I buy that $350 green laser that will certainly make me shoot better right? If I get a gun with a different action, won’t that make me shoot better?Top IPSC new 1

Pretty much the answer to all of the above is NO, none of that equipment will make you a better shooter. I always tell people when you hear someone giving an empirical statement about guns and shooting you can pretty much just raise the BS flag right then because there are very few that hold true.

Shooting-Tip-Max-Michel-JrWant to become a better shooter? It really is easy. This is the shooting EMPIRICAL, learn how to manipulate the trigger without imparting movement to the gun. That is the essential truth to accuracy and speed. A new gun will not do that for you, neither will new sites, lasers or a different action type. What can make it happen is training with a professional instructor, tons of dry practice, focused live fire practice AND follow up training . . . then repeat. Decide where you want to be, what has to improve to get there, work on it and track your progress every time you test your skills.

12208408_10153290372931139_4804739264441240298_nBuying a Stradivarius will not make you a concert violinist, what it takes is a lot of perfect practice, learning what is not working and make changes, monitor your progress and constantly stretch yourself to do better. Basically it’s called it’s dressed in coveralls and is called work.

Failing to train IS training to fail.
Liberty Firearms Training


So You Want to Shoot Better

I just finished my 1300th class yesterday. That is a lot of teaching and from each of those students I learn something that I can pass on to future and existing students. With all things about guns and self-defense I look for commonalities, things that are consistent usually mean they are working. In the case of teaching the commonalities I look for are failures. What is not working and why.

There are some consistencies in the inability to not hit the desired point of impact quickly that we can all learn from. I’m going to start from a different direction this time, rather than starting with our feet I’m going to start at the target and work back.

IMG_2036Why do we miss? Generally speaking, it starts with the trigger press. Notice I did not say trigger pull or squeeze. Words have meaning and when learning if we use words with the wrong connotation we end up learning something wrong. Press is a gentle action as compared to SQUEEZING or PULLING. This is not to say that you cannot press quickly but you can program your mind to press the trigger without jerking the gun all over. Check out the Wheel of Misfortune.

If your trigger breaks at precisely 6.5# if you program your mind to know what exactly 6.5#’s feels like when you need to press your mind can instantly apply those 6.5#’s, no more, no less. So here’s the question for you. How do you program your mind to know at what pressure your trigger breaks? I will give you a hint, it does not work if there is a round in the chamber. Too much pressure all at once, like shooting the gun and your rounds will go low and left if you are a right handed shooter. The absolute surest way to bullet proof your trigger press is to DRY press that trigger hundreds if not THOUSANDS of times. In this programming you MUST go as slow as you possibly can. You MUST have the front sight close to a wall so you can see the slightest downward movement of the front sight before the trigger breaks. If your sight dips before the trigger breaks you ARE applying too much pressure. Want to shoot more accurately? Program your mind to know your trigger PERFECTLY.

Challenge yourself, go shoot the Qual 1 target once or twice, record your score and then dry fire your gun for 10 minutes a day for thirty consecutive days. Go extremely slow, work hard to preclude any movement of the sights during the trigger press. In thirty days go back to the range and shoot the circles again. I guarantee there will be a marked improvement.

IMG_1902What I’ve learned in those 1300 days are people do not press the trigger correctly, they do not have a solid, strong grip AND they focus on the target rather than the front sight. Start small, work on the trigger until you can do it reliably accurately, fast . . . and excruciatingly slow dry fire is the only way you will program your mind correctly. Next time we will move on to your grip.


Failing to train IS training to fail.
Liberty Firearms Training


Open Carry in Texas


No retention device

Texas Governor Abbott just signed open carry into law in his state. Only a handful of states do not allow open carry but the question I have is why would you want to.
Law Enforcement open carry and even though they represent the law people still try to take their guns from them, thus they have for the most part ACTIVE retention holsters. That retention device will keep the gun in the holster while being physically active but passive retention would suffice. Seriously, a determined adversary who wants that cops gun is going to go for regardless of consequence. It is said that during the struggle in Furgeson MO the bad guy did in fact try to take the LEOs gun and received a wound in the hand during that process. SO . . .


No retention device


Passive retention will not stop a determined assailant.

Why would you want to walk around with your gun exposed with nothing more than a snap strap to prevent some person with evil intent from trying to take you gun. I would much prefer no one know I have a gun on my person. Why tempt some guy much bigger than me, who has the ability to literally rip my head off with his bare hands.

In looking at pictures of citizens carrying openly the majority have nothing but friction retention. The few I found with active retention were snap straps or trigger guard buttons. And the question is, how quickly can the owner of that gun be able to defeat the retention device and get the gun into play . . . assuming they even practice their drawstroke other than at the range. Are you ready for the Safariland ALS retention system? It seems like a high price to pay in terms of accessibility just so I don’t have to wear a cover garment.


This is silly. The gun is not even in Condition One.


How easy would it be to disarm this person?

There is the argument that carrying open would allow people to dress as they like and to carry a bigger gun. Well guess what, that just sounds lazy. I have many students who carry full size. Ron and I carry full size often. No one sees our guns and I really have not changed how I dress.

While I support the idea that every one should legally carry and wish more did I personally am not interested in carrying open. I do not see how it benefits society on a whole because I believe one armed concealed carrying person is a greater force multiplier than one open carrying person. If the bad guys know there are people armed out there why should we make it easy for them to identify us.

Your thoughts on open carry?






Failing to train IS training to fail.
Liberty Firearms Training – See more


Concealing a Gun

When we talk about concealing a handgun on our person often times people falsely believe the only gun they can hide are tiny sub-compacts when the reality is completely opposite. Yes on occasion based on how you are forced or desire to dress it is harder to conceal a larger gun but carrying a tiny gun that you cannot shoot well and that you do not practice with because it is uncomfortable limits your ability to use the gun effectively.

People falsely believe if their gun prints it is a violation of the law, aka brandishing, but that is not the case. Concealment means when a person observes you in a normal manner they do not see your gun.

During our class day of CCW Training I speak for an hour or so until the right time presents itself and I pull out a gun. I ask the class if they saw my gun. None of course did even though many say they were looking to see if I was carrying. I continue on with the class and in a few minutes I pull out another gun, then another, then another, another and even another. Often I will have six guns concealed on my person and do one say a single one and the class is shocked. The purpose of the exercise is that you can carry a gun and NO ONE will see it. Of the guns I carry, two are FULL size, two or three COMPACTS and a sub-compact or two.

I am trying to convince people to carry as large of gun as they can for the simple reasons, they will shoot it better, it will be more comfortable to shoot which means they will practice more and in the end they will perform better because no one wants to shoot more than a hundred rounds through a mouse gun because it hurts.

There is primarily one measurement when considering concealment and that is the height of the gun. Below is a list of several commonly carried guns with three measurements, height, width and height with extended magazine.

Gun SizesThe extended height is with magazine or finger extension. In all of the classes I’ve taught where these guns were brought by students ALL had installed extensions except for the Glock G26.

This is a graphical representation of the torso at the waist and the height and width of four guns, from sub-compact to full size. As you can see the guns in this representation are not significantly different in dimension as compared to when they are in your hand.

TorsoTorso 2













Many students who bring the little guns talk about conceal-ability yet in the end they are mostly looking at marketing material and what someone told them or sold them since what you are hiding is height, not length nor width.

In the end you will practice with what is comfortable and that you perform well with. If that is not your every day carry gun you should consider changing, one or the other.

Failing to train IS training to fail.
Liberty Firearms Training