Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Do It Again

Do you ever hesitate to take a training class because you've already done one similar to it?  There is GREAT value in repeating classes.  I have found that among the benefits of repeating training are:

  • Repetition is mandatory for mastering a skill.  It is impossible to "own" a skill in a day-long class.  Even in a multi-day class, you learn the skill and get some practice, but really mastering it takes repeating it over and over, ideally with an instructor present to ensure you are performing it correctly and not creating bad habits.
  • No two classes are the same.  Every instructor is different.  And every class is different.  Each instructor brings their own personality and manner of communicating to a class.  Sometimes one instructor may communicate the same idea in a different way that "clicks" with a student.  Even taking the same class with the same instructor can vary from time to time depending on the other students in the class.  

So yes, push yourself to take the class is out of your comfort zone, but never, ever be reluctant to repeat any class again, and again, and again.  Its how you learn.  

Monday, November 6, 2017

I'm Going to Make You Mad

I'm going to make your mad. I'm going to step on your toes.  I'm probably going to hurt your ego, but I'm going to tell you the truth.

When I hear news reports of mass shootings like the one that occurred today in a small town Texas church, I feel as sad and angry as everyone else.  I also feel deeply frustrated.  I feel frustrated because we are not ready should something like that happen here, where we live.

And the reason we are not ready is simple - people refuse to train to respond effectively to such an attack.  Many believe that simply being armed is enough.  It is not.

The gun does not save lives.  Training and preparation is what saves lives.  It will cost you time.  It will cost you money, but the alternative is simply not acceptable.

Think about it ....

  • Early reports are that in this church of about 50 members, 20 are dead and possibly 24 more injured.  
  • A two year old was wounded.  
  • The pastor's 14 year old daughter is among the dead.  
  • And a church is now forever going to carry the stigma of being "that church".  
  • Those who survive will never be the same.  They have lost family and friends.  They have lost their sense of security.  Some will lose their faith. 
Where to start?

Start with a Critical Casualty Care class.  Learn how to use a tourniquet.  You are more likely to need a tourniquet than a gun and often lives are lost as they bleed out waiting for help. 

Take a basic self defense class that focuses on becoming more situationally aware.  If you can learn to recognize a potential situation before it occurs you are always better off.

Learn some de-escalation techniques.  Sometimes this can stop a person or situation from becoming violent.

If you own a firearm, train to use it effectively in a real world situation.  Standing at a static range and shooting paper is not realistic and, in my opinion, is not training.  You must learn how to clear malfunctions, how to reload quickly, how to use cover, how to shoot from multiple positions, and how to engage a threat with innocent people around. 


88 Tactical of Ohio

Monday, October 30, 2017

Carrying A Firearm in a Purse

I have never been a fan of purse carry.   Sometimes get some grief f or my views on purse carry, but I want to offer solutions that will WORK for ladies.   Here is a FANTASTIC video show why I don't think its a good option.  Its lengthy.  Grab a cup of coffee, and watch.  Its well worth your time to think through this decision with careful consideration.

The only time I carry off-body is to the gym and then I use my Vertx bag, which is a great off-the-body option for those times when you have no other choice.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Training with "Tanto" and "Boon"

In August I had the privilege of traveling to Nebraska and doing a 2-day Defensive Pistol course with Kris "Tanto" Paronto and Dave "Boon" Benton.  You may recognize them from the book and movie 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi.  I think the thing that impressed me the most was the complete humility they displayed. Of all people they have earned the right to say "this is the way its done", but they instead show "a" way to do it and don't mess with people if what they are doing is working for them. They are even open to hearing students and made the statement, 'We want to learn from you too". Amazing! I can't say enough good things about these men who are true American heroes. If you get a chance to train with them, do so!  Their schedule can be found at BattlelineTactical. 

Monday, October 19, 2015

MAG-40 Review

In September I had the pleasure of taking the MAG-40 class with Massad Ayoob.   Massad Ayoob doesn't need much by way of introduction to those in the self-defense, law enforcement, and firearms community.  He is widely regarded as one of the very best firearms instructors in the country and with good reason.  He is also one of eleven people in the world to have earned the Five Gun Master ranking in IDPA (International Defensive Pistol Association).  His books continue to be best sellers and he is considered to be an authority of matters of the legal use of deadly force.  He is often called as an expert witness in many of the high profile court cases in the country. 

The MAG-40 class is divided between classroom time which focuses primarily on the rules of armed engagement, and the range time which teaches you the Stress Fire techniques of shooting.  There is a written exam at the end of the class and a 60 round qualification course that combines police and FBI qualification courses.  Students are required to pass the written exam and score at least a 225 out of a possible 300 on the shooting qualification. Everyone in our class did so easily. 

The class is, in a word, INTENSE.  It is also exhausting.  It is also, hands down, the best class I have ever taken.  We put in four, 10-hour days with working lunches and shot more than 500 rounds.  You will take a lot of notes.  I came away with 50 pages of typewritten notes from the class.  Mas asks his students to compare notes, fill in any gaps, print them out. sign and date them, and mail them to yourself via certified mail.  Those notes will be evidence in court of your training if you should ever end up in court for a self-defense shooting.  That in and of itself, is worth the cost of the class.  In fact, I strongly recommend that every gun owner take at least the MAG-20 class, which is the classroom portion.  What you learn there may very well save yourself in court.  If you can take the MAG-40, do so!  You will learn skills in the MAG-40 class that you won't learn anywhere else and you will learn them from the man himself.  You will not regret it. 

Mas describes himself as arrogant yet I did not find him to be so.  He was very down to earth, very personable, very approachable, and seemed to genuinely enjoy his time with his students.  He is a professional in every sense.  When he arrived for our class he had just come from appearing in court as an expert witness for a woman who had shot an outlaw biker in self-defense.  He arrived having had 3 hours of sleep and fighting bronchitis.and yet he still delivered an excellent class.  If we had not known he was working under those conditions, we would not have known. 

The thing I appreciate about Mas is that he doesn't demand you do things his way.  He simply gives you very good solid reasons for doing what he suggests that will make you want to do them.  That, by the way, is he mark of an excellent teacher.  I have trained with other well-known instructors who were very demanding and had students in tears.  You will not encounter that in one of Mas's classes. 

I'm not going to give away too much here because this is a 40 hour, in-depth course that can't be adequately detailed in a blog post ( remember I had 50 pages of typewritten notes ).  You really just need to take the course.  My purpose is to take away some of the anxiety someone may have about taking a course like this one.

In the classroom, the focus is on the judicious use of deadly force.  It goes much deeper than any other course that I am aware of.  Some of the material he covers he has never released in a book, article, or on the Internet because it would be a blueprint for the bad guys.  The Massad Ayoob group if screens each student to ensure that everyone in the class is a law-abiding person who will use the material for self-defense only. 

On the range he teaches the StressFire technique,which is based on what the body does naturally when confronted with a threat.  The core elements of Stress Fire are:

  1. A Power Stance
    1. Feet at least shoulder width apart (or wider) and dominate leg behind.
  2. A High Hand Grip
    1. Your hand as high up on the backstrap as possible
  3. A "crush" Grip
    1. Gripping the gun as tightly as possible, even to the point where you tremor.  Thumbs curled down.  This eliminates "milking" the pistol, helps with the loss of fine motor skills that occurs in a deadly force encounter,  and makes it harder for someone to disarm you.
  4. Focus on the Front Sight
    1. Focusing, not merely looking at, the front sight
  5. A Smooth Roll of the Trigger
    1. Smoothly pressing the trigger
Some of these techniques may be very different than what students learn in other classes by other elite training schools, but as I said, he gives you good solid reasons for doing it this way.  It may take practice to incorporate the StessFire techniques into your shooting as with anything new it may requires unlearning some things and relearning others.  It will likely take practice.  My advice would be to try them, and during the qualification do what you normally do that works for you, then on your own time begin to try the new techniques.  

Another take away from the class for me personally was the need to carry a back up gun.  I've always thought that was a bit over the top and maybe even bordering on paranoia.  I now see it differently.  As always, Mas explains the "why" behind it and, it just makes sense.  In a deadly force encounter, it is possible that your gun will go down.  Yes, even a GLOCK can go down.  I am a proud GLOCK owner and love them for their simplicity and reliability but I have seen them fail.  As frustrating as that is on the range or in a classroom, it would be infinitely more terrifying in a deadly force encounter. During our class, at least two guns went down, both were high quality handguns.  If it can happen on the range, it can happen in a real life scenario.  As Mas said over and over, "its not about the odds, its about the stakes".  

What are the requirements for taking this class?  You will need a solid knowledge of firearms safety.  You will need to be a CCW holder.  You will need a firearm, and its a good idea to have a second gun with you as well.   You will need 500 rounds of ammunition - take more.  You will  need a holster and at least 3 magazines - four is better in case under stress you drop a mag or have a malfunction during the qualification.