Bleg: Everyday Carry Flashlight

Bleg: Everyday Carry Flashlight

Right now, the only flashlight I carry day in, day out is a Photon Micro II on my keychain. It’s good, but it’s not something I’d rely on for extended use nor something that can be used defensively. 

I’d like something bigger, something in-between a AAA Maglite and a AA Maglite, 75+ lumens, lithium battery and ideally something under $50 so I’m not heartbroken when I lose it. 

Suggestions? 

Ugh.

Ugh.

Woke up this morning to grey skies and mud, thanks to last night’s dust storm haboob, and creaky joints and sore muscles thanks to my dojo

3 gun ain’t happening today. Advil. Advil is happening today. 

No Monkey Dance For Me

No monkey dance for me

ENDO linked to a fascinating (and saddening) website listing the thugs and wannabes who post Facebook from Charleston, South Carolina.

This is just one website that posts stuff from Facebook from one city. How many thugs are there that DON’T post on Facebook, and how many other cities of similar size are there in the U.S.?

That’s a scary thought.

Also interesting/frightening is the weaponry these maroons are posing with. Yes, there is the obligatory Hi-Points and Bersas, but there’s also AR-15’s and Saigas in the mix. If this is what the cops are dealing with, maybe there is something to this militarization of the police thing after all…

What’s truly pathetic about all of this is how much of what is put up on Facebook and elsewhere is just posing. They want the world to know they’re not to be messed with and they are richer/stronger/more heavily armed than anyone else.

Fun fact. I don’t pose. Ever. Even when I have reason to do so. To quote Vince Lombardi, act like you’ve been there before.

This is why we train for the predator encounter and not the adversarial encounter: We’ve found ways to channel the social violence urge on to the golf course or the boardroom or our front lawns and we’ve left our violent urges behind us, Sunday afternoon “two hand touch” football games and church-league “no-hit” hockey games excepted, of course. 🙂

This works right up to the point we encounter someone who’s used to social violence, and because his world is not our own, he becomes a predator to us. To him, it’s a way of life. To us, it’s a threat against our life, and our response may not be what he’s used to, resulting in a chaos situation that may go quite badly for our would-be predator.

I will not be a threat to others, but will not have my family’s lives threatened. I owe them that much.

Play The Odds

Play the odds

Paul at Safety Solutions Academy makes a very good point. The odds of winning the Mega Millions Lottery this weekend were 1 in 175 million. The odds of becoming a victim of violent crime? Much higher

So why do Americans spend almost $200 per year on lottery tickets and almost zero of personal defense? 

Sure, I bought a Mega Millions ticket. Heck, it was just a buck, less than a bottle of soda these days, and the payoff balanced out hte risk/reward scales rather nicely.

But I also know that a box of practice ammo or a few hours in the dojo would be a better use of my time and money. 

More …

Quote Of The Day

Quote of the Day

“It’s starting to seem that a growing number of young adults think group vandalism is an acceptable way to bond.” 

– Editorial opinion of The National Post on Facebook, in response to this story.

Beer bottles, bricks and other debris rained down on police and firefighters in London, Ont., Saturday when St. Patrick’s Day celebrations turned ugly.

London police Chief Bradley Duncan, speaking to reporters Sunday, said he had never seen the level of violence and vandalism that he did Saturday night in his more than three decades on the police force.

“Last night, London experienced the worst case of civil disobedience our community has ever been subjected to,” Duncan said.

He said there was a very real risk that people could have been seriously injured, and even killed, after partygoers turned to setting fires and throwing bottles, stones and two-by-fours at police and firefighters. 

Unlike our cousins in the country formerly known as GREAT Britain, Canadians can still own guns, albeit with some silly (and ultimately useless) restrictions.

I foresee a dramatically huge increase in shotgun ownership in southern Ontario in the near future, with an equally dramatic decrease in youth violence in the areas where legal gun ownership is common. 

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Fighting Vs. Self-Defense

Fighting vs. Self-Defense

One of the things that’s been rattling around inside my skull this week is the anti-gunner’s idea that guns = crime and applying that idea to the concept of the two kinds of threats we face. 

To an anti-gunner, a gun is something to be used only in adversarial encounters, when one person decides to establish social dominance over another. They see guns as only being useful in such encounters because a) predators don’t exist in their world or b) if you try to use it to defend against against a predator, they’ll just take it away and use it against you.

This is probably why they also default to penis jokes when faced with the reality that most (if not all) responsible gun owners are calm, collected, cool individuals who aren’t really interested in doing the monkey dance. We don’t really care because we’re beyond worrying about who’s the dominant male. 

To quote Michael Bane (who was quoting someone else), “Why should I be paranoid? I’ve got a gun”. In that same vein, why should I worry about who’s top dog? I’ve got a family to protect and a life to lead.

Another word for this concept is “adulthood”.

I don’t need to overtake you on the freeway / get into a shouting match / pick a fight / whatever because that stuff doesn’t matter to me. To quote someone MUCH smarter than me, “when I became a man, I put away childish things.” 

For the most part, we as a firearms community tend to shy away from people who are worried about who’s the top dog. My home range is also home to Rob Leatham, Nils Johannsen, Angus Hobdell, Vic Pickett and a host of other top-ranked shooters. The competition there is intense and trash-talking sometimes reaches EPIC proportions, but despite that, there’s never any hard feelings at the end of the day. Why? Because the safe use of a firearm DEMANDS an adult mindset. Anything less is dangerous to yourself and others.

Owning and carrying a gun isn’t a sign you want to lord your superiority over the other members of the human herd. Owning and responsibly carrying a gun a sign you’ve left the herd altogether. 

 

Socially Disordered

Socially Disordered

A while back I talked about what I saw as the two different kinds of threats out there

There are, as I see it, two kinds of violent encounters: Predatorial and Adversarial. The “sudden encounter” is a predator attack, be it mugger, rapist or Rottweiler. Those types of encounter require you to be on your game rightthisveryinstant and respond to the attack with enough force to end things.

The Adversarial attack is road rage or the loudmouth in bar itchin’ for a fight or the jealous spouse of a co-worker or the fight between friends that gets out of hand. Those happen in fairly well-defined patterns and if they get out of hand, they get out of hand in predictable paths that can be countered (or better yet, de-escalated) in predictable ways. 

Ymaa.com has more. 

Generally, violence can be broken down into two very broad categories: social and asocial. Social violence is what, in the natural world, would be the types of violence common within a single species. This intra-species violence does not follow the dynamic or use the same tactics as violence against other species.

The dominance game of snakes wrestling or bears pushing and mouthing is not the same as the way the same species hunt prey. Social violence includes ritualized jockeying for territory or status. It also includes acts to prove or increase group solidarity (a powerful side-effect of hunting as a team) and violence to enforce the rules and mores of the group.

Asocial violence does not target the victim as a person, but as a resource. Asocial violence is the domain of the predator and the humanity of his victim does not enter into the equation. 

Read, as they say, the whole thing.

The Weakest Link

The Weakest Link

I was catching up on back episodes of the Safety Solutions Academy podcast as I was working around the house this weekend, and Paul was talking about training to build up the weaknesses in your self-defence regimen, when I realized the biggest weakness I had was me, myself. 

I’ve never been muscular, but thanks to cross-country skiing, running and cycling, I was (WAS) in shape in my youth. Now, however, I’m a semi-old, quasi-fat white guy. 

I can (sorta) shoot, I should move up to a yellow belt in a month or two in karate and my situational awareness is pretty good. What’s missing is the conditioning needed to protect myself for any significant amount of time. 

So this morning I did a brief circuit of upper-body exercises and started the Couch To 5k running plan

Because the first step of getting into fighting shape is getting into shape. 

More …

Tripping The Lights Fantastic

Tripping the lights fantastic

Ever since Guffaw wrote about his flashlights, I’ve been wanting to do a side-by-side comparison of the various and sundry flashlights I have around the house.

So I did.

I don’t have any Tier-1 tactical lights in the house: I just can’t justify spending $50 or more on a AA-powered LED “tactical” light” when there’s good flashlights to be had for half (or a third) of what I’d pay for a “name” brand.

Flashlights

That’s my well-loved 4-D Cell Maglite up top, and then left to right, a Photon Micro-light II, a Fenix E01, an Insight MX3, a Coleman 3AAA LED, a AA Maglite and a Pelican AA LED light.

The testing setup is the same I used for testing the Insight light: I set up my D70 with my 24-70mm lens set at 35mm about 12 feet away from the cinder-block fence in my backyard. The exposure this time was 1 second at f5.6, ISO 400. As a comparison, that’s about 1/1000th the exposure needed for taking photos in daylight.

First up, the Photon Micro-light II.

Photon II

Then, the Fenix E01.

Fenix E01

And the Coleman 3 AAA LED.

Coleman 3AAA LED

And the Pelican AA LED.

Pelican AA

And the Insight light.

Insight MX3

And now the Maglites. First, the AA version,

Maglite AA

And now the 4 D Cell thumper.

4 D Maglite

Conclusions: 

1. That little Photon is pretty astounding. It’s TINY and at under $10, relatively cheap, yet it kicks out an amazing amount of lumens for its size.
2. Either the Pelican or the Coleman are a good choice for someone who wants the lighting capabilities of a Surefire without the Surefire price tag. I’d also add that both of those lights have AA/AAA lithium batteries in them, giving me the long shelf-life advantages of lithium with the flexibility and low-cost of alkalines if needed.
3. The day of the Maglite is over. I’ll still carry that big ol’ 4D Cell mamajama in my car because it comes in handy in other (defensive) ways, but it’s not king of the candlepower hill any more.
4. As a comparison, I took a shot illuminated with my iPhone’s Flashlight app.

iPhone App

Yeah that didn’t work…

Threats Analysis

Threats analysis

I’ve been thinking more about the comment I left in a post last week.

There are, as I see it, two kinds of violent encounters: Predatorial and Adversarial. 

The “sudden encounter” is a predator attack, be it mugger, rapist or Rottweiler. Those types of encounter require you to be on your game rightthisveryinstant and respond to the attack with enough force to end things.

The Adversarial attack is road rage or the loudmouth in bar itchin’ for a fight or the jealous spouse of a co-worker or the fight between friends that gets out of hand. Those happen on pretty well-defined patterns, and if they get out of hand, they get out of hand in predictable paths that can be countered (or better yet, de-escalated) in predictable ways. 

And as things are now, we spend a LOT of time preparing and training for the Predatorial attack: The mugger, the home invasion, the sexual assault. It’s not that these kinds of attacks aren’t real, it’s that for us law-abiding folk, they are just not that common. 

Predators tend to prey on the weak, and if you’ve taken the steps needed to secure your family at and away from home, you are not easy pickin’s no more. When such an attack happens, there’s little you can do to de-escalate the action, in fact, trying to de-escalate it will probably get you killed dead. Such an attack requires the immediate and swift application of force sufficient to end the threat. Anything less just ain’t enough.

Which leaves adversarial encounters. These differ in that we can and should control the level of force needed to end things. “A soft answer turneth away wrath” ain’t in the Bible because it sounds nice, it’s in there ’cause it works. 

Adversarial encounters can get out of hand quickly if no one choses to de-escalate. Ask any cop who’s had to arrest someone for a barfight or the murder of a friend and he’ll tell you the number one thing they’ll hear from the poor soul who’s now cuffed on the curb is “Why didn’t he just back down?”. 

I turn that around and ask “Why didn’t YOU just back down?”

Is an insult, a bad lane change or a loud remark worth twenty years of your life and the loss of your firearms freedoms? Is it worth not seeing your kids grow up or your friends? Is it worth a black mark on your record that will follow you wherever you go? 

We spend hours on the range and in the dojo preparing for the predator’s attack. How much time do we spend learning the difference between backing down and giving up?