Put it away and don’t play with it.

Blue Sheep Dog has a link to a great article from the FBI (PDF link) on recognizing armed assailants that is really useful for we armed civilians. An interesting takeaway:

The authors discovered that none of the offenders they interviewed, in 15 years of research, ever used a holster to carry their firearms. This means that a lot of the behavioral traits will be more obvious if you are looking for them. Think about it: if you are not carrying your gun in a holster, and it is moving around as you walk, aren’t you going to constantly be touching it to 1) make sure it doesn’t move too far out of place, and 2) you didn’t drop it?

Let Plaxico Buress serve as a warning to all of us.

Put it away and don't play with it.

Blue Sheep Dog has a link to a great article from the FBI (PDF link) on recognizing armed assailants that is really useful for we armed civilians. An interesting takeaway:

The authors discovered that none of the offenders they interviewed, in 15 years of research, ever used a holster to carry their firearms. This means that a lot of the behavioral traits will be more obvious if you are looking for them. Think about it: if you are not carrying your gun in a holster, and it is moving around as you walk, aren’t you going to constantly be touching it to 1) make sure it doesn’t move too far out of place, and 2) you didn’t drop it?

Let Plaxico Buress serve as a warning to all of us.

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? 

 

Defence By The Numbers Part II

Ok, so we know what type of violent enocunters are most likely to happen around us. What about the “Black Swan” moments, or expecting the unexpected? 

Aye, there’s the rub. 

Three examples.

One: Many years ago (too many, if I’m honest…) a group of friends from my church’s college group were camping out on the Mogollon Rim, about to fall asleep, when another campsite erupted wild drunken hoots, hollers and gunfire, with what I assumed at the time were shotgun blasts into the air. 

There were twelve of us, seven college-age men and 5 girls (in a seperate tent. This was a church outing, after all…), and the best defensive weapon we had was a hatchet. If those drunks decided they wanted to “party” with the girls, there wasn’t a whole lot we could do about it. 

Two: My wife grew up on an acreage in the forests of northeastern Arizona, surround by her Dad’s extended family. One night, the black sheep of said family decided to invite Arizona’s most notorious motorcycle gang up to his property for the night. Her Dad spent the entire evening on their front porch with his shotgun in his lap, watching over his family as gang members loudly partied less than a 200 yards away from his house. The gang left in the morning and didn’t come back, but it made for a tense, sleepless night for her family. 

Three: Right after my wife and I were married, a cousin of hers took what I considered to be an unhealthy amount of interest in her whereabouts and well-being. Said cousin was 6’5″, 220lbs with a prior conviction for manslaughter for killing an undercover cop during a drug bust. He has since done the world a favour and killed himself, but it did make for a few tense months in our lives as I wasn’t sure how to handle someone like that if he came to our home with evil on his mind. 

What do all three of those examples have in common? 

1. There was a threat of imminent lethal force. 
2. The nature of the threat is outside the daily routine. 
3. Non-lethal force would not be an effective deterrent. 

We don’t carry because we expect trouble, we carry because trouble happens when we least expect it. If a shootout can start up outside of a quiet suburban shopping mall, it can start anywhere. 

Defence By The Numbers, Part 1

We shoot. We train. We compete. We carry our sidearms with us every day so we can defend ourselves on that horrible day when we need them.

But what do we really need them for? What exactly are your risks?

With the help of crimereports.com, I’m able to see the type and severity of crime in my quiet surbanan Phoenix neighborhood, and the answers surprised me. This is what the police responded to within a one-mile radius of my home over the past six months.

Type of Crime Number of Crimes since April 2011
Assault w/ Deadly 2
Breaking and Entering 7
Disorderly Conduct (Fighting) 11
Other Assault 11

Right off the bat, the number of violent, non-lethal crimes jumped out at me. I am much more likely to get my @$$ kicked than I am stabbed or shot (although one of the Assault With A Deadly Weapon Incidents happened on my street. Yikes!).

Also, no sexual assaults or rapes, although there is one registered Level 3 sex offender within a mile of my house.

Oh joy.

A number of those assault charges are multiple charges for the same offence on the same day, i.e. Disorderly Conduct and Assault With Reckless Injury charges.

I’m also more likely to have my house broken into than I am facing a deadly weapon, which suggests than an alarm system, big dog, porch lights and anything else I can do to “harden” my home and make it less attractive to burglars is a good thing.

Now, does this mean I should forgo firearms training and run to the dojo?

No, of course not.

For one thing, there is no real substitute for a defensive sidearm. Martial arts and pepper spray can help, but the only sure way to end an attack with lethal force is to respond in-kind. The chances of defending myself against an active shooter are infinitesimally small, but the same skills that I use to keep myself safe day in and day out also apply equally as well against a homicidal madman.

Also, those are the stats for my neighborhood, but that is not my world. I regularly travel throughout to the Phoenix area, sometimes to nice places, sometimes not.

What these numbers tell me, though, is that I need to integrate my training. I need to be able to stop any threat, any time, from 1 inch away to 100 feet away, with whatever tools are appropriate and handy. Training and training for a 20 yard pistol headshot does me little good if someone throws a punch at my head.

Part II Tomorrow: What about random acts of violence?

The Source Code

This is why I’ve chosen to defend my life and my family. Things like this

Mesa Police say a 1-year-old boy died after getting shot in the head Monday morning in a possible home invasion.

The shooting happened at an apartment complex near Main Street and Horne around 7 a.m., according to Mesa Police.

Mesa Fire official Forrest Smith said crews transported the child in extremely critical condition to a nearby trauma center where he later died.

Mesa police Sgt. Ed Wessing said two unknown suspects are on the loose and may be responsible for the shooting.

Wessing said five children, between the ages of 1 and 8, were at the home at the time and were being watched by their grandmother.

The grandmother was doing laundry and had the door open when the suspects showed up, Wessing said.

Some type of confrontation took place and the boy was then shot, he said.

I know those apartments: A college classmate of mine used to live in them, and while they’re  not the best neighborhood in the Phoenix area, they’re not the worst. My thoughts and prayers are with this child’s family, and my hope is for swift and sure judgement on his murderers.

I have two wonderful sons in elementary school and an amazing wife. We live in a nice, quiet suburb and avoid getting into dumb places at dumb times where dumb things might happen. 

But I can’t really avoid driving down Main Street in Mesa altogether. Or ignore the west side of Phoenix for the rest of my life. Or live inside my house all day long and never go out for the best tacos in the east valley ever again. 

So what can I do? Carry the means to protect myself from armed OR unarmed assailants. Learn how to use them, then learn some more. Enjoy my life, but keep my eyes open. Stay safe. Have fun. 

Extreme Home Makarov

About two years ago, I realized we needed a pistol in our house dedicated to nothing but home defence, so I made a had’jj up to J&G Sales and picked up a suplus CZ-82, spare magazine and 3 boxes of ammo for $300, including tax. 

That’s a heck of deal, considering that you can’t get buy a new pistol for that price and the CZ-82 is a proven performer that is now available with C&R FFL licence.

I’m perfectly fine with 9×18 as a self-defence ammo. With its metal body and blowback action, the CZ is very controllabe and easy to shoot, and with 12 plus one in the pipe, it has enough rounds to finish the fight.

However, practicing with the CZ-82 can be a problem. The most commonly available ammo for 9x18mm is cheap, steel-cased ammo from Russia that is also steel-cored; a no-no on most (if not all) indoor ranges. 

Fortunately, Fiocchi makes ammo in 9×18 Makarov, and Lucky Gunner was kind enough to provide a box for testing. I was pleased to have some high-quality, accurate ammo to use as a benchmark for what the CZ can do, and I couldn’t wait to compare it versus the more common Russian ammo. Here’s a five-shot group of Silver Bear 94 grain FMJ, shot offhand and single action at 7 yards. 

Silver Bear Ammo

Silver Bear 94 grain FMJ, 21 feet, 5 shots
Mean Radius: 0.9″
Extreme Spread: 2.13″ 

Now I’m not much of a shot, but I’m good enough that quality ammo can make a difference on the target.

Fiocchi Makarov Ammo

Fiocchi 95 grain FMJ, 21 feet, 5 shots
Mean Radius: 0.67″
Extreme Spread: 1.73″ 

Shot group analysis courtesy of Robb Allen.

Bottom line: Fiocchi 9×18 FMJ is a great choice for shooters looking for an alternative to cheaper Russian Makarov ammo that can’t be reloaded and can’t be shot in indoor ranges.

 

Front Sight

Well, I drank the koolaid. I bought a mid-week four day defensive handgun training certificate from Frontsight last week for $69. I figure between using frequent flyer miles to pay for the hotel and gas, meals and ammo, the whole thing will cost about $300, which is about the price of a two-day NRA Personal Protection class. 

Can’t hurt, I guess. At the least, I’ll get a week in Vegas out of it. Let’s see if Front Sight’s training is better than their web design or internet marketing acumen. 

I figure they have nowhere to go but up. 

Product Review: ASG P07 Duty Airsoft Pistol

I bought this (fake) gun for two reasons: I wanted to practice my draw from concealment at home, and I want to start some realistic force on force close quarters instruction with the good people at Generations Firearm Training

What was in the box?

The ASG P07 Duty is a licence-built copy of my daily carry gun, CZ’s P07 Duty, and right out the box, it felt like my P07, and it even comes with the P07’s crappy sights. The CZ P07 Duty has CZ’s “Omega Trigger” system that allows the user to quickly swap out parts and change the gun from a conventional SA/DA action with safety to an SA/DA with decocker, but the ASG P07 Duty did not have that option and came equipped with a safety only. I prefer to shoot the P07 decocked for two reasons, the first being I don’t like safeties on self-defense pistols. Yes, I know God and/or John Moses Browning designed the 1911 that way, so durn it, that’s the way it’s supposed to be, but to me, sweeping the safety off is one more thing to worry about in a situation where a fast reaction can save my life. I much prefer decocked double action, DAO or “safe action” pistols for defending my life. The other reason is less critical: IDPA SSP division mandates the first shot on any given course of fire must be shot double action, and rather than mix it up with the high-zoot guns in ESP, I can decock the P07 Duty and go for it. 

Side by side

The ASG P07 Duty is a CO2 powered blowback action pistol. The CO2 cartridge that powers the pistol fits rather cleverly into the butt: The lanyard loop at the bottom of the gun is pressed in, and the whole backstrap pops off, allowing for easy insertion of the cartridge into the gun.

Power to the pistol

Design-wise, it’s darn close to my CZ P07 Duty. The airsoft version is made from a darker plastic and the slide is much lighter than the real P07, but the heft and feel of the gun are about the same. The trigger on the airsoft gun is horrid, though, mushy and stacking with no real break or reset and is about 6-8 pounds single action. 

The magazine for the airsoft P07 holds about 21 BB’s and drops free when the mag release is pressed, just like the CZ P07. The biggest difference between the two guns is the airsoft P07 has a slightly larger magazine more like a CZ SP-01, but this doesn’t interfere with the operation of the gun.

Sight picture

Shooting the gun in the backyard, I found it tended to shoot high, but that was something that happened with the old sights on my CZ P07 Duty (remember the word “crappy” way back in the beginning of this review?), hence the CZ-USA  night sights on my 9mm P07 Duty in the photo above. The ASG P07 fits the Crossbreed Supertuck I use for daily carry perfectly, and that’ll come in real handy as I ramp up practice for IDPA. I was lucky enough to win $100 worth of BAM airsoft targets at the Rio Desert Classic a few years ago, and they’re great fun to bang and clang. along with a bunch of 1/3 size paper targets that I printed out and stuck into the ground with real-estate sign holders. Practiing with an airsoft gun, you have to realize it’ll do squat for follow up shots or anything that requires multiple hits per target, but it’s great for draw, sight picture and transitions. 

To sum up, the state of the art in airsoft guns is clearly changing. They’re not toys anymore, they’re tools, and should be thoughtfully considered by anyone looking to improve their competition or self-defence shooting habits at home and at a very low cost.