Out of the white

We all know that situational awareness is the key to keeping ourselves safe: It’s a baseline skill that all our training is founded on, after all, the only fight you’re guaranteed to win is the one you DON’T get into. 

It’s also a skill that is very hard to hone as it can’t be taught on a range and there are no standardized drill or tests to teach it. You can’t buy any equipment for it, you can’t take classes to be certified in it and you can’t become a GrandMaster of Knowing What’s Going On Around You (Limited-10 Division). 

It’s also weapon-neutral: You don’t need a firearm or any other weapon to know how to avoid dangerous situations. It’s a skill/mindset that anyone can learn and benefit from, and can be used in non-permississive environments like schools, power plants, federal buildings and Canada. 

So how do we teach it? How do you go about training others to pay attention to what they’re paying attention to? What are some of the ways you use or have seen used to help instill effective situational awareness in others? Are there any drills you’ve found to be effective, and why? 

More …

The camera you have

As I’ve said before, I was a full-time commercial photographer for 10 years before I switched careers to web marketing, and I was/ am a die-hard Nikon guy. I carried an FG all over Latin America (Why an FG and not one of my F3’s? An FG is light. More on that later.), and I could usually be found with a bag of SLR’s hanging off my left shoulder, and if that wasn’t enough, I had a studio full of Hasselblads and Sinars to fall back on.

But I loved my Olympus XA. The other cameras I owned were/are great (an FM2 with motor drive can double as a hammer in a pinch. Ask me how I know this), but they were bigger, and I didn’t carry them around all the time. My XA could fit into a pocket, had a first-rate lens in a useful focal length, was manual focus and gave some control over exposure settings, even though it was an aperture-preffered automatic.

Because it was so small and yet so versatile, I carried one with me all the time and a result, I got some pretty good shots with it, shots that I couldn’t get if I didn’t have a camera with me.

To quote Chase Jarvis, what’s the best camera for you?

The one you have with you.

My XA is gone, sold off with the rest of my pro equipment, but I’ve found a great substitute for it in my iPhone. Between Camera+, Tilt/Shift Generator and Perspective, I’ve got a pretty useful artistic tool with me everywhere I go.

Agave ;Dylan

Now, what does all this have to do with guns?

Quite a lot, actually.

My carry gun is currently either my Kel-Tec P3AT or my Sccy CPX-1. Neither would be considered a high-end tactical firearm, in fact either of them would probably blow up in to a fine plastic mist if I tried to put them through even the most basic of torture tests.

But I have at least one of them with me wherever I can, and that means they are currently the best self-defense gun for me. Is a Springfield EMP or a Sig P238 a better firearm? Maybe, probably, in fact. But I don’t own either one. What I do own I shoot, and what I practice with as well. I am confident that if, (God forbid), I need to use either one, my P3AT or Sccy will be the best guns I own.

The worst day of your life

The New Life Center church shootings really affected me. I grew up in the church and it’s always been a source of strength and a place of peace for me and my family. To have the sanctuary of a house of God defiled by a madman intent on murderous violence touched my very core.

What If? on SpikeTV covered the shooting on their show this week, and Jeanne Assam, the former police officer and security guard who stopped Matthew Murray, said something on the show that shook me up a bit.

“I’ve been asked ‘What should I do if a gun comes into the place where we are?’ and I tell them the first thing you do is be prepared to die, because you may.”

That’s a sobering thought, to say the least. I train and I practice so that if the worst day of my life happens, I have a better chance of coming out of it alive. There are no sure things in life, and even though my training and preparation will help, they are no guarantee of success. I train and I practice because if I have to, I want to emerge victorious and safe from a lethal force encounter. I train and I practice because I want to protect my family from any deadly harm that may come their way, even at a risk to my own life.

Are they worth it?

The Boys

Yes.