Something To Listen To.

Something To Listen To.

Take a few minutes and

      listen to Paul Carlson and Rob More talk with Dusty Salomon
about Dusty’s methodology on training people how to shoot more better.

It’s a really, really good episode, and not just because Dusty validates something I’ve been saying for a while, that we we need to start looking at the dojo model for our firearms training classes.

Oh, and also check out Dusty’s new book, Mentoring Shooters.

I am.

Lessons From A Walmart Parking Lot.

Lessons From A Walmart Parking Lot.

There was a guy who went to a Walmart with his family late last night around 10 o’clock. We’ll call him “Kevin.”

Kevin noticed as he was getting out of his car that there was a young gentleman in his mid-20s going from row to row, looking around at the cars.

Kevin then watched as said gentleman met up with two more friends and all three started a conversation in an end of the parking lot away from all the cars.

Kevin had been shopping at his Walmart for almost three years now, and knew what the clientele looks like and how they act. This gentlemen looked different and acted different than what was the norm for this establishment, and seeing how it was late in the evening on Black Friday, (a busy shopping day for us, a busy work day for thieves), Kevin decided to walk his family to the door of the Walmart, then told his wife to go shop for Christmas ribbon with his sons, and said that he would meet up with them at the front door of the store when they were done.

Kevin then stood around by the front door, flashlight tucked out of the way in his hand, keeping an eye on the young gentlemen as they continued their conversation in the parking lot and eventually walked off the premises of Walmart.

Kevin then waited for his family, walked with them to their car and drove off.

Was Kevin unusually paranoid? Maybe. Did Kevin inconvenience his family by acting this way? Not really. Did Kevin put himself in a position to keep his property safe when a hinky situation presented itself?

Most definitely.

Update: Someone asked on Facebook what “Kevin” (me) would have done if the gentlemen in question started opening car doors. I’d call 911, and start about writing down details of dress, height, hair color, etc. so I would get them correct for the cops. If they opened up MY car door, I’d hit him with the beam of my flashlight and ask them what they were doing and then we’d go from there (which would also probably end up in me calling the cops).

Character Is What You Are In The Dark.

Character Is What You Are In The Dark.

We must work, for the night, she is coming!

Time and time again, I see people in the gun world, people who preach de-escalation as being vital to self-defense, being unwilling or unable to de-escalate personal spats online, leading to butthurt galore and all sorts of unnecessary drama.

If you can’t de-escalate a virtual spat, it brings into question your ability to de-escalate a spat in real life.

At the very least, it gives a prosecutor a little more ammunition to shoot at you in court: “Your Honor, the State would like to enter into evidence the following online exchange to show that the defendant has a temper and was itchin’ to start a fight that evening…”

The Rod And Thy Staff, They Comfort Me. And The 9mm On My Hip Helps As Well.

The Rod And Thy Staff, They Comfort Me. And The 9mm On My Hip Helps As Well.

My friend John waits 72 hours to comment on a mass shooting, and that’s a good idea.

I’m not that patient. I can only wait 24 hours.

Here’s what we know about the massacre in a Baptist church in Sutherland, Texas.

I do not suffer from the illusion that those who do not respect the law of God (and man) will somehow respect God’s sanctuary and not commit a horror inside the church. I’ve carried my CCW gun into church ever since I got my permit and my pistol, and if you can carry, you should, too.

Greg Ellifritz has some thoughts on staying safe inside the sanctuary, so does Ed Head. Read them both, and this weekend, when you go to church, praise the Lord.

And pass the ammunition.

Say When.

Say When.

It was interesting reading this bit from Greg Elifritz on choosing the right time to get violent, especially considering that he posted it almost two years before John Corriea talked about the same sort of thing over there. Both guys came to pretty much the same the conclusion, but using different methods.

It’s something I think we need to think about more. The cliché you see in an NRA Personal Protection Class (and elsewhere) is the bad gun (always a bad GUY) jumping out from behind a car with a knife and shouts out “GIMMEALLYOURMONEYRIGHTNOWORI’LLKILL!!”

But lets face it, we’re probably more likely to stumble into something already in progress or be caught on the fringe of something that goes down in front of us than to have the mugger-in-the-car-lot scenario happen to us, or we’ll be involved in a “monkey dance” situation with a stranger (or more likely, a family member or friend) that we just can’t de-escalate fast enough.

Then what?

Well, the five things that Andrew Branca talks about all better be in-place, or else you’re in a heap of trouble.

… And You Will Be Invincible

… And You Will Be Invincible

During the spring and summer months, it’s common practice for Euro fashion catalog shooters to come out to the U.S. to shoot the fall / winter catalogs. They liked AZ because of 300 days of sun a year, and I’d make a decent amount of $$ off them as their RV Driver / local guide. There was one guy I assisted, Bob somebody, a Welshman (funny as hell… a rarity amongst fashion shooters, in my experience), who was shooting for one of the German catalogs. The results from a week-long shoot out in Arizona was riding on his shoulders, and expenses involved included a dozen Euro models (HOT Euro models…), an art director, me, his assistant, three stylists… and he shot everything on Kodak 100 chrome using (wait for it) a half-dozen Nikon Quicktouch point and shoots. Yep, not an F4, not a Hassie, a consumer-level compact 35mm camera, about as basic and boring a camera as you could get at the time.

No manual settings. No external light sources beyond fill cards and reflectors. His assistant would get an incident meter reading, they’d note it, and then it was off to the races.

He shot that way because he wanted to focus (no pun intended) 100% on what the model was doing and how she was interacting with the camera, and didn’t want to bump something and have a whole session ruined. And it worked for him. He got some great shots from his models, and the chromes looked really good when all was said and done.

He could do this because he knew every single step before, during and after the shot, and knew how to play within the limits of his gear.

I’ll leave it to you, dear reader, to figure what all this has to do with your gear, how you use it and what’s the “right” gun for self defense.

Prep Work.

Prep Work.

I picked up an assignment, many years ago, to take pictures of Magic Johnson right after he gave a speech at a luxury Phoenix resort. I knew his time would be limited, so I arrived early, scouted a good location, and my assistant and I set up four high-powered strobe lights to properly expose him and wonderful Arizona sunset that would happen just as the shot was scheduled to happen.

But what DID happen was that the resort’s circuits weren’t up to the task of handling my strobes and their outdoor lighting at the same time, so my first test shoot blew a breaker and everything went dark.

I had to take a picture of Magic Johnson, and I had to take it NOW, no matter if my primary light source just went into the crapper.

Fortunately for me, I knew that resort pretty well and I knew the outside breezeways looked pretty good and went east-west so there was still light in them even as the sun was going down. I grabbed my assistant, my tripod and a flex fill, and away we all went for an impromptu available light shoot as the light slowly faded in the west.

And the chromes turned out pretty good. Good enough that I picked up two more assignments from the agency who assigned me.

Now think about it… if I hadn’t been familiar with the environment around me and I didn’t have that reflector and/or assistant with me and was inexperienced at slow shutter speed photography, I’d be completely out of luck and would have p!ssed off a basketball legend and not gotten paid by my client for the job.

Familiarity with your surroundings… having a backup plan and backup gear… recognizing what the issue is and working around it on the spot… why does that all seem so familiar? 😉

Oh, and if you get a chance to take photos of Mr. Johnson, do so. He was, BY FAR, the most approachable and laid-back celebrity I’ve ever photographed. It’s not an act with him.

Las Vegas Will Viva Once Again.

Las Vegas Will Viva Once Again.

Yes, I’ve heard about the horror in Vegas.

No, I will not comment on it. Not for at least another 24 hours.

I will say that the people shot were fish in a $@!%ing barrel, and that the LVPD had a breaching team on-site in under 10 minutes.

That’s a helluva response time. Well done.

And as usual in situations like this, people banded together to save lives. Hotels used shuttle vans to send people to the hospital. People stood up when it mattered most, and once again, they realized that they, and not the cops or the paramedics, were the first responders.

I love you Americans. I really, really, do.

We’ll get through this. But right now, pray for healing and comfort.

And watch your six.

Know When To Say When.

Know When To Say When.

Say when.

John Correia of Active Self Protection brought up an interesting idea in the midst of a recent interview on the Safety Solutions Academy podcast: For the armed citizen, it’s usually going to be us who initiates the fight, not the bad guy.

“In a law enforcement setting, the cop initiates contact with the bad guy. The fight starts when the bad guy decides to start fighting, and the fight ends with either the bad guy in cuffs or the cop is dead. In a CCW gunfight, it’s almost the exact opposite. The gunfight in the middle is almost the same, but as a CCW holder, it’s your actions, in a territorial violence situation, that initiates the fight, and the fight ends when you break contact with the bad guy.”

It took me awhile to figure it out, but I can see his point. The bad guy is going to want something from us that, unless we run into an asocial predator who wants nothing more from us than our death, is NOT going to be our life and limbs. They are using the threat of violence to get our money or car or something else from us, and they don’t expect us to fight back. As such, while the bad guy initiates the threat, the fact of the matter is, it is US that initiates the violence.

Is that empowering? You better believe it is.

You are no longer the victim in this scenario: YOU get to decide how the scenario will play out, and by being patient and then willing and able to counter the threat of physical violence with an overwhelming amount of actual violence if needed, we take away his (or her) power in one swell foop.

Waiting your turn for violence fits in well with a de-escalation strategery which should be (and is) our preferred method of dealing with “monkey dance” violence, but it also adds in another fear-reducing element: WE are the ones who are in charge of how violent an encounter will get. The crook is NOT expecting violence: He’s expecting that the threat alone will be sufficient to produce the desired reward, and the minute that doesn’t happen, WE have the upper hand.

That’s hellaciously empowering.