One That’s Spelled L-I-T-E

One that’s spelled L-I-T-E

It’s late at night, and you’ve been at your job for far too long, but things are wrapped up now and you FINALLY get to do what the rest of your coworkers have already done and head home for the evening. 

The sun’s gone down, and night has settled in. You navigate to your car by the glow of the street lamps, and suddenly you hear a noise. Could be a prowling cat, could be someone getting ready to jump you, so you pull out your trusty Surefire G3 to see what’s up and… 

… you realize you left the Surefire at home because it’s just too big for everyday carry.

Whoops. 

Flashlights are like firearms: It’s better to have one and not need it than need one and not have it. And just like firearms, a small but adequate light on you at all times is better (day in and day out) than a 500 lumen blaster in the car. 

I’ve carried a flashlight with me at all times for a long time now. First it was a tiny little AAA MagLIte, which was the best option at the time, and when I was a photog, I had a AA MagLite on my belt at all times, right next to the Leatherman and my cell phone. 

I used to carry a Coast LED light, but since I found out (the hard way) that they are not washing-machine safe, I’ve switched to a small but rather bright Pelican LED light. It’s not as bright as a SureFire or even my Coleman LED lights, but it’s so small and light I can carry it everywhere. A light this small is  not going to light up a person a half-mile away, but it will toss out enough light to let me identify people and threats at ranges that I can reasonably engage with my Kel-Tec P3AT or other carry pistol, and that’s all I need it to do. 

 

Mommie Oakley

Mommie Oakley

The Washington Post is shocked, shocked to discover that firearms are a part of American culture

On a June evening that had cooled to a mere 110 degrees, more than a dozen women waited for a timed competition as Carol Ruh, president of the Arizona Women’s Shooting Associates, went over safety rules.

The group’s oldest member is 89. The youngest is Susan Bitter Smith’s 16-year-old daughter, who has brought her AR-15 semiautomatic rifle and her American history homework to the range. Some look like anyone’s grandmother — silvery hair possibly just styled at the salon, pastel-colored golf shirts, pressed slacks, orthopedically correct shoes — but for the handguns on their hips.

Aaaaaaahhhhh!!!! Oh noes!!!1!! Pistol-packin’ mommas on every street corner! No permit for concealed carry! The streets must be overflowing with blood! 

Eeerrr, not so much. 

But gun rights advocates say that the District’s gun control laws — not to mention prohibitions against murder — did not prevent a drive-by shooting in March that involved illegal weapons. They also say that despite having nearly 158,000 people with concealed weapons in Arizona, their homicide rate of 6.3 per 100,000 is lower than the District’s, 31.4. That’s true of Phoenix, too, where the homicide rate is 10.5 per 100,000.

It’s almost as if criminals break the law or something. 

Out Of The White

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

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 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.