After Class Report: AED/CPR/Trauma First Aid With Geoff Fahringer

CPR Training In Naples

I’ve had my CPR certification for over a decade now and it’s up for renewal yet again, so when Step By Step Gun Training announced they were doing their first-ever CPR / AED / Trauma class, I jumped on the opportunity, especially because of the last bit, the trauma care part.

The last few times I’ve taken CPR training, it’s been in a class targeted towards teachers and caregivers to the elderly who need to be certified in such things, and so any talk of advanced first-aid care (and especially trauma care) was quickly glossed over.

Not this class.

First, a word about the instructor. Geoff Farhinger is a veteran Collier County SWAT officer and police dive instructor. He’s a judge at the national SWAT competition up in Orlando and is trained in the the Florida Tactical EMS program as well.

In short, he knows his stuff.

The class was four hours long, and it was a nice balance between instructor-led teaching and hands-on (literally) training. It wasn’t all-tactical, all the time, and it wasn’t aimed at healthcare providers, either. The balance of CPR, AED and trauma training in the class was just about right for we armed civilians, and I walked away knowing even more about all those subjects than I did before, which is the goal of this, right? As armed civilians, we are the REAL first responders (cops, firefighters, EMS… they all arrive after we do) and as first responders, we should be ready, no matter what the emergency.

Is a heart attack a possible occurrence here in God’s Waiting Room, or is drowning possible here in the swimming pool capitol of the world? Is an accidental discharge into a person more likely for me compared to others because I’m around guns more often than the average person?

Oh yeah.

So while I did walk away with a better knowledge about how to set a tourniquet and a glimmer of an idea of how to deal with a gut shot or chest wound (more knowledge on those things in the future would be a good thing for me), the fact is, what I learned was the beginning of my journey, not the end. The training I received in this class is highly relevant to my entire life, not just my life as an armed civilian, and that makes me want to learn more. However, I am much more confident now in my ability to protect my life with my first aid/trauma kits, and (real or not) I’m feeling a little better about my ability to deal with what life may throw at me.

Which is the reason why we’re doing this, right? There was a couple in the class learning CPR who had their adult daughter pass away recently after an unexpected adverse medical reaction. The couple started CPR, but despite their best efforts and efforts of the paramedics and hospital staff, nothing could be done.

Kinda brings it all home, doesn’t it?

If you get a chance to train with Geoff or take a similar class that covers all the bases of the basics of saving a life, take it. The next class is coming up in a few weeks and if you’re in south Florida, I highly recommend you attend.

Just HOW Gun-Friendly Is Your State, Anyways?

I was kinda surprised how many limitations there were on gun ownership when I moved to Florida. This state has a reputation as being “gun friendly” (aka “the Gunshine State”), but in reality, it’s just not so, and it’s not just the lack of open carry. For instance, you don’t realize how much time you save on a busy Saturday at the gun store by not having to do a background check on a gun purchase if you have your concealed carry permit, as you do in Arizona. And then there’s the need for a concealed carry permit and a bunch of other things that  add up.

The Smoking Barrel has a great little round up of per-state gun laws that puts it all in perspective. It’s pretty useful, go check it out.

Also, it’s worth noting that there is a big difference between states that have good laws regarding gun ownership, and good laws that cover the defensive use of guns, and according to Andrew Branca (who knows a thing or two about this sort of stuff…) Florida has the best laws for armed civilians who need to (legally) defend their lives, so we got that going for us.

After-Class Report: The Law Of Self Defense With Andrew Branca

I’ve read his book (twice), and I’ve watched all the DVD’s on self-defense law I received with my ACLDN membership at least two times each.

So why would I want to spend the money and time to also go to Andrew Branca’s Law Of Self-Defense Seminar?

Because going to the seminar means you’ll learn what Andrew Branca thinks is important about self-defense law, not what I think is important about self-defense law as I went along in his book. One of the biggest takeaways for me from the seminar (not necessarily the book) is that a legal strategy of self-defense only applies after you admit to the fact that you used deadly force against someone to defend your life. Your defense, essentially is “Yes, I shot him/her, BUT it was justified because I did it in self-defense.”

See the problem there? You’re admitting that you shot someone, and you’re betting on the fact you did it legally because it was in self-defense. If that self-defense justification goes away, you’ve just admitted you used deadly force.

The book and seminar are both built around five principals of legal self-defense (I won’t say what they are here: Spend the money for the book, it’s worth it. However, all five elements he speaks about are CUMULATIVE: All of them must be present in some form or another for a self-defense claim to be valid. If one or more of those elements aren’t present, everything we talked about in the “but” part of your previous statement (“Yes, I shot him/her, but it was justified”) vanishes, and the “Yes, I shot him/her.” is all that remains.

See why this is so important now?

It’s important because law cares about the law, not your intentions. Just as it is up to us to know the rules of the road before we drive a car, it is up to us to learn the rules of self-defense as well. If we blow through a red light, the law doesn’t care if we did it because we meant to do it or because we didn’t see the signal light change, the law says we’re getting a ticket.

By looking around and watching other drivers, we can learn that running through red lights is a bad idea (although the drivers here in Florida do give me pause about this fact…). Yes, we can learn a little bit about the rules of the road by observing the environment and we can learn a bit of the rules of self-defense from the environment of gun forums and magazines around us, but if I learned to drive from watching the antics of my fellow drivers here in Florida, I’d be dead by now.

And yet so, so many gun owners think they know about the legalities of self-defense because of what other gun owners tell them.

Whoops.

A few more thoughts…

The class had a professional environment and was blissfully free of the usual “Can I shoot him now? Ok, what about now? Ok, now?” kind of questions that are so typical to concealed carry courses and other legal seminars. Also, the seminar really brought home the need to have at least one option for non-deadly force handy at all times. We are 5x more likely to be faced with a non-deadly force than deadly force, but are we 5x more likely to get training in the use of non-deadly force like OC spray or combatives than we are to get pistol training?

If not, why not?

When if comes to how and when you can use deadly force, what you learn about this class about the legal complexities of using deadly force in defense of your property and others should swiftly disabuse you of any “sheepdog” notion. The law gets really, really tricky when you start to talk about the use of force to help a third-party, and the law is even less on your side when it comes to using deadly force to defend your personal property.

You are not Batman. You are not charged with wiping out the criminal element in your town, so don’t do that.

Serious drivers are not content to mimic the bad habits of their fellow drivers, they take the time to learn the rules of the road from serious people. If you are serious about self-defense, you should take the law of self-defense seriously as well.

After Action Report: Shoot N Scoot At Night, Step by Step Gun Training

I had a chance to train with Jeff and Robyn Street of Step By Step Gun Training over the weekend at the night version of their “Shoot N Scoot” training event, and I learned a lot about how my carry gear works in low-light and no-light conditions.

  1. Dry-fire is good, but there is no substitute for shooting ammo.
    I’ve developed a nasty habit of riding the recoil which is sending my shots high, and dry-fire will NOT help with that. Time to shoot more matches and put in some old-fashioned range time to cure that.
  2. There is no substitute for a laser when it comes to long-range shooting at night.
    Pinging away at a piece of steel that is 1/2 the size of a USPSA target that is 30 yards distant, in the dark, without using your sights will make you trust your laser.
  3. There is no substitute for candlepower.
    The Streamlight TLR-6 on my Shield is good. The laser dot is easy to pick up at night, and the flashlight gives you enough illumination to discern targets out to 15 yards or so. A Viridian C5L green laser is better. MUCH better. That sucker is almost like a searchlight, it’s so bright. You want hits with a laser at night? Go green, it’s worth the money.
  4. Battery life matters.
    I left the red dot glowing on the Vortex Sparc that’s on top of my trunk gun, and it was dead when I tried to use it in this event, and like a moron, I did not have a spare with me.
    Whoops.
    That’s been rectified. Lesson learned.

This is now the fourth time I’ve trained at night, and I continue to learn things about what gear and techniques actually work when the lights go out. If you’ve not trained at night, I highly recommend you do so. We are sight hunters, and we spend half our lives in the dark. It’d be a good thing to learn how to save our lives when there is little to no light around to help us see.

Ready. Fire. Aim.

Santa was a few days late with this present to Nevada gun owners, but I’m sure they don’t mind. Sebastian points out that Michael Bloomberg’s brand new make gun ownership illegal “universal background check” law can’t be enforced in Nevada, because Bloomberg’s lawyers seem to be unaware of how Nevada’s gun laws actually work.

NRS 202.254, as amended by Background Check Act, makes it a crime to engage in private sales or transfers of firearms (with certain exceptions) unless a federally licensed dealer conducts a federal background check on the potential buyer or transferee. Because the Act specifically directs the deal to run checks through the FBI’s NICS system, the Nevada Department of Public Safety has no authority to perform the background checks required by the Act.

Nevada, like Pennsylvania and Florida, uses a state-run background check system and not NICS, so the FBI/ATF had no jurisdiction and authority to run background checks in Nevada. It’s roughly equivalent to writing a law which mandates that the police department in Bangor, Maine, write the speeding tickets for Glendale, Arizona. Yes, the Bangor Police Department writes a lot of tickets, but no, their actions have little, if any effect on the traffic laws of Arizona.

Congratulations, Bloomberg. That’s $20 million you could have spent on something that would have actually lowered crime and improved the lives of the people of Nevada, but you chose to do this instead.

 

 

2016 In Review

Or, the year that everything changed, and nothing changed. I did really, really poorly on my shootey goals, but I did really, really well with other things.

I shot the fewest matches I’ve ever shot in one year, but I’m quite satisfied with almost every part of my pistol skill except my draw, and I’m working on that part every day.

Speaking of which, I’m on a regular dry-fire routine of ten to fifteen minutes of practice draws and trigger presses before I leave for work each day, and I’m doing at least a half-hour’s fast walking every night to get myself in some sort of shape other than “pear”.

While I haven’t been shooting much, my writing opportunities have really taken off. I’ve written a LOT for Shooting Illustrated and Ricochet, and I’ve added in the occasional article on Lucky Gunner as well.

Training-wise, the two-day class with Bob Vogel was well worth the money. If you’re looking for a class that will teach you pistol marksmanship, pure and simple, you’d be well served to take one of his classes.

SHOT Show was not in the cards this year, but NRA was, and it was wonderful to meet people like Andrew Branca, David Yamane and Tam for the first time and find out that they’re almost as nice in-person as they are online.

While I’m not working in the gun biz full time, my current job is one of the best I’ve ever had in my life, so I’m actually much, much happier than if I was slinging steel for a living. It was also nice to see some of my posts gain some traction inside the business, and I’m also working with a new startup developing a rather cool gadget for firearms training, but I can’t talk much about it right now.

Thank you, everyone, for coming by. I sincerely appreciate it, and have a happy and blessed New Year’s.

Home On The Range.

I’ve been helping a friend of mine come up with ideas on renovating an outdoor range here in Florida, and in doing so, I realized that his competition isn’t nearby gun clubs, it’s all the other outdoor activities that are around the club. Dedicated gun owners will go to the range. We have no choice. Shooting is our primary hobby, and that’s done (for the most part) on a range. I’ll drive for two hours to shoot out to 1000 yards or go to a really good USPSA match, and I’ll go even further to train with one of the legends in the business.

The casual gun owners who make up a big part of Gun Culture 2.0 are not like that. Guns are a part of their lifestyle, which means the guns they own and how they use them needs to fit into their lives as well. If the club cannot provide the same experience and level of service as, say, a municipal driving range, casual gun owners are going to chose other recreational activities over going to the range. You want to make it as nice to go to the range as it is to rent a kayak or go for a horse ride or things that compete for the same outdoor activity dollar.

This is why the “guntry club” idea has taken off. It’s not that 50,000 people have plunked down thousands of dollars for a Super Duper Exclusive Deluxe Membership, it’s that those ranges tend to have nicer experiences for the average schlep than other ranges do, and if you’re paying roughly the same price for the experience, you want to go to places that treat you well. People have limits on the money and time they can spend on their leisure time, and if shooting a gun isn’t fun, they’ll do something else instead.

Shoot To Live, Live To Shoot

There’s an answer to a question posed in yesterday’s post regarding ways to expand the shooting sports at a pace that matches the expansion of gun ownership, and that answer is found in the tag line of this blog: Guns are the new Harley-Davidson.

Harley was smart enough to realize that their long-term growth depended not just on people BUYING motorcycles, but RIDING them. The garages and closets of America are filled with gadgets and toys that people bought because it was the cool thing to do at that time, but then they quickly moved on to something else.

This is why I use the term “tactical pet rock” when it comes to today’s gun owners: At best, they’ll be like Harley owners, and understand that owning a gun means a change in their lifestyle. At worst, they’ve bought a novelty item like a pet rock that will languish on a closet shelf for decades until it’s time to get rid of it.

Harley-Davidson sells motorcycles pushing the idea of the open road, independence and freedom. They rarely talk about their actual products to new motorcycle owners, they talk about how a Harley makes you *feel*.

This is called “lifesytle marketing,”, and it’s an almost un-heard of thing inside Gun Culture 2.0.

Harley creates the “motorcycle lifestyle” with “Learn to Ride” events all over the country that teach people who want to buy a motorcycle how to actually RIDE a motorcycle.

Quick: Which gun company is doing that same sort of thing to encourage people to own (and shoot) their guns?

That’s right, none of them.

Glock is the closest to doing such a thing, and no, it’s not GSSF I’m talking about. Rather, it’s the Everglades Glock event they’ve put on the past couple of years down here at Louland gun range. It is a celebration of Glock ownership and has simple, easy-shoot stages that are closer to what a competition is truly like, rather the point-and-squirt stages of Steel Challenge or GSSF. This event is more about Glocks, how they shoot, what you can buy for them and how they fit into your lifestyle than it is about shooting a match or learning a new training technique.

We forget just how much new gun owners DON’T know about guns, and how “basic” our basic level of training and competition needs to be. Getting people to have fun at a shooting match is important, as is getting people to be carry more confidently because they’re well-trained. We forget, though, that the fun and the confidence has to come first, and then (and only then), the competition and the training will follow.

“I Own A Gun, But I Only Carry If I Think I’ll Need It.”

We’ve all heard THAT one before, haven’t we? (And if you’ve said it yourself, welcome to the blog, you must be new here…). I simply cannot comprehend the logic there: There have been two times in the past five years when I’ve felt like I needed a gun: When my family was in St. Louis the night of the Ferguson riots, and  when I accompanied a friend to buy some woodworking tools for cash off of Craigslist. It makes sense to go armed if you’re carrying several hundred dollars in cash and you’re meeting a stranger or if a mob pops up twenty miles away. Other than that, however, I avoid places and people that make me feel like I “need a gun”. People who say such things don’t own guns, they own talismans of self-protection, and they are hoping that the warm feelings of having a gun nearby will somehow make the bad guys go away.

The bad guys, who are unaware as to how sympathetic magic works, ignore such desires and attack you anyways.

I live in a quiet subdivision outside of a quiet town in Southwest Florida: It’s like Mayberry, but with Catholics instead of Southern Baptists. The other day, I walked to our local grocery store (just over a mile, round trip), and I had all of this on my person. Was I expecting trouble? No. Could a stray dog or something else have ruined the tranquility of my walk and presented a danger to me? Yes. I live on the edge of the Everglades, and Florida panthers (the felines, not the hockey team) and black bears have been spotted near my house (and we won’t even begin to talk about the gators or snakes). If something like this can happen to the sitting governor of Texas, it can happen to me.

casual_carry

Clockwise from upper left:

The ABDO is an interesting beast. I have it as part of a review for Shooting Illustrated, and it’s rapidly turning into a useful thing for those “I just need to pop out and get the mail” moments when you don’t need to carry a week’s worth of MRE’s on you because you’ll be within walking distance of your home. I use it because I hate pocket-carrying with jeans, and the darn thing is surprisingly quick on the draw.I’ve got a full review of it up on Shooting Illustrated’s website, go check it out.

All of that easily fits into my pockets and on my belt, and yet it still covers all the bases of less-lethal, knife, flashlight, medical gear, ammo and gun that we should be carrying around everyday.

Think you should carry “Only when you need it”? Carry first, worry about the need later.