Good Defense, Lousy Offense.

Good defense, lousy offense.

Judging by the reactions to the Ferguson riots and the shootings at military recruitment centers, we civilians make lousy armed security guards.

That’s a good thing.

Contrary to how we are often portrayed in the media, armed civilians (at least the ones I know) are not wild eyed vigilantes, we’re just people concerned with keeping our loved ones safe in an increasingly dangerous world. The closest I’ve come to any “offensive” firearms training was a one day tactical carbine class with Phoenix Firearms Training, and I did that mainly to get used to how my AR works in both defense situations and in competition. I have no desire to join a Battle of Fallujah Reenactment Society, coat myself in head to toe MOLLE and head out for some CQB practice. My job isn’t to defend this country, my job is to defend the lives of my loved ones.

Black Lives Matter and anti-Trump protests may require us to ramp up our skills at defending not just the lives of those closest to us, but also defend ourselves and our places of business against an unruly mob as well.

That day, however, is not here yet. While I have no desire to do such things, I may be required to defend a home or a place of business, and become my own roof Korean.

Not looking forward to that. Probably should be good at it before it happens, though.

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

“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.


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.

A Three-Step Strategy For Staging Guns Around The House.

A Three-Step Strategy For Staging Guns Around The House.

Mossberg 500

Welcome to my family’s “safe space”

  1. Carry a gun on you when you’re inside your house. If your hip is the best place for you to carry a gun when you’re outside your house, it’s probably the safest, quickest and easiest place to carry a gun if you’re inside your house. There is no need to squirrel away guns like they’re weapons caches in Call of Duty: The gun on  your hip is going to be closer than any gun you have stuffed in-between the sofa cushions, and all the training you’ve done is about drawing from a holster, so why re-invent the wheel?
  2. Have a gun in your safe room that packs more of a punch than the gun on your hip. Rifle, shotgun, carbine, it really doesn’t matter as long it has enough oomph behind it to present a real threat of immediate, life-altering (or life-ending) violence to anyone who would do you harm.
  3. There is no step three, because you don’t need to buy new tools or learn new techniques to stay safe in your home, you just need to use the same things you’d use outside the house (concealed carry and a trunk gun) inside the house as well.
A Clear-Eyed Look At Civilian Trauma Care.

A Clear-Eyed Look At Civilian Trauma Care.


I’ve been carrying around a SWAT-T tourniquet for awhile now, and to be honest, it’s been with some trepidation because people in the know tend to prefer “windlass” type tourniquets like the SOF-T and and the CAT. However, I look at the SWAT-T as more than just a tourniquet; it can also work as a sling, as a wrap or to hold a compression bandage in-place.

Now, via Greg Ellifritz, comes a really terrific article on dealing with traumatic injuries for those of us who don’t wear a uniform and carry a gun for a living. They give a shout-out to the SWAT-T as more than just a tourniquet, and they point out that it works particularly well on kids and other people whose limb diameter falls outside the design parameters of windlass tourniquets.

I hadn’t thought of that, and considering one of the reasons why I carry a tourniquet is to make sure I never have to watch a loved one bleed out in front of me, that’s a big benefit to carrying a SWAT-T around with me.

Winter (and Hurricane Matthew) Are Coming.

Winter (and Hurricane Matthew) Are Coming.

“When you’re you’re prepared for the zombie apocalypse, a hurricane is just another storm”

Yeah, so this might be headed our way.


Not that worried. We have hurricane shutters if we need them, and we also have a month’s worth of freeze-dried food, bottled water (and a WaterBob as well), flashlights galore and all kinds of other gear.

Unless our home is ripped from its foundation and lifted up into the aether, we should be ok.

Tactical Hipster.

Tactical Hipster.

Speaking of trauma kits, the one I’ve been carrying around is a little bit on the bulky side. Yes, I can conceal it under a t-shirt, and although it looks like the iPhone case it really is, it prints like a son of a gun. While no one as pointed and laughed at me yet, I’d like to have other options for carrying around the stuff that might keep might keep me alive.

In addition to this, I’ve started using an iPad Air with keyboard as a surrogate laptop, and I need a way to carry it around with me on my daily travails.

And so here is my new man-purse European carry-all tactical hipster messenger bag.

Tactical Messenger Bag

I was going for “Indiana Jones“, but at my age, I’ll settle for “old guy trying to look cool but failing.” Look for a complete rundown in a few days as I assemble all the various bits and pieces that will go in it.

Quick, Simple, Cheap.

Quick, Simple, Cheap.

REALLY like this fast and easy way to make an improvised tourniquet in the field, courtesy of the late, great Paul E. Gomez.

We’ve gotten so used to having disposable tissues on-hand everywhere we go that we forget just how useful a handkerchief really is. I’ve gotten in the habit of carrying one in my back pocket no matter where I am, and with two young sons, it’s come in handy a number of times already. No, a handkerchief in a pocket is not sterile, but they’ll die of blood loss LONG before they die of an infection from an unsterile tourniquet. I’ve gotten in the habit of carrying around a tourniquet, but I’m backing that up with a handkerchief as well.

Taking Terrorism Seriously.

Taking Terrorism Seriously.

I’ve been looking forward to this for awhile, and I’m glad to see it making it to the air. This is a “Must Watch” for anyone who (legally) carries a gun and is worried about the very real increased threat of home-grown “lone wolf” terrorism.

Michael Bane has said that his experience on the “After Armageddon” show on BBC/History is what shaped the special, and if it’s anything like that (which was very well-made), this will be one for the ages.

The Mass Casualty event will show on Outdoor Channel on September 28th at 8:30, with an encore presentation on November 1st. Better still, the longer, more in-depth “Director’s Cut” will be up on My Outdoor TV in the next few weeks or so.

Product Review: Sunjack 14w Charger +1400maH Battery

Product Review: Sunjack 14w Charger +1400maH battery

Sunjack 8w + 1400mah battery charger

I was recent sent a Sunjack 14w solar charger with an 8000maH battery for review*. I was looking forward to getting this kit and doing this review because I believe that the modern smartphone is an essential part of starting safe, and a smartphone (and some way to charge it) is an essential part of your “bug out” gear, and I’m pleased to report the charger and battery did not disappoint.

The Sunjack 14w Charger +1400maH battery is a great option for creating power to keep your smartphone up and running without connecting it to the power grid. About the same size as an iPad and weighing about as much as a large paperback book, it differs from cheaper solar chargers in that it charges a battery which then charges your phone.

Charger and battery outdoors

When the SunJack charger first arrived, the battery was half-charged, so I drained completely by recharging my iPhone with it and then plugged it into the charger and left it outdoors for 8 hours. I should note that I live in Florida and it’s the middle of hurricane season, but despite the partly cloudy skies, eight hours was enough to fully charge the battery. The fully-charged battery took two hours to recharge my iPhone 6+ from 10% charge to fully charged. The battery can also be charged up via a wall socket and a (not included) wall charger, and I found it that to be a faster way of recharging it than sticking it out in the sun (albeit one that only works if you have a working wall socket nearby).

chargingIf you’re like me (and I know I am), you rely on a smartphone for so much more than making phone calls. I’ve loaded up mine with useful things like an emergency radio scanner, a ballistics app and an e-book reader, so my phone is pretty much always by my side. I found the SunJack 8w+1400maH battery/charger to work just as expected, and it’s now a “must have” accessory for me if I leave the urban wilderness for something even more untamed. If there’s one thing I’d change about it, I’d ask them to toss in an iPhone Lightning-compatible cable with it along with the micro-USB cable it comes with, because, well, because iPhone, that’s why.

You can pick up the SunJack battery and charger at Amazon or on their website:

* Dear FTC, NSA, FDA and TVA: I’m putting in this sentence here because you want me to, but seriously, I say that this was sent to me “for review” right in the first paragraph. Do I have to rub your nose in it, like a puppy that needs to be potty-trained?

Pocket Protection.

Pocket Protection.

There’s some really interesting ideas in this post from 2007 by noted terrorism expert John Robb.

“Cities have long maintained centralized police forces, but gangs can often overwhelm them. Many governments are responding with militarized police: China is building a million-man paramilitary force, for example; and even in the United States, the use of SWAT teams has increased from 3,000 deployments a year in the 1980s to 50,000 a year in 2006. But militarized police may too easily become an army of occupation, and, if corrupt, as they are in Brazil, they may become enemies of the state along with the gangs.

A better solution involves local security forces, either locally recruited or bought on the marketplace (such as Blackwater), which can be powerful bulwarks against small-group terrorism. Such forces may become a vital component in our defense against bioterrorism, too, since they can enforce local containment—and since large centralized services, like the ones we have today, might actually accelerate the propagation of bioweapons. Still, if improperly established, local forces can also become rogue criminal entities, like the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia and the militias in Rio de Janeiro. Governments need to regulate them carefully.”

I agree. A decentralized threat like terrorism or other non-government violent actor demands a decentralized response. Not only does it cost less and allows for more freedom, we know it actually works. The modern smartphone is nothing if not a decentralized and networked communication device, and we have other options for staying safe in an unsafe world that don’t require an often painfully slow response from state-approved “first” responders.

More thoughts on this over at