Showing posts with label self defense. Show all posts
Showing posts with label self defense. Show all posts

Friday, May 29, 2015

Flip Side on Police Use of Force: New Cop Got Ass Beat By Guy He Should Have Shot

We have a real good friend who is married to a guy that wanted to be a cop. He has had a rough go of it with getting hired. He finally got a job awhile ago and things were falling into place. They recently had a kid and she quit her job to be a SAHM. Also they got a new place in the area where he was working.

Today he and his partner served a warrant on a gang member. Turned out the guy did not want to go in. I'm not 100% on all the details but it looks like he tried to deploy a taser and it didn't work. They got in a scuffle. The gang member, who I would bet a hundred bucks has been in a whole lot more fights than either of the nice white bread class cops working in a relatively sleepy town, got the better end of it then got out of there. 

He got hurt pretty badly.

Aside from a second cop (who proved real fucking useful) being there it was a pretty cliche Michael Brown/ Darren Wilson scenario. A hostile and combative person bent on physical violence without a weapon other than their body. The only difference was the lack of a half dozen gun shots and the final result that the good guy didn't walk away and the bad guy did.

He should have either beaten this guys ass with a stick or shot him. Instead he tried less lethal and it was, for whatever reason, ineffective. We could go into a discussion about how capable he is at the violent/ survival piece of his job but that is neither here or now. The point is that everything I have heard says our cop had the capability to stop the fight with lethal force but didn't. He thought about shooting the guy but was worried about getting (figuratively) hung for it.

Our friends husband was injured pretty badly. He is alive but the damage is such that he may well be never be a cop again. (I'm not sure how his partner was involved but apparently he was not very useful.) Best case he probably has a year of recovery, surgery and rehab before maybe he will be able to go back to work. Since he was in the beginning of a career vs the middle or end this is a significant problem.

This is what he has trained for so there is not a clear fall back plan, our friend (his wife) recently quit her job to be a stay at home mom and take care of their baby and they just got a new place. The picture is not pretty.

Now don't get me wrong. I am a critic of many current police procedures (no knock raids for less than genuine lethal threats, shooting dogs all the time, asset seizures as fund raising, tasering everyone who looks at them crossly or forgets to say Sir, etc). Also the way some cops have behaved in  use of force scenarios is deplorable. A cop who lies, falsifies evidence against innocent people (if they fudge things to get a meth dealer or a pederass I am OK with that), or uses force when it is not necessary or excessively is worse than a criminal in my book. At least a criminal is fairly honest about what they are and not being a psychopath or gangster acting under the guise of protecting people. Some cops do really bad things and they should (and occasionally do) go to jail for it.

However the current climate of police officers (usually white males) getting their lives and careers ruined for defending their selves has put enough doubt in their minds on whether or not they should escalate force that some of them are failing to act.

The point I am getting at is that while I do genuinely deplore cops who act like ass hats and hurt decent people for no reason I generally respect their role in society and want them to feel OK to protect their selves. Getting cops scared about protests and DOJ 'constitutional rights' investigations is counter productive and downright dangerous to the guy walking the beat who does his best to keep us all safe.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

CSAT Tactical Pistol Operator Course Review

Today I am going to be reviewing a pistol course I recently attended. I went over to Combat Shooting and Tactics (CSAT) for their Tactical Pistol Operator Course.

The good:

A significant reason why I chose to train at CSAT was it's owner and primary instructor Paul Howe. Without overly 'tooting his horn' there is not anyone involved in modern tactical firearms instruction with a significantly better background to do what they do than Paul Howe. [Though he has a few peers such as Kyle Lamb, Pat McNamara, Larry Vickers and Frank Proctor, plus surely some Navy guys with similar credits.] He spent over a decade in a tier one Special Operations unit as an NCO. He was either doing bad things to bad people, or training others to do bad things to bad people for over a decade. When it comes to tactical weapon employment and self defense arguing anyone has much, if anything, on Paul Howe is an uphill battle.

This class starts with a brief introduction to firearms safety as well as the procedures they want you to use for clearing, loading, etc handguns. At this time the rules of the range and administrative considerations were discussed.

We also had a brief discussion of gear options with a focus on a tactical, assault type set up.
After the admin notes we had a period of instruction on drawing, gripping and firing a pistol. We then moved in to a drill based on the instruction.

The way the class worked is that we would come together for a period of instruction. After the period of instruction we would execute a drill. This broke pretty evenly into modules that were 45-50 minutes long. After a module we would reload magazines and ‘fluids in/ fluids out’ then move to the next module.

The class flowed in a logical, cumulative sequence. We took a break at lunch to eat then got back at it till about 4pm. The next day we got together at 8 and began again in the same format as the day before. It ended around 330 on Sunday.

I cannot necessarily recall every single drill or the flow of them but it all worked really well and built on itself. We trained on a variety of drills and the kneeling position.

Instructors were present and walked the line giving reminders and additional guidance as needed. They did a real good job of tempering this to the individual students experience level which varied widely. The DPS SRT member was on a different level than the eager, but decidedly new to guns, couple from San Francisco.

Day 1 ended with shooting some standards and being videotaped.

Day 2 began with watching the video from the end of Day 1. Being able to watch ourselves was a valuable visual of our shortcomings. Reminders were given. Following that we discussed some tactical issues and went over some real world shooting cases. Additionally we had a discussion about concealed carry gear, rifles and active shooter type bags.

After building fundamentals on day 1 we moved into different scenarios for day 2. First we worked on moving with hot weapons around people and shooting for precision in a hostage scenario. Next moved around/ between and shot from vehicles. After vehicles we worked on point of aim on a target wearing a t shirt and shot standards. After that we shot from behind barriers. The class culminated with us shooting the CSAT instructor standards to receive a score which can be used as a reference point for the future.

Specific take aways. Way too many to mention.

Draw to high ready and firing was trained. It was in line with the modern isosoles method but not strictly speaking a ‘4 step draw’. Paul said the reason for this is a fixation on sub steps (between holster and shooting) leads to artificial stops in the middle. This lead to a draw with the hands coming together at the high ready then pressing out fast into position, prepping the trigger while extending the arms, and shooting once you get the front sight. The result was a smooth movement that was natural.

Draws started from what Paul calls ‘interview stance’ in a natural athletic position with your hands together at roughly chest level. The reason for this is it’s a good universal position for a potentially violent situation. You can fight with hands, block, etc from there.

From other life experiences this is a good compromise between some sort of fighting stance which is aggressive and can be seen mistakenly by witnesses and being ready to get clobbered with your hands at your sides. In the past I have used the open hands towards people stance but Paul’s option is just fine. Really the difference between a fighting stance and these other stances is fists being closed and slightly higher. Either way the point to have your hands up and ready to react is significant.
Natural point of aim was a big point of the class. Going from a natural athletic type stance such as ‘interview’ through your draw should put the front sight on target at pistol fighting ranges. We still used sights but the goal is through proper mechanics that when you make the decision to shoot and your pistol leaves the high ready it lands on target.

Since we decide to shoot when leaving the high ready the trigger is being prepped from that point to full extension where you shoot. This movement is quite fast. The goal was under 1 second to hit a 6X13 vital zone at 7 yards. I achieved this goal albeit dead on with no margin for error.
The point to do things consistently was significant in the class. Example, every time you work the slide on a pistol grab it overhand. I was definitely guilty of using a ‘pinch’ technique for administrative stuff in the past so this was a point of improvement for me. The point of this is to be consistent across the board.

Dove tailing from that point the key that shooting is really all about consistence was pressed.
Both in the course of instruction and on the spot corrections to shooters Paul made a big point of only adjusting one thing at a time. I believe in the course of instruction the reason for this is to isolate a variable and guide shooters to the right answer FOR THAT VARIABLE. Over the course of instruction we worked through these in a logical sequence to end up in about as good of a place as a person can get in 2 days. For on the spot corrections Paul did the same thing. The reason was that a person can only really focus on changing one or maybe two things at a time.

The importance of automatically re acquiring your site picture after a shot was made. The reason for this is that it saves the time of doing so and thus speeds up the follow up shot if needed.
In a tactical sense we discussed managing encounters. The basics being awareness, verbal engagement [“I don’t want to talk with you today. Get away from me, do it now” doesn’t leave much room for ambiguity. If somebody ignores that they are deaf or planning something bad.], the use of objects such as vehicles or gas pumps to create space and such. This also lead to some interesting discussion on use of force with currently serving LEOs in the room.

Use of force is a really complicated discussion and I would not hesitate to give any form of legal advice. That being said one might want to look at how their state treats civilians in use of force scenarios. In say Texas the odds are a person who acts reasonably is going to be OK, not so much in California. Just another thing to think about.

So much more stuff than I could remember. Honestly it was 2 days of drinking from a fire hose.
The Bad: I wasn’t able to take this class last year. Was signed up but work messed it up. Something came up and it was going to be OK, just narrowly. Our schedule was delayed 3 days out (from the class) and I was stuck in the Middle East. Paul said no big deal and cut me a full refund. A year later it worked out for me to take the class.

The Ugly: I didn’t take this class a decade ago.

Pistols- The class was probably 40% Glock, 30% M&P, 15% Sig and the rest were a mix of different pistols (a couple of those new H&K’s and I think some sort of new Walther.) Two of the SIGs were duty guns for Texas LEO’s and the other was a guy from San Francisco. He had a real hard time managing the DA first shot on that gun. Darn near pulled every one of them. He is going to buy a Glock.

Most folks shot compact or full sized handguns. A couple guys had subcompact Glocks. One swapped out in favor of his G19 and the other has a young guy (like under 18) who shot Dads Glock 30S the whole time. His had was pretty darn sore. Most guns were in 9mm, there were quite a few .40’s, about 3 .45’s and one guy using the Texas DPS issued Sig in .357 SIG.

Most shooters were using some sort of OWB kydex belt holster. A few like me had drop type rigs. The LEO’s were wearing their Batman Belts with Safariland holsters.
I used a TT Duty Belt, my Safariland 6125 with a ghetto rigged leg strap, and a TT double mag pouch. Would have used my HSGI rig but I wanted to keep it simple. From here on out I will practice mostly with the HSGI Costa Leg Rig.

Planned Gear Changes:
Pistol- Grip force adapter to let me get a slightly higher grip and have more surface area on the gun.
Gear- I could use a couple inch longer leg strap for the Safariland. Otherwise I think I’ll stick with that rig for awhile and see how it goes. I need some of those belt keepers to keep my inner belt and duty belt together, especially if I’ll be wearing it for awhile.
Conclusion: The class rocked and I strongly recommend it.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Quote of the Day and Video

"I never planned on getting in a gun fight. I'm the first one to tell you that anyone who does involve them self in a gun fight usually made a mistake somewhere along the line."
-Bob Stash,
Lieutenant Chicago PD

The lessons of this interview are worthwhile. In his first shooting Mr Stasch's partner dumped a cylinder of .45 long colt in the goblins chest then a couple rounds of .38 special. Mr Stasch put 2 rounds of .44 mag in his chest then went for the pelvis and hit low putting one in the thigh and another in the knee which dropped him. It was a total of 13 rounds most of which were big bore revolver rounds and the man didn't die for days. Mindset was key there. This is something I learned in another place but mentality is key. Have the mindset that if someone shoots you, you will shoot them, or cram that gun down their throat. This mentality and the unwillingness to quit is very important.

Training to shoot at close distances with one hand was my other big take away.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Pocket Pistol?

Recently I realized that with minimal changes my Glock 19 can be carried in pretty much any situation where a single stack 9mm such as my Kahr CW9 will. Given that the Glock holds twice the bullets and is well, a Glock the answer is easy on that one. Also while slightly less comfortable the Glock is the right answer. For the last couple weeks my Kahr has just been sitting around at home.

Also I was recently in a situation where I wanted to carry a gun but it was a less than permissive environment. My Kahr just wouldn't cut it and neither would the J frame.

I needed a pocket pistol. The answer to that is pretty simple, get a pocket pistol. However that means another cartridge (.380) as the smallest 9mm's are probably a bit on the large side for a real pocket gun. Obviously mags, holsters, etc would be needed as well.

My current centerfire pistol battery consists of .38/.357, 9mm Glock and the Kahr. I stock stuff deep for the Glock and didn't really see the need to for the Kahr. A .380 would be the same way. Still this would be a complication.

I worked hard to streamline my logistical footprint in terms of different gun stuff. Having A pistol that doesn't fit the wider plan is in my mind not too bad but since it has a valid role AND I wouldn't be stocking stuff too deep for it that isn't a huge deal. However it is a slippery slope. Let in a second oddball and pretty soon there will be a complete mess of different guns in the safe. Also considering my recent Kahr/ Glock revelation the Kahr's continued role in my battery is at best uncertain. It is a solidly decent handgun but just not one I'm so sure I need.

So anyway I am thinking of selling the Kahr. Thankfully guns hold their value pretty well so worst case I'll lose a couple percentage points on the whole thing. I would use the proceeds to purchase a .380 pocket pistol.  Something in the Bodyguard/ P3AT/ LCP/ CW380 size range. Haven't really narrowed it down beyond that though. Then again, especially at the bottom end of the price range I could pick up a pocket pistol then see where the Kahr sits.

So I guess we'll do an informal poll:
Buy a pocket pistol?
Sell the Kahr?

Sunday, January 4, 2015

From Around The Web

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Repost: How To Not Get Killed In a Riot

 In light of the rioting in Ferguson MO after the grand jury failed to indite the officer in the shooting of Michael Brown it seems like a good time to recycle this post. So here we go......

I have posted a bunch of videos of the LA Riots and talked a bit about how to be safe in a vehicle. Here are some thoughts on how to survive a riot. Check out this article and this for background. To be blunt riots tend to occur in urban areas with high percentages of lower income people. Riots happen in or near the Ghetto. Think I am being judgmental? When there is a riot in Beverly Hills I will formally apologize to everyone. Of course someone will invariably mention that there are no riots in Wyoming or something like that. While that is true lots of folks are in places with higher then desired riot potential because of work, family, a home they can't sell, etc. I am mainly speaking about dealing with a riot in the area where you live.

The biggest thing is to be aware of what is going on. Watch the local news or listen to local radio shows that have some news, reading a local paper is another alternative. We don't get networks ( dish network) so I listen to local radio show in the morning on my way to and from work. If nothing else just having the radio on a local station is a good idea. If things go completely nuts most stations will give out warning and such. Reginald Denny definitely would not have taken that route if he knew what was going on. Hindsight being 20/20 taking a sick day (even without pay) would have been a good idea. [Updated 1/25/14 to include: for a sick day go with something embarrassing and gross. Explosive diarrhea is a good one.]

Another cautionary tale. A guy I know was driving across the country from Oregon to Ft. Benning during the LA riots. His car didn't have a radio so he listened to The Clash on a boombox the whole time. He pulled into Atlanta to sleep for the night. Luckily nothing happened but he was completely clueless to the rioting in Atlanta. The 1911 under his seat would probably have been sufficient but had he been informed discretion would have been the better part of valor and he would have been wise to take an alternate route.

Now that we have spoken about staying informed the simple and logical reaction to a riot in your area is to leave. If you watch the news for powderkeg situations (cops using arguably excessive force on a minority seems to be the biggest one here) there should be some warning. Throw everything irreplaceable and high value compact items into the car and go somewhere else for a few days. Unless your livelihood and life savings is in a store I would get the heck out. This is not quite as much of a BS non answer as telling you to live in Wyoming. For whatever reason lets say that things happen so fast leaving isn't an option.

Here is what to do to be prepared for a riot in the Ghetto where you live. This is what you need to get ready now. Most of this stuff is pretty basic for anyone who spends much time on this site or others like it.

1. Have enough food and water to stay in your residence for at least a week, two is better. Most riots don't last that long but lets play it safe. Having a plan for cooking and sanitation if the power goes out is also a good idea. A radio which works when the electric is off would be a good idea. Options are numerous but picking up a couple extra sets of batteries for the cheap boom box that seems to live in every home would be a simple solution. At least one fire extinguisher is essential, two is better.

The great thing about this is that you now have the basis for dealing with natural disasters, blackouts, winter storms, or whatever else comes along. Some stuff is different for every scenario but regardless of what is happening you will need to drink water, eat food, go to the bathroom and stay informed as much as possible. Our basic life needs stay the same no matter what is going on.

2. Have a plan for getting yourself (and all loved ones) home that keeps you off public transportation and main roads. Have plans to stay away from choke points and such. Obviously children under a certain age will need to be picked up from child care or school. Depending on the circumstances kids 16 and over might be able to get themselves home. Route planning and maybe some sort of a GHB would be a good idea. At absolute minimum for a short trip home comfortable clothes, walking shoes and a bottle of water are a good idea. If work requires you to wear something else just stash some stuff in your car or at work. I could write a whole lot more about this subject also.

Getting home and the plan to do so is probably the piece of this whole thing that will change the most for different scenarios. In any case having comfortable seasonally appropriate clothes, walking shoes/ boots, some water and a snack is a pretty darn good start.

3. Have a reasonable stash of defensive firearms and ammunition. This is not the place for me to write 1,000 words about guns so I will sum it up. Have at least a centerfire pistol and a repeating shotgun with a couple hundred rounds of ammo for each. A basic four (shotgun, centerfire rifle, centerfire pistol, .22) would be better. Every competent adult having a pistol and a long gun would be the best scenario. Unless your kids are old enough to handle firearms in a crisis (far different than plinking with the .22) this would just mean picking up a spare pistol [to make logistics and compatibility easier stick with one caliber of wheelguns (example .38/.357, etc) or one model of auto's(1911, Glock 19, etc all)].

Having some defensive firearms is essential for hurricanes, riots and such is essential. Even for a blackout having some guns is comforting as the peaceable fabric of society gets stretched a little bit. Get some guns and a reasonable stash of ammo is just good advice for life.

Now that you've got chow, a plan to get home from work and weapons to defend yourselves once you get there, that is a great start. Here is what to do a day or so after some cops beat or kill a guy and people get all mad then proceed to hurt, rob, burn and rape the heck out of their own neighborhood which you happen to live in or around. Things are going nuts in your immediate area and it is too late to leave.

1. If you are at home with your loved ones stay there. Call in to work and say whatever you need to; the bottom line is that you aren't coming in until things cool down. If you and all your loved ones are not home then do the following:

A) Tell the boss you need to get home. Help batten down the hatches at work but get out of there pretty quickly. If your boss is such an a hole that he wants to keep the store/ office open when you can hear gunshots and see fire then flip him the bird and walk out.

B) If you have kids beat feet (or whatever else the plan is) to them and then strait home.


Now you are home so more then half the battle is won. Here is where there are two options depending on your scenario.

2. If teaming up with some neighbors (Korean merchants and the You loot we shoot guys come to mind) for localized (think very small scale on this one) security is possible that would be a good course of action. You and a couple neighbors are not going to be able to win a fight with every looting a hole. However if they see guys with rifles and shotguns on the roofs on the western side of the street and no one with guns on the eastern side of the street where do you think they will go?

2B.Your neighbors are hiding in their closets in the fetal position or are out burning down liquor stores. In any case you are on your own. Broadly speaking you are in a house/ duplex or an apartment.

If you are in a house/ duplex either sit on the porch with a shotgun in your lap or stay inside with the blinds down. If people are mainly just looting being on the porch with a glass of ice tea and a pump shotgun will dissuade them from coming in your yard. That being said if the crowd is intent on committing violence to whatever race you happen to be (usually this is white people or whatever the minority in the neighborhood is, Koreans were also targeted in the LA Riots) then stay inside. Maybe keep a sign like this in the garage to put out front.

If you are in an apartment and the neighbors are not capable or willing to help then stay the heck inside. There are too many ways someone could easily get up close to you and too many people (neighbors) have the right to be walking around for you to stand around and try to defend the place. Hopefully you do not live on the first floor. Looking out the window through a lifted mini blind while playing spades with your significant other is probably the best thing you can do. Having something to bar the door that can be readily moved should you need to would be a good idea.

3. Now that you are home and more or less safe STAY THERE. You have food, water and life's other essentials so don't frickin leave. It is boring and mundane but you are safer then anywhere in the immediate area. STAY PUT. If you smoke keep a carton in the house. If you drink (drinking to any excess would be a very poor idea in this situation) then keep some around. Whatever stuff you would leave home in search of have a few spares at home.

To the best of my knowledge most people who have got into problems in riots were out and about. IMHO aside from being at a family members house or a motel 300 miles away watching the neighborhood burn on TV the safest place you can be is your residence. The only reason I would leave my residence in a riot is if it was on fire. If someone was moving toward my residence with the clear intent to set it on fire (ie Molotov cocktail, etc) they would die of acute lead poisoning.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Tueler Drill Revisited and AMERC's Thought on Condition Three Carry

AMERC talks the Tueler Drill. I spoke about the Tueler Drill and it's various associated misconceptions some time ago. To rehash the major take away is not knife vs gun but action vs reaction. Before getting to the main point of condition three (empty chamber, loaded mag) carry we should hit a key point. At the initial jump action has an advantage, every single time. There is a reason the person who swings first wins the majority, probably the vast majority, of fights.

The way around this is to use your understanding of the dynamics of personal violence and crime to act appropriately. This is, within reason, probably more important than sheer draw (or whatever other movement) speed. Let me explain with a hypothetical scenario as fought through by two people.

Scenario: Walking out of a grocery store at 10pm on a week night. In the dark parking lot two individuals approach you and go for the classic talk to close distance 'can I bum a light/ get a jump, etc all'. They intend to rob you and are armed.

[I made them both LEO's not because it really matters but to even out the potential argument that a cop will act more aggressively since they are dripping qualified immunity. Just makes for an easier scenario to explain Old Guy's situational awareness without the immunity argument.]

Timmy Tactical is a young LEO in his mid to late 20's and a competitive shooter. He is in good shape and works out regularly. He is part of the small departments part time SWAT team and goes to a variety of different shooting/ tactical type classes for work and on his own time. Timmy carries a Glock 23 off duty and can draw it from concealment (Kydex IWB holster with open cover garment) in 1.7 seconds.

Bob is an older LEO. He started in patrol, spent a few years doing drug stuff then went to robbery. Bob is now in the last couple years of his career training young officers in the finer points of filling out various administrative documents. It is a simple job and he likes it that way. Bob has never been a big shooter. He goes to the range bi monthly at work and once or twice a year with his now young adult children. Bob has a bad back and knee from various injuries which are compounded by being 50 pounds overweight. Bob carries a Model 60 stainless steel S&W J Frame .357 in a pocket holster. During the summer that holster goes in his Levi's pocket and in the fall/ winter in the pocket of his jacket. His draws are in the 4 second range.

Let us run Timmy Tactical through this scenario. Timmy might or might not see what is happening and the bad guys might or might not peg him for having a piece or being a cop. However since Timmy is thinking more about the girl he met the other night and his new copy of "Sh&t to Bolt on a Piccany Rail Magazine" than the parking lot lets say the robbery goes down. Around cigarette time Timmy draws. It was touch and go but the guys ran instead of getting into a fight.

Bob has all the usual thoughts but is pretty decent at shutting the off during more dangerous times like moving from a store to his truck in a dark parking lot at night. When he sees the two guys 50 feet away Bobs hand went into his jacket. He didn't know these guys but knew enough like them to have a fair guess what might be happening. Thirty feet away Bobs hand came out of his pocket with the .357. Suddenly our two bad guys had something else to do.

The point I am trying to make is that despite Timmy being able to draw a full 1.3 seconds faster than Bob, that Bob drew 5 seconds earlier meant he was in a much better place and avoided a fight all together. One could argue a weekend worth of South Narc combined with a little bit of research on criminal behavior in your AO and paying attention are more important than pure gun handling.

To speak tacticool if you PWN Observe, Orient and Decide you have a lot of space to develop the Act part. Conversely all the Act in the world will not make up for waiting too long to get going. 

So I do agree that situational awareness is, within reason, more important than the specific gun you are carrying or the holster it is in.

Now to the discussion of not chambering a round in your handgun. Here are some of AMERC's thoughts, and here are some more

Without arguing we can look at two facts of empty chamber carry that are both negative:
-Your time to draw and prepare to fire the weapon WILL BE SLOWER. Simply put you are adding an additional movement at some point between grasping the firearm and being ready to fire. Adding the additional movement of racking the slide to the draw means it will take more time than simply drawing the firearm.

-Second and more concerning to me you need two hands to rack the slide of a firearm. Carrying a handgun loaded and ready to go you could in theory have one hand occupied but still draw and employ your firearm. Carrying a semi loaded firearm you need two hands to get it into play. Sure one can try to snag the sight on a belt or something and rack it one handed but A) that is a fairly advanced maneuver designed as a last ditch option and B) it is still another motion. [Additionally there is the subjective C) that the population carrying a handgun without a round in the chamber are probably not the kind who will get special higher metal sights put on their handgun and practice the ole snag the slide to rack the slide thing a lot.]

On the subjective side I will humbly submit that if there is a well recognized legitimate defensive firearm instructor of the .mil/ LEO or serious (vs mandatory CCW class type stuff) defensive instructor who recommends carrying your handgun with an empty chamber I have not heard of them.

My opinion is that as a general rule if you are not comfortable carrying a pistol with a round in the chamber you either need to get a different gun, a different holster or some training (or maybe all 3). Some folks psychologically need a physically accessible safety to be comfortable actually carrying their gun loaded. If that is what folks like then I say rock on.

To combat the finger F then the gun goes boom problem I would get a holster with positive retention (thumb strap most likely, you can get them on IWB holsters) then keep the gun in it. Take the gun off, in its holster then put it away. Take it out, put it on and repeat as needed.

The exception I can see to this is some sort of carry where the trigger is arguably exposed, either to being obstructed or unintentionally touched. The odd time you end up slipping a handgun into a back pocket or off body carry like a backpack is what I am thinking about. With anything short of a DA revolver, which ain't gonna fire by accident, I would keep the chamber empty for these odd events.

Additionally the defensive weapons I store ready to go do not have their chambers loaded. My G19 sits on a shelf in the Home Defender. Since it wouldn't work to keep it in the holster I have chosen there I keep the chamber empty. When I take it out I rack the slide and either go check on whatever or put it in the holster. Honestly of I need that extra quarter second in the bedroom I'm probably hosed anyway.

So that is what I think of that. Thoughts?

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Managing Unknown Contacts by Southnarc

Hat tip to Defensive Training Group for finding this gem. Southnarc AKA Craig is one of the foremost experts  on the dynamics of inter personal criminal violence and definitely the foremost trainer on handling real up close personal violence. I am not saying there aren't some grizzled cops in Phoenix, Houston, LA, etc who do not have the same knowledge but they are not out teaching it to normal citizens.

Like many of you I have a list of classes to take. Mine is:pistol class, advanced pistol class, shotgun class, maybe a good precision rifle class and Southnarc's ECQC. You might note that ECQC is the only class specifically listed. The reason is that while I am truly picky about instructors (if my bad ass bio is better than theirs I pass) there are lots of great people out there doing the rest of that stuff.

Anyway the techniques laid out in this article are an excellent way to frame situations to prevent violence from occuring in the first place or at least set conditions to win.

I should note this stuff meshes pretty heavily with Street Robberies and You.

Would add stuff personally but Craig hits the nail strait on the head.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Two Men Use Girl As Human Shield — Until Her Father Guns Them Down

A St. Louis couple is likely thankful to have guns in their home after they were forced to use them to defend their daughter against two men Monday night......

Read the rest here. 

Thank goodness the decent folks came out on top. I a not sure if they were prepared or lucky but it is  a harsh reminder for the rest of us. If you don't carry a gun at home there had better be one pretty darn handy. An unloaded gun in a big combination lock safe ain't gonna cut it. Figure out a plan that will work for you that balances speed of access with security (a particular concern if small children are in the house) and is realistic for your budged AND IMPLEMENT IT!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Five Rounds Enough for Concealed Carry?

I once quoted James Yeager saying "The definition of an optimist is a guy with a J frame and a speed strip." Like many quotes my goal was more to provoke thought than say something is good or bad.

We can quote cases such as the 1986 Miami shoot out or stuff from FerFal that show the weakness of lower capacity firearms. I would discount the Miami case because I am not an LEO pursuing dangerous criminals. If I was I would relegate a J frame, if carried at all, to a back up. As to the FerFal stuff that is Buenos Aries not Peduke, Iowa or in my case western central Louisiana.

Most of the time I carry some sort of a Glock 9mm with a spare mag. About a third of the time the pistol I carry is my little J frame with a pair of speed strips. Distance being traveled, events being attended, perceived level of risk and my level of laziness really dictate the choice.

Do I feel well armed with a J frame? Honestly I do not. Then again the risk in my sleepy little town is low. My odds leaving the hardware store at noon or a restaurant at 7 of getting into something are tiny. The kind of situations I might get into (strong arm robbery, just caught in the middle of something, etc) are the type that any centerfire handgun is capable of handling. So when I go to get a gallon of milk and slip the .38 into my back pocket I feel adequately, if not particularly well, armed.


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

White Knight Syndrome

Truth by James Yeager. You might not agree with everything he says but the man is dead on about this one. Personally I have thought a lot about the actual situations where I would intervene/ get involved with violent (or potentially so) situations that did not involve me. Admittedly as the years have gone by I have gotten older and wiser about this topic. Honestly the times I would get involved are pretty narrowly defined and vastly outnumbered by 'not my problem'.

If White Trash (I say as the most likely cultural group I would encounter in this context, not an insult. Pot says to kettle.) Joe is slapping around White trash Betty May  who is a stranger to me that is not my problem. If Betty May is my family member or good friend it is probably going to be Joe's problem but that is a whole nother discussion. The truth of those situations, from watching years of Cops, is that you are more likely to end up fighting both of them then save this gal or whatever.

Honestly if strangers are doing whatever sort of madness to each other and life/ limb/ eyesight are not genuinely in danger I sort of figure it's not my problem.

In a clear cut situation (ex random guy tries to grab old lady's purse in a parking lot, meth maggots assaulting a school girl a la Training Day, etc) I am more likely to get involved that some sort of DV or mutual combat situation. Then again I guess even that is scenario based.

If I'm walking around with 2 buddies who are also armed I'm going to get involved, we've got that purse snatchers number. If I'm alone I still really like my odds and will probably help Granny out.  On the other hand if I'm alone coming out of a store holding an upset/ tired/ sick/ whatever 3 year old in my left arm whilst wrangling a cart full of whatever that also holds my baby daughter the idea of getting involved in any fight I'm not forced into is a hard sell. Personally I consider any  potential risk to my loved ones as far more important than some random person. I'd see Granny in the dirt before risking my kids getting hurt. That is harsh and not nice to say but absolutely 100% true.

I don't mean to be uncaring here, nor that I do not value human life. If I can realistically help somebody without undue risk to my loved ones I would do so. True story... a few years ago in a shopping complex where my little sister used to work a woman was randomly murdered by a transient type guy. Just a normal gal doing some shopping or getting lunch and some asshat attacked her. He probably had a knife but I honestly do not recall. Anyway a bunch of people watched this goblin kill that poor gal. Ryan don't play that. At that point in life I was not legally able to carry a gun but I'd have stopped that guy or died trying. Knife (mine), improvised weapon like a metal chair or my bare hands there is no way I'm going to watch some monster butcher a person. The only way I wouldn't get involved is if I was A) alone with my children. Usually Wifey is with us and she could thus take them speedily in opposite direction while I go do what must be done AND B) I was not carrying a firearm.

[Admittedly a strait up lethal force situation is easier to deal with given that realistically my kids would be there. I say this because I'd tell crazy murderous transient to "stop or I will shoot you" then do precisely that. The odds of risk to my children, sitting in the grocery cart, when I am between them and knife wielding psycho and engage him while holding a pistol at the high ready are pretty darn low. The Tueler Drill goes out the window if the gun is already aimed and the shooter is willing to immediately open fire.]

Anyway as a person who may potentially (you bloody better) choose to carry deadly weapons I urge you to think about the situations where you might choose to get involved in a violent or potentially violent encounter. Consider the legal as well as social/ moral angles. Think about this now before you might have to make a split second decision that could change your life. Do the right thing for your family, yourself and strangers in that order.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Tab Clearing

I prefer rifles to shotguns but for those looking to defend home and hearth on a budget the pump shotgun (Rem 870 or Moss 500) is a capable weapon at an awesome value. Inside the house a $400 shotgun is almost as capable as a $1,200 AR. Given that shotgun fights do not last long I would be quite comfortable with the more affordable option.

Street Robberies and you is a pretty interesting post over at ARF. Of course we do not KNOW the author but it rings of truth to me. My thoughts: Making eye contact is significant. First it shows you are aware of the person, second that you could probably identify them. Third like the article says you can show you have a gun in a way that probably (I'm not a lawyer, blah, blah, blah) does not cross into brandishing territory but gets the point across. The universal hand on the gun under clothing is a pretty solid "you don't want to mess with me, I'm packing" indicator. If you do those 2 things the odds somebody is going to attack you unless they know/ believe strongly you have something really good to take (lots of cash, drugs, etc) drop to about nil. Good for a read and some thought anyway.

Along those lines take the damn ear buds out of your ears and put your blankety blankets smart phone away whilst you are walking and driving. Also pay attention to what is happening around you and pack a heater.

Bayou Renaissance Man replied to my recent Bugging Out Revisited post that this article at his place may be of interest.Good stuff worth reading.

Lastly 6 Abandoned Sites that would make Great Supervillan Lair's.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Man Points Gun At Carjackers Head

Here is a hint. Avoid carjacking large men wearing Carharts. Doubly so if they have crazy facial hair. Gun or no gun it probably isn't going to be easy.
Seriously, who picks this guy to mess with?  Read the story here.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Wandering man with Alzheimer's shot, killed in Walker County

Tam brings us this sad story full of lessons. Point by point.

Disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer, cop or self identified expert. The purpose of this blog as well as the post you are reading is to give you some things to think about while being entertaining. You are an adult and thus responsible for your own actions. Understand your local laws and consult experts as needed to get quality advice don't just run with the ideas of some yahoo on the internet. 

1- Low/ no light situations. For whatever reason self defense situations happen predominantly in no/ low light situations. Knowing this we need to be prepared to fight at night. In all but the most permissive environments you legally and ethically must identify a target before firing. Heck, taking a step back you need to see a person to know if they are actually a threat. The Goblin with a butcher knife in your imagination could turn out to be an elderly man carrying somebody's mail. The only way to know for sure is to see the person.

Obviously the way to see in the dark is some sort of light. I like weapon mounted lights for shooting. It is impolite and dangerous to go around pointing guns all over the place so I like handheld lights for looking around. Tactics could vary here and honestly I'm more concerned that you have a darn light then exactly what type of light it is. You don't have to break the bank to get a 3,000 lumen surefire made of adimantium a $5 plastic hardware store flashlight beats no light at all.

Some folks have talked about weapon mounted lights (and lights in general) saying you are identifying yourself so it is poor tactics. These folks fail to realize 2 key things. First you can have a light and not use it if the situation dictates; that being said if you do not have a light and the situation dictates using one you're SOL. Second as discussed previously in all but the most kinetic environment outside of a population center you need to identify targets before shooting. If I light somebody up and they are c

The endstate is that if you have a gun in the dark for self defense you should have a way to see what you might be shooting at. I strongly suspect the vast majority of self defense shooting tragedies are caused by failure to use a white light to identify a target before firing.

2- Staying Inside. Tam's advice to stay the heck inside and let the cops deal with the crazy guy in the yard is sound. A persons legal footing for self defense is a lot better if the recipient of the lead has forced their way into said person's home. You don't hear too often about people getting into trouble for shooting the guy who broke into their house.

Personally I am inclined to go investigate the weird noise outside myself. The reason for this is that almost all the time it is the neighbors cat or a tree branch or the wind blowing stuff over. If I called the coppers every time that happened I'd have to deal with them a lot and it would turn into a boy who cried wolf situation. Potentially like the scenario that spurred this discussion I could end up in a confrontation outside of my home. The big difference would be I'd have 2 tools to decide if there was a threat and thus whether my heater was needed. In any case I am going to give that plan some thought. It might not be the best course of action.

3- Sort of like Tam said it is good to think about these things now so we have answers in our heads at 3am when awoken by a weird noise. If I KNEW somebody was outside in the yard or whatever doing something crazy I would not go out there. I would arm myself (if I hadn't already) then wait for the cops to deal with it.

4- It would be hard in my mind to justify shooting somebody I didn't KNOW was a legitimate threat. Not "they kept walking towards me" but "they kept walking towards me with a butcher knife in the universal stabbing position" type thing. Even if you can legally justify shooting somebody you will have to live with yourself. This means blasting a mental patient or whatever is not the best course of action. Avoiding the confrontation (do you see a theme here?) is the way to go. I don't worry excessively about the 'they kept advancing but were not clearly a lethal threat' scenario. Though it does bear consideration so maybe some sort of less lethal implement like a big can of mace or a baton would be handy there.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

RE: 3 Guns For Every Prepper To Consider

Another excellent video by Maine Prepper. I think looking at characteristics vs specific weapons makes a lot of sense. A Glock 9mm (G 19 mags 10 for $250!!!) is great and so is an M&P .45acp or a Sig .40. Ditto for an AR-15 in the much disputed 5.56, a classic AK-47 or a big ole PTR-91 in the mighty 7.62x51 which kills elephants through it's powerful death beam if the round flies within 4 feet of the multi ton beast.

That you should have a purpose built semi automatic magazine fed rifle vs a hunting or old milsurp type rifle for defense is valid. The sole valid reason I can see for not taking this course of action is if you simply cannot afford modern defensive weapons and need to rely on basic guns. A guy with this sort of rifle is going to lean heavily on his pump shotgun (250 rounds of 12 gauge 00 buck for $125)

I fundamentally disagree with the approach listed in the video that you should buy a magazine fed rifle, a pump shotgun then a semi automatic mag fed pistol. To his credit Maine Prepper says you need to worry about the specifics of your scenario as well as scenarios you might envision. That valid point aside a semi automatic rifle is by far the most expensive rifle to purchase and equip of the three. Also they are not concealable and are a one trick pony. Granted it is a good trick but there is still a lack of versatility and concealability. These factors make makes me think most people would, albeit temporarily till they can save some more funds, be far better off with a nice handgun like a Glock 19 and a pump shotgun than a rifle like an AR-15. To me that two gun combo is going to fare better over a variety of different scenarios than one single rifle. Granted you should get all three as soon as it is practical.

Anyway those are my thoughts. Hope you enjoy the video.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Real World Defensive Considerations

Spent some time with a career cop turned private investigator recently. Learned a few interesting things.

-Criminals choose targets for 3 reasons: High payoff, soft target and personal reasons.

High Payoff is pretty easy. Typically it means they know (or think they know) the target has drugs, jewelry, money, guns or other readily transferable compact high value items.

Soft targets are generally pretty simple also. The house where they do not have a fence, a big dog, an alarm system, etc is easier to break into than most. A staggering drunk is easy to rob. Some targets are almost too good to turn down.

Also soft targets sort of include the subset of "Targets of Opportunity." These are different from the soft target in that the situation is usually temporary and random thus unlikely to be observed and targeted as part of some criminal operational cycle. Wrong place, wrong time if you will. An example for this might be a woman who stayed in a local hotel and went running very early that happened to end up in a bad neighborhood then had the further bad luck to cross paths with a rapist. The odds of that situation occurring again are tiny but it happened.

Personal reasons are sort of nebulous. However I suspect that as a rule normal well adjusted people harm their acquaintances, friends and family at a much lower percentages than career criminals, gang members and (hard) drug users. While people of all lifestyles do in fact harm each other the odds of a crack party going bad are far higher than somebody ending up dead at a church banquet. Something to think about.

There was a very good reminder to lock your darn doors. Sparing the bad stories sometimes the reason house B and it's residents are attacked instead of house A is that A's door was locked and B's was open.

Hope this give you a few things to think about. 

Monday, July 1, 2013

George Zimmerman Trial Continued

Aesop said...
The "created a situation" statement is the leaping assumption against facts not in evidence. Carrying a weapon legally is not "creating a situation". Neither is walking the streets of your neighborhood, and calling the police about problems about once a month, judging by actual evidence regarding Zimmerman given at trial.
SD3 said
"George Zimmerman created a situation...where somebody ended up dead."
Ryan, I sincerely don't mean any disrespect, but how could anyone read that statement &; not understand that you have arrived at your conclusion?
This is no different than saying the 'hottie' in the mini-skirt created a situation where ended up raped.
My Response: Gentlemen, Since it came up a few times I figured a response was worthwhile. It gets into the area of Monday morning quarterbacking but here we go. 

I intentionally said "created a situation" not "started a fight". If George Zimmerman did not take it upon himself to follow Trayvon Martin both of them would still be alive. I did not say George Zimmerman's actions (prior to the fight) were illegal, immoral or unethical, they were none of those things. However they were really, really stupid. Zimmerman was asking for a confrontation of some sort. [Heck if some guy started following me I would engage him (albeit not with immediate violence) to figure out what the deal was, from there the situation could theoretically go sideways.] I do not think there is a single cop or expert anywhere who would have said what George Zimmerman did was smart. It is worth noting that thankfully at this time doing stupid things is not in and of itself illegal.

While I do have an opinion it is not 'set' and could be changed by compelling new information. As to my opinion based on my understanding of the case now. George Zimmerman was stupid in creating a situation that was ripe for a confrontation. Trayvon Martin seems to have turned that confrontation into a fight quite successfully until Zimmerman shot him. To what degree Zimmerman's actions prior to the fight can affect whether this incident falls into the realm of self defense or manslaughter I am not a lawyer or familiar with Florida law so cannot say. In my non lawyer mind George Zimmerman's foolish actions were so integral to the situation that it gives me second thought as to whether self defense applies here.

Snoop's comment "This is no different than saying the 'hottie' in the mini-skirt created a situation where ended up raped." deserves a reply of it's own. Aside from being provocative and offensive to some I think the degree to which the victims actions were related to the end result in this example is out of whack with the Zimmerman/ Martin affair. Maybe saying "A hottie in a mini skirt at the bar created a situation that ended up where Bozo the Frat Guy loudly said she had a nice butt and that he wanted to Blip her Blop" would be closer. Also we need to note that after the offense the victim acted in a way that is arguably criminal. This is what we have to square up, the reaction to the offense if you will. Up to the point where George Zimmerman was getting whipped on and Mrs Mini Skirt was being harassed they are both clearly the victims. We know what happened in the Zimmerman/ Martin affair. Lets say Mrs Mini Skirt slaps Bozo in the face just as a cop walked into the bar. (Now it is unlikely she would be detained let alone charged but you know where I am going) The question at hand is about how these individuals actions related to the offense and then their subsequent reaction. If that is confusing you read it right. 

I do not think victims of assault (sexual or otherwise) ever "deserve" what is done to them. However taking a step back victims can certainly do things which make them more or less of a target. Coming back to your analogy of the girl with the short skirt. Lets say that girl has a dozen tequila shots, loses contact with her friends, meets some guy just before the bar closes and heads to an after party with this total stranger. They have a few more drinks then head to his apartment. Something bad happens. Does she "deserve" it of course not. Should the A Hole be punished to the full extent of the law, of course. However can we honestly say this girl did not make choices that put her in a terrible situation? Taking a step back from sex crimes let us look at it another way.

A guy is on a long multi state drive and needs to pull over for a bit since it is very late at night. The turn off he randomly takes happens to be right in a terrible neighborhood, like projects and crack dealers kind of terrible. The guy finds an all night store and parks his Porche 911 outside. He needs some cash so heads to the ATM to pull the limit out with 3-4 cards, a bit over a grand total. Since he is tired he grabs some coffee and snacks. The guy then stands by his car stretching and drinking the coffee for awhile. Something bad happens. Did this guy deserve to be robbed and hurt, of course not. Was he an idiot who put himself in a bad situation, absolutely. Make sense?

Anyway those are my thoughts on that. We may still disagree but I hope this brings some insight to my thinking. 

Sunday, June 30, 2013

The George Zimmerman Trial

I have been loosely following this spectacle. It has been pretty interesting so far. Of course I have some thoughts. As AM said the charges were clearly motivated not by belief of guilt or the ability to get a conviction but by political considerations.

Prosecutors almost universally have very high conviction rates. One could argue something about the injustices and biases in the criminal justice system which has some merit. However the larger issue is that individuals involved in the "system" (at all levels) do not put forth effort unless they believe it will result in a conviction. Trials, especially major ones, are a hassle and expensive. Sometimes this means people get off free, for that round anyway, because a conviction is not likely. That is unless politics/ public relations get involved. A case like the Zimmerman/ Martin affair spins up huge media hysteria which puts presume (probably from very high levels) onto ambitious political individuals. Moving on.

I am not a lawyer but it seems like Murder 2 was an over reach. That decision was probably political also. From the information I have this scenario seems to lie in the murky area between legal self defense and manslaughter. George Zimmerman created a situation, though not intentionally, where somebody ended up dead. In my mind that is almost the exact definition of manslaughter. That being said Zimmerman almost surely did not initiate the physical confrontation and probably had a reasonable belief his life was in danger at that time. The facts of the case as I know them could be seen as "reasonable doubt". Also it seems that in Florida if the idea of self defense is introduced the burden of proof for disproving the claim lies on the prosecution.

It should be interesting to see how this all plays out. This could get ugly. To put the potential into perspective Rodney King got his ass beat yet lived and LA burned. Trayvon Martin was, at least legally, a child and we have twitter, facebook and cell phoned for people to whip up hysteria and mobalize. This could get really bad.

People who live or work in the type of area where "urban youths" break things, start fires, steal and attack those who do not look like them when there is an injustice (real or perceived) to the Black community should be paying very close attention. You might want to get a bit ahead on work as this gets closer the verdict. That way if this goes to a mis trial or acquittal you will not fall too far behind by calling in sick for a couple days. For what it's worth I recommend claiming explosive diarrhea. It is gross so people do not want to ask about it also it is embarrassing so people figure a person will not lie about it.

What do you think about the while Zimmerman/ Martin affair? What do you think about the trial?

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Kung Fu Fighting

The topic of hand to hand fighting has come up recently and while my thoughts are already recorded for posterity somewhere in the archives it is a good time to revisit the topic.
Everyone needs to be competent at hand to hand fighting in order to prevent people from beating the hell out of you and to be able to beat the hell out of people if you need to. “Well I carry a gun” doesn’t get you off. In reality you can’t keep every person 30 feet away and live a normal life. Threats can appear quickly and at close range. Even if you are carrying if an aggressive panhandler or strong arm robber is 3 feet away you are in a hand to hand fight.
Furthermore as a dude, and particularly a reasonably healthy one you are going to have a hard time justifying lethal force simply because someone gets too close or grabs you or whatever. If you shoot somebody because they push you or even try to start a fight you will go to jail. Sorry but it is true. (Case in point George Zimmerman) Gals have an easier time here.
One of the stupidest things I have ever heard is “I will fight dirty, breaking fingers and kicking groins” as an excuse to not actually learn to fight. Idiots use that as an excuse (maybe even to their selves) for not actually learning to fight. This is not a viable plan. The reason it is a stupid idea is that in real fights that sort of behavior is pretty much a given so it really isn’t an advantage. A guy who can kick box/ box/ do jui jitsu or whatever and is willing to kick groins and break fingers will win over a less skilled fighter whose only chance is a couple cheap tricks every time.
If I need to make a hard sell of these points just stop reading this post now. Your situational awareness is so great a threat couldn’t possibly get within 10 meters of you and or you are such a finger breaker and groins kicker that the same dirty moves everybody tries will always work for you. I wish you the best of luck.
So you need to learn how to fight. I am not going to say that formal instruction is absolutely necessary. Big strong guys with some “experience” can do quite well unless they meet a big strong guy who can strike or wrestle or a decent sized guy who is good at striking or wrestling. In all seriousness just about everyone benefits from formal instruction as the self taught tend to have some real bad habits that a skilled fighter can take advantage of.
To be a competent well rounded fighter you need to be able to strike and grapple both standing and on the ground. You’ve got to have at least some skills in both to not have huge vulnerabilities. Ideally you will get good at both but if you are hardcore in one you need to at least be able to survive in the other. It doesn’t matter if you are a wrestling/ judo/ jui jitsu fighter if you get the hell beat out of you before you can get your hands on somebody. If you are a competitive kick boxer or boxer at least learn enough grappling to keep folks from taking you down or throwing you and to get back up if it does go to the ground.
There are so many different styles out there. I don’t want to get bogged down going over each one or offend people by suggesting that the style they spent years learning sucks so instead I will talk about a few commonality of effective styles for contemporary self defense. The first is that they focus on realistic techniques for realistic scenarios. Styles that focus on implausible scenarios like jumping spinning high kicks may be fun but can have questionable utility.
Next effective styles practice at close to full speed/ intensity trying to harm people who are trying to harm you. Call it sparing or fighting or whatever. Be very caution with styles that are so deadly you can’t actually spar but instead only practice slowly or with cooperative partners. It is one thing to say it works but it is difficult if not impossible to figure out the kinks, work through issues and develop confidence and muscle memory in a technique without trying it against an uncooperative person who wants to hurt you.
Lastly effective styles tend to compete against other styles in as realistic of competition as possible against other styles. This is probably the biggest and easiest single test of if a style is actually effective or not. Points based sparing with rules that emphasize high kicks and jousting back fists which barely make contact are a nice sport and all but have little to no relationship with actual fighting. For example if I was in a points sparing match with a nimble 105 pound 13 year old kid they would probably win by a series of very pretty but not damaging glancing strikes. However they would last about 7 seconds in an alley. To phrase it another way it doesn’t matter if you are the toughest and most skilled guy in your style if an average redneck in a bar can wipe the floor with you. Think full contact kickboxing and mixed martial arts style competition.
It is worth noting that early on in Ultimate Fighting we had some very good case studies for this before everybody started training in the incredibly effective modern hybrid style we now call MMA. Quite a few black belts in Taekwondo, various styles of Karate (though notably Kempo Karate fared well), kung fu and musho do quai chi got the heck beaten out of them by wrestlers and good old boy golden gloves type boxers.
Now we will talk about physical fitness as it relates to hand to hand fighting. In real fights size and strength (I say size and strength because they are generally related) are an advantage. Of course skill matters more but can only overcome so much. A truly skilled fighter can take amateurs way out of his weight class. Oscar De La Hoya could wipe the floor with a lot of tough 225 pounders. That being said he wouldn’t last long against Lenox Lewis or Tito Ortiz.
Strength lets you hit harder, execute techniques more effectively against an active opponent and resist their techniques more effectively. I am talking about the kind of raw strength that you get from lots and lots of heavy labor (like professional construction or masonry or the like, not doing normal chores on a modern hobby farm which consists of moving a few hay bales and a few buckets of feed a day) or serious time at the weight pile doing big compound movements like bench press, squat, dead lift and power cleans. Strength really helps here. Also if you build enough size and strength it can become a pretty big deterrent and save you trouble.
[Though there is a sort of “I want to fight the biggest guy here” phenomena. For some reason below average sized guys try to fight the biggest dude in the bar or party, often without any provocation. I saw a 6’3” 270 pound mountain of muscle that played college football get into three of these fights in one night for no reason. These little guys were just walking up and punching him in the face. They all ended very quickly and decisively.
I don’t for the life of me understand this. It seems like about the stupidest thing ever to me. It is one thing if circumstances are what they are and you have to fight some huge guy but going out of your way and choosing to do so is just really stupid. More interestingly it is not really strong or skilled 150 pound guys either but random shmoes. I really want to know what these guys are thinking but after they show their selves I haven’t see one in the condition to talk.
Remember; never fight somebody hand to hand who has such a size/ strength advantage that they could go all Lenny on you. +Two extra special bonus points if you get the reference. Seriously if they can play King Kong smash all over then either make friends, stay away, stab them or shoot them. ]
This is incidentally a pretty good litmus test for how realistic/ practical a martial art is. To paraphrase our new friend Mr Mosby “no martial art is going to let a blind 98 pound wheel chair bound grandma beat up a 230 pound power lifting steroid using ex convict” That sort of stuff just doesn’t work in real life. If somebody tries to tell you otherwise either they are knowingly lying or they are an idiot. In either case take your time and money elsewhere.
Conditioning is important for a lot of things but in my personal experience its role in real life H2H fights outside of an organized competitive setting is minimal. I have never personally seen or been in a fight (again outside of a competitive setting) that lasted long enough for conditioning to be a real issue. Of course this does assume that you are an average reasonably healthy person who can walk a few blocks without getting winded. Organized settings are different because both people know they are going to be in a fight, are ready and are theoretically a pretty even match. All these factors make for much longer fights.
So in closing I recommend that you invest some time to learn how to defend yourself and put the time in at the weight pile to build the muscle to be able to apply those skills in real life.
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