I had no idea I was such a badass…

The joys of posting pictures on the Internet is sooner or later someone reuses them for their own purposes.

My friend Ed found this:

That’s a picture of me, shooting at KR Training. I do remember the picture, but I don’t recall the exact circumstances of it. (Updated: now I remember! I was T&E’ing a Wilson Combat Spec-Ops 9…)

I’m not going to link to the page in question (why give them the SEO and traffic?), but you can see it in the address bar of the screenshot. (Updated: while they aren’t hotlinking to the image, they did just download and reupload it with the original filename intact: “WilsonSpecOps-Hsoi.jpg”).

It’s someone reviewing/selling an eBook on how to shoot, and you can tell from the screenshot copy that it’s pretty badass…

Some of the other screenshots? They’re from video games. I will say I’m in good company tho, because they also have a shot of Mike Seeklander (taken from the Cheaper Than Dirt website).

Between me, Mike, and all those video games, the webpage is pretty convincing that this is a solid program. Apparently it has “has an impressive table of contents”. Also, “you are going to discover the tricks and techniques that wil help you own and sway the battle to be in your control so that you won’t have to fear anything that happens when you are schooling your opponents in the art of fighting like a soldier.”

Best of all?

“This book has the potential to help you become the best that there is. This is not a joke. Do not fear that it may be a scam as the author is an expert who knows what he is talking about and you can take his word for it.”

And you can take this website’s word for that. Much credible. Such authority.

I’m not going to get too bent out of shape over it (until I’m given reason to). I just find it funny. Sad, because someone probably did get parted with their money over this, but funny.

Want to attend Paul-E-Palooza 4?

Want to attend Paul-E-Palooza 4?

Want to do it for free?

I can’t help you with the “free” part, but KR Training can cover the cost of the event fee.

Karl’s offering up a scholarship. Click-through and find out how.

As seen in The Tactical Wire

Looks like my series on Minimum Competency for Defensive Pistol got featured in the July 25, 2017 issue of The Tactical Wire.

As well, a nice nod to my two primary mentors, Karl Rehn and Tom Givens.

AAR: Dark Angel Medical, Direct Action Response Training, July 2017

A car wreck doesn’t care about your gender. Severe bleeding doesn’t care about your politics. Falling from a great height disregards ideology. Injury and death can happen to any of us – do you have the medical skills to address it?

One of my goals for 2017 was to get more “other” training, and continuing my education in medical skills was one of those areas. I’ve taken a number of classes from Lone Star Medics and it’s been one of the best things I’ve done. I like to seek out other instructors because there’s great benefit in doing so. Yes, much of the material may be the same, but that’s great! Redundancy fosters learning. You might hear an old thing presented in a new way, or with additional insight. And there can simply be new things to learn. When I saw Dark Angel Medical was coming to Austin to teach their Direct Action Response Training course, I didn’t hesitate to sign up. I have heard many good things about Dark Angel, so I wanted to see what they were about and further my medical knowledge.

Location & Details

The course was held on July 15-16, 2017 at The Range at Austin, a new and rather swanky gun range and training facility. It’s only been open for a short while, and this was my first time visiting the facility. It’s quite nice. Very large, spacious. HUGE showroom, selling a number of high-end firearms (no Hi-Points here), some more obscure/exotic ones as well. Very tactically oriented (vs. field/hunting oriented). Large range area, many lanes. Well lit. Seemed well-ventilated (tho I didn’t go into the range area, I didn’t see smoke or other issues). Very modern facility. Expensive, but nice.

The training there is headed by Jeff Gonzales of Trident Concepts.  Jeff’s a good guy, and we know each other from some past dealings, but haven’t seen each other in a few years. I did manage to catch him the morning of day 2, and it was good to catch up. I’ve long wanted to take some classes from Jeff, but he always taught on the road and rarely in the Austin-area. But now that he’s here, I am going to try to find time to take some stuff from him one of these days.

The class was taught solo by the head of Dark Angel, Kerry “Pocket Doc” Davis. There were 22 students (21 men, 1 woman), many from Austin but others drove in from Dallas, Waco-area, and a couple people came from Florida.

The class is 100% indoors, in classroom. No shooting, no real physicality (you’ll be sitting most of the time). The facility classroom was clean, well-lit, nice big-screen TV for PowerPoint and videos. Each room should have had a whiteboard, but alas ours did not. I did think the room was a little cramped for 22 full-grown adults (the table & chair arrangement, as well as room dimensions), but it wasn’t too bad and we all managed throughout the weekend just fine.

Classes ran 8:30AM to 5:30PM, with about an hour break mid-day for lunch. Given The Range’s location in Austin (very close to Southpark Meadows), there’s a good deal of dining options for lunch within a very short drive. Or just bring your lunch (like I did) and spend time perusing the showroom floor looking at all the $3000 AR’s and 1911’s that you can’t afford. 🙂  (that said, I did get to look a little more at the SIG 320; such a tempting platform).

Class Itself

Again, this course is 100% classroom. You might consider it “death by PowerPoint”, but that’s not really bad. Kerry doesn’t just read from the slides – they are supporting material. But note, that is what the majority of what D.A.R.T. is: information. From their website:

Direct Action Response Training fills a niche between military self-aid/buddy care training and civilian EMS training and is geared towards those with little to no medical training or background. It provides the student with critical, need-to-know information, which can be utilized in a myriad of situations and stresses the ‘you don’t know what you don’t know’ principle as well as our own principle of “Simplicity Under Stress”.

[…]

The course covers the following:

Physiological and Psychological reactions to environmental stress
The importance of having the proper Combat Mindset
Basic Anatomy and Physiology of life-sustaining systems
H, A, B, C’s—Hemorrhage, Airway, Breathing and Circulation
Breakdown and usage of Individual Med Kit components
Proper stowage and employment of the IMK
Hands-on application of the IMK
Basic and Advanced Airway management -treating and monitoring tension pneumothorax, sucking chest wound and flail chest
Airway adjunct device placement-Nasopharyngeal Airway
Basic First Aid and Advanced wound care
Application of Bandages and Hemostatic Agents
Application of tourniquets
Recognition and Treatment of various injuries (Gunshot, Laceration, Burn, Airway, Head, Orthopedic, Environmental)
Recognition and treatment of hypovolemic (hemorrhagic) shock
Moving and positioning victims with various injuries
Response to active shooter situation
Proper use of cover and cover vs. concealment
Casualty recovery in an Active Shooter situation
Mass casualty triage procedure
Emergency Medical Dialect/Lingo (911 protocol, cooperation with LE, Fire and EMS and First Responders)

That’s a LOT of material, and sure enough, you are drinking from the firehose. I think that’s actually a benefit of the PowerPoint slides: you are then provided with a printout/booklet of all the slides, which provides a great reference for later to help you remember and refresh yourself on what you learned in class.

All of the above information? Yup, it’s covered. And while for sure the class was full of “gun people” and held at a gun range, in no way is the class a “gun class”. It was a medical class. Kerry worked well at shaping the information towards life in general, because people tend to encounter life more often than being the victim of violent crime. Car wrecks, falling off ladders, or as much as I hate to say it but these days terrorist attacks. This is a medical class.

All of Day 1 and the first part of Day 2 are just going through the information. There’s a lot, but it’s presented well. Kerry makes the learning fun and works to help retention. For example, providing memory aids (H.A.B.C.D.E.); repeating and reviewing previously covered material as the class goes along (building); and working to provide information to more deeply understand what’s going on, but not getting so deep as to be overwhelming (no going down rabbit holes).

The second part of Day 2 then has some hands-on. Kerry demonstrates some things. The class gets up and rotates between various stations to get some hands-on with various types of equipment. Then a couple short scenarios are done to try putting everything to use.

One thing that ran through the whole class was working on the rapid application of tourniquets. Each student was given a TQ, taught how to use it as the first agenda item. Then throughout class and random times, Kerry would yell out “right arm” or “left leg” and we would have to apply the TQ to that body part, correctly, and as quickly as possible.

My Take-Home

Bottom line: I’m overall happy with the course. I am happy to have spent my weekend and my money taking this course. Yes, a lot of the material was things I already knew, but I enjoy that because again, redundancy fosters learning. To hear some of the same things presented in a different way? It helped to provide different perspective, but also continue to drive it home without being the same old thing again and again.

I do wish there was more hands-on, as the act of doing is a great reinforcer. Tell us about some skill, show us, have us do it, observe and provide feedback, etc.. Given some of the constraints of the class (so much material to cover and only so much time, student-teacher ratio, the sheer amount of gear that would be required, etc.), I can understand why there wasn’t as much hands-on. And again, some things were done to try to address this, such as repetition, review, quizes – these can help; think of it like visualization and how the brain can’t really tell between you visualizing the thing and actually doing the thing. So it’s still some repetitions, still some reinforcement. But it only goes so far; e.g. carries were presented in the slides, but just discussed – it would have been welcome to actually do the carries.

That said, the constant work with TQ’s I thought was a fair way of working through class on that important skill. If there was time, it’d have been good to do individual checks and feedback on each student’s application. Why? Because I did see people not applying them well. They were more concerned with “making time”, or because of stuff in their pockets might apply the TQ just above the knee instead of “high and tight”. Reps are good, but when people are learning a skill they should get some direct feedback on their application of that skill.

I found this class quite complementary to other training I’ve taken. Much of the same mindset and approach, tho of course each instructor is different. I found some new things, and my mind changed on a few topics as well (I’ll write about that later). And since I know people will ask, what I will say is take all the training you can from all the good trainers you can find. No one has the monopoly on Truth. The more information you can gather, the more exposure you can have, the better. Plus with medical training, it changes rapidly. Given time, budget, and life constraints, consider taking at least 1 course every 1-2 years to keep up with the latest advances and keep your skills and knowledge fresh, and rotate with whom you take the course to maximize your exposure.

I think that was a big help for me. This is not my first such class, and because of the repeated exposure I feel I know the information better, stronger. I feel a greater confidence because of the redundancy.

Kerry came across as knowledgable, passionate, and with a great desire to help people. It was my first time meeting him, and I got to talk with him one-on-one during lunch on Day 1. He seems a solid man, doing good work.

Medical training is important. I know many of my readers are people who carry a gun because they understand the importance of preservation of life. Well, the simple reality is you’re more likely to need medical skills than a gun. I look at my own life and the times I’ve called upon my medical skills vs. the times I’ve called upon a gun. No question that I’ve used my medical skills and knowledge more.

It may not be as fun as throwing thousands of rounds downrange during a carbine course, but there’s also not much that’s going to be as truly useful in your daily life as medical training.

Get some.

Lt. Brian Murphy – the Wisconsin Sikh Temple Shooting

Lt. Brian Murphy was the first police officer to respond to the events at a Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin on August 5, 2012. Lt. Murphy was shot 15 times – twice in the head – but fought on.

I’ve been told that if I ever had a chance to hear him speak I should listen. Well, ProArms Podcast Episode 103 features Lt. Murphy telling his story.

It’s a riveting listen.

A few things I took from it:

  1. There are evil people in this world. Monsters. I already know this, but still people go through this world in denial, and refuse to take steps to be prepared for it. All these people were doing was going to church, and for some reason that we’ll never know, this malevolent monster killed them.
  2. As I’m fond of saying, “when you’re dead, you’re dead; until then, keep fighting”. Lt. Murphy was shot 15 times – just hearing about the first shot that hit him in the head? How he didn’t die from that, how he didn’t have a psychological stop from that? He wasn’t going to quit. He wasn’t dead, so he kept fighting. Mindset. Determination. Have it.
  3. Fighting back matters. In fact, it’s the best thing you can do. Could you die? Perhaps. But then at least you’ve got a chance to live, or help others live. Around 35:00 in the podcast, Lt. Murphy tells of Satwant Singh Kaleka (President of the Gurdwara) who pleaded with the murderer, was shot, but as he was not yet dead drew his kirpan (a small ceremonial knife, not sharp), and started stabbing the monster in the leg. Then he dropped the kirpan and wrapped his hands around the monster’s leg, trying to prevent him from moving. Kaleka fought until he died. And from what Lt. Murphy later tells, Kaleka’s fighting bought time; it delayed this monster from inflicting more evil. It gave the responders more time, and it certainly saved lives (listen to the podcast, you’ll see what I mean).
  4. Time matters. Help may come, but that’s just it – it might come, and if it does come, it’s going to take time for it to get there. Meanwhile, evil continues to rampage. What could have been done to make better use of time? And yes I’ll go there: what if the Sikh were armed? Would the monster have gotten so far? When the monster was visiting the temple performing reconnaissance, if it was evident they were armed would any of this have happened?

About a year ago, Greg Ellifritz attended a different presentation from Lt. Murphy. The ProArms Podcast recording was from an event by the body armor company, so it tells of the story plus the benefits of the body armor (it’s a wee bit of a long commercial). It seems the presentation Ellifritz attended had a different approach, like it was a presentation for police officers. Read Greg’s assessment, including some critical but justified commentary from Greg.

Plain and simple. The world is overwhelming full of good people. But evil does lurk amongst us, and it doesn’t care about you, it doesn’t prescribe to your standards, morals, and ethics. However you choose to face that evil, be accepting of what your choices will bring.

Move fast, shoot slow

Getting something done in less time doesn’t just mean “go faster” – many times it’s about efficiency and economy. Or simply, not wasting time.

A common thing I see in classes is where the students are to do something like: from 3 yards, draw and fire 3 shots in 3 seconds. The buzzer sounds. There’s a pause. Then there’s a mosey to the holster. The gun comes out. Then the student realizes “oh no! I’m almost out of time” and then it’s pedal to the floor and 3 blazing shots, some or all of them unacceptable hits.

What we have here is moving slow and shooting fast, and not being economical with time. That’s not desirable. Whether you’re shooting for competition or self-defense, you want and need to get fast, acceptable hits. What can we do to improve?

First, don’t waste time.

We often say to our students to start moving when you hear the “B” in “Beep” of the timer. The moment it’s go-time, GO! Any time not moving, that’s precious time spent and wasted.

Then when you go… GO! Move move move as fast as you can. Get your hand on that gun and get the gun out of the holster and onto the target quickly. There’s nothing gained by moving slowly here, although you should not move any faster than you can move well (e.g. going too fast, flubbing the draw, etc. is not a recipe for success). And note, this holds always. We know we can shoot faster at 3 yards and we know we need to shoot slower at 25 yards; but the draw? That should be just as fast at either because the drawing has little to do with the shooting – and the less time you spend moving, the more time you have left over for shooting!

As a side note, when you do these “fast” movements, work to be efficient, only doing what you need to do. There’s no need to squat when you draw. There’s no need to bring the head down – just move the arms and bring the gun up to the eye-target line. Working to eliminate any and all unecessary movement and motion may not physically speed things up, but it will cut down on time, energy, and effort spent in ways that will not make you shoot better. These microseconds add up.

Then when it’s time to shoot? Instead of pushing the pedal to the floorboard and going physically faster, likely you need to actually let up a little bit and slow down (tho “slow down” is relative; I may not slow down much, if at all, for a 3 yard shot at an 8″ circle, but I will slow down more for a 3 yard shot on a 2″ dot or a 25 yard shot on an 8″ circle). You need to acquire a proper sight picture. You need to press the trigger without yanking it (and then moving sights off target). Again, don’t shoot any faster than you can actually operate at, to ensure acceptable hits. How fast YOU go vs. how fast I go vs. how fast Jerry Miculek goes, they will vary but we all have the same goal of going as fast as we can while still getting acceptable hits. When you’ve moved faster and more efficiently from the start, you have more time left over to shoot and shoot well.

“Going faster” doesn’t necessarily mean “going faster”. It’s about using your time wisely, efficiently, and knowing that sometimes slowing down gets you there sooner.

I’ve written on this topic a number of times. Take a read for further insights:

 

Teach them not to rape? Water control?

Three teens were arrested for breaking into the home of a young mother in Georgia — where they stunned her with Tasers, scalded her with boiling water and raped her in front of one of her sons, police said.

full story

If you want the full, vile, horrid details of what these animals did, click through and read the full story.

But really, the one sentence is all you need.

Imagine if that young mother was your wife/spouse/girlfriend/partner.

Your daughter.

Your Mother.

You.

What is the solution for such things?

Teach them not to rape?

Boiling water control? Ban water? Ban pots and stoves?

Seriously. I’m seriously wondering.

I’m not saying the answer is “guns”. What I am saying is, evil people will do evil things – they will find a way – don’t underestimate the creativity of people intent on doing evil.

When someone next proposes a way to “stop crime” or “reduce violence”, consider if it will actually do any good – I mean, real good, not just feeling good and “doing something” (or that will only abridge the law-abiding and have zero impact – or even empower – the criminal). I’m only interested in solutions that will actually work.

Minimum Competency for Defensive Pistol – Addressing Assumptions

I’d like to revisit my Minimum Competency for Defensive Pistol series. And just like my “Revisited Again” was inspired by Claude Werner, so too is this revisiting – Addressing Assumptions. As well, it comes from some recent work we’ve been doing at KR Training with curriculum revision.

The original article series was primarily focused around gun and shooting portion of the equation. That was a reasonable focus, but if you look a little deeper into the conclusion you can see there are precursors/prerequisites that are assumed or taken for granted.

This would be things like basic gun manipulations: how to load a gun, how to unload a gun, how to load and unload a magazine (and that it’s a “magazine”, not a “clip”), basic range etiquette, how to practice effectively, how to seek out good training and instruction.

One thing I admire about Claude is how he often focuses and finds ways to work with people in less than ideal circumstances. For example, many gun ranges do not allow people to draw from a holster, or it may be impossible to use a shot timer due to noise levels. Claude often works and formulates curriculum and drills to work within these constraints.

In a recent discussion on minimum competency, Claude structured a drill with a loose structure like:

  • Load 7 rounds into the magazine
  • Load the gun
  • Shoot 6
  • Unload the gun

While at first glance it seems odd to enumerate the steps of loading the magazine, loading the gun, and unloading the gun – and some may desire to gloss over those steps – they’re actually quite an important part of the drill. They are giving the student practice at loading and unloading, they give the instructor a chance to observe the student performing these operations to ensure they are doing it correctly and safely.

When discussing a topic like “minimum competency”, it’s important we mind our assumptions so we do not overlook the complete set of skills necessary for competency.

Summertime Safety Prep

Here in Texas, it’s officially summer.

It’s hot.

It’s sunny.

If you’re going to do some training or practice in self-defense, there’s a couple things of utmost importance for preserving your life and well-being:

  1. Sunscreen
  2. Hydration

Sunscreen

It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, if it’s taking a day-long class at an outdoor gun range or just spending the day outside enjoying the sun.

Wear sunscreen. This can be a spray/lotion/cream product, or just wearing covering (but cool) clothing, brimmed hats, etc. Protect your skin.

I’d like to think most people understand the need for sunscreen (if you don’t, Google is your friend). But I see it time and time again in classes, where people don’t somehow protect themselves from the sun and by mid-day are turning red, and are nice and burned by the end of the day. If you’ve got a 2-day class, day 2 is going to be miserable.

At KR Training we’ve got sunscreen in the bathroom. Use it, please!

I used to wear my short-sleeve shirt and shorts, which is my normal summertime choice. But all day out on the range, with no shade? It just got to be too much for me, even with sunscreen.

Now I keep myself fairly covered. I wear long pants (and recently picked up a pair of Vertx Phantom Ops AirFlow upon recommendation from Caleb Causey; we’ll see how they go). I used to wear an Under Armour long-sleeve shirt underneath my KR Training shirt, but that got too hot. Now I just wear the KRT shirt with a set of Under Armour “sleeves”; I used to think these looked silly, and I still do, but they are a godsend. They keep me covered, and actually help with cooling. The only exposed skin I have are my hands, face, and neck, and I do put a high-SPF, waterproof (sweat) sunscreen on them. My days on the range are much happier this way. Yes I’m covered, but it’s with cool(ing) cover.

Hydration

As Caleb Causey is famous for saying: Drink water!

But really, it’s more than that.

Eat well. Make sure your body is well-nourished. This nourishment should be every day, but sometimes life gets to us. If you know you’re going to be having a day or two of heavy physical activity out in the heat, make the effort to get your body well-nourished starting a couple days before. Like if it’s a weekend class? Start at least come Thursday morning, all day Thursday, all day Friday – and then all day through the classes. Keep your body well-fed.

If you don’t have a specific medical condition that prevents you, you should also not be afraid of taking in some extra salt, both before and during the activity. You will lose a lot of electrolytes through sweat. One thing I like to do? That “Lite Salt”? It’s actually a mix of sodium and potassium. I put about 1/4 tsp. into drinks; not enough that I truly notice a salty flavor, but enough that I get a little extra electrolyte in me — and it’s cheaper than sports drinks.

Drink more than you need. If you’re used to just taking a few gulps? Take a few more. Drink 8 oz? Drink 16. Just drink more, because you are generally fighting a losing battle.

Pay attention to your pee. It should be pretty close to clear (tho truly clear can actually be over-hydration and be diluting electrolytes). A faint yellow or straw color is good. If it’s darker yellow, if it’s brown, drink (more) water. If you’re seeing other colors, you may need medical attention (seriously).

Take care of yourself

You’re coming to the gun range to learn how to protect and preserve your life.

Preserving your life starts with your health.

Protect yourself from the sun. Protect yourself from dehydration. Protect yourself from heat exhaustion and other heat-related injuries. They are common and pretty easily preventable.

You’ll have a much more enjoyable and productive day on the range if you do.

 

ACLDN responds to the NRA

You’ve probably heard the noise about the NRA’s new Carry Guard program.

The roll-out of this program has been controversial, starting a couple months ago when USCCA was suddenly uninvited from the NRA Annual Meeting.

In fact, it’s rather odd when you consider the NRA has long had a training division (see here and here) but that division is sorely absent from their new product. In fact, it appears their new product is a direct competitor with their long-standing product. Huh???

Strange things are afoot at the Circle K.

Marty Hayes of the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network has written an Open Letter to the NRA about this incident.

I agree with Marty.

(Disclosure: I am a member of ACLDN, and have made use of their services; but I am not on their payroll, I receive no compensation or anything from ACLDN other than the services I get by being a paying member).

Marty has also updated his comparison guide, that compares various post-incident suport plans, to include Carry Guard. While the guide certainly promotes ACLDN, I do think it’s a fair and even assessment of the various programs out there because he’s just presenting the simple facts of the programs in a side-by-side comparison article. I think the promotion of ACLDN comes from the fact it’s a top-notch program (which is why I’m a member).

The point here is not to stir up more drama than the NRA has already created, but rather to point out the odd nature of what the NRA is doing. Give Marty’s open letter a read.