Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Sorry for Slow Postings!

Working like the proverbial dog. Wrote one full script for GUN STORIES today; spent the rest of the day doing V/O. Today was also physical therapy day, which is why I'm sitting in my chair like a vegetable with a glass of The Balvenie 12-year-old Scotch, which is heaven in a bottle.

The battle now is to stretch the quad…seriously stretch the quad…seriously seriously stretch the quad. Sort of like being on the rack. We made sure when we  chose a physical therapist that she was a sports specialist, in her case a triathlete who has gone through serious knee rehab. The last thing I wanted was a PT who was worried about a little pain and specialized in elderly knee replacement rehab. I can stand a little rain if it brings me closer to Africa with my friends John Carter, Tim Wegner and Kyle Lamb next year.

I decided to purchase a Ruger Hawkeye Predator FTW version in 6.5 Creedmoor. I kinda agonized about this…my friend Jeff Sipe at Montana Rifles builds a beautiful Extreme X2 bolt gun in 6.5CM. I also handled a Kimber Mountain Rifle in 6.5CM. I think what swayed me is that I am boring. My 2 go-to rifle for hunting are the GUNSITE Scout in .308 and the Ruger Guide Rifle in .300 Win Mag. The Predator FTW uses the same adjustable stock as the other 2 rifles, the same feel, a tack-driver. Yes, it's heavier than the Montana and the Kimber, but I've carried the weight before. In the back of my head, I'm thinking of taking it to Africa like my friend John Snow did with plains game. He says the 120-gr Hornady GMXs are fantastic.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Saturday Musings...

Totally bummed that we had to reschedule the Mass Casualty Event, but nothing to be done for it when Nature throws you a cold, wet snowball. We've rescheduled for the end of April, where we've got a better weather window. We'll post details for extras on DRTV when we sign the contracts with the venue.

It didi allow me to get into scripting for GUN STORIES, which is something I love to do. It's like following little threads of information back to their source. It's interesting how the "facts" shift and change and morph through the years. Found that yesterday running down an annecdote and finally picked the one closets to the source. After spending so much time with the top firearms historians in the world, I've learned that a lot of what I thought I knew that falls under the heading of "common knowledge" is pretty much wrong.

Been focusing on PT since I got the go-ahead from the doctors…longer walks…the stationary bicycle. I even managed my first wobbly deadlift — just the bar, no weight. As the quad gets stronger, I can add weight. I'm walking without a cane and without my leg brace in the house. I'm "practicing" walking…with a braces and crutches, you get in the habit of "swinging" the leg in a circular motion instead of just lifting with the quad. So you practice doing "marching steps" to get back in the habit of having the quad lift the leg. Big fun!

BTW, now is a wonderful time to stock up on ammo in advance of the coming boom. followed by the inevitable shortages. I was glancing through a Natchez Shooters Supply catalog yesterday and saw Federal 55-gr ball at $354 per thousand. I must have shot a ton of that stuff over the years. Not the most accurate ammo on earth, but not bad, either. TulAmmo 9mm, that's the steel-cased polymer coated 115-gr ball, is going for about $170 per 900-round "sardine can." I keep some of those in "deep storage," which is what their designed for. Don't overlook shotgun shells. Once again, I've shot bushel basket-loads of inexpensive Estate brand, especially their Super Sport Competition loadings. Their #00 buckshot is a steal at $15 per 25, and hey, you can never have enough buckshot!

I generally keep 100 rounds of my favorite hunting ammunition around as well, Hornady Superformance in .308 and .300 Win Mag, Varmint Express in .204 Ruger and LeverRevolution in plain old boring 30-30. Keep in mind Hornady is a sponsor.

I also keep about a dozen flavors of .44 around, from Garrett dino-busters down to Cowboy .44 Specials. Additionally, I have a Dillon 550 with a Redding micrometer seating die dedicated to .44s, because I'm always tinkering with .44 loads.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Thursday & GUN STORIES Scripting!

Just because we cancelled our filming for the next 3 days doesn't mean I get the day off. I'm throwing myself into GUN STORIES scripting (and interviews) for the next couple of weeks. I did want to show you the more-or-less finished G34 with the ALG mount and an Aimpoint H-1 with a 2 MOA dot:

The thing does shoot like a house afire...the extra weight of the mount and Aimpoint make it like running a stapler. The toughest part of the whole package was the holster. There are a number of holster makers doing holsters for the ALG mount, but only for the whole package, with a SureFire or Streamlight mounted. I wanted to shoot the gun in USPSA Open (yes, yes, I know...better competition mounts are comp...minor caliber...good Lord it's not a C-More...I honestly don't Sweetie wants to shoot USPSA, and I'm just along to have fun and play with the guns).

When I called up the companies and asked if they would make me a holster for a gun without a light attached, answered ranged from a simple "No" to "We only build holsters for serious people." Okay, cool. I could have gone the Safariland route with their 014 Competition Model, which would fit the gun pretty easily, but I'm used to DOH kydex holsters, My gear is all set up for Blade-Tech Tek-Lok attachment, and as I am old, I was loath to go to a whole new system. So I kept calling.

I finally ended up talking to Brent Fernandez, head guy at Advanced Holsters. Advanced Holsters is a fascinating addition to kydex holsters, they sell a series of "survival" tools, from a neat lock pick card to a truly brilliant "Snatch and Grab" modular load out panel. When I asked about an ALG holster for a gun without the light, Brent said, "I don't see why not."

The months passed, and I would get an occasional note from Brent that I hadn't been forgotten. Finally, at SHOT he looked me up to explain. "It wasn't as simple as we thought it would be," he said ruefully. "We kept molding holsters, and they just didn't meet our standards. But, we're almost there, and we won't stop until we get the holster you want."

A couple of weeks back, that holster arrived, and it is everything I wanted and more. It is a perfect fit, holds the gun securely, is beautifully detailed and fitted with their Holster Hanger and a Tec-Lok attachment. The Holster Hanger is pretty much infinitely adjustable, and I have it set exactly like I want it. Unlike similar hangers, this one is laser cut from 6061-T6 aluminum and hard's about as still as humanly possible.

If this is a representative of Advanced Holster's work, I can't recommend them highly enough! The fact that they flatly refused to give up until they made a holster that met their high standards says a lot about a company. They also make the minimalist Mini-Concealment holster, which I'm looking forward on trying with a G43 as soon as I suck it up and buy one.

Check these guys out, and THANK YOU, Brent!

BTW, as an aside,last year I was down in Texas at Bill and Joyce Wilson's sprawling ranch, helping Bill put together his book, cruising around in a UTV at sunset looking at hogs and, in general, just having a good time.

While I was there I waxed poetic about the 9mm AR-15 platform, how the pistol caliber carbines served as both wonderful training tools and, I think, one of the best choices for a home defense carbine. I also talked extensively about how well the pistol caliber carbines could be shot if "cheeked," and how accurate I had fund my 3 (Spike's Tactical pistol; JP Rifles and Stag carbines) to be.

Well, apparently Bill was paying attention:
The Wilson Combat AR9 was designed from the ground up as the new standard in pistol caliber carbine reliability. The use of common 9mm service pistol magazines makes it an ideal choice for patrol, home defense and cost-effective tactical training. 
Not simply a converted AR-15, the Wilson Combat AR9 has been specifically designed for superior reliability and maximum accuracy, while retaining the familiar handling and controls of the AR platform. The AR9 is available with your choice of pistol magazine compatibility, barrel length, custom Armor Tuff colors and other accessory options to suit your specific needs. 
Wilson Combat engineers have designed three unique AR9 lower receivers with last round bolt hold open that are compatible with the most popular 9mm service pistol magazines from GlockⓇ, BerettaⓇ and S&WⓇ. These new billet machined aluminum receiver models also accept standard AR accessories like furniture, triggers, charging handles, buttstocks and optics, and incorporate an integral trigger guard and flared magwell for fast reloading. The AR9 series of carbines has multiple unique patent-pending features that make it unique to the 9mm carbine market.

The Wilson Combat AR9 closed-bolt blowback operating system is soft shooting and reliable with a wide variety of 9mm loads and exhibits flawless feeding with all common pistol bullet shapes, including hollowpoint and +P tactical ammunition. The AR9 bolt hold open ensures reliable lockback on empty with your pistol’s factory magazines. The AR9 proprietary bolt carrier group with heavy duty claw extractor and plunger ejector is tuned for exceptional reliability.

The AR9 is also an optimized suppressor host with minimal gas blowback and enhanced accuracy over other designs. Wilson Combat carbon steel match-grade button-rifled 1-10” twist 9mm barrels ensure that the AR9 meets our stringent quality and accuracy requirements. 
The Wilson Combat AR9 can be ordered with your choice of GlockⓇ 17, S&WⓇ M&P or BerettaⓇ 92 magazine compatibility and configured as a pistol, carbine or short barreled rifle (all NFA rules apply). The AR9 is offered with your choice of fluted or non-fluted barrels in multiple lengths and various Wilson Combat designed muzzle devices.
Always nice to be of service!

I assume it will be to Bill's usual high quality and it will be everything he says it will be. I know my JP is accurate enough to shoot a "Rifleman" score in Appleseed (with Wilson Match ammo, natch) and feeds whatever I can stuff into the Glock mags. I would expect no less from Bill.

BTW, the Wilson book is at the printer! Expect copies soon.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016







Tuesday, March 22, 2016

John Morthland, R.I.P.

This information is just getting to me. The great music writer John Morthland has — as he would think appropriate to say — left the building. John was truly a giant in the field, a legend. His career started when he was in high school, when he snagged an interview with the Rolling Stones before their first gig on their first American tour. He used to tell me that he hoped that wasn't the thing he would be remembered for.

He produced a prodigious volume of work, was maybe the most knowledgeable man I'd ever met about music, especially the blues. When I decided to move to New York City and take a job as the assistant editor of COUNTRY MUSIC MAGAZINE, working under Patrick Carr, John, who I'd met on my first trip, offered to let me move into his tiny apartment in Chelsea until I could figure out a place to live.

In no time at all I was sucked into a world that I had only read of, maybe only and John and Lester Bangs backstage (such as it was) at CBGB's with the Talking Heads; drunken revels through the Lower East Side's music clubs, hanging with acts that would one day be either famous or forgotten. We were, as I've said jokingly, "with the band;" Me and John and Lester and Nick Tosches at "The Bells of Hell," a dive bar in the Village and hangout for writers, mountain climbers and mercenaries between gigs. Made for some spectacular arguments, driven by Guinness and Lone Star and tequila, because we were all young and would live forever.

John and Lester and Patrick were my best friends in NYC, my running buddies, my enablers, my teachers, my harshest critics, brilliant writers in their own right who accepted nothing but the best I could produce. Funny, but I'd always been the best writer in the writer in the room, so I never had to go that deep into myself, to be dragged through the English language by masters. I learned music in long, all-night conversations, sometimes arguments, with those guys. Hell, I learned life hanging around with those guys.

I was graced to live in a legendary time and to walk with giants. After Lester died, it all sort of went to hell. We all bailed out, when our different ways, crisscrossed now and then. I saw John when I was in Austin, and he even came to Colorado once to try and convince me that I really would like baseball if I just gave it a chance.

You can find John's books here.

He was the coolest guy I ever met.

Go with God, brother...

Monday, March 21, 2016

Another Grinder of a Day...

…after a grinder of a day on Sunday, doing AMERICAN MARKSMAN stuff down at Centennial Gun Club down in Denver. In fact, this whole week is grinder…we start filming the mass casualty event on Thursday. I think most of the millions of moving parts are in place. We'll see.

Remember, 9AM Saturday morning, the Pulliam Bldg., 245 Cleveland St., Loveland CO. All the filming is indoors, so rain, snow, hail, apocalyptic volcano eruptions, we're good to go.

Did I mention that the MAIN MONSTER HUNTER HIMSELF, LARRY CORREIA, will be joining us on GUN STORIES WITH JOE MANTEGNA this season? The MONSTER HUNTER books are modern classics. I just finished reading SON OF THE BLACK SWORD, the first book in his newest series, and it was excellent.

Of course, fan favorite Steven Hunter is also on board. His latest book is a departure for Steve:

Admit it…isn't GUN STORIES cool?

Friday, March 18, 2016

I Saw the Movie...

GOOD NEWS! No need to worry anymore about the election! Forget April Fool's Day and your taxes! Overextended on cars, mortgage and credit cards? NO WORRIES! In fact, the only thing you have to worry about after Monday is…wait for it…wait for it…ammo!

How do I know this, you quite rightly ask? Well, I saw the movie...

From USA Today today:
One comet to swerve closer to Earth than any other comet in centuries 
An emerald-green comet will brush the Earth Monday, followed one day later by a kissing cousin that will swerve closer to the planet than any other comet in nearly 250 years. 
The first and bigger of the two comets will be visible Monday to the naked eye in the southern hemisphere, as long as city lights are far away. Stargazers in the United States will probably need only binoculars to see the bigger comet in late March. Scientists, however, are bringing out the big guns. The Hubble Space Telescope, the powerful ground-based Gemini telescopes and others will be trained on the celestial visitors, which will provide an extraordinary close-up of objects usually glimpsed only at a distance. 
“This is one for the record books,” says Michael Kelley of the University of Maryland, who’s never heard of two comets approaching close to Earth a day apart. “It’s a fantastic opportunity for professionals to learn more about comets, and if you have a chance to try to find them … it’s a fantastic chance to see part of history as it happens…"
THAT is exactly what they said in the movie! NIGHT OF THE COMET, 1984, with the big hair hottie Catherine Mary Steward and a baby Kelli Maroney, complete in cheerleader drag.NIGHT OF THE COMET seems set to join ENEMY OF THE STATE and THE SEIGE as movies that uncannily predicted the future.

Here's the plot, straight from Wickipedia:
The Earth is passing through the tail of a comet, an event which has not occurred in 65 million years, the last time coinciding with the extinction event that wiped out the dinosaurs. On the night of the comet's passage (which takes place eleven days before Christmas), large crowds gather outside to watch and celebrate. 
18-year-old Regina "Reggie" Belmont (Catherine Mary Stewart) works at a movie theater in southern California. She is annoyed to find the initials DMK have the sixth highest score on the theater's arcade game, all the other scores being hers. She stays after the theater closes to play until DMK's score is removed and have sex with her boyfriend Larry, the theater projectionist, in the steel-lined projection booth. Meanwhile, Reggie's 16-year-old sister Samantha "Sam" (Kelli Maroney)argues with their stepmother Doris, who punches her in the face. 
The next morning, a reddish haze covers everything, and there are no signs of life, only piles of red dust and heaps of clothing. Unaware that anything strange has happened, Larry goes outside and is killed by a zombie. When Reggie goes looking for Larry, she encounters the zombie. She heads home to find her sister. Because both Reggie and Sam spent the night shielded from cosmic effects by steel, they were saved from the comet's effects.
There you have it. Tell me that this is not the real thing…come Monday (as Jimmy Buffett, soon to be the late, or ate, Jimmy Buffett, might sing) it's red goo or 100% ZOM…unless you're behind steel. It means we're going to have to close the blast shutters here at the Secret Hidden Bunker.

Well, it's been a fun ride, and please don't hold it against me if I blast your zombie head into oblivion on Tuesday.

BTW, best line in the  movie? Reggie scores a MAC 10 from Hector, another surviver, by saying, "C'mon Hector. The MAC 10 was practically designed for housewives!" She gives to Sam to learn to shoot. After repeated jams, Sam turns to Reggie and says:

"Daddy would have gotten us an Uzi."

Words of wisdomwords of wisdom…lock and load…Monday is coming!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Suddenly, It's Winter Again!

We've had a remarkably mild end of Feb, first 2 weeks of March, with the temp rising as high as 70 for several days. Up here in the high country, we like to pretend that means it's spring, doing our best to forget that April is often the heaviest snow month of the year. Snowing again now…sigh…

Yesterday was my first day of physical therapy after my 7 weeks of forced inactivity to allow my quad the best change to restitch. I got the go-ahead last week to start PT. The PT session was a mild one, compared to the ones we did on the first go-round after the September surgery, but last night was…long…as long-unused muscles screamed their protests. Very loudly! I expected it, and today I'll start regular specific exercises. Plus, I was cleared to use the stationary bicycle, my number-one tool for building up leg strength…of course they were adamant that at least for awhile, no more than 10 minutes at a time. Still, a milestone!

I'll be on GUN TALK with Tom Gresham this Sunday…you can listen in on Sirius/XM…mostly we'll be talking about AMERICAN MARKSMAN, but, hey, politics could slip into the mix!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Todd Louis Green, R.I.P.

I note the passing of Todd Louis Green, one of the top level firearms instructors in the world, an innovator when he worked with gun companies such as Beretta, where he managed the pistol team, and Sig and, through his website, Pistol-Training, and his classes,  a profound influence on our world after a long and hard-fought battle with cancer.

Todd popularized the Dot Torture drill, which is a standard reference point for training, and created his F.A.S.T. (fundamentals, accuracy, speed test). Even as the cancer spread, it seems to me that we words furiously to get his words down, to add even more to his legacy.

Go with God, brother.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

John Kasich's Letter from Bill Clinton...

Thanking Kasich for his support of the Clinton Assault Weapons Ban. Bubba thanks John Kaisich for his "courageous vote" in favor of the AWB.

If you you're a supporter of the Second Amendment and you were thinking about voting for Kasich on Tuesday, stay home! He's already sold us out once…what do you suppose the odds are he'll sell us out again?

From Reuters:
In 1994 as a member of Congress, Kasich voted in favor of standalone legislation to ban automatic weapons — which ultimately became law as part of a larger crime bill. At the time, it enjoyed some bipartisan support. Two decades later, a similar bill to renew the ban couldn’t get a vote in the Senate thanks to strong Republican opposition. 
It’s no secret Kasich voted for the bill. Voting records don’t make for good campaign ads. Images of letters from former President Bill Clinton do. Folded in half and filed in a box of “personal political” documents is a letter from Clinton thanking him for casting that vote.
Stay home! Say whatever you want about the other candidates, but Kasich caste the vote against us! Gee, nothing says a deep and abiding respect for the Second Amendment like a vote to gut it!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

This Election is Getting Tiresome

So, my image of the Chicago last night was domestic terrorist and Obama biography author Bill Ayers, fist in the air, shouting, "We shut down Trump!"


This morning the door to the clown car popped open and clown #1, John Kasich, pops out and says Trump has created a "toxic environment" and yesterday's violence is all Trump's fault.

Then out pops Little Marco, who after an obligatory nod to Obama, announces, "Words have consequences…perhaps I wouldn’t say Mr. Trump is responsible for the event tonight. But he most certainly has in other events used some pretty rough language, encouraging the crowd.”

Then, sadly, the third clown, Ted Cruz — an honest-to-goodness Constitutional scholar — who says Donald J. Trump bore responsibility for “creating an environment” that encourages violence at his events.

Kasich, Rubio, Cruz and the Republican elites, those boys and girls with their dachas by the lake, have chosen to side with, Black Lives Matter. Occupy Wall Street, and terrorist Bill Ayers, with Barack Hussein Obama and Hillary "What Difference Does It Make?" Clinton and the other progressives who are methodically destroying this country, by BLAMNG THE VICTIM!

The only thing Donald J. Trump is guilty of is engaging in free speech.

Since Kasich, Rubio and Ted Cruz, who supposedly, as a teenager, memorized the Constitution, seem to have had some sort of mental malfunction on the First Amendment, here's a quick refresher from Justice William O. Douglas, written in 1949 for Terminiello v. City of Chicago
Accordingly, a function of free speech under our system of government is to invite dispute. It may indeed serve its high purpose when it induces a condition of unrest, creates dissatisfaction with conditions as they are, or even stirs people to anger. Speech is often provocative and challenging. It may strike at prejudices and preconceptions and have profound unsettling effects as it presses for acceptance of an idea.
On a micro scale, a lot of people who read this blog are self-defense trainers. Probably all of us (or at least all of us of a certain age) are familiar with the classic quote uttered by John Wayne in his final movie, THE SHOOTIST, as the great dying gunfighter John Bernard Books:
I won't be wronged. I won't be insulted. I won't be laid a-hand on. I don't do these things to other people, and I require the same from them. 
It's a magnificent quote, delivered so well it takes your breath away, but how many of us teach that quote as a foundation for self-defense, that is, the justifiable application of violence? How many times have we — Janich, Seeklander, Hayes or I — said that spoken insults are legal grounds for a violent physical response? Do we teach that "fighting words" are grounds for a punch in the face or a quick draw followed by a very loud noise? Is there a seminar at the Rangemaster Conference this weekend that explains which words that, when uttered with passion, allow us to respond to that person with physical violence?

We have had 7 years of the most vicious divisiveness since the Civil War. The Democratic elite, led by the President, have sought to drive spikes between black and white, rich and poor, to instill the obsessive class consciousness that paves the road to socialism. As Hillary Clinton noted in a speech today, "Sometimes when you play with matches, you can get burned."

So Ted, Marco, John, maybe before the Tuesday primaries you can give us a list of words that won't be  permissible, a list of thoughts and opinions that we won't be allowed to utter without facing massive social media shaming, in your administration? Because what you're saying is the Thought Police will remain in place, you'll just be giving them new velcro patches for their brown shirts.

Friday, March 11, 2016


Maybe save the original Uno's Pizza...

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Some Thoughts on Yesterday's Post

While I was doing some research for the podcast, I came across this really interesting piece of analysis from the end of the Cold War. I was looking for information on the 1977 on-the-ground crash of two airplanes in the Canary Islands. Back when I was doing talks to businesses on the concept of paradigms and how those blinders shaped business, I used the Tenerife crash extensively as an example of the "index card school of the brain," e.g. the people who survived the crash had in common the fact that they had conceived in advance there might be a problem on the ground and had created a mental index card for their response: "If something happens, the closest exit is 2 rows up to my right; if anything happens, I am going to quickly and without panic, leave my seat, get to that exit and GET THE HELL OFF THE AIRPLANE!"

In the absence of a predetermined action in case of an emergency, 538 people panicked and died. Tenerife changed how airline personnel talk to new passengers...that's why we get the lecture on finding the closest exit, lights leading to the exit, etc.

Anyway, what I turned up was a 1998 analysis revisiting the human factors involved in the crash in the Journal of Air Transportation Worldwide. now you're thinking that I've drifted off into Lost territory...but there's a good reason. Here's one of their key points:
Weick (1993) theorized that the key to understanding Tenerife may lie in the principle of stress causing regression to first learned responses. This means that in stressful situations, people regress or behave in ways or patterns they learned first.
Moreover, the paper quotes the following from on A.L. George, writing in 1986, on the impact of crisis-induced stress on decision-making, specifically in reference to the medical implications of nuclear war (something I suppose we'll be thinking about again, a lot sooner than we'd like):
George (1986, p. 542) outlined the following specific effects of stress on the performance of complex tasks:

1) Impaired attention and perception
a) Important aspects of the situation may escape scrutiny
b) Conflicting values and interest may be overlooked
c) Range of perceived alternatives is likely to narrow, but not necessarily to the best option
d) Search for relevant options tend to be dominated by past experience; the tendency to fall back on familiar solutions that have worked in the past, whether or not they are appropriate to present situations

2) Increased cognitive rigidity
a) Impaired ability to improvise; reduced creativity
b) Reduced receptivity to information that challenges existing beliefs
c) Increased stereotypic thinking
d) Reduced tolerance for ambiguity leading to cutoff of information search and premature decision

3) Shortened and narrowed perspective

a) Less attention to longer range considerations and consequences of actions
b) Less attention to side effects of options

4) Shifting the burden to the opponent (another)

a) Belief that one’s options are quite limited
b) Belief that the opponent (another) has it within his power to prevent impending disaster
Read the whole thing, keeping in mind how the factors described in this paper might be in place in civilian self-defense or active shooter/terrorist situation. Look especially at Point 1(d): Search for relevant options tend to be dominated by past experience; the tendency to fall back on familiar solutions that have worked in the past, whether or not they are appropriate to present situations.

Let's say we have spent years perfecting our responses to what we might think of as "most likely" self-defense threats, that is, we are able to easily access our concealed carry weapon and quickly deliver 2 or more shots center mass at reasonable self-defense distances. That is our "default," in the words of the paper references above, a "familiar solution.' We've trained for it; we've integrated into our mental index card file.

Now, what is the blast radius for suicide belt or vest? Well, it depends on the type and amount of explosive used, but here's some food for thought from Greg Ellifritz, who has become one of the most  knowledgeable people on understanding the emerging threat:
Time, distance, and shielding are the only defense. Realize that a 20lb suicide bomb vest loaded with shrapnel is dangerous within 400 meters. That’s a long distance! Recent research has determined that 15 meters (about 50 feet) is the distance that means the difference between life and death in most suicide bombing incidents. If you are within 15 meters of the bomber when he detonates, you will likely die. If you are beyond 15 meters, you will likely live, but may be seriously injured. Ultimately, whether you live or die depends on the terrain, the type of bomb and shrapnel and how far away from the bomb you are. The farther away you can get, the better off you will be. Ideally, distance combined with some type of cover that will stop shrapnel and projectiles is best. For the 500kg Oslo car bomb, people were likely hit by shrapnel up to 1/2 mile away!
So in the event of a fully rigged bomb built to ISIS' specs, you'll need to be 4 1/3 football fields away to not come down with a really bad case of dead from those center mass shots. Ellifritz goes on to say:
I will say this…if you decide to shoot the bomber, you must expect to die. Remember that danger zone of 400 meters I talked about earlier? How many of you can make a head shot at 400 meters with your concealed carry pistol? If you can’t, you are in the kill zone. If the bomber detonates you may be seriously injured or killed. By definition, if you are close enough to take a shot, you are going to be within range of the bomb’s blast. If you do shoot the bomber, you must go for a head shot. If he is wearing a bomb vest, your bullet will likely detonate the bomb if you hit it.
I have heard this truth repeatedly in the last month as I interviewed experts. Like many of us, I've had the "Mozambique," which originated with Col Cooper, or in its more politically correct definition, the "failure drill," hammered into my head since I first began training so many years ago...two in the belly; one in the head; I'm alive, and you're dead! goes the verse. But that drill comes from a time when the bad guy didn't blow up.

Over the years, I have seen a marked move away from the head shot...remember, on the standard USPSA target the "head" was often referred to with the more politically correct "upper 'B' zone." I audited a few days a of a class a couple of years back where the instructor went to great lengths to suggest that a "mobility stop," that is, a shot in the pelvic area that took the aggressor to the ground, was far superior to the head shot. The rationale is the head, especially a moving head, can be a hard target to hit.

A mobility stop might make a lot of sense with a knife-welding mugger; less so for an attacker armed with a gun. Just because you knock somebody down and cause them a lot of pain doesn't mean they can't still shoot you (unless the mobility stop is followed very quickly my a shot on the now much more stationary head). If the aggressor is in fact wearing a bomb vest, a mobility shot just means you get a couple of seconds more life before the bomb is manually detonated.

That's why trainers like Gabe Suarez, who has been studying these issues for years, has defaulted to the head shot, the central nervous system stop. In fact, Suarez lists 4 compelling reasons why the head becomes the target of choice:
1) Human beings are bigger and stronger today than at any other time in history due to advanced nutrition, the social prevalence of weight lifting and the popularity of contact and martial sports. Any casual perusal of military museums will reveal that the average male was much smaller as close as a couple of generations ago. 
2) The prevalence of tactical pharmacology, both legal and illegal is far more common and refined today than in the past. Substances from methamphetamines and cocaine to excessive HGH and similar substances give rise to mental attitudes of invincibility. 
3) Proliferation of body armor. While ammunition has progressed dramatically in the last decade, so has the availability of protection from that ammunition. Today the technology of body armor has developed to the point that even an assault rifle may be defeated. Armor has always been common, and even back in 1991, one of my gunfights involved armored suspects. 
4) Finally, the reality of today shows that the adversary might be a Jihadist, or other terrorist, and not just the uneducated urban sloth seeking to take your watch at point of stolen pistol. At the time of this writing, ISIS is exhorting its followers around the world to carry the jihad to every western shore. As well, any cursory study of Active Shooter events around the nation reveals that in a great percentage, there are explosives on or near the terrorist, ready to be detonated when capture or defeat is at hand.
So what's the net-net to all this for the armed civilian? I go back to my previous post — the majority of your training is focused on self-defense, what we can refer to as the known threat. But a portion of your training has to be focused on the unknown threat that takes you outside the realm of what we have considered defensive shooting.

On the podcast I asked a simple question — can you reliably hit a 25-yard head shot with the pistol you're carrying every day? I honestly have to work at, and it's one of the reasons I decided to go, at least for the time being, to a red-dot sight. I accept that I'm giving up a modicum of speed (although I'm working on that as well) for the additional accuracy. 

And we come back to Col. Cooper's combat triad — marksmanship, gun-handling and the combat mindset.

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Some Assembly Required...

I was hoping to get to this assembly today. Shouldn't take any time, but...

Up to my neck in the Mass Casualty Event'll notice we don't even have a title for the thing, but we will be filming it in Loveland, CO Saturday, 26 March. We need extras, so here's your chance to die horribly! I mean, can you pass something like this up? Details will be up on DRTV later this week.

This is my favorite story of the week:
Peaceful memorial rally in Ann Arbor honors lives of 63 deer killed
ANN ARBOR, MI — Four dozen peace activists gathered Saturday afternoon in downtown Ann Arbor for a memorial rally honoring the lives of 63 deer recently killed by hired sharpshooters in the city's parks and nature areas. 
The mood was somber, and hearts heavy. 
"Deer lives matter, and all lives matter." 
"When we kill the deer, we kill ourselves." 
They strung together and hung 63 prayer flags along Fifth Avenue, each one depicting a set of hoof prints and representing a deer killed. They also left flowers and candles around a deer-shaped topiary, transforming it into a memorial site.
Riddle me this, Batman…I wonder how many of the mourners capped off their solemn ceremony with a Big Mac from Micky-D's? Cow lives matter, too.

Anyhow, I was so deeply moved this story that I decided to create my own deer memorial. Since I totally suck at topiary, I decided to build it as soon as I get the NZ horns back from Jonas Brothers. I plan to hang my deer shrine over my desk…om mani padme hum!

My friend Grant Cunningham did a really good, really well-thought-out article on training that I don't totally agree with:
Back in the 1980s, famed shooting instructor Jeff Cooper proposed what he called the “Combat Triad”: a very military-inspired trio combining marksmanship, gun handling and what he termed the “combat mindset”. He wrote and taught extensively about those topics, and while they’re interesting from a historical perspective I don’t think they’re really appropriate for the task of self defense in the private sector. I believe that those of us who aren’t former Marines, as Cooper was, and who don’t actually live on a shooting range (as Cooper did) need to consider a different trio — the Defensive Shooting Triad.
Grant suggest that the Defensive Shooting Triad should be Resolve, Legal Knowledge and Defensive Shooting Skills.

Grant is easily among the top trainers in the world and certainly a foremost thinker on self-defense issues. I guess my unease with Grant's thoughts come after a month of being immersed in research and interviews for TBD's one-hour special later this summer on a "mass casualty event," a small-scale terrorist attack in the Heartland. Think San Bernardino, but with more competence. We've gone through videos, analyses of events, debriefs and, most importantly, interviews with first responders, civilian, police and military trainers who focus specifically on these events, psychologists, trauma specialist physicians, etc. All of us at TBD are committed to creating a teaching sim that looks into some dark corners that most people, including trainers, shy away from.

I think I can sum it up in saying all training is a series of compromises. Indeed, as Grant has noted, we don't have the time, the resources, the money, the background or in most cases even the ability to turn ourselves into faux military warriors. When we look at our own training, it serves us well to understand the nature of the treat we face and to train accordingly (I'm stealing this wholesale from Dr. William Aprill, by the there credit is due). It makes sense that the majority of our training is focused what I might term the known threat — muggings, street fight type-events, for women rape, carjackings, home invasions — those threat that we are most likely to encounter in the Real World.

However, neglecting the unknown threats, what Ellifritz and Aprill refer to as the unthinkable, we risk finding ourselves behind a very dangerous curve. The unthinkable is the province of Cooper's Combat Triad — marksmanship, gun-handling and a combat mindset. It's no secret that my background is GUNSITE/Cooper oriented, that I knew and respected the Colonel, with whom I had more than one argument, BTW. But when we step into the realm of the active shooter or terrorist, we are no longer talking about defensive shooting per se. Reread Cooper's Principles of Personal Defense, and study Principle 6, Ruthlessness, and Principle 7, Surprise.

As I have said before, I absolutely agree that you are more likely to get struck by lightning or win the lottery jackpot than be caught in a mass casualty event. And yet I know a people who who have been struck by lightning and many more win a lottery jackpot every week. Low probability does not mean no possibility. The danger is that the paradigm created by focusing solely on the post likely threats will serve you poorly when you step into the unthinkable. There are cases where armed citizens verbally challenged active shooters...command voice verbal challenges are an important aspect of the self-defense training paradigm. It doesn't, and didn't, work in the face of an active shooter.

In the face of the unthinkable, you need a skill set that is markedly different from the self-defense paradigm. And please, I am not saying "either/or" here! Do not take this as a whole invitation to learn how to run a machine-gun while rappelling from a helicopter! If you haven't read Malcolm Gladwell's article on school shooters. Threshold of Violence, from The New Yorker last year, you should. Once again, I'm not in 100% agreement, but I think there's something to Gladwell's thesis that the threshold of violence for whatever reason has been lowered, and I would argue that the lowered threshold apples to more than just school shootings.

Obviously the majority of your training is on the known threat, and Grant nails it. But a portion of your training needs to address the unknown threat.

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Today Is, I Think, Thursday

Probably give you an idea of how the week has gone. If excitement though  I got to drive for the first time since SHOT yesterday! Sort of feels like when you're a kid and you get that first real (not the wuss "learner's permit!") driver's license and you realize that, yes, I CAN GO ANYWHERE! Or at least to the post office and my FFL. LOL! I can even go to the range and do some rifle work off the bench.

Having lunch this afternoon with Jimmy Graham to talk about the Mass Casualty Event filming later this month. BTW, read the full article in America's First Freedom; Jimmy tells me it's the first of 3 articles.

No politics!