Report 41 The Character of Bad Guys

On 3 August 2018, the sheriff’s office of Taos County, New Mexico executed a warrant on a compound in that county to try to find the 3-year old son of the man running the compound, AG Wahhaj. The boy’s father, Siraj Wahhaj is the son of Siraj Wahhaj, the head of the Masjid At-Taqwa mosque in Brooklyn. The boy’s body was found buried in the compound. Along with Wahhaj, the younger, four other adults taken into custody and 11 starving children from age 1 – 15 were rescued.

These are the facts as reported by the news and the Taos County Sheriff’s office. There is not much to debate here. What I want to address is the character of bad guys, a category into which Wahhaj fits. Reports coming to light tell us that Wahhaj was training the children to shoot up schools. So, what does this tell us about the character of bad guys? Primarily, they are cowards. Wahhaj was going to send children into schools to do his bidding. There is no indication that he was going to take an active part in any of this.

Let’s look at another case. On 17 June 2016, Dylann Roof went into the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina and sat in on a prayer service. In fact, he sat in on the prayer service for quite some time, some say as long as an hour, before he pulled out a gun and murdered nine black Americans. Roof is an avowed white supremacist. None of the murdered was armed and Roof was free to carry out his plan unhindered.

I could go on with many examples and they would all have three things in common. 1) they were all cowards, 2) the bad guy had little to no competition. All of his victims were at his mercy and defenseless, and 3) they all took place in gun-free zones.

In my previous report “A continuing Discussion on An Attitude of Awareness” I stressed the importance of staying aware of your surroundings. This Attitude is probably the most important tactic you can use to keep you safe.

I am very leery of going into gun-free zones and, when possible, refuse to patronize these businesses. Of course, there are numerous places that the law does not allow us to carry such as in court houses and on military bases, to name just a couple. I encourage all citizens to learn where these gun-free zones are.

I also encourage all responsibly armed citizens to get training on how to respond in case of a coward coming in and opening fire. My training emphasizes avoidance rather than engagement. An outstanding way to get this training is the NRA Personal Protection Outside the Home course coupled with the NRA Defensive Pistol course. Both of these courses are offered on a regular basis at Falcon Personal Security.

 

Report 18 Why Do We Continue Training?

Why did you first seek firearm training? Is it to get ready to shoot a National Match course at the National Competition at Camp Perry, Ohio, or to be prepared to defend yourself and your family? It is admirable to be trained in the use of any tool but why do we continue training?

The majority of people buying firearms today are concerned with personal protection, and the majority of those are buying handguns. It is amazing to me how many of my students take the Basic Pistol Course so that they can apply for and get their Concealed Handgun Permit (CHP). While it is true that the Basic Pistol Course satisfies the Colorado State requirement for training for a CHP, does it really prepare you from a mental and physical competency basis to carry a personal protection handgun? I would argue that for the new shooter, it does not.

Think about the shooting requirements to complete the NRA Basic Pistol Course. In my classes, a maximum of 75 rounds are required to demonstrate the necessary skills to fire a handgun from the bench rest sitting position, the one-handed standing position, and the two-handed standing position. For a new shooter, this is not sufficient training and experience to make one mentally and physically competent to carry a personal protection handgun.

Let’s talk about the mental aspect of carrying a personal protection handgun. I tell students that when I first started carrying a concealed handgun it scared me to death. Just the thought of the incredible responsibility of the actions required to protect my life or the life of another caused a certain amount of anxiety. I had serious doubts about the thought process associated with the decision to act on a defensive situation. I was, and still am, also extremely concerned about the ramifications of my actions. The possible consequences you may face in the aftermath of a defensive shooting could include any or all of the following: criminal and/or civil action, remorse, PTSD, and social stigma. Even in the situation of a justifiable shooting, the current media pattern may be to try to paint you in an unfavorable light.

Consider this scenario. You are shopping in a Walmart and you see two guys accosting another shopper. The two guys have their guns drawn and it looks like they are about to shoot the other shopper. Do you pull out your personal defense handgun and start to defend the other shopper, whom you have never seen? After you have successfully put the two guys out of action what are the ramifications of your action? Are you going to be hailed as a hero or charged with murder for killing two undercover police officers? Remember, when you get into a self-defense situation, you have one second or less to decide to take action, but 12 months later, a jury of your peers, in an air conditioned room with coffee and donuts, will have all the time in the world to decide if you did right or wrong.

Have you had the mental training required to be able to make that split-second decision? Have you considered those ramifications of a wrong decision or even a right decision? Of course you will never know unless/until you find yourself in the situation requiring that decision. However, if you haven’t had that training, there is a very good chance that you will consciously hesitate and go over the options. This hesitation could get you or a third person seriously injured. The time to think about your actions is now, while you are reading this article, not in Walmart when you see two guys with guns drawn. That’s where the mental conditioning you receive from additional training comes in.

Now, let’s talk about the physical aspect of using your personal protection handgun in a defensive situation. Have you had the appropriate training to know the best way to carry your Every Day Carry (EDC)? Which method of carry is really best for you? We’ve all seen the movies where the good guy stops to dislodge his snubby from an ankle holster. Movies are great. The good guy always has time to retrieve his snubby from his ankle holster. Have you ever tried to do that quickly? Or what about the James Bond type that carries his Walther PPK in a discrete shoulder holster? Put yourself in the defensive situation with adrenalin pumping through your body. That adrenalin causes, among other things, a degradation of your motor skills. Is that adrenalin going to make you squeeze the trigger a little too early and put a .380 round though your own arm or someone standing next to you?

These scenarios are very real and possible for people carrying with only a Basic Pistol Course under their belt because that is all the training you have to have for a Colorado, and many other states, CHP. Please DO NOT misunderstand me. I am not advocating changing the training requirements, rather I am adamantly encouraging you to seek additional training.

Once you have attained that training do you just strap on your personal protection handgun and walk out the door without practicing? I hope not. My students hear me talk about that “muscle memory” thing. You may go through the best training in the world but if you don’t practice on a regular basis you will never develop the required muscle memory to make you “unconsciously competent,” and that is where we should strive to be if we are going to carry a personal defense handgun.

In conclusion, making the decision to carry a personal defense handgun is a very personal one. Just like driving a car, mental and physical skills are required to drive safely. You would not stop driving for a number of years and expect to jump behind the wheel of a car and be able to drive with the same competence you once had. The same practice is required to maintain competency with your personal defense handgun.

This article just scratches the surface of this topic but, hopefully, makes you think about the training you have had and the training you need.

 

Report 17 The Garland Shooting and the Value of Training

On 4 May 2015, two Islamist wannabes decided to avenge all Muslims by shooting up the Mohammed Cartoon event in Garland, Texas. I have written numerous times about the Muslim mindset and the problems I have with it. However, today I want to take a look at the officer who stopped the attack and what made him able to act as he did.

The officer, a 38 year veteran, is a patrol officer for the Garland, Texas police department. By all accounts the officer, who is at this time unnamed, coolly drew his weapon and advanced through the opposing gunfire and killed both assailants.

Did he do this because he had that extra measure of courage, or a death wish, or was it because he had the requisite training to give him the confidence he needed when the time was right? I don’t know this officer but would certainly like to sit down for a chat. My belief is that this hero was able to do what he did because of extensive training and practice.

I discuss with all of my students the value of “muscle memory.” It is sad how many of my students take the Basic Pistol class and never pick up their guns to practice. They think that just because they took the class they are ready for anything. If this Garland police officer had had that attitude 38 years ago, those two cretins would have probably gotten into the Culwell Center and killed a lot of people.

As it is this officer practices enough to be totally confident in his abilities with his sidearm. He saw the threat and advanced toward it to close the distance between him and the bad guys. The average citizen, even those with Concealed Handgun Permits (CHPs) would certainly react differently.

How much is enough training, or even too much training? That is the shooter’s ultimate unanswerable question. I have had some students that take an extraordinary amount of practice just to get them up to an acceptable level of proficiency. Others pick up the techniques readily and are able to do well much sooner. But what about proficiency that comes with executing a shot using muscle memory?

I have heard it said that if you do something 10 times in a row you will start to make connections between your left and right brain. This translates to converting conscious thought into action. If you do that same activity 30 times you start to grow those connections, and if you do it 3000 times (not necessarily in one session) you have what I call developed muscle memory. However, even if you have developed this muscle memory, shooting, like most physical actions, is a perishable skill. The longer you lay off an activity like shooting, the longer it will take for your skill to come back up to where it once was.

Talking with law enforcement officers I have known over the years, the required qualification course is only (for most agencies) administered once a year and very little practice time, ammunition, or coaching is provided. That puts the onus on the officer to maintain proficiency. This is an expense in time and ammunition that has to come out of the officers’ pay. If they need a coach, often the department’s training officer just doesn’t have time to help. As a tax payer I would much prefer that the police officers and sheriff’s deputies have the requisite skill to perform as that officer did in Garland. I’m sure the citizens of Garland have absolutely no problem with the idea that the officer in question has taken the time and effort to maintain his proficiency.

I would like to add a short note about this country’s law enforcement officers. They have an incredibly hard job and many times they are not appreciated for the job they do. I, for one, would like to say “Thank You for being so selfless as to put yourselves on the line for my family and me.”

Now a little touch of shameless advertising. Falcon Personal Security provides free coaching to all former students. If you haven’t achieved the proficiency you desire, sign up for one or more of our classes.

 

Defensive Pistol

The Defensive Pistol course is designed to take shooters beyond the basics of shooting a handgun. This course is two days of shooting, concentrating on drawing the gun from the concealed holster, engaging the target (or targets) and stopping the threat. This course includes about an hour presentation called “Handgun Terminal Ballistics.” This presentation goes into the different popular everyday carry calibers and what kind of performance you can expect from your ammunition.

defensive pistol instruction

In addition to lessons learned in the PPITH and the PPOTH courses the Defensive Pistol Module goes deeper into all considerations of carrying a concealed handgun.

There is more range work and therefore is objective based. There are numerous drills with the student’s defensive handgun from various ranges. Maximum use of instructor mentorship is provided for each student.defensive pistol instructionTherefore, the classes will, by necessity, be small, ideally no more than five students per instructor.NRA Advanced Pistol Instructor Certificate

This course will teach the   student how to most effectively conceal a defensive handgun for their needs and body style. Different types of holsters and concealment garments are presented to the students. Since no two people are alike, no “one size fits all” approach is used for concealed carry.

The typical class is two days in length but additional time can be added to suit the student’s requirements.

The cost for this module is $325 per student