The Pat McNamara Way
A Glimpse Into
Mindset & Equipment
The Shooting Center Newsletter May 2019
We're growing & changing. Find out how on Page 10.
Published by The Shooting Center May 2019
HOME On The RANGE
"In 60 years of touring military museums... absolutely nothing compares to the many warehouse-sized rooms filled with pistols, rifles,
sub machine guns,
machine guns, grenade launchers and other weapons featured in this private collection."
By Mark Laiuppa
For active/retired military and first responders, the recent Second Annual Open House at the Knight’s Armament complex in Titusville was an event not to be missed.
I was one of 300 or more attendees on day one of the two-day event, hosted by Lawmen’s & Shooters’ Supply, which will soon be opening a retail presence on the Knight's campus.
Events on March 26 included close combat techniques, guest speaker Wayne Ivey, a tour of the firearms museum, a tour of the armor museum, and a basic AR armorer’s class. The facility offered additional options I could not attend, including a class with trauma specialists, Nightforce optics, as well as range demonstrations by Diamondback, Beretta, Winchester, and of course Knight’s Armament. The vendor tables boasted the latest in technology with top-of-the-line products from Gerber, Diamondback, Winchester, Beretta, Dead Air, Troy, Aimfire, Blackhawk, Vortex, and many others, including the American Police Hall of Fame /National Association of Chiefs of Police, which was on-site to promote its new law enforcement and civilian training programs.
As you can imagine, security was very tight at the open house (Knight's does work for the Department of Defense, and was recently awarded a contract with the U.S. Army to produce 7.62x51mm M110 Semi-Automatic Sniper Systems.)
My first event was the hand-to-hand (or more accurately hand-to-gun) close combat techniques, taught by The Police Hall of Fame's Director of Law Enforcement Training Paul Pawela.
I always enjoy Paul’s classes for the mix of valuable hands-on training with a light touch of humor. In the space of an hour, our class of 20+ got to play the role of victims fending off armed assailants, with five or six face-to-face techniques taught. It was very reminiscent of training I received with Paul and Shannon “the Cannon” Ritch in 2018 at the Hall of Fame.
Sheriff Ivey Speaks Out
Another highlight was Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey's 20 minute presentation that underscored his unwavering support for the 2nd amendment. He applied that theme to many recent events in the news, recent changes in FL law, and the new programs for protecting students in our Brevard schools. He stayed to take questions about his feelings toward red flag laws, political correctness, and open carry issues.
Next up was the main event – the firearms museum tour. To call this “just a collection of firearms” would be similar to calling the A-bomb just another firecracker.
In 60 years of touring military museums, the Smithsonian, and many foreign versions of the Smithsonian, absolutely nothing compares to the many warehouse sized rooms packed with pistols,
rifles, sub machine guns, machine guns, grenade launchers and other weapons featured in this private collection.
The first room contained racks filled with rare matchlock, wheel lock, and flintlock pistols and rifles. The progression in technology was evident and our guides explained why certain ideas progressed and others died, with real examples they would pick up for demonstration purposes.
As I looked around, I found one wall full of civil war, WWI and WWII era pistols. I was even able to pick out an original Remington 1858 Army percussion cap revolver, of which I have a replica that I shoot regularly.
Passing the Eugene Stoner room and Colt AR15 / M16 rooms, we entered what I call the “guns of the world” room, featuring arms from every era and country you can imagine: a Japanese type 99, a real Russian Dragonov (for all you 'Call of Duty' fans), Uzi, German Sturm Gewehr, MG34, 38 and 42, and even a 30mm cannon from an ME-262. I mention these because they were weapons most of us would be familiar with from watching movies and TV shows.
There were hundreds of other guns displayed that most people have never heard of or knew existed!
History of U.S. Military Rifles
The last room on the tour was dedicated to US military rifles and machine guns from the earliest revolutionary war examples (French made rifles) all the way up to Iraq and Afghanistan models.
Our guide took time to explain the progression in technology and the impact it had on the battlefield.
I was always under the impression the US adopted the 1903 Springfield after the Spanish American war because the lever action Winchesters previously used by the Army were tough to shoot from a prone position. The German Mausers used by the Spanish were bolt action and didn’t suffer from that problem. But the guide explained that the US Army DID use bolt action rifles at the time, but they only held one shot, as opposed to the Mauser’s five.
One of the unique displays in the middle of this wall showed a sample of all the US sniper rifles ever used, with their optics, including the Barret and the McMillan TAC 50.
In the center of the room were displays for heavier crew-served weapons like the Lewis .30 cal machine gun, M2 .50 cal, and at least eight different versions of the Gatling gun, just to mention a fraction of what was there.
We were then treated to a delicious barbecue that ended with a raffle, with prizes donated by the featured vendors. Our resident celerity radio host, Royce Bartlett (Shooting Straight on WMMB-AM) even walked away with a new range bag!
The vendor area presented a great opportunity to learn something new from the various product representatives. The Dead Air rep told me that the tax stamp required for a suppressor is now no more difficult a process than the standard background check you already do when you buy a firearm.
I also learned that suppressing my favorite .40 cal pistol is not easy because of the over-pressured .40 cal cartridge.
Lunch was followed by a class in AR (ArmaLite Rifle, NOT assault rifle) tips and tricks. Normally, at this time of day, I would have had a problem fighting off the irresistible “call of the pillow,” but not today!
The AR class was taught by Ash Hess, retired U.S. Army small arms instructor (who also developed much of the Army's small arms doctrine and many of its manuals). Hess, who is now an employee of Knight's, was obviously a technical expert and a gifted teacher with a superb sense of humor. While explaining the origins of many myths about questionable AR mods, his favorite expression was “somewhere on the internet...”
Under Hess' able instruction, I learned about the use of a slave pin for trigger replacements; proper placement of the hammer spring; why castle nuts don’t always need to be staked; and my favorite: how to get the cotter pin back into the bolt carrier assembly. Turns out orientation really matters. His cut-away M4 was a great visual aide and helped explain why rollers on the cam nuts are unnecessary. Hess even explained how receivers may come out of the same foundry yet be different, based on the mix of alloys and the run stage in which they were produced.
Tanks, Tanks and
The armor tour was the highlight of all the day's events. As with the other tours, no pictures were allowed, but this was the kind of display that will leave a lasting impression. It is the largest collection of medium and heavy tanks anywhere.
We started in the “overflow room” with some WWI examples of trucks and scout cars. There were numerous WWII vehicles here like the deuce-and-a-half, command cars, four different version of the half-track and some towed artillery like Bofors 40mm anti-aircraft gun and a 155mm Long Tom howitzer. In the corner I saw a Hercules upper stage from a Nike-Hercules anti-aircraft missile to complete the anti-aircraft collection.
Passing into the main armor warehouse, the first thing you see is an M1 Abrams tank. It didn’t have an engine (one of only three tanks in the collection that don't run) so the process of getting it in place took days of maneuvering. It was, in most other respects, fully restored and very impressive. It wasn’t the largest tank in the collection but probably the newest.
Sitting beside it was a WWI Renault which was dwarfed by the M1’s size. Around the corner was an Honest John free flight artillery rocket on its launcher. Most of the collection is American vehicles, but there was a small section of Soviet armor that included a T72, T54 and T34. There were several M113 Armored Personnel Carriers with mods for mortars and TOW missiles.
The collection also featured a few anti-aircraft tracked vehicles and some self-propelled artillery including an eight inch howitzer. The main battle tanks looked like a shopping list right out of the on-line game “War Thunder” starting with pre WWII models such as the Priest and Stuart. There were four different versions of the M-4 Sherman, the Pershing, and a Hellcat anti-tank destroyer. One of the really interesting features for the gear heads was a gallery on the side that contained different types of tank engines with detailed drawings and historical explanations.
Most of the tanks had inert projectiles sitting in front of them so that you could see what the main gun used. The line of tanks went on covering the Korean War and Vietnam War with examples of the M48 and several M60s.
The M60s were differentiated by the types of avionics installed for the aiming and firing systems. There were easily 50 to 60 tanks in the warehouse and with only two hours in the tour, you were left with the feeling that you could have spent the whole day there...and still wanted more time.
I left feeling certain that, when the 3rd Annual Open House comes around, I want to be first in line!
Mark Laiuppa is a Rockledge resident, frequent shooter at the Police Hall of Fame tactical practical match each Friday, and an NRA Range Safety Officer. He graduated from the USAF Academy in 1980 with a BS in Astronautical Engineering and spent 25 years piloting the C130 Hercules, logging combat time in the air and on the ground in four major contingency operations.
A Peek Into
Writer Mark Laiuppa and Sheriff Ivey
Knight's employee Ash Hess (pictured below), who literally "wrote the book" on the Army's small arms doctrine, provided riveting instruction on AR use & modification. (Nathan Wyatt Photo)
Paul Pawela, Director of Law Enforcement Training for the National Association of Chiefs of Police (in red shirt) was on hand to instruct visitors on hand-to-hand combat techniques and various take-down methods. (Nathan Wyatt Photo)
Whether you came for the tour or for a chance to shoot guns provided by Knight's and their vendors, you were not disappointed. (Nathan Wyatt Photo)
By Tara Dixon Engel
Carrying a firearm (or keeping one in your home) for personal defense requires more than simply knowing how to use that particular gun. It also goes far beyond successfully poking holes in paper from 15 yards.
The Shooting Center offers a variety of advanced classes and activities that are best described as "tactical." That is, they tackle defensive shooting in a way that most basic gun classes do not.
As a student, only you can decide whether you are ready to begin thinking tactically, but there are things you should understand and equipment you should have before signing up for any tactical class...here or elsewhere.
First of all, tactical classes will require you to have a holster...not any old holster, but one designed for the specific gun you plan to use. Indeed, we would urge you to purchase a rigid holster, either leather or kydex, versus a floppy cloth or suede holster. Less rigid holsters tend to lose their shape over time, folding inward around the opening. Most firearms accidents happen when drawing or reholstering your weapon, so the more you have to struggle to insert your gun, the more likely you are to have an accidental discharge. This is especially true of people attempting to return their gun to an inside-the-waistband cloth holster.
And gents, if you have a little extra girth in the belly region, tucking that holster up under said belly is about the worst thing you can do. I have watched some of you fight with your shirt, your collapsing holster, and your overflowing mid-section, completely unaware that your finger is resting on or near the trigger. Ladies, on the other hand, often fail to have an adequate belt (or no belt at all). A kydex holster with a fully loaded weapon snugged into it is heavy. Your average fashion belt is not designed to support anything except your pants. Please spend the extra bucks necessary to get a sturdy belt that will allow you to draw the gun and return it safely to your holster.
Think about the gun you plan to shoot with, as well. Is it a gun designed for personal defense? You'd think that would be ANY gun, right? And yes, in a pinch, it can be...BUT for the purposes of a tactical class, we prefer that you leave your Ruger Single Six with an 8 inch barrel at home, along with your Browning Buckmark or other guns designed primarily for plinking, cowboy re-enacting or competition shooting (specifically, those guns with a hair trigger.) Tactical classes are, typically, designed for people who plan to carry regularly, or, at a minimum, want to know how to safely use their home defense weapon in a tight situation.
Part of the purpose of a tactical class is to test your limits and those of your equipment, so don't be insulted if the instructor points out the deficiencies of both. I went into my first tactical class at the Shooting Center very content with my Glock 43. Following the class, I quickly invested in a Glock 19...a little heavier, perhaps, but a darned sight better for a genuine gunfight. Because bad guys come in multiples (and it often requires multiple shots to take down even one person), my Glock 19's 15-round magazine gives me much more comfort than did the 7 round mag of my Glock 43.
Consider your ear protection, as well. If you are already hard of hearing, electronic muffs -- like the Howard Leight models -- will keep you safe and your instructor sane. Even if you AREN'T hard of hearing, such muffs will provide a better experience all the way around!
Are you comfortable enough with your firearms that you can be put under stress? Many of our tactical classes do just that (under close supervision.) You will work your way through shoot/don't shoot scenarios during which instructors may be screaming commands in the background or trying to distract you from the sidelines. You may be shooting in low light or wearing "drunk goggles" (to replicate the effects of blood loss.) You may be lying on your belly, pointing up at the target. Anything is possible!
If you plan to carry or own a gun for personal defense purposes, tactical classes will prepare you for real-world scenarios. If all you ever do is stand in a shooting lane and deftly punch out the center of a paper target, you are not prepared for the physical, logistical and emotional challenges of an armed confrontation. NACOP not only offers "down range" shooting (versus standing in individual stalls) but also shooting and moving, low-light shooting, shooting from prone positions, shooting from behind concealment, single-handed or off-handed shooting and much more.
Tactical classes also try to familiarize you with what might happen in the event of an armed encounter. Instructors want you to understand that successfully shooting your assailant may not end the fight. People have been shot 14 times or more and continued to resist. I used to laugh at the scene in The Untouchables where Sean Connery's character is riddled with automatic weapons fire and still manages to drag himself down the hall and leave a cryptic note for Elliott Ness. I thought the scene was ridiculously unrealistic.
In fact, it is entirely within the realm of possibility. That's why I switched from a Glock 43 to a 19...I wanted as many rounds at my disposal as possible, just in case my attacker hadn't seen the old West movies where Bad Bart gets shot once and goes flying through the saloon window into the street. (Hint: a bullet CANNOT knock a man off his feet. If it had the kinetic energy to do so, Newtonian physics tells us it would also knock down the shooter!) In fact, the FBI did a comprehensive
ballistics white paper in the late 1980s that pointed out that "people fall down
when shot because Hollywood has taught them to do so." You must be
prepared for the TRUTH about what guns CAN do...and what they cannot do. A tactical class will do that for you. Likewise, our tactical classes underscore that if YOU are shot it doesn't mean the end of the fight or the end of your life. Did you know that the majority of people in the United States who are shot survive? The stats run between 73% to as high as 85%. Ask any cop or soldier what they are trained to do when shot and they will tell you "stay in the fight."
Not sure you're ready for tactical? That's fine! Our new STEP curriculum offers many Level 1 courses that you can take as many times as you need. Indeed, this month, on May 18, you can gain valuable tactical insight in a "Pistol Marksmanship 101" class taught by Royce Bartlett, host of The Shooting Straight Radio Show on WMMB-AM. Bartlett will cover fundamentals that will allow you to step into tactical training with confidence. To register, see page 13.
And ladies, there are special tactical classes just for women, but you will also be warmly welcomed at any tactical class. It is the goal of The Shooting Center and The National Association of Chiefs of Police to make sure you are challenged by -- but also prepared for -- any course you take at our facility!
(Tara Dixon Engel is an Instructor for NACOP, editor of Home on the Range, author of The Handgun Guide for Women (Zenith Press 2015), and V.P. of Training and Strategic Development at the American Police Hall of Fame. )
For A Tactical Class
"And gents, if you
have a little extra girth
in the belly region, tucking
that holster up under
said belly is about the worst thing you can do."
Magazine Is Growing, Changing
By John Falldorf
We typically wander though our everyday lives without a care in the world. Then suddenly it happens…STUFF! And we find ourselves caught up in a horrific event such as a mall shooting, a car jacking, or possibly an armed robbery.
Our primary tool has to be the firearm. That's why we carry; that's why we train. But once the shooting stops what tools do we need to survive the aftermath? Have we been shot or cut? Have we lost power (due to a terrorist attack or a well-meaning tactical team) and are now struggling to find our way out of a building or complex? Has the suspect given up (no longer has a weapon)...and, if so, how do we secure them until LEOs arrive? Have we run out of ammo…but the firefight is still in progress (more bad guys showing up)?
These are just a few of the many questions that need to be answered, especially if you're going to concealed carry. Answering those questions -- and acting on the answers -- might just save your life or the life of someone you care about, or perhaps even the life of a total stranger.
As important as a firearm is to surviving a personal defense encounter, secondary tools are also essential! The list below outlines a few essential items to have close by in the event of a gunfight! These tools need to be on you, in your backpack, or close by... i.e. in your vehicle.
First aid kit / mass trauma kit with bandages, tourniquet, blood stopper, pressure bandages, roller gauze (kling), eye wash solution, space blanket, vinyl/nitrite gloves, alcohol wipes, elastic bandages. An assessment of yourself or of a loved one needs to be done immediately after the firefight. Bleeding must be stopped and breathing reestablished. A GOOD first aid kit is essential, as is the knowledge of how to use the items contained therein. Many more lives could be saved if such tools and training were mandatory at schools, businesses and other locations.
An LED flashlight with extra batteries. A small LED flashlight needs to be on your person at all times. Power outages are frequent in Florida, let alone in a firefight. The power will almost always be cut off, whether by the shooters or the tactical teams that are sent to dispatch him/her. You need to be able to move about in the dark and, hopefully, escape.
Spring-loaded punch. This solves a lot of glass entry issues. Sometimes you just need to make entry into previously secured areas. Damage and noise are kept to a minimum by taking out the window with a spring-loaded punch. This is one of those "keep on hand" tools as it is also critical for egress from a water-submerged car.
Matches / lighter. Fire is your friend; use it in multiple defensive/offensive ways and survive.
Knife. A simple heavy-duty non-folder (i.e. not the pocket knife you carried around as an 8-year-old) with a sheath. It never needs to be reloaded and it can save your life in a multitude of ways.
Extra defensive ammo, already loaded in spare magazines. When you really need it you won’t have time to load it into magazines.
Disposable handcuffs. "But I'm a civilian? Why would I need that?" Doesn't matter... these heavy-duty nylon zip-ties can be invaluable if you need to secure a suspect and or apply consistent pressure to a bandaged wound.
Cell phone plus secondary battery / charger. Our primary means of communication to summon help. Doesn't do much good if you ail to keep it fully functional.
Medical card with your blood type and list of your medications and allergies…saves valuable time in an emergency room setting. Carry it on your person.
Backup weapon, whether it be a handgun, rifle and or a short barrel shotgun.
(John Falldorf is a retired Sheriff's Deputy, law enforcement firearms instructor, law enforcement competitive shooter, former range manager and gun shop manager, and an instructor for the NACOP Law Enforcement Training Program.)
Hits The Fan...
In order to better serve our readers with more in-depth content, better stories and photos, and a more impactful magazine format, Home on the Range will become a bi-monthly publication, effective in May 2019.
The response to our magazine has been significant and encouraging. We now have more people submitting articles, more story ideas being floated, and numerous organizations and companies seeking to advertise or sponsor the publication!
What started out as a 4-8 page "newsletter" has mushroomed into something more, and we want to make sure we have the space and the content to do it justice. But, fear not, we will not desert you during the "off" months. Those months will be dedicated to our Home on the Range "News Flash" -- a concise email supplement offering time-sensitive content that can't wait until the next edition, preview teasers for the next month's magazine, special deals at our Pro Shop or range, and upcoming classes with registration links!
As our civilian and law enforcement training programs grow, the magazine will continue to grow with them, offering instructional articles, legislative alerts, opinion pieces, and industry profiles. If you want to find out more about submitting articles or sponsoring/advertising, please contact the editor, Tara Dixon Engel at Tarae@aphf.org or 321-264-0911 Ext. 133.
Secondary Tools Can Save Your Life!
Upcoming Classes at The Shooting Center
May 4: Florida Concealed Carry Weapons Class - Focuses on the legal aspects of concealed carry and ends with range qualification. 9 a.m. - Noon $40 - sign up at firstname.lastname@example.org
May 5: Handgun Fundamentals & Concealed Carry - Perfect Carry Class for beginners, lapsed shooters, or those wishing to get more detail on the mechanics of shooting and selecting firearms. Taught by author of "The Handgun Guide for Women." 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. $50 - To sign up, click here.
May 8: Handgun Refresher Class for Seniors (age 50 plus ) Limit 10. The class is specifically geared toward reacquainting seniors with gun handling (or introducing them to firearms for the first time!) Instruction covers basics of firearms use but also challenges that come with age. Class will discuss age-friendly firearms and related equipment. NOT a CCW class. $30 per person. 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. Sign up here.
May 18: Pistol Marksmanship 101 - 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. $50 at the door (cash or check only, please), with Shooting Straight Radio Host Royce Bartlett as lead instructor. This class is designed to prepare less experienced shooters for the challenges of tactical training. It covers basics of drawing from the holster, choosing the correct equipment and understanding range etiquette and commands. It will take place from the back of the firing line and will include training gun exercises prior to live fire. Encouraged as a pre-requisite to any Shooting Center tactical classes. Bring carry handgun, eye/ear protection, 150-200 rounds, spare mags, mag carrier. You may rent a gun for this class but it is advised that you own one by the time you start tactical training. Sign up HERE.
May 25: Advanced Realistic Self Defense - Pistol/Rifle - 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. -- You must have taken Realistic Self Defense previously. Equipment needed: Handgun, holster, extra magazine, magazine holder, 300 and gun rounds, 100 Rifle or PPC. Wear sneakers and a belt. Equipment needed: Handgun, holster, extra magazine, mag holster. 150 rounds of ammo. 9 mm ammo if renting equipment. $125. Click HERE.
To find more classes offered at The Shooting Center, click here.
Schedule for APHF Women's Shooting Squad
Wednesday, May 8: Simulator -- Reflexes Wednesday, May 29: Personal Defense
Find out more by calling Paula Longcore at 321-890-4661 or email plongcore717@gmail .com.
Don't forget Tactical/Practical every Friday starting at 12:30 p.m. at the Shooting Center, 6350 Horizon Dr. Titusville, FL. Test your skills for $9 in an exciting course of fire that only takes a few minutes! 6350 Horizon Drive Titusville, FL 32780 -- 321-264-0911.
Open: Tues-Fri: 12 -8 p.m. Sat & Sun - 12 to 6 p.m.
May is "Stop the Bleed" month, an opportunity for you to learn how to save lives! A Stop The Bleed Seminar will be held at the American Police Hall of Fame on May 6, 2019, 6 pm-8 pm. It is FREE and eye opening! Reserve your seat through this link: Stop The Bleed.
Tragedy can strike at any time – whether it's a mass shooting, car accident, playground mishap, natural disaster or one of many other ways that someone may wind up traumatically bleeding, properly trained and equipped bystanders can save someone’s life.
The Stop the Bleed campaign was initiated by a federal interagency workgroup convened by the National Security Council Staff, The White House. The purpose of the campaign is to build national resilience by better preparing the public to save lives by raising awareness of basic actions to stop life threatening bleeding following everyday emergencies and man-made and natural disasters. Advances made by military medicine and research in hemorrhage control during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq helped shape this initiative which, in turn, allows for the sharing of knowledge here at home with the general public.
The American College of Surgeons (ACS) Stop the Bleed program continues to empower the general public to make a difference in a life-threatening emergency by teaching them the basic techniques of bleeding control. Learn how you, your family, your school, your place of worship, your company or any other organization can be Stop the Bleed ready.
Stop The Bleed Seminar May 6: FREE For You!
"Those who carry
a concealed firearm
but refuse to put a round in
the chamber are simply toting a paperweight..."
Buttons And Knobs And STUFF That COULD
By Tara Dixon Engel
Welcome! You've become part of the American "gun culture" (such a stupid term) by committing yourself to competent gun handling and personal defense training. You're probably taking tactical classes and spending a lot of time at your local range. Maybe you've joined a group of shooters and discovered how much richer your life is with like-minded friends and wise tutors?
Great! This article is designed to help you discover what too many have learned the hard way...that having the proper equipment is absolutely critical for ANY tactical encounter. On page 8, you read about selecting the proper equipment for our tactical classes at The Shooting Center. Consider this an extension of that article: understanding not simply what you need for classes but what is essential for real world, tactical encounters.
If you are lucky, you will make these discoveries in the safety of a live fire exercise. If not, you may never get the chance to make a different equipment choice.
Recently, in several National Association of Chiefs of Police (NACOP) classes at the Shooting Center, we encountered students with equipment that impeded their ability to respond tactically to the class scenarios. But these particular sub-par tools weren't just an inconvenience that slowed class or didn't fit with the exercises, these were tools that could get you killed.
First up is the retention holster. Yes, they have been heralded by some...and there are still cops and others who will tell you that "as long as you practice with them and make sure releasing the latch is instinctive, you are fine."
Yeah...maybe... Sorry folks, we have had skilled, professional shooters in our classes who swear by retention holsters and, without fail, at some point in the class -- when things get hot and heavy and the adrenaline is pumping -- we see them flailing and floundering as they struggle to release the latch and draw their weapon. We see it so much, in fact, that we now have substitute holsters standing by so they can finish the class successfully.
Yes, there are surely officers and other shooters who have mastered the retention holster (or, at least, think they have.) But when you have seconds to take action and you are adrenalized, frightened, and probably hyperventilating, your fine motor skills are deteriorating and a simple act like pressing a button becomes almost impossible. There are MANY good holsters out there that effectively retain your weapon without forcing you to trust your motor skills at the worst possible moment.
The SAME can be said for manual, external safeties. Obviously, if you carry a 1911-style weapon, by all means...keep the safety on. The gun is designed to be carried "cocked and locked."
But we frequently watch students struggle during pretty basic exercises. We see the familiar hand twitch as their firearm presses forward, but no muzzle blast; followed by a look of curiosity and panic as they try to figure out what's wrong; followed by the sheepish realization that they have been out-smarted by a lever. It's an easy fix on the range, but the difference between life and death in the real world.
Today's Glocks, M&Ps and many other striker-fired brands that lack manual external safeties are incredibly safe! They usually offer a multiplicity of redundant systems that may include a grip safety, trigger safety, firing pin safety, drop safety and more. It is tough to find a more reliable gun than a Glock and they have NEVER had a manual, external safety!
And in the same vein, those who carry a concealed firearm but refuse to put a round in the chamber are simply toting a paperweight that might come in handy for lobbing at someone's head...but little else.
Most modern firearms are designed to be carried with a round in the chamber. Often, the same people who cringe at carrying a semi automatic with a round chambered don't think twice about doing so with a revolver! What the heck is the difference?
Once again, the time it takes to rack the slide (not to mention the time it takes to remember that you NEED to rack the slide) gives the other guy the advantage, and plenty of opportunity to fire multiple shots in your direction. And if you are hiding from an aggressor, the sound of a slide racking is pretty distinctive and could easily rat-out your location.
Finally, we have the whole laser discussion. Lasers are a great practice tool (kinda) but unless you are highly skilled with one, the time it takes for you to activate the laser and get a bead on your threat could be MUCH better spent just lifting the gun and using your instinctive point-index response to defend yourself.
Please THINK about why you want a gun, what you expect it to do, and what YOU are trained and willing to do in a personal defense encounter. Then make certain you have both the appropriate equipment and the correct mindset to achieve your most important goal: survive the fight.
(Tara Dixon Engel is an Instructor for NACOP, editor of Home on the Range, author of The Handgun Guide for Women (Zenith Press 2015), and V.P. of Training and Strategic Development at the American Police Hall of Fame. )
For Duty With
Delta's Pat McNamara
By Paul Pawela
People seek advice from all types of trainers in the shooting world. Those trainers frequently come from one of three back grounds: former Military, former Law Enforcement, or competitive shooters.
My own personal experience, having trained with some of the very best in each category, is that there's no course on the planet better than one whose teacher is an alumni of the very exclusive University of Delta Force, with a PHD in Bad Assery.
The 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta, commonly known as Delta Force, is the leading Counter Terror Force in the world, and, as a result, their weapons and tactical skills are second-to-none. In the private sector, any training offered by ex-unit members should be required attendance if you are serious about learning defensive shooting skills...and learning them from the best!
Pat McNamara is a man who not only spent 22 years in Special Operations, the last 13 of his 22 years were with Delta, serving in every role possible and eventually retiring as Sargent Major (The non-commissioned officer in charge of counter terrorism troops). McNamara has extensive experience in hostile fire/combat zones in the Middle East, and Eastern Europe and today he trains individuals at basic and advanced levels of marksmanship and combat tactics.
Recently, I spent two days with Pat McNamara along with 17 highly motivated and very skilled shooters at the Nail Ranch in Fellsmere, Florida. While I lack the space to completely do this course justice, it is worth touching on the lessons learned under McNamara's capable tutelage.
“Shooting is more than just proper sight alignment, firm grip and trigger control. It is about shooting with accurate, lethal results and tactical effectiveness, and with a continuous thought process regarding everything you're doing and everything around you," McNamara explained. "As responsible gun handlers, it is up to us to ensure that we are our own first responders. If you are a gun owner, train so you are competent, are able to discern and discriminate, and can actually hit a target."
The instructor continued, "It is not only your right but your responsibility to carry where the law permits. Additionally, you should never go outside the parameters of the law. It is not only your responsibility to protect yourself, but those around you, your loved ones, your community and every day citizens."
He added that , "Just because you own a gun does not mean you are 'armed.' Without education of the law, and without training then you are more of a liability than an asset”.
Hmmmm...sounded very familiar to me: Carrying a gun allows us to defend ourselves so we can live life to the fullest.
McNamara tackled another subject that people don't always associate with self-defense, but one that is intimately tied to it: physical fitness.
In fact, McNamara correlates the two so closely that he developed Combat Strength Training (CST), a fitness training methodology rooted in the US Army Special Operations community.
McNamara's web site, www.combatstrengthtraining.com, explains that his approach "retrofits the Combat Chassis (a.k.a. the body) so that it performs with maximum efficiency at maximum capacity. "
His methodology is designed to achieve three primary goals:
1. Save your life.
2. Save your family and friends' lives.
3. Crush bad guys.
The four pillars that make the program work are: strength, endurance, speed and flexibility, with each category based on where the participant is in terms of physical shape and desire.
McNamara points out that, "No matter your occupation, you're still the agent in charge of your own protective detail, especially if you have a family. With that position comes the responsibility to ensure that you're as prepared as you can be. Being fit makes you better able to focus on higher level tasks when in dangerous situations."
To that end, the Sergeant Major launched a basic training course that offers nine step-by-step training modules, regardless of the student's fitness level.
He equates individual "combat chassis" to familiar auto bodies, which run the gamut in terms of efficiency and coolness:
Combat Chassis Type 1: Ford Pinto
Combat Chassis Type 2: Chevy Impala
Combat Chassis Type 3: Jeep Wrangler
Combat Chassis Type 4: Ford GT 500 Mustang
As you might guess, the Pinto equates to your typical unmotivated couch potato, while the Mustang represents guys and gals at Pat's level of fitness. But wherever you fall on the spectrum, McNamara believes he can not only improve your body, but your dependability in a tough situation as well.
For more information on Pat McNamara's Combat Strength Training program, click HERE.
One of the shirts that Pat proudly wears, under his own brand, says,“If You want to be a Bad Ass then you have to Kick Ass -- and the First Ass You have to Kick is Your Own! "
Words to live by!
(Paul Pawela is Director of Law Enforcement Training for The National Association of Chiefs of Police.)
Learn from a legend. Learn from someone who has utilized tactical techniques in real-world defensive encounters. Learn from Dave "Boon" Benton, one of the heroes of Benghazi, on whom the groundbreaking film "13 Hours" was based.
The Hall of Fame is pleased to host Benton for his two-day Close Range Engagement Course on May 11 and 12. The class will cost $550. It is presented by The Defensive Marksmanship Instructor Group of Brevard County and will focus on teaching students how to handle nearby threats while operating in and around structures, using the body, personal weapons, and defensive firearms. The class will also cover how to clear structures using tactical methods.
To register on Shootingclasses.com, click HERE.
Civilians, to register for the compelling June 14 presentation,
please click HERE. Law Enforcement, email Tarae@aphf.org.
Lessons From Benghazi
to secure K9 units. As of 2018 we have raised/