The Shooting Center Newsletter May 2019
Published by The Shooting Center September 2019
HOME On The RANGE
Camp Was Brutal
Take Your Concealed Carry Seriously!
Can You Survive
Being Bound and
How To LOSE
By John Falldorf
Editor's Note: Trainer and retired law enforcement officer John Falldorf wanted to look at personal defense from a slightly different perspective. Instead of harping on what people must do to prepare for the fight of their lives, he decided to focus on what they are currently doing that could get them killed. Of course, parts of the article are tongue-in-cheek...but the rest is deadly serious. Do you see yourself in any of these 10 reasons? Not all relate to gun handling proficiency, but all will impact your ability to survive a firefight!
1. You engage in Apathy. It hurts your head even to think about taking action. Training, preparation, effort...those are someone else's problems. If this sonds like you, you're clearly just practicing to be a victim. You’re not living life; you are barely existing and completely unprepared for any crises that may arise! How about you take some classes, buy a gun and start learning to defend yourself? Stop living in fear...and START LIVING!
2. You are Physically Unfit. You've become a Walmart poster child. You’re winded by just walking up a flight of stairs. Check your Body Mass Index…is it off the charts? You just shrug and say there's nothing you can do about it.
Well...turn off the computer and TV set (unplug from this world for a bit), and do something physical. QUIT EATING PROCESSED FOODS (i.e. those anything made with wheat or sugars or high fructose corn syrup ) and start a WEIGHT LIFTING PROGRAM. Most exercise programs stink over the long haul but weight lifting has been proven to succeed long term. Also, quit smoking, quit drinking to excess, and quit eating out of boredom. If you do eliminate wheat and sugar from your diet you will not only lose weight but end your food addictions. No more crash diets…ever! You'll be amazed at how much energy you will have to train and defend yourself!
3. You are mentally unfit. You don’t have a plan A, let alone plans B or C. When was the last time you rehearsed (visualized in your mind) a response to a violent encounter (i.e. home invasion, active shooter, robbery, rape, etc)? If you can’t visualize yourself shooting a criminal, then don’t buy a firearm! Buy an attack dog…at least you’ll have some protection. And if you do buy a gun, get the necessary training to carry it! When you are out and about, quit looking at your cell phone! That will get you killed. Look around and mentally recognize what you are seeing: Study people, talk to them, analyze their body language, where are their hands, what are they looking at…focus! We are losing the social interaction skills (and warning signals) necessary for verbal and visual communication.
4. You define 'Training' as Watching "John Wick." When was the last time you practiced your shooting skills? These skills are perishable, if you’ve even mastered them in the first place! Square range training is not enough. Shooting paper targets only confirms marksman skills under low-stress conditions; it has little correlation to how you may react in a violent encounter! TAKE ADVANCED SIMULATION TRAINING; TAKE A REALISTIC SCENARIO CLASS; LEARN FROM PEOPLE WHO HAVE EXPERIENCED A FIREFIGHT. Fundamental shooting drills are a must…regularly. These drills include drawing from the holster, presenting the firearm after target identification, trigger manipulation without wobbling the gun, and holstering without muzzling yourself or others. Such actions MUST become second nature. Only then can you begin to advance.
5. Your equipment is cheap, old and designed for someone OTHER than you. Does your equipment stink? Is your gun reliable? Will it fire all the time and not jam, regardless of hand position or weapon orientation? Manual and grip safeties can get you killed in a violent encounter. Do you have enough ammo capacity to end a violent encounter once it starts? Do you have extra, loaded magazines and/or speed loaders close by (in your vehicle, placed throughout your home, in your purse or backpack?) Does your holster allow you access to the firearm when your fine motors skills are gone? Does it allow you to holster one-handed? Does your gun belt support all the equipment you carry? These are questions you DON'T want to learn the answers to in a crisis.
6. You know nothing about first aid and you dont know a tourniquet from a scrunchy. Once you've been shot, battered or
sliced is not the time to study bleeding control and wound care! Do you have a tourniquet? Can you apply it by yourself? Your life and the lives of others may depend upon it! Take a first aid class!
7. You don't think past the initial encounter. Have you thought about containment...how you would secure an attacker once he or she submits and becomes compliant? Do you have handcuffs? If not, purchase large wire flex ties found in the electrical departments of most home improvement stores. Holding suspects at gun point is not only tiring, but dangerous, especially when the police show up!
8. Make sure you are as annoying and confrontational as possible! Why don't you practice avoidance? You’re still giving angry gestures to drivers who cut you off in traffic? Do you speed up and attempt to cut someone else off? People are stressed beyond measure today…STOP IT! Be kind to others even if they do not reciprocate. Every gun battle that you avoid, you win! Be aware of your surroundings and the people who are near you. If need be, leave the area, switch to the other side of the street, create distance. If they change their course of travel to intersect yours…RUN!
9. Don't even consider a less than lethal response. ALL encounters must end in gun play...right? No! Think about pepper spray, a taser, an electrical prod, a baton or ax handle. Not all criminal encounters require a lethal force response.
10. Ignore human behavior. You don’t know your adversary…but he knows you well! Stay out of the bad areas of town. Don’t hang out with bad and or stupid people. Be prepared at all times and places. Situational awareness is a lifestyle…not a mental diet plan. Above all, BREAK THE APATHY CYCLE…THINK and then ACT!
(John Falldorf is a retired law enforcement officer, competitive LE shooter, and a NACOP-endorsed trainer .)
10 Reasons You'll LOSE The Gunfight
Little did I know
how closely the content
of "Arc Road" would parallel the training I
was about to receive.
Crisis Response International Counter-Terrorism
Training::Escaping From Restraints -- Part One.
By Paul Pawela
“Our fate is determined by how far we are prepared to push ourselves to stay alive…the decisions we make to survive. We must do whatever it takes to endure and make it through alive.” -- Bear Grylls
Many Home on the Range readers know I wear a variety of hats for the National Association of Chiefs of Police. On any given day, I may be an instructor, the Director of Law Enforcement Training, a senior writer for Chief of Police magazine or a friendly face at the Pro Shop gun counter.
Part of my job for NACOP is to read and review law enforcement related books and to attend a variety of training and conferences, so that NACOP and its instructors may share the best and newest techniques with our law enforcement clients and students.
Our organization is in the process of developing an exciting new training partnership with the Crisis Response International (CRI) Counter Terrorism Training School in Las Vegas, NV, one of the premiere counter terrorism and executive protection schools in the country. In the process, I was presented with a rare opportunity to take CRI’s highly regarded Counter Terrorism Instructor class…188 hours of hostage-taking, water-boarding and being trussed up like a hog to market…plus so much more. Who wouldn’t jump at the chance?
It was a no-brainer: the course offered a great opportunity for NACOP to further enhance and expand our training reputation. The lessons I would learn in this class would translate not only into our LEEP (law enforcement) training, but into our civilian classes, as well.
So I boarded a plane to Vegas, but not before my Home on the Range editor, Tara Dixon Engel, handed me an advance copy of a new law enforcement book by author Tony Tiffin, titled “Arc Road,” with instructions that I read and review it.
The book is set against the backdrop of 1964 rural Georgia, a time when the challenges of law enforcement were (in theory, anyway) less dynamic than today.
The story recounts the events that occurred prior to and after three police officers were found on a lonely Georgia back-road handcuffed together and shot to death at point blank range. The book then tackles the who, what, when and why of the grisly crime scene, and underscores the multitude of ways in which this then- unthinkable crime changed police work and police training forever.
The fact that I read the entire book in one sitting should be a clue as to how much I enjoyed it and how valuable it was. The fact that I whole-heartedly endorse it as required reading for all law enforcement officers (and any civilians who care about protecting themselves and those they love) should be another clue.
But a comprehensive written review would have to wait as I prepared for the Counter Terrorism Instructors course. Little did I know how closely the story of "Arc Road" would parallel the training I was about to receive.
The first day right out the gate was: Survival. Evasion. Resistance. Escape -- better known in LE and Military circles as SERE Training.
The first part of SERE class involved simulated capture by terrorists, which included having a hood placed over your head, having your feet and hands bound, and being water-boarded as you were asked a variety of questions. If your answers did not please the pseudo-terrorists who were your captors, you were then shocked with a taser.
I got the experience of being hogtied on the ground, then hung up, placed into a small box in isolation, and strapped into a chair all while being handcuffed, blindfolded, interrogated and shocked by a taser.
Was I able to escape? The short answer is “yes” but I’ll provide more details on that, later!
So your first question might be: “Why would anyone willingly subject themselves to that?”
Many of my classmates are contractors with overseas assignments in hostile areas. Over the course of the class, we viewed 10 different videos that featured actual beheadings by terrorists, as well as a number of murderous executions where human beings were shot in the back of the head with high caliber weapons. Not a pleasant viewing experience, even for the most hardened GI or cop.
But how does this apply to the average civilian reader of Home on the Range?
Likely, every single one of you carries a firearm for home defense or personal protection. Have you ever really thought of what might happen if you or someone in your family was taken hostage?
If you think that being bound, tortured and murdered is something that does not happen in the United States, I have countless documented case studies to prove you wrong.
The Manson Murders back in 1969 is one high profile example but there are many, many more that do not get the same press that followed the killing of Sharon Tate, her unborn child and house guests.
So, here is the question: do you know how to escape if you are tied up with the common items bad people use to bind their innocent victims? Those items might include rope, duct tape, zip ties and hand cuffs.
One rule of thumb with abductions is to never allow someone to take you to a second location. But sometimes you have no choice…perhaps a head injury or other trauma means that you must temporarily comply. However, the operative word is temporarily, as your brief surrender is merely a momentary play for survival.
Aside from having the proper mindset (where have you heard that before?) to extract yourself from a very tough situation, you must have a plan. The secret to getting out of being tied up can be found in setting up the proper posture for your planned escape.
Making oneself bigger is the key!
Defeating hand restraints comes down to a matter of wrist and palm placement.
Keeping the thumbs together, spread the palms apart, as this will flex the wrist muscles which will simultaneously broaden the diameter of the wrists, as pictured above. Now join the palms at thumb level which will create the illusion of closed palms while leaving a sizable gap at the wrists.
Frequently used as restraint devices in kidnapping and torture scenarios, chairs provide a foundation against which to brace a victim’s limbs, but also a structure against which to buck and strain.
At the moment of restraint, take deep breaths in to increase the width of the chest, arch the back, straighten arms and knees as much as possible, and move feet to the outside of the chair legs, shrinking back down to size once captors have left the room create gaps in the restraints.
If restrained with ropes, attempt to discretely create slack in the restraints by retaining a length of rope in the hand. The featured photos show me being restrained with zip ties and rope -- and successfully escaping. I was also water-boarded, caged and otherwise "treated" to abuse that most Americans (thankfully) will never experience.
At the beginning of this article I discussed the upcoming book, Arc Road, and how my training relates to the fate of the three Georgia officers who were restrained and murdered back in 1964. In part two, I will discuss how they might have escaped using some of the techniques I learned from CRI -- and why these are important skills not only for law enforcement but for anyone who could potentially be held against their will. Stay tuned!
(Paul Pawela is the Director of Law Enforcement Training for The National Association of Chiefs of Police and a nationally known instructor in defensive firearms, hand-to-hand defense and the martial arts.)
CRI Counter Terrorism Training School, featured in Paul Pawela's article on the opposite page, is overseen by its founder and CEO, Doron Benbenisty, who started the school with a desire to save lives and share the level and style of training he received in his native Israel during his service in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and the Israeli Special Forces. While in the special forces he served in the "Mistaravim Unit" (a division that infiltrates enemy territories in order to gather intelligence and eliminate security risks). There he became a Counter Terrorism Instructor as well.
The CRI CEO is credited with successfully creating and implementing an entirely new type of program: Israel’s first Counter Suicide Bomber Program.
After arriving in the United States in 2000, Benbenisty founded CRI to offer comprehensive instruction to military, law enforcement, dignitary protection, private security, civilians, professional bodyguards and federal agencies in the "Israeli method," which offers a special and unique knowledge of countering terrorism, guerrilla warfare, and crime.
CRI’s sole purpose is to provide some of the most tactically realistic training as possible. They have become one of the most trusted companies contributing to the security and freedom of the United States and its allies, and now they are working with the National Association of Chiefs of Police to develop Florida-based training. Stay tuned to Home on the Range to find out more about regional venues for this compelling and comprehensive training.
C.R.I. combines a mixture of the reactive and the proactive approach. They do this by using advanced methods with superior instructors that enable the level of training to be as close to reality as possible.
Benbenisty defines the goal of CRI in very simple terms:"We have one goal – to save lives in any situation, anywhere."
To find out more about CRI, check out www.critraining.com.
Surviving Captivity...The Israeli Way
Paul Pawela demonstrates various escape techniques. The book he mentions, Arc Road, releases shortly from Genius Book Publishing of California. To find out more about Arc Road, click HERE.
to secure K9 units. As of 2019 we have raised/
Students in the Beginner's Stress-free Handgun Class will learn about the parts of
a handgun and how it operates in a comfortable and welcoming environment.
Gun Classes For The 'Gun Shy'
One of the most commonly expressed concerns regarding firearms training is that instructors assume too much about their students. They often assume the student has a pre-existing level of knowledge (even in classes that claim to be geared toward new shooters). They also assume that the student has made up his/her mind about even owning a gun.
And students, in turn, often make the mistake of assuming that a Concealed Carry Class is a beginners class. More often than not, the instructor is trying to walk a fine line between those students who are brand new to shooting and have decided they want to carry...and those who have been shooting for years and just need the proper paperwork to get their license. As a result, class content is directed somewhere in the middle between the two extremes.
So, what do you do if you really are a beginner and, in fact, you aren't even certain you want to own or carry a gun? How do you get the basics without ending up in a class with "Joe Glock" who finishes the instructor's sentences and regales his classmates with his opinions on gun control?
Or perhaps you are already a gun owner but you have a spouse, significant other or friend/family member who is just starting to ask questions about firearms and personal defense, but remains dubious and could be easily scared away by the wrong class content?
The National Association of Chiefs of Police has introduced a TRUE "beginner's course" titled The Beginner's Stress-Free Handgun Class (originally titled the Beginner's Gunless Handgun Class.)
The goal of the class is to provide information and hands-on training in a relaxed atmosphere. Students who are unsure of whether they want to even fire a gun don't have to do so. Students who decide they would like to fire a gun may also do so under the strict supervision of a certified instructor -- and without the rest of the class looking on.
Everyone in the class will be a beginner so there is no need to worry about asking "dumb" questions, although instructor Tara Dixon Engel says there ARE no dumb questions. "The only question that might qualify as dumb is the one you don't ask," she explains.
Class content is geared toward understanding how a gun works and discussing why you might want to own one. Students will learn about the parts of a gun while handling real (unloaded) pistols and revolvers as well as fake guns or "blue guns.". They will learn how to rack a slide, load a magazine, hold the gun properly, and even how to disassemble and clean it (although the instructor cautions that cleaning is subjective and every gun comes apart a little differently).
Students will learn about the differences between revolvers and semi-automatics and the advantages/ disadvantages of each. If time permits, they may choose to try out the facility's use-of-force simulator in order to get a feel for the split second decision-making that accompanies a personal defense encounter.
"If they want to fire a real gun, we will have several calibers available for the student to try, primarily .22 LR, .380 and 9 mm," Engel explained. "And there is no pressure to shoot if you don't feel like you are ready to do so. We also have CO2 laser guns that you can try to begin to get familiar with the concept of recoil"
The instructor added that "you will not get 'the hard sell' in this class or be judged if you are squeamish about holding a firearm. This is a class designed to educate you and help you make an informed choice about firearms. If you still decide they are not for you, that's absolutely fine. At least you will have a more reality-based understanding than you'll ever get from the evening news."
She added that the first class was held in early September. "We had eight students that included several who had never even touched a gun. One of the ladies had also signed up for the next day's Handgun Defense Fundamentals & Concealed Carry class. After initially being terrified of the guns, she not only overcame her fear but was one of the best shooters in the follow-up class! I was thrilled for her and, whether she continues her firearms education here or elsewere, I know she now understands the importance of education and practice."
Upcoming dates for the class include Sept. 28, Oct. 26, Nov. 9, Dec 21, and Jan. 11. You can sign up by clicking HERE. The class costs $50 and is worth 2 credits in the National Association of Chiefs of Police STEP program.
Engel noted that this particular class can also be tailored to a specific group or event.
"We can do Ladies Only classes and can also organize a class at our facility in an executive lounge setting with snacks and non-alcoholic drinks. Want to do an unusual birthday party? A girls day out? A truly memorable bridesmaids gathering," Engel asked. "Treat your peeps to an afternoon of laid-back firearms instruction and simulator use with highly qualified female instructors, and the chance to fire a gun under under careful supervision (gun rental, 25 rounds of ammo, target, ear protection & eye protection included). This class, because of the added food, drink and ammo, will cost $90 per person but it will be a great outing that your friends will never forget."
For more information about the Beginner's Stress-free Handgun Class email Tarae@aphf.org.
Sept. 25, Oct. 9, Oct. 23 -- Ladies Only Safety Training -- NRA and USCCA certified trainer Gretchen Laiuppa works with ladies of all levels of experience on the range and in self-defense drills, simulator time and much more. Only $9 includes your target, ears and eyes, and gun rental if needed. The only additional cost is your ammunition (which can be purchased on site). Learn from a qualified, NACOP-certified instructor! Email Gretchen at email@example.com with questions. 6-8 p.m. on each night listed. Attend one or attend both! Held monthly.
Oct 5: Florida Concealed Carry Weapons Class - Focuses on the legal aspects of concealed carry and ends with range qualification. 9 a.m. - Noon $50 - sign up at firstname.lastname@example.org
Oct. 5: Realistic Self Defense - This c lass covers how to carry a weapon concealed, how to use your gun under stress, one-handed shooting (dominant and nondominant), shooting on the move, shooting while sitting, kneeling, prone and on your belly. Students will learn to hold a suspect at gun point, scan tactically and identify targets quickly.
Also included is interaction with law enforcement, legal aftermath. 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. $75 -- Click HERE.
Oct 6: Handgun Defense Fundamentals & Concealed Carry - Perfect carry and introductory defense 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.
Oct 12: Survival Shooting -- Taught by a long-time deputy and award-winning LE competitive shooter, this fast-paced class packs numerous drills and scenarios into four hours and includes shooting at steel targets and more. Learn how to react to a life threatening situation...and be the one who walks away! Register HERE. 8 a.m. to noon. $125
Oct. 19: Youth Introduction to Handgun -- Taught by radio host and NACOP-endorsed trainer Royce Bartlett, this class introduces young people ages 13-19 to safe gun handling and the concept of responsible gun ownership. $40 9 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. To register, email Royceshoots0@gmail.com
Oct. 26: Couples Team Tactics -- This course covers makes contact and who covers their partner, tactical movements and shooting, what to do if a partner is wounded, non-verbal communication, cues to help your partner, how to reload and cover your partner in a gunfight as well as communication with them, who does what in a carjacking, who does what in a robbery situation, introduction to the back-up pistol, rifle. 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. $75 -- Click HERE.
Stay tuned for many more NACOP-endorsed classes in 2020!
To find more classes offered at The Shooting Center, click here.
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 $10 in an exciting course of fire that only takes a few minutes! That fee also allows you to shoot in the other bay, before or after Tac/Prac.
6350 Horizon Drive Titusville, FL 32780 -- 321-264-0911. Open: Tues-Fri: 12 -8 p.m. Sat & Sun - 12 to 6 p.m.
The Shooting Center and National Association of Chiefs of Police (NACOP) have introduced an exciting new training approach called STEP, designed to maximize your firearms education, expose you to world-class instructors, and give you a series of goals and benefits. Click HERE to see the syllabus and read about our instructors.
Upcoming Classes at The Shooting Center
You can find many NACOP instructors -- and more -- at:
The National Association of Chiefs of Police now offers Spanish-speaking firearms classes at The American Police Hall of Fame.
NACOP-endorsed instructor Kenny Rivera will be presenting USCCA Concealed Carry classes in Spanish. A native of Puerto Rico, Rivera's qualifications include PADI Master Diver, Certified EMT, NRA Range Safety Officer and Certified Pistol Instructor.
He is also certified by the United States Concealed Carry Association (USCCA) . To find out about classes, email him at email@example.com
Also Available Now: Youth Handgun Safety Classes
If you have ever wanted to teach your child about firearms safety and responsible gun ownership, you can now do so with one of the most recognized names in firearms and second amendment advocacy, iHeart Radio and WMMB "Shooting Straight" host Royce Bartlett.
Bartlett is himself an NRA and USCCA certified trainer and is NACOP-certified for his knowledge and instructional skill. Also a father, the radio host wanted to develop a class that is designed to help young people stay safe around firearms.
"It is so important that they see firearms as a tool and not as a toy or as a source of power," Bartlett explains. "In order to do that, they must understand what a gun is, what it does, and how they are expected to treat it. "
The first NACOP-endorsed Youth Intro To Handgun Class will be offered on October 19 from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Hall of Fame in Titusville. Students ages 13-19 are welcome to attend with a parent or guardian (the parent or guardian is FREE but must sit in on the class.)
The class features an emphasis on gun safety and knowledge with laser and SIRT guns as well as some basic live fire .
"Statistics show that young people who are taught to respect firearms do not misuse them, and that children as young as 11 have used firearms to defend against attackers.," Bartlett said. "Hunting and shooting have been family traditions since the founding of this country, and it is only by passing on responsible training and tips that we will be able to maintain and grow these traditions."
Parents interested in signing up their child or children may contact Royce at firstname.lastname@example.org. The cost of the class is $40 per student and a parent or guardian must attend the class, as well . For general information about NACOP-endorsed trainers or classes, email Tarae@aphf.org.
By Royce Bartlett
A question I often ask my students at the beginning of every class is, “How many of you think that police officers should be as trained as possible?” Without fail, every hand will raise. Then, expounding on the question, I’ll add, “It only makes sense, right? Because they’re carrying firearms, a.k.a. ‘lethal force’, and no one wants a poorly-trained officer who’s ignorant of the law, or careless with lethal force, correct?” Assenting nods are always unanimous.
“Then you have the exact same responsibility!” is the finishing touch, and that’s usually when the gravity of concealed carry hits home. That’s not to say or even imply that we, as concealed carriers, act in any way as police officers, but we do, indeed, have the responsibility to be just as well-versed in the laws of our state, as well as reasonably trained in the judicious application of deadly force, i.e. knowing how -- and when -- to shoot and not shoot.
There are two primary areas one must consider when taking on the very serious responsibility of carrying lethal force on their person: Equipment selection, and Training.
1.) EQUIPMENT SELECTION: This includes multiple necessary items, namely handgun, holster/other carry method, belt, and ammunition.
This should also include at least one form of less-than-lethal force, such as pepper spray, electronic weapon, baton, etc. I’m sure you’ve noticed that the average police officer carries all of these items on a daily basis.
Handgun: I’ve often asked fellow keepers and bearers what their carry pistol is, and caught myself cringing inwardly when they answer, hoping for their sake that they’ll never be caught in a major deadly force situation with their particular weapon of choice.
Too often, handgun choice is based on small size, ease of concealment, comfort, small caliber, and everything EXCEPT the ability to address all known potential threats, which range from the single low-level street thug to multiple assailants, even to drug-crazed whackos that can absorb astonishing amounts of trauma before succumbing to their wounds. When faced with such threats, a 5 or 6-shot revolver or 7-shot semi-auto doesn’t seem up to the task, especially when there is a verified account of a murderous thug taking 14 shots of .45 ACP from a police officer’s Glock, being struck in the heart, lung, liver, and abdomen, and he was still shooting at the cop,…and he had no drugs or alcohol in his system. I could also reference the recent mass murderer in Dayton, Ohio, and how it took 58 rounds from multiple officers to put him down. There are literally countless incidents where more than 10 rounds were needed to end the threat…so what are you carrying?
Are not the threats police officers face the same threats average citizens face? Yep, same group of bad guys/gals. So, if cops are issued high capacity pistols of sufficient caliber, and carry spare magazines with them, shouldn’t you also consider carrying enough gun and enough ammo?
Extra magazines: Why would you not carry spare magazines? How do you know how many rounds your particular situation may require? How many assailants will you be facing? How many shots will it take to neutralize them all? The fact is, you just don’t know, but one thing is certain, no one that has ever been involved in a defensive shooting has ever exclaimed, “Dang it! I brought too much ammo!”
Belt and Holster: Notice I said “belt” first, and that’s because your belt is the foundation of your holster, if that’s how you’ve chosen to carry (and I personally think you should). Buy a belt that is made for concealed carry, and there are many good brands out there to choose from. Your belt is the foundation of your holster, and if your belt is not rigid enough to support a holstered firearm (even an inside-the-waistband holster), then your holster may not function properly, in which case YOU will not function properly, and that could be disastrous.
As for your holster, I don’t recommend cheap little soft holsters that collapse as soon as you draw your weapon, for the primary reason that re-holstering your pistol cannot usually be done safely without muzzling your support hand (which is always invariably used to open the top of the holster enough to slip the pistol back in), or your hip (as I’ve witnessed too many people also do, as they use the muzzle to twist and pry the top of the holster open). Too often I’ve seen material from untucked shirts get caught in the trigger guard, and almost cause a negligent discharge!
Spend the money, and buy a good, rigid holster. A good kydex holster can be custom made for your carry pistol (for both inside and outside the waistband carry) for less than $65.00, which is far cheaper than a hip replacement. There are also multiple quality manufacturers that craft ready-to-purchase holsters made for your particular pistol, so there’s no excuse. Remember, skimping on your equipment can lead to failure, which can lead to tragedy.
As for other forms of carry, like purses, belly bands, fanny packs, ankle and bra holsters, etc., I simply cannot recommend them as safe and/or reliable. Purses can be snatched, drawing from belly bands and fanny packs takes a lot of practice to be fast enough, forget about quickly drawing your weapon from an ankle holster (have you ever tried it??), and bra holsters keep the muzzle of your pistol pointed either directly under the chin of the wearer, or at their abdomen, depending on the brand.
Spare magazine holder(s): How do you carry your spare magazine(s)? Some carry an extra in their pocket, some in a ‘holster’ (carrier) made for the magazine(s), which is my personal preference (I wear a double-mag carrier on my left side). If you carry a small pistol and/or spare magazine in your pocket, clean it/them regularly; you’d be surprised how much lint and other debris can work its way into it, and can easily impede proper function.
Ammunition: For defensive ammunition, choose quality name-brand rounds that are designed for personal defense. They cost more (up to $2 per round), but are well worth it. Such ammo causes greater tissue trauma to the bad guy, and mitigates over-penetration; the former being advantageous in inflicting greater harm on your assailant(s) and ending the incident quickly, and the latter in causing none to innocent persons who may be behind your target.
I do NOT recommend hand loads for legal liability’s sake, as attorneys have a magical way of transforming you into a murderous vigilante in the eyes of a jury, especially if they can “prove” you "designed" your ammo for the express purpose of killing.
Less-than-Lethal: Not every situation/confrontation will be a lethal force situation, that’s why I also carry a gel pepper spray (in case I have to employ it with the wind in my face); it can easily change an assailant’s felonious intentions, the effects are temporary, and
carrying it may also help show a jury that you are not
someone looking to shoot the first person that gives you a reason to, but that you are simply someone who wishes to defend themselves, and carries the proper equipment to do so.
Batons, knives, and electronic weapons are also options, but using blunt or edged weapons does require some skill, and both also come with their own peculiar legal liabilities, because both could easily inflict grave bodily harm and/or death.
I would limit my choices in electronics to the actual civilian version of the Taser, which fires darts just like the police version, giving you stand-off capabilities. Unlike the police version, which only has a five-second jolt of generous voltage, the civilian version has a thirty-second burst, which gives you time to get away. Of course, if you can’t run away fast enough and the first tickle didn’t change their mind, you can always give them a second helping, but you may want to toss them a diaper before you do, because a dual application of 50,000 volts is liable to loosen both bladder and bowels; the upside of that being that the perp will be easy to locate and identify.
2.) TRAINING: To be reasonably proficient with your carry weapon, there are three distinct levels of training you should pursue: Basic, Advanced, and Force-on-Force.
NOTE: Just because there are three levels doesn’t mean there are only three classes involved! Be prepared to take multiple classes; as for how many, that depends on your absorption of the training offered. Truth be told, your training/learning never really ends, because bad people are always coming up with new ideas on how to ply their illicit trade, and defenders must always be ready to adjust and adapt.
MAKE SURE YOU SEEK OUT QUALITY INSTRUCTORS!! Having to unlearn bad habits takes up to three times as long as learning it right the first time!
Basic: Upon completion of this level, you should know proper stance, grip, fundamental marksmanship principles, and proper safe handling and manipulation of your pistol. You should also be able to confidently and consistently place 100% of your shots in center mass within 25 feet, and in the head at 15 feet.
Advanced: At this level, you should be well-versed in safely working from your holster, moving and shooting, malfunction clearing, reloading your pistol under stress, proper use of cover and concealment, shoot/don’t shoot scenario training, and how to communicate properly with responding authorities. You should also have minimum trauma care training (tourniquet application, wound dressing, employing other hemostatic agents, etc.). It would be wise to purchase or build a good quality trauma kit, because you may have to save not only your own life, but possibly the life of another.
Force-On-Force (FOF): ’Fighting’ Paper targets that stand still and don’t return fire has its place in your training, but not forever. You’re going to have to train against living, breathing, thinking humans if you’re going to be as ready as possible to defend yourself, your family, and/or your fellow citizens.
There are multiple FOF training methods, including ‘simunition’ rounds, video simulators, paintball, laser vests/weapons, and air-soft training weapons. Most of these types of training are available to you here at The American Police Hall of Fame.
A veritable endless number of scenarios can be staged, including attackers with knives, blunt weapons, and firearms; and in many areas including vehicles, close quarters in small rooms, open areas like parking lots, and so on.
FOF is the most practical training available, better than simulators and other static training methods. I have often referred to it as “Brain-on-Brain”, because it forces you to use the most powerful weapon you have, your mind.
WRAPPING IT UP: I hope this article has made you think more deeply and critically about your responsibilities as a concealed carrier, primarily because it is my data-supported belief that trained, gun-toting citizens make violent crime drop exponentially. After the concealed carry program was instituted in Florida, the violent crime rate, from 1995 to 2012, dropped by over 60%, and is still falling. This was not due to new state-wide policing tactics, nor can it be attributed to a sudden epidemic of morality amongst the criminal element. The one, single factor that could possibly be credited for this astonishing drop in felonious behavior is the armed citizen; because the only thing violent criminals truly fear is an armed intended victim.
I don’t want you to feel that you shouldn’t be carrying a concealed firearm unless you’ve acquired all the equipment and training mentioned in this article, but I DO want you to feel that you need more training if you haven’t been taking any, and that you should also evaluate your equipment choices in light of what you’ve just read; because if you’re going to be carrying a loaded firearm around your fellow citizens, you should take it just as seriously as you expect police officers to.
Royce Bartlett is the host of the popular iHeart Radio and WMMB-AM show "Shooting Straight," on Saturdays from 2-4 pm and also broadcast over Facebook and via iHeart podcast. He is also an NRA and USCCA certified instructor and a NACOP-endorsed trainer.
Taking It Seriously!
"After the concealed carry
program was instituted in Florida , the violent crime rate, from 1995-2012 dropped by over 60%
and is still falling..."
Royce Bartlett (standing) works with a NACOP student on the range.
'Support the Force' Motorcycle Ride Oct. 12
A special "Support the Force" motorcycle ride will take place on Oct. 12 at the American Police Hall of Fame. Hosted by the National Association of Chiefs of Police and sponsored by Miracle City Harley-Davidson in Titusville, the ride pays tribute to law enforcement past, present and future. It also encourages support for the "Walk of Heroes" commemorative brick project that will be built on the adjacent five acres beisde the museum. The walk will lead to the new U.S. Law Enforcement Eternal Flame, which will stand 10 stories tall and will honor those who stand proudly in the thin blue line and those who have been lost in the line of duty.
The ride will begin at the museum at 9 a.m. with tours and activities, as well as presentations by Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey and Titusville Police Chief John Lau.
Visitors may purchase commemorative bricks at the event to honor family members or friends in law enforcement or to just show their support for law enforcement in general.
Then it will be kickstands up at 10:30 a.m. for a one-hour ride that will end up at the Miracle City Harley dealership for live music, food, drink and fun!
So, grab your bike and come on out to "Support the Force!"
For more information, email Tarae@aphf.org or call Miracle City Harley at 321-
Home on the Range is published bi-monthly by The Shooting Center and Pro Shop at The American Police Hall of Fame & Museum, 6350 Horizon Drive, Titusville, FL 32780. On alternating months, we produce a "News Flash" version, featuring condensed stories and teasers for the next edition.
The publication is exclusively digitally delivered to over 20,000 readers each month, and there is no cost for a subscription. To receive a monthly copy, please email Tarae@aphf.org.
Brent Shepherd....................................Executive Editor
Tara Dixon Engel................................Managing Editor
Paul Pawela Royce Bartlett
Eric Roessler Brian Smith
Bob Fowler John Falldorf
Note: To have an article considered for publication, please submit to Tarae@aphf.org. Content will be edited for space and editorial considerations. Photos are encouraged.
No punches are pulled as the ladies learn to fight back
Top, the entire class and trainers posed for a photo during the lunch break. At left, this technique helped students understand how to use hands, legs and leverage to unbalance an attacker. Above, Mickey Hogan takes some abuse during his Krav Maga demonstration.
WHOA, Man! That's SOME Camp!
By Tara Dixon Engel
In years past, I have taken photos at the annual "Wo-Man Camp" event at the American Police Hall of Fame.
The annual estrogen fest focusing on firearms and personal defense tactics was something I admired from afar but had not yet sampled. I'd taken many other Assault Counter Tactics and Paul Pawela classes (all NACOP-endorsed) but Wo-Man Camp was an all-day commitment that promised non-stop adrenaline and action. Although I had written articles about it last year, it was from the perspective of an observer rather than a full-fledged participant. Not being a spring chicken (but not just yet an old hen...) I wondered if I could keep up with the pace.
This year, I decided to take the plunge and find out...and you can color me converted. The event was amazing, inspiring, intimidating and tiring. And, although my bursitis reminded me a few days later that rolling on the ground and kicking/punching like a crazy woman extracts an age-related price, I still would (and will) do it again!
The day featured a variety of activities designed to test our personal defense skills. It also included some of the top trainers in their fields, ranging from Mickey Hogan of Outcast Krav Maga, Michael Lazarus of Combative Systems International with hand-to-hand techniques and our own Paul Pawela (who also owns Assault Counter Tactics), putting us through the paces on the range. Additional support came from radio host Royce Bartlett, Tim Tolbert, Pablo Martinez, retired law enforcement officers Bill Orndorf and John Falldorf and many others.
Exercises included kicking and punching defensively, learning to remove an aggressor's
hands from around your throat (even if he was
stronger than you), effectively using leverage in your fighting, and employing simple but effective moves to outwit your assailant.
On the range, we shot single-handed, we puched and kicked our way from under an attacker and proceeded to put rounds in his accomplices. We lugged a (heavy) child -- some kind of demon napsack that felt like it was filled with bricks -- to safety before engaging with steel targets. Oh, and did I mention that, if we missed the target, Bill Orndorf was standing by to "tase" us? While the tasing device was not full-power-knock-you-
on-the-ground-drooling, it was potent enough to get your attention -- and it was a powerful motivator to take your time and hit your mark.
We engaged in a variety of shoot/no-shoot scenarios and were strapped into "drunk goggles" to simulate how our aim and stability might be impacted by blood loss. The day also included scenario-based training, room-clearing, and even first aid training, courtesy of medical professional Dawn Tait.
By day's end, we were sore, sweaty and, in some cases, bruised, but we were better shooters than when we walked in...and we understood the moves necessary to potentially save our own lives or the lives of a loved one. And THAT is what Wo-Man Camp is ultimately all about!
The ladies are already asking about next year's session. The 2020 event, slated for May 9 and 10 will be a two-day extravaganza, dedicated to Wo-Man Camp and Women's Less Lethal Techniques. As with all NACOP-endorsed classes at the APHF facility next year, you will be getting more and better, but still at highly competitive prices.
At top left, Dawn Tait focuses on accuracy as Bill Orndorf waits for a chance to tase. Top left, Dawn, Lori and Michael Lazarus practice take-downs. In the center photo, I work on palm smacks with Tim Tolbert. Other photos show additional range exercises.
At left, Deb Sullivan carries the (heavy) "child" to safety before engaging with steel targets. Above, Lori Falcone pummels Krav Maga expert Mickey Hogan. And, below Paul Pawela oversees an exercise that required us to drag a member of the team to safety while one person covered us...and then join the gunfight against the bad guys.
All Wo-Man Camp photos courtesy of Jennifer McCants