Do you need to modify your carry gun? Should you?

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In the dim past (which wasn’t really all that long ago), if you needed to change something on your carry gun you took it to a gunsmith. You’d wait for him to do the work, pay him lots of money, and go home happy — more or less.

That was the state of things largely because making the available guns suitable for concealed carry and self defense required modifications. In fact, not all that many years ago it was difficult just to find ...

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Will your kids know what to do in an emergency?

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One of my recurring nightmares (probably influenced by television) is being in a critical, terrifyingly dangerous situation with my wife. In every episode of this nightmare she can’t see the danger coming and I’m forced to yell instructions to her — instructions on either what do do (“run!”) or what not to do (“stay still!”) Instead of trusting my judgement, she uncharacteristically turns around and starts arguing! She’s then promptly swallowed by the expanding chasm, or eaten by the devilish apparition, or ...

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Your Hump Day Reading List for October 12, 2016

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Is it Wednesday already? Well, no fear — I have information for you! Today: a look at the problems with secure areas, especially when they’re really secure; an article explaining striker-fired pistols; a civil suit can be worse than the criminal trial; Greg Ellifritz shares how NOT to take care of your carry gun; Sheriff Jim Wilson looks at “scanning”; what training overload is and how to avoid it; some information about kidnappings; if you’re at work when a disaster ...

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Things People Say: “I want to buy a gun to keep myself safe”

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Anyone who’s been around guns for any length of time eventually gets asked for advice: “I want to buy a gun to keep myself safe. What should I get?”

It’s tempting to launch into a discussion about shotguns versus rifles versus handguns, or maybe about 9mm versus .40 S&W, striker-fired versus double action/single action, or even revolver versus autoloader. That’s what “gun people” talk about: the hardware and the technical minutiae surrounding it.

In reality, though, instead of doing a sales job ...

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Less-lethal defense options on last night’s Training Talk!

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Last night’s Training Talk episode was full of great information about less-lethal self defense tools!

My special guest, Jarrod Needs, and I discussed the various kinds of less-lethal defensive options: their strengths, weaknesses, along with the silly and the useless. If you missed it, don’t worry — you can watch the replay just by clicking on this link!

– Grant Cunningham

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Your Hump Day Reading List for October 5, 2016

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Another Wednesday, another Reading List! In today’s list: learning to fight back; knowing where your line in the sand is; the police probably aren’t going to save you; what not to do when your attacker is in your face; getting your gun ready when you don’t yet need to shoot; a sad case of someone who didn’t understand when the fight was over; preparing for winter storms; and Greg Ellifritz teaches us to look for opportunities. Read, learn, and share!

 

Model ...

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Do you want to be a better shooter or a better defender?

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I received quite a number of emails, blog comments and social media interaction about Friday’s topic, “Meaningless increments of precision.”

A large percentage of them asked questions or made statements which revealed that the person was fixated on the notion that becoming a better shooter makes or keeps someone safer. This is going to sound strange coming from a “gun guy”, and it’s going to make a lot of gun guys (and gals) mad, but that’s a really bad notion.

Because ...

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Meaningless increments of precision — and why you should avoid them

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When we talk about self defense (and particularly when gun people talk about self defense), the topic of measurement will eventually come up. In the gun world we love to measure things, and we can measure just about anything. The problem is that the measurements we make may not be important.

I use the term “meaningless increments of precision” to refer to those measurements which don’t add to our self protection knowledge or to our ability to defend ourselves. The measurement ...

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Your Hump Day Reading List for September 28, 2016

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Today’s Hump Day Reading List includes how to deal with negative reactions to your defensive firearms; why you can’t just run down people even if they’re blocking your path; pickpockets are very good at what they do; a look at specialized concealed carry clothing; Greg Ellifritz looks at self defense from a new perspective; how to escape a riot on foot; and Claude Werner points out that killing someone, even in self defense, isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. ...

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The difference between doctrine and dogma

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The world of self defense seems to be full of polarizing opinions. While it can be said that any field of specialization has its strong opinions (and adherents to them), my observation is that this one is by far the most Balkanized. It doesn’t matter how you look at it, someone else will see it very differently and be ready with a quick retort to your point of view. The disagreements are almost religious in nature, with all the trappings ...

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Your Hump Day Reading List for September 21, 2016

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More great self defense articles this week, including: Julie Loeffler takes a look at common concealment methods for women; a realistic approach to defending schools; Greg Ellifritz shows you what to do if your attacker has pepper spray; the Taurus Judge is a joke for self defense; how to tell if the place you’re in is about to get dangerous; why you should carry more than one trauma kit; and dissecting the post-shooting “scan”. As always, you’ll find something you ...

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Choosing a defensive handgun: making the best of bad alternatives

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An interesting question came up in a class I taught recently. It had to do with defensive carry firearm recommendations in states which restrict the models available for sale (such as in Massachusetts and California.) How is someone to pick the best of the worst options?

The attributes of an ideal defensive handgun

When picking a defensive firearm, particularly one which is to be carried for personal defense, I always recommend that the gun:

1) Be reliable above all else; the gun needs ...

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Appendix carry, women’s self defense, and MORE on last night’s Training Talk episode!

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If you’re not watching my Training Talk show on Personal Defense network, you’re missing out on some great self defense and personal security information!

Take last night’s show, for instance. My guests were Barret Kendrick from Bearco Training, who showed us how to properly and safely draw and re-holster a gun carried in the appendix position, and Julie Loeffler of Mid-Ohio IMB who talked about how women can cut through the nonsense and get started in self defense training. ...

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Your Hump Day Reading List for September 14, 2016

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More great information to keep you safe! This week: don’t take your gun off in the restroom; Rob Pincus has some resources to learn how to appendix carry safely; why martial arts aren’t the be-all, end-all of self defense; Greg Ellifritz considers the importance of medical gear in a class; teaching kids to be safe, not afraid; how to live with a red dot when your vision isn’t perfect; taking the collective mood of your environment; and how to buy ...

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Defensive education is changing, for the better. Take advantage of it!

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“I think the late 90’s is where things started to shift because of dash/surveillance cameras becoming much more common and force-on-force scenario training taking huge leaps forward. The ramifications of those evolutionary forces are starting to be seen much more commonly. I hope in 10 years we look back and realize that right now we were only just scratching the surface of getting away from the isolated skill (marksmanship) and choreography (competition) based approaches.” – Rob Pincus

Those who ...

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“We face the same criminals the police do!” Yes, but…

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Every once in a while I see the tired old cliché “we face the same criminals the police do!” It’s usually used to justify some particular type of defensive firearms training, too often centered around the trainer’s police experience.

The idea, of course, is that we need to adopt the attitudes, tactics, and armament of law enforcement.  (If you know anything about typical police training, it’s usually substandard — so much so that cops themselves joke about it. With rare exceptions, ...

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Your Hump Day Reading List for September 7, 2016

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More great self defense reading for this week! First, why you need to include a dog in your defensive planning; Greg Ellifritz considers what you should do after you’ve stopped the active killer; why you need a practice tourniquet in your kit; how to carry spare revolver ammunition; dealing with the spontaneous fight; how to properly analyze incident video; and dispelling some pervasive shotgun myths. Be sure to share with all of your friends!

 

How about a defensive tool that will ...

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Medical response options on last night’s Training Talk!

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Last night’s episode of Training Talk was great! I had a long conversation with one of the true experts in trauma response, Caleb Causey of Lone Star Medics.

We talked about tourniquets, pressure bandages, when to teach kids advanced first aid skills, the kinds of injuries that can cause massive trauma, how to carry a trauma kit no matter how you’re dressed, and a whole lot more. This is an episode that could save your life or the life of a ...

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Your Hump Day Reading List for August 31, 2016

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Wednesday is school day here on the blog! This week: how predators choose who to attack; window stickers might give you away; Cecil Burch says it’s okay to stay in your own lane; Greg Ellifritz has an important look at cultural norms and why you need to be aware of them; Rob Pincus talks about response planning for mass casualty attacks; parallax in non-technical terms; a story about a guy who understands the proper role of the defensive firearm; and ...

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Are shooting classes all there is to self defense?

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In the last couple of years I’ve had a somewhat radical change in my thinking about self defense. Rather, a change in thinking about teaching self defense. I’ve always focused on helping that half-percent* of gun owners who are interested in taking shooting classes to improve their gunhandling skills. In that respect I’ve been like everyone else in this business. We all want the “serious” students, those people who will sign up for a 3-day weekend class and travel across the ...

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Your Hump Day Reading List for August 24, 2016

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It’s Hump Day — and time to get your learning on! This week: another look at a case where shooting wasn’t the answer; some alternative defensive tools to consider; a gun you have beats the one you wish you had; an explanation of polygonal rifling; sometimes students active try to not learn; a real-life example of “could” versus “should”; Claude Werner looks at the criminal interview; and the lever action rifle is still a viable choice for defense. Prepare for ...

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Why your CCW class isn’t enough

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If you’re like most people who read this blog, you’ve already been through a CCW class of some sort. (CCW, of course, stands for Carrying a Concealed Weapon, which is a catch-all term for the practice, licensing and study to carry a handgun concealed on your person. The term ‘CCW class’ is generally applied to the courses which the law requires to be able to apply for a concealed handgun license.)

The CCW class is the first exposure many people have ...

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This week’s Training Talk episode is a must-see!

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If you didn’t catch last night’s Training Talk episode, you missed some good information!

I covered gun safety from a slightly different point of view than you’ve probably heard before, as well as answering some viewer mail: one was about joining a gun club and the issues of cost; the other was about carrying a concealed weapon while high. I don’t mean at high altitude, either! With the number of states legalizing marijuana, this is becoming a potential issue and I thank ...

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Your Hump Day Reading List for August 17, 2016

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More Wednesday Wonderfulness! Massad Ayoob and Gail Pepin talking with Joshua Gideon; what happened at an airport when an active shooter alarm went out; doctors need protection too; defending against rioters with a rifle; Greg Ellifritz talks about defending against the surprise attack; the ways to use a defensive flashlight; being a survivalist doesn’t have to involve camouflage underwear; and understanding crying at the range. Another great collection of articles to help you and your family stay safe in this ...

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Preparing isn’t about fear. It’s about serenity.

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Just recently I ran into an interesting reaction to the idea of preparation for personal security and family defense. Specifically it was a reaction to hardening the home and making it more difficult for people to get in, whether to burglarize or attack.

“I shouldn’t have to do that”, the person wrote.

No, you shouldn’t.

But you need to.

If this were a perfect world we’d never need to think about self defense and home security and lethal force and all that other preparedness ...

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Your Hump Day Reading List for August 10, 2016

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In today’s Hump Day Reading List: another warning shot goes bad — very, very bad; Greg Ellifritz has some ideas on protecting yourself while working in your yard; reasons why your demeanor as an armed citizen is important; one woman gives her hard-won advice on concealed carry; not being noticed as a protection tool; the after-shooting “scan”; and how burglars do their work.

 

Warning shot goes bad. Again.

I’ve said this before, many times: warning shots are almost universally a bad idea. ...

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Someone you know is attacking you. Could you respond appropriately?

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Those of us in the defensive training world usually talk about bad guys as though they’re complete strangers. The rapist on the jogging trail, the masked home invaders, and the carjacker at the gas station are all anonymous. We don’t know them, they really don’t know us, but fate causes our paths to intersect.

When we talk about “situational awareness” it’s always about spotting bad guys in the crowd. When we train defensive shooting, we assume our attacker is someone from ...

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This week on Training Talk: Knife Defense with Alessandro Padovani

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Did you catch the live broadcast of Training Talk on Personal Defense Network last night? If not, you missed a phenomenal show all about knife defense. Don’t worry, though, because you can still watch the replay!

My guest was Alessandro Padovani of Safer Faster Defense. I consider Alessandro to be THE master of the defensive use of the knife and one of the single best teachers I know in the defensive training world. He travels all over the ...

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Your Hump Day Reading List for August 3, 2016

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This week we have a surgeon’s take on hospital safety; another look at church security planning; what you should do if you find yourself at the scene of a mass shooting attack; what to do when the guy you’re holding at gunpoint doesn’t follow your orders; storing water for emergencies; how to deal with mob violence; how to master the traditional double action pistol; and a look at tampons for first aid. More great information only on the Hump Day ...

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Defensive shooting fundamentals: I do not think it means what they think it means.

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I want you to sit back and think for just a minute: you have 60 seconds to teach someone how to use a gun to defend herself from an imminent attack. What useful defensive shooting fundamentals can you give her in that small amount of time?

This little exercise strips away all of the nonsense, hype, and posturing that often surrounds defensive shooting training. I makes you really focus on the most important parts of teaching someone how to defend themselves ...

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