All training is an abstraction. Is that good or bad?

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fallowfield_road_12760300494

A couple of weeks ago someone posted an interesting video on social media. It wasn’t the video itself which was interesting, but rather the reactions to it.

The video was of an exercise from a defensive shooting class. The exercise was a good example of forcing cognitive processing rather than a Pavlovian draw-and-fire response, which is good; a defensive encounter requires far more information processing ...

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Questioning the premise of your preparations

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Doing dumb things doesn't make you safer

My apologies if you’re not a fan of the show South Park, but an old episode has a training lesson for us.

On that episode, some little people known as Underpants Gnomes presented their 3-part success plan:

Phase 1: Steal underpants.
Phase 2: ???
Phase 3: Profit!

The joke, of course, isn’t that there’s nothing in Phase 2; it’s that you can’t ...

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Your Hump Day Reading List for November 30, 2016

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A really interesting List this week! We start with geese as a defensive tool (no, I’m not kidding); considerations to make before deciding to engage an active killer; a woman is dead because of an irresponsible and untrained gun owner; women shopping for defensive handguns; what to do and what not to do at a drive-through; how to secure private information on your smartphone; and how to use that phone to deal with 9-1-1.

 

A feathery alternative to the Rottweiler?

I’ll admit ...

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EDC Trauma Kits and Reality Based Training on last night’s Training Talk!

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PDN Training Talk With Grant Cunningham

I had a couple of great discussions with Rob Pincus and Caleb Causey on last night’s Training Talk show!

Rob talked about reality based training, force-on-force, and scenario training. Lots of people in the business use those terms interchangeably, but as Rob points out they’re not synonymous. It’s completely possible to have reality based training without running scenarios, and ...

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Your Hump Day Reading List for November 16, 2016

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I found some more good stuff this week: a look at mindset; how to properly lock the slide open on a pistol; being aware of the psychopaths in your midst; how to avoid getting stomped in a fight; some thoughts on security in hotels; Greg Ellifritz looks at surviving the mob around your car; and thinking about vacation preparedness.

 

Are you really ready to defend yourself?

I’m sharing this article because it has some great information on preparing yourself mentally for the realities ...

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Your Hump Day Reading List for November 2, 2016

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Another Wednesday brings more great defense and preparedness information! This week: how to make a response plan for a terrorist attack; an armed intervention gone horribly wrong; some novel methods to deter people from your home; some online privacy and security tips; considering the dynamics of criminal attacks; preparing for a power outage; a great pistol-caliber carbine to consider; Greg Ellifritz looks at the need to recognize gunshots. Enjoy!

 

“Why” may not matter — deal with the problem as you face it

How ...

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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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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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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 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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“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 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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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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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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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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Steyr AUG surprise: an unappreciated advantage for defensive use

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You might remember that I’ve spent the last 18 months living with the Steyr AUG A3 M1 bullpup rifle. During that time I’ve been rather exclusive, using the AUG in place of all the other centerfire rifles I know and love. (Of course I’ve shot a lot of rimfire rifles during that time, but I think the Steyr will forgive me.) I’ve paid very little attention to any other defensive rifle, especially the AR-15, and haven’t really even had ...

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Putting your self protection plan into action

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What do juicy, red onions have to do with your self protection plan? You might be surprised!

After my last two articles on threat assessment and prioritizing your self protection plan, I received an email asking for a little clarification. “I understand the idea of identifying threats, but how do I decide on the things I need to do to protect myself from each one?”, the reader asked.

That’s a great question. It’s easy to get bogged down in the minutiae ...

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Your self protection plan: prioritizing your resources

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When it comes to personal security, family safety, and home protection preparation, sometimes getting started is the hard part. That’s why I had you do the threat assessment exercise, because the results help you decide where you should start. That assessment can help guide your self protection plan so you know what to do first!

Self protection plan: by the numbers

If you’ve completed the threat assessment — identifying and ranking the dangers you might face — you now have some ...

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Self defense for the disabled on Training Talk!

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On this week’s Training Talk show at Personal Defense Network I had a great conversation with guest Joshua Gideon of No Soft Targets about how disabled people can prepare and train for their own self defense.

It’s an important topic, and as we all age (or sometimes have accidents) we’re often left less able to defend ourselves. Listen in as Joshua tells us how he approached the problems of one student, and how the training world can adapt to ...

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Self defense is more than just reading some “safety tips”. Here’s why.

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Every morning I get up, make a cup of tea, and sit down to do my morning reading. One of the things that comes across my desk (well, my iPad screen anyhow) is a Google Alerts search for the term “self defense”. I get quite a few news stories in that feed; the most common type are criminals claiming self defense for killing a drug-dealing rival. Wonder why self defense claims are met with some skepticism by prosecutors AND defense ...

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“All The Lumens”: how much flashlight do you really need for self defense?

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I got an interesting email in response to my recent review of the FourSevens Quark Smart QS2L-X and Preon P2 lights. In that review I said that the lithium-powered Quark Smart, at 950 lumens, was actually more than enough light for my purposes and that the Preon at 220 lumens was still easily sufficient for use as a defensive tool.

From the tone of the email you’d think I’d attacked holy writ! He told me that I was ...

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Training Talk looks at fighting back during active shooter events. Watch the episode now!

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Last night’s Training Talk episode was a great one!

Rob Pincus joined me for a wide-ranging discussion about dealing with active shooter/spree killer events, focusing on the will and preparation to fight — using whatever tools might be at hand. In addition Rob filled us in on the new online PDN Academy courses, a new distance learning initiative for self defense knowledge and skills.

If you missed it, click here to watch the replay!

— Grant Cunningham

 

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Your Hump Day Reading List for April 20, 2016

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Welcome to Wednesday — and the Hump Day Reading List! Today Greg Ellifritz has some lessons to be learned from recent news events; a look at why what works in the shoothouse may not work in the real world; Ian McCollum examines the pinfire revolver; storing a defensive shotgun; some women and gun myths get busted; how to deal with people who suddenly find that they aren’t as prepared as you are; and a look at why black women are ...

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“It’s a training issue.” I don’t think that means what you think it means.

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Hoo boy, I heard it again just the other day: “it’s a training issue”. The subject at hand was a discussion about the traditional double action pistol, the kind that has a long and heavy double action first shot and a shorter, lighter single action (DA/SA) for each subsequent shot.

I’m not a fan of the things as a defensive tool in this modern age. They are the most complicated of the autopistols in use, owing to the two different trigger ...

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Your Hump Day Reading List for Mar 16, 2016

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Today’s Hump Day Reading list looks at the legal and practical sides of self defense, plus a few things: a home invasion successfully ended by the defenders; good news for owners of 5mm Remington rimfire rifles; a robbery which ended tragically for the defender but didn’t need to; why you need to learn how to respond to an active shooter; why you need to understand the legalities of self defense; Greg Ellifritz shows you what you need to consider before ...

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Boring doesn’t sell, and realistic self defense skills are kind of boring.

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No matter what you’re trying to get people to buy — from cars to breakfast cereals to political candidates — you have to make it exciting, because if it’s not folks will just pass it by. (Yes, political candidates. Anyone remember Scott Walker? He was an early entry into this year’s Republican field and widely regarded as being phenomenally boring. He went nowhere. Older people will remember Walter Mondale; nice guy, smart, pleasant — and as boring as getting socks ...

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