Your Hump Day Reading List for January 13, 2016

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Today I bring you some thoughts about getting older; Ian McCollum has a video about a Savage that isn’t a rifle; Greg Ellifritz talks about jammed guns in active shooter incidents; I found a great review of a neat lever-action rifle; Tiger McKee has some pithy words about the gear and training you really need; and a superb article about using your mouth instead of your gun.


You’re going to age. Have you factored that into your defensive training?

I recently wrote a blog post over at the Personal Defense Network about the inevitability of getting older — and how that reality might affect your ability to defend yourself, and even your ability to train to defend yourself. If you’re over 50, you already know too well how it changes your outlook on self defense; but even if you’ve just recently celebrated your 30th birthday, you need to think about this because over the next few years you’re going to start to feel the effects of age. This is something every single person has to face; how about doing it now while you have time and energy to prepare?


Savage wasn’t always a mere rifle maker.

The early days of the Savage Arms company are really quite interesting. Though today known primarily as a maker of “value” rifles that shoot out of all proportion to their cost, at one time they were quite innovative. Their line of autoloading pistols, for instance, was interesting from both a design and aesthetics point of view. I’ll admit to knowing very little about them, having only handled them at gun shows, but Ian at Forgotten Weapons has a great video with a good introduction to the Savage pistol line.


You’d be surprised how often the bad guy’s gun doesn’t work.

Greg Ellifritz at Active Response Training posted a good article about the frequency of jammed guns during “active shooter” incidents — and it’s much more common than you might think. As he points out those jams are opportunities for the defenders and “good guys” to seize the initiative and fight back against their attackers. (Here in Oregon a few years back a shooter attacked crowds at Clackamas Town Center with an AK-pattern rifle. His gun jammed early in the incident, and the shooter reloaded the gun several times in a failed attempt to clear the jam. This, combined with the presence of a concealed carrier who had drawn his own gun, no doubt contributed to the attacker fleeing to a back hallway where he killed himself. First responders found several discarded yet full magazines on the floor where the shooter had been trying to get his gun to work.)


A lever-action rifle for tough conditions.

Unless you’re really new here, you probably already know that I’m a fan of the lever action rifle as a home defense and homestead security arm. Lots of people will try to argue against that, talking about low capacity compared to an AR-15 (true, but does it really matter?) and that you can’t shoot them from prone (untrue, but again — does it really matter?) Fact is, they’re still a viable choice in those roles. One gunsmithing outfit, Wild West Guns, tastefully modifies lever action rifles into a form they call the “Alaskan Co-Pilot”. Not many people have one of these limited production pieces, but Rusty at The Firearm Blog does and has a great long-term review. If you’re a lever action fan like I am, you’ll want to read this!


You probably don’t want to hear this, but you’re not a special snowflake.

Tiger McKee is an industry veteran not known for mincing words, and in a recent article in The Tactical Wire he makes some good points about the need for high-speed gear and highly specialized training. While competency is an individual and subjective trait, most of the things you need are probably the same as the things I need. Definitely food for thought that will elicit strong opinions on both sides!


Tuco was wrong; sometimes we need to talk instead of shoot.

Of course I’m referring to Eli Wallach’s famous line in The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly — but the reality is that sometimes we need to talk before, after and instead of shooting. Talking, in fact, may keep us from needing to shoot! In this article, author Larry Lindenman looks at what you might need to talk about and how you might do so when faced with an emerging threat that hasn’t quite reached the stage of needing to shoot. I’ll be honest: when I first skimmed this article it seemed suited only to law enforcement, but when I read more deeply I realized that it has a lot of application in the private sector as well. You’ll need to adapt some of the verbiage and procedures to the realities of self defense in the non-law-enforcement role, but what he says mirrors what others like Claude Werner have been espousing: you need to be able to deal with a situation that doesn’t yet require shooting, and that’s a skill that has to be learned and developed. Definitely worth reading.

– Grant Cunningham



About the Author:

Grant Cunningham is a renowned author and teacher in the fields of self defense, defensive shooting education and personal safety. He’s written several popular books on handguns and defensive shooting, including "The Book of the Revolver", "Shooter’s Guide To Handguns", "Defensive Revolver Fundamentals", "Defensive Pistol Fundamentals", and "Practice Strategies for Defensive Shooting" (Fall 2015.) Grant has also written articles on shooting, self defense, training and teaching for many magazines and shooting websites, including Concealed Carry Magazine, Gun Digest Magazine, the Association of Defensive Shooting Instructors ADSI) and the popular Personal Defense Network training website. He’s produced a DVD in the National Rifle Association’s Personal Firearm Defense series titled "Defensive Revolver Fundamentals" and teaches defensive shooting and personal safety courses all over the United States.
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