My week has already been a whirlwind, but I came up with some great links for you! We start with looking in the eyes of evil; finishing the fight is more important than worrying about your choreography; how to escape from an active killer incident; the get-home bag and why you should have one; an unexpected benefit of being the “grey man”; Greg Ellifritz looks at one area where violent crime is rising significantly; Ian McCollum shows you an extremely rare Italian rifle; and martial arts expert Cecil Burch talks about practice frequency and what he believes is most important.
Evil doesn’t always show flags
The recent spree killing in Kalamazoo, MI by an Uber driver have left a lot of people shaken. In the aftermath we’ve heard the usual shibboleths from the usual suspects: “we need to ban all guns!” “Only a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun!” “Keep your head on a swivel and watch your six!” They’re intellectually dishonest, and in this superb article a man who came face-to-face with the suspect some time before he went on his rampage tells us why. Evil doesn’t always stand out, it doesn’t always give you a warning, and it can’t be avoided by wishing for more situational awareness. This is why we plan and train to deal with the attack that we didn’t see coming, because far too often that’s exactly how they happen.
Your first priority need to be finishing the fight
One of the sacred cows of defensive shooting education — and a staple of IDPA competitions — is the idea of moving to cover automatically as part of your response to an immediate threat. I’ve never been a fan of that idea, realizing that if the shooting has already started or is so imminent that the other guy only need twitch his finger, taking time moving to cover may not necessarily be in your best interest. Moving laterally at least one body length as you draw? Sure — that takes you off the vector of the immediate attack while you’re doing what you would have done (draw the gun) anyhow. In other words it costs you nothing but gains you something, however small a gain it might be. In this article from SWAT magazine, author Jeff Hall lays out his reasons for the move to cover as an after-action tactic rather than a response. (Note: this article is aimed at a police audience, but I think the lessons are valid in the private sector as well. I also don’t agree with every detail in the article, but I think the primary points are valid enough to deserve discussion.)
Some thoughts on evading a mass murder in progress
Recent events have once again brought to our attention the need to talk about tactics when faced with one or more mass murderers, particularly in a public space. One of the best responses is to get out of the area if you can safely — but what, exactly, does that mean and just how is it done? This article has some good tips on how to plan your evasion, what to look for, what routes might be best, and how to handle the process if you have family members in tow. There is also some talk about what you might consider doing if your’e armed and make the decision to engage the killers; particularly note his recommendations on taking advantage of the killer’s pauses to reload or deal with malfunctions. (Note: The first three or four paragraphs of the article are almost mindless filler, full of training soundbites. Ignore them and skip to the real content.)
Do you have a “get home bag”? You should!
In the preparedness world you’ll hear a lot of talk about the “bugout bag”. I generally think the idea of bugging out — leaving a known location to ostensibly avoid a calamity or to find a better place — is a flawed concept. Bugging out is a valid plan only under some very specific situations. Getting home during a disaster is, I think, more important for your safety. I live in an earthquake zone, and it’s entirely likely that in the event of a significant quake my home will be perfectly fine, but if I’m away from home getting back may be an issue; traffic jams aside, I have a LOT of bridges to cross to get from any of my common hangouts to my house! Weather, such as ice storms or floods, may also impact my ability to drive back to my lair. For these situations I have a “get home bag”, filled with those things I might need to survive a short stay in my car or to take with me if I am forced to walk home. This article gives a good introduction to the get home bag, and some of the things you should consider putting in yours. I must add, however, a huge warning: I do not believe any bag which will be left unattended for any length of time should have a firearm in it. Period. The get home bag is likely to spend significant time in places like your car or office drawer, and a firearm is a huge liability and a danger to others who may find it. Follow this rule: the only safe place for a firearm is on your person or locked in a container!
When looking tough isn’t in your best interest
I found this article on LinkedIn, and it deals with the idea of being the “grey man” — the one who blends in with his surroundings and doesn’t call undue attention to himself — while traveling. It’s written by a fellow who’s been a private military contractor and is aimed at that audience. He points out that Americans in his profession are despised around the world and have a much increased risk of assassination or abduction because of their activities. He then goes on to detail how people who share his work can lesson their risks. Now you might ask what this has to do with you, a private citizen? It’s simple, really: many of us in the training and preparedness communities like to sport “tactical” apparel and accessories out in public. I’ve watched many people heading to the international departure gates at the airport carrying what I call “tough guy” luggage and wearing “tacticool” clothing. That kind of outfit makes you look like a contractor, one of those people who aren’t well liked around the world. Perhaps emulating “military chic” isn’t such a good idea outside of the shooting range!
One crime statistic is up — but why?
Greg Ellifritz at Active Response Training recently unearthed an interesting statistic: in what has been a historically low crime rate nationwide, the fastest growing category of violent crime is rape — up nearly 10% in 2015 alone. Why? What’s the cause? Greg looks at a couple of interesting ideas from a book on how people make decisions to escape and comes to some intriguing conclusions. I won’t divulge more; go to his site and read his article.
The Italians have been more innovative than you think
Back in 1925 the Italian firm of Metallurgica Brescia gia Tempini (MBT) developed an interesting straight pull rifle. It was even adaptable to become self-loading! They only made three prototypes; one stayed in Italy, one went to Norway and the third went to Russia — the latter two attempting to garner military contracts, which obviously never came. One made it into the hands of Ian McCollum at Forgotten Weapons, and he posted a video of the rifle to his site. (Yes, the lucky owner of this ultra rare rifle actually shoots it!)
More or more often — which is best?
Cecil Burch at Immediate Action Combatives talks about the difference between practicing your defensive skills in small amounts very frequently, versus a big workout once a week or (worse) once a month. His point is that the consistency which arises from daily practice, no matter how little, is preferable to the volume that happens from big practice sessions of less frequency. Translated to defensive shooting skills, a box of ammo a couple of times a month (or even weekly) is better than a case of ammunition a few times a year. Definitely food for thought!
– Grant Cunningham