Your Hump Day Reading List for May 18, 2016

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It’s the Hump Day Reading List! To start off, we look at a case where a police officer used his trauma kit to save his own life; a story of a man who shot a neighbor under less-than-perfect circumstances; the horrific incident that started one man on the path to an armed lifestyle; the myth of racking a shotgun; taking apart a classic Savage pistol; a comprehensive look at what cover is and isn’t; what you know determines what you see, and that isn’t always a good thing; a lawyer looks at and explains a court case involving lethal force; and Claude Werner looks at a bad response to a man attacking a dog. It’s a jam-packed week of learning!


Your trauma kit may be more important than your gun.

I’ve been preaching the value of training to deal with life-threatening trauma for several years now. Like an armed bad guy, trauma is immediately life threatening and requires a trained response with the right rescue equipment; unlike the armed bad guy, trauma occurs often in our lives: car accidents, chainsaw accidents, plate glass window accidents, workplace accidents; the list is almost endless, and every day in this country people die from those kinds of incidents. In this case, a police officer got shot in the leg and self-applied his tourniquet to save his own life. It didn’t have to be a bullet; it could have been a knife or anything else that would penetrate flesh. Do YOU have a trauma kit, and do you know how to use it — on yourself, if necessary? If not, get equipped and get trained. If you’ve taken more than a couple of gun courses but have yet to take a trauma response course (like those from my Personal Defense Network colleague Caleb Causey), I respectfully submit that your priorities are misplaced.


Another misunderstanding of the law.

A man shoots one of his neighbors when they allegedly assaulted him — after reportedly yelling “If you’re on my property, I have a right to defend myself.” Here’s the deal: just because someone is on your property doesn’t give you the automatic right to use lethal force against them. Castle Doctrine notwithstanding, your use of your firearm against another human being still has to meet the test: are you in immediate danger of death or grave bodily harm (crippling injury)? If not, you don’t have the right to use lethal force against a trespasser. If you’re unsure of these concepts, take a class from Massad Ayoob. It can keep you from making a mistake that lands you in jail.


One man’s path to the defensive firearm.

I’ve read Tom McHale’s articles over the years but didn’t know anything of his background. In this compelling story, he shares the horrific incident that caused him to take a proactive, responsible approach to his own safety and what he’s learned on his journey to self-reliance. It’s a great article and worth sharing with those friends who might be on the fence with regard to owning a gun for self defense.


No, racking a shotgun won’t send criminals fleeing.

John Daub over at the Stuff From Hsoi blog talks a little bit about the myth that the sound of a 12-gauge being racked is sufficient to scare bad guys away. It’s a myth that just won’t die, and John takes a quick look at why it isn’t true.


How to take apart a classic Savage pistol.

There are a lot of the Savage Model 1907 pistols out there, but would you know how to field strip one if you happened across it? Alex at The Firearm Blog has a quick video on taking down this iconic pistol. Frankly, I’ve never owned one (but have shot a couple) and didn’t know how to take one apart until I watched this! (Is this a good enough excuse for buying one? “But honey, I have to buy it because I know how to field-strip it! You wouldn’t want that knowledge to just go to waste, would you??”)


Covering cover thoroughly.

This article over at Monderno takes a look at cover: what it is, what it isn’t, and what it does. Written primarily from a law enforcement perspective, it offers some good advice for those of us in the private sector as well. (One caution, however, about something which seems to be overlooked in any conversation about cover: looking for it when you’re already under attack may not be a good use of your limited time, and may not even be possible when threat fixation is factored in. However, this does not invalidate the points the author makes about what is and isn’t good cover if you’re in a position where you can utilize it.)


What you know influences what you see. You need to know more.

This is an interesting article about how people see what they’re conditioned (trained) to see, and how that keeps them from seeing things that don’t fit their mental model. This is a function of the pattern-matching that happens in the neocortex; things that don’t fit the patterns we expect to see are discarded, to the point that we don’t remember them even being there. You need to teach yourself that threats don’t always look like the image you have in your mind, and that defensive encounters don’t look like what you’ve seen on television. Believe it or not this is difficult for the average person, but it’s not insurmountable. There are many pre-visualization exercises which you can use to open your mind up to the possibilities and to de-program your fixed ideas of what threats are. Definitely worth reading several times to get all of the nuances.


A detailed explanation of legal concepts.

At the top I emphasized the need for legal education in the use of lethal force; what are some of the concepts which come into play? This is a lawyer’s look at a recent case, detailing the legal precepts and explaining how the defendant did (or did not) meet some of the tests of innocence. It’s a good read if for no other reason than to impress upon you that these things are never “simple”. (It ends with a hard pitch for the author’s legal services, which I dislike but which doesn’t detract from the information presented.)


Man attacks dog, woman responds inappropriately. Many lessons to be learned.

This is another analysis of a real-life incident over at Claude Werner’s blog, The Tactical Professor. In this case a man attacks a dog (you’ll have to read the story for the disgusting details, which aren’t germane to the lessons learned) and the dog’s owner responds with a firearm. She makes several crucial mistakes and it’s only sheer luck that she isn’t either a) in the hospital or b) in jail, because both were distinctly possible outcomes. Claude does an excellent job of pointing out each of her errors and what she could have/should have done instead. Recommended reading.


– Grant Cunningham

Opening photo: “Camelus dromedarius at Tierpark Berlin” by Agadez – Own work. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons



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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