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 a quality holster. All here for your reading (and sharing) pleasure!


Guns found in restrooms? Completely preventable.

From Pennsylvania comes yet another story of someone who went to use the toilet in a public restroom — in this case, a school — and left their gun behind for someone else to find. At the risk of making someone mad (because every time I share a story like this someone does), I’ll be emphatic: there is NO REASON to handle your gun in a toilet stall! There are many techniques to avoid needing to take the gun off, and if for some reason your chosen carry method requires you to do so you should change carry methods. If you don’t know the techniques, ask. These incidents are preventable, but it takes training and dedication. Just like carrying the gun in the first place! (For the record: yes, I’m perfectly fine with the teacher being charged. It was a stupid and dangerous thing to do, and we should be held accountable when we do them. And yes, I think when a police officer does it they should be charged too. No excuses.)


How to safely carry in the appendix position

I’ve said before that I’m not personally a fan of appendix carry, finding it a little uncomfortable for my body shape/size, but that it is a carry position which has a lot to recommend. Somehow, though, a certain poorly informed segment of the training community has decided that it’s patently unsafe and that there’s absolutely no risk-free way to carry a gun in that position. With the caveat that there is NO carry position which is completely safe, there is a right and a wrong way to appendix carry. In this Personal Defense Network article, Rob Pincus gives some great resources for learning how to carry and use the defensive handgun from the appendix position. This is important information!


Martial artists aren’t doing women any favors

In this lengthy yet provocative piece, a martial artist of long experience looks at what martial arts promise in terms of self defense, what they actually deliver, and why the difference is so important. There are many great quotes in this article, but one of my favorites is: “People who train to punch and kick on mats in an air-conditioned and well-lit school don’t suddenly have skills that make them safe walking blindly down a mountain in the middle of the night, or the ability to whip a perfect merengue, or to perform an appendectomy, or to spot the red flags that often signal a controlling relationship that can lead to sexual assault and abuse.  Specialized skills require specialized training.” You’ve heard me say a lot of the same things, but here they are from someone in a completely different field and from a completely different background.


Did your last class start with a medical briefing? If not, don’t go back.

Greg Ellifritz considers the importance of medical preparedness in a shooting class, and why your instructor should have a med kit on his/her person. (I’ll diverge from his position just a bit, in that I prefer a med kit to be close to the firing line in a conspicuous, consistent, and easily-reached position so that everyone knows where it is at all times without needing to look for me. Other than that little niggle, I agree with everything he says.)


“Stranger danger” isn’t enough

Teaching kids about staying safe needs to be done early, but in a way that doesn’t leave them fearful of the world around them. As this article from a Canadian newspaper points out, teaching kids to fear strangers doesn’t protect them from the more common risk of victimization by someone they know. It goes on to give some good tips for teaching your youngsters how to stay safe, and thankfully includes the recommendation to practice those skills to keep them fresh!


Red dot sights and your astigmatism

It’s fairly well known that red-dot sights and astigmatism don’t go well together. I’m a sufferer, and I’ve found red dots to be difficult to live with — some much more difficult than others! In this absolutely superb article at The Firearm Blog, the author explains what the issue is, what causes it, and how to deal with the resulting problem. He even concludes with my recommendation to focus on the target, not the sights! With red dot sights becoming very popular on home defense rifles, this article is both timely and comprehensive. (It’s also one of those rare articles I wish I’d written, but am glad someone else did the work for me!)


Considering your surroundings

One of the ways you can spot attackers in a crowd is to pay attention to the collective mood of the environment and then look for those who don’t fit. This article talks about how to do just that and how to use the information you get from your assessment. (Keep in mind that this doesn’t work for stalkers and experienced resource predators, who are used to blending into the environment to put their victims at ease and off-guard, but it may help in spotting pending mass-casualty attackers.)


Buying a holster?

Tiger McKee has some good advice about what to look for when you shop for a holster. Regardless of the material from which it’s made, his recommendations will help you buy a quality holster that will serve you for years and avoid the junk!

– 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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