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 strikes, here’s what to do; and how to carry when you don’t have a belt. If you can’t find something here you can use, you’re not trying hard enough!


“Secure” areas always have chokepoints. Those aren’t very secure.

This is an excellent analysis about how security zones — even good ones — shift the target from inside the venue to the line waiting to get in. It includes some thoughts on how to reduce your exposure in those areas and even a little about what constitutes “good” and “bad” area security. Definitely worth reading before you go to your next public event!


Why striker-fired pistols?

Someone recently asked me why I recommend striker-fired pistols over other designs, such as the traditional double-action/single-action pistols. Rather than writing a long-winded answer, I pointed the person to this great article at Personal Defense Network. It’s a couple of years old, but everything is still relevant. (The only addition I’d make is to add the Steyr A1-series pistols to the list of great striker-fired designs. It’s the autoloading pistol I’ve carried for almost 15 years now.)


The inevitable civil suit

I remind my students that just because you don’t get charged criminally in a defensive shooting doesn’t mean you can’t be sued civilly (and lose.) While a few states protect their citizens against unwarranted civil suits stemming from a self defense incident, not all do. Even in those states where such laws exist, they often don’t get invoked unless there is a court decision in a criminal proceeding — and a decision by a District Attorney or prosecutor to not charge usually doesn’t count. This particular incident in my home state serves as a warning: I fraknly thought the original case was a bit on the “iffy” side, but the DA declined to indict (probably because there wasn’t sufficient evidence of criminal misconduct.) The civil case is being allowed to go forward, I suspect, largely because the case isn’t cut-and-dry. Bottom line: you need to clearly understand the laws around the use of lethal force in your jurisdiction!


Is your gun in good condition? Are you sure?

This is a great cautionary tale from Greg Ellifritz: check your guns frequently! A firearm carried for self defense is exposed to a wide variety of environmental conditions, none of them good, and it’s easy to neglect them to the point that their function is affected. This is why I stress that a carry gun should be disassembled and cleaned on a regular basis, even if it hasn’t been shot; it gives you the chance to spot problems. (Lest you think I’m a saint in this regard, I have a revolver similar to Greg’s that I carry in a pocket holster during the warmer months. One year I wore it all summer and never once removed it from the holster until it was time to put it away in the fall. The cylinder and the trigger were both covered with rust spots! Don’t be like us; check your defensive firearms regularly!)


“Head on a swivel” usually means you don’t see anything

My friend Sheriff Jim Wilson has something to say about the ever-popular post-shooting “scan” taught at many schools. I agree with him; swinging your head around accomplishes nothing if you’re not actually looking at what’s in your environment. I’m stealing this quote from him: “An instructor can make you look, but he can’t make you see. That is something that you have to perfect on your own.”


Overload in training

Jeff Gonzales and I don’t always see eye-to-eye on what to teach, but I agree with him when he talks about training overload. I’ve met a lot of people who take class after class but really never learn anything; they don’t have enough practice time between whirlwind courses to properly develop the skills they were exposed to, let alone master them. Like Jeff, I think most people would be better off to take fewer class but really practice the skills; I agree with his idea to repeat classes instead of breathlessly collecting all the certificates in a series.


Kidnappings aren’t common, but they happen. Here’s what you need to know.

An interesting article about kidnappings from a knowledgeable person in the field of protecting people from them. We don’t worry much about kidnappings in this country, largely I think because it’s a risky activity unless there is a large payoff (money, political maneuvering, etc.) When you travel in certain parts of the world, however, they are more common and you should probably know a little about how they happen and what to expect if you’re a victim. (I want to be very clear: this is a very low-plausibility event for most of us, and I don’t believe you should spend any significant amount of time training or preparing for one, but reading an article and thinking a little about the topic probably isn’t an inappropriate use of your resources.)


Getting home from work after a disaster

I’m sharing this article not because I’m really worried about someone detonating a nuclear missile and the resulting electromagnetic pulse (EMP), but because it’s a generalized guide to getting home from work after any disruptive event; the concerns are pretty much the same regardless of source. (I should add that the scenario in the article is far more likely to happen as the result of solar flares, which have in the past caused significant region-wide power outages. A severe flare is completely unpredictable, though they do have a delay period which  allows the aware individual to respond immediately — before the roads get clogged!)


No belt? No problem!

One of the issues facing many people — especially women — is how to carry a defensive tool, especially a handgun, if you’re not wearing a belt (either out of choice or necessity.) There are some great options today, and this short video from Personal Defense Network looks at some of the better ways to carry without a belt.

– 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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