Your Hump Day Reading List for January 11, 2017

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It may be snowing like crazy at my office, but I braved the elements to bring you these great articles! First, Cecil Burch has a great overview of the various martial arts for self defense; a look at a carjacking that shouldn’t have happened; I’m getting tired of saying it, but don’t shoot at shadows; how to find a locksmith when you really need one; how you should respond to that knock in the middle of the night; where to find crime maps and why you should; and a review of an improvised weapons class. Now, if you’ll excuse me I need to find my snowshoes!


Which martial art is best for self defense?

My only exposure to martial arts is Krav Maga (and that was some years back). When I look at the martial arts world I know how people new to firearms must feel! There are so many to choose from and so much contradictory information out there. Every person has their favorite and eschews all others, sometimes to the point of trashing anything that doesn’t exactly fit their guru’s style. (Gosh, it’s sounding more and more like the defensive shooting world!) Luckily Cecil Burch, who is a legitimate expert on the subject, wrote this article. It gives you an overview of the major martial arts, along with their strengths, weaknesses, and applicability to self defense. This is one of the best distillations I’ve ever seen and a must-read if you’re new to the defensive application of martial arts.


To keep your head in the game, it has to be in the stadium

This is an interesting look at a carjacking. A criminal crashes his car and attempts to carjack another in fairly heavy traffic. That first victim simply pushed the accelerator to the floorboards and escaped. What’s amazing is that the perp was able to successfully take the car behind the first victim, even though the second driver clearly saw what had happened! This underscores the need not only to be paying attention, but to process the information you’re seeing and make decisions. Was the second driver simply awestruck by what he saw? Was he on his cellphone and only nominally paying attention? We may never know, but the lesson is clear: you not only need to manage your distractions, you have to do something with the information you’re gathering. “Head on a swivel” means nothing if you’re paying more attention to the swivel than what you’re seeing.


Is that an intruder — or your neighbor?

I get very tired of sharing stories like this, but some Facebook comments this last week convinced me I needed to yet again. There are lots of folks who puff out their chests and proclaim that they have some “right” to shoot “anyone” in their home simply for being there, and therefore they have no duty to identify a legitimate target. What if that person in your home is your friend or your offspring? This sad story from ABC News in Philadelphia underscores why blind fear — the shadow in the hallway — simply isn’t sufficient to justify the use of lethal force. Your fear needs to be articulable, and for that you have to clearly identify the threat. Don’t shoot at shadows, or through doors when you can’t positively ensure that you’re in danger and the source of that danger. (There’s another lesson: grab the flashlight before you grab the gun. Simply lighting up that shadow would have prevented this from happening.)


You’re locked out. How do you quickly find a reputable locksmith?

Being locked out is no fun. Being scammed or taken advantage of by a locksmith you’ve called to help just rubs salt into the wound. How do you choose a reputable locksmith? This article gives you some tips — the best one, as it is so often, is to find one before you need him!


Speaking of shooting the wrong person…

What do you do when someone knocks on your door at night? It might be the police, but it might not be. Greg Ellifritz has some thoughts on how the officers and the homeowner can each prevent shooting the other.


Crime can happen anywhere, but in practice happens in some places more than others

An article to remind us that crime isn’t uniform, and some areas are just more dangerous than others. Every police department of any size is likely to have these kinds of “hotspot” maps where you can see what crimes are being reported where. Take advantage of them, especially when you’re traveling into an area you’re not familiar with.


Everyone talks about improvised weapons…

…but no one ever does anything about them. Well, except in this case! An interesting review of a class in improvised defensive tools — how to acquire them and how to use them. This sounds like a great course and it’s made my short list of classes to take.

– Grant


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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