Welcome to the Hump Day Reading List! Here are what I believe to be the three most important articles you can read this week to enhance your personal and family safety:
This week in Defense and Training:
Is ‘round count’ a good way to judge a shooting course?
Back in the ‘olden days’ of defensive shooting training (which I’ll arbitrarily define as the 1990s), it was common for students to talk breathlessly about how many rounds they shot in their two-day classes. 500 rounds barely elicited interest; only when the round counts edged close to the magic 1,000 mark did anyone pay attention. If you broke the 1k mark, well, that was THE class everyone wanted to take! After all, more is better, right?
This applied to rifle courses as well as handgun courses. I’ve personally been through more than one rifle course where we shot 800+ rounds over a weekend — and this was when I was using an FAL rifle in .308 (7.62×51), while everyone else was shooting an AR-15!
As Sheriff Jim Wilson points out in this article, however, how many rounds you shoot is pretty much irrelevant to what you learn (assuming that you shoot enough to absorb the lesson, of course.) While the actual sequence of teaching he describes will vary from school to school, his point is valid: shooting beyond what’s necessary to learn will actually impede student’s progress. The more things the instructor tries to shoehorn into his/her course, the less likely the students will be to actually remember what they’re taught.
This is something of a sore spot for me, as I’ve actually had people decide not to take my classes after learning how many rounds they’ll shoot (or won’t be shooting). Over the years I’ve steadily reduced the round counts of my courses, because I realize that a rested student who is taught a few important skills will be far more prepared than one who shoots a ton of ammo trying to digest a large pile of techniques.
As a result, students in my classes will typically shoot no more than 300 or 400 rounds over two days of training (depending on the course). Some people see that as limiting, when in reality it represents very focused training and practice of the most critical skills.
When it comes to evaluating a shooting course, round counts don’t count.
This week in Security:
Yet another way of stealing your money
As technology progresses, so does criminal activity. It seems that no sooner do we come up with a way to make our lives easier, the crooks in our midst figure out a way to use that to their advantage.
The latest is the “cardless” ATM, which uses your phone to complete transactions rather than the ubiquitous plastic cards. In theory this should be more secure, and from a technological standpoint probably is, but as it happens the weak link is always the user. Turns out that thieves have figured out how to get the necessary login credentials via text message (“phishing”).
Now I know what you’re thinking: “I’m too smart to get suckered by a text message!” Well, I’m sure the 125 victims in this article all thought the same thing. If it looks official enough, or catches someone in just a moment of indiscretion, that’s all it takes.
Whenever I get a suspicious text or email regarding one of my accounts, I do nothing with it. Instead, I call the number I’ve previously saved for that financial institution and ask. That separation between notice and contact is an important one for safeguarding information.
This week in Preparedness:
This is an interesting way of looking at various kinds of incidents and grouping them into broad categories of preparedness.
One of the things I talk about in Prepping For Life is that you can’t possibly prepare for everything, and thus it’s necessary to figure out what’s most important and prepare for that first. There are a lot of different ways of deciding what’s most important; I showed one method in the book, and I’ve shared a couple of others in this blog over the last year or so.
Figuring out the severity of any given incident, though, seems to be a real sticking point for a lot of people. This approach, looking at incidents in four different levels, offers a good method to help classify and prepare. (My only criticism is in the author’s choice of title for Level 3, which I’d call “Large Impact Incidents”; it seems to me to be more in line with how the other levels are named.)
Regardless of how far along you are with your preparations, this is a good article to read.
– Grant Cunningham
P.S.: People have already started signing up for my midwest revolver class! I’m teaching my Threat-Centered Revolver course in Indiana the first weekend of May, which is the first class I’ve offered in that area in several years. If you’re interested in learning how to use your revolver more efficiently and effectively, this is the class you need to take. You can get more information, and sign up, at this link. Hurry, though, because we have a limited number of openings in this class. (No, you won’t be shooting a thousand rounds that weekend — this course is focused on real learning, not bragging rights!)