Be honest: are you in any condition to run away?

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One of the most ignored aspects of personal security is your physical condition. Why is it important to be in the best shape you can be?

Over on Greg Ellifritz’s blog, he talks about running away from an attacker. It’s an excellent article and you should take the time to read it.

One thing he touches on is the physical component of self defense. As he points out, running away from an attacker ...

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Another great review of my “Gun Digest Book of the Revolver!”

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Thanks to the Ordnance Corner for a very nice review of my first book, the Gun Digest Book of the Revolver. It’s always a pleasure to be able to bring quality information to people and do so in a way that is both comprehensive and understandable. (At least, that’s what I hope I do!)

Though that book has been out a few years now, I still get many nice emails every week from people who have found something ...

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How can you really use situational awareness to be safer?

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Most people who talk about situational awareness don’t really understand what it’s about or how to use it to their advantage. Here are some reasons why that’s the case, and a resource for learning the proper role of situational awareness in your total self defense plan.

A few years back I wrote a very controversial article for the Personal Defense Network titled “The Myth of Situational Awareness”, wherein I pointed out ...

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Whenever I hear “I’m all for Second Amendment rights, but…”, my hackles are raised. How about you?

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Just because someone is a self-declared hunter doesn’t mean they know anything about, let alone support, the Second Amendment. And just because they’re a self-declared hunter doesn’t mean they actually are!
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Ashland, OR is a quaint little university town in southern Oregon. My sister attended college there back in the ‘70s (before it became a university), and the town is most widely known for its annual (and quite good) Shakespearean Festival. I’ve spent a fair amount of time ...
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You know what grinds my gears? YouTube videos where women suffer shooting big guns.

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There’s a genre of YouTube videos consisting of women shooting guns with heavy recoil for which they’ve not been properly prepared. Those vids disgust me.
For some reason a certain segment of the male shooting population loves to see what happens when a woman (old or young) is given a powerful firearm and allowed to shoot it on camera without proper instruction or preparation. The results are predictable and serve to show just what can happen if a shooter ...
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What is the best defensive flashlight? Here are my favorites!

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Last time we considered the value of the flashlight as a defensive tool. Today, let’s look at the choices in the marketplace and how to make sense of them.

After much experimentation I’ve come to some definite conclusions as to what constitutes my “ideal” defensive flashlight.

* It has to be reliable above all else. It has to be able to withstand abuse, dirt, dust, perspiration, rain, and occasionally being dropped into a mud puddle ...

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What is the most useful self defense tool you can carry? How about…the humble flashlight!

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Is there something you can carry which can actually help keep you safe, to help identify and prevent trouble before it happens? The flashlight can, which is why I believe everyone who is interested in personal safety and preparedness should carry one.

While I spend a lot of time talking about firearms and shooting, I’ve also said (many times) that self defense isn’t all about the gun. The firearm is a specialized tool, ...

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The most under-used word in the field of defensive shooting: ‘context’.

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If you’re not training in context, then you don’t really know what you’re training for. How is that a wise use of your time, effort, and money?

One of the subjects I cover in my defensive shooting classes is the idea of training in context — that is, training in relation to your expected use. This seems like it should be self-evident, but surprisingly it isn’t.

This idea of context actually burst into my ...

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Linking up with your family after an incident: an important part of your safety and defensive planning!

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The link-up or meeting plan is a staple of disaster preparedness. Did you know it’s a great tool for defensive situations, like a mass attack in a mall, as well?

There’s been an incident, and you’ve survived. How are you going to determine whether the rest of your family did, and how are you going to get everyone out of what may still be a danger zone? The link-up plan, that’s ...

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The sad story of the Smith & Wesson Light Rifle.

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There aren’t really a lot of engineers in the firearms business who move between specialties easily and with equivalent successes. In the case of the S&W Light Rifle, its designer was just a little out of his element.
Joseph Norman was once the chief engineer at Smith & Wesson, and was responsible (or at least had a lot to do with) some great S&W guns: the models 39, 41, 52, and 59 ...
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Do you use Flipboard? If not, this might be a good reason to start!

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Now you can get trusted self defense and training information delivered directly to your smartphone, tablet, or even computer, by way of the ultra-popular Flipboard app!

Flipboard has become one of the most popular information apps on the iPad and iPhone (as well as Android devices.) Flipboard is essentially an electronic magazine that you build yourself and fill with the information you want to see!

There’s information from all kinds of sources, ...

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What is the first, most important thing you need to have for self-defense?

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Whether we’re talking self defense or the larger concept of self preservation, there is one thing that stands above all others in its importance. You can’t buy it, though there are people who will try to sell it to you!

I came to the self defense arena through the firearms world. That wasn’t intentional, it just worked out that way! People in the shooting community, some of them very sincere and accomplished, ...

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The Remington Model 8 and 81: guns I wish I’d bought when they were cheap!

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The Remington Model 8 and its restyled cousin, the Model 81, were once common at gun shows. They’re getting harder to find these days; are collectors finally taking an interest in these fine rifles?

Some years ago I got to know a local gun show fixture by the name of Mike Percival. Mike was a holdover of sorts, because when everyone else was selling Glocks and AR-15s Mike dealt in old iron and walnut: guns of the past. In stark ...

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The two questions your defensive shooting instructor should be willing and able to answer.

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There are a lot of questions you can ask your defensive shooting instructor, but I believe there are two which will tell you more about his teaching ability and dedication than any others.

In the defensive shooting world, critical thought or introspection are not often celebrated. There is, in fact, a certain (and vocal) segment of the CCW and self defense fraternity that ridicules anything other than a regimented, don’t-ask-questions military-like ...

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Some important thoughts about “Stand Your Ground” laws.

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You’ve probably heard news reports about “stand your ground” (SYG) laws, particularly in Florida. In the wake of several high profile shootings these laws are under scrutiny. Should they be?

“Stand Your Ground” laws became a source of debate all over the country after the George Zimmerman case, and the recent Michael Dunn “loud music” shooting has intensified calls to modify or repeal the Florida statute. Activists in other states who have similar laws are also calling for revamping their local ...

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The semi-automatic submachine gun: a fun oxymoron!

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Some years ago a local company was producing very nice semi-auto reproductions of the British Sterling submachine gun, like the one in the picture. I didn’t buy one, and I’ve kicked myself ever since. But why?
The submachine gun made its debut with the trench fighting of World War 1. The idea was to give a soldier the rapid fire capability of a machine gun with the portability needed to move in ...
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Do you shoot a SIG, Beretta, CZ, or other DA/SA pistol? You need to read this.

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There are a lot of autoloading pistols which have a double action (DA) pull for the first shot and a single action (SA) pull for all subsequent shots. Training for that transition is important, and here’s one way to do so.

I’ve been pretty outspoken about my dislike for what we call “traditional double action” autoloading pistols: pistols that start with a long, heavy double action shot and then present a short, ...

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Preparing for violence means learning about how it happens and how we look at it.

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What is your schema, your way of looking at violence? Your point of view determines how you prepare, so working on your point of view may be as important as anything in your defensive preparations.

William Aprill is a mental health professional who has made it his business to study how and why violence happens and how we react to violence. He combines that with his background in shooting ...

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Nosler announces a new 6.5mm rifle cartridge – but will it sell?

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The 6.5mm caliber offers tremendous possibilities but just can’t seem to make many inroads in the U.S. market. Can Nosler’s new hyper-performance iteration gain a following for my favorite mid-range bullet?
I must admit to being a big fan of 6.5mm rifle cartridges. I’ve only owned a few, but the 6.5mm caliber is interesting from a ballistic standpoint: its bullets are very heavy relative to their diameter, which gives it excellent penetration ...
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How to deal with unwanted contact: the “fishing expedition”

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I’ve said many times that self defense and personal security aren’t always about the gun. The concealed carry firearm is an efficient (and important) part of an overall self defense plan, but it is applicable to a very small number of situations. Far more numerous are those everyday interactions which seem innocuous, but hold the potential for violent escalation.

Knowing how to deal with unwanted contact is a skill ...

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Vera Koo: a role model for young shooters.

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Do you know the name Vera Koo? If you have daughters, you should. This lady should be their role model.
Female shooters get a lot of press today. I’d venture to say that just about everyone reading this blog would recognize the names Lena Miculek, Julie Golob, Jessie Duff, Randi Rogers, and Tori Nonaka because of their accomplishments on the range.

There are some women in the shooting sports, however, who inexplicably get little to no press coverage. One of those ...

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Who should call the police when a gun is drawn?

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Let’s say that you’re out for a walk with your concealed handgun on your person. You’re minding your own business, enjoying the fresh air and the pretty flowers, when suddenly someone with a knife jumps out from behind a parked car.

You’ve trained for this kind of ambush attack (at least, we hope you have) and your instinctive reactions give way to the learned, intuitive response you’ve practiced: you move laterally as ...

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Answer this question: why do you carry a concealed handgun?

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A while back the blog When The Balloon Goes Up had an interesting article: “Why do you concealed carry?” That’s actually a more involved question than you might think, as the article showed, and I think I’ve identified one reason why that’s so.

I’ve asked many students (and prospective students) why they carry or want to carry (CCW) a concealed handgun, and the most common answer I hear is that they do so to “be safer”. While I understand the sentiment, ...

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Friday Surprise: Ansel Adams didn’t always take pictures of mountains.

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We usually think of Ansel Adams as the creator of gorgeous coffee table books of natural wonders and beautiful scenes, but like most of his generation he did a lot of commissioned work for people and institutions. Some of that work shows up now and again.

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The name Ansel Adams is familiar to many people, whether or not they’re avid photographers. Adams became very well known to other photographers in the early 1930s when he and several ...
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Staying safe in the depths of winter

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The cold weather gripping much of the country this winter should serve to remind us that safety isn’t always about the gun, but you’d never know that listening to some people in the self-defense business!

One of the things I often touch upon in classes is the need to look at your personal security in a holistic manner: that is, that everything is interrelated and you can’t ignore ...

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Wouldn’t you love to have this fully-loaded sidecar rig in your garage?

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The other day Ed Harris sent me some pictures he made on a trip to Italy a few years ago. I looked at them and thought “wow, what a great museum restoration that is!”

Then he explained that it wasn’t in a museum.

Ed Harris, as regular readers will know, is a firearms industry veteran with shooting friends in many parts of the globe. A couple of years back he took an extended trip to Italy and, as he seems ...
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Those crazy Belgian gun designers!

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(Photo courtesy of Ian McCollum)

Let’s just say that it’s for one of the oddest pseudo-machine guns the French army ever bought. And *that* is saying something.
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Before mankind perfected the automatic firearm (also known as the machine gun) there were a bunch of attempts to make a gun that would fire more than one round before needing to be reloaded. The faster it could fire them, armies around ...
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The tactical pen is an idea whose time has come, and now is going. What can replace it?

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As I often remind students (and occasionally other people in my business), keeping yourself safe is not just about the gun. The gun isn’t always available and sometimes isn’t the appropriate, let alone legal, tool.

Along with the gun you need some sort of defensive tool that can be used for those situations in which lethal force isn’t warranted. A high-intensity flashlight is a good choice, as it can be used to illuminate your immediate area (threat avoidance); ...
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Friday Surprise: I’m a Space Cadet – how about you?

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What’s the significance of this patch?

One of the streaming video programs we’ve been watching has been a history of space exploration produced by NASA. I’ve made no secret about my enthusiasm for the U.S. space program which dominated my young life, and it’s hardly surprising that I’d get into this series! It’s well produced and informative, with interviews of not just the astronauts but the engineers and scientists and Mission Control people who ...

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Colt needs a modern pistol design to compete. Believe it or not, they may have one.

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If Colt is going to compete in the 21st Century civilian market, they’re going to need a modern striker fired gun. Believe it or not, they have one; they just don’t know it yet.

SHOT Show was only a couple of weeks ago and there were lots of companies there showing all kinds of new guns. One company that hasn’t produced anything really new for some time, however, is Colt. Going to their booth at SHOT has always felt to ...

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