Staying Safe While Traveling, Part 7: knowledge and attitude are weapons, too

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Why the picture of Sir Francis Bacon? Because he once said “ipsa scientia potestas est” (“knowledge itself is power”), which is particularly fitting when we’re talking about travel safety.

People tend to fixate on the things they can (or can’t) carry with them whilst traveling. A better approach might be to spend some of that energy and time on increasing what you know, and then resolve to figure out what you can use in ...

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How do the Swiss make a sniper rifle? Carefully. Very carefully!

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As you might guess from my watch & clockmaking youth, I admire the Swiss. I especially admire the way their commitment to self-preservation scared off the Nazi war machine when everyone around them was being invaded. What was their secret? Accurate rifles and soldiers who knew how to use them!
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Ahh, the Swiss. Aside from chocolate and fine timepieces (two things of which I’m ...
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Staying Safe While Traveling, Part 6: simplicity as self defense

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The Amish, as you probably know, revel in simplicity. They find advantages in not being weighed down with possessions, and there is a lesson for us there too.

In the discussion about tools, you’ll notice that I recommended very few. Why? Because there is a defensive advantage in not being weighed down!

Pretend, for a moment, that you’re a criminal. You’re looking for a new victim, and there are two tourists arriving at the local hotel. Jackpot!

Potential Victim #1 is carrying a ...

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Staying safe while traveling, Part 5: some more tools to help you stay safe on the road!

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Even away from your gun you’re never really unarmed. There are tools you can carry which can help you stay safer, as long as you understand their uses and limitations.

In Part 1 of this series I talked about the building blocks of personal safety: Detection, Avoidance, De-escalation, Deterrence, and Response — and how a weapon was most effective (in fact often only effective) in the final phase: the Response. Everything leading up to the Response is still self defense, though ...

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What’s old is new again: the SMG Guns FG42 rifle.

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While I was teaching in California last week I got to handle (but, sadly, not shoot) a brand-new reproduction of a WWII German autoloading rifle!
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The FG42 was a select-fire rifle issued to German paratroopers during the Second World War. The concept was to supply the troops with a relatively compact rifle capable of firing both in semi- and fully-automatic modes, one which ...
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Staying safe while traveling, Part 4: which defensive tools can you take with you?

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How do you arm yourself when you can’t be armed?

The inspiration behind this series was traveling to places where I couldn’t have a handgun on my person. Even if I were to go someplace that recognized one of the concealed handgun licenses I possess, I can’t carry a firearm in the airports at either end, or on the plane. For a cross-country flight that means a large amount of time that I ...

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Shotgun lust: the Remington Versa Max.

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Sometimes when I teach I learn something new. That happened to me just the other day!
Last week I was down in California doing some training for a private group at a members-only range. This was my second teaching trip to this particular club, and I must say I enjoy it immensely!

One of the students had a shotgun I’d heard about, but not actually had ...

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Staying safe while traveling, Part 3: preplanning is a good start

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Some people worry about traveling because they can’t carry their gun. I think that’s shortsighted!

Gun people (of which I am one) tend to view the handgun as the most important tool they carry. You’ve heard the old saw about “if your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail”? Well, too many of my fellow gun people look at the world as strewn with nails (often while simultaneously denying ...

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Staying safe while traveling, Part 2: your concept of safety is important!

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This isn’t rocket science: it doesn’t do you much good to plan for your safety on the road if you don’t really know what safety is! In this article I share a concept of safety that, I think, will put this whole series into better perspective for you.

I’ve just returned (quite literally) from a teaching trip to the Bay Area of California. I was invited down for a return engagement at ...

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Ed Harris: Loading Cast Bullets In the 9mm Luger/Parabellum.

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It’s been too long since Ed Harris has graced our presence. He’s back, though, with an article about shooting cast bullets in 9mm — and, of course, with related stories about his days doing just that at Ruger. Enjoy!

Tales from the Back Creek Diary:
Loading Cast Bullets In the 9mm Luger/Parabellum

by Ed Harris, Gerrardstown, WV

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Lately, with ammo supplies in retail stores either drying up entirely, or becoming frightfully more ...
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Chinese police are now armed with revolvers?!?!

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I’m not sure which surprises me more; the fact that Chinese police heretofore have not been armed, or that they’re now armed with brand-spanking-new revolvers.
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The Chinese, I’m told, have not regularly had armed police patrolling their streets. I’m not sure why that’s odd to me; perhaps my image of the authoritarian state, known mostly for their suppression of anything resembling dissent, includes police officers armed and ready to take down anyone daring to try that whole ...
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How do you stay safe when traveling? Part 1 of a series

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As I’ve mentioned before, the legally possessed firearm is a reactive tool that gives you the means to repel a lethal attack. It doesn’t, in and of itself, keep you safe — but what does, and how can you really stay safe when you’re away from home?

You may remember that last week I traveled to Indianapolis to attend the NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits. I didn’t actually attend the Meetings, but rather I went to attend the Exhibits: the ...

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Kids are the future of the Second Amendment, but not if we treat their parents like pariahs.

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I was teaching a Home Defense Handgun Skills class yesterday, and during the last hour or so of range time a fellow and his two teenage kids drove in and set up on the range next to us to shoot a very well-accessorized AR-15.
During a break I engaged them in the normal range smalltalk, and I noticed two things about this family: first, they came to the range in an “evil, liberal” Prius; second, they were ...
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Friday Surprise: Someday I’m going to write a book that’s not about guns or self defense. It’ll be about time.

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Whether you realize it or not, the precise measurement of time is absolutely vital to maintain the world in which we live — and it’s been this way for hundreds of years.
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As soon as mankind stopped hunting and gathering for sustenance, the measurement of time became important. As agrarian societies started to take hold, the need to be able to know what season ...
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How can YOU enhance your physical security?

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As I’ve said countless times, both in print and in classes, your personal safety isn’t just about buying a gun. Here’s some discussion on how to look at security in a more holistic manner.

I’m a “gun guy”. I don’t think I really started out to be one, but over the years it’s worked out that way. Why not? Guns are fun, they have intricate mechanisms and endless opportunities for accessorizing (which we all refer to as ‘customization’, lest we be ...

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NRA Show notes: how to botch a new product introduction. Not that it really matters when the product is this bad.

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So, let’s say you’ve got a new product and a major opportunity to show it to the world. Think it might be a good idea to, you know, make it easy for people to learn about it? One company apparently doesn’t!
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It’s a bad sign when a company introduces a new gun, spends a large amount of money to publicize it at a major trade show, then says “we’re ...
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The full squat: the most overlooked rifle shooting position?

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Instructor Georges Rahbani teaches the squatting position

If you’re a rifle shooter you’ve probably practiced standing, kneeling, sitting, and prone; but have you practiced shooting from the full squat? Maybe you should!

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When I got my first formal rifle training we focused on the traditional shooting positions, the ones that the NRA had been training for perhaps a century. It wasn’t until some years later, when I took my first “tactical” or ...
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Marketing versus curriculum: can you tell the difference?

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When you’re shopping for self defense training and information, you’re likely to be faced with clever marketing more than program quality. What’s the difference, and why should you care?

An interesting thing happened in social media this week: a particular shooting instructor, well known for playing up his law enforcement background and experience to sell classes, was faced with a prospective student who had been exposed to someone else who played up his ...

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Ladies, the guy behind the gun counter is not your friend. Really.

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If you’re new to the shooting world, and have decided to purchase a handgun for self defense, you’ll need to do your own research — because the guy behind the gun counter won’t do it for you!

Eleanor Roosevelt and Annie Oakley notwithstanding, shooting is a male-dominated activity. Most of the people in the industry, from presidents of firearms manufacturers down to the counter clerks, are men; most of the writers in the ...

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What happened with the Remington R51? A tale of colliding generations and expectations.

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Photo courtesy of Paul Carlson/Safety Solutions Academy

Remington’s only indigenous handgun, the R51, debuted last December to rave reviews from journalists in attendance. The reviews of production models have not been nearly so kind. What happened in between?

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I, like many others, was intrigued and excited by Remington’s announcement of their R51 pistol last year. Here was the thin, modern, efficient single stack 9mm many of us had ...
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Do you know how to respond to a mass murder attempt?

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The recent attacks at Fort Hood and on the Jewish community in Kansas remind us that irrational attacks happen. How can you respond if you find yourself in one of these situations?

Attacks on large targets, meaning areas where many people congregate, are meant (or hoped) to result in mass casualties. The attacker(s) most often choose soft targets — places which are weapons-free zones by either edict or custom. Schools, for instance, make tempting targets because not only are they often ...

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Can you really be sure of what you’ve been told? Should you try?

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In case you’ve not noticed, there is a lot of simply awful information about personal defense (particularly regarding defensive shooting) rolling around in this world. How can you identify (and avoid) getting duped?

Melody, who pens the Limatunes Range Diary, recently wrote about an early experience she had with bad information in the shooting world. It’s happened to all of us, but in her case it came early on and resulted ...

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A different design for a revolving rifle, but this one is full auto – and a mystery!

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Ever wanted a revolving rifle that fired three-round bursts at an equivalent cyclic rate of 4,900 rounds per minute? Three inventors in the 1970s came up with an idea to do just that. Maybe.
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The revolver mechanism has proven itself over the last century or so to be a robust and reliable means of providing repeating capability to a handgun. Of course not all revolvers have been handguns; there have been a few revolving rifles over the years, ...
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How do you find self-defense blogs that are worth reading?

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There is no end of information on the ‘net regarding self defense, personal security, prepping, and other self-reliance topics. How do you find the usable needles in all those stacks of hay?

It’s no secret that the internet is chock full of information: good, bad, and ugly. It’s served to get rid of some of the most egregiously outlandish stuff that was common before the world wide web came into being (for instance, ...

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The younger generation is here, and it’s about time we started treating them like fellow shooters.

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Photo courtesy of Personal Defense Network

Believe it or not, this guy is one of the most die-hard Second Amendment fans you are likely to find. He even owns a company that makes AR-15 rifles and parts, and is one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. Yet there are a whole lot of people who probably wouldn’t give him the time of day at a shooting range. That’s ignorant, and ...

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Do Glocks break? Occasionally. Here’s how to fix them.

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Despite their well deserved reputation for reliability, on occasion a Glock will break. The good news is that they’re easy to repair!
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It’s fashionable amongst certain members of the shooting fraternity to spout “all guns break eventually.” That’s true, but the trouble is that it’s often used to justify owning guns which break all the time!

Like automobiles, there are some firearms which are generally regarded as very reliable and some which ...

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Quick: can you name a Japanese revolver?

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Japanese pistols aren’t limited to the Nambu. Before that, there was the Type 26 revolver. Yes, a Japanese revolver.

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We tend to think of the revolver as an American arm. There’s a lot to be said for that point of view: while there were revolver-like firearms made as early as the 16th century, the patent for the first commercially successful revolver (and what we’d recognize as a being a modern revolver) belonged ...
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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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