Games without frontiers

Or, if looks could kill, they probably will.

Matt over at Jerking The Trigger had a good post on how we set our training priorities and how that affects the gaps in said training:

Why do so many shooters emphasize shooting courses and turn up their noses at combatives and first aid training? I suspect most people are more likely to need to know how to use a pressure bandage or throw a punch than to need to draw their handgun in anger over the course of their lives.

Yep. Backup irons become important if you train on a square range in the daytime. Take a night-shooting class, though, and those iron sights mean NOTHING compared to a good weapon light.

Also, think about how competition affects our gear and our training: Maybe one of the reasons why there is very little integrated combatives/firearms training for us civvies is because we haven’t found a way to make a game of it yet. The Greeks figured out 3000 or so years ago that if you make a game of war, you get better at war, and USPSA and IDPA are capitalizing today on what was learned on the slopes of Mt. Olympus long ago.

We’ve yet to apply those same ideas to combatives / firearms training for civilians, and when we do, then the idea that just having a gun won’t be enough will REALLY take off.

Why Carry More Than Just Your Gun?

So you can do more than shoot somebody, that’s why

I’m moving to Alaska from Georgia. Was having dinner with my half brother in Colorado springs, CO. Carrying as usual. Helped an old lady change a flat in the parking lot then as I’m walking to my car I hear someone yelling “help me.” Look down and it’s a younger guy with 2 other people talking to him so I assume he’s drunk and goofing off. Then I hear some slapping noises. Look again and some guy is hitting him with a piece of wire or hose or something about 10 feet long. The guy keeps yelling for help and goes fetal while this guy is nailing him. I’m on top of a hill above them, maybe 10 feet up and 25 feet away. My first instinct was to run down and draw on the guy but I didn’t want to get too close to him so he can hit me with his weapon. Instead, I pulled a flashlight out of my pocket and yelled at him that the police were on their way. As soon as I said that he looked up at me and turned around and ran away. It turned out the 2 guys were arguing over a woman that was with them. End of the story I didn’t draw but used my flashlight to blind a guy instead. I stayed out of range of the guys weapon, but was prepared to draw if he did come towards me up the hill.

Bottom line, having the means to deal with a violent threat but not having to use said means to keep yourself and others safe is a bigger win than if you had to draw a gun and shoot. 

Always carry your gun. And carry other stuff, too. The life you save may not be your own.

First Impressions: Kershaw Shuffle Knife

knives_2Advantages: Small size, easy to open 
Disadvantages: Needs some adjustment out of the box 
Rating: 4 Stars Out of 5 

I like to carry a knife in my weak-side pocket so I can get to it with one hand in case my gun hand is otherwise occupied. My criteria for a carry knife is

1. Low-profile clip. I don’t want anything that says “KNIFE!”, as it will truly be an everyday carry knife. 
2. Size. I don’t want a penknife, but I don’t want a big ol’ pigsticker either. 
3. Ease of use. As the point of this knife will be weak-side carry, it should be be easy to get out and easy to open. 
4. Inexpensive. Under $50.

Finding a knife like that is actually quite tough. I had been carry a Boker AK74 auto-opener and it’s worked great, but I wasn’t satisfied with using it every day. It was bigger than I liked, and as you can see from the photo above, it’s getting quite beat up in my pocket. 

Enter the Kershaw Shuffle

crkt_shuffle

The size is sure right, and it’s easy to open with my off hand. It’s comfortable in the hand and holds nicely. The only things I’m noticing about it are that the clip is VERY strong and it’s hard to pull out of my pocket in a hurry. 

Not something you want in a defensive knife. 

crkt_shuffle_2

The clip is also reversible, something that I *really* like for weak side carry, but the screws that hold it in are tiny little Torx screws that I don’t have a bit for. How I’m going to swap it around, I don’t know. 

Overall, I’m liking the knife, though, and I think the Kershaw Shuffle will be my EDC knife for the foreseeable future.

Alton Brown, Larry Vickers and you.

So this little bit of deep was trolled out for our amusement yesterday. 

Tam does an excellent takedown of all that’s wrong with this idea, but to me, this is just another unitasker: A tool, as TV chef Alton Brown describes it, that is designed only to do one thing. Alton Brown hates them, and so should you, because it is better to have a mindset and skill set that adapts to the task at hand rather than a tool that can’t adapt to any other task besides the one it’s designed for.

Do unitaskers sell well? Absolutely. Are they the mark of someone who has mistaken competence for purchasing power? That too. 

There is nothing wrong with wanting (and using) new gadgets, but thinking that a new toy will replace training or practice is a quick path to some bad places. 

Speaking of training, the Unitasker rule applies here as well. If the Tier One L33T TacOps class your in spends a half day on, say, how to shoot zombies from a helicopter with an M249 SAW, you’re in the wrong class. Good training is applicable over a wide variety of situations and not focused on one specific threat or scenario. 

Stay safe this Halloween

zombie_days_offI’m honestly amazed at the number of kids who come to my door each Halloween who don’t have parents with them. 

I’m also amazed at the number of parents who don’t go out trick or treating with their kids and don’t have a flashlight with them. 

I understand that people may not comfortable carrying a firearm, but a flashlight isn’t an option for me: If I have pants on, I have a flashlight with me. It’s one of the four things you should carry with you if you’re carrying concealed, and it’s something EVERYONE should have nearby, because we spend half of our lives in the dark. 

Lessons from Las Vegas

If you recall, Mrs ExKev and I spent a couple of days in Las Vegas by ourselves, away from the kids, and I learned a few things about my self-defense regimen.

Lesson Number One: Crowds suck, because it’s pretty much impossible to control them.

On our first night there, we were using the up escalator near Caesars to cross over Flamingo Road, and the escalator deposited us at the top…
… right as a HUGE gaggle of German tourists were trying to get on the DOWN escalator. There was literally nowhere for us to go, and the escalator we’d just left behind kept feeding more and more people into the small space at the top of the crosswalk. 
Not fun. We were packed in like sardines, and more people were coming whether we liked it or not. Fortunately, I found an empty hole in the crowd and däs Kraüten shuffled out of the way, but it could have just as easily turned into a panic situation and a possible stampede. 
Lesson learned: Always have an alternative exit planned, even on a sidewalk. 

Lesson Number Two: You don’t ALWAYS need to carry your gun. 

Last year, Arizona changed the CCW requirements to where any training (even online training) is good enough for a permit. Nevada didn’t like that, and yanked reciprocity with Arizona
So no gun once I crossed over the Tillman/O’Callaghan bridge
And it wasn’t that bad. Of course I’d prefer to have been armed because being armed gives me MUCH more options if faced with lethal force than not being armed, but I didn’t feel unprotected. Of course, carrying a good flashlight, knife and OC helped a lot with that feeling… 
Lesson Learned: Be prepared to use what you have, not what you WANT to have. 

Lesson Number Three: Trust your Gut. 

We were waiting to cross Las Vegas Boulevard on our last day, headed over to the M+M’s store so Mrs. ExKev could buy something for our kids, when my shields went up. SOMETHING wasn’t right. I immediately stepped slightly behind Mrs. ExKev and glanced at our fellow pedestrians, and at that moment, the gentlemen on my right began a loud, angry call on his cellphone with a young lady who I gather was in his employ in one form or another, and he was NOT happy with her production the previous evening. He carried on his conversation with his, ahhhh, employee as he started to walk across Las Vegas Boulevard, I told Mrs. ExKev to wait: We’ll get the next one, I said, and I explained to her what had happened (situational awareness isn’t her strong suit). Were we in danger because I was standing next to this upset young entrepeneur? Probably not. Were we safer with him on the other side of the street than us? Definitely. 
Lesson Learned: You have an early-warning system. Use it. 

Range of Opportunity

Use of force continuum

Thinking more about yesterday’s post, the place where we do our training influences also what we’re learning. I know going into the dojo that I’m going to learn punches, kicks and throws, and I know walking onto the range I’m going to work on solving lethal force threats.

What if we didn’t know what we were training for until we got to the training site? What if a range was set up so that people could train with airsoft and/or empty-hand in one side, and live-fire on the other? What would that do to how we integrate concealed carry and empty-hand techniques?