Time Is Life.

It occurs to me that what we are fighting for in a mass casualty situation is time. Time is distance, and time also allows you the ability to move to cover and being behind cover gives your more time to choose the best option for the situation. Not having any time to make any decisions means you’ll probably fall prey to panic, and that is not a good thing when your life is on the line.

Convenience. It’s What You Carry.

We went out as a family last well to see The Peanuts Movie (Short review: Much better than I expected, go see it) and it was nice to know that I had the training and the tools to deal with all the little things life might throw at me while doing so. Having a flashlight on me to help navigate a dark theater and a knife to open up a recalcitrant package of Twizzlers was just two of the little things that made for a happier night out for all the family, and knowing I had even more stuff close at hand only added to my sense of well-being. Sometimes, it’s not about preparing for the zombie apocalypse, it’s just about having fun with your family.

Halloween Is Coming.

My wife and I compromise on Halloween: She hates giving out candy, and I hate trying to keep my kids in order as we go from house to house. Therefore, I give out candy, and she takes them from door to door.

One of the things I’ve noticed, year after year, is how very few parents have a flashlight with them as they walk around on Halloween night. The best I can figure is, they believe the streetlights will always be on, and their will always be enough light to see clearly.

Except, of course, one Halloween a few years ago when the power went out on our streets, and it got really dark and really scary, really quickly.


Carry a flashlight. Carry a flashlight even during the day, and especially carry a flashlight on Halloween night. I’m a big fan of this Pelican light because it’s inexpensive, really bright, quite small and uses good ol’ AA batteries.

Oh, and no matter how much you want to, it’s still not ok to headshot zombies. When it’s time to go full Romero, yes, but right now, no.

It’s Tam’s Internet, we just post on it.

I was talking with a local firearms trainer over lunch last week about how situational awareness plays into a safe, secure lifestyle. We both agree that trainers who poo-poo the concept are missing the point of situational awareness: It’s not going to help you that much* when the proverbial stuff hits the proverbial fan, but it will help you avoid large amounts of fans and even larger amounts of, errr, stuff.

The main reason I carry a gun is because my situational awareness is not perfect. If it were, I’d stroll on out of the area and let the gunfight happen to somebody else.

Memo to self: Re-read “The Gift of Fear” in the very near future.

* I would like to revise and extend my previous remarks. As they say, knowing is half the battle, and knowing who you’re facing, where they are and how you can get away from them if needed is all part of gathering tactical intelligence-gathering. Or situational awareness, as we civilians call it.

Should I carry without a round in the chamber?


In a word, no.

In two words, HELL NO.

I met quite a few gun owners / CCW holders at the old job who routinely carried semi-auto pistols without a round in the chamber because, they said, they were afraid to carry around a gun with one in the chamber because of potential safety issues.

This is, of course, insane.

Unlike other people, I didn’t grow up with a 1911 in my hands: This is all fairly new to me, but even I know that if you follow the rules of gun safety and carry in a good holster, the chances of your gun going “bang” when you don’t want it to is pretty much diddly and/or squat.

The chances of having enough time and hands to draw, rack the slide, chamber a round and THEN point the gun at the threat fast enough to be effective? Also pretty much diddly and/or squat.

Tam has some interesting thoughts on engagement distances, and I think she’s spot-on here. The fact is, to a criminal, we are prey: We have something that the crook wants, and in order to get it, he/she is going to have to come close enough to take it from us. Unless it’s a home invasion situation where the loot is scattered about our abode, that means the bad guy/gal will need to get within bad-breath distance at some point in the encounter to get what they want.

Whether or not they’ll be able to accomplish such actions is up to us.

A gun, ANY gun is not a talisman of self-protection. A $150 Hi-Point or a $1500 Zev are equally useless in protecting the lives of your loved ones if they’re not ready for use when you need them the most. Carrying a semi-auto without a round in the chamber is magical thinking at its’ very worst, because it presupposes you’ll have time to recognize the threat and prepare for what’s next. Unless I’m in my domicile or have to defend the lives of my loved ones, if I have time to recognize the threat and charge up a gun, I also have time to imitate Jesse Owens and get the @$!% out of Dodge.

I think that home-defence might be influencing people’s thought processes here. In a home invasion situation, yes, there might (MIGHT) be enough time and warning to access an unloaded gun and get it ready for use, but if the bad guy is within spitting distance of you, the time to get your gun loaded happened a long time ago.

The color code in black and white

I ranted for awhile on Facebook last week about the media shooting in Virginia and why there’s no real takeaway from it other than “you can’t be 100% aware all the time”.

The fact is, the tunnel vision and stress I experience at a practical shooting match is pretty much identical to the tunnel vision and stress I experience on a photo shoot. When you’ve got 30 minutes to set up lights, get a test shot and be ready to take pictures of a celebrity who will give you 5 minutes, you need to be on your game 100% and not be distracted by anything other than taking the shot. That’s the reality of location photography, and it’s a reality I lived with for over ten years.

On a semi-related note, on one of my very first  USPSA stages there was a popper that needed calibrating. I had shot *maybe* two matches at that point in time, but I was the only one on my squad who was shooting 9mm factory ammo, so it was up to me to test it out. With all my squad watching me, I drew, aimed, and squeezed off one shot that hit the popper in the centre of the circle, and it fell.

My CCW instructor was on that squad with me, and he asked me why I wasn’t nervous taking that shot. I couldn’t answer him at the time, but looking back on it, I think years and years of having to make snap judgements under lots of time and pressure constraints while behind the camera has made me a little more immune to performance anxiety than most people. Maybe it will also help me when bad things happen and I need to defend my life, but I honestly hope I never find out.