Re-Re-Thinking The Trunk Gun.

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You’re not going to use your trunk gun to shoot a terrorist in the face. You’re just not. You job is to be your own FIRST responder, not a second responder like the cop who arrives after the shooting starts. Greg Ellifritz makes a really good point on the Ballistic Radio show from a few weeks ago: When the cops roll up on the scene, they are going to be looking for guys with rifles.

You’re on the scene. You have a rifle in your hands. It’s not going to go well for you.

However, that doesn’t mean that a trunk gun is totally useless. You spend a third of your life at work, and trouble can happen right quickly when you’re away from home. If you have to defend your life at work (and maybe the lives of your coworkers), you’ll probably want more than a pistol (if you have one) or a stapler (if you don’t). Turning your home into Warwick Castle means diddley-squat if you’re attacked out side of your ancestral manse.

A Little Respite Would Be Nice.

Can we please go a week without hearing about an Islam-inspired mass murder somewhere in what little remains of Western Civilization or a cop-shooting rampage inspired by a racist hate group?

My thoughts and prayers are for our police officers tonight, and especially for the members of the Baton Rouge police department affected by this mass murder. May justice be swift and sure for those who did this.

With the Republican National Convention starting up, and with more promises of violence at the convention from the people who inspired the attacks in Dallas and Baton Rouge, my advice to people of Cleveland is simple: Be your own Roof Korean.

All Things Be Ready If Our Minds Be So.

As Alcoholics Anonymous says, the first step is acknowledging you have a problem, and that’s true of personal safety as well. Like some of my colleagues, I became aware at an early age that there were predators in the jungle, so I never really lived in what some call “Condition White” for any great length of time. Some may see that as living in fear, I call it living in reality, because we’re only fearful of the unknown.

With that overly-long introduction out of the way, here’s three good articles on staying aware of what’s going on around you and what you should do about it. Stuff like this isn’t as sexy as dressing up like The Punishera six second El Presidenté or a $3000 1911, but its more important.

Grant Cunningham on finding out what the real threats are in your life:

Consider the threat of a job loss or severe economic downturn; what would happen if there were a drought in your part of the country? How about an accident that closes the only road into your town for a couple of weeks? A monthlong power outage? These are all things that have happened somewhere in this country just in the last year! How about having your gas main, electrical service, or water cut off during a major storm? (My wife and I had to deal with a widespread week-long power outage, in the middle of winter, twice in our lifetimes — once when we were living in one of the most affluent cities in our state!) Finally, a big risk might be unresolved health issues that are under your control.

How to listen to what someone’s body language is telling you:

  • Don’t make the usual mistakes: Take context, clusters, baseline, and biases into consideration.

  • First impressions are often accurate: With a number of traits you can trust your gut. But know which ones.

  • Trust mimicry and emotional expression: But they have to be sustained and consistent.

  • Awful people have tells: Pay attention to notice them. And look for narcissists in flashy clothing.

Dr. Sherman House on becoming a “civilian defender”.

… here is what I feel should constitute the undergraduate education of the civilian defender:

  1. Criminology/Street Smarts/Physical Preparedness

  2. Defensive Driving

  3. Emergency Medical

  4. Legal Preparation, Aftermath and Rules of Engagement

  5. Less Lethal skills

  6. Handgun Carry Course

  7. Handgun Skills and Tactics Course

  8. Defensive Tactics

Note: Dressing up like Batman is NOT listed there.

The Car Gun In Context.

Car guns and trunk guns are on my mind again. I’ve changed cars, and I no longer drive a dull grey Honda Civic, I’m driving something a bit more… lively now. Because I drive a nicer car, I’m a bigger target, but because the car has a stick shift, I might be a smaller target. I like having at gun (or two) in my car because it gives me options. The concern, however, with doing such is that crooks can break in and steal it, or that your gun will get stolen along with your car.

I can dig it.

I’ve had my car broken into, and I’ve had another car stolen. When my car was broken into, it was because there were items in plain view that the crooks wanted (one time, they mistook my Bible in its cover for a purse. I hope they took some time to read the “Thou Shalt Nots”…). It took me a while, but I realized what the crooks were looking for was not my car (there were plenty of better cars around), it was the things inside my car they were looking for. Since then, I’ve been pretty scrupulous about making it look like there is nothing of value inside my car, and I make sure I don’t have anything on the outside (like an NRA sticker) that says there might be something inside the car a crook might want.

To me, having the means to keep the fight off my front porch, no matter where I might be, is worth the risk of carrying around a trunk gun. I’m more likely to need my fire extinguisher or jumper cables than I am my trunk gun, but there really isn’t a substitute out there for a long gun if you need one in a hurry.

Update: Driving to work yesterday, and what do I see but the local fire department putting out a car-be-cue on the side of the Interstate. Poor dude coulda saved his nice Lexus SUV had he one of these in the cargo compartment.

No, They Are NOT Looking At You.

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… so I took out the tacticool tourniquet pack out for a spin a few days ago, concealing it under an un-tucked grey t-shirt. I went to Staples, the public library and I did the Wal-Mart walk.

Nothing happened. No one stared, no one pointed, no one asked me if that was an iPhone 6+ or was I just happy to see them. That tells me it’s ok to start adding that into my daily concealed carry.

Cool.

A Useful Concealed Carry Trauma Kit.

I have been struggling mightily to come up with a way to carry a trauma kit (or a reasonable facsimile thereof) on a day in, day out basis. I have my one in my car, one if I’m not in my car, and one at work., which all very well and good, but the fact remains that all those kits are NEAR me, not WITH me. That distance can make a difference in how quickly and effectively I can render aid to someone when their life is on the line, especially if that someone is me. What I needed was a concealed carry trauma kit that had enough gear to be useful but was small enough to fit in with my other carry gear.

We use the phrase “When seconds count, the police are just minutes away” quite a lot in the concealed carry community, but somehow, we don’t stop and think that paramedics are also minutes away (and usually arrive after the police do). We wouldn’t consider ourselves ready for a gunfight if our gun was in the car, why then would we consider ourselves to be ready to deal with the effects of a gunfight if our trauma kit is in the car?

I’ve tried to carry a Cleer EDC Kit, and while it’s terrific, it still is just a little too big to conceal under an untucked t-shirt, and the Patrol Officer’s “Pocket Trauma Kit” is not made for civilian pockets.

However, whilst perusing the aisles of my local Big Blue Box Store, I spotted a “Quick Seal” wound care kit that looked tiny enough to carry every day.

And it is.
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As you can see in the photo, I ditched everything in the store-bought kit except two small containers of Celox, two gauze pads and an antiseptic pad. I teamed those items up with nitrile gloves and a SWAT-T tourniquet, and stuffed everything into a MOLLE-compatible iPhone 6+ case, and it works quite well. I think I’ll add a short strip of peel away duct tape to help keep things in-place if needed, but other than that, I’m happy with how this kit is set up.

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Concealable trauma kitThat’s my extra mag for my Shield on the right, in its belt pouch for a size comparison. Crunching down everything this small did involve some trade-offs. There’s not a lot of blood-clotting agent and bandages in this kit, and the SWAT-T tourniquet isn’t perhaps the best solution out there, but it beats jetting out arterial blood at 60 beats a minute. Also, because the tourniquet is essentially just a big rubber band, it folds flat. This means that when teamed up with the soft nylon iPhone case, it wraps around my waist when I carry it, rather than remaining stiff and inflexible and noticeable. This is important because when it comes to concealed carry, thinness is the most important attribute a gadget can have. As you can see in the photo, while the kit is not 100% invisible under an untucked t-shirt, it’s unnoticeable from the front or side, what you can see from the rear looks like the cell phone case it really is, and not like a concealed carry trauma kit.

Would I carry this kit if I were headed out to Khandahar tomorrow? No, I’d carry an IFAK, and probably more than one. Will this new kit help save lives more than not having it on me will? Yes, and that’s reason enough for me to carry it every day.

We Also Walk Dogs.

What if retail gun stores stopped being about guns and started being about lifestyle? What would they look like? They’d sell guns, and DIY home alarm kits. They’d have a range, and a dojo and a service that (for a small fee) will walk through a customer’s home and make recommendations on home security. They’d sell first aid kits and car emergency kits and flashlights and have classes on pistol shooting, prepping on a budget, preventing credit card fraud and how to stay safe on vacation.

They’d cover all the bases, not just the gun base. Gun Culture 1.0 stores sell camo clothing and tents and decoys and barbecues and other items only tangentially related to pulling the trigger. Why should a Gun Culture 2.0 store be just about guns?

* And this time, it’s a science fiction reference in the title, not a music reference.

Crowdsource Your Security

cell411

Cell 411 is an app and a micro social network which allows users to quickly contact each other or groups of friends and family members in case of emergencies. The app is designed to work quickly, provide instant GPS coordinates to your entire group to the current location, offer turn-by-turn directions to the location and even stream live video

Ok, I’m interested. This app assumes a) you have friends you CAN help and b) there will be cell phone / data coverage available when you need it. That last one is a biggie: Can you imagine how crushed the mobile networks would be if the participants in a Ferguson-level riot were using Cell 411 to stream video of their looting open-source wealth redistribution and the innocent business owners greedy capitalists were using the same app to frantically call for help from their well-armed friends?

I like the idea, though. The more we can do to move the burdens that government has assumed for itself onto our shoulders, the better.

Power to the people, y’all.

Product Review: Coast HP1 Flashlight.

Coast HP1Advantages: Small, Very Bright, Inexpensive
Disadvantages: A Little Thick For a AA Light
Rating: Five Stars Out Of Five

Seriously, this thing costs less than ten dollars? It outshines everything I own except my dedicated weapon lights, yet it takes one AA battery. It’s small, it’s lightweight, it’s got a simple on/off interface, it focuses to throw a beam for at least 100 yards and also spreads out to bath a large area with light. If I have one complaint, it’s that the focusing lens makes it a little wider than other lights, which means it takes up more space in my pocket, however, it’s great to toss into a gear bag or take along on a hike.

And did I mention it was bright? Here’s a white garage door, illuminated by the flashlight on an iPhone 6+. The photos were taken as there were before, with a Nikon D70, f5.6, 1 second at ISO 400, or about 1/1000 the light that’s out there during the daylight hours.

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The same door, lit up with the Coast HP1 on focused spot mode.

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Bazinga!

For ten bucks and a AA battery, you can’t go wrong with this light. Sure, there may be brighter lights out there and lights that are designed to fly to the moons of Pluto and back which cost more, but if this light craps out on me, it’s a sawbuck to get a new one.

That, to me, is the very definition of a good value.