We have students from all walks of life come through our defensive shooting courses. We see some interesting trends, particularly in our Level 1 classes. It is not unusual to see students that have never shot at life-like targets to shoot the weapons on the paper targets.
We teach early on that our eyes lead the way and the gun follows. We must identify the threat then we can point our gun. Once we identify the threat, our focus should go to our front sight as we were taught. Realistically, we know it may be impossible to not focus on the threat. We know that both of our eyes must be open to minimize tunnel vision. However, if you cannot help but focus on the threat, move your eyes to the vital zones. Determine where to send your rounds: center mass, head, pelvis then make the bad guy stop doing bad things. If you’ve taken our classes, you know we go over round placement in detail. As a responsible gun owner, this is how you must practice.
Target identification and discrimination is not just about identifying a threat, it is about identifying what vitals are available to you and ensuring items such as body armor are not in you way. We teach pelvis shots in our higher level classes for this very reason. It can be devastating but at a minimum it knocks the bad guy to the ground and gives you, the good guy, a distinct advantage.
Practice and reps are what we need to be proficient and automatic in our shot placement. Use realistic targets rather than bullseyes or blank paper.
Practicing with targets that you can change the weapon easily from a gun to knife to a cup of coffee is very useful. If you have a training buddy, turn your back to the target and have them change the item in the targets hand. When clear, turn and face the target and determine if a shots are required. To be clear: If threat is holding a cup of coffee, he doesn’t need holes in him. If threat has a knife and you’re 25 yards away he doesn’t need holes either. At least yet. Ensure your shots are going in the vitals. Think of it this way: if you were in a hand to hand fight, you wouldn’t punch your opponent in the hand, right? Along those lines, if you’re in a gunfight you’re not going to shoot the bad guy in the gun.
When you play the “what if” game either by yourself or with another like minded individual, remember that visualization is as important as proper practice. The more scenarios you play out, the better you will be prepared if things get pear shaped. Keep training!
Given the events of this past weekend, I changed my morning routine today while getting dressed. Those of you that know and train with me know I live what we teach at Cajun Arms. I arm myself as I get dressed and either dress around my gear or adjust my gear if I need to dress a certain way.
Today, I put on my outside the waistband holster. I draw and present my pistol much faster from the outside than from my inside the waistband holster. I purposely chose my Glock 19 today vs. my lower round count Glock 43. I put on two mag pouches today instead of my usual one or none. My flashlight went in my pocket as well. Sometimes I get sloppy and do not carry it. I was ready for whatever the day may bring with my light, my G19 and 46 rounds of HST on board. Lastly, I double-checked my blow out kits in my vehicles.
The bombings, attempted bombings as well as the stabbings in MN made me realize I have been a bit lax lately. You and I are accountable for our own protection and the protection of those we love. You must be ready for the fight if it comes your way. The days of me saying, “Every day is a good day to be a witness, we don’t live in Israel” may be ending. We can no longer ignore an abandoned backpack or briefcase in a public place. We can longer presume that the character acting strangely does not have a knife and would never use it.
This brings me to training. We have been fortunate to have hundreds of students successfully complete Defensive Carry 1. The class is a great start to learn the foundation of defensive pistol. Carry 1 prepares you for the use of your sidearm in a “controlled” defensive situation, such as things that go bump in the night. The class does not prepare you for complex tactical thought processes for an active shooter or self defense in public areas or social settings (nor is it designed to). Only about 30% of our students go on to take additional classes. You need a higher level of training and continued practice with your skills. For your own continuing education in self-protection consider attending our Defensive Carry levels 2 or 3. Level 1 is a prerequisite but you can take 2 or 3 in order or out of sequence. Our level 4 course rounds out the series. Your gun ownership is a huge responsibility. Our training is available to ensure you can successfully deal with the task.
In our classes, we preach to scan, then identify a threat. Then, and only then, does our gun follow. Remember the Universal Gun Safety Rule, “Never point your muzzle at anything you do not wish to kill, destroy, or buy.” Our eyes find the target, our mind assess the threat, then our muscles punch out with the gun if required.
The speed in which you look and scan should alway far outdistance the speed that you move your gun. When a threat is identified, your gun will drive out to the target, align your sights with your eyes, then press the trigger. DO NOT lead with your gun!
During reloads, it should become second nature to keep your eyes up and focused on threat or where you anticipate a threat appearing. This is why we practice mag changes (both fighting and tactical) until we can do it in the dark or with our eyes closed. You do practice your mag changes dry, right? It is imperative to keep your gun in your “workspace” close to position 3.
When shooting, we teach new and beginning shooters to focus on the front sight. This is important in order to learn form and accuracy. If you are training to become a defensive or reactionary shooter rather than a target shooter, your focus will shift to the threat as your skills progress. Let’s face it, you may not have a say on where you focus during a life or death fight. You may not be able to help but focus on the threat. We are not point shooting, we are looking through our sights to our target and producing a quick flash sight picture to confirm we are on target. (This is how you must focus when using a red dot optic) When practicing, focus on the intended point of impact, not the threat’s hands or weapon! Without practice and discipline, a newer shooter will find himself shooting at the threat’s hand or weapon because that is where their focus is aimed. Go to the range and practice on a good target. Try different area of focus. See where you shoot best! Upgrade your sights too. Makes sure your front sight pops!
Our eyes need be up and on threat during the draw. We teach a four step draw for this reason. We are under control the entire process and just because we are mid-draw does not mean we must shoot. If the threat suddenly complies, we can keep our gun on him but choose not to press the trigger. No “flyfishing” or “digging” during the draw! Position 3 of the draw is truly the most important part of the presentation. I’m sure some of my students will never forget the reps they were required to do until they truly “got it”. Position 3 or Compressed Ready is where we join hands to present a two handed pistol grip. Remember to drive the gun straight to your line of sight from the chest!
Lead with your eyes and place as many shots on threat as needed to neutralize it. Look at threat, look at your sights, but look at nothing else until there are no more threats! Including you magazine and mag changes! Keep your muzzle in a safe direction and your finger off the trigger until your eyes have confirmed there is a threat that requires engagement. When one threat is down, keep your head on a swivel and look for more threats! There is no rush to re-holster after the all clear…
Many of today's bearded tactical sensations believe they invented appendix carry (AIWB). It's funny because it's been around for years. Back in the day it was called Mexican Carry when done without a holster. Folks that lived near the Mexican border that traveled back and forth over the border did it as to not call attention to themselves. Back then, being caught with a handgun didn't necessarily land you in a Mexican prison as it does today.
Just in case you weren't sure, appendix carry is a means of carrying a holstered pistol, inside the waistband, strong side, forward of your hip, but not centered. Find the spot that works for your build from approximately 12:30 to 2:30 if you're right handed.
Appendix Carry is NOT for everyone and many consider it dangerous, particularly for new gun owners. In this brief summary we will weight the pros against the cons and you can decide what is right for you.
AIWB is first and foremost very FAST on the draw.
It conceals great on just about everyone. Typically a Tee shirt is all that is needed as a cover garment. Human nature is such that we do not typically stare at each other's privates. As a result, a gun hidden near your crotch will never be as noticeable as one on your hip. If you don't believe me, the next time you meet someone new, stare at their jimmy or hoo ha and see how that goes.
AIWB aids in the retention of your gun. It is close to your center where your core strength lies and would be extremely difficult for someone to snatch it from you. You also will not bump into door jambs and such as you may with hip carry.
AIWB can be very comfortable, particularly if your belly isn't too big, your chest is bigger than your waist, and you have a longish torso. Many women find it very comfortable too and find it conceals better than other conventional belt carry methods.
Once you have a gun with a muzzle that is not too long, find that "sweet spot" position to carry it, and adjust the cant properly, Appendix carry is very comfortable for both sitting and standing. You can actually reach it while seated unlike a kidney carry. While seated in vehicle you can also reach it (however we maintain that your carry gun be secured in your vehicle within easy reach instead).
The gun size limit for AIWB is about a Glock 19. I carry my G19 with an RMR often in a Crossbreed appendix holster. In the summer, I carry my Glock 43 in a Blackhawk ARC holster when wearing shorts.
The drawbacks have vehement detractors. The big one is that when holstered, your gun is pointing at Jimmy or your hoo ha OR your femoral artery. Remember though, your gun is holstered in an appropriate holster. Keep your finger off the bang stick and it is not dangerous. My biggest concern is re-holstering during training. Let's face it. If you need your gun in a life threatening situation, re-holstering is not a major concern. There's no rush to put it back. However, during training and doing reps from concealment is where you may get sloppy. DON'T! On re-holster, bend your knees, lean back a bit and thrust your pelvis out. This way you will not muzzle yourself during the re-holster. There is no rush!
We teach students at all levels of proficiency. We meet folks that at first do not want to carry with a round in the chamber. Good instruction and practice gets those folks comfortable to see that carrying with a round in the chamber makes good tactical sense. In a similar fashion, many folks new to concealed carry wouldn't be comfortable carrying AIWB at first. That makes sense. We encourage most new students to carry outside the waistband around 3:00 until they become proficient with their draw. It is simply safer while training and learning the draw - particular during the re-holster process. We do not permit AIWB during most of our group classes simply for safety's sake because of the need to re-holster hundreds of times during class!
AIWB, is it for you? As always, contact us with any questions or comments!
We have many unanswered questions and much more information to absorb. The fact is, this event has been predicted to come for some time now. The killer used an AR15 bought through legal means and used it in a gun free (hunting grounds) zone. This psychopath did it in the name of ISIS. He was home grown and not imported in to this country.
Our hearts go out to the family and friends of the victims. The suffering and pain of an incident such as this is immeasurable. The tragedy leaves one asking, "why?"
Dear God have mercy on us.
As one would predict, the talking heads on the news, as well as our current President and Democratic presumptive nominee have called for gun bans. As we know, this will only affect law-abiding citizens and do nothing to keep guns out of bad-guys hands. The President as well as Clinton still refuse to call this what it is, Radical Islamic Terrorism. In this crazy age of political correctness can we get back to calling a spade a spade? These Islamic extremists want to wage a holy war against the West and Christianity. WAKE UP! We are in it - even if we pretend we are not!
Gun control is a 10-80-10 issue. 10 percent are pro-gun hard liners that will never budge an inch from the law in its current form. 10 percent are anti-gun extremists that won't change their minds and probably not ours. 80 percent are folks in the middle. Maybe this time, some of the 80 percent will actually notice the crazy zealous anti-gunners ignoring the elephant in the room and realize that we as Americans have the right to defend ourselves.
Did the strict gun laws in France and India prevent similar atrocities? A group as rich and powerful as ISIS can get guns anywhere they want. They don't even need guns. Box cutters did a hell of a job on 9/11.
Pray and mourn for the innocent dead. Let us also wake up and realize that force and violence needs to be met with force and resolve, not empty rhetoric. As always, we welcome your input.
Last minute thought...
An idea set forth about gun control by out president is that if you are under investigation by the FBI, you should not be allowed to purchase a gun. Fine. How about if you are under investigation by the FBI you can't run for president?!?!
AND - watch the wife...
In a self defense scenario, your flashlight is as important as your choice of firearm. I find it alarming that so few people are trained in its use. Granted, it's difficult to find low light and darkness training offered. We teach it from time to time, both live fire and with laser training guns. We are currently working with our "home" gun club to allow to us teach low light training on a regular basis.
Criminals prefer darkness to hide their evil intent. More police are killed in the hours of darkness than during the day, yet few cops are trained in proper light deployment. Your average defensive hand gunner receives even less training in low light conditions. Consider how often you are in a dimly lit setting, whether it be in your home, out for the evening, etc. — the need for training becomes apparent. See our blog posts from December 2014 for more information.
For many, low light shooting training is inconvenient. Training is difficult to find (we offer it). It's a late class depending on the time of the year. It involves extra safety preparation to hold the class as well as to attend. Many ranges are afraid of offending the neighbors with shooting after dark. The excuses go on but the need remains. If you do not have a tactical flashlight and know how to use it, or have a weapon mounted light and are not familiar with its operation, you are not prepared to defend yourself. It's that simple.
If you keep a gun with the intent of self defense, you need to be prepared to use light with your gun. The primary reason is to identify a threat. A secondary reason would be to disrupt the bad guy's vision. Before you press your trigger in self-defense you damn well better be sure that the person at the end of your muzzle is actually a deadly threat. Shining light on a possible threat will also show you if that's a gun in his hand or a cell phone. Without good visual cues, how can one make a high stress split-second decision to shoot or don't shoot?
OK. Great. You have a light. Owning it and deploying it are very different things. For instance, shine your light on the threats face rather than his torso. You will still see his hands and what he doing with the added benefit of blinding him.
During a recent night class, I demonstrated this to the students by standing about 50 feet from them. I had them spot my face with a light and they were able to identify with 100% certainty what was in my hand. I held either a knife, keys, gun. Cell phone, etc. I was blinded each time the light was shone on my face for at least 2 seconds. This then gave the students time to move off the "X" and determine what their next course of action would be.
I saw skepticism in some of the students regarding the power of their lights. So we ran a drill.
Safely, with a range safety officer spotting us, I had the students step up to the 5 yard line. I shined my 600 lumen light directly in their faces, had them draw and fire at their target once. A few students hit their target but most did not. This drill drove home the added benefit of blinding a threat.
At home, without ammo, you can practice techniques once they are learned. If it's not part of your training, it needs to be! As important as it is to run your gun while moving and practicing technique on a nice sunny day at the 4 square range, it's even more important to dedicate time running your gun with a light in the dark. Your end goal is to have the confidence to know that that threats hidden in the dark should fear YOU!
Marketing on the internet and staying active on social media is a big part of how we communicate and gain public awareness at Cajun Arms. We have a nice Facebook page that we keep current, LinkedIn page, we tweet, and use Instagram among other resources. We’ve been noticing a fair amount of pushback from some of these sources because we sell firearms and teach their use.
Facebook for instance has a newer policy about guns that we comply with. We do not let anyone under the age of 18 on our page. However, we noticed that we’ve mysteriously lost a couple of hundred followers on the page. Facebook said it was due to their new policy. As weeks passed we crept up to about 1,700 followers and it happened again. No response this time from FB. So now we notice that every time we approach 1600 followers we mysteriously drop back to about 1,500. We also were informed that every pages like ours have been removed. WTH??? Apparently FB doesn’t think the second amendment and lawful firearms ownership and discussion is appropriate but all the crap you see on FB is OK? Really?
Then we have google. We have a Google+ page and everything that goes with it. We received an offer to try google Adwords at a discount and decided to give it a try. We were restricted in the words we could use. Guns, pistols, AR15 etc couldn’t be used due their policies. OK, fine. So we used firearms and firearm instruction etc as our words. It was great for about a week. We were getting double our usual hits on our website, google+ page and FB page. Then suddenly it stopped. Google said it didn’t fit their policies and decided to stop running the ad campaign.
Censorship? We think so.An op-ed piece in Forbes Magazine written by Frank Mitner states, “Ironically, Google’s own policy for ‘Freedom of Expression’ says, ‘We’ve pressed governments to make combatting Internet censorship a top priority in human rights and economic agendas.’ Unfortunately for us, Google doesn’t think that the Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights is acceptable in the US”
What really bother us is thinking about how this relates to our LEGAL ownership and use of firearms. The First Amendment is supposed to protect our right to free speech. Non-government businesses are being controlled by gun-control advocates and THEY are mandating policy as what is acceptable use of the internet. The anti-gun group sees our growing dependence on these mediums and would appear to ramping up their efforts to restrict discussion, sale or use of guns in the name of “public safety.” If we continue to ignore this trend, blogs such as this, internet forums, and online gun shopping may come to end. What are we going to do about it?
Start here, “like”, join or follow us on the following sites:
If you train to simply point your sidearm in the general direction of threat, fire and walk your shots in, you are training incorrectly. Point shooting is an advanced technique that requires practice and the ability to shoot defensively using your sights first. “Front sight focus” is not repeated by our instructors thousands of time because we like how it sounds! It is a technique that needs to be mastered before ANY advanced techniques can be learned and made part of our muscle memory.
The misconception of point shooting:
If however, you bring your pistol up in to your line of sight and superimpose the back of the slide or the outline of the gun over your intended target, you are not point shooting. You are using a form of aimed fire. As an instructor, I would prefer you see your front sight, however you are on the right track. At least you are aiming, whether you knew it or not!
Do not confuse point shooting with contact shooting. Contact shooting is done in extreme close quarters where removing your gun from its holster and putting the muzzle inches away from the threat’s torso - that is all the aiming required. This technique requires training and thought as well. Malfunctions and problems arise at this distance that may not have crossed your mind. If you have any doubts, come train with us and you’l experience it first hand!
Threat Focused techniques have merit. Typically most folks after experiencing a deadly violent attack requiring shooting the bad guy can’t remember if they used the sights or not. Human nature is such that it is likely your focus will be on the threat. Be that as it may, if both your eyes are not open you may not see innocents in the vicinity. Remember, you are accountable for every bullet that leaves your muzzle. Shooting an innocent is not part of the equation. “Every bullet has a lawyer riding on it” also comes in to play here. However, I would not make this style of shooting part of my training repertoire.
Index shooting requires the shooter to use a specific presentation to hit targets without using your sights. It is not recommended that you train in such activity that can only work from a specific distance or stance.
If you are having trouble seeing your sights and focusing on the front sight, practice dry fire at home! Practice at varying distance and amount of ambient light. Practice using your flashlight whether it be hand held or weapon mounted.
While we don’t often relate to or emulate competition shooters in our defensive shooting world, one trait the best shooters in the world share is using their sights!
True point shooting is an extremely advanced technique. Above average hand-eye coordination is required and an intimate relationship with the firearm. A simplified example is to look at an object with your hands by your side. Quickly raise your dominate finger up and superimpose it on the object you were looking at. That’s point shooting. Point shooting is unaimed fire.
If someone were watching me shoot, they may think I’m point shooting when I’m going fast. I’m just actually aiming very quickly. Flash sight picture, front sight focus. It is “coarse” aiming. Not fine aiming. As we say in class, we really don’t care about tiny 10 rings! A fist sized group is more than tight enough at 7 yards. The front sight doesn’t have to be in sharp focus, or even perfect focus. Practice tells us what is more than sufficient.
Try different sights. Different colors too. Find out what works best for you!
I’ve been running a red dot on my Glock 19. That requires a different skill set that needs consideration. The dot comes quickly into view if you have the threat in focus and superimpose the gun on the threat (a form of point shooting, sort of). BUT REMEMBER, you need both of your eyes open. You need your peripheral vision. Another technique to pick up your dot quickly is to pick up your tall sights very quickly then look through the glass on the red dot. Amazingly, the dot will be there every time.
Get out there and shoot, practice, and train!
A bad guy’s actions can take thousands of different paths. There is no map that says if this happens you have to do this, or if this scenario occurs that you respond with this variant. Most violent confrontations are not black and white. Training in a classroom does not teach you these variables. The only benefit to that type of training is that at least you are thinking about different strategies. Bad guys do not announce their intentions and are very clever at hiding their intentions until the last second. That will be all the time you will have to make a life or death decision. You can talk all day about condition yellow, or red, or whatever, but unless you’ve programmed yourself to quick reaction, you can be seriously injured or killed while trying to figure it out.
If a stranger approaches you with his hand in his pocket and says, “Your money or your life” - a reasonable person would hand over the money. Consider that you’ve been caught by surprise and you didn’t see this coming. There is no way you can get to your gun if what is in his pocket is a gun. He’s given you a choice and I would choose to live. Presuming he doesn’t shoot you, by complying you’ve actually saved yourself a ton of money and heartache.
You didn’t have shoot and kill him. You’re not arrested, or on the evening news. You still have your job, your friends, your own life. You’re not paying for psychological counseling. All of the aforementioned things can become your reality after a fatal defensive shooting.
Another unbelievable thing can happen after a defensive shooting. The bad guy, drug warped, scum of the earth is depicted by the media as a wonderful guy. His family and friends and preacher come out of the woodwork saying how he was getting his life together and was going to spend time with his children. How could someone have killed him? Now you need spend over $75,000 to defend the civil case against you that is being tried in the media.
If you get true indicators during an assault as to the bad guy’s intentions such as being herded into a freezer, forced in to a vehicle, shoved down a dark alley, or to kneel - FIGHT! Fight with your last breath. You are about to be killed.
The problem is the gray ares when the threat is not specific such as an aggressive panhandler. Is he just being persistent or is he going to rob you? If you don’t stand firm, he may just try to rob you even if that wasn’t his original intention because you seem to be an easy mark.
In a situation like the previous one, you should act rude, firm, abrupt, and short. A bad guy is counting on your resistance to such behavior to get inside your defensive zone and attack you. Bad guys use societal rules against us.
If a threatening person approaches you, ignore him. Move away without running. Move to a safer more crowed spot. Now the threat has to make a decision to pursue you. In most cases he will not. If he does, hopefully there are people around that can make it harder for the threat. At a minimum, you’re in a better place to deal with the situation at hand.
Avoidance is not being a coward. It is being smart. Avoiding a confrontation requires thought. Stopping one before it starts takes effort and skill. Firearms training and tactics are important for your self-defense plan. Keep in mind that some time should be spent in your planning to learn how to be rude and ignore people while keeping aware of their presence and intent.
Jim Benoit's thoughts on guns, gear, & training
CAJUN ARMS & TUSCARORA TACTICAL TRAINING
WEST CHESTER, THOMPSONTOWN, PA