The Special Application .22LR for Home Defense, Part 1: Weigh the Evidence and Make a Decision

I’m a fairly pragmatic person. I’m an engineer by schooling and like to base my decisions on statistics, facts, research, personal experience, and sometimes a sprinkling of intuition. I’m no different when it comes to the self defense game. I’m going to write an ongoing series of posts about my decision to outfit a Ruger 10/22 for my wife for home defense. I’ll try to make my case about choosing this rifle by noting some case studies on actual defensive gun uses, terminal ballistics, ease of training with the rifle, advantages of the .22LR for a muzzle-blast sensitive shooter, financial reasons to choose .22LR, methodology for training my wife and family in it’s use, and I will document the ongoing process of developing a training program around this rifle.

The Mission: Find and outfit a firearm for my wife which is reliable, chambered in an empirically effective caliber, will allow her to pass basic shooting standards, with which she can build competence and confidence to protect our family.

IMG_4772

Why not a ‘real’ caliber like 5.56mm, 12 gauge, or a 9mm pistol?

Don’t get me wrong. My wife can shoot her Glock19 very well. She has taken a two day, 1000+ round Fighting Pistol class with Tactical Response, and plenty of follow up practice sessions, including a few with Claude Werner (The Tactical Professor). She shoots it well, but I think she would be the first to admit that shooting the 9mm isn’t a totally pleasant experience for her. I realize some of you are married to women who shoot .357mag in an airlite Smith for 150 rounds in a day and laugh about it. Well my wife can’t. In fact, in my experience, not many people can stand up to extended range sessions in any full-house caliber. She is good for maybe 25-50 rounds of practice before her flinch and trigger jerking starts to get the better of her. Many people, and women in particular, seem to be very sensitive to the over-pressure concussion of gun shots. My wife is noticeably rattled after a short time in an indoor range. So what? So, she doesn’t want to practice, doesn’t want to go to the range, and doesn’t want to maintain what is absolutely a perishable skill. These are all bad things, especially with the chance that she’ll have to make a shot on the home invader while I’m actively fighting them. The need to make a ‘downrange friendly’ shot is a very real possibility. It is a more likely shot for average Joe Gunowner than the ‘hostage shot’ we see in all of the paper targets and cop movies.



Example: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1368677/Beauty-queen-Meghan-Brown-kills-burglar-pink-gun-fights-fianc.html

The fight between the two men broke the dining room table and chairs but, as they tussled, Miss Brown produced her pink gun from her bedside table.

‘I had my gun drawn, focused in on him – as he moved, my gun moved. I waited for my shot and when I saw an opening, I fired,’ she told the newspaper.

I’ll admit that it’s a little selfish of me, but I want to give my wife every chance to make her shot if this situation arises. To do this, she needs to enjoy practice and be able to make these kinds of low probability shots cold and on demand. I decided that a Ruger 10/22 rifle could be a good choice based on the advice of my friends and mentors. Let’s talk further about why.

Can the .22LR be effective against human targets?

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WDvdjdzB_ro?rel=0]

About four years ago I started getting turned on to the idea of .22lr as a pocket gun caliber when The Tactical Professor was writing his Old Man Gun series of posts on a popular self-defense forum, followed by my watching some ballistics gelatin tests of varied .22lr ammo at the Mid-Atlantic Tactical Conference in 2010. Then I read Greg Ellifritz’s An Alternate Look at Handgun Stopping Power research article. Here’s an excerpt from this data collection:

.22 (short, long and long rifle)# of people shot – 154 # of hits – 213, % of hits that were fatal – 34%, Average number of rounds until incapacitation – 1.38, % of people who were not incapacitated – 31%, One-shot-stop % – 31%, Accuracy (head and torso hits) – 76% %, actually incapacitated by one shot (torso or head hit) – 60%

He goes on to say:

Some people will look at this data and say “He’s telling us all to carry .22s”. That’s not true. Although this study showed that the percentages of people stopped with one shot are similar between almost all handgun cartridges, there’s more to the story. Take a look at two numbers: the percentage of people who did not stop (no matter how many rounds were fired into them) and the one-shot-stop percentage. The lower caliber rounds (.22, .25, .32) had a failure rate that was roughly double that of the higher caliber rounds. The one-shot-stop percentage (where I considered all hits, anywhere on the body) trended generally higher as the round gets more powerful.

So, we have to try to consider all aspects of Greg’s data. We can see that we have an approximate need for 1.4 rounds of .22LR before the attacker stops pressing the attack and a 34% chance of a fatality resulting from quality shot placement. The Ruger 10/22 factory 25 round magazines hold more than 1.4 rounds, so we’re looking good so far. Rifles, in general, are easier to shoot, hold more ammunition, and allow a greater degree of accuracy due to four points of contact with the body, instead of two with the pistol.

With some training, we can improve our chances to make quality hits and affect the desired outcome (for the invader to leave us alone). We have to also be fair and acknowledge the fact that there is a higher probability of non-stops when using small calibers in defensive situations. Their lack of intermediate barrier penetration, their small permanent wound cavity, reliability issues, and all of the other issues with small and light projectiles need to be considered. I personally believe the statistic about failed stops is a shot placement issue and therefor can be trained to be improved (high center chest, ocular cavity hits being key). I don’t have any proof of this, so take that for what it’s worth. Our training needs to address putting a volley of rounds into these areas in a constrained time-frame, which we will talk about soon.

Another issue might be the dedication level of the attackers. Against an opportunistic bad guy, it’s very probable that shooting won’t even be necessary (it often isn’t), just showing the intent and ability to use deadly force will make him remember he has somewhere better to be. Against a home invader, however, it’s possible that you’ll be facing a dedicated attacker who is after you. This is the sort of bad guy that you will have to shoot until you incapacitate them. You will have to make enough holes in the pump works or computer to shut down the attack. The .22LR can help you to this end by allowing rapid followup shots through minimal recoil, high capacity, and minimal muzzle flash. It can be a poor choice based on it’s lack of muzzle energy and occasional poor ignition.

While Greg’s stats are a compilation of actual events (a whole lot of them, in fact) it’s still useful to read a few examples to illustrate some points. Let’s run through a few.

First: http://www.wsbradio.com/news/news/local/gwinnett-home-invasion-suspect-named/nCf3b/

“She was telling him not to hurt her, that she had money in the house.  He then forced her into the bedroom where it’s believed he was going to sexually assault her with the threat of the knife.  The victim was able to retrieve her .22 cal. pistol and responded to his deadly threat with deadly force and shot the suspect multiple times,” said Ritter.

Ritter says the man fled out the back door and then he collapsed in the backyard.  The suspect died at Gwinnett Medical Center.

The notable issue here was the percentage of hits she achieved. As I recall it was 8/9 or 9/10 shots that found their mark. A very good hit ratio. She had done her practice. He was dead as she shot him, but he didn’t realize it until he made it out into the yard. The .22LR has several great benefits that allow one to become proficient, which we will talk about in a later installment.

Second: http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/crime-courts/2014-08-02/boy-15-shoots-uncle-fathers-defense-police-say

According to the release, Newman came to the home, threatened to kill Rich­ard Green and began punching him. After Newman placed him in a chokehold, Green’s 15-year-old son got a .22-caliber rifle and threatened to shoot if he didn’t release the hold, the statement said.

When Newman didn’t let go, Green’s son fired once, striking Newman in the back, the statement said.

I chose this situation to show that a young man (or even child with proper training) can wield a .22 and make a low probability shot with a friendly downrange. Stories like this made me consider long-guns over pistols.

Third: http://www.wfmj.com/story/21823428/72-year-old-woman-shoots-at-intruder

hen she heard the glass break. The 72-year-old told police that’s when she rushed to her bedroom to retrieve her revolver, and began yelling, “leave me alone” and “get out of here!”

The homeowner says she feared for her life and pulled the trigger, but the gun misfired. The woman says she then pulled the trigger of the gun a second time and a shot was fired.

That’s when she called 911, and held the intruder at gunpoint.

She can be heard on the 911 tape telling the 26-year-old male suspect, “You better sit down! You better sit.” Then she asks 911 operators if they can hurry and get a police officer to help her.

This one shows that an old woman can wield a .22 revolver and hold down the fort. It also shows the well known fact that rimfire ammo is prone to misfires. Which just stresses the importance of using high quality ammunition to ensure ignition when it matters. Here’s a cool interview Greg Ellifritz had with an older fellow about his use of the .22 revolvers for defense.

The .22LR and ease of practice and training

Even though finding .22LR in stock in today’s market is like finding hen’s teeth, it still is an affordable caliber when you can find it. It can be had in very reliable loads. While these loadings are more expensive than the 550 round bricks, they are not prohibitively expensive. A reliable .22LR rifle will not break the bank. A new Ruger 10/22, for example, can be had for about $200. Add to this the required white light and mount, and possibly a red dot optic, and you’re into a budget home defense rifle for $300-$400. This allows inexpensive practice on an inexpensive rifle that is enjoyable to shoot, not abusive in recoil or noise, reliable with the right ammunition, light weight, and has proven effective in actual situations.

So hopefully you’re following my train of thought on why the .22LR can be used for home defense. I hope I’ve given enough logical evidence to make my point. The next articles in this series will discuss how I’ve outfitted my wife’s rifle, the training program I’m developing with her, and her ongoing training.

Stay Safe and Protect the Brood,

Defensive Daddy

References and Notes:

I want to thank Dr. Sherman of http://revolverscience.wordpress.com/ and Claude Werner of http://tacticalprofessor.wordpress.com/ for the inspiration to begin this project. Getting this project off the ground has been paying off tremendously in easing my mind when it comes to setting up a firearm for my wife and my mother to use in the event of an emergency if they’re home alone, or in the event that something happens to me during a home invasion and they are the last line of defense between the bad guys and my son.

The .22 Caliber Rifle For Home Defense? (Podcast – Season 2, Ballistic Radio Episode 57 – April 13th, 2014)

An Alternate Look at Handgun Stopping Power

Real World .22s for Self Defense

Trends in Self Defense Part 2: The Mighty .22LR

Part 2: https://growingupguns.wordpress.com/2014/09/16/the-special-application-22lr-for-home-defense-part-2-the-setup/

 

Reader Question: “My Wife works at a school, doesn’t carry a gun, and leaves alone late at night. Ideas?”

One of my readers asked some great questions after reading the Mundane Movements Series (link 1 and link 2). Here is what Daniel M. said:

…I would love to see some insights on movement and defense at schools where guns are not allowed. My wife is a principal in a bad part of town and often works late after everyone else is gone. I assume many of the same ideas apply when headed to your car, carrying a purse, bag, etc. If you had insights on how an individual teacher/admin could defend simply one classroom from some kind of threat that would be cool too. Not a whole school/active shooter scenario, but one teacher, one class kind of thing. Or like out at recess with a class of 25 kids. (I know it’s a lot, but I thoroughly enjoy this and find it so useful!)

 

First, thanks for the questions! I’ll do my best to answer them to the best of my knowledge and try to base it on the information I have regarding the two questions. I’ll break it up into two posts to keep the length manageable. I’ll also stay in my lane, because bad info in these cases can prove fatal. First, I’ll discuss the unarmed ‘late night walk’ scenario for the unarmed person. The general rules don’t change regarding looking at hard corners and other hiding spots, having keys and pepper spray in hand, looking for erratic movements and unwarranted attention, etc. and all the things we talked about in those first two articles. In my mind I’m imagining that she’s exiting her school into a large parking lot with few other cars and few people, a few street lamps, a large perimeter of bushes or trees, and maybe a 200-300 yard walk to her car. If she works in an urban setting or a parking deck, she will have to tailor her plans to account for her situation. I’ll add some additional bullet points to give you and her some things to think about. Even if not all of the bullet points apply to her or if it’s slightly less dangerous than I’m assuming, hopefully there’s something she can learn from this list.

  • Just like in the Mundane Movements article, where she parks in the morning will allow her nightly departure to be much safer. Distance to the exit, street lights, ‘combat parking’, parking near cement or earthen barriers, parking away from tree lines, are all worth considering.
  • Encourage her to leave with others whenever possible. It sounds like you would encourage that if it were possible, but I’d be remiss to not mention it. There is always strength in numbers. My fear would be that someone would start to realize her exit patterns and just lie in wait. Either just outside of the exit door, or near her car.
  • Have her be aware of box vans and large utility vehicles parked near her car.
  • Upon approaching her car, have her make a large arc around her car (30 feet or so) to see the previously unseen before getting so close that someone behind the car could emerge and she would have no time to react.
  • Related to the patterns thing, if she can vary her departure time semi-randomly, that could throw off an ambush directed at her enough for her to foil it.
  • Make sure she has her cell phone charged when she’s leaving. I encourage my wife to carry her Cell Phone Mobile Battery Charger in case she’s caught with no wall outlet and a dead phone.
  • Encourage her to take a quick peek out of whatever windows she has access to before she goes bursting out into the parking lot. If she sees something out of the ordinary, she’s locked inside and has the time to figure out the best course of action.
  • Have a bright flashlight in her off hand while walking to the car (O.C. in the dominant hand). I’ll let you google what is ‘needed’ for a tactical flashlight. But suffice it to say, getting hit with a few hundreds lumens when you think you’re approaching in the dead of night can be a real OODA loop re-set. A flashlight combined with well rehearsed and confident verbalization skills, and a big can of eye-burny-goodness goes a long way to buy time for escape. The flashlight can be used to probe dark corners of buildings, between cars, inside and under her car as she approaches it, the corners of the buildings, and anywhere she wants to illuminate. There are no laws (that I’m aware of or would obey) against shining a really bright flashlight in someone’s eyes if I needed to. Light everything up!
  • When she is leaving, before she walks out into the dark of night and lets the security of the main door close behind her, have her stop in the still opened exit door and spend thirty seconds or so looking at every single piece of landscape she can see from that vantage (don’t forget behind an outward opening door). Having a flashlight with good throw (to light things up at distance) would be very useful here. She could just spend the time with a slow and deliberate sweep of the immediate area. Once she feels comfortable, she can continue to her car. If she doesn’t, she can take a step back inside and make a decision.
  • Encourage her to prop her exit door open with something like a door stop or something, temporarily, while she is on the way to her car. This way, if something happens while she is stranded between her car and the building, she has a place to run. Once she is safely in her vehicle, she can swing back to the building and pick up her doorstop.
  • Footwear. She should bring a comfortable pair of shoes to work and change before she leaves. Suggest that she take a pair of sneakers in which she can run quickly if the need arises. As The Tactical Professor says, “The road to Hell is paved in flip-flops”. I think the same can be extended to high heels or dress shoes. Mobility is life. You need to be able to move quickly.
  • Encourage her to get training in the use of O.C. (Pepper Spray). Good training will include a force on force module where she will be able to verbalize, move, and get used to ‘pressing the trigger’ on inert pepper spray against another human. I can and will make a post about my knowledge about O.C., but a blog can’t replace live training. (Edit: A teacher friend of mine pointed out that carrying any sort of O.C. on a school is strictly forbidden. I will say this. Just because you shouldn’t carry a weapon, doesn’t mean you can’t carry a weapon. I hope that’s clear. You have to make your own choices and weigh the risks and rewards)

That’s all I’ve got regarding unarmed movement late at night. I’d be interested to hear any further suggestions from readers so we can help Daniel out (and folks like him). Interestingly, my wife sometimes has to make similar movements in parking decks at her job. I’ve made similar suggestions to her, and I can only hope she’s heeding the ones that she feels are most applicable. The next post will discuss websites to read, tools, and ideas on how to secure a single classroom in the event of an active shooter (while staying in my lane and not pontificating too much).

Stay Safe and Protect the Brood,

Defensive Daddy.

 

Lessons from Negative Defensive Gun Use Outcomes and How to Train to Avoid Them

“Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.”
Edmund Burke

It appears that we as citizen gun owners have a bit of a flaw when it comes to learning from defensive gun uses. Everyone likes to read a happy outcome to a defensive gun use. We cheer for a righteous shoot and are certain we would and could do the same thing if the situation demanded it. It becomes a sort of confirmation bias, where we believe our fight will look the same, and result in the same positive outcome and everything will but cut and dry. We also tend to pass judgement or ignore all of the negative outcomes of defensive gun uses. Specifically the legal outcomes. We have to learn from others’ mistakes and do our best to keep ourselves out of those situations, or enable us to not fall into the same pitfalls that others have.For instance, I’ve caught myself saying, “How did that guy not know it was his daughter and her boyfriend in the garage?, I would never do that…” Well, friend, unless you figure out what went wrong, there’s no guarantee you won’t make that very same mistake. Then it could be you with your loved one’s blood on your hands, or a life sentence in prison.

In fact, I think the best thing we can spend our time researching is bad defensive gun uses. The FBI documents this very well for police in the LEOKA. I personally credit The Tactical Professor for getting me thinking about the large number of bad citizen DGUs that occur.

Learn where the situations took wrong turns, where the laws were broken, and what the laws are in your area. You will be held to these laws if you ever need to go to court over a shooting. Brainstorm and war-game with these laws in mind. I look for gun usages that end up in a conviction and then go back to read about the situation that developed which put the shooter in the position that allowed them to make a bad decision. I also try to uncover, as best I can, what their mental process was when they decided to bring the gun into play (if provided by the news). I’m going to go through some recent bad shootings and we’ll briefly look at the situations and the outcomes, and then see if we can find trends and how we can train ourselves to not make the same mistakes.

Mission: Learn from Bad Defensive Gun Uses and integrate the lessons into our personal shooting programs and training.

First Example:

From http://www.thestarpress.com/story/news/local/2014/09/04/man-found-guilty-in-intruders-shooting/15084223/

[M]an who shot an intruder outside his Dunkirk home was found guilty of a felony charge Thursday by a Jay County jury.

“I yelled for him to stop and freeze,” McLaughlin said. “He did not. … It was so fast I really didn’t know what was going on.”

“Were you in fear for your life?” defense attorney Jill Gonzalez asked.

“Yes, ma’am,” her client responded. “That’s why I fired. … I know I didn’t do anything wrong.”

The defendant said his gunshots were in response to arm movements that made him believe the fleeing trespasser was preparing to open fire with a gun of his own.

“I thought he was aiming back to shoot at me,” McLaughlin said.

Jay County Prosecutor Wesley Schemenaur maintained McLaughlin had made no such claims in interviews with police.

Schemenaur asked McLaughlin what immediate threat to his family’s safety had been posed by an intruder in a detached garage.

“What’s to say they’ll not try to get into my house next, sir?” the defendant responded.

I don’t pretend to know what was actually going through this man’s head. However, going to investigate a bump in the night in a detached garage was clearly his first error. Shooting without identifying what was in the man’s hands was another mistake. Being untrained and thinking it was OK to shoot at the time might have been another, if that’s indeed the case.

Second Example:

From http://newsok.com/former-pharmacist-jerome-ersland-loses-appeal/article/3854619

Inside the drugstore, Ersland shot Parker in the head, knocking Parker to the floor. Surveillance videos show he then chased after a fleeing Ingram, came back inside the drugstore, got a second gun and shot Parker five more times.

This is an older story, but Ersland made his mistake when he came back into the store after the initial good shoot and delivered the coup de grâce to the already injured Parker. He now is in Prison. Federal pound-me-in-the-ass prison. You must shoot when you need to shoot, and stop shooting when you need to stop.

 

Third Example: http://www.wftv.com/news/news/local/woman-shoots-7-year-old-grandson-after-mistaking-h/ng5Lt/

When she heard the chair sliding against the floor, she assumed it was an intruder and grabbed a loaded .22-caliber revolver she kept by the bed and fired one shot in the dark toward the door.

She assumed it was an intruder, and then proceeded to fire into the dark.

Fourth Example: http://www.kktv.com/home/headlines/Man-Fires-Shots-at-Carjacker-271167041.html

A man popped into a store Wednesday evening–and when he returned to the parking lot, someone was driving away in his car.

The victim fired a few shots at his own vehicle, but the suspect was able to get away.

He fired at his moving car, defending property as it drove away. Don’t go to prison or get charged over a car or a TV set.

Fifth example: http://www.whsv.com/news/headlines/Police-Man-Shot-Daughter-Returning-to-House-270954461.html

During further investigation, police determined that just before the original 911 call, the homeowner was preparing to get ready for work and heard his interior alarm sound indicating the garage door had been opened.

Police said as the homeowner was approaching the interior garage, he heard a bang and sounds coming from inside the garage, grabbed a firearm and approached the garage door. As he opened the door, police say he observed a person coming towards him, raised his gun and shot the person. The homeowner determined that he had just shot his 16-year-old daughter who was attempting the sneak back into the residence after sneaking out earlier that morning without him knowing, according to police.

This poor guy failed to identify targets and had no way to see in low light. I’ll go on a limb and say that this man had previously made up his mind that, ‘if that garage alarm goes off, some scumbag is in my garage, and I’m going to go out there with my gun and…’ He already had brainstormed his solution. He failed to war-game the scenario where it was his teenager sneaking back in after a night out.

Sixth Example: http://www.newswest9.com/story/26253637/howard-county-explains-why-car-theft-shooting-was-not-justified

“When the vehicle was stolen, it was parked at the TA truck stop. It was unlocked, unoccupied, the keys were in the vehicle and it was running. At no point was no force used to take this vehicle,” …Keck told dispatch the car belonged to his mother and he was chasing the thief … [the] vehicle Bricker was driving came to a stop and that’s when Keck shot Bricker in the face and killed him. Officials said the shooting was not justified…The deceased never fired a shot, he was not armed at any time during the incident,” Parker said.

Again we have a pursuit over property, murder, and no weapon in the victim’s possession. Also, like in the other car theft story above, we have keys left in a running car.

Seventh Example: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/08/12/kansas-man-shoots-wife-in-the-head-after-mistaking-her-for-a-burglar/

Authorities said that the man shot his wife in the head because he thought someone was breaking into their house.

Lack of identification of target, possibly related to low light conditions (5:15am).

Eighth Example: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/cop-shot-in-case-of-mistaken-identity/

police shot and critically wounded an off-duty officer as he pointed a gun at a suspect outside a fast food restaurant early Saturday, authorities said.

Coming up to a scene where you have no frame of reference and deciding to shoot the person who has a gun out or is on top of someone else and punching them is a terrible idea. If you don’t know the whole story, don’t ride in on your white horse with guns blazing. It’s time to just be a good witness. There can be counter-examples of this, but they are rare indeed.

Let Us Boil It Down:

We have a cross section of BAD defensive gun uses. These weren’t cherry picked, they were literally the eight most recent articles I could find on bad gun uses. You can feel free to dig for more. You’ll see the same mistakes being made over and over. Here’s the top 5 I see:

  1. Lack of identification of target and decisional shooting (training/gear issue)
  2. Unnecessary pursuit (training issue)
  3. Lack of ability to identify target (gear issue)
  4. Defense of property, where there was no intent, ability, or opportunity to do bodily harm to the good guy (training/ignorance of law)
  5. Lack of ability or desire to present gun and hold someone at gunpoint, rather than just immediately start shooting (training issue)
  6. Intervening in someone else’s fight (training issue)

Some ideas to avoid these pitfalls:

  • Carry A Flashlight!!!!!!!!!!! Have a damn flashlight in your pocket, and on your gun if possible. This is not up for debate. If you have a home defense rifle or shotgun, you must have a flashlight on it. If you have a home defense pistol, you must have a handheld light sitting next to it. Purchasing this simple (and highly useful) tool can save lives. It also lets you see where you dropped your remote under the couch, which is nice. If you can afford it, get a flashlight that uses lithium batteries CR123A Lithium Batteries, because they have tremendous shelf life and higher energy capacity. You can also get a Rechargeable Kit which will save money in the long run. Invest in a quality flashlight and it will treat you well and could keep you out of prison. Here’s a nice list of flashlights in the G.U.G. Amazon store that either I or people who I trust have owned and carried. Much like your gun, it only works when you’re carrying it, so chose one that you don’t mind having in a pocket or purse all the time. You can’t go wrong with any of them. Please get yourself a flashlight, and take a low-light shooting course.
  • Practice Decision Shooting. I encourage you to take courses in this, or you can find drills that you can shoot at the range which force you think before you shoot (in future post will list drills I like for this). The shooting part is easy, it’s the decisions that have to be made in the moment that will bog you down and could force a bad choice. Thinking with a gun in your hand is not natural and requires training.
  • Don’t shoot people for stealing stuff. It just doesn’t work out. Even if you are legally justified to do so, you still have to live the rest of your life knowing you blasted some guy for driving away in your truck. You might be really mad, but let it go man. It’s just stuff.
  • Practice ‘draw to hold’ in your shooting. Sometimes when you draw, draw to a low ready or compressed ready instead of immediately putting one in the target’s heart. You need to know what it feels like to draw and stop at a low ready. Often (usually) just the presentation of a gun is enough to diffuse a dangerous situation. Opportunistic predators don’t want a fight, they want the easy lunch. Be prepared to show them you have the intent to shoot them, but have the restraint to hold. Don’t invite The Man into your life by shooting someone when you don’t need to.
  • Practice Verbalization. When you’re dryfiring and practicing your ‘draw to hold’, begin planning what you’re going to say as a challenge. Something as simple as “Stop!” or “Stop! Don’t come any closer!” or “Get away, I have a gun!”. You have to get used to talking with a gun in your hands. This is harder than it might sound. It feels funny to yell and project your voice in an aggressive way (it is for me). If you don’t practice, anything could come out of your mouth. Having a verbalization ‘tape recorder’ in your head is crucial, because without one, you’re bound to say whatever you make up on the spot. Which would you rather a witness hear? “Stop, don’t come any closer” or “Die Mothafucka!”. You get the idea. In some cases, which will probably be very clear to you at the time, no speaking will be necessary. Just the shooting.
  • Sometimes it’s best to do nothing, be a good witness, and keep the gun holstered. Don’t invite yourself into someone else’s troubles. You will draw your own line in the sand here. Just make sure you understand what can happen if you’re wrong.

That’s all I’ve got for now. I plan on compiling a nice list of drills that will help us work on some of the above issues at the range. As you can see though, a lot of these problems are not shooting problems, but thinking ones. Reflect on that well.

 

Until next time, Protect your brood.

Defensive Daddy.

Having a personal code

This concept of having a personal code is something that I think a large number of people would do well to think about. It’s easy to just say, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. But you’re short changing yourself if you don’t give it some extra thought. It helps you see who you are, what is important, and what you are willing to do with your limited time on this planet. Your code helps define you, in your own brain. Mine is “memento mori” (remember your mortality).