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).

Mundane Movements: Driving Part 2 – The Vehicle Drawstroke

Our 2,000 pound bullet (car) has failed us. We didn’t have the car on, we weren’t in drive, or we find ourselves in a circumstance that otherwise prevents our escape. To make it more dire, we have our little one with us. We have no other option but to ‘skin our smoke wagon’ and fight.

The Mission: Safely deploy our pistol from the buckled and seated position and allow ourselves to escape the car quickly and without being entangled with the car.

Here’s some relevant things to know about shooting in a car:

  • It’s loud. Like, way louder than you’re expecting. You’ll probably be sorry that you had to shoot from inside the car.
  • Going from inside the car through the windshield, bullets will tend to deflect upward. Depending on the weight of your bullets, as much as 3 inches at 7 yards or so. Google around and you can find some test data through windshields.
  • The trick to getting good hits through glass is to start shooting at a target, and keep shooting through the same hole. You make your own tunnel through the glass.
  • The 4 firearms safety rules still apply. You can usually get away with breaking one rule at a time, but any more than that can get you into trouble quickly. Like James Yeager says, “shooting yourself in a gunfight still counts”.
  • Cars are bullet magnets. If I have the little one with me, I will be leaving the car as quickly as possible to keep the heat away from the kid. We have to have the means to get out quickly and without injuring ourselves.
  • It might not be the best TACTIC to start a slug-fest gun fight at 2 feet. Everyone loses at these ranges. You may have to feign compliance or wait for your chance. Know your capabilities and limitations. The Way to learn this is through honest self evaluation and training.
  • Take the time to unbuckle your seat belt. There is nothing more unbecoming than being caught in your seat belt during a gunfight.
How Embarrassing!

The Draw-stroke:

  1. To clear the seat belt do a similar movement as you would do if you were just drawing your gun. Slide your left hand under the strap by your shoulder while your buckle hand disengages the latch. Use the hand under the strap to swipe the belt away. You now have access to your gun and can freely leave the car.     
  2. Repeat the general motions from step one to get your gun into play. Reach down and rip the cover garment away with one or both hands and hold it clear with the left hand. Establish grip with the right. Begin your draw-stroke. There are distinct advantages to drawing from the appendix (1 o’clock) position from inside a car. The direct line from holster to targets is helpful.
  3. The 4 o’clock draw is similar. You can either pull yourself forward on the steering wheel (which I did in the photos), or you can use your right foot to stomp on the floorboard to lighten your gun side and pivot your hips to make space to access the gun. Keep your muzzle discipline extra strict and your draw-stroke compact. There are lots of objects and no-shoots that you can easily cover with the muzzle during this process.
  4. Pivot directions in the car. You’ll notice you’re shooting in non-ideal and contorted shooting positions. To your left you’ll be in an almost Center Axis Relock position. Straight ahead and you’ll be in a compressed extension. To the right you might end up in a one handed shooting situation. Just remember ‘Sights and Trigger’ and don’t sweat the details.
  5. When it’s time to leave, just stay compact with your gun and keep your muzzle averted. Post your foot on the door as it opens and use your leg to post and prevent it from bouncing back against your shins.exiting

In future posts, I’ll share some ways I practice this in the comfort of my own home during dry fire. I’ll also share some ways you can practice this at a range even if you don’t have a car you can shoot through.

This isn’t the only way, it’s just a way. Keep that in mind and think through it for yourself. 

Once again, I owe a lot of this info to all of the great instructors I’ve had the chance to train with. The vehicle tidbits come primarily from Craig Douglas of http://shivworks.com/ and James Yeager of http://www.tacticalresponse.com/.

Mundane Movements: Driving Part 1 – Position, Escape, and if needed… Fight!

Remember, you’re behind the wheel of a two-ton bullet.

-My Grandmother Joan, explaining the dangers of driving when I was 15

It turns out Grandma Joan didn’t know she was also talking about the best way to get out of an ambush when you’re in a car. The reality is that the skinny pedal on the right is the quickest solution to a vehicular based thug problem (V.B.T.P.). This young woman had it right. I could cover this from the angle of ‘a parent with a child’, but in general my tactics would only become more aggressive when with baby.

It’s all about leaving avenues of escape, preserving distance, and remaining aware of the world around you. Are we noticing a theme yet?

Hello Sir.
Skinny Pedal on the Right.

I’ll get you thinking with a short video:

LiveLeak – http://www.liveleak.com/ll_embed?f=8f7cc6ee4238

This is interesting because there are two distinct outcomes within the same event. On the one hand, we have the gentleman who had the opportunity to present his pistol and offer an alternate plan to the scum-bag’s. Our scum-bag then decided he would search for an easier mark. On the other hand, we have the next guy who got carjacked while stopped at a light and was forced, at gunpoint, to drive from the police. Here’s the lessons I garner from this short clip:

  • It’s always helpful to have a gun, the will to use it, and the opportunity to grab it. I don’t condone having a gun in your vehicle unless you’re wearing it, but it worked out for the first guy ( and in lots of other cases, too).
  • These events come on fast, even faster when you’re daydreaming or otherwise caught unaware.
  • The first attempted carjacking happened while loading a vehicle. Check the Mundane Movements posts for ways to see it coming.
  • The second (successful) carjacking happened at a stoplight. I would assume the victim had unlocked doors, and for whatever reason couldn’t or didn’t react fast enough to drive away.

Read this article for a great overview of carjacking information.

Pay special attention to the most likely groups to be carjacked.

  1. The elderly.
  2. Females alone/with children.
  3. People preoccupied, not alert or aware of surroundings.
  4. People parked in isolated or darkened areas, dark streets, parking lots or driveways.

My intention with this post is to cover the best practices that I’m aware of for daily driving. The tips we’ll go over in the first post are the usual defensive driving stuff with an eye for rapidly escaping a developing situation. The second post in this series will be pictorials of the best way I know of drawing a gun inside of a car. But please make no mistake, it is always better to use the car as the weapon and jam the skinny pedal on the right.

In Drive:

rubberonroad

  • You control the space between your front bumper and the car in front of you. If you can see where the tires of the car in front of you touch the road, then you have enough room to pull around that car. That space is useful for a myriad of everyday things like being able to pull out of a slowing lane, not rear-ending the car in front of you if you get rear-ended, and it extends to emergency use if the need arises.
  • If feasible (most useful in a city), be in the lane nearest the sidewalk. You now have an extra ‘lane’ if needed.
  • Don’t be afraid to ‘break the rules’ in an emergency. If it helps, I give you permission to drive over the sidewalk, through a red light, or over the double yellow lines if it means you can drive yourself out of a carjacking.
  • Make it a habit to glance at all of your mirrors at least once as you come to a stop. Carjackers like to come out of blind-spots.
  • As soon as you get into your car, lock the doors and start the car. Get into drive and start rolling as soon as possible.

It isn’t rocket surgery. It’s about using the best tool you have to escape. The car. In the next installment, we will assume that you can’t drive away. I’ll review the best and safest way to get your gun out while seated in a car, and how to quickly get out of the car with minimal hiccups.

The Babysitter Home Invader Plan!

I get it, you and your wife (or hubby) haven’t been anywhere together in a year. You need to go see a movie and grab some dinner. Time to hire a baby sitter. I’m sure there are hundreds of blogs and websites dedicated to picking a good babysitter. I won’t touch that one. However, I will add an extra step you should take with them when they arrive and you’re discussing logistics for different emergencies that might arise. The home invasion plan discussion.

Defining the Mission: “Enable and prepare an untrained teenager to get your child to a point of safety, bunker in place, and have the time to contact police in the event of a home invasion”

“I wonder if this babysitter knows how to run the Mossberg?” is probably what this mom is thinking.

The first step in developing a home invasion plan for the babysitter is developing one for yourself. As my mentor Claude Werner points out, brainstorming about how to achieve the desired outcome isn’t enough. You need to war-game the various scenarios, shake out possible hitches in your plan, and work through solutions. It helps to have an opposing will in war-gaming to help us see other options and keep us from buying our own hype. If you don’t have an opposing will, use the great trick that Claude developed and make flashcards with the various decisions that the bad guy could make and work through your plan based on what ‘he’ does. Make it a game. You will quickly see the holes in your plan when you start the ‘what if’ game.

Like ogres and onions, good home defense plans have layers.

The second step is evaluating the caretaker to make sure they have wrapped their head around the possibility of an invasion. To paraphrase the brilliant William Aprill, you need to reserve a ‘parking space’ in your mind for the possibility of an unexpected and unprecedented event for which you have no previous frame of reference. Well, in this case, you have to evaluate the babysitter for this ability. I’m approaching this problem from the point of view that your babysitter won’t have access to a firearm (yours or their own), but if you find someone who is trained and trustworthy then that is just a great bonus. You can alter your plan to account for this as needed.

Teaching a fifteen year old babysitter the proper mindset on protecting your child if someone kicks in the front door is probably something that can’t be done in the hurried discussion that happens before you rush out of the house with your spouse. It would be good to have the sitter over for a test run to discuss all of the logistics ahead of time. When discussing the ideas pay attention to their body language and attitude during the discussion of the need for this sort of plan.  If they glaze over or roll their eyes, it might be worth considering hiring someone with a higher maturity level. If you see their eyes sharpen, you know they’re likely to be able to keep it together and enact the plan. So just make sure the sitter understands that bad people might try to come into the house while they’re watching the baby and that it will be their job to enact the plan you’re about to cover with them.  You’ll also be drilling the plan with them, so you can watch it happen.

Let’s make a quick and dirty list of items that you might need to buy in order to accomplish the mission I wrote above. The best home defense plans are layered. This post isn’t about beefing up the security of your house, which we can talk about later. So let’s assume you already have all of the peep holes, alarms, motion sensing lights, properly trimmed hedges, extended screws in the doors, the strike plates, the dog (or outward appearance of a dog), and a safe room with a solid core door and reinforced hinges and deadbolt.

The Shopping List:

The safe room doesn’t have to be a bunker. It just needs to be a room that, at a minimum, you change the door and locks to and external door setup and some simple gear to slow the advance of a dedicated attacker. Also it would ideally have at least one piece of cover that could stop pistol caliber projectiles (the usual home invader weapon). You don’t have to spend a fortune to make a room ‘safe’. Don’t get a divorce by wasting $2,000 pouring concrete into the walls of your bedroom or anything silly. Here’s a nice overview of some more high points of safe rooms. Google around for some more ideas.

Cool, but not necessary.

Formulating The Plan:

This plan will grow and evolve based on your living circumstances, home layout, existing home reinforcements, pets, etc. I’ll lay out the general idea based off of the tools I mentioned above, as I think a similar outline is a good jumping point for your own plan.

The easiest tactic to relay is for the babysitter to not open the door. Period. (Men Pose as Delivery Men – Home Invasion) If someone is scheduled to come by, this can be relayed to the sitter, but otherwise keep the house on lock-down. Here is an excellent post from Greg Ellifritz about how to handle the front door.

So let us assume the action starts when there is the sound of breaking glass, or the alarm sounding, or the dogs losing their minds, or a door being kicked, or the sound of several men yelling…. and GO!

  1. Pick up the baby and quickly move to the designated safe room. Leave the dogs OUTSIDE of the safe room as extra deterrent.
  2. Take the OC off of the wall mount and flood the hallway with a good 10 seconds of eye-watery goodness.
  3. Close and Lock the door, and jam the floor wedge under the door.
  4. Lay the towel at the bottom of the door to keep as much OC out of the room as possible.
  5. Take baby and phone behind the best piece of cover in the room (you’ll have to decide and tell them this).
  6. Use the house phone to call the police and tell them what is happening. Stay on the line with police.
  7. Yell out “Leave Now! I have a GUN! The Police are on their way!” or similar. Even without a firearm in the room, posturing can be effective.

You get the idea. At this point, the bad guys have to run through a cloud of pepper spray, kick down a reinforced door, and possibly be facing someone bunkered in place with a rifle pointed at their chest. It’s about as much as we can hope for given the circumstances. The plan shouldn’t be too complicated, but it should be as robust and well thought as you can make it.

Practicing the Plan:

The willingness of a babysitter to dry run this plan a time or two will be a good gauge of how serious they take the possibility that bad people might try to come and hurt them or the baby.

  • Make them physically pick the baby up, and move to the room.
  • Pantomime spraying the fog (make sure they know how the safeties work), lock the door and jam the door wedge, stuff the towel,
  • Physically pick up the phone, have them say the words into the phone, “Someone has broken into the house and is still inside, the address is (read from label on phone), send the police”
  • For the coup de grâce have them actually YELL the challenge through the door. This will probably make them feel silly. That’s fine. Even a single repetition of this reserves the space in their brain to pull this off when time is of the essence.

In summary: Plan the work, and work the plan.

I hope you found some value in this post. Please share it if you found it helpful or thought provoking.

Protect the Brood, they are your legacy.

Defensive Daddy