The Keychain Flashlight and OC Combo

I’ll go on a limb and say you have people in your life who you love and who don’t want to be victimized, but they won’t carry a pistol (or pocket a flashlight, or Pepper Spray, or a knife, or Medical gear, etc). What do you do for these people? Explain their inevitable victimization in a WalMart parking lot and wish them luck? Write them off because they have a different moral compass, or because they’re lazy, or have a different lifestyle that precludes being inconvenienced by extra ‘stuff’? Would you write off your family if they wouldn’t follow this path exactly as you have?

I hope not. I hope you treat your friends, families, and clients as individuals and respect their lifestyle and moral decisions. I have several of these in my life (most of my people in meat-space in fact) who either can’t be bothered, lack the confidence in their skills, or are too lazy to carry a firearm or individual self defense tools. Even if I can get them to drop a light and OC in their purse, I know for a fact that they don’t have both of them out while they push their shopping cart through a dark parking lot.

I couldn’t write my people off because I was dealing with my mom, sister, and wife. They all understand and practice ‘mindset’ skills like avoiding task fixation in public, identifying alternate emergency exits, work M.U.C. skills in roll play to preserve space and get deselected, watch hands, and on and on. I only mention it to prevent someone saying, “No tool in an unwilling person’s hands will do a bit of good.” My girls have that.

I have two paths I can follow: Convince them to organize their life around cumbersome gear, or use clever gear to make it so they don’t have a choice. The first option requires that several things line up in a way that I’ve failed to do in 13 years or so. The latter only needs me to find the right gear that meets my needs of effective, reliable, and usable.

The Ideal Tactic (as I see it)

As you are about to push your cart out of the front doors, stop and:

  • Get your keys out of your purse/pocket
  • In your off-hand, palm your self defense light
  • In your strong hand, palm your Sabre Red Pepper Spray (OC)
  • Look out through the front glass to observe the space you’re about to enter
  • walk out the doors, and do a 3-5 second halt to scan the parking lot and along the building to the corners
  • Proceed to car, look into the car  and around the car
  • Load Groceries, taking a break every few bags to lift their head and do a quick scan to see who’s new, and where people are moving
  • Return cart to corral
  • Get in car, start car without delay, and get in drive (no instagram updates)

The Compromise

So that’s basically fantasy land for me. So I’ll use cunning to not give them a choice about having their tools at hand. Here’s my current best solution for my people:

  • The NITECORE TINI 380 Lumens. Rechargeable, Bright, Keyfob light. A super floody light that is only just bigger than those little disposable pinch LEDs. It’s not combat grade, but it’s not cumbersome and puts out enough light to see hands and beltlines at WalMart parking lot distances. It’s also $30.

  • The Sabre Red Gel key chain flip-top unit with inert trainer and target. This give you a robust and more leak-proof flip-top thumb activated unit in a key-chain size. It’s a bit bigger than those spitfire units that are now discontinued, but the spray quality is much higher on this unit. Sabre Red is HOT at 1.33% MCC (more on OC here). The Gel formulation has its advantage in semi-confined space like vehicles, or in buildings where you don’t want to flood an HVAC system with aerosol pepper spray. It takes a little longer to start burning, and can’t be aspirated as easily, but it still has a place. They also make stream configurations in this package, which I’m interested in.

PRoblem solved, problem staying solved

Now we’ve attached a seeing tool, with a force option, with the keys. We spent less than $50. If we can convince them to dig this mess out before they leave the store, there is no reason to be task fixated digging for keys in front of a locked car, there won’t be a panic at someone emerging from a dark corner to cause trouble, and there will be an option to take away an aggressor’s will to fight by impairing their vision and breathing. That’s enough to make the bad guys look for greener pastures. That’s a win.

Training

The great thing about the Live/Inert combo pack I linked above, is that it gives you a paper target to practice with the inert spray. So take your loved one through some basic MUC exercises. Practice footwork, the fence hand posture, verbalization and their verbal tape-loop, up to painting the guy orange. They get a feel for realistic range and the need to aim and how to aim.

How to convince them to buy?

Sometimes you can’t. I’ve been slowly outfitting my family with useful self defense skills and items. When it’s my birthday, I often give my family a shopping list of useful items I want them to buy for themselves as my present. This is the only way I can get them to invest some money in this stuff. Otherwise I just buy gear for them when they’re in town.

Mother’s day is coming up and it might be worth outfitting your mom and/or wife with something other than a card and some chocolate.

PS: These are the same principles I use, but with a handheld light and key-chain OC. Gun folks should have intermediate force options as well.

Thanks for taking the time to check in,

Mark

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Paul-E-Palooza 4 – 8/19-20/2017 DAY 1

The 4th Paul-E-Palooza training event is in the books. The event is a memorial fundraiser to help Paul Gomez’s children after Paul’s untimely passing several years ago. The organizers, William Aprill and Sherman House , and a slew of other top tier instructors, volunteer their time to raise funds for the kids. It’s tactical philanthropy at its best.

The event was a great time. But with two ranges and two classrooms to choose from for the eight total time slots, I had to pick and choose what I decided to take. It’s an exercise in limited resources and unlimited wants. I’ll outline the high-points of the instruction I took. Here’s some notes.

Saturday Block 1: Chuck Haggard – Between a Harsh Word and a Handgun

In this block, Chuck discusses less lethal force options for the private citizen. The primary focus is on Pepper Spray (O.C. – oleoresin capsicum). He explains the history, ingredients, physiological effects, difference in the strength of formulations, how companies rank the ‘heat’, tactics of use, role playing and demo. It’s some of the only info I’ve seen in the training community on the intelligent use of OC for private citizens. Here’s some of the high points:

  • His experience is it is 80-90% effective in police work. The reason it’s not closer to 100% is because police have to spray and then put handcuffs onto the sprayed person. We as private citizens can spray and immediately leave.
  • Favorite baton is the PR24 Monadnock style. Collapsible batons are sub-optimal
  • Civilian Tasers Suck, are fragile, and have a different pulse frequency than police Tasers. (The little pink gun show stun-guns are utter garbage)
  • “Wasp spray is fuckery” – Chuck Haggard, it’s ineffective a stopping someone right now, and is a low level neurotoxin (organo-phosphate) so it might give the guy cancer in 10 years. Which is bass-akwards from what we’re looking for.
  • A fire extinguisher makes a good improvised eye and lung irritant for school workers. Flood a hallway and make a smoke screen. Bright flashlights are also great for these folks.
  • The ‘Major Capsinoid Content’ is the number that matters.
  • Sabre Red is 1.33% MCC (Bear spray is limited to 2% by law, so Sabre is HOT)
  • Stick with Cone or Spray for most uses. Foam or Gel is for institutional use to avoid contaminating an air system.
  • MACE (brand) spray is weak sauce
  • The Spitfire (now discontinued) and ASP Key Defender have about 5′ range. They’re like the ‘mouse guns’ of the OC world. Better than nothing, but you would prefer something better when it comes time to use it.
  • The Kimber Pepper Blaster thing is garbage. No way to aim, 2 shots. With regular OC, you can sort of walk the stream onto the face. If you miss with the Kimber, you’re boned. Plus, a lady got her eye destroyed by one. That’s grave bodily harm….
  • Combo CS/OC is a gimmick. CS takes time to work, requires heat to properly disperse, and is a bigger hassle to decontaminate
  • Work failure drills with flashlight and OC, then drop OC and draw pistol, etc.
  • Sabre Stream with pocket clip – http://amzn.to/2g6hso9
  • Sabre Stream Trainer (Inert) – http://amzn.to/2wztZYj
  • ASP Key Defender baton – http://amzn.to/2wovaJv

 

Saturday Blocks 2-4: John Hearne – Who Wins, Who Loses, and Why

This is a talk that I’ve been looking forward to for several years. It is the ongoing pet project of John Hearne, an instructor with Range-Master since 2001, Federal LE Ranger since 1992, and research geek. This is a 8 hour lecture, so I’ll only share the purpose of the talk and a few high points. If you EVER get a chance to hear this talk, you should make it a high priority, it’s powerful and very useful stuff. It’s a little esoteric, but if you’re a nerd like me, you’ll dig it.

High Points:

  • Understand winning and losing
  • Understand how the human animal is wired, how it works for and against us, and how we can rewire the system to out advantage
  • Counter the VAST misinformation that exists on this topic in the training community
  • Understand what is reasonably possible to achieve with meaningful training
  • Understand how to improve our personal performance under stress, and best training methods.
  • Meaningful training can allow you to ‘overlearn’ skills and physically restructure the brain
  • Why you won’t necessarily have all of the scary side effects of adrenaline that are popular to preach in basic handgun classes (hands to flippers, tunnel vision, etc.)
  • Study of a decision tree for a good guy who is trained and untrained when they are in their gun-fight. Staying in the rational mind and not to an emotional state have MUCH higher chance of winning.
  • The importance of mental maps, eliminating novel stimuli, and dedicated practice
  • Over time the brain can refine how much adrenaline is released for a given situation. The untrained are usually ALL/NONE.
  • Emotional Bookmarks (e.g. hand on stove) ties past experiences to influence current actions. FOF creates this for us. Exists between rational/emotional mind
  • Cops who win fights – 90% had high physical fitness, 75% had scenario training, preplanned responses, multi-tasked well, able to quickly assess, relied on patters over explicit observation.
  • There’s nothing ‘natural’ or ‘instinctive’ about firearms usage. The only thing natural is to run away screaming and pissing yourself. Therefor everything can be learned. (he basically shit all over many training modalities that are currently popular)
  • There is no ‘innate hesitation to kill’ as Grossman proposes in On Killing.
  • Shuts down ‘it’s impossible to focus on your front sight under stress’ argument with anecdotes and science.
  • Recency is one of the most important predictors in success. (airplane studies)
  • How to not get shot by the police – study of “A Critical Analysis of Police Shootings Under Ambiguous Circumstance”
  • Training Implications of all this research.
  • Here’s two charts that are property of John Hearne. The first is what gives you the best value that corresponds to winning, and the second is shooting drills and ranking that indicate high shooting automaticity.

If you want a taste of John’s work, he wrote a chapter in Massad Ayoob’s book Straight Talk on Armed Defense – http://amzn.to/2woYTlX

Day TWO is coming up next. Thanks for reading.

Mark

 “The Path” Tshirt. Check them out.

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