April 18, 2014

Become More Proficient With Your Gun Without Firing a Shot

Before I get to today’s article I have a quick personal update. I am having arthroscopic surgery to correct an impingement on my left hip early tomorrow. I have no idea how I’m going to feel the rest of the week. If there isn’t another article this week or an email response or if I am slow to respond to a comment or email, now you know why.
 

Become More Proficient With Your Gun Without Firing a Shot

Even though ammo prices have come down some, shooting can be a very expensive hobby. Being proficient with your gun involves more than just shooting. Today I am going to give you some exercises you can do for free or with minimal investment in the safety of your home, without firing a single shot.

For the sake of safety, I recommend you practice these things with an unloaded firearm. Be sure to double check.
 
Dry Firing

Dry firing simply means that you practice all of the mechanics of firing a firearm with either an empty chamber or some type of snap cap, which is a plastic dummy round. Dry firing is fine with most firearms. Check your manufacturer to be sure. I know you should not do so with a .22, as it can damage the firing pin.

The benefit of dry fire practice is that it can help correct bad habits, such as anticipating recoil. If you anticipate the loud bang and the gun bucking in your hand, you can pull down and left (for right handers). If there is no loud bang, you can practice steady hand control, and do it enough times that when you do go to the range you are in the habit of not pulling down and left.

Another way to find and correct bad habits is to stack a few pennies or dimes on top of the slide. If they fall when you squeeze the trigger, you can tell if you’re pulling one way or the other by the direction and timing of when the stack fell.

Yet another way, this time with a cost, is to buy a laser. Nebu Preotec lasers are fairly inexpensive, at around $50. The one I have now is accurate enough to use for aiming at something I actually wanted to hit. It is very easy to tell if you are pulling one way or another.
 

Drawing From the Holster

It’s a fact, many ranges will not let you draw from the holster. The problem with this is that if you’re ever out and have to draw from the holster, you’re going to be much clumsier under stress than if you had practiced.

If you combine this with dry firing, you can practice an entire self-defense cycle. I know some people love the buzz timers for practicing and I think that is great if you’re practicing for IDPA or another competition. I don’t like the idea for self-defense training though. If you’re out on the town and you hear a loud noise, you’re not going to pull your gun and start shooting. No, if you hear a loud noise, you’ll orient yourself to the direction of the threat, look to see what is going on and then you’ll determine if you need to draw or not.

Instead of a buzzer, use a TV show or a movie. Since no one in the show is actually going to be a threat to you, pick a character, and every time they come on the scene draw and fire. Or pick one color shirt, say red, and every time someone comes on the screen wearing a red shirt, you draw and fire. If two people are wearing red shirts, scan and dry fire at them.

If you get a new holster this is something you should do. For instance, my gun sits very differently than I was used to in the Crossbreed holster I got last summer. Also practice re-holstering without looking. If you are ever forced to shoot, you’ll want to keep your eyes on the attacker and the ongoing scene without looking for your holster.
 
Drawing From a Concealment Garment

Drawing from the holster is great, but make sure you add in doing so with the clothes you wear when you are carrying it. If you use a CCW purse, practice with it.

Adding in the one extra movement, that of clearing your garment before you can draw, can really foul things up and slow you down.
 

Practice Without Looking

As I explained in Changes in the Body During a Critical Incident, many people experience time distortions during a critical incident. For this reason, I recommend you learn to reload without looking. The reason for this is that if you look at your hands, you may perceive that you’re reloading much to slow, and then speed up when you were going at normal speed. The problem is that if you speed up, you might make a mistake.

Do you have any tips you can give that can help us be more proficient without firing a shot?

 

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Changes in the Body During a Critical Incident

Changes in the Body During a Critical Incident

When under the extreme stress of a critical incident, there are numerous physiological changes that take place to enable our fight or flight response. Knowing these changes exist and training with them in mind can greatly increase your chances of surviving an armed critical incident.

The points I’ll cover today have been widely known of for some time. However, over the last ten or so years, video footage from dashboard cameras, security cameras, and footage from military conflicts has clearly shown how the human body reacts when startled. Also, great strides have been made in neuroscience that have clarified the changes that take place under the stress of a critical incident.

The information in this article is what I have decided to include in the Minnesota permit to carry courses that I will eventually be teaching. I am only adding the information pertinent to the physiological changes. This being the case, some areas such as legal implications or some training techniques that can aid in achieving some maneuvers without looking won’t be mentioned. If you would like that information, feel free to come take a class!  If you are interested in reposting or republishing this information in any way, please contact Chris (at) preparedchristian (dot) net.
 

External Changes – The Flinch Response

The external things that the body does when startled are instinctual, they take the short path through the brain bypassing any cognitive thought. These instinctual reactions are often called the flinch response; made up of lowering ones center of gravity, orienting towards the threat and moving ones hands in the line of sight relative to the threat.
 

Lowering of the center of gravity

When startled or threatened, we lower our center of gravity by bending at the knees and leaning slightly forward at the waist. This action takes place before one can process the reason for the action. By bending at the knees we are now ready for quick movement making us better able to flee or to fight. In any sport, you can see athletes lower their center of gravity before jumping, running or just about any other movement.
 

Orientation to the Threat

When startled or threatened we reflexively turn our attention to the threat. This allows us to take in more information about the threat.
 

Hands Moved to Line of Sight

This is often described as moving hands up, but in truth, the hands are moved relative to the position of the threat. If the threat was from a snarling dog you would put your hands in your line of sight downward. This has a survival bonus, as we’ll discuss below. Blood is pulled from the extremities and pooled in large muscle groups and in the core. The benefit of this is that if your hands move to your line of sight, and you are deflecting a dog bite, a knife or any other implement that can cut, it will bleed much less.
 

Internal Changes

Blood is what brings energy to the body. In a critical incident, there are several changes in blood flow. This increases the body’s ability in many ways but also decreases it in others. There are also several other chemicals released that cause various changes as well. Simply elevating your heart rate and then trying to train is not the same as having an elevated heart rate under a critical incident.
 

Increased Visual Acuity in the Center of Vision and “Tunnel Vision”

In a critical incident there are things that take place to allow the brain to take in more data. First the eye has two types of sensors, rods and cones. Cones are concentrated in the center of the eyes’ field of vision and are responsible for detail. Rods are more densely distributed on the edges of the eyes’ field of vision, and are more sensitive to motion.

The second thing that takes place is that the thalamus filters out non-critical input. By filtering out information that is not critical, we can bring in more critical information in a shorter amount of time. The thalamus filters out non-critical information, which includes anything not in the center of our vision.

Because of the physiological changes in the eye, and the instinctive orientation to the threat, the threat stays in the center of our vision, where the vision is in far greater detail. Coupled with the thalamus filtering out non critical data, you could lose as much as 80% of your field of vision, but what you do see could be in incredible detail.

Because the thalamus is filtering out data from the rods, our vision is decreased, so you probably can’t track multiple targets. Tips on scanning for targets will be offered later.

Because of our decreased field of vision, it is important not to take your eyes off the threat, not to reload, clear a malfunction or for any other reason. It does take some practice to do these things without looking but for several reasons, it is important not to take your eyes off your target. Practicing clearing of malfunctions and reloading without looking can be done at home, either with snap caps or with empty magazines.
 

Distortion of Time

In Law enforcement studies, 70% of officers involved in a shooting reported experiencing time slowing down. Twenty percent of officers experienced time jumps or things perceived to go faster than they are.

As we learned, the physiological changes in the brain and the changes in the eye allow the thalamus to bring in critical data faster but the temporal lobe, the cognitive part of the brain, isn’t processing this information any faster. For this reason, the cognitive thinking part of your brain is processing twice the amount of data, so it seems like time has slowed down.

You might be wondering why this is important. It is for at least three reasons.

1. Since time distortion and memories might not be credible, don’t provide that information to police right away. Discuss it with a lawyer first. They’ll understand that sometimes memories and recollection of time can be off.
2. If we change the center of our field of vision to our gun, to watch as we reload, we will bring in more data. The cognitive portion of our brain is going to make us think we’re going too slow. If we speed up to compensate, we may make a mistake we wouldn’t have otherwise.
3. If we take our eyes from our threat, we most likely lose focus due to tunnel vision. When we try to find the threat, if our brains have perceived time to have slowed down or sped up, coupled with tunnel vision, chances are good that the threat has moved and we will lose precious seconds relocating it.
 
Auditory Exclusion

Auditory exclusion is the thalamus filtering out auditory data. In law enforcement studies, this occurred for 85% of officers involved in a critical incident. Sometimes all sound was diminished and in others just the sound of the gun shots was diminished.

Selective auditory exclusion is something we’re all familiar with. It is simply the thalamus tuning into one signal over another. Two examples of auditory exclusion in daily life are the ability to carry on a conversation in a noisy restaurant, and children not hearing that they need to clean their rooms.

There have been trainers who have taught that you should occasionally practice without hearing protection. In a critical incident the thalamus protects the ears, this is not the case outside of a critical incident. This is reckless advice that could permanently damage your hearing.

 
Memory Distortions and no Memory at All

Because of how the senses and brain function during a critical incident, it is possible for there to be memory distortions and even false memories. For instance, an officer reported that the assailant was down a long hallway when in fact there was no hallway at all.

There have been numerous cases where a police officer has gaps missing from a shooting or no memory at all. An article published for the journal of the international association of law enforcement instructors in 2001 states that it is common within the first 24 hours to recall roughly 30% of the occurrence, 50% after 48 hours and 75%-95% after 72-100 hours.

Memories are made differently when formed under extreme stress. There have been cases where a thought enters into the mind during a critical incident and the person believes the thought actually happened. For example, there were two officers involved in a shooting. One officer believed his partner had been shot. When the suspect was killed, the officer still believed his partner had been shot and began to search him looking for the bullet wound to make sure, despite the other officers argument that he was not hit.
 

Loss of Fine Motor Skills

Under stress, vasoconstriction occurs. As the heart rate rises, blood is pooled into the core and large muscle groups, draining blood from the extremities. This results in a loss of fine motor skills. This means that the ability to efficiently manipulate a slide release, rack the slide and reload a revolver or drop a magazine will be diminished.

Because of loss of motor skills, I don’t recommend you use the slide release to bring the slide forward. Instead, rack the slide with your weak hand, not using your finger tips to do so.

I also think that guns that require a lot of manual dexterity to use are not the best self-defense guns. If you have a firearm with a safety, clumsy magazine release, or any other feature that requires fine motor skills, you will need to practice those actions a significant amount to turn those movements into “muscle memory”.

 
Scanning

There is a chance that there is more than one threat. Once the primary threat has been removed, you need to scan for other threats. Remember you’re most likely going to have tunnel vision, so you’ll need to scan thoroughly. There is also a chance you’re effected by auditory exclusion and may not be able to hear verbal threat, or commands from law enforcement.

Don’t just swing your head back and forth. Look at people. Look at hands. Are they armed? Are they coming at you? Is anyone talking to you?

Once you are sure there are no further threats, re-holster and call 911.

 
Physiological Changes and the Police

There is a school of thought that says if you have to shoot in self-defense, “never talk to police” afterward, or just tell them you need your lawyer. I don’t agree with this. Let’s face it, the person lying on the ground bleeding is a pretty convincing victim. If you don’t give police enough information to tell them “the attacker did this” and you were “afraid for your life” and had to use force to defend yourself, they have no choice but to treat you as the attacker.

Don’t misunderstand, if you must use deadly force, the police most likely are not your friend. They are there to collect information for the prosecutor. After you tell them that you were the victim, and what the attacker did to cause you to be afraid for your life, stop talking.

Why? When looking back over all of the physiological changes that take place, it does not take much to believe that your perception of what happened could be quite different from what actually took place. Any statement that you give police will now be on record and could make you look guilty, or like you may be hiding something.

Instead, tell the police that you know this is very serious, that you will give a statement after you have had time to calm down and speak with your attorney. I also recommend finding a lawyer that is aware of the physiological changes and can guide you through the statement to police.

For this reason, many police departments force all officers to undergo between 12-72 hours of downtime before they speak about the shooting.

I hope this helps shed some light on the body’s response in a critical incident and has given you a few ideas on how you can modify your training to go along with what your body will do during the process.

 

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Three Security Tips Worth Knowing

Over the last couple of weeks I have come across three security/tactical related tips. They impressed me enough to add them to our security plan and I thought you might like them as well.
 
 
Tactical Breathing

The book I am reading now is On Combat, The Psychology and Physiology of Deadly Conflict in War and in Peace, written by Lt. Col. Grossman. While it is geared more for those in the military or law enforcement, it is chock full of wisdom for anyone who carries a firearm for the potential to stop a violent attack.

Tactical Breathing is something that Lt. Col. Grossman has taught to police officers, military, Special Forces, college students and athletes. It, quite simply, is a means to reign in fear and anger, which can manifest in an accelerated heart rate and the effects related to it, such as loss of fine motor skills and tunnel vision, to name just a few. This breathing technique has been used to help steady the aim for life and death shots by law enforcement officers, calm students with test anxiety, calm players at the free throw line and aid mothers-to-be with the breathing techniques taught in Lamaze classes.

Tactical breathing as it is described in On Combat is simply:

Breathing in through your nose to a slow four count, which expands your belly. Hold for a four count and then slowly exhale through your mouth for a count of four. Hold empty for a count of four and repeat the process for a four count.
The entire process would look like this:

In through the nose deep, deep, deep. Hold, two, three, four. Out through the lips deep, deep, deep. Hold two, three, four.
In through the nose deep, deep, deep. Hold, two, three, four. Out through the lips deep, deep, deep. Hold two, three, four.
In through the nose deep, deep, deep. Hold, two, three, four. Out through the lips deep, deep, deep. Hold two, three, four.
In through the nose deep, deep, deep. Hold, two, three, four. Out through the lips deep, deep, deep. Hold two, three, four.

Lt. Col. Grossman states that some people might need to tweak things to work better for them, like using a five count, for instance. I have used the technique to help me relax since reading about it and I can say I have noticed a sense of calm afterward. This being the case, I can believe it would work even better in the midst of a critical incident or other very stressful event. If you have a child who has test anxiety, this might be worth teaching to them.
 
 
Tactical Parking

This tip comes from the Sheep Dog Tip of the Day facebook page, which gives quotes from Lt. Col. Grossman’s various works. This tip is taken from The Bullet Proof Mind seminar (paraphrased)

“Combat park, with the front of the car towards the street. When seconds count, you’ll be able to get out of the parking spot faster. It takes the same amount of time to back into the parking space and back out. The warrior does it on the front end. It can also reduce accidents”
… Lt. Col. Dave Grossman

This makes perfect sense to me. We back into the garage for similar reasoning. If you need to make a fast exit, backing up is much slower and clumsier than pulling right out and going on your way.
 
 
Please Don’t Hurt My Family

One of the shows we watch is a police drama called “Blue Bloods”. During a recent episode, Joe Dirtbag is holding a gun to the head of the assistant district attorney who is prosecuting him. The assistant DA happens to have a brother who is a police detective named “Danny”, and has his gun drawn on Joe Dirtbag.

Danny is talking to Joe Dirtbag, and says, “Please don’t hurt my family”. His sister (the assistant DA) immediately drops to the ground and Danny shoots Joe Dirtbag. In a later scene, we learned that this phrase has been taught to four generations of their family for just that type of incident but had never been used until now.

Fellow Prepared Christians Kurt and his wife were watching the episode and were reminded of the article I wrote called “Preparing Your Family for Combat”. They turned to each other and said “Prepared Christian”. I thought that was pretty cool! Thanks to Kurt for sharing!

I have now added this phrase into our security plan as well!
 
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Are You Prepared to Use Violence to Stop Violence?

Fight Violence with violence

Are You Prepared to Use Violence to Stop Violence?

If asked, “are you willing to use violence to stop violence against you or a loved one?” many of us would answer “yes”. I know I would. The truth is, unless you’ve been tested, you really don’t know. During the last couple of months, I have put in a lot of drive time, listening to the audiobook “On Killing” by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman. This book helped firm up my understanding of humans and their capacity and willingness to use violence. In short, the vast majority of human beings are not wired to use violence on one another.

Lt. Col. Grossman goes into great detail to explain how, through the earliest of American wars; the Revolutionary War, the Civil War and the World Wars, the majority of the men fighting them would purposely miss what they were shooting at. He explained how the aversion to killing another human was so strong that a trained soldier often times would not shoot another, even if it meant losing his own life.

Leading up to the Vietnam War, great effort went into figuring out how to train men, not only to kill but to do so without hesitation. Today’s military are some of the most efficient warriors in the world’s history.

Someone might say that an aversion to violence is a good thing and that Jesus said, “Those who live by the sword, die by the sword”. I would agree with Him, but He did not say we should never use the sword. In fact, I believe that if we willingly decide not to act in our own defense or in the defense of another innocent person, we have sinned. We now bare blood guilt and are accountable for all of the future acts of violence our attacker commits. We also bare the guilt of all the good that we or the person we did not defend would have done.
 
 
Less Than Lethal Force

It is my belief that the majority of humans have an aversion to using any form of violence against one another. I’ve mentioned before that I took a real world martial art called “Haganah”. I noticed that almost all new students hesitated using even minimal force to strike their partner. These are people who are aware of the need to learn to defend themselves but have to be trained that it was acceptable to strike another person. I was a wrestler in high school and had a few minor altercations as a young adult. Physical violence wasn’t completely new to me. I still had to retrain myself that using force was not only acceptable in this setting, but encouraged. I trained with some students who hesitated striking with even 10% of their force even after months of training.
 
 
10-80-10 Rule

In the book The Survivors Club, author Ben Sherwood explores a theory developed by a man named John Leach called “The 10-80-10 rule”. In summary, the rule states that the top 10% of people in a crisis excel; they think clearly and take immediate action. The middle group comprises 80% of people; they are “quite simply stunned and bewildered”; “reasoning is significantly impaired and thinking is difficult”. The last 10% of people are the “ones you definitely want to avoid in an emergency”.

A few pages later, he explains something called ‘behavioral inaction’; “The current theory of behavioral inaction goes like this: As your frontal lobes process the site of an airplane wing on fire, they seek to match the information with memories of similar situations in the past. If you have no stored experience of a plane crash, your brain can’t find a match and gets stuck in a loop trying and failing to come up with the right response. Hence: immobility.”

While he was talking about a plane crash, I believe the theory carries over to any type of critical incident. In terms of violence I think that the first 10% are capable of violence, either to harm or to defend. The middle 80% of people are those who will freeze either initially and then take action or remain frozen. The last 10% of people are made up of those who just shut down.
 
 
More Than Fight or Flight

You’ve probably heard of “fight or flight”, but there are at least five possible responses. They are fight, flight, freeze, posture and submit.

Fight – This is a group of people who have a capacity for violence, either to hurt or to protect. Sheep, Wolves and Sheepdogs is an excellent depiction of those who’re willing to use violence. The wolves are those who prey upon others (the sheep). Sheepdogs are those who’re capable of using violence in protection of themselves and in defense of the sheep.

Posturing – Posturing is combat without making contact, using intimidation. This is frequently seen in the animal world but can be seen in humans as well. Posturing comes easy to those who fight but I have seen some who were not typically thought of as fighter’s posture enough to prevent an attack and back a wolf down.

Flight – This is a group of people who have an innate urge to flee from harm. There are some who might initially flee, only to change to another behavior.

Freeze – People who freeze might do so for mere seconds while their brain catches up to the reality of the situation. They could also be people who are so completely overwhelmed that they simply shut down. People in this group can slide to other groups. For instance, someone might freeze for a second before being able to use violence to defend themselves. Another person might freeze before running away or submitting.

Submit – Submitting is totally giving up to an attacker. There is evidence in the FBI’s annual uniform crime report to suggest that submitting is more dangerous than fighting back. However, feigning compliance and submitting temporarily can give a person the upper hand.
 
 
Putting it all Together

I believe that the 10-80-10 rule and the five possible responses to violence can be combined. The first 10% are the people who are ready and willing to use violence and obviously have no aversion to it. The last 10% are made up of those who flee (and continue to flee), and those who submit. They are so incapable of violence they would rather perish than use force, even to save their own lives. I think that the middle 80% is on a sliding scale of sorts. There are those who, under certain conditions, are capable of using violence. There are also those who might initially freeze and later panic.

Since the majority of us fall into the middle 80% of people who freeze for some length of time, how can we make sure we override any aversion to violence? How can we make sure we don’t remain frozen? How can we make sure we snap out of it and are willing to use violence to stop violence being used against us or another human being?

Remember that the reason people in the 80 portion of the 10-80-10 rule freeze is because their minds can’t quickly latch onto something from their stored experience. What we need to do is make sure there is something in that stored experience.
 
 
Overcoming the Aversion to Violence

As I mentioned, in the book “On Killing”, it is noted that trained soldiers from much of America’s history missed their shot on purpose, even if it meant their own life. If a trained soldier had difficulty overriding the aversion, what hope can the average citizen have?

If you’re not intellectually, emotionally or spiritually averse to the idea of using violence to save you or a loved one, there are some things you can do to train yourself to act in self-defense and in the defense of others.

Lt. Col. Grossman listed several things modern training has done to make the modern warrior act, often without hesitation. I’m not going to cover them in detail, as some just wouldn’t and shouldn’t apply outside of a military setting. Many of the things that we can do are intellectual and psychological.
 
 
Visualization

No, I do not mean that touchy feely, self-affirming “I’m good enough, I’m smart and doggonit people like me” crap. I mean visualize different scenarios and what you might do and say when a threat causes you to go to code orange or red. (If you don’t know what the Cooper Color Code is, follow that link and learn to incorporate it into your daily situational awareness.) For instance, thinking through the following scenario; if this person following me follows the next three right turns I make (walking or driving), I am going to do “x”.

I haven’t ever had someone kick down my door and come in with a weapon. I have thought about what I would do in many different variations of that, and Trudee and I have discussed them.

Visualization is more than just thinking through imaginary scenarios that could happen. I also think about how I would respond to violent encounters I read about, see in the news or even in TV and movies.

By mentally preparing my mind for situations where violence is an acceptable response, I am overriding the natural aversion to violence. This is something that should be done on an ongoing basis, much like weight lifting to build and keep strength.
 
 
Training

Less Than Lethal – I am a big supporter of real world self-defense for multiple reasons. Watching a fist fight on TV or movies is a completely different thing than actually being in one. Of course, not just the physical aspect of it, but also the mental. When you’re on the receiving end of violence, there is a mental shock, which is probably why 80% of people freeze. As I mentioned earlier, there is often a hesitation to strike someone. While it’s possible to overcome that in an actual fight, I suppose, repeatedly striking someone and defending against various attacks gets one used to the initial shock and you learn how to override it and defend.

Lethal Force – If you haven’t taken a handgun training course, take one. If you’ve taken one, then take another. There are some training companies where you enter a “shoot house” and fire at multiple types of targets. There are also some places that use simunition (simulated munition), which is a paint tipped round. They put you in various real world situations and have Joe Dirtbag enter and do dirtbag stuff that you have to react to. Some places also have force on force training with Airsoft or paintball. If you can do those, great! If not, when you’re at your local range, visualize the target as the threat you visualized in the above scenarios.

The goal is not only to excel with your firearm, but also to train you to respond with violence to stop violence.
 
 
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If You’re in a Fair Fight, Your Tactics Suck

Dirty fighter

What I mean by “If you’re in a fair fight, your tactics suck” is that if you’re attacked, there is no such thing as a fair fight. You should do what you need to do to ensure you walk away, even if that means “fighting dirty”.

A disclaimer of sorts: Violence should only be used to stop violence directed at you or a loved one. Once someone puts their hands on you or a loved one, they have given you consent to defend yourself and/or the ones you love.

If I am forced to use violence, the goal is to end the threat and get away to safety. The goal is not to beat the attacker to a pulp, though that might be needed to get away. Some of the things I will explain are not going to neutralize an attacker by themselves. Some may just “short circuit” them for a short time. When the attacker is short circuited, you can either use that brief pause to use another attack or to get away.

I often carry a firearm for self-defense but there are times when I can’t. There are also situations, such as being within arm’s reach, which might not permit drawing a firearm, making hand-to-hand necessary.

None of the techniques I am explaining need any training to learn, though training will help you and the techniques be much more effective. Many of them will work for people of smaller stature against larger attackers.
 
 
Eye gouge/eye flick

I have seen this tactic mentioned several times over the years and it is often explained as pushing your thumbs deep into the eye sockets of the attacker. There is a problem with this explanation however; doing so is repellent to human behavior. In his book “On Killing,” Lt. Col. Dave Grossman explains the following:

“The single most effective mechanically easiest way to inflict significant damage on a human being with one’s hand, is to punch the thumb through his eye and on into the brain.”

He goes on to explain that even though this attack would be extremely effective, it goes against human nature. He also says that during the filming of a movie that was rated X because of it’s violent content, an actress who was to portray stabbing a man in the eye with a rat tail comb, passed out twice during filming.

“This is a professional actress, she can portray killing, lying and sex on the screen with relative ease, but even the pretense of stabbing someone in the eye seems to have touched a resistance so powerful and deep seeded that her body and emotions, the tools of the professional actress literally refuse to cooperate. In fact I cannot find any references of anyone in the history of human combat ever having used this simple technique.”

As we can see, a gouge is not something many people can do. Because of that, here is a different method of attacking the eyes: keep your fingers limp and flick your wrist, aiming your fingers at the attacker’s eyes. This will short circuit them and cause the eyes to water, enabling you to assess and flee or attack again, if needed.
 
 

Box the Ears

Boxing of the ears can be very painful and can inflict severe damage to the ear drums. To box the ears simply slap the ears with your palms. This is another means of short circuiting the attacker, enabling you to assess and flee or attack again, if needed.
 
 

Crush the Windpipe

To crush the windpipe, keep your four fingers together and fully extend the thumb making a V with your hand. Aim at the attacker’s throat, trying to have the thumb and fingers on opposite sides of the throat. Depending on the force, this attack can be a short circuit, causing the attacker to gasp for air. It can also be fatal.
 
 

Punching or Smashing the Nose

Punching or smashing the nose can cause blood loss and the eyes to tear. Sometimes, seeing their own blood takes the fight out of the attacker. Also, if their eyes are watering, you can either take advantage and attack again or flee. I say “smash” because, due to body position, sometimes you can’t truly punch but you may be able to smash their nose with the palm of your hand.
 
 
Groin Attacks

I think everyone knows a groin attack on a man can shut down a fight quickly, but it can be very painful to a woman as well. When attacking the groin, you don’t have to aim directly for it. If you attack the high leg, momentum will bring the attack to the groin.
 
 

Brachial Plexus

The brachial plexus is a bundle of nerves running from the spine and through the neck. This is another short circuit, with the potential to be a finisher. While doing gun disarms with a partner a while back, I hit him with roughly 50% strength. This was enough force to cause him to drop the blue gun, even though that wasn’t the portion of the move that was to strip the gun. I have a friend who has done training in the past where a blow to the brachial plexus caused someone to lose consciousness. To initiate this move, simply strike the crook of the neck by punching or chopping. Chopping works really well for shorter people who might not be able to punch effectively on a taller person.
 
 
Head Butt

I am not talking about the traditional WWF head butt. This head butt is accomplished by facing the attacker, grabbing their head with both hands and squatting, slamming their face on the top of your head. This obviously isn’t an attack you would start with. Since your hands are already on their head, this is an excellent move after boxing their ears.
 
 

Elbow and Knee Strikes

Many of the attacks listed above are great ways to short circuit an attacker but many are just that, only short circuits. A fantastic closer is an elbow or knee strike. When striking with the elbow, do so with an open hand. This causes you to strike with the bare ulnar bone. If you do an elbow strike with a closed fist, the ulnar bone is covered with muscle, which is softer than bone and causes less damage to your attacker. Strike with elbows instead of fists whenever possible. The bones in your hands are far less forgiving. A broken hand can take you out of the fight.
 
 

Closing thoughts

Since we only use force in self-defense, the rule of thumb is to keep attacking until either your attacker stops or you are able to get away. It could take multiple attacks for either of those to be a viable option. An engagement drill we practiced in Haganah chained many of the attacks listed above; it went something like this: The attacker comes at you. You kick them in the thigh, aiming for a nerve in the thigh. This is followed by a punch to the brachial plexus, boxing their ears, head butting, lifting their head and delivering an elbow strike to the brachial plexus. We would then put them in a type of hold, deliver three knees to the legs, swing them to the ground and feign breaking their ankle.

That is one example of chaining attacks, but doing an eye flick, punch to the noes and an elbow to the jaw might work just fine. Do not stop fighting until they give up or you have an opportunity to retreat.

 
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five security tips you may not have thought of

I have covered situational awareness and the Cooper Color Code in the past.  Here are five security tips that you may not have thought of. 

 

Advertising on Your Vehicle

Bumper stickers advertise our opinions on various issues to the world around us.  They also tell Joe Dirtbag about us as well.  Do you have an NRA sticker? If so, Joe Dirtbag now has a pretty good idea you have guns at home.  He might not break in when you’re there, but now he knows what your car looks like and can wait for you to go to work.

The white decals that people put on their back window showing off mom, dad and the kids as well as what each loves also tell Joe Dirtbag about you.  He might now know that you have expensive sporting equipment at home or whether or not you have any pets.

 

Firing Range Safety

 

You may be aware of how Navy SEAL Chris Kyle and one of his friends and coworkers was murdered at a gun range by someone suffering from PTSD.  People committing suicide, committing murder or both is more common at gun ranges than you may think. 

I recommend keeping one firearm loaded and on your person.  If you go with a partner, one can be practicing situational awareness for you both while the other is shooting.

 

Public Restrooms

A few years back, I read that there was a survey of sorts done, asking convicted criminals the locations they preferred to commit their crimes.  One of the most popular was men’s restrooms.  One criminal said it was the easiest, by far, as men are less likely to put up any kind of fight when they are exposed at a urinal.

There was a man going into men’s restrooms in Minneapolis, blitz attacking men.  He would walk behind a man at the urinal and then slam their head into the wall in front of them, hard enough to knock them out; he then emptied their pockets.  Women might be onto something with the group trips to the rest rooms!  Men, another option is to always use the stall.

 

Smart Phones

A recent crime wave includes Joe Dirtbag ripping a smart phone out of people’s hands as they absentmindedly use them in public.  Situational awareness can aid with this in large part, but it might also be a good idea to leave it secure in a pocket or purse while in public.

 

Communion

There have been many reports of criminals waiting for church members to go forward for Communion.  They then go through their purses and jacket pockets looking for cash.

A sad fact is that many places that were once sacred, no longer are.

 
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Tidbits One

I occasionally have a couple ideas for articles that are too short for me to post by themselves and I don’t want to send more than one email on an update per day, to keep you from feeling spammed.  When this happens, I’ll just string them together and make one blog post, with one email going out.

 

Preparedness Club

I mentioned last week that I would be launching a premium membership that I’m calling “The Preparedness Club”.  Today, I want to give you a little more information about it.  This will be one way to support the Prepared Christian Ministry.  I’ve been asked a few times about a donation button.  After careful consideration and prayer, I have decided to include one, but I also want to have the Preparedness Club as an option to give something back to you.

This is where the cool part comes in; I have approached companies that offer goods and services in the preparedness market place and so far, 17 have offered discounts.  My goal was to try and get you a discount on any product that you might want to buy and I’ve come close!  From ammo, many kinds of food storage, water purification, paracord, first aid, and books; if you purchase items from the companies who have offered discounts, the Preparedness Club will save you money.

The Preparedness Club will have one giveaway a month, minimum.  Some of the items so far are: a Midland weather radio, the Total Home Prep Now DVD’s, books from Paladin Press, and more.

For those of you not interested in The Preparedness Club, I haven’t forgotten about you.  I have some giveaways planned for you as well.  I hope to launch the Preparedness Club next week, or the week after at the latest.  To celebrate I am going to give away a one year membership, to enter either fill out the form below, or send an email with the subject of Preparedness Club to chris (at) preparedchristian (dot) net and let me know that you would like to enter.

[onw_simple_contact_form]
 

Keeping In Touch With Prepared Christian

If you’re someone who uses Facebook or Google Reader to stay up to date, you might need to make some changes.  It seems Google has decided to shut down Google Reader on July 1, 2013.  If you use them to read my RSS or any RSS feed, you’ll want to find another reader.

Over the last months, Facebook has changed how updates are received.  They want to charge companies for advertising, so only a small segment of people actually see my updates via Facebook.  For example, as of the time of this writing, my last two posts have only been viewed by 101 and 185 people, respectively.

To make sure you see every update, it has been recommended that you create an “interest” list.  I’ll give the steps below.

First, go to the page you want to create an interest list for.  For this example, I went to Camping Survival.

 

Hover over the “like” button and click on “New List”.

interests

 

 

Click the “Next List” button on the bottom right.

 

next

 

Name the new list and click “Done”

create list

 

Your new Interest list will show up on the left hand side of Facebook.

 

hover

 

Bulletproof Mind

I have recently discovered something some of you might already be familiar with; The Bulletproof Mind from Lt. Col. Dave Grossman.  Lt. Col. Grossman travels 300 days a year, giving The Bulletproof Mind lecture but it is also available on DVD.

Here is what is mentioned about Lt. Col. Grossman and the Bulletproof Mind on the USCCA website, where you can also watch a video and purchase the Bulletproof Mind DVD.

Most of the people in our society are sheep.  They are kind, gentle, productive creatures who can only hurt one another by accident.” I mean nothing negative by calling them sheep. To me it is like the pretty, blue robin’s egg. Inside it is soft and gooey but someday it will grow into something wonderful. But the egg cannot survive without its hard blue shell. Police officers, soldiers, and other warriors are like that shell, and someday the civilization they protect will grow into something wonderful. But they need warriors to protect them from the predators.

Then there are the wolves, and the wolves feed on the sheep without mercy. Do you believe there are wolves out there who will feed on the flock without mercy? You better believe it.  There are evil men in this world and they are capable of evil deeds. The moment you forget that or pretend it is not so, you become a sheep. There is no safety in denial.

Then there are sheepdogs, and I’m a sheepdog. I live to protect the flock and confront the wolf.

If you have no capacity for violence then you are a healthy productive citizen, a sheep. If you have a capacity for violence and no empathy for your fellow citizens, then you have defined an aggressive sociopath, a wolf. But what if you have a capacity for violence, and a deep love for your fellow citizens? What do you have then? A sheepdog, a warrior – someone who is walking the hero’s path – someone who can walk into the heart of darkness, into the universal human phobia, and walk out unscathed.”

I had read the above years ago, but wasn’t aware of The Bulletproof Mind.  I will be attending the seminar this fall.  I cannot wait!  If you consider yourself a fellow sheepdog, you might consider checking out the seminar or buying the DVD.  You can see Lt. Col. Grossman’s bio here and his calendar here.  As I mentioned, you can find out more about the DVD at the USCCA website.

I will be giving my thoughts on the seminar afterward.  Did I mention I was really looking forward to this?!

 

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School Safety Plans for an Active Shooter

school shooting

Image from the Washington Post

 

Anytime an issue is brought up multiple times by different people in very different situations, I take it as a sign from God that I should pay attention.  I feel I need to warn some of you; this topic is dark and very unpleasant to think about, especially if you have young children.  It is also very important.

In 2011 I wrote an article called “Terrorism: Beslan Style Attack At Our Schools”.  In it I explain:

“On September 1, 2004, Chechen Islamic terrorists stormed a school taking over 1,100 people hostage for three days. The terrorists were brutal, killing men and boys old enough to resist their attempts. Hostages were forced to stay in a sweltering hot auditorium with little to no food or water. Russian forces eventually stormed the school. In the end there were over 385 dead, including 31 dead terrorists. Wikipedia has a very detailed write up called Beslan school hostage crisis.

I have read articles that say there were documents found in Afghanistan that point to Beslan being practice for a similar attack in America.  Whether a Beslan-style attack or the types of school shootings we have experienced far too many times, the threat of school shootings is very real.  It is my opinion that the plans many schools have in place are ineffective and dangerous.

 

What is the Plan at Your Childs School?

Many times your child might know the school plan, as they might do practice drills.  If they don’t know, you can ask the school administration.  Let them know you have a child who attends their school and you want to know what their action plan is for a school shooting.  They may give some resistance.  If so, reassure them that you just want to know their plan to keep your child safe.  If they won’t tell you what the plan is, go over their head.

When schools make any policy, they tend to be very black and white, ie. “zero tolerance”.  I believe there are at least two problems with enacting these types of plans.  First; they do not leave room for teacher discretion.  For instance, they enact a zero tolerance for guns on school grounds and then suspend children for playing with an army man that was holding a gun, making a gun shape out of their pop tart, or using their finger as a gun (These are all real events).  The second problem is that a static plan does not account for a dynamic offender.  The best example I can think of is the lockdown, which I will cover in more detail below.

 

Lock Down

There are different ways of initiating a lockdown.  In general, an announcement is made or shots are heard.  The teacher then closes the door and gets the children out of sight of any doors or windows.  I have heard of some plans that state that the teacher will also slip a colored piece of paper under the door.  The paper could mean various things, depending on it’s color what’s written on it.  To an active shooter, those papers are a sign that someone is or was recently in that classroom.  Some schools have a police officer on campus.  Either they or school administration will call for backup or call 911 respectively.  The police have their own response plans that have changed greatly as school shootings have become more frequent.

A static lockdown plan puts all staff and students hiding in a classroom, waiting for the police, even if the shooter is on the other end of the school and an easy escape could be made.  I wonder if the same people who have devised lockdowns at our schools are the same people who say “we don’t need to own guns because it is the job of the police to keep us safe”.

 

A.L.I.C.E.

Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate. From School Security.org

“The debate grows as a number of current and former self-defense trainers, individuals with military background, and some School Resource Officers and others in law enforcement advocate for this approach.  This is often referred to as ALICE Training, where ALICE stands for Alert-Lockdown-Inform-Counter-Evacuate. ALICE and other similar programs offer little-to-nothing new with alerts and lockdowns, and schools are already being trained to have evacuation plans, and the idea of “inform” questionably assumes that someone in the school will be able to visually monitor all of the suspects while simultaneously “informing” or communicating their whereabouts to everyone in the building.

The controversial issues rise over the Counter component to the approach which advocates training children to try to “distract” and “confuse” armed suspects by throwing items and attacking the armed intruder.  Many educators, law enforcement officers, parents and school safety specialists do not support this proposed approach for “training” students in preK-12 school settings.”

The article goes on to say:

“Trump says that advocates of such training are quick to claim that opponents of the training are forcing children to become “sitting ducks” waiting to be slaughtered.  While this emotional appeal obviously strikes the chord of anxious, concerned parents, it fails to recognize many critical implementation considerations ranging from child learning and development factors, to implementation issues such as whether school districts could even possibly provide the quality and quantity of training necessary.  Those experienced in school safety who have worked with schools know that with today’s academic demands, the vast majority of schools are struggling to provide the comprehensive and ongoing training needed for the adult crisis team members and staff we entrust with the care of our children. “

Ken Trump is a School Safety Expert with 25 years in school safety experience.  Mr. Trump lists various reasons why this type of training for children is ineffective and a poor idea; from not having the budget or an adequate amount of training, to possibly drawing unneeded attention to themselves.

 

My Take:

Mr. Trump points out that “it is unrealistic to expect 25 students and a teacher to react simultaneously with split-second accuracy and timing when a person with a gun unexpectedly walks into a room.”  I agree with him.  I also think that lock down drills are the equivalent to car a mechanic only using a pliers as his only tool in any situation.  Sure, it might be the perfect tool for some jobs, but there are going to be many jobs where it won’t work very well and others where it’s a complete failure.

This isn’t a pleasant topic, but I think it’s one all parents should talk to their kids about.  You might be afraid you’ll instill some fear, but you may be surprised to find out that their school already does lockdown or other types of drills. Even if you do install a bit of fear, that fear can be used to keep them safe later.  According to Trudee, instead of fear, she sees children feeling empowered by the information and ability to play an active role in keeping themselves safe.

Trudee and I started talking to our kids about this when they hit middle school.  The schools they’ve attended use lockdowns and have one part time officer.  Mr. Trump also makes the point that some teachers have used great courage and stepped in harm’s way to keep their students safe.  I commend those heroes and praise God for them.  However, I am not willing to bank our children’s safety on the decisions someone may or may not make.

A one-size-fits-all plan just doesn’t work.  I believe us parents need to make educated decisions based upon our thoughts on the school plans, our beliefs and our children’s abilities.  After all, we know our children best.

We told our kids to use their brains; that if they thought the directions being given by the teacher made sense, to follow them, but if the teachers’ directions sounded foolish or made them feel like they were in more danger, they could make their own decision.  For instance, if they heard shooting and it sounded far enough away, to get out of the school and meet us at a certain cross street a few blocks away.

If you don’t like the plan your child’s school has and you think your child has the ability to make critical decisions, you may want to come up with an alternative plan.  Introduce it to them as an option they can use.  Find a place they can easily get to off of school grounds that provides cover and concealment.  Walk them through different routes through the school they can take to avoid the sounds of gunfire or other trouble.

Police training has changed drastically since Columbine.  Once they arrive, they will immediately enter the school to engage the shooter(s).  What your child does in those few minutes until the police arrive are what you need to consider.  Here is a video that shows how adults should act in an active shooter situation.  Run. Hide. Fight.  It might be a good idea to watch it before talking to your kids.  You might even want to have them watch it, using your discretion, of course.

 

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Security is a Woman’s Responsibility Too

I have noticed that almost half of the people that like the Prepared Christian facebook page, and roughly half of the people that sign up to receive email updates are women.  This article is directed at all of my female readers as well as any man that has a woman in their life.

In many homes the job of seeking out the cause of things that go bump in the night is relegated to a man.  But what happens if the husband isn’t home or is incapacitated?  Then consider single moms or single women that live alone.

According to the Rape Trauma Services website there are “1.3 women (ages 18 and over) in the United States are forcibly raped each minute. That translates to 78 per hour, 1,871 per day, or 683,000 per year.” I believe these statistics were taking from 1992, but I have a hard time believing they would be any lower today.

Whether it is seeking the source of something that went bump in the night, or fending off an attacker, security is a woman’s job too.   The most important self-defense tool you can have is your mind, so I want to discuss mindset, I will also list some tools available to keep you safe.

 

Mind Set

The statistics turn my stomach, but they are eye opening.  It’s something men might think about as a danger for the women in their lives, but not as an ever present danger to themselves.  But the truth is, it is an ever present danger to women.  If you’re reading this there is a good chance you are a prepper, someone who is awake to potential dangers and someone who takes measures to mitigate them. Rape and other violent crime is another very real danger, in fact it is more of a danger than most of the other things we prepare for.

The Gift of Fear and Other Survival Signals that Protect Us From Violence is a book everyone should read, but especially woman. It explains that there are things that happen that we might overlook, but our subconscious picks up on.  I wrote a review of which can be found here. Once you open your eyes and see that there are dangers and you decide to take precautions, you can do things like practice situational awareness and use the Cooper Color Code, these two things will help you be more aware of potential threats, which can help you avoid possibly dangerous situations.

 

It’s Not Just a Man’s Job

As I mentioned above security is many times treated as a man’s job.  I have received email’s stating it and I have seen similar comments on various forums.  I don’t have a problem with security being primarily the man’s job, but it is also the woman’s.  When something goes bump in the night, I am the one to check on it, but Trudee is at the ready, to assist me or call 911 if needed.  If I was injured and was physically unable to check on it, or if while checking on it was rendered incapacitated, she would have a means to protect herself and call for help.

For a woman to be able to defend herself, she must have a weapon she is comfortable using.  One option that I like is a youth model 20 gauge shotgun.  Youth models are shorter and weigh less, and are easier to maneuver inside.  If a handgun with defensive loads are what is used, I suggest going to a range that rents guns and try a few out.  I know one of our local ranges has “Ladies Night” that are a basic introduction to handguns class made up of only woman.  First Shots is an organization that Trudee and I actually went through to take an introductory hand gun course through.

If you can only afford to have one firearm at home, please make it one that the smallest framed adult can use.  And each person should know how to operate it and be comfortable using it.

If you aren’t able to carry a firearm but want to have something for protection, I recommend pepper spray.  I wrote an article called Self-Defense: Pepper Spray where I explain some of the downsides of certain types of pepper spray.  I personally carry Cold Steel Inferno .38 oz. Keyring Hardcase Unit Pepper Spray as does Trudee,  it is OC type, which is an inflammatory agent and causes one’s eyes to slam shut and severe burning.  CS and CN types are irritants and some people are not affected.

 

Final Thoughts

When it comes to security, it might primarily be “the man’s job” but some of that responsibility also falls on the women’s shoulders.  Ladies you are responsible for your own safety and for the safety of your family, even if that means in an assisting role.

 

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One In The Chamber

If you have your CCW permit, do you carry with one in the chamber?  When I first got mine I didn’t.  I told myself that, if needed, I would be able to get one in the chamber fast enough to be effective.  Thank you Lord that I never had to find out, but I feel pretty confident that I was wrong.

I had a few reasons but they boiled down to a lack of confidence.  I had been to the range a few times and was proficient in putting holes in cardboard, but the idea of carrying with a round loaded made me uneasy.  It’s not that I thought it might just go off.  I knew better than that.  If the gun is only going to fire when I pull the trigger, then the problem is me.  Once I understood that, I examined why I wasn’t confident and rethought my opinion that I would be able to get a round in the chamber fast enough.

 

Anatomy of a Gun Fight

I don’t know if this is true or not but it sounds accurate to me. I have heard this figure a few times in the self-defense circles; “in the average gun fight there are three shots fired in three second in the space of three yards.”  I have heard both yards and feet, but nine feet seems like a more believable distance to me than three feet.

I wish I could say I was a very quick draw.  In truth, I haven’t spent a lot of time practicing drawing to make it sink into muscle memory.  I also carry concealed, so I always have a jacket or shirt over my firearm.  Add these two things to the mix and a good bit of that three seconds has been chewed up just getting the weapon out of the holster.

It is possible to fire a shot immediately after you draw the gun and before you are in a typical stance.  This could only be done if there is one in the chamber.  If you have to chamber a round, you’re now under immense stress, bringing your weak hand over to chamber a round.  Do you think you can do that fast?  Get some dummy rounds and try it out.

 

Situational Awareness is a Must But it’s Not Enough

While it might be true that the average gun fight last three seconds, my guess is that the clock starts once the first shot is fired.  There is almost always a sign before violence erupts.  If you are using Cooper Color Code, you are actively scanning everyone to determine if they are a threat.  You can then either escalate the code or deescalate, based on your judgment.  While this may be true, that only means you are aware of the danger before it erupts into violence.  Situational awareness is a must, but it is not enough.  It will let you know there is going to be a fight, but won’t put rounds in play faster once you’ve drawn.

 

Good Habits

I have always practiced good habits with any firearm; finger never on the trigger until I am ready to fire, never pointing the gun at something I am not willing to destroy, etc.  I have carried with one in the chamber for some time now and it hasn’t just gone off on its own.  I haven’t shot myself in the leg when I unholster the gun at home.  I do, however, remove the magazine and take the round out of the chamber once at home.

Do any of you who are more experienced with firearms have anything to add?

 

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