December 1, 2015

Should a Christian Carry a Firearm?

Should a Christian Carry a Firearm
I was originally going to write about whether a Christian should carry at church, but the issue is broader than that, so I decided to expand it, and discuss carrying at church as a part of this topic.

Should a Christian Use Self-Defense?

I covered this topic thoroughly in Should Christians Practice Self-Defense. In an attempt to keep this article slightly less than a novel, I am only going to bring up a couple issues here about Christians and self-defense.

I have been accused of twisting God’s Word and told that I should be ashamed for telling people that God is in favor of people using self-defense. First, I have come to my belief based on what scripture says and the use of common sense. I have not twisted scripture to fit my already held belief. If you are of that opinion, do me a favor and show me where I am wrong in scripture. We’re both entitled to our opinions about the use of violence. However, we are not entitled to making scripture say something it doesn’t say. I can show you several verses where God either used violence, or mandated it.
The Lord Abhors Violence

“The Lord hates violence” is a saying I have heard a few times in my life. It never really made sense to me, because of how He used violence to defeat His enemies throughout the Old Testament and will in Revelation.

I have a hunch that the person who came up with that saying and those who espouse it now, are actually the ones that hate violence! Doing a search for the word violence at Blue Letter Bible brings up over 50 verses and not one of them includes “The Lord hates violence”.

There are several verses decrying the use of violence, but what these people either don’t see, or leave out is that these verses decry the use of violence by those who clothe themselves in it and love it. Not one mention is made of never using violence to defend oneself.

Here are some examples:

Psalms 11:5 “The LORD examines the righteous, but the wicked, those who love violence, he hates with a passion.”

Psalms 7:9 “Bring to an end the violence of the wicked and make the righteous secure— you, the righteous God who probes minds and hearts.”

Proverbs 21:7 “The violence of the wicked will drag them away, for they refuse to do what is right.“

Now one might say that doesn’t say we’re permitted to use violence. There are several verses where God commands the use of force to destroy His enemies or uses it Himself.

Where is the line; when are we permitted to use violence then? Let’s take a look at David.
As a very young man, he stood before an entire army and condemned them for their blasphemy against God. He then proceeded to kill Goliath and cut off his head. He entered into many wars and smaller conflicts throughout his life. It wasn’t until David turned away from God, murdered Uriah and let his bloodlust take over that he got into trouble with the Lord. David’s love of violence and unrighteous use of it, is what almost led to his being eternally separated from God.
Jesus is a Pacifist

No, no He is not. He was non-violent. There is a big difference! A non-violent person is non-violent until they need to be. A pacifist refrains from it even at the cost of their own or a loved one’s welfare.

Jesus practiced avoidance and de-escalation at various times; when they went to get stones to kill Him and again when He said “he who is without sin cast the first stone” are two examples that come to mind.

I have read a few articles that say that the angel referred to as the Angel of the Lord, was actually Jesus, before He was born of the flesh. I don’t know if this is true or not and is something I have wanted to look into, but have not yet. If this is true, then read the Old Testament again and look at the different accounts the Angel of the Lord using violence. One would be killing 185,000 Assyrians for example.

Even if that is not true, it does not change His use of violence in the end of days. He kills with the very word of His mouth:

Revelations 19:15 “Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.”

Revelations 19:21 “The rest were killed with the sword coming out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.”
Turn the Other Cheek

There are so many people who think this verse means, offer the other cheek to be slapped, to not only not defend yourself, but to ask for more. The trouble with this is that context is important. I have done a fair bit of research and I have found four theories that take the verse in context of the Jewish people at the time of Christ.

The following are some things to keep in mind.

Many cultures have used the left hand for “unclean” tasks and I believe some still do. I remember my father, who is left handed, telling me that when he was a child his parents tried to force him to use his right hand for writing and other tasks. I mention this only to give some example of how widespread this practice was. Because the left hand was used for unclean tasks you would not use it, not even to strike someone you deemed less honorable than yourself.

Honor is something else that is lost on western culture. In many cultures, even today, honor is valued higher than life. This is why there are honor killings in some religions and cultures. Honor was also very important in the days when Jesus walked the earth. He condemned the Pharisees for always wanting to sit in the place of honor. He also rebuked the disciples, telling them in Mark 9:35 “Anyone who wants to be the first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else.” One would only slap someone they considered less honorable than themselves and Jesus states, “If your right cheek is slapped.” Since the left hand would not be used, one would have to use their right hand for a backhand slap. A backhanded slap carries more dishonor than a palm.

To see the full list of theories please see Should Christians Practice Self-Defense

After my research, I believe that what was meant was to not react to insults, not that we should offer the other check to be slapped.
Sheep, Wolves and Sheep Dogs

Here is an excellent excerpt from the book, On Combat, by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman. More can be read from this excerpt on his website Killology Research Group.

One Vietnam veteran, an old retired colonel, once said this to me: “Most of the people in our society are sheep. They are kind, gentle, productive creatures who can only hurt one another by accident.” This is true. Remember, the murder rate is six per 100,000 per year, and the aggravated assault rate is four per 1,000 per year. What this means is that the vast majority of Americans are not inclined to hurt one another….

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. However, 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. For now, though, they need warriors to protect them from the predators.

“Then there are the wolves,” the old war veteran said, “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,” he went on, “and I’m a sheepdog. I live to protect the flock and confront the wolf.” Or, as a sign in one California law enforcement agency put it, “We intimidate those who intimidate others.”

I only have a few things to add to this. The Sheep Dog Mottos is “Only a predator can stop a predator.” This is absolute fact. Watch any place with a bully in action. People may tell the bully to stop picking on the lamb, but the young wolf ignores them. That is until a sheepdog steps in front of the sheep to confront the wolf.

I was a sheep during my childhood. Back then Autism and Asperger’s wasn’t well known, so I was looked at as being quiet and, well, a little odd. Because of this, I was picked on horrifically from 1st grade until 10th grade. The summer after 9th grade, I made a decision not to be bullied any more and hit the weights. God blessed me with a growth spurt as well. Oh there were still insults, but the violence had stopped, and I was now mostly ignored, which was fine with me.

Civilization continues on because of sheep dogs; in uniform, wearing a badge or civilian. The choice must be made to stop being a sheep, and anyone can make that choice. A 4’, 90lb woman with the mindset and will to use a firearm is just as capable as a 6’, 200lb man is of stopping a wolf!

I’m sure many of you will agree with this; I don’t ever want to use violence. I will try to deescalate, and avoid violence if possible, only using it as a last resort. However, if the wolf comes and tries to hurt my family or myself, I don’t care if it’s bigger, stronger or if there are more of them; I will be a danger to my enemy. Trust me, the cost they will pay in pain and blood is not worth whatever benefit they were after. I may not go unscathed, but “baa” is not in my vocabulary, and it is not in my nature to allow my loved ones or myself to be victimized.
Violence at Church

“Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues.”
~Mathew 10:17

This is a subject I have covered before in Rising Church Crime and Security back in 2011. Things have only gotten worse. I recently attended the Sheep Dog for Churches Seminar with Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, Carl Chin and Jimmy Meeks.

While I knew some of what was covered from my past research, I learned a lot and was blessed by listening to these men of God and sheepdog trainers. I will cover the seminar in more detail in a future post, but will just cover some high points now.

Since 2006 the rate of deaths at churches or at church functions or buildings has skyrocketed over 1000%! That is NOT a typo! There have been over 549 violent deaths at churches since 1999!

In the 36 months of 2012 (75), 2013 (45), 2014 (74), there were more deaths at churches than at schools! Remember that this was the time period for one of the bloodiest, most horrific school massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary.

I’m not trying to diminish the problem of school violence, I’m simply trying to make you more aware of the problem of violence at faith-based centers.
Should a Christian Carry a Firearm?

If you have read everything thus far, you would think my answer is “yes”. However, my answer is, “actually, it depends”. If you cannot get your mind ready to take the life of another, do not carry, as you would be a liability.

If you have a prepared mind, then yes, I do believe, if you are legally able, you should carry. I support law enforcement but it is not possible for an officer to be everywhere at all times. If they are there, they will try to protect and serve. If they are not, they will document the crime scene.

God has called us each to serve Him in some manner that no one else could do like we do. Not to toot my own horn, but when I started this site, there were two other sites that looked at some of the same issues but they were posted to and updated infrequently. I have heard from scores of people who thank me for putting a Christian perspective on preparedness topics. If I had decided I wasn’t up to the task, would there be a Christian voice on these topics? It’s possible, but they wouldn’t have covered them the way I have.

Now, we all have a calling. However, because He gave us free will, it is possible that Joe Dirtbag may come along and interrupt God’s plan. Is it not our duty to defend ourselves and protect God’s plan so we can further work for His glory?

I believe that if we see a wrong being done to another person and choose to do nothing we then bare some guilt for that wrong. Not only that, but for future wrongs the evildoer will accomplish as a result of not being stopped. Because Joe Dirtbag doesn’t like being stopped and doesn’t want to possibly go to jail, he sometimes uses force to stop the Sheepdog. “A predator is the only thing that can stop a predator” and a gun is what gives that predator, the sheepdog, teeth.
Should We Carry at Church?

In some states, carrying a gun in places of worship is illegal. In states where it is not, whether or not to carry is a debated issue. With everything I have listed here and what I will cover soon in my review of the Sheep Dog for Church Seminar, I absolutely will carry in every church I attend.

I believe it was LT. Col. Grossman who said that “if we love the people we worship with, we should carry the tools to protect them.”

Again, Jesus Himself said violence would be done to believers in our places of worship. History, over the last 2,000 years, has shown Him to be correct. I believe the future will continue to prove so as well.

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Disabling an Attacker’s Sight, Wind or Mobility

In the Navy, I had to take a firefighting class. One of the things we were told is that a fire needs three things; oxygen, heat and combustible material. Take one away and you put out the fire.

Similarly, an attacker needs three things to attack you. They are; sight, wind and mobility. Sight to see you and by wind I mean breath. Cut off someone’s ability to take a breath and the fight flees from them quickly. If they are immobilized, you can easily escape.

This is something I have been thinking about for a while. If you see any holes, please let me know. Before I continue, let me explain my take on self-defense. Violence should be used as a last resort. When it is used, you should use as little force as is necessary (meaning you don’t shoot someone making verbal threats). You do, however, use as much force as is needed to stop the forward movement of the threat. Once you have stopped the threat, you stop the use of force and escape as quickly as possible. Not stopping and continuing the attack is no longer acting in self-defense, and I would say is acting in vengeance. Both God and the state take issue with this, albeit for different reasons.

One thing to keep in mind about self-defense is that some people are not as affected by pain as others. This could be from adrenaline surge, or from being chemically altered, among other reasons. Someone’s ability to be unaffected by pain won’t matter for the majority of the items I will list. If you can’t see, breath or move, you can’t see, breath or move, your ability to bypass pain doesn’t matter. Many of these items can also easily be used from a smaller statured person on a larger attacker.


There are several ways to disable an attacker’s sight, ranging from inflicting tears, to severely damaging the eyeball with a gouge for instance. Here are just some of the ways I can think of, along with my thoughts on each.
Eye Gouge

I wrote an article called If You’re in a Fair Fight, Your Tactics Suck where I explain several methods of “fighting dirty”. In it, I say this about the eye gouge:

“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.”
Eye Poke, Flick and Rake

If you gouge out someone’s eyes, I think it is probably going to be very easy to escape. But since people shy away from the eye gouge, I think an eye poke or flick would be a more popular choice. Neither cause as much damage and, in some cases, might only cause tearing or a temporary distraction. Because of this, I would follow it up with another attack listed here.

Eye poke is just like it sounds; give them the Ol’ Three Stooges poke in each eye. The difference between this and the gouge is the amount of pressure before you stop.

The Eye flick is, to me, much easier to deliver as you don’t really need to aim as much as you do with a gouge or poke because you flick your wrist, aiming all of your fingers at their eyes. I was taught to do this followed up with a right cross or elbow strike to the chin.

Raking the eyes means scratching. This could cause damage to the eyes or it could just cause pain. If you do this, I would follow it up with another attack.
Punch in the Nose

Getting hit in the nose will cause the eyes to tear; this should be quickly followed by another attack as it alone isn’t guaranteed to stop the threat.
Pepper Spray

There is a lot of misinformation about pepper spray out there. I have seen people say it’s all worthless because they watched someone spray it into their mouth like breath spray, or put it on a sandwich and eat it. You can read my full thoughts on it in the article Self-Defense: Pepper Spray. For now I will just say that these people fail to understand that there are three types of pepper spray and they are not all equal.

CS (Orthochlorobenzalmalonitrile),
CN (alphachloroacetaphenone)
OC (Oleoresin Capsicum).

CS and CN are considered irritants and will cause stinging and tearing. They can take from five to thirty seconds to be effective and may have little to no effect on someone who is chemically altered or in a psychotic state.

OC on the other hand is an inflammatory agent. When sprayed with it, your eyes immediately slam shut. People most often become temporarily blind due to the capillaries in the eyes dilating. From breathing in the agent, there is also coughing and possibly some choking.
Other Irritants

Spraying or throwing other things into the eyes could cause temporary blindness. I know this first hand. As a kid in seventh grade, a guy from school blew a handful of powdered dry soap into my eyes. I don’t think I actually went blind for any length of time (thank you Jesus), but because of the pain and watering I could not open my eyes. Hot liquids would work as well.


Wind, breath, air; without it one is not going to be fighting for long.
Pepper spray

I have seen people gasp, cough, choke and vomit from having been sprayed with pepper spray. Again OC spray causes a biological reaction. It cannot be trained against as some of the other types of pepper spray or mace can be.
Throat Strike

Collapsing the airway is another way to stop an attacker. One way is to keep the fingers together, forming a Y with the thumb and aim for the throat. On a man I would aim just below the Adams apple.
Midsection Strike

I hesitate to put this in because it can be defended against by flexing the abdominal muscles. But, as I found from sparring, even people who are expecting to get hit, get caught off guard. I only hit them with maybe 40% force, and while it didn’t knock the wind out of them completely, it did cause them spew what air they had and then gasp for more. If you use this attack on your attacker, your goal should be to hit their stomach hard enough that you could hit their spine. If you don’t knock the wind out of them, then this alone might not take them out of the fight. If not, quickly follow up with something to stop their mobility or hinder their vision.


By either causing so much pain as to immobilize someone, or causing enough damage to a part of the leg; well if you cannot be chased you can simply escape. There are nerves and arteries that can be struck, but that takes some practice, so I am not going to list them here. The attacks I list are things most people should be able to do.
Striking the Knee

Striking the knee from either the front, or side with enough force can cause all kinds of damage. This can be done with a kick, or tackling, though I don’t recommend tackling unless there is no other option. The type of kick I am talking about would strike their knee with the bottom of your foot.
Foot Stomp

Stomping or otherwise striking the top of someone’s foot, I suppose, could cause them to be unable to bear weight on it. If nothing else, it can distract them and give you the opportunity to go for a KO.
Knock Out

This is by no means a guarantee, but an unconscious person makes for a really bad attacker. Forget the standing toe to toe trading haymakers with your fists. Elbows are far better suited than your fist for this task. Most likely, you will have more power behind it and elbows are less likely to break after a strike than a hand.

Your goal is to get as much of your elbow on as much of their lower jaw/chin as possible.
Breaking the Ankle

Standing firm on someone’s foot and pushing them could cause them to break an ankle. However, don’t remove your foot until they are on the ground.
Groin strikes

I think all men have been hit hard enough in the groin to make them immobile. It’s not a guarantee though. Some hits will cause nausea and can also still cause pain, but usually not enough to immobilize.

The optimal way to strike would be going upward from knees to groin, not just a direct hit. You should also strike with enough force that to kick them in the chin if it were possible.

Hopefully you will never need to use any of these attacks. But if you are ever the victim of violence and get the opportunity to, fight to take away their sight, wind or mobility so you can escape!

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Challenging Commonly Held Firearms Beliefs

Challenging Commonly Held Firearms Beliefs

I was looking over some of my older posts and noticed I haven’t written an article on using a firearm to CCW or for self-defense in quite some time. So I want to take the opportunity to give you information that I believe is important, and doesn’t necessarily fit into its own article.

I’ll start off by saying that when it comes to the use of firearms for self-defense, there are some people who are so married to their belief, that they’re almost offended when presented with opposing information. If you have a belief that I say something against, please let me know why you think I am wrong. Some of what I will say today is my opinion, but much of it is backed up by science.
The History of Firearms Training

Until recently, most of the information trainers passed on about the use of handguns for self-defense was gleaned second hand, or information they read from a book, which at the time was cutting edge. In the last fifteen years though there has been a wealth of data coming in from the video cameras that are everywhere. From police dash cams, CCTV, cell phone cameras and even from the wars overseas. There have also been several studies done by neuroscientists that have made it so we have a better understanding of how the brain works in training and in critical incidents.

Many people have learned from a friend who was a cop or in the military back in the day. I’ll go back to saying that their training was probably top notch when they got it, but it very well could be outdated.
You’ll Default to Your Highest Level of Training

Uh no you won’t. Let’s say you take an expensive 2-day handgun course and learn all kinds of great information. If you never practice those things, you will not do them when in a critical incident. You may have heard the term “muscle memory”, which is a little misleading. Your muscles don’t have a memory, your brain just learns to do things by repetition.

For example, do you need to look at your hands or the shoestrings when you tie your shoes? If you’re just learning how you might, but if you have done it for years it is now second nature. Now let’s say you buy a new pair of shoes and the salesperson shows you a new knot that performs better than the standard knot, and you only practiced it at the store. Now if we added some form of critical stress, such as a burning house, a home invasion or zombie attack and you had to put on your shoes and tie them, your brain is trained to tie them the standard way, so that is how it will respond under critical incident, your body defaults to what the brain has done most often. You can retrain it over time, but that requires repetition to build that “muscle memory”.
Training For the Worst of the Worst

Needing to defend yourself with a firearm is a worse case self-defense scenario. Criminals don’t let you know they’re going to attack or how they’ll attack. Because of this, you can’t know how things will unfold, so practicing for the worst of a worst case scenario is a good idea. If you only ever train to shoot one round at one attacker, what will you do when faced with multiple attackers and your first shot misses? With this in mind, here are my thoughts on a few related topics.
Revolvers for Self-Defense

I can’t even tell you how many times I have heard people recommend revolvers for self-defense, usually recommended because they don’t fail as semi-autos do. While this is true, it doesn’t take into consideration the entire picture. Police switched from revolvers to semi-autos many years ago for several reasons. Magazine capacity and ease of reloading are just two.

Since we’re talking about the worst of the worst, you don’t know how many attackers or how many rounds you’ll need to fire. A revolver holds six rounds, and it is very easy to fire six rounds in under 2 seconds. You might think that is overkill, but we’re talking about worst case, and there have been several police shootings where the officer emptied their magazine before the attacker went down. I’ll wager that this is often due to missed shots caused by physiological changes in the body.

If you only have those six rounds and are in need of more, while you can reload with a speed loader, unless you have practiced using it heavily, you might not to be able to do it quickly or at all under stress, due to the physiological changes in the body. Under critical stress, blood is taken from the extremities and pooled into the body’s core. This means fine motor function is highly reduced in the hands, limiting dexterity.

Yes, semi-autos fail, but one can quickly learn how to clear the three types of failures in seconds, and get back in the fight. These are much easier to manipulate with loss of fine motor skills and can be learned quickly. The vast majority of the three types of failures can be cleared with “tap and rack”; hitting the bottom of the magazine and racking a new round into the chamber, which can be done in 1-2 seconds.

If you use a revolver for strength issue, by all means use it. But get proficient at changing speed loaders just in case.
Double Tap

Double Tapping has been a standard in self-defense for decades. Often, practice is to draw from the holster, fire two rounds into center mass and holster. Since we’re talking about the worst of the worst case scenarios and we know that people fall back to their most frequent level of practice, what do you think will happen when rounds miss or don’t bring the attacker down? There have been reported cases where an officer fired his two shots and holstered his firearm, only to have the attacker continue the attack.

Studies have also been done on the accuracy under critical incidents, which show that as many as 70% of rounds fired are misses. Now, I graduated before common core math, but I am still pretty sure 70% of 2 means either one or both rounds missed.

Instead, I recommend that you practice firing varied rounds each time when training, sometimes firing twice and other times three, five or six rounds. If you are ever involved in a critical incident and must shoot, continue to fire until forward movement of the attacker has stopped.
Does Size Matter?

This is one of the oldest arguments in the realm of firearms for self-defense; does the caliber of the round matter (I can feel the heated comments already lol)? I think that before modern self-defense ammunition, designed to expand upon contact, the size of the round may have been important. However, with the advances of modern ammo, I am of the belief that 9mm is a better choice than .45 for a few reasons.

One shot stop (or two shot) is often recited, but the stopping power of one round does not take into account the physiological changes involved in a critical incident and is irrelevant if it is missed or does not hit a vital organ.

Modern day self defense ammo expands upon contact dumping its kinetic energy into the flesh. As it expands it leave a much bigger hole then the ammo of the past.

The recoil with 9mm is significantly less than .45, making recoil management much easier so you can get back on target faster to fire again and again. It is also less expensive, and if your training budget is an area of concern, you will be able to practice more.

I don’t recommend anything smaller than a .32 or .380 for self-defense, but the bottom line is: carry what you have and are proficient with. If you like a .45, practice and carry one. I personally carry and practice with a 9mm.
Distance of Attack

Tom Givens is a self-defense trainer out of Memphis Tennessee. He collected information from over 60 self-defense shootings and found that 86.2% of these shootings occurred at the ranges of 9 to 15 feet. If you are practicing for self-defense, it is great if you can hit a bulls-eye at 50 feet, but being able to hit it multiple times in rapid succession at 9 to 15 feet is better.
I Won’t Hesitate to Pull the Trigger

It is a common belief for people to think that if they are in a life and death critical incident, they will not hesitate to stop the threat with lethal force. However, statistics show that throughout history, people who have been trained to kill often hesitate.

The book “On Killing” by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman 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 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.

I have also heard that there is a large percentage of police killed that either never fire their weapon, or made no attempt to. I did a little digging and found this according to the FBI in the 2013 Law Officers Killed and Assaulted Report.

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. In 2013 there were 27 officers killed in the line of duty which, on a side note, was a far lower number than previous years. Of those 27, 18 either did not use or attempt to use their sidearm. You may think that they must have been jumped, but the report shows that only 5 were ambushed.

I am not criticizing these officers or the veterans that chose not to fire either. I am simply asking if these people, who’s job it was to step into danger every day, knowing there was a chance they may need to use deadly force in the course of their career, failed to respond with deadly force, how can you be so sure you will?

Setting my machismo aside, I hope I respond without hesitation. I have done everything I can reasonably do to make sure I act, but I haven’t been tested, so I don’t know. I hope I never have to find out, I do not relish the idea of taking another’s life, not because I don’t want to hurt someone, no, I believe if someone threatens deadly force, they have written you an invitation to use it against them. There is still a lot of legal, personal, spiritual, mental and emotional baggage that goes with it.

If you’re interested, I list a few ways to raise the odds you’ll be able to pull the trigger in Are You Prepared To Use Violence to Stop Violence?

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Willingness to Use Force and the Permission to do so

Willingness to Use Force and the Permission to do so

It is my belief that there is a small percentage of people who are freely willing to use force at a moment’s notice. There is a larger percentage who, because it is not something in their normal routine, have to grant themselves permission so to speak and still another group of people who resist the use of violence, even at their own peril.

If I asked you if you were willing to use force to protect yourself or a loved one, I believe the majority of you would say “yes”, but the speed at which we give ourselves permission could vary greatly and can have a drastic impact on the outcome of the altercation.


I am not a violent man; I personally see it as something that should be used as a last possible option, but it must be an option. To those people who say that violence doesn’t solve anything, I would say “it absolutely does.” Violence, in the form of war, ended the Holocaust and slavery, to name just two horrible things. Violence or the threat of violence in the form of self-defense has stopped violent crimes of every type. The police use violence and the threat of violence to stop crimes of all kinds.

“All it takes for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.”

It is my belief that we have an obligation to confront evil. If we see evil being visited on someone and do not attempt to stop it, we incur some of the guilt that is being inflicted. We could personally intervene or call the police to do so.

I also believe we have a moral obligation to use violence to stop violence being visited upon us. If we do not, I believe we incur guilt for any future evil this person inflicts. We also bare guilt for preventing any future good the victim may have done.

I have heard the argument from Christians in the past that they don’t want to use lethal force because they don’t know the condition of the person’s soul. Their soul is not your personal responsibility in that moment. Being there for your family, providing for them, and living the life God has called you to is your responsibility.


The word “permission,” used in this context, feels a little clunky to me but is actually a good fit. As I stated earlier, violence is not something most of us use often. Because of this, when we must use it, we often have to grant ourselves permission. Depending on our background, our self-talk could be a very short “do it” or we might have to convince ourselves that while we may not like it, this person/situation is forcing us to do this and that if we do not, we may be severely hurt or even killed.

To me, the use of force of any kind is a two part equation; one part moral and the other part legal. If standing before God or a judge, I could explain why I felt justified in using force; for fear of bodily harm or worse. I then have all the permission I need.

In the heat of the moment, you might not have time to consider an explanation to God or a judge. For this reason, it is important to give yourself permission to use force under certain conditions. The amount of force used should also scale with the threat. Here are a few of my personal thresholds.

I don’t think anyone should participate in the posturing that often takes place in street fights; the pushing and chest bumping, insulting and cursing at each other and so on. To me, this is the same as a warning shot. De-escalation here is the prudent thing to do; walk away but remain alert. If your safety is truly in danger, don’t flex, just act. If your safety is not in danger and you take part in the posturing, using force as things escalate, your actions will not be viewed as “self-defense” in court.

That being said, if someone is yelling and threatening me, I will get ready to use force, both mentally and possibly physically, by getting in a fighting stance, for instance, if, for example, walking away isn’t an option because of being backed physically into a corner. Now, if the person threatening has a weapon and is making threats, the use of force is more than likely called for.

Once someone places their hands on someone else in a violent manner, from a slap, push, punch or choke, the attacker has given the victim permission to use enough force to stop the aggression.

Preemptive Strike

I think preemptive use of force can often prevent a more violent outbreak. For example; you’re out to dinner with your children or grandchildren and someone who has had too much to drink is being verbally abusive to everyone around them. You get up to leave, which draws attention to you, and the man starts cursing you and threatening you as he blocks your exit to the door. Knocking him on his backside could very well stop him from escalating even more and physically attacking you or your loved ones.

Here is another example; a woman is walking by herself in a parking garage. She is approached by a man she doesn’t know. He grabs her by the arm and tells her not to scream. If she either used a combative, aka a punch or kick to cause enough damage to stop the aggression, or pulled a firearm and demanded he leave, she could very well prevent herself being kidnapped, raped and killed.

In neither of these examples did the attacker have a visible weapon, but because of their actions, I believe the victim has a very viable case of using force in self-defense.

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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”.


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.

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.

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.



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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