Condition: Yellow - responsible preparation, and fun, for an unpredictable world

Quick Pair at 20 Yards

Two rounds from concealment on 6″ steel at 20 yards. From this distance I try to get them in under 1.75 seconds. Sometimes I’m able to. These reps were okay (one slow and one fast).

I admit I have miss-hit or a hit-miss about 60% of the time on this drill. Trying to get better. Moar training!

Rainy Training – Plates at 10 Yards

It rained all morning so I trained in the rain. Today I worked left-hand-only drills and first shots from concealment on plates at 10 yards. As you can see, I’m completely soaked through. It never stopped raining the whole time.

My completely soaked shirt was awkward to clear when drawing from concealment. Not terrible, but awkward. Luckily, my Glock is stippled so I had no trouble keeping a good grip on my pistol during the drills. Every polymer pistol should be stippled as a mandatory requirement for carry, by the way. Rain, sweat, and blood are not uncommon. if your gun’s not stippled, you have a slippery fish in your holster.

So here’s a clip of part of my training today. It’s boring.

Wartime EDC Truck Rig

We are at war. Since one never knows when the war will be brought by mob of leftist thugs or Islamic terrorists to the street one is driving on, it makes sense to have enhanced defense capability in one’s automobile.

.300BLK SBR

My SBR goes with me everywhere.

As a matter of course, and like many responsible Americans, I am armed every waking moment with my Glock 19 (and 2 spare magazines whenever I leave the house). Additionally, I carry a RATS tourniquet and both folding and fixed-blade knives with me. Since this is a time of war, whenever I leave the house I bring my .300BLK short barreled rifle with me. My rifle is loaded, but one magazine might not prove sufficient in a situation where my vehicle is blocked or disabled and a violent mob descends upon my location; or if a small team of jihadis armed with fully automatic AKs decides to make a religious statement in my location. So I carry a light-but-effective chest rig, too.

I carry my Haley Strategic Disruptive Environments chest rig in the driver’s-side door panel of my truck.

chest rig in my truck

My WEDC chest rig

Note that the rig is fitted to my body size and the ends of the straps are wound up with 100MPH tape, so there are no loose ends flopping around.

My WEDC chest rig and contents

The rig’s contents include:

  • 4 full rifle magazines
  • 2 full pistol magazines (for my EDC pistol)
  • 6″ compression bandage
  • flashlight
  • write-in-the-rain pen and pad
  • Sharpie

These—along with the med kit in my truck that quickly clips onto the chest rig, the tourniquet, flashlight, and multi-tool in my pocket, and the knife and phone on my belt—are a nice complement to my EDC pistol and rifle. With these I can shoot, move, communicate, and treat a serious wound.

It is rather unlikely that I’ll ever need to employ my truck rig’s capabilities. But it’s also rather unlikely one would ever need to employ a fire extinguisher. However, as history clearly illustrates: better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

Three-On-One Ambush Drill: Corrected

Yesterday I worked on a multi-attacker ambush drill, but after I brought out the camera my pistol technique quickly became lazy and flawed. The video I shot was a very poor representation of defensive technique. So today, I worked the drill properly and was careful to pay attention to proper technique the whole way through.

I’m embarrassed by yesterday’s derpage so I’ve removed the videos and the post here on my training blog. This video shows much better technique, and while I’ve still got work to do at least I’m not showing wrong technique.

Caveat: If you’re going to try this drill, it is vital that you keep your off hand plastered to your chest and your elbow out of the way of your muzzle! In fact, I highly recommend that you not work this drill until you’ve worked with your instructor on the technique.

Four Targets from Exposure and Cover

Just a drill to practice engaging a couple of immediate threats at 10 yards, then running cover to engage additional threats at 18 yards, each from different positions (low and high).

On this run I had to make up a couple of flubbed shots. Not so good, but it’s important to immediately make up for misses (rather than come off target and have to get back on it). Moar training!

Bill Drill at Ten Yards

Drawing from concealment and putting six shots on target at 10 yards. This 1:93 time is not so great. I like to keep it in the 1:7x to 1:8x range, but less than 2 seconds is a keeper. I’ve done it faster and slower, but wanted to get one run on video this weekend.

Report: Relentless Tactical’s Ultimate Concealed Carry Belt

For everyday wear I prefer a normal-looking leather belt as opposed to a tactical-style belt. Though I carry several EDC items on my belt, I want the easy-on, easy-off, normal buckle that a traditional-looking belt offers, but it can be hard to find this style of leather belt that is stiff enough to serve as an EDC belt.

About seven months ago I purchased the “Ultimate Concealed Carry Belt” from Relentless Tactical. Since then, it has been the only belt I’ve worn every day while carrying a Glock 19, 2 spare mags in a Kydex double mag pouch, iPhone in a Kydex phone pouch, and a TDI knife in a belt-clip holder.

 

RT Ultimate Concealed Carry Belt

 

I find the belt to be attractive and, even with the weave pattern I chose, in no way gaudy. The color is a good brown; neither too red nor too dark for my taste (the belt also comes in black). The edges are smooth and textured well with a dark burnished finish.

When looped once in your hand, the belt will not form a flat rigid ring like many steel or Kydex-core range belts, but the belt is stiff top to bottom. It is impossible to bend the leather from edge to edge. This is an imperative quality for a gun belt.

As I mentioned earlier I carry two magazines, a phone, and at least one knife on my belt in addition to my Glock 19 pistol. With this loadout, the belt has always felt and performed up to the task during the past seven months of every-day wear. I am very happy with the function.

 

Above: This is my normal everyday-carry loadout, 365 days per year. I typically wear an un-tucked shirt, which suffices for easy and complete concealment.

 

Leather belts wear and typically become softer over time. I wondered how this belt would hold up to both softening and to the wear of several Kydex loops and clips. While there is some wear, the exterior wear is not terrible thus far. Wear is minimal at the buckle and hole area; only a crease with no discoloration or cracking of the leather. The belt has completely held its edge-to-edge rigidity.

 

EDC belt

 

The only external wear showing is on the left side where my Kydex mag pouch rides. The interior of the belt loops have sandpaper to keep the the pouch from moving along the belt line. Even so, only one loop area shows wear. It’s not too bad, but there is some discoloration, as you can see below:

 

edc belt wear

 

I have not yet polished this belt and I expect that with a light polish this mild discoloration could be mitigated considerably.

Overall I’m very happy with the Ultimate Concealed Carry Belt from Relentless Tactical and I have no complaints to report. They have a steel-core belt coming soon and I expect I will give that one a try, as it will have the benefit of loop rigidity. In the mean time, I’m not looking for anything else. This belt gets a thumbs up from me.

Situational Awareness Advice for Armed Citizens

If you are habitually armed in public, it is necessary that you live your public life aware of what’s going on around you; that you are situationally aware.

Proper situational awareness is not something you simply get after some time as a concealed or open carrier. Rather it is something that you must deliberately develop into habit. Doing so takes time and continual effort until it’s something you do automatically, without ever thinking about it. Ultimately, situational awareness becomes your lifestyle. That doesn’t mean it’s something conspicuous, something you display in your mannerisms. On the contrary, it’s an unobtrusive quality, likely unnoticeable by those around you. At least it should be, until there’s something to respond to.

To become habitually, situationally aware requires that you work to develop some specific habits that at first will intrude upon your daily life. Initially, they’re things you have to deliberately think about and remember to do nearly all of the time until they become unconscious habits. My advice that follows here includes some important components to situational awareness, but once you start paying attention you’ll likely find or develop others.

 

a public place

 

General Habits

Be genuinely interested in what’s happening around you at all times. Actively and passively monitor the situation for your entire 360.
Everywhere you go you should be continually comparing the people and activity around you to what you believe should be the baseline for the location or context. By baseline, I mean “the normal” for the venue. If anything varies from how people should normally behave, move, talk, and engage in activity it should raise a flag to your attention.

Continually monitor for anything new or incongruent. Note when the volume or character of nearby conversations changes; when the background noise varies oddly; when the flow of human traffic changes; when nearby people’s physical attitude changes, when the point of attention for the people around you changes; when an individual or a group of people seem out of place due to physical attitude, dress, facial expression, movement, or other quality. You might even be able to detect when the mood of those around you changes (develop and then learn to trust your gut!).

At first you’ll have to actively pay attention. In time, you’ll be surprised by how easy it is to keep tabs on everything happening around you. When you have developed the habit, nearly all of the aforementioned information can be monitored passively. When something raises a flag in your attention, switch to active and evaluate things critically for a moment.

 

a restaurant

 

Move and position yourself strategically. Sit facing the front door or the largest area of the room in public places. Even better, have your back to a wall while doing so.
If you’re going to monitor the situation, it’s best to have a clear view of your surroundings, with your back toward the least-likely direction for ambush. This is an easy habit to develop, but it requires that you enlist your family and friends. For instance, my wife always takes the restaurant seat with her back to the door because she knows which seat I’ll take. Likewise, all of my friends know to leave the proper seat to me when we’re out in public because they’ve been trained (by me) and know that if they don’t, I’ll ask to switch seats. When you’re with someone new, move deliberately to take the proper position in a room or at the table.

This is an important habit and allows for some other important ones…

When in a static position in a public place (e.g. seated in a restaurant, in an office waiting room, in your workplace) briefly make note of every person who enters the room.
Take a look at face, hands, and hips and “clear them” as a potential threat before letting your attention drift elsewhere. While this might sound laborious, it’s really quite easy and can be done in one or two seconds. It’s nothing anyone should notice you doing, as it becomes just a component of your stationary activity and varied attention.

Does the person seem nervous or angry? Are they holding their arms oddly, especially holding their arms against their body or beltline? Are they holding something in their hands? What is it? Are they trying to conceal something in their hands? Are they wearing clothes that are incongruent with the temperature or venue? You should be able to tell from the face, hands, or hips, or combination of them, if that person is about to become a threat.

If you’re then going to respond to the potential or developing threat, you’ll have to already have a plan specific to that location (a topic for another article).

Habits for Moving Around

Take a wide line when going around corners. Check beside and behind you after you turn the corner.
When moving to a space you cannot see, it is important not to make yourself an easy target; either for ambush or for collision with someone else who is equally oblivious and coming toward you.

This habit is most threat-context relevant when you’re in a public space, like on a downtown sidewalk, in a parking garage, in an apartment breezeway or hallway. When you’re going to walk around a right-hand corner, western habit is to hug the right side and take the corner in a shallow manner. Break with this habit and always move to the center of the walkway well before the corner so that you get a view of your new space before you move into it. When you’ve finished turning the corner, reevaluate your immediate 360 after a step or two. Corners—before, during, and after—are common ambush locations.

If you’re approaching a T corner, be sure to check both ways as you’re navigating the turn. Don’t leave an unknown at your back.

 

a hallway

 

Scan right and left when walking through a doorway—any doorway, even in your own home.
Like blind corners, archways and doorways take us from a clear view to an unseen area. Make a habit of moving slowly through portals while you quickly scan right and left; even up, when appropriate. Unless you’re actively evaluating for specific threats, this needn’t be anything more than a quick glance, as anything that might concern you will capture your attention.

I say “even in your own home,” because survival is a habit that is relevant to the activity, not to the public or private context. If you sometimes don’t do it, then you’ve not yet developed the habit.

Never walk while looking at or talking on your phone.
Just never do it. Sadly, this is a common habit and character flaw among people today. This one mistake is responsible for a large proportion of mugging victimhood. One should never do it.

Note that your friends who habitually break this rule are alive at the whim of criminals who could take them at any moment. It’s not okay to live at another’s whim.

 

a parking garage

 

When in a parking lot or parking garage, pay particular attention to your surroundings.
These areas are prime ambush locations so always make note of and evaluate:

  • occupied parked cars
  • running cars
  • all of the other people (What are they doing? Where are they going?)
  • blind spots

Additionally, give parked cars a wide berth while walking to/from yours. Note the spaces in between. Never, ever, assume you are alone.

Automobile Habits

Pay particular attention when approaching a parking spot.
Whether you’re in a parking lot, a parking garage, or approaching your own driveway, turn up your awareness as you approach your parking spot. Maintain heightened awareness after you park. Scan the wider area then the immediate area as you pull up. Before you turn off the engine or unlock the doors, do a quick 360 scan. Then, when you exit your vehicle, pay particular attention to the area behind you as you reevaluate your 360 and leave the area of your vehicle.

Undo your seatbelt before you turn into your parking space.
Parking ambush attacks often come or can be noticed before you stop your vehicle. Smart assailants may have an accomplice in another vehicle that will block your way of escape. If you are strapped into your seat, it can be difficult to deploy your defensive weapon quickly enough to thwart the threat before an assailant can gain the advantage (you will likely die if you attempt to draw your own weapon when the assailant’s gun is trained on you). It can be a useful habit to free yourself of constraint well before you begin parking.

Of course, if you notice a threat before you turn off your engine, driving away from a threat can often be the best course of action—provided you’re not blocked in or acting from the drop (when an assailant already has a gun drawn on you).

Develop Your Gut

At first you’ll have to deliberately practice situational awareness. In time, you’ll simply be aware. Ultimately, all of these habits should be automatic and employing them should bring nothing visibly noticeable about you. You’ll still look and behave the same way, but you’ll be far more in tune to what’s going on around you. If you’re going to listen to your gut, give it something to go on and work to develop the senses that will inform your intuition.

Since you’re the one with the defensive weapon on your person, you should be the first one alerted to something wrong. Be first. Those who respond last usually don’t last very long when things go wrong. So if you carry a defensive weapon, give yourself a chance for that fact to count for something when it’s needed.

Firearms Training is Boring

Andy shooting

In order to develop physical and technical gunfighting skills it is necessary to run many individual drills many times. This means you go to the range, choose a drill and run that drill over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over.

Then you chose a different drill and run it over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over.

It’s possible that you could then chose another drill, but it’s likely that by then you’re probably out of ammo for that day.

These drills may be as simple as pressing out from compressed ready, or bringing your rifle up, and putting one round on target at a specific range for time. Or as complex as a multi-person, multi-target, multi-distance, multi-mag, multi-weapon drill that involves some static or fluid scenario plus time and accuracy measurements. Regardless, it is repetition of actions plus measurement and reflection on the results that forges mastery. Without it, you don’t get it.

Firearms training is boring, but so are good shooters. Repetition and measurement; there is no other way to develop technique and skill.

Lather, rinse, repeat.
Lather, rinse, repeat.
Lather, rinse, repeat.

Train often, train well, and be boring.