Mental Preparation

I was talking to a couple of friends and a couple of guys I had just met, recently. Each of us are involved in teaching defensive shooting and defensive tactics. One guy is somebody that I served with in the Army many oh so many moons ago, one is a 20+ year police veteran that worked in Detroit, and the other two are, in their own words, “just a couple of guys that train because we want to protect ourselves and our families.”

After a few minutes of BS, and some discussions about our different backgrounds, we found a couple of topics that really stuck with us and drove the rest of the discussion:

  • Tactics differ between the military, police, and civilian worlds. They are dramatically different.
  • The mental aspect needs to be a major focus in training.

Let’s focus on the latter for a this post. I have a couple of great examples.

Example 1

My police friend told us a story about being called out to a shooting. He got there, and found the victim, alive, but in serious jeopardy of dying. As he applied first aid and was waiting for medical services, he heard the victim tell the story.

The victim was approached about a block from the ATM machine by a guy asking if he had a lighter or match as his lighter was out. As he started to say that he didn’t smoke, the other guy got closer and then within a couple of feet, then demanded the money he just got out of the ATM. The victim finally clued in, way too late, and tried to get distance and pull out his gun and yell at him to get away. The guy then punched him, and took his gun away from him. The victim then tried to rush him, and got shot. While they were talking, he asked the victim why he didn’t shoot. The victim told him that he would never shoot somebody and that he only carried the gun to scare away potential attackers.

My police friend said that he had the victim’s conceal permit taken away while the victim recovered in the hospital. He told the Sheriff that issued it that he said he would never shoot somebody, so there was no reason to let him carry a gun. I am sure several of you reading this are thinking, “I would have shot him.” I will have to say, yeah, I bet you believe you would have, but, really would you have shot him? After all, he wasn’t armed.

Example 2

My military friend said, “I am not shocked to hear that he didn’t shoot. I am shocked to hear that he had made the decision long ago that he would never shoot anyone.” Then he looked at me and said, “No, I will tell this one. Don’t you dare say anything.” He then proceeded to tell his story.

During a mission, him and the other three members in his team were trying to get close to an enemy position so they could call in indirect fire. As they maneuvered through some dense jungle, being as quiet as possible as the team was not to engage the enemy, they were there to find the target, verify it, and call for fire. He was on point, at the time, and coming around a couple of trees, he came face to face with two guys on perimeter security for our target. He froze. The three of them all froze just looking at each other. He said it felt like they looked at each other for several minutes, then he heard the shots that killed them.

One of the team, shot them. A burst into each of them.

They were blown, and they had to haul ass and get out of the area.

I am sure some of you are thinking, yeah, he trained for that, and failed. That is on him, and he must have had some crap training. This is somebody that I respected more than the vast number of people that I served with in the past. He was somebody that I always trusted to have my back. He, later, proved himself over and over.

Mental Prep

As we talked, it was clear that some people just don’t do what needs to be done for whatever reason. It can be conscious choice or just being startled and the training not kicking in like expected. It happens.

The question is how you train to be able to do what needs to be done at that critical moment. We all kind of agreed that force on force training doesn’t help because everyone knows it isn’t real. It may was well be paint ball.

We all, kind of, agreed that it is all about the mental reps. You have to imagine the scenarios, you have to visual drawing and shooting. You have to imagine the after action and what you will do when the threat is done. You have to imagine it all over and over and over again. You have to visualize it until it becomes real and so that, just like drawing and aiming, it becomes muscle memory. It needs to become an automatic response to the triggers that you imagine and that fit with when you are willing to shoot to defend yourself and your loved ones.

I am sure there is more to it, but that is what we all got out of the conversation.

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Type 3 Malfunction

What is it?

This malfunction is often described as a double feed. Basically, there is a mess of stuff going on in the gun. One round failed to extract, and another round was picked up by the slide and it tried to feed into the occupied chamber.

Symptom: The trigger feels squishy or just wrong to the shooter. In most of these imagemalfunctions, the slide has not gone cycled far back enough to reset the trigger. This malfunction can be caused by:

  • Bad extractor
  • Dirty gun or not properly lubed gun
  • Magazine failure

Issue: This malfunction is unique because it involves the following multiple forces fighting each other:

  • Magazine spring – The magazine spring pushes up on the rounds to hold them up in place. The top round is being pushed up against the top of the slide.
  • Recoil spring – The recoil spring forces the new round forward using all its strength.
  • Magazine lip – The magazine lip, is also involved as it is locking the new round in the imagemagazine. While this isn’t true for all magazines, most magazines will still hold the round in the top of the magazine as it has not had a chance to be moved completely free of the magazine. The magazine is a major issue here as it can’t just be dropped, and it can’t even be ripped out in many cases.

So what do you do?

  1. Move! – You just experienced a malfunction, and you need to get out of the line of fire, imagepreferably to some cover. While moving, you need more information, so you should be tiling up your gun so you can see if you can identify the problem.
  2. Lock – Lock back the slide. For most semi-automatics, we have to lock the slide back to relieve the pressure of the recoil spring. In this step, we make sure that the magazine is fully seated.
  3. Rip – Once the recoil spring pressure has been relieved, you can press the magazine release and rip out the magazine. It will, probably, not drop free by itself. You will need to use some physical force.
  4. Retain- Retaining the magazine saves critical time and the critical rounds that it holds. It is imagepretty simple to slide the magazine between the gun’s stock and your hand. Since so many people only carry the magazine in their gun, they don’t have the option of dropping the magazine. Of course, if the magazine is defective, it will still be a problem, which is the main reason to have another magazine available.
  5. Rack, Rack, Rack – Rack the slide, vigorously. You need to rack it multiple times to make imagesure that the round in the chamber is cleared. Keep the magazine in place as you rack the slide.
  6. Insert – Insert the magazine back into the gun. Better yet, replace the magazine with another one as the failure might be magazine related, and you will have the same issue.
  7. Rack – You need to rack the gun again, to feed a round into the chamber.
  8. Sight In – You  need to get that sight picture and resume shooting if the threat still exists.

All steps should be performed at eye level so that you can continue to assess the target. The target may no longer be present or may have stopped because of previous hits.


Thousand Oaks Shooting

Since the 72 hour time frame has passed, by a good bit, and we now have a great deal more information than right after the shooting, I decided it is time to post this and provide some of this information and some of my thoughts.

Firearm: Glock 21, .45 Caliber, imagestandard magazine holds 13 rounds. CA compliant magazine holds 10 rounds. It has been stated that an “extended” magazine was used, but it is not clear whether that means a 13 round standard capacity magazine or some other capacity was used.

Shooter: Former Marine. It is unclear whether he still suffered from PTSD or not, even though he had treatment in the past. He was not a known Jihadist or anything like that.

Summary of Action: The shooter shot the outside security guard, then entered and fired on the crowd using at least two magazines.

California Laws

Just a quick summary of some of the laws of California, where legislators believe that gun control laws work, and continue to push for more and more laws.

Firearm Safety Certificate – All purchasers are required to pass a written test that is proctored by a DOJ approved instructor before purchasing or receiving a handgun. This law did not prevent the shooting.

Universal Background Checks – California has implemented universal background checks that cover all transfers, including loans, of firearms. All sales and transfers are recorded by the state of California. The Glock 21 was legally acquired. The law did not prevent the shooting.


Handgun Roster
– Only certain guns, meeting requirements as specified by the state, are allowed. All manufacturers have to pay for the testing to be allowed on the roster. Also, it might be noted that this law is being challenged as a de factor ban as any new firearms are required to meet standards that can’t be met with today’s technology. The Glock 21 is on the roster. The law did not prevent the shooting.


10 Day Waiting Period
– California requires a 10 day waiting period for the purchase of firearms. Supposedly, this cooling off period will prevent killings, even though there is no proof of this being a deterrent or helping to reduce violence. The law did not prevent the shooting.

New Resident Report of Firearm Ownership – All people moving to California, that have firearms, are required to file a report within 60 days of moving to California. This law did not apply. However, the law did not prevent the shooting.


Ammunition Purchases
– A new laws allows ammunition to only be purchased from  federally licensed dealers. All ammunition was legally purchased. The law did not prevent the shooting.


Red Flag Law
– California is one of the first states to implement a red flag law that allows friends and family to apply to the court to have a person’s firearms taken away from them without due process. However, in the case of this person, he was evaluated by a mental health specialist who cleared him of needing to be committed to a mental facility for treatment. There are no known applications that were submitted to the court, in this case. The law did not prevent the shooting.

CCW Permits – It is well known that California severely restricts conceal carry weapon permits. California is a “May-Issue” state and has no reciprocity with other states. Very few counties will issue permits to the standard citizen, despite training. Political or celebrity influence is a requirement to get a permit in most counties. This law did not prevent the shooting. However, the law prevented a trained and capable private citizen from being armed and able to stop the threat.

Magazine Capacity Limit – Laws exist to prevent the purchase or import of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. A newer law, Proposition 63, was put in place to apply this same limit to all previously grandfathered magazines. Proposition 63 currently is suspended pending further legal action. Despite claims that an “extended” magazine was used, this has not been made clear. To help understand this, please note the the standard magazine that comes with the Glock 21 when purchased in other states, holds 13 rounds. It is possible that 13 round magazines were used. It is possible that 10 round magazines were used. In either case, it is clear that the shooter changed the magazine. The answer as to what capacity magazine was used is not answered, yet. Even if an “extended” magazine were used, it would not have been a significant factor as it has been shown that changing a magazine takes less than second for a trained person. The law did not prevent the shooting.

“Assault Weapon” Ban – This is another of the many laws put in place that did not impact this incident. I can go on and on about the many issues with this law, but that is for another day. The law did not prevent the shooting.

Other Notes

Police Off-Duty Policy – This is not a law, but it is important to note that all six off-duty law enforcement officers at the shooting were unarmed. I have heard that it is a policy that prevents them from carrying when off duty, but i have not confirmed this. Not a law, but it appears to have prevented a trained and capable law enforcement officer from stopping the threat.

Time – The reports say that the initial shooting took about 2.5 minutes. I hope to see a better timeline, soon.

Firearm – The Glock 21 used is not a firearm that would be banned or subject to any special legislation. It is a widely available handgun that is often used for home defense. This was not an evil looking “Assault Weapon.”

Summary

Shootings like this can happen anywhere, even in towns considered to be extremely safe. The inability for potential victims to respond leads to more victims. In this case, there were several unarmed law enforcement officers at the incident.

I feel that it is horrible that the state of California has disarmed its citizens and made them more susceptible to these kind of shootings. It is even worse if the officers were unarmed because of some short-sighted policy.

Proper Training

I have used chainsaws as analogy when discussing firearms, and now seems like a good time to use this analogy, again.

I got my first chainsaw just a couple of years ago, so it is still semi-fresh in my mind.

  1. I opened up the box and took out the chainsaw and the owners manual. Yep, I did this with the last gun that I bought.
  2. I checked to make sure the chain was tensioned properly, and that it moved freely after disengaging the chain lock. I engaged the chain lock, again, and verified that the chain would not move freely. I then added the chain oil. When it comes to my last gun, I did a basic cleaning like the manual suggested after field stripping the gun, then a oiled it as suggested in the owner’s manual.
  3. I took the chainsaw outside, added some gas, put a log on my sawbuck, started the chainsaw, and made a couple of cuts. I put some more logs on the sawbuck and cut them up, too. For my gun, I took it outside, set up a target, loaded it, and then put a couple of magazines of ammo through it.

This is where too many chainsaw and gun owners stop.

Until you properly train with your chainsaw, you won’t understand how a tree will bind up on the chainsaw if you don’t learn how to use it and practice it. Cutting logs on the sawbuck really isn’t enough training. When it comes to cutting up a tree that has blocked your road, unless you have used that chainsaw in the field, you will have issues. You need to practice using your chainsaw under multiple conditions, including in the cold and the rain, and on different kinds of wood, dead-fall and live, Aspen, Pine, and Oak. You don’t know what kind of tree will be in the way and what the conditions will be like when you need to use that chainsaw.

You need to train with your gun, and not just standing still on a range. You need to shoot from multiple positions. You need to learn how to use cover and concealment. You need to train in all weather conditions at all days of the day and the night. You need to train so that you are prepared for that time when your life depends on being able to:

Move

Draw

Move

Shoot

Move

Clear malfunctions

Reload

Move

Notice a theme? You will not just be standing there if that time arrives, at least I hope you won’t just be standing there.

Parking Lot Shooting in Florida

The Short Version of the Story

In case you had not seen this when it hit the news, a man was attacked, then shot and killed his attacker. Well, there is more to it, so here is the summary.

It all started when Britany Jacobs was parked in a handicap spot, without the proper plate or permit. Michael Drejka,47, approached her and started yelling at her and berating her for the violation. Jacob’s boyfriend of many years, Markeis McGlockton, 28, was in the store and heard the commotion. McGlockton came out of the store and attacked Drejka. McGlockton threw Drejka to the ground. Drejka drew his gun and shot and killed McGlockton.

The Long Version of the Story

It doesn’t really matter that Drejka has a history of provoking trouble or that he had been charged with felonies in the past. Supposedly, Drejka had started a fight with another person, in the past, for parking in the same handicap parking spot.

The long version of the story doesn’t really matter, at all. So, we will not discuss it, in any sort of depth, here.

The Video

In the video, Drejka approaches the car in the handicap spot at about 1:18 andimage you can see him looking at the front of the car, possibly checking the plates. He proceeds to point at Jacobs and talk to her, possibly yelling at her. At about 2:43, McGlockton comes out of the store and strides towards Drejka then shoves him to the ground, hard at about 2:49. Drejka gets up into a sitting position, with McGlocton standing and facing him, then Drejka begins to draw his gun at about 2:51 and aims it at McGlockton. McGlockton takes a couple of steps back at 2:52 and starts to turn towards the door of the store where he left one of his children. It appears that McGlockton yells something at Drejka. At 2:54, Drejka fires and hits McGlockton. McGlockton then runs back to the store’s door and enters the store where he dies.

Quick Analysis

I look at these shooting using an AOJ analysis.

A – Ability. In this case McGlockton has the clear ability to harm Drejka. He was bigger, stronger, faster, etc, than Drejka and threw Drejka to the ground.

O – Opportunity. Does the attacker, McGlockton, have the opportunity to use his ability against the defender, Drejka? The answer is pretty clear because he attacked Drejka.

J – Jeopardy. Jeopardy means that the defender is under imminent threat of being killed or suffering serious bodily harm. The standard, in most cases, is that a reasonable person would feel in jeopardy in the same or in a similar situation. Having just been attacked, and his attacker within feet of him, it seems reasonable that Drejka felt the threat was imminent.

It is pretty likely that Drejka will not be convicted of the manslaughter charge he currently faces. Opinions might be split on this case, only because some people feel that when McGlockton stepped back, that jeopardy was no longer in effect.

There are many facts that we just do not know. For example, what did McGlockton say/yell when he stepped back and turned, slightly, towards the door of the store? For example, was he yelling at his child to stay in the store? Too much is unknown, but I think a reasonable person would act in a similar manner.

Don’t Get Shot by the Police

Summary of the Incident

The day before yesterday, about two miles from my home, there was a home invasion. A resident shot and killed the intruder. The resident was later shot and killed by a responding police officer.

Tragic.

More Detail – Not all of the Details

The details haven’t been released, but so far we know that a naked man broke into the imagehome, attacked the 11 year old boy that lives there and tried to drown the child in a bath tub. The child’s father and his grandfather fought the intruder. The grandfather, a decorated veteran and former IRS agent, shot and killed the intruder, saving his grandson, and possibly his other family members, too. The mother of the child called 911 and gave them a description of her husband. There is no mention whether she also described the grandfather.

In the end, the defender won. He killed the intruder.

The responding police officer arrived on the scene of a reported invasion and a report of gunfire. As the officer approached the home, he saw a man inside with a gun. He fired. He killed the man, who happened to be the good guy that just defended his family.

What Went Wrong?

Like I stated, we don’t have all of the details. I will update this post as more information is made available.

What could have been done to help prevent this tragedy would include:

  • The caller to 911 could have stayed on the line. She was not directly engaging the intruder. The child’s father and grandfather were fighting him off.
  • The caller to 911 could have fully described the grandfather as well as the father.
  • The grandfather could have placed his gun down once the intruder was stopped.
  • The officer could have drawn and aimed, without firing, as he assessed the situation.

What We Don’t Know

We have to understand, that at this point, we don’t know:

  • What the officer saw at the scene. Was the grandfather pointing the gun at the intruder? Was he, somehow, pointing in the direction of the officer? Was the officer wearing a body cam?
  • Whether there were multiple intruders. The mother stated that more intruders came into the home during the confrontation.
  • The timing. Were shots fired as the officer approached the house? That will change many of the circumstances and the need for immediate action.
  • The information provided by the mother, the caller. She may have given great descriptions of everyone in the home. She might not have done that.
  • Whether the mother stayed on the line with 911 while the responding officer arrived.
  • Whether the mother met the responding officer out in front of the home or not.
  • The information provided by the 911 operator to the officer. If good descriptions were given, were they shared with the officer on the scene as he approached?

Conclusion

We need to have an open mind about what happened, and we need to keep an open mind until all of the details are in.

Instead, I am seeing the typical statements being made about how horribly trained the police are and how the officer didn’t evaluate the situation before firing. I am hearing that the police are conspiring to change the reality of the situation to protect the officer that was involved. Of course, those making these statements don’t have a clue, and have anti-police biases, but that doesn’t matter when they are poisoning the minds of others.

We, as defenders, need to understand how to respond after a shooting. What is most important is that we make sure the police have a good description of us, so we are not mistaken as the bad guy. If possible, we should disarm ourselves before the police arrive so we do not appear to be a threat. We also need to treat the responding officer with respect and follow all instructions.

Basically, don’t be a threat to the police and make it clear that you are the good guy.

Not Everyone Gets Bananas

Yeah, it doesn’t sound like this has to do with self-defense, but hang in there with me for a bit.

I was watching the movie, Gringos, and one of the main characters, Ricard, the CEO, tries to put the other main character, Harold, his friend and employee, in his place by providing an analogy/story. Bananas

“Have I told you about the two gorillas?” Richard asks. “I read it in this book. Two gorillas, right? And every day they get fed carrots and every day they eat the carrots, no problem. Chomp, chomp, chomp–so delicious! Except one day, the handler, he gives one of the gorillas a banana and the other guy still gets his carrots. He doesn’t want to eat the carrots, because he sees the other guy eat the banana. You know what I’m saying? Harold, eat your fucking carrots.”

I hope you are still with me. I still have a bit to go before I actually get to a point.

Motivations

Many of us eat carrots and bananas. We like the occasional banana, and we love eating our bananas. Those that eat nothing but carrots would be happy with their carrots, in most cases, until they see our bananas. How do some people get bananas and others don’t? Well, that doesn’t really matter to the ones that want bananas and instead have to eat carrots. They want those fucking bananas.

Actions

There are a few ways to get bananas:

  1. Work hard, save, budget, and then purchase bananas every now and then
  2. Forget about the above and spend whatever you have on carrots and ignore your other responsibilities in life
  3. Take bananas from others

Obviously, those that are not willing or capable of option 1, and have found that option 2 is not sustainable, may choose option number 3.

Results

So, let’s take this to self defense.

Some gorillas will jump the gorillas that have bananas and take them. Aggressive and anti-social gorillas use violence to get what they want.

The question that we have to ask ourselves is whether our bananas are worth defending with deadly force. Of course, remember, it is an analogy and I would never advocate using deadly force to protect bananas.