Friday, December 28, 2012

In-Vested

When the rise of the pocket .380 took off a few years ago it was an attempt to answer the common man's problem with carrying concealed. They sold like a house-a-fire (as did the ammo). Easy to carry and weighing next to nothing it can be easy to get lured into such an attractive package.

I don't ever really preach against one gun or another for one reason, it's your life and you are an adult you should carry what YOU want for your own reasoning. That said one has to concede that some are simply more limited than others. Don't misread the intention there, all are capable of putting holes into the anatomy of a miscreant.

The problem arises with the circumstances in which that miscreant presents himself. While virtually sightless pistols like the Ruger LCP, Kel-Tecs or Beretta cats can serve well for the "street mugger"  or "backed into a corner" scenarios where the distance may be just a few feet; little guns with little sight don't serve well for contending with a spree shooter where you need sights desperately as you are shooting around other people.

Dry wall doesn't forgive. And while intentions to stop a bad guy are good a missed round that zips through the wall behind him and into someone is never okay as we don't hold to a collateral damage philosophy.

That is not to say you can't miss with any gun, but the bigger the gun, the better the sights, the more control we have on the grip, coupled with good training and even better marksmanship on the range increase our propensity for a solid hits on the bad guy.

The challenge to carrying conceal though is often the concealed part, especially when we start looking at mid size and full size framed guns. Something I learned early on in executive protection. One Principal that I worked exclusively for an extended period of time was a VP on the payroll for corporate America, which meant so was I. So those workaday dress codes applied to me.

In the bodyguarding world your manner of dress generally reflects that what the Client is wearing (though you don't ever out dress a Principal). So if the Client is in a suit, you are in a suit and, frankly this is the most ideal circumstance for concealed carry because the jacket affords a lot of latitude in what can be concealed.

Ironically enough so does uber relaxed summer wear like bowling and Hawaiian shirts that are expectantly worn un-tucked. So while your client is at the beach in swimwear you can appear to the casual observer like another noob on the beach but still be heavily armed.

My challenge while working that Principal in particular was in fact corporate casual, where I was expected to wear my shirt tucked in be that a polo or a button down dress shirt. While those instances made for a more relaxed setting from the suits I wore the absence of a jacket meant all guns had to go internal. 

Thus my form of holsters went to things like ankle rigs, pocket holsters, and Thunderwear (don't knock it till you've tried it). No doubt there are tuck-able IWB holsters I've just never really cared for them as a whole (attribute this to muscle memory). Needless to say these were all small framed and short barreled guns. While I have absolutely nothing against them and carry them regularly through out the the summer months they just are not my preference for working a protection detail.

This rolls over into other aspects of work and of course personal life as well. While It's easy to wear my Woolrich Rhodesian Army or Carhartt jacket or even just a shirt untucked there are times when the Wife likes a little more effort put in for an evening out. And of course there are client meetings that don't necessarily require a suit but there still needs to be a professional appearance.

Hence about three years ago I started wearing and utilizing a variety of vests and it has worked out very well on numerous fronts.


"Vests?" You ask





Yep. Not the notorious photog vest that everyone has (they do work in some environments after all) but rather a variety of suit style vests to heavy wool vests from Filson and Orvis.

The obvious benefit is the ability to cover, in most cases, the grip of a handgun carried in the waist band with some vests cut long enough to cover the traditional hip carry.

The not so realized benefit to the vest is the flexibility it allows the wearer. Take for instance the colder weather of the winter, coats and jackets allow for easily concealing practically any handgun the individual so desires....until one becomes to warm. Take your pick from the perennial problem of the winter coat vs the movie theater, the mall, the cafe....the drive across the state. The moment you become to warm in your coat and in public you get stuck with the choice of either suffering through the ordeal and looking somewhat out of place two hours into a movie and still in your parka or going into the bathroom and un-tucking your shirt that was previously nicely tucked in.

I get it. You're saying "geez what a prissy SOB doesn't want the world to see a wrinkle in his shirt tail". I assure you my I like my Triumph motorcycle shirt and my ten inch topped boots very much but I also have a damn practical streak I can't shake either.

Growing up hunting here in the Midwest I learned early on the value of dressing in layers, something that has applied well to work life. One of the first vest's I got was a heavy wool western cut style from Filson. Not long after getting it I had to make a long single day drive to locate a few individuals and gather varying pieces of information from them. That morning when I left it was somewhere in the mid 20s outside so I threw on some light weight long underwear, jeans, a long sleeve waffle shirt, a button downed winter weight shirt, slipped on my Combat Commander and then put the vest on, I tossed my wool pea-coat in the back seat and headed on down the road as they say.

As the day progressed through a series of in an out of the vehicle to talk with people, get fuel and coffee it was nice to be dressed in such a manner that I could drive with the heat on and not burn up and get out and not freeze to death. This I realized when walking with a guy through a largely abandoned warehouse as it snowed outside and he kept asking if I was cold without a coat on. I never really was.

Fast forward to late Spring when the Wife and I went to wedding of a friend that was going to be a rather formal affair..even as weddings go. A few days before the event I picked up a black suit vest that I could wear under my jacket (and lest you think this was some overly priced one I think I picked it up at Target for around $25). At the reception as dinner was served gentlemen were told they could remove their jackets (this is actually proper etiquette of a host for formal events......and no I don't frequent such events normally unless I'm getting paid). Me being the proper guy I am for such an occasion wanted to wear my "nice" Colt 1911 (read: Combat Elite) as opposed to my workaday one. Thanks to my $25 vest I was able to dance with the Wife throughout the evening while being well heeled and no one the wiser.

The one piece of advice I will pass along that I learned from my first vest, which led to the choice on my fourth or fifth one, of which are both of the Filson wool variety. When I paired my collared western cut vest with a coat like my Carhartt or Pea-coat the collar cause the jacket to ride high on my neck an shoulders. It fit fine it just looked a little odd so when I got around to the next one I purposely went with a collarless version. Problem solved, the jacket sat on my shoulders as normal.

It's not so much that it's trial and error as it is more of a "not a one type fits all solution". Just something to keep in mind.



So how does this apply to you?

Vests like an individual's preference for manners of dressing come in a variety of....fashions. Maybe you're a cowboy or rough neck who spends most of his time in Wranglers and pickup trucks, or a pro-gun urban hipster who likes skinny jeans, rolled up long sleeves and baby Springfield XD's (I actually didn't intend for that to rhyme btw), or you are a corporate creature where work allows conceal carry but you just have to do in khaki pants.

More hand waving, "wait a minute I'm a stay at home mother of three" or maybe you're a self-employed woman with a business to run and a CCW permit to use. Don't worry there's a vest for that.


Like everything else in the CCW game you have to do your own work. Find out what might be too short or too thin and might leave you with an exposed gun.

Look it's easy to get lazy in carrying concealed because "nothing has ever happened yet" but, I caution you this, if that is your philosophy on carrying a handgun you've turned it into a talisman not a gun.

"but you just wrote about carrying a .22 pistol a couple of posts ago". Indeed I did and if you read it carefully you will see that I don't ever say it's the best solution only that it can be "a" solution or even a intentional secondary piece for varying occasions.

Personally I'm not a fast successive shooter...you know the guys who knock down all those pepper poppers at lighting fast speed...yeah it ain't me. I am however pretty decent in the accuracy department and when the barrel is longer and the sights are bigger I tend to do better. While you might envision all sorts of positive aspects of yourself in an imaginary gunfight let me assure you, the hands shake, the pupils dilate and you seriously think about not fucking up. Because while you and I might be exceptional on the pistol range you can bet you are going to be mediocre in the fight. So give yourself every advantage on an increasingly frequent basis to up the odds of winning and keeping your life.

Here is the endgame. We are so inundated with "tactical everything" and then mocking each other for it that we have forgotten that OUR gear....clothing included needs to fit the specs for our lives and their varying degrees of living.


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

untitled in wake of an atrocity

In wake of the atrocity (which is the correct term instead of the misplaced tragedy) at Sandy Hook Elementary I have, like many of you, found myself amidst of old and failed debates. The idea, or rather ideology that there is a solitary solution to end violent crime is of course a false one.

Earlier today I received an email from someone who went into grand detail telling me that I had blood on my hands as an NRA member and, gun rights activist for the actions of Adam Lanza. Below is my reply that I felt I would share.

"I own chainsaws, I am not to blame for the deforestation of the rain forests.

I own a car, I am not to blame for the drunk drivers of this world.

I hunt wild game, I am not blame for those who slaughter wild dolphins in Taiji.

I own a camera, I am not to blame for the pornography aimed at children.


I have a butcher knife, I am not to blame for slasher that rides the train.

My shed holds gas cans, I am not to blame for the arsonist.



My garden requires fertilizer, I am not to blame for those who blow up buildings.

My hands bear fists, I am not to blame for the man who beats his family.

My body bears a penis, I am not to blame for the rapist.

I run a business, I am not to blame for  the con man who runs a scam.

My heart bears love, I am not to blame for those who are loveless."




Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Incoming

So there are posts in the works (I swear). Life, like always is never dull around here and time is always precious and has to be prioritized.

I've got a rough post etched out on my time down on the Arizona/Mexican border back in October. There's a sit down with a local journalist discussing work as well (so we shall see).

The next installment on here should be regarding a piece of (ahem) "tactical clothing" that doesn't look remotely tactical in the much overly-misused-sense-of-the-word.

There is also a small transition in specific articles coming probably starting mid-winter aimed at personal protection written from two perspectives. One from a work stand point for some of you other professionals out there who share the same line of work (or are considering as a career path). The other is taking some of those personal protection techniques of what the layman calls "bodyguarding" and the rest of refer to as "EP" or "Executive Protection" and how all of us can apply strong defensive roles to our domestic life.

I think for the immediate future the "Dark Arts for Good Guys" is wrapped up. There maybe the odd and occasional post in the next year or two but, I'm looking forward to these new series.

That said, I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas forth coming.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The .22 LR Pistol and You

Once upon time I spent a week with a retired CIA spook (in Oklahoma of all places) who was kind enough...well actually he was paid, to give me some training in electronic counter measures, lock picking and a few other useful skills that would aid me in some of my future en devours.

One evening after a steak dinner someplace he went to pay the tab and was looking for a pen or something in one of his pants pockets and in the process laid out a worn pocket holster with a small automatic resting inside. It turned out to be an equally worn blued Walther TPH (German made) and, having never seen one before I wanted to know more about this Walther PPK someone had left in the dryer.

He told me of a few misadventures surrounding the piece but, it was his parting remark that stuck with me "If you are lucky enough to travel around the world armed and doing it mainly alone do yourself a favor always carry a .22 pistol, regardless of anything else you pack."

It was a piece of advice that I remembered sometime later when I was tasked with recovering someone who was missing on purpose because bad men were hunting him. For a real nice ten days I had a Beretta Bobcat that never saw use only because the gentleman who was in-charge of granting me access to where I was decided he liked it as well and the price of admission was...you guessed it. One itty bitty .22 pocket gun.

Some nights later sitting in the dark with the no-longer-missing-person-in-question getting ready to make a mad dash for the territory ahead so to speak and, people with not-so-questionable intent well within my comfort space...which was down the stairs. I didn't think about wanting a rifle, or even one of my beloved 1911s I remember longing for that .22. Not because I thought it superior weapon to anything else (because it certainly is not) but, rather due to the fact I should have had it with me.

I see you. Your neck all tense your fingers locked in tight. You've barely made this far without leaving me your expert opinion in the comments section.

Breathe man.... breathe.

If you are going to compare the calibration of the .22 long rifle to anything else (minus the .25) you have to ask why are you even having the internet figh....I mean discussion. Obviously it falls short so if you can bear that in mind you should be fine reading the rest of the post. If not there's not much I can do for you.

While some of us who inhabit parts of this planet are allowed to own, shoot, and carry a wide array of calibers, actions, and magazine capacity, others are not so fortunate.

For example contrary to popular knowledge gun ownership and even handgun ownership for self defense in Mexico is not actually illegal. It is just damn near impossible.

Why?

Because in Mexico there exists only one legal gun store and it sits on a military base in Mexico City. The law says a household can only have one defensive arm and it can be either a pistol or a revolver but, it has to be within the .22 to .380 scale...and you can only possess 200 rounds of ammo a year.

If I were a honest Mexican citizen and left with that choice I'd choose the .22.

"Whoa!" you say

If you live in such a place where it simply is that difficult to obtain a firearm what do you think the availability of shooting ranges are? Hence some things need to be done covertly where a drive into the country side and back into the trees you can fetch you some quality private time without a lot of unwanted attention.

And for people who live in countries such as those with restrictions it's also easier to FIND .22 ammo on the pseudo black market without having to delve truly deep into conversations with individuals your mother wouldn't approve of let alone the policia.

Say you had to be on the move through a varying landscape from Urban to semi-rural for a few days with various unfriendlies about. And you had to do this primarily on foot, or catching the occasional mass transit system, or train, or negotiating a ride for the next twenty miles. Maybe its to get in and find someone and extract them...maybe its just getting out. There on your hip concealed in all of its glory is your beloved full size center-fire pistol and two fully loaded magazines.

The point two two handgun, as the Brits like to say, offers a level of flexibility to your self-defense/feces-impellar kit.

There are times and places in this world were suppressive fire is just good application. For some folks who work alone, far away and, outside of official channels there is a place for the .22 in your life.

A fixed, threaded, or extended barrel can be temporarily suppressed, ripped off and tossed away in a moment solving an up close situation.

Likewise it can serve as a not so gentle reminder that incoming fire has the right of way to those who are actively shooting at you and trying to close the gap.

Perhaps the need in solving the problem is less than conventional.

In a mobile pursuit or an about to be mobile pursuit tires can be flattened from a distance. Traffic jams can be created BEHIND you thus assisting in the escape. Being pursued on a long and rural darkened road head lights can be shot out (don't intentionally misinterpret that as one bullet for one head lamp as if it were an steady and calm Olympic event). 

And say what you will. I've never met a soul willing to pursue at a high rate of speed in near pitch black conditions. And while I've seen plenty of spare tires on vehicles I don't recall too many spare headlights.

What message would it say to your would be aggressors walking down the street if a shot rang out, then another and still another as street lights systematically were shot out. A man (or woman) willing to not only embrace a fight but, to deliberately do it in the dark will give pause to most anyone.

All that can be done without having to sacrifice your limited ammo availability to your primary center-fire handgun.

Because two hundred rounds can be squirreled away most anywhere let alone fifty or a hundred.

But then you knew this...

You know if need be, you can stash a couple hundred round of .22 high velocity long rifle rounds into a 20 oz Starbucks paper cup without having the bottom fall out.

There is something else you have to remember about bullets. All of them. The lowly .22 included.

Bullets cause destruction when fired into living things and in self-defense situations where it is your life or the bad guy's, creating trauma that stops his onslaught is the general idea.

Oh I know....I know. Your brother's cousin's nephew once put a .22 through his frontal lobe while squirrel hunting and, sneezed it out a few days later.

Bullets do weird things but those weird stories are about solitary rounds.

But five or six of those itty bitty rounds into the forehead or sternum cause repetitive systematic destruction.

Take your index finger and tap yourself once between the eyes. Just once.

Now do it five or six times.

If those where fast moving .22 rounds what do you think it would do to you.

Mentally? Not to mention physically?

Now apply this to a bad man.

Bone has been fragmented and broken, the body's primary control area has received substantial damage and things begin to shut down and not in some priority status way. The visual ability to target a victim has been either removed or compromised, not to mention the most basic ability to conceive, maintain, and rely upon any real thought process is gone....gone.

The attack breaks. Because the attacker is breaking down.

Repetitive-Systematic-Destruction

There. Again... I see you. Arms crossed. You are gonna play the trump card.

".22's misfire...end of story".

Guess what. There are no free lunches anywhere when the fight for your life is on.

Clear the fucking round and get back in the fight. There is nothing different about a misfired .22 and a stove piped 9mm. Both require you to disengage, do some manual labor and, re-engage. Personal responsibility isn't going anywhere.

One gentleman I knew, who worked all over the world in varying capacities carried two guns for the majority of his work. A Browning Hi-Power and a Ruger MK II.He managed to repeatedly come home from really shitty places and situations and, to do so he had to put in a lot of personal effort.

So do you.

Ultimately there the opinion of many out there who don't ever favor the .22LR for defense work. I can say for me it has been a choice at times and it is never my first choice but one does have to remember this amidst the "stopping power" business. Bullet holes of any caliber in the throat end a fight as do puncture wounds to the lungs especially multiple ones. Regardless if they come from a .22, a .460 Rowland or a kitchen knife.



Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Gear Review: Pathfinder Water Bottle & Cup


When I was a kid I carried this old school WWII/GI surplus canteen and web belt, the ones wear the canteen pouch was felt lined and the whole thing was khaki. By the time it came my way it was easily forty years old and, it escorted me on every summertime bike and creek adventure, squirrel hunt and, deer hunt of my youth (and more than a couple of my professional adventures as an adult).

There were (and are) a lot of things I liked about it, first I'm a sucker for old school stuff, second it was a metal canteen that sat in a metal cup. As a teenager I was caught up in everything "survival", reading every Tom Brown Jr, Bradford Angier, or Army Survival Manual I could get my hands on. My favorite "trick" so to speak was that I could boil water to purify it in my canteen and drink it in the cup that it was wedged into (do that with a plastic canteen).

Then I grew up and abandoned the old G.I. canteen to the plastic Nalgene bottle trend at the start of this century. It did however leave me wanting.

See I've got this slightly different perspective on the whole SHTF scenario in that I've been there when it's happened on those micro occasions as opposed to the "big event" we all talk about and plan for.

Which having come through those situations combined with my survival skilled-and-filled youth left me liking to be prepared. The down side was in all that over prepping I developed the bad habit of over packing or rather packing in redundancy.

Over time I've learned to shed the extra gear and not be so African fetish about it in the process... it just took more than a few layovers, custom officials and back breaking runs to airplanes to learn how to stream line and find multiple uses for single pieces of gear.

Fortunately, when you sometimes spends hours and... days alone you get a lot of time to think and mentally sort out details of your personal kit, perfecting it along the way. You also mentally write a lot of blog posts that show up two years later...

One of those stream lined pieces of gear I wanted to find was a wide mouth stainless steel water bottle (like a Klean Kanteen), with a cup to go with it. Like all things I added to the basic idea.

I wanted a way to also turn it into a portable coffee maker for those times when gear REALLY had to be limited. Nothing complicated, just be able to put the bottle on a small stove or straight into a fire, boil water, then add a bandana full of coffee. That thought developed into wanting to design a French Coffee Press for my new kit I didn't have.

Then on one expedition to a local sporting good store I saw it. A french press kit for a Nalgene bottle....which of course meant you had to pour boiling water INTO the Nalgene bottle then make your coffee in it. As opposed to...oh I dunno....that aluminum camp coffee pot I already had trucked all over the world, and done the same thing with.

But a fool on a mission is undeterred. I bought it. And no other piece of gear ever sat so beautifully unused on my equipment shelf.

But a patient man I am. I knew....I just knew...one day.

A few years ago when he was still on youtube and before "Dual Survivor" hit the Discovery Channel, I had enjoyed Dave Canterbury's Pathfinder school vids. By happenstance earlier in the summer I came across his on line store. Low and behold Dave had a 32oz stainless water bottle and, 25oz cup combo for $35.

Done and done.

Ordered on a Friday it arrived on the following Tuesday.

Let's be honest, there isn't really anything overly exciting about a water bottle or a cup but it is the combination I've wanted for a long time at a price I like. The measurement gradients inside the 25oz cup (GSI's is 18 oz by the way) may prove useful in cooking some remote meal at a future point and I thought they were a good inclusion.

So what about the whole "French-Pressed-coffee-over-an-open-fire" thing (see pics below). It works rather well actually. The only hiccup in the plan was the lid/top of the press is made to Nalgene specs and wouldn't screw down but, it proved to be unnecessary anyway. The press part works in the bottle superbly and....I can always buy an extra lid and drill a hole for the press rod, another for a spout and, a third for airflow and be good to go (life ain't perfect).

The truth is what I like is that I've got a make shift way to purify water or sterilize med gear or cook in a situation where I'm working with minimal gear in a shit situation. I also like that I'm not out a ton of cash in the process which is nice for the bottle's main purpose in my life.

My primary Go-Bag is a BlackHawk! Mobile Operations Bag (size medium). In one of the three side pockets are a stainless steel Thermos (no handles) and the PathFinder waterbottle/cup combo. Both sit idle but ready in the bag until it's time to roll out...which doesn't seem to be slowing up anytime soon for me.

"But is it THE BEST!" you ask.

Because you know the Internets demand all your gear be THE BEST.

Dude, its a metal water bottle that seals up tight with a metal cup on the end what else does it need to do?

As for the coffee makin'....

pics are below. How much coffee does it make? By the mark of my coffee pot in the kitchen, seven cups which works out to roughly four mugs of coffee. Note: the smaller mug in the blue Nalgene bottle is an 18 oz GSI Camp mug shown for comparison.



Friday, July 20, 2012

Do ya get it.


When we woke up this morning, like the rest of you, we learned of movie theater shooting in Aurora by James Holmes. When the report said it was at the premier showing of the Dark Knight Rises, I immediately thought of the above scene and told, The Wife "He wanted to be the Joker. That's the whole motivation behind his attack."


I'll be interested to see if it bears fruit, though it matters not.

I'm a student, as it were, of spree shooters. In my work one has to be a student of many things and, violent people are one of them. There is no mystery to them. In the countless number of profiles I've read most of them didn't "just snap" over some event. Some claim it, without a doubt, but generally they do it because they want to.

On a Monday morning in January 1979, Brenda Ann Spencer, a seventeen year old high school student, opened her bed room window and took aim at a play ground at the elementary school across the street with her .22 rifle and started shooting. When she was arrested she didn't fight, she didn't complain, she just said "I don't like Mondays; this livens up the day."

And that is that.

I grow weary of the immediate blame thrown out by the media, the politicians, and others the hours after these senseless massacres towards every gun owner and conservative. Which is rarely accurate. And in most cases these individuals identify themselves as "anarchists", the type that are in the fringe of the Left more often that the Right. Though politics in any of it is horrid.

The fact is he could have jammed the doors shut taken out gasoline and done the same thing....and its happened. If you don't recall it may be because it's the M.O. of mass killers in parts of the world where there isn't access to guns or ammunition or more likely the money to acquire several hundred dollars of guns and ammo. A few liters of fuel and a willing evil son of a bitch is all that is required.

At the gym today I got a call from someone I know wanting me to weigh in professionally on this. Later he turned the topic to handguns and he told me about the pocket gun he carried religiously...mostly. He wanted to know if it was enough...which the irony is in the blogger dashboard under "draft: Mouseguns". He said finally "you know...my fear is I'd piss my pants if that ever happens." I'll tell you like I told him "piss them and then shoot the son of a bitch".

This is my parting advice to you all. Stop with the ridiculous caliber debates, the "my gun is better than yours because...blah blah" debates. Get the fuck off the seven yard range and hit the 25 yard and yes...the 50 if you can. If your gun doesn't have a front sight or a rear and it can be milled put a fucking set of sights on it. Carry reloads, carry a flashlight....always. Look at the world around you, what is bullet proof, what is not....

Tactics aren't a color or a cloth. They are plans. What is yours?

Finally above all. Be Brave.

We are so devoid of heroes these days.There are three kinds of people, those who commit evil, those who want to reason with evil, and those who stand against it. When "Dark Knight" came out a few years ago I was leaving a cafe' and I saw a teenager wearing a black t-shirt that had the face of Heath Ledger's "Joker" on it. My heart broke. We need every generation to understand that evil isn't to be embraced it's to be fought against....at all costs. At-all-costs.


Don't flee from evil. Engage it. Fight it. Kill it.





Monday, July 2, 2012

Gear Review: Encrypted Cell Phone App



I'm more than a blunt instrument in most cases however, put me in a room of technophiles and I start playing with a Zippo as to be fascinated by fire rather than attempt a foray into geekspeak. That being said I appreciate the modern age we live in, it just also comes with sacrifices....like personal privacy. When I was a kid I had this conspiracy minded cousin who was convinced that the C.I.A. listened to everyone's phone calls. Some years later I was working alongside....someone..who was in the know about such things.

"That's ridiculous" he said, "everyone knows that's the NSA's job".

Humor aside he wasn't wrong and prior to 9/11 even the NSA didn't do this because there was this little problem of mass storage for all that data. Hence, if you read about that new NSA building in Utah and a few other places that got less media attention recently that is largely the idea there. Storage.

But take "The Man" out of it.

There was a brief and fleeting time when you didn't have to worry about privatized spooks and fifteen year old hackers eavesdropping on you. When we abandoned cellular and went digital with our "cell phones" calls where basically secure from prying ears in the private trade. If you were intent on listening in on someone badly enough it took roughly $5000+ to buy the American made equipment and a solid contact in Europe to buy it for you and get it back to you in the States (or so I heard).

Then came the "Smart phone"....which is akin to Military intelligence in the way of irony. That which makes it the most useful tech tool of the age is also it's Achilles heel: the Apps.

Whether the spyware comes in via a strange and random text, piggy backed from a known number or surreptitiously uploaded when you aren't in the briefest moment of possession of your phone; once on your calls are open to interception by whomever has access to that backdoor...that my friend is that.

Here is the deal, should you be less conspiratorial minded than others.

Everyday I encounter clients who will tell me "yeah but I don't think my business partner, competitor, future-ex-wife, legal team for this merger I'm apart of, is going to 'break the law' for this".

 They will and they do.

Here is the point in which you should focus upon. It is not about using that information in court. It is about how to use that information for strategy, for planning, for tactical response.

Yet you still doubt.....

Despite the guns, the Dark Arts series, and all the rest, the end game is this I'm in the private intelligence business. Everyday of the week I sit in on phone calls, meet in hotel rooms, law offices, airport lobbies drinking copious amounts of coffee while my new found Client lays out information they have but don't necessarily know what to do with. Hence, it gets in front of me.

So a good portion of my work is laying out a response or planning for one. Eventually I end up on the phone with everyone. Having had my own information relayed back to me from other sources in what I shall refer to as "bad timing" on occasion makes the job more difficult.



Enter Kryptos


Kryptos is a voice encryption app for your smart phone that runs $10 a month that utilizes military grade 256 bit AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) encryption and, operates as a VoIP Peer to Peer comm.

As it was explained to me by the folks at Kryptos since it is a VoIP it does not fall under the FCC nor the telecommunications act hence it can't be warranted nor subpoenaed....and even if it could they couldn't. There is no recording and the system has no backdoor. As my point of contact there said "we can't even hack ourselves".

"Sure sure" you say "Nice sales pitch".

As of this writing (according to the folks at Kryptos) AES security is strong enough to be certified for use by the US government for top secret information...i.e. the Alphabet gang and the homies from homeland included are using it.

Call quality isn't bad at all. In fact its rather impressive. I've had three phone calls where we had to essentially stop contact because of bad signal connections (one person was at a indoor pool the other was....well not at an indoor pool). It does require a WiFi, 3G or 4G connection but, you can talk between the iPhone, Blackberry and Android platforms.

The other advantage is once I am able to secure comms between parties I know where intelligence IS NOT being leaked. That means it is a human factor and traceable. One new standard operating procedures with clients is to ask for their phone at our initial meeting, install the app, bill it to my account and simply take it out of the retainer.

Right out of the gates we are off to a strong start.

So what about you? Why would you need it?

Maybe you're a cop running an C.I., a spouse going through a nasty divorce with an uber tech savory future ex. Maybe you're just someone who has family overseas and Skype is the cheapest way to talk but, are tired of arranging schedules.

Is it the greatest app ever?????

Guess it depends on who you talk to.





Saturday, June 23, 2012

Proper Leverage



Sometimes in the American gun culture there is this all or nothing idea when it comes to being prepared for bad situations; often ignoring the reality of the middle ground in the realm of day to day preparedness.

On one end there is the OCD end-of-the-world-zombie-apocalypse idea that if you haven't squandered your families earnings on MREs, multiple military grade rifles and hundreds of thousands of rounds of ammo you are, as Chris Rock says, "gonna die".

The flip side of the coin is this weird obsession by the gun market and manufacturers to build uber light weight .380s and 9mms that can only be held onto with two fingers, has a light rail, and no sights (don't want to weigh the gun down you know...'cause there's a light rail).

One could suppose, justly, that my cynicism is leaking through.

Earlier this week I had to escort a client on a protection detail that on a threat assessment chart was medium edging towards high. The information in his care was literally worth millions but, he was basically an unknown player in the world. The problem was further exacerbated by the fact the opposing side knew 60% of the intelligence he was running, coupled with the two hour drive through both urban and rural areas to get there and back.

That morning as I was getting ready to leave The Wife walked past the dining room table were I had laid out all my gear the night before and jokingly said "think you have enough firepower?"

"I will, unless I run out. Then I won't."

Just like you I'm a private citizen, held to the same rules and the same potential legal problems only coupled with a "for hire" tag. So there is always this fine line of being more than adequately prepared for the worst, while being completely aware if the worst does happen I may be living it out on the national news the next day.

The other half is that I work alone. I do this intentionally because I have trust issues you might say....all for good reasons but, that isn't the point to be made here.

So when I work I carry a lot of hardware....like the other day. Two to three handguns, multiple magazines and a rifle. What you might find ironic is that I heavily avoid a "tacti-cool" image. Nothing I use is less "tactical" looking than my choice of rifle.

Simple and straight I have always preferred the lever action rifle for defensive work in a non-combat theater. And the reasoning goes beyond it's humble appearance. 

When we think of a rifle in use for fighting it is easy to imagine the "Super Fight" scenario. Mount an AK or AR to the shoulder it's not unlikely to imagine you against overwhelming odds with hordes of Tangos descending upon you as while ripping through one hi-cap mag to the next, empty and gleaming surplus casings at your feet.

What we rarely consider is a rifle's ability to be concealed.

"Concealed? Surely you jest....why would I need to conceal a rifle?"

You don't ....if it never gets beyond the range or back of the closet, but to put it in use or rather potential use where the world is NOT ending and the day to day is the norm concealability and discretion are the watchwords of the day.

The charm of the compact lever gun as a working defensive arm lies in it's slim, compact design in contrast to the large profile of an assault rifle (not a pejorative term by the way).

For instance a thirty round magazine in an AK variant makes the overall height measure out to be around 10-11 inches from the bottom of the mag to the top of the receiver and that is with out some type of glass mounted atop or receiver rear sights. The AR and M14 are in a similar situation.  Width is easily around two-three inches and, we haven't even really begun to clamp things onto those wonderful picatinny rails, that even flashlights come with these days.




In contrast a lever gun varies between three and a half to four inches in height and an inch and a quarter to and inch and three quarters wide.

Nice flat and compact.

So compact that I can often stash one of my lever guns along side the driver or passenger door (i.e. next to where I am seated), under foot of a bench seat, or if no one is seated in the back seat I can slip it to where the back rest joins the seat and lay anything from a blanket or towel over it. The magazine is fully stoked and should the need arise I simply need to yank it from its location and work the lever justly in that process and I am ready to make my stand with a rifle. All of them are fitted with peep sights and shoot inside a playing card at a hundred yards.

"ah yes" you say "but they are very limited in magazine capacity".

No disagreement there but I am supremely confident... just like I was earlier in the week, that seven rounds of .30-30 170grn soft points in my model 94 Winchester will see me through. If they don't I'll reload and keep going.

I see a raised eye brow of doubt.

The most predominant used long arm in civilized countries amongst civilians, including police forces, is the 12 gauge pump shotgun whose tubular magazine capacity varies from five to eight rounds. Few people would consider this inadequate firepower for most any task involving a fight with other humans. And while it enjoys immense popularity its always the least trained with because a scatter-gun doesn't do what a rifle does (or is supposed to) to do...deliver little tiny groups on a target which leads to confidence building in the head of the user.

The other strange irony is contending that seven or eight rounds simply isn't enough ammunition in a rifle should it come to a fight. Yet it would be remiss not to point out that some of the most popular selling handgun choices in the concealed carry market today are single stack magazines that hold between six and nine rounds.

Until I sold it a few years ago I carried a Marlin 1894 in .44 Magnum loaded with 240 grain jacketed hollow points almost everywhere for every job. Today my two primary work rifles here in the U.S. are either a .357 Magnum Marlin or the previously mentioned Model 94 in .30-30.

I value them for their ability in protection work not only for concealability but, also in the event of an ambush that leaves my vehicle disabled I have adequate fire power to make a prolonged stand as need be (I never said I didn't carry more ammo elsewhere in the vehicle) over a range of a few yards to a couple of hundred. Given that most police snipers rarely take a shot over 70 yards and both of my lever guns can put all their rounds into a human head at a hundred I'm not concerned.

There is significant reasoning in the ability to shoot through or into a vehicle at a distance and disable the bad guys on the inside of their vehicle or the vehicle itself some capacity.

Buffalo Bore makes some wonderful dangerous game rounds for both the .30-30 and the .357 magnum (to the point the .357 loads out of a rifle surpass standard .30-30 loads). That allows for a lot of penetration in a civilian shootout.

The third reason I like the lever gun so much for work use....travel.

While there is no law in the U.S. that restricts rifle ownership overall, some states do restrict the type or mag capacity. With any lever gun I can travel wherever need be, and this bodes for outside of the U.S. as well. Where some countries may allow you, in a security role, to bring in a long arm they might not be to keen on the self-loaders or military calibers. But a manually operated firearm chambered in a "hunting caliber" has this cowboy charm to it that has this innocuous way of being presented and dismissed in the same moment.

You might also be surprised as to the amount of lever action rifles still in use all over Central and South America in the hands of the civilian populous...even where they aren't supposed to be.


A couple of years back a friend of mine who is a new gun owner and has just a couple of handguns said he wanted a long gun, "I was thinking a pump shotgun or maybe a rifle but, I don't think I need something...you know...complicated", I told him I thought a Marlin 336 would make a fine choice.

Still do.

Don't mistake my support of a fixed magazine lever gun as being against the citizenry owning assault rifles. I think as long as the financial means bear it and the Individual so desires it a good high-cap rifle and a stockpile of ammo to feed it, is a good idea to thwart the Huns should it ever come to that. It is just that we are so inundated with a gun culture obsessed with the "tactical entry this" or the "long range sniper that" too such a degree that we often over look simple effectiveness and practicality in the wake of what is en vogue at the moment.





Monday, May 28, 2012

Lest we forget



Never will there be a way (here) to memorialize all the men and women who died in sacrifice of this great nation but, there are some who are easily over looked and forgotten.

Simply put here are a few of those many who sacrificed their lives for this great nation and not all of them wore uniforms and in some cases died alone working and gathering the intelligence so that those in uniform could perform. Others..like Operation Eagle Claw one of the worst tragedies in the early history of America's Special Operations Forces became the mark of a phoenix rising from it's ashes in which those who sacrificed their lives for mission that never happened help to create to better warriors twenty years later.

We oft forget that those who are in the greatest debt in this great nation is those of us who breathe free air delivered to us by the dead.

Never can we repay such sacrifice nor, valor.



Operation Eagle Claw (April 24th-25th, 1980)

Airmen Major Richard L. Bakke
Major Harold L Lewis Jr.
TSgt Joel C. Mayo
Major Lyn D. McIntosh
Captain Charles T. McMillan.

Sgt John D. Harvey
Cpl George N. Holmes Jr.
SSgt Dewey L Johnson.

July 9th, 2003
Gregg Wenzel

Camp Chapman Attack (December 30, 2009)

Jennifer Lynne Mathews
Harold Brown Jr
Elizabeth Hanson
Danner LaBonte
Scott Michael Robertson
Dane Clark Paresi
Jeremy Wise

2011 Chinook Shootdown (August 6th, 2011)

Lt. Cmdr. (SEAL) Jonas B. Kelsall
Master Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Louis J. Langlais                                 Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Thomas A. Ratzlaff
Senior Chief Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician (EXW/FPJ) Kraig M. Vickers
Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Brian R. Bill
Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) John W. Faas
Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Kevin A. Houston
Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Matthew D. Mason
Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Stephen M. Mills
Chief Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician (EXW/FPJ/DV) Nicholas H. Null
Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Robert J. Reeves
Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Heath M. Robinson
Special Warfare Operator 1st Class (SEAL) Darrik C. Benson
Special Warfare Operator 1st Class (SEAL/PJ) Christopher G. Campbell
Information Systems Technician 1st Class (EXW/FPJ) Jared W. Day
Master-at-Arms 1st Class (EXW) John Douangdara
Cryptologic Technician (Collection) 1st Class (EXW) Michael J. Strange
Special Warfare Operator 1st Class (SEAL/SW) Jon T. Tumilson
Special Warfare Operator 1st Class (SEAL) Aaron C. Vaughn                                   Special Warfare Operator 1st Class (SEAL) Jason R. Workman
Special Warfare Operator 1st Class (SEAL) Jesse D. Pittman
Special Warfare Operator 2nd Class (SEAL) Nicholas P. Spehar

Chief Warrant Officer 4 David R. Carter
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Bryan J. Nichols
Sgt. Patrick D. Hamburger
Sgt. Alexander J. Bennett
Spc. Spencer C. Duncan
Tech. Sgt. John W. Brown
Staff Sgt. Andrew W. Harvell
Tech. Sgt. Daniel L. Zerbe


The Memorial Wall at the Central Intelligence Agency

Douglas Mackierna
Norman A. Schwartz
Robert C. Snoddy
Wilburn S. Rose
Frank G. Grace
Howard Carey
Eugene "Buster" Edens
William P. Boteler
James J. McGrath
Chiyoki Ikeda
Stephen Kasarda, Jr.
Leo F. Baker
Wade C. Gray
Thomas W. Ray
Riley W. Shamburger
Barbara Robbins
Edward Johnson
Louis O'Jibway
Michael M. Deuel
Michael A. Maloney
Walter L. Ray
Jack W. Weeks
Billy J. Johnson
Wayne J. McNulty
Richard M. Sisk
Paul C. Davis
David L. Konzelman
Willbur M. Greene
Raymond L. Seaborg
John Peterson John W. Kearns
William E. Bennett
Hugh F. Redmond
Raymond C. Rayner
James A. Rawling
Tucker Gougelmann
Richard Welch
Denny Gabriel
Berl King
Robert C. Ames
Phyliss Faraci
Kenneth E. Haas
Deborah M. Hixon
Frank J. Johnston
James Lewis
Monique Lewis
William Richard Sheil
Richard Spicer,
Scott J. Van Lieshout
Curtis R. Wood
William F. Buckley
Richard D. Krobock
Matthew Gannon
Robert W. Woods



LEST WE FORGET





























Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A place to call home


When the wonder-nine craze kicked off in the 1980s Jeff Cooper infamously nick-named the the DA/SA service pistols "crunchen-tickers" (crunching the trigger on the first shot and ticking on the remaining). While not a inaccurate statement in some respects it was never one I found to really ever matter in as much as capability or accuracy because truth is while I much prefer a 1911 over most else and am more than accurate, I shoot a good friends .40 S&W SiG P229 better than any handgun I've ever owned.

The 9mm/DA/SA fade was also supposed to be someone's (hippies) idea that this was a "safer" pistol because of blah blah blah reasoning. Then came the potential holy-grail of law enforcement guns. The DAO semi-automatic. That which would surely prove to be a good cop gun and "lawyer proof". So in the 1990s the local metropolitan police force began their trek to modernization by rolling over from the traditional Smith & Wesson Model 10s & 15s in .38 Special to the Beretta 92D, lots of folks (self included) kind of pitied them. And never gave it much thought or inspection beyond that statement right there.

That being said, I'm a child of the 80s and have always quietly loved the big burly Beretta 92 and vowed at some point to acquire one. My first Beretta was a Bobcat 21A in .22 LR which last I saw of it was in Central America (something about my paperwork not being valid blah blah blah), the second was a Beretta 85 in .380 with a gorgeous blued finish that I purchased for $379 to help meet the criteria of foreign carry permit allowance in places like India. Despite its sharp edges I loved that pistol...until three things happened. The Ruger LCP, Barack Obama, and a Glock 19.

When Ruger's re-envisioning of someone else's work (actually that's pretty much all of Ruger come to think of it) spurred new interest in the .380, ammo that was always the last to sell suddenly became the first gone. Then Barack got elected and all the ammo was gone. For a good solid year it was a running joke to ask any retailer if they had any .380 ammo. One night at a buddies house I was looking at his Glock 19 (that he stole from someone for just under $300). I made the mistake of laying it next to my Beretta and discovered they were the same size only one held more bullets and they were slightly bigger...and it wasn't the Beretta. It's now in Kentucky someplace and there is Smith & Wesson 66 with a 2 1/2 inch barrel in my waist band as I write.

Then at one point last year I ran across a good deal. $250 for a Beretta 92 with night sights. The down side was it was DAO. The upside was it was a Beretta 92 for $250 with night sights. What surprised me more than the silky smooth slide was the remarkable DAO trigger pull that broke just over 8lbs.

I was sold.

The accuracy? At fifteen and twenty-five yards I can put a magazine into an index card. Tonight it sets nestled in its place loaded with 147grn jacket hollow points......yeah yeah I know you can tell me all about the horror stories of the 147 grn bullets from the 1980s not flowering open. Look we all want expansion in our bullets but we NEED penetration...... and the gun does hold a fistful of rounds so there is plenty to share should some B-i-Q want to stick around for the ventilating.

The truth is the main reason I liked it...and still do is it makes a great house gun for my less-than-gun-savvy Wife. Good sight radius, mild recoil, no safety to turn on or off, consistent trigger pull and it works every time.

Is it my choice for working on the street?

Nah.

And guess what. I have no guilt nor reservation about that. At various times the house gun has been a six shot .38 special with pencil barrel or a .357 magnum. Both perfectly suited for the task, no question and, they are more gun than someone who has no gun but to be frank I wanted something that held more bullets while being just as easy to operate.

Because there is a real simple truth in our house.

We've both sent people to jail, both been stalked, and have people who would be just as happy with us dead. So we have concerns about our personal welfare....... just like everyone else.

And like everyone else there is not an unlimited budget.

There was a time when a revolver was cheaper than the self-loading pistol across the board and if someone was looking to buy their first gun the dictum was almost universal. "Go buy a good double action revolver" .Ten and fifteen years ago as cops transferred to the semi-auto pistol, .38 "cop guns" flooded the gun shops. Seeing a used Smith and Wesson for $179 in my area was not uncommon and when I bought mine I paid a hundred more and knew it was a bargain.

Then came the next phase.

LEOs began to shift down in capacity and up in caliber to the the .40 and .45s. Here in the future the bargain in LEO trade-ins is the 9mm pistol from a variety of manufacturers from Beretta and their 92 series, first and second generation Glock 17s and 19s and practically any all metal Smith & Wesson pistol. One friend of mine called me a couple years back and said a Sheriff Deputy he knew was selling his duty pistol and he and his wife were considering buying it since they didn't have a handgun. "It's a Smith 5-9-0-6 in 9mm with three magazines and a holster." when I asked how much he said "$275.00".

Across the board 9mm ammo is currently cheaper than practically any other handgun ammunition and there is literally a buyers market for very good trade in guns to match.

Maybe you look at the big Beretta 92D, the errant Smith 459 or the older SiG P226 that fails to live up to your expectation from lack-of-light-rail and think "that's far too big to carry or I would rather have a [enter $750+ name and price tag here].

Nothing wrong with that.

But for a little bit of scratch you can buy another pistol to take a friend shooting, have a dedicated house gun, or one for your emergency "bug out kit" or stashed in the RV, boat or camper and have a couple of hi cap mags to boot. Perhaps it becomes the gun you give your daughter or son one day when they move out and are starting out in life on a budget

We've all got our favorites for one personal reason or another but,our less than favorites especially at bargain prices can and have served perfectly well.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

When Fools Rush In

in 1923 out came what is now known as the "canon of journalism". This idea that media would be impartial somehow removing the human factor of the human in their writing and, thus the world of reporting would attain some higher level of importance. Akin to the medical profession's "Do no harm". Sadly to date the only people who actually ever bought into the idea that this actually exists is the journalist themselves.

Not long after the incident he was labeled a "wannabe cop" or, a fat white guy who was basically a crossing guard who wanted to go further than he actually could in life. A right wing "gun nut" as it where.

NBC, the FBI, the DOJ, ATF, the New York Post, CNN all of them attacked a character they assumed him to be with labels such as "Rambo" or "a white guy with aggression issues", generally an all around failure in life. They wanted him painted in a certain light to the public and they got it. The citizenry marched on him, called in death threats against him and, crucified him day in and day out.... all without trial. Perhaps the quote that surmised his fate was best said by the evening news anchor

"The speculation is that the FBI is close to making the case. They probably have enough to arrest him right now, probably enough to prosecute him, but you always want to have enough to convict him as well. There are still some holes in this case"

And that was essentially that.


Case closed. Now if only someone would execute the fat son of a bitch there would be justice.

But, then came the problem. He was innocent, worse yet he was actually responsible for alerting the police and saving lives.

His name was Richard Jewell.

And in 1996 when a bomb went off in Olympic Park killing one lady named, Alice Hawthorne and, wounding one hundred and eleven more a nation rallied at heartbeat pace for lynch mob justice. Had they been given reign they would have killed a innocent man.

Did George Zimmer shoot and kill Treyvon Martin?

Yes he did.

Has a nation been fired up once again on hyperbole?

Yes it has.

A gun going off and a youth killed, a murderer does not make. We must stand upon facts.

Facts damn it.

And then if need be a jury of twelve.

Nothing else.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

EDC: Fail is Obsolete


The first time I ever flew in a private jet was when the crew had to take it up for an emergency maneuverability test. Sadly there was no barrel roll but, the hard banking several thousand feet up left every roller coaster I've ridden before or since in the dust.

On board was the Maintenance Chief (USAF-Retired) and I missed no opportunity to pick his brain on the topic of all things jets.

"A plane is like being in love with a crazy woman. If you don't keep your eye on her and love her she'll either mess around on you or kill you." 

Comforting words at fifteen thousand feet to be sure.

So I asked him what crashed most planes. "Either the Pilot making a bad call on the weather or lack of good maintenance....somebody starts cutting corners and lives are lost."

And there it is.

Life is dependent upon good or bad judgement calls and, how well your gear is maintained. Amongst us civilians who carry gear of one lethal sort or another on a daily basis we have no oversight other than ourselves as to how well it is maintained. And let's be honest, we've all been there. The unhealthy dose of lint across the hammer or striker area of our pistol, the tactical folder whose blade still holds bits of tape or glue on the blade and in desperate need of a touch up to the edge, hollow points in your spare mag (that I know you carry always...right) clogged with bits of Kleenex, the not-so-fresh batteries in your tactical light.

Our EDC (Every Day Carry) gear is an amalgamation of an emergency kit and a cog that sees regular use and, because of this we need to always be doing scheduled maintenance. Sunday night, the unofficial pre-game to the week ahead is my night to do this and rarely takes more than fifteen minutes to a half hour. Nothing overly detailed and can readily be done watching television.

For me it looks like this:

  • Rubbing Alcohol on knife blades to clean. Wal-Mart knife sharpener to touch up edge.
  • Empty pistol, grab old toothbrush kept in sock drawer, brush away lint.Inspect hammer area, muzzle, barrel, mag well etc. 
  • Does pistol need to be lubed and/or oiled?
  • Empty all pistol mags and wipe down bullets with soft cotton cloth and clean hollow points out with Q-tip as needed.
  • Inspect holsters for wear/tight fit.
  •  Do self-blinding test with Surefire flashlight...not blind enough...fresh batteries are needed. 
  • Open extendible baton look for rust, lint, etc.
  • Sort and clean out and up daily carry Go bag.Do contents match what is expected in coming week?
 In essence it is nothing more than good old fashion discipline. Just because your favorite bullet launcher can survive ten years under a glacier doesn't mean you should treat it as such. You will never regret keeping your personal gear in good working order or being overly familiar with the equipment you swear to everyone else you need. Because when the life hits the impeller you want your readiness to be ready.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Duds: Apply here


I want your duds.

Actually and specifically I want you to record and track the number of dud .22 LR and .22 Magnum ammo you shoot and encounter this year. Rifle or pistol doesn't matter.

Yep a whole year.

Come March 1, 2013 I'd like to start getting reports in from you. No matter where you are in the world.

Not complicated, just keep a log of the date of the misfire, the manufacturer, the lot number from the side of the ammo box, the firearm you were using and maybe the temperature. If you encounter multiple misfires from a box that's fine (though you might want to check your hammer spring while you are at it).

It would also be wise to include the number of duds encountered from each range session with the amount you fired. This can look something like:

Number of rounds taken to range: 100
Number of rounds fired: 97
Number of mis-fires encountered: 3



I've begun a case study on the .22 in self-defense situations and while yes we all know that it's far from the perfect round you must also remember that in some places people rely on it for their life more than you think for bad situations. Trust me.

Now before you launch into why the .22 rimfire is this or that let me hold you up a moment. What I am looking for is mentioned above not a tirade for or against.

Look at it this way. You now have a perfectly good excuse to pack up your .22 and shoot more this year. If someone complains that you are shooting more than usual or you are spending too much time on the range you can smugly look at them and say "it's part of non-for profit international research."

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Dark Arts for Good Guys: The Right to Knife pt II


Everything about fighting starts inside your head.

Gun, knife, or hands. It makes no difference.

The response that begins in your head flows to your hands. That response is strongly aided in micro-planning, or rather the ability to deal and confront in immediate fashion because you have previously trained to do so.

Translation: In the eternity of a whole second a defensive resolution has to be formulated in your head and reproduced at your hands. After that your ability to overcome is dependent upon your ability to reduce the attacker's rate of survival in their encounter with you. This equates to liquidating their body of blood or stopping the transmission of signals from their brain to the appendages.

Damage has to be significant enough to encourage them to break off the attack, lose consciousness, or the use of the arms and/or legs....and it has to be done quickly.

Because in an encounter with violent humans it is generally a hands/brain combination that is your biggest threat, legs and feet being the second (yes dear reader you can still be stomped to death in the 21st Century). Most likely though hands are the problem this is why you hear it preached "Watch the hands. Hands kill."

If you are forced into the position to defend yourself with a knife-in-use this means being on the inside of the "dance space" as the late Patrick Swayze referred to it in Dirty Dancing , "This is your dance space. This is my dance space" (yep).








The Chest & Upper Body

No other portion of the body allows for such an array of significant multiple and viable targets that in a matter of a few short seconds can lead to cascade-like failure for your attacker. Unlike the abdomen the chest has a protective bone structure in the form of the ribcage and shoulder girdle. However unlike the head/skull it is not a vault like structure and is readily penetrable. In fact 25% of all deaths in the U.S. is attributed to chest trauma. The trauma we are looking at here is predominately stabbing.

The slash cut has its place...without question. Where a slash to the surface of the chest cuts muscle and tendons its also stopped from further penetration from bone and a lack of  pressure on the knife because the grip angle for a slash is reduced in comparison to a push (read: stab). It's physics.


In the span of one second the average and capable adult should be able to deliver three smashing stabs across a span of nine or ten inches. Look at your shoulder and poke your finger inward every three inches.

Now instead of thinking skin deep, with each poke think was sits in between your finger tip and the skin of your back.

Or you can keep reading.

From the shoulder socket you can severe or atleast lacerate part of the lateral cord; which contains the lateral pectoral nerve, the median nerve, and the musculocutaneous nerve. But as the knife slices nerves it also cuts through multiple layers of muscle tissue and does so regardless of whether you are going at it front-to-back, back-to-front or from the outside of the arm inward. Cuts to the deltoid muscle works in tandem with the the chest muscles, biceps and on down to the forearm. A stab (or multiple stabs) while not necessarily lethal in the short term sense they greatly reduce your attacker's ability to attack effectively.




His mechanical ability to maintain a grip on you or a weapon is now reduced in significant fashion, but so is his ability to rotate the arm and the hand.

Why is this important?

Say for example he has a handgun, a stab here followed by a hasty exit on your part reduces his ability to raise, aim, and fire. The multiply factor is you are also now a rapidly, erratically moving target ever decreasing in size...meaning hard to hit under "good" conditions for him.

The other winning factor in this is if in your fight he ends up down on the ground it makes it difficult for him to push up and get up...not impossible...but the difficult factor is high. All because of a three to four inch deep cut.

Moving inward from the arm several inches a stabbing blow delivered to the chest has a high probability of puncturing a lung. It sounds "meh" to read it but instant deflation of one of the two lungs is almost an instantaneous fight stopper.

The internet experts like to tell you of the raging bull attacker who can't be stopped by multiple cylinders of .357. No one thinks of a 105lb woman with a folding knife deflating his lung that leaves him gasping on the floor like a fish out of water. Yet the reason is simple. Your chest expands and contrasts as you inhale and exhale and since breathing is an involuntary act your attacker is breathing while he attacks you. Sounds stupid right?

Who thinks of bad guys breathing in and out?

In the brief interlude between you slamming a four inch folder into his chest/lungs and pulling it out he has either inhaled or exhaled. One or the other. If he inhaled just prior to your stab you have unexpectedly robbed his body of air as it rushes from his chest. If he exhaled the lung has contracted.

Once a lung has contracted the internal world of his chest takes up that space (or tries to). This inward exerting pressure along with the hole in his chest prevents the lung from re-inflation either fully or parially. No re-inflation means no air.

No air. No fight.

His very own body begins to act like a boa constrictor, with each exhale the body tightens around the lung.


That last third of a second and your third stab wound going towards center mass stands a high probability of a direct hit on the heart. Unlike a slash to an arm or leg, a deep puncture will not stop bleeding from applying pressure alone. Drill the heart and you get severe-crippling pain (ask someone who suffered a heart attack about pain), and blood loss at an increased rate. Since the heart's job is to act as a double pump to collect de-oxygenated blood re-distribute freshly oxygenated blood to the body a laceration to it is "problematic" for the attacker. The body can not get fully resupplied (like any wound with blood loss) and significant trauma means the body can not get the oxygen it needs to aid in lung function and...brain function.

Count one full second while tapping your finger three times.

Three wounds in one second. From you to the bad guy.

Arm function is reduced, ability to breath deteriorating, severe pain in multiple locations+blood loss+unexpected negative impact on achieving goal of attacking victim....

Any attack is going to last several seconds under the best conditions for you. As you counter attack he has to block. If you are attacking the upper chest and head region almost everyone is going to try an raise an arm to block the attack. When an arm goes up to protect exposure also occurs.

You now have a direct line of counter-attack on the arm pit, the elbow, the lungs again, the forearms. A knife in one hand and an empty hand or closed fist allows for a quick barrage attack of slashes and stabs in short order. Hitting the underside of the arm near the arm pit means there is strong likely-hood of cutting open the brachial artery.

It sounds redundant doesn't it. Muscle damage, blood loss, puncture wound.

But do you get it?

Your attacker is human...just like you. When you are armed in one fashion or another you fight less an attackers brawn and more his ability to think through what was supposed to be a short win and is now a rapidly changing lethal encounter.

An attacker doesn't think in a sense of planning a defense. Yet we do. That means we have an elongated plan based upon being attacked and then overcoming that attack.

There is something else. If you haven't picked up on it yet. A knife defense doesn't mean a knife fight i.e. knife-on-knife. We are talking about the honest citizen/good guy taking on a bad guy armed in any fashion and winning.

The utilization of knife work in defense work also will get the internets fired up with statements like "you're gonna get cut". It's just not true that this is a "guaranteed" outcome. A woman in minivan can kill a rapist with a knife and never get cut, a dad grocery shopping on vacation fresh off the beach with a folder can blindside a gunman bent on a mass shooting and prevail physically unscathed. Everyone seemingly obsesses that they will get cut because there is a knife around yet most never seem to think or give more than a passing thought of being shot in an exchange of gunfire. Because in case no one ever told you in a gunfight you're downrange.

Stop trying to predict the future. You will either get injured or you won't.

If you obsess about getting shot or getting stabbed or otherwise killed you won't engage or you will do so blindly, stupidly and wildly. You can't treat your injury until the bad guy is dead, down, or fleeing. Make that happen faster. No one, not me, not you, not the best instructor in the world can guarantee your  life...if it comes to a toe to toe fight remember this:

You came into this world covered in someone else's blood you should, in the midst of a violent attack upon you, atleast leave in the same fashion.