Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Shoot to Wound or Shoot to Kill

The greatest question of responsibility a CCW holder must consider before deciding what gun to carry is: Are you able to cause of the death of someone else?  Those who carry for personal-protection must be mentally prepared for a moment of violent crime, which arrives at the choosing of the bad guy.  Before carrying a gun, I encourage everyone to seriously consider the legal, financial, mental, and spiritual aspects of this weighty responsibility.  This area probably is the least explored and least understood by most CCW holders.  You must consult a lawyer who has expertise in this particular area!  This is NOT legal advice. These are things you need to consider.

What constitutes serious threat? The attackers’ size, numbers, proximity, and weapons, including fists, all constitute a potentially dangerous threat.  This is called Disparity of Force.  There are some great articles out there.  Here is just one to give you a good idea:  Disparity of Force, by K.L. Jamison, Esq.

Remember you can only shoot as long as the threat is still present.  AS SOON as the threat ceases to be a threat, or turns to leave (fleeing), you cannot use deadly force anymore!
A good GENERAL definition of Deadly Force is explained in Armed Response' RESPONSIBLE USE OF LETHAL FORCE DVD:  "Citizens may use deadly force in self-defense only when they actually and reasonably believe that doing so is necessary to prevent an imminent, unlawful and otherwise unavoidable threat of death or grave bodily harm to an innocent person."  The source of that was taken from Andrew Branca’s book The Law of Self Defense. This out-of-print reference is expected to be back in print soon. Each one of these words has a precise legal meaning, and they must be understood in their legal context.

Remember, as a private citizen we do NOT have the same authority as LEOs!  Many things you see or hear are not applicable to the private citizen.

Hollywood has created a myth that if you have a gun, just waving it around will probably make the bad guy stop. This can cause an unstable person to become more violent.  In most states the action is illegal, and you could be charged with brandishing a firearm. The movies tell us if brandishing doesn’t work, then maybe a warning shot above his head will do the trick.  Or perhaps just wound him by shooting him in the arm or leg. Again, these are dangerous misconceptions. In either case, a prosecutor WILL make the case that you must not have been in serious fear for your life if you felt there was time to scare or simply wound your assailant.  The notion that shooting a small, fast moving limb is going to be easier than hitting center of mass is just a bad idea.  In the stress of the moment, the best strategy is to hit a large target to quickly eliminate the threat. The attacker’s center of mass is that target. Also remember wounds in extremities may not stop the assailant, especially when the attacker is large, violent or drugged up.

Remember, you are personally liable for every round you fire and where it ends up, including strays, misses, and ricochets. You are also responsible for the safety of any bystanders that are between you and the bad guy… as well as those rounds that hit their intended target!  Shooting to wound shows a malicious intent to injure. Shooting to defend oneself is a matter of resorting to a serious method because one had no other choice.  If you are using your firearm, you should be taking this action because deadly force was the ONLY thing that could stop the bad guy.  You must be able to articulate this in court; this is not just “I felt scared!”  When you draw your gun, you must be ready to use it, to the point of deadly force, to insure your safety and escape from a violent situation.
Required viewing:

Judicious Use of Deadly Force DVD by Massad F. Ayoob (Warning: Crude language and taking the Lord's Name in vain.)

Armed Response Responsible Use of Lethal Force

Stay safe and God bless,


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Just Because You Have A Gun Doesn’t Mean You Are Suddenly a Different Person

All responsible CCW holders know that every encounter is an armed encounter. Not everyone is going to be pleased with this, even some friends!

I was at a married couple's home for dinner along with several other couples, including fellow CCW holders. Being that I was at a friend’s house I took my jacket off, as I got warm. Later in the evening I got up to refresh my non-alcoholic drink (I do not drink alcohol when I am armed or driving.) At this point another couple saw my gun. Their reaction to it was so loud, obnoxious, and vehement, it almost made me think that there was an intruder!

Moments before that I was a friend of a few years, yet upon seeing my gun for the first time, I became enemy number 1! As liberal New Yorkers those guests thought all guns were going to magically kill the next innocent person it found! Moreover, anyone who owned a gun was a raving lunatic that needed to be put away. That's what they seriously thought about me. Before seeing my gun I was a good friend, after seeing it I was basically avoided and given the cold shoulder. I was told not to wear my gun to their home if I visited them in the future.

Later the hosts told me that couple felt you just cannot trust gun owners. They did not know that the hosts were CCW holders as well! Other CCW holders have told me of people remarking that they will now have to be careful not to make them mad, once that they find out they carry a gun for personal protection. People who are CCW holders do not lose their minds, their self-control, their patience or their sense of right and wrong when they carry a weapon. If anything, these good qualities are accentuated – one is MORE patient, has MORE self-control.

I did nothing wrong and I have no obligation to notify my hosts, or anyone else around me when I rightfully carry my gun. Who I am has not changed, I simply claim my right to stay safe should an unforeseen circumstance arise.

Care should always be taken to keep your carry-status private. Too many people knowing, or wondering if you are, can lead to comments drawing attention to your gun – whether you are carrying now or not. You are the person to decide who knows or not. (And if a friend lets you in on their status, don’t share it with others…that is HIS choice to make.)

Stay safe and God bless,


Friday, November 9, 2012

Just Because You Have A Gun Doesn’t Mean You Can Carry It Everywhere

A common misconception is that because you have a CCW permit you can carry your gun anywhere you want.  Every concealed carrier knows that's not true.  But for the uninitiated or the uneducated this can be a real surprise.

As a responsible CCW holder I need to be aware of where it is ok to carry as well as know the law as to where I may carry a gun.

I recommend The Traveler's Guide to the Firearm Laws of the Fifty States.  I carry a current copy in my car at all times. I also use several iPhone apps to make sure of gun laws while traveling: CCW - Concealed Carry 50 Sates Guide, Legal Heat - 50 State Guide to Firearms Law, Gun Concealed Lite.

In VA one regulation that has been streamlined is concealed carry in restaurants that serve alcohol.  You can conceal carry in a restaurant, but cannot consume ANY alcohol.  From the VA State Police:

Where Unlawful to Carry
§18.2-308 (J.3.): No person who carries a concealed handgun onto the premises of any restaurant or club as defined in § 4.1-100 for which a license to sell and serve alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption has been granted by the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Board under Title 4.1 of the Code of Virginia; may consume an alcoholic beverage while on the premises. A person who carries a concealed handgun onto the premises of such a restaurant or club and consumes alcoholic beverages is guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor. However, nothing in this subsection shall apply to a federal, state, or local law-enforcement officer.  (http://www.vsp.state.va.us/Firearms_ResidentConcealed.shtm)

Another area that surprises the uninformed is the complexity surrounding legal concealed carry on VA college campuses.  The best short explanation is this:

Virginia: State Colleges Do Not Have the Authority to Ban Concealed Carry on Campus According to Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli  
In response to a question posed by state Senator Emmett Hanger (R- Mount Solon), Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli recently issued an opinion stating that state universities and colleges - such as the University of Virginia - do not have the legal authority to prohibit permit holders from carrying a concealed firearm for self-defense. With his opinion found here, the Attorney General explains that where permit holders are lawfully allowed to carry may only be prohibited by law, not school policy. AG Cuccinelli did however state that bans on open carrying may still be enforced based on trespassing laws. 
Consistent with his recent opinion stating that self-defense is a valid reason for permit holders to carry in church, this most recent action enforces the fact that state agencies, such as public universities, do not have the authority to establish “policy” in direct violation of state law. Virginia does not expressly prohibit permit holders from carrying concealed for self-defense on university or college campuses. 
While this opinion is good news for permit holders, the university or college still has authority over students and staff and actions could be taken to expel students or fire staff, should they violate the school’s policy. Should the school want to make their policy law, they would then be forced to go through the complete administrative process to have an official regulation added to the Virginia Administrative Code. (http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=118x434132)

As of this date there are 6 VA Commonwealth Schools that prohibit by regulation (thus force of law) concealed carry on campuses: Radford University, Virginia Tech, Old Dominion University, George Mason University, College of William and Mary, and Virginia Commonwealth College.

This information (as well as ALL laws) are the responsibility of the CCW holder to know. Ignorance is no excuse!  I am not a lawyer, never have been, won’t be!  Please consult your own lawyer to make sure your understanding of the law is correct.

Stay safe and God bless,


Friday, November 2, 2012

Firearm and Self-Defense Misconceptions

As a responsible gun owner, I find myself at times having to defend this freedom that our Founding Fathers recognized.  There is a certain amount of education of those around us that needs to take place. Recently I was with a group of people, most of whom were either gun friendly or gun neutral, but there were also some anti-gun folks listening in.

Helping educate all those around us about guns is important.  Why? Because we help dispel the media induced misconceptions that exist about guns and gun owners.  The wide range of topics covered in that recent discussion was staggering!  In a few posts we will look at some of these topics.


Our Law Enforcement Officers deserve a great amount of respect.  They do incredible work in tough conditions. In my area of discipline words matter.  In this regard, I write Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) for a very precise reason.  These individuals ENFORCE LAWS.  They are not your friends.  Remember, if you use your legally owned gun in a lawful incident, you will be arrested by these individuals.  At your trial, it’s going to be the Commonwealth of VA (and the BAD guy) verses YOU.  Anything you say to the police in the initial aftermath will be used AGAINST you.  They will not testify on your behalf.

Their responsibility is not like we see on TV.  It is a falsehood/myth/lie often touted by the anti-gun crowd that Law Enforcement is there to protect us.  We're told “Just call the police, and they will be there in minutes…” The average LEO response time is 4 minutes and the average violent crime event is over in 90 seconds.


In the book Dial 911 and Die by Richard W. Stevens says,
In its landmark decision of DeShaney v. Winnebago County Department of Social Services, the U.S. Supreme Court declared that the Constitution does not impose a duty on the state and local governments to protect the citizens from criminal harm.  Focusing on the phrase referring to “due process” in the Fourteenth Amendment, the Court wrote that nothing in the language of the Due Process Clause itself requires the State to protect the life, liberty, and property of its citizens against invasion by private actors.  The Clause is phrased as a limitation on the State’s power to act, not as a guarantee of certain minimal levels of safety and security.  It forbids the State itself to deprive individuals of life, liberty, or property without “due process of law,” but its language cannot fairly be extended to impose an affirmative obligation on the State to ensure that those interests do not come to harm through other means (page 21).  
There are many references online that point this critical fact out.  Yet the lamestream media continues to lie about it.  Many good CCW holders are left clueless.


Our own personal security is our OWN!  CCW holders are NOT replacement LEOs.  Concealed weapon carriers do recognize that protecting oneself is first and foremost our own duty.


Dial 911 and Die

Just Dial 911? The Myth of Police Protection

Justices Rule Police Do Not Have a Constitutional Duty to Protect Someone

Police Have No Duty To Protect Individuals

The Police: No Duty To Protect Individuals 

The police 'protect and serve' the state, not you

* Just Because You Have A Gun Doesn’t Mean You Can Carry It Everywhere
Just Because You Have A Gun Doesn’t Mean You Are Suddenly a Different Person
* Shoot to Wound or Shoot to Kill

Stay safe and God bless,


Monday, October 29, 2012

Family Preparedness

On a recent morning we were all getting ready for our day when my son came to me and said a black car had just come down our driveway. The car didn't match the usual ride-share to school, and we weren't expecting visitors, so I went downstairs to check it out. By then the car had turned around and was facing the street, and I recognized the passenger as the expected classmate of my son. It turns out the ride was early, and since the dad was driving it was a different than usual vehicle. As I approached the car I told him my son would be out in a moment, and relayed that I had been warned of a strange car coming down the driveway. He replied "Did you get your gun?" I chuckled and replied "I already HAD my gun."

In the aftermath of this brief alert I had two immediate thoughts. First of all, I found the question about retrieving my gun interesting. What good is a gun for protection if you have to go get it when you suddenly find you may need it? My weapon stays on my belt during my waking moments. It's pretty useless anywhere else.

Secondly, I was proud of our son. He saw the strange car, he didn't assume it was his ride, and he alerted me. He didn't run downstairs to check for himself, nor did he follow me downstairs out of curiosity.

This little incident made me think more about preparedness, especially as it applies to family members in the home. Those who have taken on the responsibility for their own and their family's security know that it's not just important to train yourself in weapons, tactics, and situational awareness, you must also train those around you, especially younger family members.

One of the first things to teach them is to NOT say "My Dad/Mom has a gun," either to their friends or when there is an event that raises the level of awareness. It seems obvious, but I've heard more than one young person making public proclamations about their Dad carrying a weapon. I've witnessed my own son biting his tongue when friends are sharing info they shouldn't or bragging about their Dad and his guns.

Another very important aspect is to help family members become more aware of their surroundings. You can even make this a game. We've done this frequently. After sitting down in a restaurant for example, there may be a pop quiz regarding exit locations. Or I may ask a question about other people in a room; "How many people are here?" or "Who's by the door?", etc. Sometimes I make a game of finding other concealed carriers in the room. A word of warning, you may find your kids will notice more than you!

Another important tool in your family's defenses is a code that alerts when immediate action is needed. Face it, teenagers don't always jump when Dad says jump. Also, most people have a tendency to want to look for themselves when warned of a problem. In our family we have a set of unobtrusive code words that can be worked into any conversation, without thought or effort, which mean directions are to be followed NOW. Combined with the code, if Dad says we have to leave, it means we are leaving without delay or question. If the command is to run or take cover, it's done without looking for the "why." The alert word is a command to follow the accompanying direction NOW and WITHOUT QUESTION. Our code is also shared with a very close, frequent companion, who is essentially another family member. It is not shared with lots of people, nor will we let just anyone in on the secret. A secret code is only as good as the privacy kept by those in the circle. You can come up with your own inside communication tools for your family — ones that best fit your circumstances and your group memories.

Noticing potential danger signs is a great skill for everyone to have. This helps to avoid danger before it ever gets serious. You also need to practice these skills with your family. When the time comes to protect your family, the response must be planned, rehearsed and executed without delay or hesitation.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Lethal Use of Force

As Shooters we take great time, effort, and expense to keep our shooting skills up. As Concealed Carry citizens our responsibility doesn’t end there.  Not only do we have to be able to hit our target, but we also need to know all the legal ramifications that this responsibility holds.  Our education and interest in the legal area needs to be ongoing; new laws go into effect, new cases can shape the interpretation of a law - we need to be aware.

Finding a class, let alone a good class, on the proper understanding and use of lethal force in the Commonwealth of Virginia is hard.  Several years ago I took a Lethal Use of Force class given by David Rittgers, excellent class!  However, I feel it is time for a refresher.  In looking online these last few months, I have not been able to find anything.

Me being Padre, I went out and found the next best thing; books!
Here is a list of books (and a DVD) that I have found helpful:

Case Law Link
Virginia Case Law on Firearms and the Use of Deadly Force

UseofForce.us Link

Dial 911 and Die  

Self Defense Laws of All 50 States With Plain-Talk Summaries

The Virginia Gun Owner’s Guide
DVD: Responsible Use of Lethal Force         http://www.armedresponsetraining.com/responsible_use-info2.html  

Let me know what you use, or have found helpful, in the comments.

Stay safe and God bless,


Friday, August 3, 2012

They're At It Again

One of the frequent criticisms faced as a Catholic gun owner is the misconception that there is something contradictory about being a faithful Catholic who also owns, and carries, a gun. This idea is promulgated by the mainstream press, who are unfortunately often aided by misguided forces within our own Church. We saw this with the widely misreported statement from the Bishops claiming the Church opposes gun ownership. This story was fully covered here previously.

Now our own diocesan newspaper, the Arlington Herald picks up this theme once again in a recent article under the inflammatory title "America’s deadly obsession with violence and guns." The author, Tony Magliano, is described as "an internationally syndicated social justice and peace columnist."

I can’t think of a better way to describe this latest article than “rubbish.”  Mr. Magliano has so many of his facts wrong that his writing is irresponsible. For the Herald to publish this borders on being scandalous as it could cause less-informed Catholics to think that this is actual Church teaching.

Magliano quotes extensively from the leading anti-gun groups when presenting his "facts."
According to Joshua Horwitz, executive director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (csgv.org), James Holmes, the suspected perpetrator of the Aurora killings, had a questionable mental health history that should have prevented him from purchasing any weapons. But instead, “Holmes was able to outfit himself for war. 
“When he walked into the Century Aurora 16 theater, he wore full body armor and carried four guns: two semiautomatic Glock handguns, a 12-gauge shotgun, and an AR-15 style assault rifle with a 100-round drum magazine. … The AR-15 was one of the assault rifles banned under a federal law that Congress allowed to expire in 2004. It is now clear they made a tragic mistake.”

The writer misrepresents the basic details of the Aurora shooting. The Aurora shooter did not wear full body armor. He had on a tactical vest, with NO body armor attached. Nor did the so-called "assault weapon" ban take these weapons out of existence as implied.

He goes on:
Guns can be sold in the U.S. without a background check to screen out criminals or the mentally ill.
According to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence (bradycampaign.org), “Sales between individuals, under federal law, do not require a background check. This means that felons can “lie and buy” at gun shows and other places where guns are readily available.”

Mr. Magliano continues to employ misdirection by stating that the shooter had a mental illness which should have prevented him from getting a gun, while at the same time mentioning that guns can be sold in the US without a background check. He makes these claims to “prove” that we need stricter laws. In fact, any information on the shooter’s mental capacity is only conjecture at this time, and there was nothing in any law enforcement database on him prior to the shooting. The guns used were legally purchased in gun stores, not private sales, and the shooter passed the required background checks. Magliano’s statements have zero applicability to this horrific crime.

Mr. Magliano stresses the need for more laws. It is already illegal to have a gun in a theatre in Colorado. That didn’t stop the shooter. It’s illegal to murder someone. That didn’t stop the shooter.

As any good anti-gun writer will do, Magliano trots out the "risk of suicide" line. By quoting only “facts” from these groups, Magliano presents an unbalanced and biased article. The numbers from the Brady group are willfully twisted to fit their agenda. Like the “facts” on guns going into Mexico from the US, they have been proven false, but are repeated nonetheless.
According to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, a gun in the home is far more likely to be used in a completed or attempted suicide, a criminal assault or homicide, or an accidental shooting death, than in a self-defense shooting.

I urge the reader to visit http://www.gunfacts.info/pdfs/gun-facts/6.1/gun_facts_6_1_screen.pdf for information based on actual crime statistics rather than conjecture from the anti-gun Brady group. I've excerpted a few germane points here.

Myth: Japan has strict gun control and a less violent society
Fact: In Japan, the total murder rate is almost 1 per 100,000. In the U.S., there are about 3.2 murders per 100,000 people each year by weapons other than firearms. This means that even if firearms in the U.S. could be eliminated, the U.S. would still have three times the murder rate of the Japanese. Whereas Japan’s murder rate may be low, its suicide rate is over 20 per 100,000 people. Combined, Japanese are being murdered and committing suicide at a rate of about 21 per 100,000. In the U.S., our combined murder and suicide rate is also about 21. (page 7)

Myth: The availability of guns causes crime
Fact: Though the number of firearms owned by private citizens has been increasing steadily since 1970, the overall rate of homicides and suicides has not risen. As the chart [at link above] shows, there is no correlation between the availability of firearms and the rates of homicide and suicide in America. (page 27)

Myth: Access to guns increases the risk of suicide
Fact: The rate of suicide is not affected by the presence of a firearm. This is true in either a time-series analysis chart (like the chart at right [at link above] showing the change in handgun supply in the U.S. over time), or through cross-national analysis. For example, Japan has no private handgun ownership (aside from an extremely limited number of licensed Olympic sport shooters), and yet had a suicide rate more than twice that of the United States in 2002. (page 70)

As a “social justice and peace columnist,” Mr. Magliano urges us to rely on “gentle love” to resist "evil and bullets." Try telling this woman who was going to be robbed (or possibly gang raped or murdered) that she doesn't need a gun.

Responsible gun ownership is a right, and a duty. Why do some people want to use criminal behavior as an excuse to limit law-abiding citizens' rights? Arlington Catholics would be better served if the diocesan paper stuck to the Magisterium of the Church rather than publishing biased diatribes that both misrepresent the teachings of the Church and inaccurately report recent news events.


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Carry Your Gun

This past week brought news of two highly publicized shootings. This isn't a post to rehash those horrific incidents. This is a reminder: Carry your gun!

In the Florida incident, one of the thugs stated afterwards, “he never expected anyone to be armed.” Fortunately he was wrong. That expectation on the part of the criminal is the problem in America today. The wolves expect that the sheep, their victims, will be unarmed and unable to defend themselves. It's time to change that assumption.

In the Colorado incident, in a crowded theatre, not a single person fought back, at least as far as we know so far. Why is that? One reason is that the theatre is "gun free zone." The management of that theatre chain demands that its patrons be defenseless. There's a good chance the shooter chose this venue to carry out his cowardly act for that very reason.

We're told in an emergency to "call 911." Dozens of people called 911 when the shooting started and not a single person inside the theatre was saved by those calls.

Carry your gun, it's a lighter burden than regret.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Sellier & Bellot Ammo Review

Recently we received an email from the folks at AmmoForSale.com asking if Gabriel Possenti Shooters would be interested in receiving some free ammo for review. Free ammo? More shooting? Well, okay.

We received a box of 124gr SP 9mm Ammo by Sellier & Bellot. This turned out to be a good choice for review for a couple of reasons. First, 124gr 9mm is my preferred 9mm load. Secondly, Sellier & Bellot is a brand I've never tried previously.

This "soft point"ammo has an exposed bullet tip, rather then being fully copper clad. This design maybe useful to meet some indoor range limitations as it is easier on the backstop. Since we're shooting outdoors, that point is moot. My focus here is "How does it shoot?" Ballistic tests and the like are fine, but our focus is the recreational shooter. I loaded up the SIG P226 mags with the review ammo, as well as some mags with my usual 124gr rounds for comparison. On this day we happened to be working on close range shooting, 7 yards or so, with a focus on strong and weak hand only shooting. I started off with the known rounds, then switched to the Sellier & Bellot. The perceived recoil was no different, even shooting one handed. My accuracy stayed the same between the rounds. In fairness, I took careful two-handed aim at a three inch circle. As shown to the below, the first DA shot split the number, while my quick followup SA shot was off but still on target. The ammo is at least as accurate as I am.

I certainly have no complaints about the Sellier & Bellot 9mm rounds. With the ever-changing ammo availability situation it's good to know I have another wholly acceptable option.

AmmoForSale.com is also a new-to-me ammo supplier. Their website offers numerous options for navigation. You can search for ammo by caliber, quantity, or even by firearm type based on user recommendations. Almost all my ammo shopping is done online, and AmmoForSale.com includes a feature that I appreciate, and demand, when ammo shopping — their real-time inventory is readily listed. Each product page includes the stock available, and if something is totally out of stock it is not listed.

The ammo reviewed here was provided without charge by AmmoForSale.com. The content of this review was made without input by the supplier and no compensation was received for this review.


Monday, June 11, 2012

Gabriel Possenti Shooters Range Day

The first "unofficially official" gathering of some Gabriel Possenti Shooters took place on a recent Sunday. After Mass, eight enthusiasts, including blog contributors Padre and Contego, gathered for a fun afternoon of shooting and camaraderie. The group represented a range of shooting experience, and plenty of enthusiasm!

When we arrived at the range we were pleased to find the larger pistol bay free, so we had sufficient room for the group. After a brief safety discussion, everyone went downrange for shooting and individual instruction as needed. We had a variety of guns on hand to shoot and compare. We had two Sig Sauer pistols, a full size P226 and the compact P239, both in 9mm. Also two Kimber .45 ACP 1911s; one in a 5 inch barrel and the other a 4 inch barrel, as well as a Keltec .380. Most of the shooting was done from the 7 yard line. I find that distance to be a good balance, especially for the new shooter. It's far enough to be challenging (and rewarding) but still close enough not to be frustrating. When the Keltec came out we moved up to arms-length distance. We were very conscience of keeping everyone at the same line when shooting, no one backward or forward of another shooter. Folks got to experience some close in shooting with the full size guns as well. Up close and personal targets provide for quite a different "feedback." After we had expended several hundred rounds of ammo it was time to move on to the next event. Everyone helped police the brass and then we packed up the cars to move over to the shotgun range.

The Remington 870 was the gun of choice here as we had this classic shotgun in three different configurations. We set up some clays at about the 10 yard line and everyone took turns shooting at those. The clays were all hung on the edges of short tree stumps or boards. Again, individual instruction and encouragement was given as needed. Eventually, on one of Padre's trips downrange to set out more clays, he kept going further afield and setting up clays at greater distances. I knew what he had in mind. It was time for some fun "running and gunning." Shoot the first clay, run to where it had been, then shoot the next one out. There were four "stations" total, the last target was set out near the limit of the birdshot shells. Of course, everyone was safe and moved at their own pace. It was fun "play."

Eventually we all agreed we'd had enough and deemed it was time for food! Everyone headed over to our house and the grill was fired up. We enjoyed a fun evening out on the deck with lots of good food and good conversation. The conversation wasn't limited to firearms and personal protection either. Among a group of like-minded Catholics, there's always plenty to talk about.

It was an exceptional day and there were smiles all around. I can think of no better way to spend a day than shooting, and eating, with friends.


Monday, May 14, 2012

Cooper Awareness Levels

The recent posting about the mom caught unaware by an attempted robbery inspired me to review the Mindset Color Codes. These color designations are used to describe increasing levels of awareness and were first coined by the late Jeff Cooper. While anyone who has spent even a small bit of time studying self defense is probably already familiar with Cooper's designations, they are still worth a regular review. Learning to live observently and to properly manage your state of awareness could save your life.

Cooper divided our levels of awareness into 5 stages. When threatened and aware, we will progress from one stage to the next. The rate of that transition will depend on the threat and accompanying circumstances, as well as our level of preparedness.

White: This is the state of being totally unaware of your surroundings. It might also be described as "sleep." Being caught by a surprise danger at this point means we are essentially defenseless. Think of being startled awake at night by a noise in the house. There is a moment of confusion before our minds are able to process the events.

How do we avoid being caught in condition White? Simple, don't go there. Don't walk down the street with your eyes focused in your cell phone, or your ears filled with music from your iPod blasting away.  There are times you must be in condition White. We all must sleep, but we don't have to do so without a secondary alert system in place. When you are relaxing in your home or before you go to sleep lock all the doors. Make it a system by checking that all doors are secure before you retire; don't just assume they are. Set the alarm. Have a dog. Anything to give you some advance warning of a possible threat.

Yellow: This level of awareness is best described as "relaxed alert." This is the minimum level you should be in throughout the day. At this stage you are aware that a threat might present itself. You know who is around you. You are aware of exits and routes of escape. You aren't ready to fight but you will not be surprised by any threats.

To the uninitiated this may seem to be a stressful way to live, or even a bit paranoid. In fact, it can become a fun and relaxed way to go about your day. You can be confident that you probably won't be face danger without warning. You'll be more aware of the pleasant things around you too. By being observant, you'll see things you might otherwise have missed. It's taking time to smell the roses so to speak. When you enter a room do a scan and note where the exits are. When you enter a store, do you know how many people are there? Play a game as you walk down the street by making a point to see anyone you know before they see you. If they greet you before you see them, you weren't aware. Can you find other concealed carriers in the store with you? Living in condition Yellow will soon become second nature. It's something you do without thinking, and it does create a new level of relaxation. Maintaining diligence in condition Yellow will help avoid the need to rise to the higher levels.

Orange: At Orange you have identified a potential threat. You have not yet decided to take action, but something has your attention. You are focused on that possible threat and have a course of action in mind. Perhaps the person crossed the street when you did, or you've noticed them glancing around nervously. At this point you are formulating a plan of possible action — if the person does a certain action next or continues a suspicious activity you have a plan in mind. That could be heading for the exit, or looking for cover. However, you must not focus on this one potential threat to the exclusion of everything else. Wolves travel in packs.

Being on alert at this level is tiring and can only be maintained for a short time. Your decision factor between dropping back to Yellow, or moving the next level should be definite and quickly reached.

Red: At level Red your decision factor set in condition Orange was reached. You have identified a real threat and you are mentally and physically ready to fight. You have a specific plan of action. You now have a mental trigger in your mind that will kick you into action. The decision to defend yourself has now been made. When the trigger point is reached you will react, without hesitation, and with all your training and preparedness brought into full play.

By moving to this level of readiness you have a jump on the fight. You don't waste precious seconds making decisions and formulating a plan. Obviously this level of readiness can only be maintained for a very short time frame. Your focus is solely on the threat and your defensive actions.

Black: This is the actual fight itself. Some have described this stage as "potential death." You are now dealing with a life threatening situation. At Black there are no longer any decisions to be made. You are fighting with all your ability and training. At this point you must be automatic. You must be determined and unrelenting. Cooper didn't include this level designation in his original training, but the designation has been added as the system has developed over the years.

The next time you find yourself wandering about in condition White, stop and take note, and make the correction. Learn to live "relaxed but alert." It could be the most valuable life skill you learn.


Friday, May 11, 2012

Awareness and Planning

With only this short clip of a video of an attempted robbery, a few thoughts come to mind. Being able to react to an attack means being prepared beforehand - mentally and physically. Think about how you can get yourself, and those with you, to safety should the need arise. Talk about this with your children. "If we ever are in a bad situation and I say run - you run as fast as you can to safety" (nearby home, store, etc.) Depending on the situation, physically grabbing a young child and running or pushing them to safety may be the best move. This means being alert to potential threats and having some idea of what you will do. This poor woman and child had no clue what to do, and, as a good friend remarked "This is a good example of how the body and untrained mind reacts." She halfheartedly follows her foolish first thought, leaving her child in danger and confusion.

Besides a strategy, one cannot underestimate the importance of situational awareness. Knowing who is around your car *before* you get out. If someone is too close, wait a few moments. After you get out, keep track of who is nearby and what they are doing. Know where you would go if needed once out of the car. If the unthinkable happens, you have a plan in mind so that you immediately go to it. Be sure those in your care have already been taught - when I say run - RUN. When you enter a building, take a quick look at the exits - knowing how to get out could be of great importance. This woman appears totally unaware of the approaching man and is caught off guard as he threatens her.

Don't let your social graces cripple you. If someone is crowding your space or following too close - jog across a short cut to safety. Any man who is a husband, dad, brother or son, would understand a woman moving to safety. (He would want his own sister, wife, mother, or daughter to do the same!) The bad guy will often push through our socially polite reactions to do us harm. Know there is a threat before you strike, but don't let the bad guy use your courtesy to his advantage.

None of this precludes enjoying life or living comfortably in the world. To be alert and aware of your surroundings takes little time, does not diminish the enjoyment of whatever you are doing, yet it lays the ground work for a safe exit should the need arise. A few moments pause before leaving her car, or a quick determined run to safety with her child when threatened could have quickly ended this encounter.

Read more on this story here.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Why People Hate Guns

Rabbi Dovid Bendory and Alan Korwin have an interesting post over at JPFO entitled "Why Jews Hate Guns." Despite the title, the ideas presented in the paper can just as easily apply to any adamantly anti-gun person, regardless of creed, or political leaning.

The authors posit:
The adamantly anti-gun-rights Jews are bowing to: 
1. A desire for utopian moral purity
2. A disproportional incidence of hoplophobia
3. A quest for power through victimization of peers
4. A utopian delusion that if guns would just “go away,” crime would end and the world would be a peaceful safe place
5. Self hatred and a wish to be helpless, acting out guilt-based behavioral problems that develop in childhood
6. The Ostrich Syndrome
7. Garden-variety hypocrisy
8. Adulterated religion -- Jews In Name Only (JINOs)
9. Feel-good sophistry
10. Abject fear that yields irrational behavior
Each of these points is explained in detail. As I was reading the article, I was struck how I have noted these traits in many people. It was an interesting realization, but at the same time somewhat disturbing. On the bright side, understanding the motives behind the anti-gun folks is an important tool in defending against their attacks on our God-given rights.

I strongly suggest you take a few minutes to read the entire posts at "Why Jews Hate Guns."


Friday, May 4, 2012

You Are Responsible For You

A couple weeks ago a young couple was beaten by a group of over 30 youths in Norfolk, VA. Despite the fact that the victims were reporters for The Virginian-Pilot, the newspaper did not mention the story for two weeks. And even then, it was as an editorial, not a crime report or news item. Why? It's anyone's guess, but it's notable that the victims were white, the perpetrators black. Is this the new standard of reporting in America?

The response from the police at the above incident was "It's what they do." They ruled the 30 on 2 beating a "simple assault." That's right, resignation and apathy. It's a fact that the courts have ruled repeatedly that the police have no duty to protect the public. The victims had to call 911 three times before they got a response. As much respect as I have for our law enforcement personnel, we must still face the reality that their job revolves around arresting criminals AFTER a crime has been committed. That's little solace for a family who has lost a father, or mother, or a child due to the uncivilized behavior of some societal misfit.

Race baiters and class warfare proponents like Al Sharpton, Jessie Jackson, Bill Ayers, and even the president of the United States, are aided by the leftist media in their quest to stir up violence in order to progress their goals. Some are predicting an increase in race-based crime in the near future.

It is also not unreasonable to expect an increase in violence in the coming months based on the "collective" mentality. Watch the police reaction to the pack of anarchists in the Seattle area this week. They essentially stood by helplessly and let the animals wreak havoc. How many innocent people could be hurt by the fires and breaking glass? How long do you think it will take for property damage to escalate to physical attacks on people? We've seen that the "social activists" have no issues attacking the police during "peaceful" protests.

Despite the history of violence perpetrated by Communist governments throughout history, thousands of useful idiots, even right here in the US, stood up and celebrated "collective" rule on May 1. Even the president's reelection campaign is employing the theme of a previous oppressive and violent movement. Violence and dangerous times are looming in the not too distant future. Even if you are optimistic that our county isn't about to erupt into violence, are you willing to sit back and not prepare? Will you take the fire extinguishers out of your home because you don't expect a fire?

In response to the question regarding if it was right to work to build wealth, or if one should simply rely on God to provide, a priest I know replied "Well, you shouldn't be an idiot." In other words, you must take care of yourself and your family. God helps those who helps themselves. It's a sin, and foolhardy, to tempt God and expect Him to do what he has given you the ability to do. I pray the future that seems inevitable won't actually come to pass. I pray that common sense and responsibility will prevail. But in the meantime I will do what I can to prepare.

Every state of the US, excepting one, allows law-abiding citizens to arm themselves for self-defense and defense of their loved ones. The restrictions vary from state to state, but the right exists in some form. Yet the majority of Americans do not prepare. The decision to not carry a firearm is a conscience decision to pass the responsibility for your own safety on to someone else. It is a decision to not be responsible for the well-being of your loved ones. It is casting off that which God gave you the ability to do. That's not something for which I wish to answer someday.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Targets For Practice

Originally published at Musings Over a Pint:

While loading up the car recently for a trip to the range, I was struck by the number of different target styles we have on hand. I thought I'd share a few of them.

There's the USPSA practice target, for obvious reasons. I've have similar targets on order with the IDPA layout. We occasionally use the headshot / hostage target. You can alternate which figure you want to hit. And yes, even as a paper silhouette it adds to the pressure. The two targets with the colored shapes are part of Rob Pincus' "Balance of Speed and Precision" series. There's an unlimited number of drills and games you can create with these. Of course, we also use the ubiquitous "man with a gun" poster. The numbered circles on the side add to the options. The body silhouette with scoring rings is one of the earliest targets we started using. Affectionately known as "postage stamp" guy for the small tiny target in the upper left. There's more than one tiny postage stamp guy with a center hit posted as a trophy on a shooter's refrigerator or office door.

Most of these paper targets are 24 inches wide, which is wider than the typical 18" cardboard USPSA/IDPA targets, and stands. When I made my stands I set them up to accommodate the wider targets. I keep a constant eye out for scrap cardboard wide enough to use with the stands.

Why so many targets? Mostly for the fun of it. We like to mix things up at the range, and we sure don't want to get bored. A lot of our range trips involve "games" we make up, and the various targets add to our options.

Of course, that's just the commercial paper targets. We also use paper plates, index cards, sticky notes, colored construction paper, the occasional lottery ticket or novelty target. We'll haul out the steel targets regularly too.

Both in sport and self defense, one doesn't want to train to always look for an X. I believe that using a variety of targets, and mixing up the drills and games we play, helps to avoid complacency in practice. And we certainly never get bored!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

How Prepared Are You? Part 2

Last month, we pointed out the first article in the series on preparing for a breakdown in lawful society. This week, Jews For The Preservation of Firearms Ownership posted the second part of this enlightening essay.

What can do, for yourself, right now (part 2)
by Kirby Ferris
© Copyright Jews For The Preservation of Firearms Ownership (www.JPFO.org) 2012

The disgusting, lynch mob mentality that has arisen from the Trayvon Martin shooting case places us several notches towards race riots this summer. To the balanced observer, Zimmerman really does appear to have likely shot Martin in self defense. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton and Barack Hussein Obama started babbling before all the facts were in. These collectivist droids seldom retreat from any lie ... they simply magnify it further.

If George Zimmerman is acquitted the fuse will light. Remember Rodney King? If you live in an urban environment, don't be stupid. Pay attention!

Already there have been brutal beatings of whites by blacks as "payback" for Trayvon's death. In a Maryland incident, although so far not directly related to the Trayvon Martin case, it is stretching credibility to assume that the Blacks were not powerfully motivated by the Florida incident. The leading police officer in that investigation claimed it was not a hate crime. Unbelievable.

However, in an Alabama and a Chicago case, the Florida teen's death is part and parcel of the events. See Fox News and New York Daily Times.

To my knowledge, none of these attrocities has been labeled a "hate crime". Let's face it: had these acts of savagery been perpetrated by a pack of Whites on a hapless Black the sky would be falling. Special commissions, SWAT teams and aerial drones would be brought to the front, accompanied by a never-ending liberal media barrage.

By yourself, there is really nothing you can do to change the reality of this completely hypocritical situation. However, you can do certain things in the next several days that will empower YOU, should you be enmeshed somehow in the racist lunacy. No, I'm not just writing for whites or Hispanics. See JPFO' film "No Guns for Negroes".

In a recent JPFO article I advised the purchase of a pump shotgun and a hundred bucks of ammo. Total expenditure $400.

I'm going to now expand to suggestions for the second type of firearm you want to own: a "compact" 9mm pistol. Sure, we'd all like a custom big bore .45, but this article, like the previous one, lays heavily on BUDGET. That means the question of how much you get (ammo included) for what you have to spend.

( Continue reading at http://jpfo.org/kirby/kirby-what-u-cando-02.htm )

The author makes some acute observations on current events and where they may lead. This is not a time to be complacent. Last month he suggested that a shotgun was a wise first choice for home defense. This time Ferris recommends a compact, and inexpensive, defensive pistol. He also makes some suggestions as to what to look for in this weapon.

Monday, April 23, 2012

A Saint and a War Hero

Father Emil Kapaun was an Army Chaplain who was killed in a Korean POW camp in May 1951, after having been captured in November 1950. The Kansas native, Father Kapaun refused to leave wounded and dying men behind during an attack by Chinese soldiers and was subsequently captured. He suffered tremendously as a prisoner but never ceased ministering to others.

Father Kapaun was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the U.S. Army's second-highest combat decoration. Efforts are underway to waive the time limit for the Medal of Honor and award Father Kapaun the military's highest decoration. 

The Catholic Church has named Father Kapaun a Servant of God. A formal inquiry is underway to determine if he will be raided to the level of a canonized Saint. 

If the efforts to award him the Medal of Honor, he will be only the fifth Catholic priest to receive the award. If he is named a Saint, Kapaun will be the first member of the U.S. military to be canonized.

The story of Father Emil Kapaun is very interesting and inspiring. The BBC has the story and more pictures of this amazing priest at "Recognition finally for a warrior priest's heroics."

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Gun Library (books and more)

In doing a simple search of the Web you find an overwhelming amount of books, DVDs, videos, and articles on various aspects of shooting.  Quite honestly it can be frightening to try to think of what you should, need, must read.  How do you sift out the good ones from the bad?

One way is to ask.  Ask what other experienced shooters have read or use as training aides.  As a CCW holder, we have a responsibility to know how to shoot.  So we must practice—frequently!  We also have a DUTY to know the law.  So I have broken down my books, etc. by topic.

Shooting Technique:


Mind Set:

Let me know if I have missed an absolute must have book, DVD, video, or other training aide.

Stay safe and God bless,


Monday, April 16, 2012

The Reality of Defense

We spend a lot of time practicing with our firearms. We also spend time thinking about tragic circumstances when we might have to use that training. It's been said that for one split, rare and tragic instance, your training may be the most important thing you've ever learned. Law-abiding people who choose to go about life armed, do so not out of malice or bravado, but out of a sense of awareness and preparedness. Each day as I open my eyes and thank God for another day, I also ask that I do not have to use my weapon this day. Each night as I complete my prayers I thank God that once again, that piece of metal did nothing more than add weight to my belt, and some wear to my pants.

All gun owners must keep foremost in their minds when you carry a gun, every encounter you have with another person is an "armed encounter." That's why we hope avoid any situation where we even show the weapon.

It's a fact that the eventuality we prepare for, yet hope against, involves a human life. A recent training session helped to bring that home. Training partner Padre brought along a new target he had recently acquired, the Tac-Man target. This 3-D target can be dressed with shirt, hat, even sunglasses, to give a realistic defensive shooting target. While some may consider this morbid, and in fact some ranges prohibit even paper targets that depict humans, this sort of target offers much more than the typical paper target printed with circles. The "center of mass" is not explicitly shown. There's no red dot to aim for. No point values are listed. But it goes beyond that. Even though this target is plastic and stationary, it looks like a person. I can assure you when you are standing face to face with it, and draw your gun and start firing, a civilized brain will send out a signal of second thoughts.

I enjoy shooting for fun and relaxation, but I also shoot to prepare for the unlikely. Adding just a hint of reality to the mix reminds me of why I pray as I do.


Saturday, April 14, 2012

Media Ignorance

We still have far to go...
VATICAN CITY - A top Vatican cardinal with a passion for shooting defended his rich collection of rifles and handguns in comments on Thursday to Italian newspapers that have already dubbed him "Cardinal Rambo." 
"This passion for weapons is long-standing. I used to go to shooting ranges. Unfortunately since I've been at the Vatican I had to stop," Domenico Calcagno, head of the Administration of Vatican Patrimony, told Il Fatto Quotidiano.

After reading this article, I found myself again annoyed by the typical response of the media. "Oh, he has GUNS! He must be violent! Let's call him Cardinal Rambo!" This response has been nurtured so that the general population also reacts in horror upon learning someone enjoys shooting, or even, heaven forbid, carries a gun for self protection.

This man is a successor to the apostles, a man of God, a man who chose to go without having his own wife and family because God called him to serve all men and women as a spiritual father. There is no disconnect with those glorious attributes and owning several guns, enjoying using them, and being a good Christian. Are men who collect stamps grilled about their hobby? Men who train to run marathons? Men who enjoy fine wine?

Those who enjoy shooting and hunting typically personify many good qualities. A gun owner often adheres to upstanding ideals: family, home, country, God. He most likely will be the one who steps forward to serve others, to defend his rights, to protect himself and those around him.

A gun is a tool, used by generations of men, women and children to protect and feed the family. As our culture moved to be more urban, few families continued to learn how to use this tool. But it is simply a skill to be learned and a device to be used. Knowing how to shoot can put food on the table, save a life, and can be used as an enjoyable hobby improving motor, reaction and strategy skills. Every family member should be comfortable with them, learning to use them under proper guidance and supervised training.

I am not a Catholic Cardinal being covered by the press using derogatory names, but I have had people recoil and "joke" that they will be careful not to make me angry when they learn that I shoot. I am no different because I know how to shoot a gun. I do not transform into mindless fury because of a piece of metal I carry. I am the same me, but with skills (I hope never to use) that literally could be the reason for my survival and those in my care.

See "Vatican 'Cardinal Rambo' defends passion for guns" for the rest of media hysteria.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

How Prepared Are You?

This is a reprint of an article originally published by Jews For The Preservation of Firearms Ownership. Although the essay deals with societal breakdown in general, there is little reason to believe that the coming violence will not be fueled, at least in part, by religious persecution. Please read the essay and then answer the question for yourself.

What can you do, for yourself, right now?
by Kirby Ferris
© Copyright Jews For The Preservation of Firearms Ownership (www.JPFO.org) 2012

Moral conscience is in dwindling supply in this nation. Our bankers are thieves, stealing TRILLIONS because they are allowed to do so. Nearly all of our politicians are venal, lying parasites who a century and a half ago would have all had their heads lopped off by rage-fueled mobs.
A growing proportion of our citizenry behave like hyenas, jackals and vultures at the slightest opportunity. Our nation has been invaded by twenty million illegal aliens.
Only a fool can’t see that we are headed for a potential showdown.
To those who will listen, it’s time to take a look in the mirror and ask yourself: “What am I going to do as this societal and fiscal decay continues to its logical end?”
You need to evaluate what you can independently do for yourself, quietly on your own, in the coming weeks and months? And I mean for just yourself, not your mate, family, friends, or neighbors. You’ll be of no help to any of them unless you’ve got your own base well covered first.
The most fundamental expansion of your personal power is to acquire the tools, and achieve the skill to have the means and wherewithal to defend against one, several, or even a dozen other human beings. The legally safe term is “self defense”, but when the code red light starts flashing, and your options are coming at you with overwhelming intensity, you will shift into the bone chilling animal presence of your primitive ancestors. But you MUST have the tools and a modicum of skill.
Most of The United States is unique in its stubborn persistence in actually preserving, and even expanding, the individual’s unalienable right to meaningful and justifiable self defense. The Second Amendment does not mean your right to squirt someone with pepper spray. It preserves your right to, under certain life-threatening circumstances, apply emphatic lethal force.
But let’s step away from political theory and extrapolate the situation to everyday life. That stranger you confront in the parking lot late at night.
The group of “youths” you run up against if you stroll a block too far into the “bad” side of town. The guy on the park bench watching you jog past.
The weird driver tailgating you on a desolate stretch of road. The knock on your door and someone you do not recognize standing outside waiting to confront you for one reason or another.I’m asking you to either prove or disprove your sanity here: Would you rather deal with these mundane issues armed, or would you rather simply take your chances? This isn’t “Leave it to Beaver” America anymore, friends.
This is now an America that has lost its way, a nation drifting in “situational morality” and where theft is called “redistribution of wealth”. Pre teens beat innocent people to death, and laugh and giggle as though it were a day at the playground.
Are you going allow yourself to remain defenseless? Are you going to be left staring at your cell phone (if you have time) as your 911 call is ignored because of massive overload?
Are you going to be a survivor, a potential protector of the innocent? Or are you going to be a Darwin Award Candidate, too stupid to even provide for your own survival?
Let’s cut to the chase. In my opinion Barrack Hussein Obama is going to be re-elected. This nation has become addicted to socialism. It will be Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton sashaying into the White House when the smoke has settled.
YOU DO NOT HAVE TIME to wait to see this actually happen to buy a gun or seriously stock up on ammunition. You have to act immediately. You must behave as though you have only a week from the time your read this to get your act together.
The rush is on for handguns. As I write this, Ruger and Smith & Wesson have BOTH suspended taking new orders because of an unprecedented six month backlog. Expect other quality handguns to be fetching record prices. It’s just supply and demand.

( Continue reading at http://jpfo.org/kirby/kirby-what-u-cando.htm for the author's defensive weapon recommendations. )

The author concludes with "Time for theorizing is over. Act now. Do what you can, for yourself, immediately." Sage advice indeed.

Be sure to read the complete essay at "What can you do, for yourself, right now?"

Friday, April 6, 2012

What's In Your Range Bag?

When I meet shooters new to the sport, they always want to know what's in my range bag.

I like to be well-prepared, and consider safety to be the highest priority, so even though the trauma items may never be used, I have them in case of an emergency. I am familiar with how to use these products. A well-prepared shooter should be able to respond quickly to save himself or someone else.

The next group of items is the hardware I use at the range. I often change holsters, using both inside-the-waistband and outside-the-waistband designs, to be proficient at drawing from either one. I use extra mags and pouches to stay on the range longer between reloads! Shooting glasses and ear muffs are standard tools to protect oneself from the noise and flying debris. Rain gear and an extra tee shirt allow me to adapt to changing weather. After all it's not always going to be a sunny day! I keep tools handy I need to repair common breakdowns I may have with my pistol. I also track my handgun's shooting history. This helps me to keep my gun in good working order. I track the necessary replacements of all parts to be sure my gun is in top order at all times.

 Here is what I carry in my medium size Elite Survival Systems bag:
  • Celox
  • Personal trauma kit
  • Tactical Response Gear V. O. K. 
  • Israeli bandage
  • Galco holster
  • 2 Galco magazine pouches
  • Shot timer
  • Peltor ear muffs
  • ESS shooting glasses
  • Wind/rain jacket
  • Long sleeve t-shirt
  • 5 magazines
  • Sinclair Rounds Fired Logbook and pen
  • Caspian Pocketsmith for my .45
  • Swiss Army Knife

Having the right supplies with you can make or break a training session at the range. I recommend you keep your bag packed and ready to go. When it's time to train, just grab the bag, toss in your gun and ammo, and go!

Let me know if you think I'm overlooking something important. Or leave a comment describing what you carry.

Stay safe and God bless,


Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Dangers of Being Gunless

While this article by Alan Korwin is directed to the population in general, I think it is especially pertinent to Catholics. Today unfortunately many Catholics, and Christians in general, believe that defending one's life, if it means harming their attacker is wrong. Korwin points out the dangers this thought process brings about.
PHOENIX, AZ --(Ammoland.com)- Gunless people, those who steadfastly refuse to keep and bear arms, practice marksmanship or learn gun safety create certain burdens for the rest of society. 
  • Gunless people increase the need for police protection, by being unable to fend for themselves in certain dire emergencies. By remaining unarmed, a gunless person becomes a “free rider,” obtaining safety and protection against criminal activity through the responsible actions of others. Gunless people in general reduce national security. An armed populace is more capable of aiding in national defense, from border risks to crime or terrorism events, and poses a greater deterrent to such activity.  
  • Borrowing the logic from the Wickard v. Filburn case at the U.S. Supreme Court, gunless people have a negative impact on interstate commerce. By failing to keep and bear virtually the only property that is constitutionally guaranteed, they weaken the economy and contribute to lowered economic stimulus. This is admittedly a somewhat circuitous argument, but it seems quite popular in other arenas (e.g., growing grain for your own use) and so appears germane. 
  • A family that is gunless and feels secure because of it, fails to realize that being gunless is dangerous. The other side of the brag that, “We don’t have a gun in OUR house,” is “If push came to shove we’d be helpless victims and we plan to leave it that way.” This is a person’s free choice, but it should be recognized for what it is.  
( Continued at http://www.ammoland.com/2012/04/03/the-dangers-of-being-gunless )
The last point quoted above illustrates the misunderstanding that some people have regarding the command to "turn the other cheek." While we mustn't strike out in retaliation or revenge, neither must we allow ourselves to be victimized.

Be sure to read the complete essay here.


Monday, March 12, 2012

Self Defense and Catholicism

Guest Post
Originally published under the title "Catholics And Guns", January 23, 2011.

There's an article published by U.S. Catholic that's been getting a lot of press recently. Entitled "Gun control: Church firmly, quietly opposes firearms for civilians," this article quotes from the November 2000 United States Conference of Catholic Bishops document "Responsibility, Rehabilitation and Restoration: A Catholic Perspective on Crime and Criminal Justice". The implications of the U.S. Catholic article have raised questions among some Catholic gun owners and others.
"As bishops, we support measures that control the sale and use of firearms and make them safer -- especially efforts that prevent their unsupervised use by children or anyone other than the owner -- and we reiterate our call for sensible regulation of handguns."

That's followed by a footnote that states: "However, we believe that in the long run and with few exceptions -- i.e. police officers, military use -- handguns should be eliminated from our society."

That in turn reiterates a line in the bishops' 1990 pastoral statement on substance abuse, which called "for effective and courageous action to control handguns, leading to their eventual elimination from our society."

That has led many in the press to make the claim that faithful Catholics may not own guns, or that it may be sinful to do so. A respected gun rights writer tries to make hay by framing this as a Catholic teaching. Even some whom we would expect to use more care have erroneously implied that this view marks the "Catholic Church's position on gun control".

However, this interpretation is incorrect. The Bishops' statement on eliminating firearms from society IS NOT part of Catholic doctrine. In fact, the USCCB has no authority to dictate what is, or is not, part of the magisterial teaching on morality. Simply put, they cannot make doctrine. What this statement refers to is a social norm that the Bishops would like to see come to pass in a perfect world. Wouldn't we all? In a perfect society one would not need guns. However, any hope for that was lost when man was thrown out of the Garden of Eden.

The Church supports the right of self defense for all people. The Catechism of the Catholic Church clearly addresses this issue.

"Love toward oneself remains a fundamental principle of morality. Therefore it is legitimate to insist on respect for one's own right to life. Someone who defends his life is not guilty of murder even if he is forced to deal his aggressor a lethal blow: If a man in self-defense uses more than necessary violence, it will be unlawful: whereas if he repels force with moderation, his defense will be lawful. ... Nor is it necessary for salvation that a man omit the act of moderate self-defense to avoid killing the other man, since one is bound to take more care of one's own life than of another's." (CCC 2264).

This actually meshes quite well with secular regulations on self defense. A person is obligated legally use only the force necessary, up to and including lethal force, to stop an attack when one is at risk of imminent serious injury or death. The Catechism also remarks on the defense of others.

"Legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for one who is responsible for the lives of others. The defense of the common good requires that an unjust aggressor be rendered unable to cause harm. For this reason, those who legitimately hold authority also have the right to use arms to repel aggressors against the civil community entrusted to their responsibility." (CCC 2265)

As a parent, I hold legitimately authority over those whom God has trusted to my care. It is my "grave duty" to protect them from harm.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church makes no mention of the morality of gun ownership. Certainly it covers the use of deadly force, but the Church has no official teaching on the tools employed in legitimate defense. Despite the twisting of words, and misunderstanding of these documents, faithful Catholics are not obligated to give up their personal firearms in order to remain in good moral standing with the Church.

From: "Catholics And Guns".