Saturday, July 18, 2020

Student Account of 7/12/20 Basic Pistol class


(GunDiva note: this was written by a student in our Basic Pistol class. I've been doing this long enough to know that I'll get some hate about her wanting a .22 for self-defense. A .22 that she can shoot well and confidently is better than no gun at all. My first carry gun was a Beretta Bobcat in .25 cal; as I got more confident, I moved up in caliber. If you can't say something nice in the comments, don't say anything at all. We're about welcoming and empowering students of all levels, not scaring them off.)

So there I was in February 2020, minding my own business, letting the cobwebs grow on my Glock 45 9 mm. I’d had a conceal carry permit in 2014, never used it and stopped going to the gun range to shoot. This is what GunDiva refers to as a “perishable skill.” Oh, it perished all right. If a thief had broken into my home in the last six years, I would have grabbed my Glock and thrown it carefully at his head before begging for my life.

This is not the life I aspire to.

Then the so-called pandemic hit. Then the shutdown of entire states happened, along with businesses closing, people losing jobs, losing homes, losing money. This tends to make humans a tiny bit irritable. People started wearing masks everywhere. I couldn’t tell if they were smiling or getting ready to bite me. Riots happened. People were killed. Police politely suggested we might want to know how to defend ourselves.

So, I visited Rocky Mountain Shooters Supply and traded my Glock for a Smith and Wesson: M&P 9 Shield EZ (I had to go look that up just now). And since I didn’t want to protect myself by throwing my M&P at a burglar’s head, I signed up for Double Tap’s Basic Handgun tactics class.
                                                                                                                                   
There were 11 of us in a room all day learning basic handgun tactics. What could possibly go wrong? Well, nothing actually, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t prepared for an errant bullet or blood spatter by lunch. Before going to class I inventoried what gun paraphernalia I actually owned: holster, head phones, a couple of magazines, bullets, shell casings (???), 2 different gun cleaning sets which were also gathering dust.

I sat up front in class as we went over gun safety, the NRA golden rules and watched a video of a cop shooting himself in the foot. (Ha! errant bullet!). We learned the difference between revolver and single action and double action semi-automatics (cylinder vs. magazine), we went over ammunition (powder charge, primer, bullet, case) and how 9mm ammo is hard to get right now due to panic buying. I imagined buying a reloader and setting up my backyard studio shed as a reloading operation. I could pass pleasant afternoons listening to gun podcasts and making bullets. There are worse ways to spend your day. (“Are there though?” asked a friend).

I learned the difference between bullets that penetrate and those that expand. (Full metal jacket vs. hollow point). I scribbled a note to myself: build my own gun. Reader, I’m nothing if not ambitious. I learned that while I own a holster, a belly band for conceal carry might be more appropriate for me. And DON’T GET AN ANKLE HOLSTER! It’s the slowest, worst draw. We discussed the OODA Loop when responding to a threat. I know you know all about that. Who doesn’t know about the OODA Loop? (“Like loop the loop what airplanes do?” asked a friend. No. Not like that.)


It was disheartening to discover there are more than 20,000 laws relating to firearms. If you can’t prove the attacker had ability, opportunity and intent to harm you, you could end up in jail for defending yourself. I imagined myself in the prison crafts center, chatting with other felons about how we had shot someone in self-defense and ended up sharing a cell with an inmate named Bertha. We’d rail against the system, exchange lawyer’s names, I’d tell them about my backyard reloading operation and then we’d go stand in line for our institutional dinner. If I spent as much time speaking to my neighbors as I do practicing imaginary conversations in prison craft centers, I’d have more friends. Obviously.

A simulator was used in the afternoon. These are video simulations that we could participate in and practice how we’d react in a real time scenario. The first one involved a bank robbery where the criminal shot the teller in the head. (Ha! Blood spatter!) Classmates successfully shot the bad guys which was comforting. And the last exercise of the day was to shoot different guns at the gun range. I discovered that I loved the .22 I shot and was good at it and hated the larger guns, including the revolver. I plan on using my M&P for home defense and buying a .22 for conceal carry. And to go to the gun range faithfully, several times a month.

And that, dear reader, is how a woman and her unused Glock joined the shooting community in Colorado. You might be too young to remember this, but there once was a time when nobody used the word “pandemic” and masks were only used by surgeons in hospitals.

I know. Right?



(Deborah Coyote is a local psychotherapist who lives with her rescue dog and her albino parakeet who has an excellent vocabulary. Her parakeet’s favorite mimicked phrase is: “Oooops! Sorry!” ergo the need to take gun safety training.)

Monday, May 25, 2020

VR80 - After market stock issues

This is a follow up on our initial reviews of the VR80 semi-auto shotgun from Rock Island Armory.  
A few readers had a question about wether aftermarket stocks would fit or not. 
Unfortunately the short short answer is no.  Not without modifications.
The saving grace is, the VR80 shotgun does have a mostly standard carbine style buffer tube under the factory stock, and you can slip on a standard carbine stock if the factory stock is not to your liking. 

Here is a short video to show why aftermarket stocks may not fit your VR80 shot gun.

YouTube: VR80 - Aftermarket stocks



-Mez
May 2019




Sunday, April 5, 2020

Open letter to first time gun owners!

Here we are, 2020 with a new global disaster.  Everyone is freaking out.  There is no toilet paper to be found anywhere and everyone is buying guns.  The month of March saw the largest amount of guns sold in any single month ever.  Not even the panic buying under the Obama years matched the quantity of guns sold in the past month.
What made this different from previous years was not the volume of firearms sold, but that approximately 70% (maybe as high as 80% in some areas) were first time gun buyers.  This is unusual to see this many first time gun owners at one time. 

We the gun community, welcome you to the wonderful world of gun ownership.  But there are several things you must know and understand now that you have chosen to own a firearm.  What you see in the Hollywood movies does not prepare you for firearm ownership. 

First up, understand that a gun is not a magic talisman that will ward off evil because you possess it.  A gun is just an inanimate object that does nothing unless you the operator take action. 
Just having a gun does not make you safe.  Just pointing a gun at evil may or may not make evil go away.  Yes, evil does exist.  And sometimes evil comes wrapped in the package of a true psychopath who has no fear of you or of your gun.  You need to mentally, physically and emotional prepare yourself that you may actually need to use your gun as intended, as a deadly weapon. 

Which brings me to my next point.  Because a gun is a deadly weapon, this means the use of a gun falls under the category of a martial art.  You do not become skilled at any martial art by watching Hollywood movies or YouTube videos.  And no, shooting the .22 down on Grandpa’s farm a few times when you were a kid does not count either. 
In order for a gun to truly be useful,
YOU MUST GET PROFESSIONAL TRAINING! 
Yes, you can self teach, but you will be better and safer in the long run with professional training.

I know obtaining training now is difficult as everything is shut down.  So in the mean time, do the following;  (this should include everyone age appropriate in your household)
1.    Read the instruction manual that came with the gun you purchased.   It will teach you how to correctly operate your firearm.
a.    If you didn’t receive an instruction manual, most manufacturers have them posted on their websites that you can download.
2.    Learn the safety rules and live them.  Guns are not toys.
a.    Treat every firearm as if it is loaded.
b.    Do not point your firearm at anything you do not want to destroy.
c.     Keep your finger off the trigger until you are on target and ready to fire.
d.    Be sure of your target and what is beyond it. (Yes, bullet do go through walls)
3.    Use the power of the Internet and research and learn as much as you can about your specific model of firearm and even on how to use your firearm.
a.    Yes, I know I said YouTube is not a substitute for hands on training.  But giving the current circumstances, it may be all you get until we get past this issue. 
4.    Start dry fire practice. 
a.    In short, dry fire practice is where you practice aiming your firearm at a target and pressing the trigger.  This is done while the gun is unloaded.
                                               i.     DO NOT USE LIVE AMMUNITION FOR DRY FIRE PRACTICE.  Don’t even have it in the same room. 
                                             ii.     The use of plastic Snap Caps is acceptable. 

To wrap this section up, you must learn how to correctly and safely use your gun.  Go get professional training as soon as you are able.  Do not stop at reading books, Internet articles or YouTube videos.

Next I want to cover some miscellaneous topics that you may not be aware of.
1.    Do you have a place to lock up your firearm when not in use?  A heavy safe or locking steel cabinet that is bolted to the wall? 
a.    Yes, your gun came with a simple cable lock if you purchased it new.  But it can still be stolen.  Go buy a safe or locking cabinet you can bolt to the wall.
b.    There are now biometric lock boxes you can bolt to the wall yet have rapid access to your gun and keep the curious from accessing it.
2.    Did you buy a cleaning kit to clean and lubricate your firearm?
a.    Guns are mechanical objects that must be cleaned and lubricated from time to time to work properly.  Think of it as changing the oil in your car on a regular basis. (You do change your cars oil regularly right?)
b.    Your owners manual will teach you how to clean and lube your firearm.  Or someone has made a YouTube video about it.
3.    Did you buy proper safety equipment? 
a.    Specifically eye and ear protection?  This is important to protect your hearing and eyesight when practicing.
4.    Have you found a shooting range near you that you can practice at?
a.    Along with training you need to practice the skills you learned regularly to keep your skills sharp. 
5.    If you bought your gun to be carried concealed outside your house.
a.    Do you have the proper permit?  Many states require a permit and there is a process for it.  Your local Sheriffs office can help with this.
b.    Did you buy a good holster?  The $20 nylon gun sock is not adequate.  Do spend the money for a quality holster. 
c.     Do you actually know how to properly draw your gun from the holster?  This is one area where professional training is a great idea. 
6.    Are you aware of the laws of when you can lawfully shoot someone? 
a.    If you purchased your firearm for self-defense this is important to know.  You cannot just shoot someone because you felt scared.  You need lawful just cause, which can vary from state to state.

Finally, the political side of guns.  Unfortunately when you talk about guns, you get a large barrel of politics to go with it. 
I hope everyone of the first time gun buyers have learned a little bit about why the gun community fights so hard against more gun laws.  That most of the guns laws are stupid and unnecessary. 

That no, you cannot just buy a gun off the Internet.  No, you cannot pay extra to waive the 10 day waiting period before you take your new gun home.  That background checks already exist.  Yes, these are real questions asked by some first time buyers who where shocked these laws existed.
I guess politicians and anti-gun political activist don’t always tell the truth do they?  
Remember, when you felt the need to buy a gun for protection, politicians shut down many guns stores were sued by the gun community to reopen them.
I hope this experience has opened your eyes on why more gun laws are not needed.  And many of the existing laws need to be repealed.  And I hope you change your voting habits and stop voting for more gun laws and the politicians that try to take away your rights.


I’ll wrap this up with the following.
Again, welcome to the gun community.  I hope it is a positive experience.  That you get the training you need.  That you enjoy the shooting sports and maybe find a competition you enjoy and participate in as part of your practice sessions.
Welcome to a whole new world, I think you will enjoy the gun community and gun culture.  


-Gundude Mez
April 2020


Sunday, February 16, 2020

Trying Something New

Each night after SHOT Show, the GunDudes and I did a brief Facebook Live video. I've had deaf and hard of hearing friends most of my life, so I try to be inclusive when I can. I knew my friend Rachel would want to watch the videos, but wouldn't be able to because I didn't know how to close caption a live video.

I texted her with a crazy idea and she supported me, so I'm going to try something new. From now on, all of our videos (including FB live once I figure that business out) will be closed captioned (CC is not the crazy idea) and I'll be signing (that's the crazy idea). She was very supportive, which gave me the courage to really step out of my comfort zone.

We don't post a lot of content on our YouTube page, but from now on, any video I make will be done in sign, along with CC. My hope is to make shooting more accessible to my deaf and HoH friends. Maybe, with enough practice, next year's SHOT Show end-of-day videos will also be done in sign.


Sunday, February 9, 2020

Industry Day

SHOT was difficult for me this year. As usual, I looked forward to the trip, to seeing the new products, and to seeing people I only get to spend time with once a year. But I just couldn't muster much enthusiasm. If you watched out live feeds, it was readily apparent that my heart wasn't in it this year.

For the life of me, I can't figure it out.

Nonetheless, I had a good time and got to put my hands on some really cool things.

GunDudes Jay and Mez, me, and GunDude Robbie

Industry Day started out nicely, as I got to shoot the new Mossberg 940 JM with none other than the Master himself, Jerry Miceluk.



I'm not gonna lie, I fell in love with the shotgun. But it is a bit out of my price range. It's well-thought out and Mossberg is doing a good job of listening to the Miceluk family as the end users. 3G folks are going to be falling over themselves to pick up this shotgun.

We also shot the much talked about Glock 44. I wanted to hate it, because I feel like Glock has been resting on their laurels when it comes to innovation. They were ground breaking in the 80s, but haven't been doing much in the way of innovation since. Yes, what they had worked, and changed the gun industry with their fantastic plastic. But ... they haven't done much since. They were very slow to market with single stack versions (G42 and G43), despite people clamoring for them. To be so late to turn out a .22 trainer is almost unforgivable, so I really wanted to hate this gun.


Turns out. I kinda liked it. A lot. Maybe not enough to buy one yet, but I do see that it has a place in my gun safe as a teaching gun. There have been some reported issues with the polymer on the slide cracking, and some feeding issues, but I'm not convinced it's as big a problem as some writers would like you to believe. I'll wait until this has been on the market a year or so before I made a definite decision whether or not to buy one.

Another highly anticipated gun was the Colt Python. I loved it. So much fun. However, my carpal tunnel syndrome did not like it. At all. We were only shooting .38 Specials, so nothing that I shouldn't have been able to handle, but after only ten rounds my carpal tunnel was flared up for two days afterward. I also managed to tweak my thumb and am now suffering from tendonitis. I think between the carpal tunnel syndrome and the tendonitis in my thumb, it's a clear indication that this gun does not fit my hand and isn't the gun for me.


The trigger was so nice and smooth. I'm not an expert in revolvers, but I know that pretty much every revolver I've shot has had a "crunchy" trigger. This new Colt did not. Other than the flaring up the carpal tunnel and giving myself tendonitis, I had so much fun shooting this gun.

Despite my love for fire power, I have an almost equally deep love for crossbows. GunDude Jay bought me one a few years ago for Christmas and I do love that crossbow.


It's awesome, but there's one itty, bitty problem with my Christmas Crossbow: I'm both too short and too weak to cock it. I've been threatening for years to buy an aftermarket crank, but those things are expensive!


Luckily, GunDude Jay loves me and would do the heavy lifting when I wanted to shoot, but that's hardly being self-sufficient. Imagine how happy I was to see the Mission Crossbows Sub-1 Lite. Not only is it compact and light-weight, but I can run it by myself without an issue.



With a price tag of $1,399.99, it's going to be a while (or never) before I can afford one of these beauties. I can buy a lot of personal training sessions to get strong enough to use my Christmas Crossbow for $1,399.99. 😂

Of course, I had to go by the knife/axe/shovel/star throwing (AKA Buckmaster) tent and throw pointy things, something I also really enjoy. I had left the boys to at whichever booth piqued their interest and wandered over to throw sharp, pointy things, so unfortunately I don't have any pictures, but I do have some fond memories.

Being Industry Day, we shot so many guns they've run together in my mind. Mez took good notes about each gun he shot, but I only jotted down notes on the ones I was interested in, so this is what you get from me.

Eventually, everyone else will get around to posting their impressions of what we saw at Industry Day.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Classics


I have a confession to make. I’m counting down the days until my odometer flips over the half century mark. That means I grew up and came of age in a time when revolvers and steel framed semi autos were still king. Heck, I took my driving test with a state trooper who was carrying what looked like, to my young eyes, a HUGE Smith & Wesson revolver. I couldn’t tell you which model it was, but it could have been anything from a Model 19 in .357 to a Model 25 in .45 Colt. It was all deep blue steel, walnut stocks, stuffed into a well-worn but cared for leather holster. He was HUGE too. It was my sixteenth birthday, I was a painfully skinny 6’4” and, at time, barely 145 pounds soaking wet. He was at least a couple of inches taller not including the Trooper Stetson and had 100 pounds of muscle on me easily.

Yes, sir. No, sir. Did I pass, sir?

It’s really a shame that kids today don’t have to take all or nothing driving tests sitting next to a humorless state trooper who is, in fact, armed and willing to defend him/herself if necessary from some snot nosed kid’s feeble attempt to commit vehicular homicide. I digress though.

I have written before about my love for the shooting sports and guns in general. After about 40+ years of exposure to the hobby in one form or another, I have reached an epiphany of sorts. It’s nothing earth shattering really, but I’m a sucker for the classics. I love revolvers and lever guns and 1911s. Before anyone gets their Underoos in a tizzy, I have nothing against the modern polymer semi-auto pistols or the somewhat long in the tooth AR-15 rifle platform. I have owned and/or currently own both. Each has their place and fill a niche.

I will readily grant credit where credit is due: the AR-15 is about as close to a do it all firearm as has ever been invented. It can do everything from door kicking combat to home defense to precision target shooting to plinking to hunting and a lot of other tasks in between. It can be a pistol or a rifle. It can be a .22LR plinker all the way up to a .50 Beowulf thumper. If you can dream it, someone has probably already tried it. If I could only have one gun, it would be an AR with an assortment of uppers to cover as many options as I could ever foresee. That’s cheating just a little, but the ATF defined the terms. So, it’s all fair as far as I’m concerned.

That’s not to say I don’t have a few hang ups with polymer pistols and the AR rifle platform. The main two are aesthetics and legality.

Aesthetics are really a deeply subjective issue. I’ve seen some really cool looking ARs and some that look worse than a hot mess of dog vomit. Even the really cool looking ARs all share the same bones which is lots of rails and angles and pins and buttons and lions and tigers and bears oh my. Functionally, it’s great. It’s one of the most ergonomic rifles I’ve ever handled. It’s just about infinitely adjustable for shooters large and small. But, put it next to a nicely stocked lever action, and suddenly it’s the ugly stepsister.

The same could be said of the (insert the name of your favorite polymer semi auto here). Up until recently, you could get them in any color you wanted as long as it was black. Now, you can pretty much get any polymer gun to look like anything you want. Heck, people are even customizing HiPoints. Want a red dot? Factory optics ready, gunsmith slide cut or dovetail mount? Lights and lasers? There’s someone that makes it. Caliber conversions? What do you want to shoot? To be fair, there are a few other pistols that can do some of those tricks (Sig P22x, EAA Witness, etc). But, it’s hard to beat the modularity of the modern polymer pistol (or the AR) except on a purely aesthetic level. A deeply blued 1911 or Smith revolver with a nice set of grips is a beautiful work of art.

The other hang up I have with ARs and polymer semi autos is legalities. This is normally a non-issue for me here in Texas, but that is not true for everywhere. Further, the changing demographics in Texas along with the constant drumbeat for more and harder gun control means that you can’t assume that won’t change. No one (so far) has threatened to ban revolvers and lever action rifles. But, magazine restrictions and “assault weapon” bans/restrictions are a thing in several states. We like to travel as a family, and I really don’t want to have to be concerned about committing an instant felony just crossing a state line while carrying a gun that is legal for me at home. The Constitution is supposed to address this, but over a hundred years of spineless jurisprudence has made it confusing at best to navigate the country while exercising your God given right to keep and bear arms.

In the grand scheme of things, my hang ups are really minor and do not outweigh the value and utility that ARs and polymer semi autos bring to the table in the slightest. Having said, that I have an irrational attachment to classics like the Smith & Wesson and Ruger revolvers, 1911s and lever action rifles. Put a Glock 21 next to a 1911, and I will pick the 1911 almost every time. Ditto for the AR next to a Marlin 1894. Likewise, I will generally take a .45ACP pistol over a 9mm pistol and a .357 Magnum or .44 Magnum lever rifle over a .223 AR.

Why? The Glock and AR are objectively better in almost every way over their classic counterparts (though the 1911 generally has a better trigger than the Glock). Glocks and ARs have more capacity, are easier to reload, are at least as accurate if not more accurate than the classics. In a word, “because”. Because I like them. Because I prefer bigger bullets over smaller bullets. Because I’m too old to go kicking in doors or play Cowboys and dead terrorists in the sand box. Because I like my guns like I like my wife: beautiful with curves in all the right places. Because ‘MERICA!!!

None of this means I don’t have a use for a Glock or an AR. I generally shoot Glocks better than most other pistols. For a woods walking gun that you don’t have to worry about getting scratched up, it’s hard to beat a Glock 20 in 10MM for a balance of shootability, power and capacity. The AR was originally developed as a target rifle which makes it very accurate and suitable for a wide range of applications. Like the Glock, you can carry an AR in the woods and not worry about the finish getting dinged. These, to me, are tools. Function over form. The classics are also tools, but they are tools which form and function have been carefully blended into mechanical art.  

If high speed/low drag is your thing, knock yourself out. Long range gnat shooting float your goat? There’s plenty of options to suit your tastes. Cowboy action or fast draw gives you the giggles? Good for you. The gun community has never had it so good in terms of manufacturers willing to fill so many niches. You do you, I’ll do me, and we can all nod in appreciation that we all enjoy the same hobby in different ways.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

7 Seconds

I haven’t paid much attention to the mainstream media lately; but, from what I gather, the church shooting in White Settlement, TX has gone largely “under the radar”. The cynic in me would argue that it hasn’t gotten much press because it doesn’t “fit the narrative”. Whether that is the case or not, I don’t truly care. What I do care about are the lessons this incident can teach us if we pay attention.

First, if you haven’t already, go watch John Correia’s analysisof the video at Active Self Protection on YouTube. He gives a thoughtful, unbiased analysis of the incident which is worth anyone’s time regardless of whether you carry a gun or not. Here are some of my thoughts after thinking on this.

1: Evil can happen anywhere. Even in a “House of God”. This shooting took place in a suburb on the west side of Ft. Worth. According to Google Maps, West Freeway Church of Christ is 24 miles / 28 minutes from my house. This isn’t the 5TH Ward in Houston, the south side of Chicago or some other big city “bad” neighborhood. This is flyover country suburbia. It could have been anywhere. Tragedies happen every day and just about every corner of this old mud ball we call home. Sure, we expect tragedy in a war zone or even a “bad neighborhood”. A lot of us get complacent because we live in a “nice neighborhood.” If you want an eye opener, look up the police blotter for your area. You would not believe the amount of stuff that happens within walking distance of your front door. You can also plug your zip code and email address into www.spotcrime.com, and you will get a daily email of the crimes committed within 5 miles of your home.

2: Evil happens fast. Go watch the video of the shooting. Go watch videos of any violent encounters that are out there. The White Settlement shooting went from a peaceful Sunday at church to full rodeo to over and done in less than 10 seconds (the seven seconds mentioned in the title). We can quibble about the reports that the church security team had concerns about the shooter before he pulled the shotgun and what they coulda shoulda woulda done; however, the simple fact is that no “civilian” in the congregation had time to say hello to a 911 operator much less give any detail before the entire incident was over. The police, even with an officer in the parking lot, could not have responded fast enough to handle this situation without even more innocent people being killed or injured. The only incident I can recall in recent memory where police stopped a shooter cold before they had a chance to do harm was the “Draw Mohammad” Cartoon Contest in Garland, TX where a police officer working an off-duty security gig stopped the would be shooter in his tracks before he even had a chance to get inside.

3: The only human being you can rely on to protect you is you. The US Supreme Court ruled in the 2005 case “Castle Rock v. Gonzales” that the police do not have a constitutional duty to protect a person from harm. This ruling affirmed a 1981 court of appeals case with the same finding. The police cannot be everywhere, nor can they be everything to everyone. They generally do not have legal justification to act until a crime has been committed. Even then, the old saying is true: “When seconds count, the police are minutes away.” This is not intended as a harsh indictment of the police but rather a statement of fact. Look up the average response time for police in your area. An active shooter situation will get the highest priority the department can give it, but the time between when dispatch makes the call to when officers arrive on scene will be more than a minute and likely more than a couple of minutes. As this incident shows, life and death is measured in seconds.

There is a quote I usually see referenced as Rule 23 for Combat that goes: “Your number one option for personal security is a lifelong commitment to avoidance, deterrence and de-escalation.” I take this to mean that you cannot live in a bubble and expect everything to be just fine. You have to take an active role in your own protection. Walking around oblivious to the world around you is a recipe for disaster and tragedy. Look at the video again closely. How many people had guns out by the time it was all said and done? At least 5 that I counted and I’ve heard as many as seven.

4: Your mind is the weapon. Everything else is just tools. Train your mind to use any tools you can to defend yourself. There was an Air Force fighter pilot by the name of John Boyd who came up with the concept of the OODA loop. An OODA Loop is not an aerobatic maneuver, but rather a tactical and strategic concept that can be applied broadly in a variety of endeavors. OODA stands for “Observe, Orient, Decide, Act”. Jack Wilson, knowingly or unwittingly applied the OODA Loop to great affect in less than 7 seconds. You’ve probably heard people say there is no timer in a gunfight. The truth is there is a timer, and it is the aggressor who starts the clock. You, as the defender, have to “get inside the aggressor’s OODA Loop”. You do that by implementing your own OODA Loop that will hopefully throw off the aggressor’s plans enough for you to gain the advantage. If that means taking a shot, throwing a book, tackling the aggressor, etc., you use the tools at your disposal to eliminate the threat.

5: Evil will find a way. Felons don’t get their weapons legally. Very few mass shooters in recent history obtained their weapons through legal means. When guns were not available, rocks, sticks, cars and other weapons do stand in duty as the tool of choice for those intent on committing murder. 9/11 proved that a box cutter is all that is required to take control of an airplane and turn that plane into a flying bomb.

6: Evil isn’t always easy to identify. The White Settlement shooter reportedly walked in wearing a trench coat and a fake beard. I’d call that a tad odd but not necessarily evil. As odd as that is, very few people have the ability to read the mind of another human being and know their intentions. Two innocent church goers paid the ultimate price because it was not possible to discern the shooter’s intentions before it was too late. Could they have handled the situation differently and avoided unnecessary blood shed? I don’t know, and neither does anyone else. I am sure they believe they made the best decision they could at the time with what they knew and saw, and I am equally sure the survivors will second guess those decisions for the rest of their lives.

7: Skill training is important. As Wyatt Earp said: “Fast is fine. Accuracy is final.” Do not ignore basic marksmanship skills. Shot placement is critical, and putting shots where they need to go on demand when it counts is literally life and death in a situation like this. You cannot expect to “rise to the occasion”. Here’s a simple test: go to the range, no warm up/no practice, set up a life sized silhouette target at 10-15 yards, put a 3x5 index card in the head of the target, set a shot time for random start and find out how long it takes you to put one cold bore shot in the index card. Did you even hit the index card? If you did, was it less than seven seconds? Now, add adrenaline and movement into the mix. Did you still hit the target? Now, add in some “no shoots” between you and the target, some sweaty palms and a bunch of chaos and noise. Some of this is impossible to practice, but any training is better than no training.

The people in White Settlement suffered a terrible tragedy, and it would be a shame not to learn everything we can from the incident.