Category Archives: Awareness

Typical Gun Store Visit

A young lady comes into the gun store alone and timidly approaches the counter. “I want to buy a gun,” she says to the salesman who approaches her.

“What kind of gun, ma’am? Shotgun, rifle, handgun”

“A pistol,” she replies. “A Glock, the little one, I think it’s a 42 or something . . .”

The fact that her voice trails off signals the salesman he needs to ask some questions. “A Glock, that’s what you want? Do you know why that’s what you want?”

“Well, my brother-in-law is a policeman and that’s what he carries.”

“Oh,” our helpful salesman replies. “What does he drive?”

Lady Buying a Gun“You mean his police car?”

“That’s probably a Dodge Charger, would be my guess. No, what’s his personal car?

“I think it’s a Toyota . . . maybe a Camry?” She’s not sure, but the salesman has the information he needs to help her with her gun purchase.

“Is that what you drive?” he asks her.

“No, I drive a Lexus coupe. You know the IS 250?”

“Nice car,” our salesman replies, then challenges our new gun buyer. Now remember, he could have turned around, picked up a Glock 43 and he would have had a sale. I’d would have been proud of him for making a sale, because we sure need to make sales, but I’m more proud of him for what he did next.

“If you don’t drive the same kind, or even brand of car, your brother-in-law drives, could it be possible you may prefer a different kind of gun than the kind he uses?”

“Well, I’ve always heard that Glocks are good guns,” she says, just a little defensively.

“They are,” our salesman replies as he puts a Glock 19 in her hands. “But so are Smith & Wesson, Sig Sauer, CZ, Beretta, Bersa, Springfield and lots of other brands.” As he says this, he gestures to the counter where various 9mm handguns are on display. “Why don’t you pick up some of these, see how they fit your hand. See how they feel when you cycle the slide. Try the trigger. You may find the Glock is the one you like best, but you may find others you like better.

Taurus 738“Oh, I like this,” she says, heading away from the 9’s and over to a pink Taurus 738. “And it fits in my hands so well and I could hide it easily . . . ” and on and on with the arguments that sound so right for picking a self-defense handgun, especially for a small-framed woman, but which in reality aren’t really right.

“It’s a pretty gun,” our salesman agrees, then asks her, “What is your primary purpose for buying a gun today?”

“Self defense,” she replies. “I want some protection the way society is going today.”

We had a sure sale with the Glock 43. The Taurus cost less than the Glock and it’s pink so it could easily be a sale right now.

BUT . . . is this the right gun for the lady. Probably not. Our professionals will hopefully coach her a little by explaining in terms that you don’t have to be a gun guru to understand about how bigger is better when it comes to protection . . . bigger bullets . . . a bigger gun to hold onto . . . more weight to absorb recoil . . . and perhaps encourage her to get a little training and some range experience before plunking down her dollars. Is this a lost sale for our gun store? I hope not. I hope it’s just a delayed sale. Or if she really wants to get a gun today, I’ll bet my guys can steer her into something that feels good in her hands, she can manipulate all the features on and would provide some decent firepower for her protection.

What someone’s brother-in-law, brother, boyfriend, father, husband . . . whatever . . . would choose for a gun is not necessarily the right gun for you to choose, whether you’re a man or a woman. A handgun is a personal thing and there are lots of very fine handguns from which to choose. A little research, a little time at the gun store or at the firing range and some bonding should go into picking your perfect packing gun. And if you don’t get it right the first time, you’ll have gained some experience to help you make a better choice the second time.

Real Life Examples of Why Carrying “Enough” Gun Matters

I have long been an advocate of carrying a gun that holds more than five or six rounds and in a caliber that everyone agrees would do some damage. When I speak on this subject it’s from more than just a personal preference but from the point of view of an instructor who has some personal experience, but who has also thrown his life into studying everything he could get his hands on. Often, I’m simply ignored. “The guy at the gun store told me this would be enough gun,” seems to be the common response. I sure hope the guys at MY gun store didn’t tell you that!

I decided to aggregate in one place some of the incidents that have shaped my thinking so that my readers can understand it’s not just me that’s saying it. Let’s look at some real-life incidents and see what conclusions can be drawn from them

Incident 1:

Glock21

August 25, 2008, Officer Tim Grammis of the Skokie, IL Police Department found himself engaged in a firefight with a fleeing bank robber, who did not want to go back to prison. In the ensuing gun battle, Officer Grammis emptied two magazines of .45 ACP from his Glock 21 at the robber and was on his third when the robber, Raymond Maddox, stopped shooting. Reconstruction of the episode revealed that 54 rounds had been fired during the incident, 33 from Officer Grammis. Autopsy results revealed that 17 of Grammis’ 230 Grain Speer Gold Dot Jacketed Hollow Points had struck Maddox. Some had struck extremities but Maddox had also been hit in one kidney, both lungs and his heart. The last three rounds that Grammis fired had hit Maddox in the head, but two were in the face. Only the last had pierced his brain and ended the fight. Arguments that he was on drugs and that’s why he didn’t succumb easily when shot were nullified when autopsy results revealed he was totally drug-free at the time of the incident. You may deduce from this incident that if even the big gun wouldn’t stop this guy, why carry one? I would argue differently. My thoughts on it are if it’s this hard to stop somebody, I need to start with something that might have chance instead of something that would just irritate him.

Incident 2:

Taurus738

Tammy Sexton, age 47, was shot in the head with a .380 by her estranged husband. The bullet struck her square in the forehead and exited the back of her head.  Sheriff Mike Byrd of Jackson County, MS said, “When a sheriff’s deputy responding to a disturbance call arrived, she met him at the door holding a rag on her head and talking. She was conscious, but she was confused about what had happened,” he said. “She had made herself some tea and offered the officer something to drink.” Byrd said the bullet passed through the lobes of the woman’s brain without causing major damage.

Ladysmith

Incident 3:

January 8, 2013 – Melinda Herman was working at home when a man began to ring the doorbell. She called her husband at work, who told her to gather their 9-year-old twins, a boy and a girl, and go hide. All three of them went to an upstairs crawl space, and Melinda brought along a .38 caliber handgun to the hiding place.

The man broke into the house and rummaged around before making his way to the crawl space, where he found the mother and children hiding. Melinda shot the intruder five times, hitting him in the face and neck. She told the man if he moved she would shoot him again, although she had run out of bullets.  The intruder, who police identified as 32-year-old Paul Slater, managed to get to his car and as he tried to flee, crashed into a tree.  That’s five times in the face, folks, and now the gun is empty, but the guy is still on his feet!

Incident 4:

October of 1997 – Jacksonville, Florida officer Pete Soulis made contact with a suspicious driver, Joseph McGrotha, at a gas station.  McGrotha produced a 9mm handgun, firing one round into Soulis’ chest (it was stopped by his armor).   Before it was over Soulis was shot three more times while shooting McGrotha 22 times, 17 of which were described as “center mass.”   It would take McGrotha as long as 4 minutes to die after the last shot was fired. Officer Soulis service weapon was chambered in .40 S&W, Winchester Ranger SXT rounds.

I’ve been aware of various studies about what happens in real-life scenarios, including the one by Tom Givens of Rangemaster Training in Memphis, who has been able to track graduates who have been involved in shootings over a twenty-five year period and whose findings I’ve quoted in some of my training. The results of Tom’s research indicate that encounters involving firearms are usually 3 shots within 3 seconds from 3 yards or less, with the success rate from pocket guns being something like 50%, meaning the good guy lost about 50% of the time. Not very good odds in my book.

I recently came across another study conducted in central Texas by Karl Rein of KR Training in which he put students to the test with pocket guns and with medium to full-size guns. It’s an interesting study that you can read about here at usconcealedcarry.com/is-a-pocket-gun-enough. If you don’t have the time or inclination to read it, here is his conclusions:

Data analysis indicates that a five-shot .38 probably holds enough ammunition to handle 70 percent of all likely situations. In the hands of a “low skill” shooter (anyone lacking training beyond the CHL level), the odds of getting acceptable hits are poor; that group averaged 57 percent on the test. When those two probabilities are multiplied to calculate total probability, the result is 40 percent, which isn’t great, but is better than 0 percent (no gun).

What’s interesting to me is that the majority of the comments following Karl’s article are justifying anything from .32 to .380 to .38 caliber guns and basically telling him his research is full of it.

TaurusPT111

I want my loved ones, my students and myself to have a much better success ration than 40% if we’re ever involved in an armed encounter where we are fighting for our life. For this reason, I do my best to teach people to shoot and carry handguns that are at least 9mm with 10-12 rounds of ammo or more. Keep that pocket gun around as a backup for when you’ve run your fighting gun dry.

The Taurus PT111 is just one of many choices for a decent-sized, affordable carry gun in a caliber (9mm) and with a capacity (13 rounds) that should provide adequate protection in almost any civilian armed encounter imaginable. If you’d put this gun up side-by-side with most of the popular pocket guns you’d have a hard time making the argument that you could carry one, but not the other.

Subjective Comparisons – They Matter, Too!

Some things you can measure:  height, width, weight, trigger pull, magazine capacity, barrel length, etc. Some things are totally subjective. You may like or not like something and not be sure why, or at least not be able to explain it to someone else. That doesn’t mean your subjective comparisons aren’t important. I think you should like the car or truck you drive, even if no one else does. I think you should be happy with how you dress, even if other folks think it’s funky. Objective is facts; Subjective is feelings.

Why am I on this rant? Because I’m on my fourth day of feeling really good about carrying a gun I’d never really thought about until a few  days ago. For the best part of this year my carry gun has been a Sig, either a 1911 Commander or a P229. Occasionally, I carry a S&W M&P. If it were just me, I’d have no real reason to change this trend. But, I’m not just me, I’m the head of an organization that’s goal is to train and equip others to defend themselves with a handgun. I take this responsibility seriously, so I make it a point to familiarize myself with a variety of options, because one person doesn’t necessarily like, feel comfortable with, or can afford, what’s right for someone else.

I practice drawinPractice Drawingg and aiming my pistol multiple times a day, no matter what I’m carrying. While doing these drills with the CZ-P07, I found it darn near as comfortable as my 1911. Knowing this was probably just a subjective observation, I decided to do a little testing.

I unloaded and placed 4 handguns on a table. The P07, a Glock 23, the Sig Legion P229 and an M&P .40. I closed my eyes and had my wife mix them up. Then I picked them up one at a time, still with my eyes closed, feeling and pointing and trying to decide just from feel which one I liked best. Of course I could tell them apart since I’m very familiar with all four.

For Comparison

I had my wife do the feel test, then I had two of my grandsons try it. Funny, both the boys picked the P229 as their favorite, while the wife and I both preferred the P07. I thought for a minute she was going to go for the Glock and had it been a Gen 3, I believe she would have. But the texture on the Gen 4 grip wasn’t comfortable for her.

The boys liked the tactical feel and the heft of the P229, but they didn’t know what it was when doing the test.  When you consider you can buy two P07s for the price of the Sig Legion P229, it seems to me a pretty good endorsement that at least 50% of the testers (admittedly a very small group to start with) like it best.

I’m going to keep on carrying it for a few days and I’m going to shoot it some more. It remains to be seen whether or not I’ll go back to one of the Sigs for daily carry.

UPDATE July 5:

I keep putting his gun on every morning. It is still very comfortable to wear and my daily drawing drills are right on the money. This is definitely a great handgun for Every Day Carry.

CZ-P07 – This Could Easily Become a Personal Favorite

In Europe they love CZ pistols like we love 1911s. I guess when I say “we” in Europe I’m mostly talking about police and military since very few countries outside of Switzerland allow their citizens the freedom to own and shoot firearms like we have here in America. Česká zbrojovka Uherský Brod is a firearms manufacturer in the Czech Republic responsible for some of the finest-made firearms in the world. They make pistols, rifles and shotguns that are held in high esteem in the military, hunting, sporting and personal protection arenas. In the US these are imported by CZ-USA.

The most popular of their handguns since before WWII has been the CZ-75 of which there are many models. There are also many clones. I first came to know this style of pistol through the EAA Witness and the SAR B6 and K2 models imported by European American Armory. These are all clones of the C-75 and my experience with all three of these models has led me to like them, trust them and recommend them for several years now. Throughout those years, I’ve owned several EAAs and SARs but I’ve never actually owned a CZ manufactured version. Until now, that is.

CZ P07The original CZ-75s are all steel. They have several models such as the 75, 85, Compact, and others with differing features such as size, finish, capacity, caliber, etc. The one that I felt I just had to own is the CZ-P07. As you might surmise, the “P” stands for Polymer and I’m guessing the ’07’ means it’s a James Bond gun. Oh, wait, not enough zeroes. Okay I think the 07 has something to do with size, since I know the P09 is bigger and maybe the P05 and P06 are smaller. We gun guys can’t know everything.

What I do know is I really like this gun. I know what you’re thinking . . . “but, David, you like ALL guns!” Well, that’s simply not true. I’ve handled guns I don’t like and I’ve handled guns that I’m just indifferent about. For me to like them they have to 1) feel good in my hands, 2) fit my hands well, 3) have good sights that I can easily pick up and align, 4) have a decent trigger, one that is easily operated without pulling the sights off target, 5) be absolutely flawless in operation under normal and sometimes a bit stressful conditions, 6) be of a caliber that makes sense for it’s purpose, 7) be affordable and 8) be comfortable to shoot. The CZ-P07 passes all of these tests.

But if you’ve already got your gun needs and a lot of your wants covered, there has to be something else, doesn’t there? Otherwise, it’s a “ho, hum, just another gun.” This gun looks like a real gun to me. It’s a bit futuristic, but frankly it looks all business. It’s got the different-sized backstraps that are commonly offered with modern firearms, so it was no trouble to make sure it fits my hands. When I pick it up or pull it out of my holster it’s in the right place in my hand, ready to go with no shifting around. The sights line up and I can easily put my finger on the trigger with the proper positioning.

The slide-lock lever, which doubles as a takedown lever, is big and it’s flat with a surface that’s easy to work. There’s a decocker. The grip surface has just the right amount of aggressiveness to make the gun easy to hold onto without hurting my hands.

I tested it with my common defensive rounds:  Ruger ARX, Speer Gold Dot and Fiocchi JHP. It did what I expect a carry gun to do, which is shoot one ragged hole at 10-12 feet and keep everything in a fist-sized grouping at 20-21 feet. If it can do that it will keep the shot placement relatively tight at 15 yards.  I don’t have a bench rest and my personal arc of movement is enough not to blame the gun for what happens at 15 yards.

So, I’m carrying it for a while. It’s comfortable, fits in my P226 D. M. Bullard leather holster, and draws easily. If I have to use it, I’m confident the results will depend a whole lot more on me than the gun. It will do its job.

Comfortable or Comforting – Why Not Both?

Clint Smith, well-known firearms and self-defense trainer has a saying:  “Carrying a concealed handgun is not supposed to be comfortable, but comforting.” Okay, if you can’t comfortably carry, I guess I can go with that. But, I carry comfortably every day, and I know others who do as well and most of us carry BIG guns.

Here’s another saying that has merit:  “Same gun, same place, every day.”  I don’t remember where I heard that one, but I’m pretty sure it was another well-respected firearms trainer. If I were just an armed citizen, I’d probably go with that and if I did, it would probably be my Sig Sauer 1911 Emperor Scorpion Commander. When I do carry that gun, using my D.M. Bullard belt, IWB holster and dual magazine carrier for my two spare magazines, I rarely give it a second thought except to touch it from time-to-time to remind myself it’s there or to practice my draw, which I still do several times a day. When I shoot that gun, it goes “bang” every time I pull the trigger and the bullet holes go right where I expect them to go. I have confidence in that rig and I find it both comfortable and comforting.

I’m not just an armed citizen, however. I’m an instructor, certified by the Texas Department of Public Safety, the National Rifle Association and Texas Law Shield, entrusted with the responsibility to help other armed citizens prepare to defend themselves and their families, should the need arise. And I’m a firearms dealer. So with those added responsibilities, comes the need to broaden my experience so that it encompasses a variety of firearms and carry rigs. In order to honor that responsibility, I make it a practice to carry different guns from time to time.

You might be surprised by the size of them. My first daily carry gun was a Taurus 24/7 Pro. After that a Smith & Wesson M&P. Both guns are available in 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP, all with the same external dimensions, so carrying a .45 takes no more space than carrying a 9mm.  For a while I carried a Springfield XDm 45 with 4.4 inch barrel. Each of these guns I’ve carried in an inside-the-waistband (IWB) holster worn at approximately 3 o’clock with one or more spare magazine pouches carried IWB at 9 o’clock.

When I joined the 1911 bandwagon, it was with a Commander-sized handgun. In 1911 parlance, Commander means 4.25 inch barrel, full-length grip. Sometimes you’ll see the barrels as 4 inch or 4.2 inch, but generally 4.25. I find I can carry a Commander-sized 1911 with 9 rounds of .45 ACP, using a Colt flush-bottom magazine and I’m both comforted and comfortable.

What about other guns, those bigger ones I mentioned? All this week I’ve been carrying a Sig Sauer P229. I had ordered a D.M. Bullard holster for a P226, knowing it would also fit a P229 and just to make sure I wouldn’t be misleading anyone if I recommended it, I put on that holster, along with a dual mag carrier that holds two double stack 9-mm magazines, and here it is Thursday and I can’t say I’ve had an uncomfortable moment. That’s a nice gun, sixteen rounds of 9mm in it and 30 more rounds in case the terrorists show up when I’m eating lunch somewhere or maybe even at my office.IWB Carry

These pictures are not me. This is just a new shooter, trying stuff out, but look, he’s already figured out he can wear his shirt tail out or tuck it in, and he can keep his gun hidden from prying eyes, even when it’s not a tiny pocket pistol.

This is repetitive from some of my earlier articles, but here it is one more time:

  1. Get a GUN belt – not just a regular belt. A GUN belt – thick leather, two layers, made specifically for guns. I have belts made by Crossbreed and by D.M. Bullard that fit the bill.
  2. Buy your pants a little larger than normal, maybe even two inches larger, you’ll have to experiment. Most of my pants have some elastic in the waist, so that helps, but for you skinny guys and gals, just buckle down and buy you some bigger pants.
  3. Get a good IWB holster from somebody like D.M. Bullard and White Hat (we sell both of those at Texas Gun Pros), Alien Gear, or Crossbreed. I’ve heard others rave about Milt Sparks and Galco, but I tried both of those and went back to my Crossbreed or D.M. Bullard holsters. Probably just a matter of preference.
  4. Get a spare magazine carrier to go with your holster. You can’t carry too much ammo. All of that “if I can’t get them in 6 shots . . .” is head-in-the-sand baloney. You do not KNOW what you might encounter from which you would need to defend yourself or your family.
  5. Wear your gun and your spare magazines every day, all day. If it’s not comfortable at first, make small adjustments here and there until you are comfortable. You can comfortably carry.
  6. Summertime, wintertime, it makes no difference. A gun on your hip doesn’t care how long your pants are, so all of this “I need a smaller gun in the summertime” just doesn’t make sense if you REALLY DO WANT TO DEFEND YOURSELF or your family.

 

Being Careful Online – Not About Guns

I write about awareness from time-to-time, usually in reference to self-defense and carrying a firearm. This article is about being careful online. I’ve been developing web applications and databases for more than a quarter of a century, so I take it for granted sometimes that people know this stuff, but others don’t live in the cyber-world as much as I do, so perhaps sharing a few observations might help some of you. Most of this is in reference to emails.

  1. Anything and everything that tells you to view it before it is “Banned” should be considered bogus. Especially if it says before Obama or the government bans it. We have freedom of the press in this country. Nobody can ban anything. Yes, Google or You-Tube can remove stuff they find offensive (translate:  conservative), but they really can’t ban it. It can always resurface on a private server somewhere and probably has. “Banned” is not a part of America, except perhaps in schools.
  2. Emails that say they’re from Fox News, CNN, CBS, ABC or MSNBC are not. They’re from somebody trying to sell you something.
  3. All of those videos you need to watch before they are banned have a sales pitch at the end. ALL of THEM!
  4. Any email that asks you to verify your financial or personal information by entering it is what’s called a phishing email. It’s bogus and it’s trying to get you to reveal your personal or financial information so they can steal it.
  5. Emails don’t necessarily come from who it says they are from in the “From” box. You can put anything in there when you set up an email address.
  6. Links in an email don’t necessarily go where the link says it goes. For example, say you get an email from American Express wanting you to verify your account. There’s probably a link in the email you’re supposed to click on. It may say something like http://www.amex.com/account info.  But if you hover your mouse over the link (don’t click on it, just hover the mouse over it) it you can see where the link really goes. It probably says something like http://iamgonnagetthemgood.bettheyfallforthis@imabadguy.ru. Wow, right while I was posting this I got one of those emails. It said it was from USAA and in order to verify the integrity of my accounts it wanted me to verify my information by logging into:  ussaa.com – that’s what the hyper link said. But guess where it went?  To cinespots.com/www.usaa.com/. The real address there is cinespots.com, not usaa.com. That may look like a real website, but I guarantee you it’s not USAA’s website and I’m not going there!
  7. Spammers have the ability to hijack the email addresses in our email accounts and send out bogus emails to everyone in the list. I don’t know how they do it, but they do. These emails will appear to come from someone you know and they will have a link in them an nothing more, except maybe one sentence that says something like “Check this out:” followed by a link that is almost always dangerous or trying to sell you something. Please don’t click on these links when you get something like that.
  8. While it’s true we have the very real potential for terrorist activity in our county any day, and there is always the possibility of economic collapse, most of the messages of impending doom are really just trying to get you to send them money. No matter how great you think the cause is, find out who the organization is behind it and how much they really spend on what they say they do.

Please, be careful, be suspicious, and as much as you may dislike or like the current Commander-in-Chief, he really doesn’t have the power to create new HARP programs to get you a better mortgage rate, forgive your student loans, and all the other things that he is credited for or blamed for on a daily basis.

Personal Security for Ordinary People

By David Freeman

Guns are great equalizers. You don’t have to be big, physically fit or trained in the Marshall Arts to defend yourself  when you have a gun.

So much of the training I see about personal defense features young, physically fit, police or personal security-type individuals. You know what I mean, the ones with the ripped abs that run 10 miles before breakfast, rappel off the side of mountains and eat rattlesnakes for breakfast.

I’m not like that, but I can defend myself. I legally carry a concealed handgun and I’m relatively proficient with it. So while I’m not looking for a fight, if one comes my way I have a good chance of prevailing.

With a gun, a small woman can defend herself against a man the size of a defensive linebacker. An old guy like me can defend himself against a young, agressive street thug. A person in a wheelchair with a gun is no longer the easy victim an assailant might plan to rob.

While carrying a gun doesn’t require Olympic-like training, there are some things  you should do to insure you’re prepared to use one effectively to defend yourself:

  1. Be mentally prepared. This involves always being aware of your surroundings and recognizing potential threats early enough to do something about it should the potential threat become an actual threat.
  2. Have the right gun. The gun should fit you, it should be reliable and comfortable for you to shoot. It should also be of a large enough caliber to actually stop an attacker.
  3. Have your gun accessible. It must be concealed, but if it’s hidden away where you can’t get to it quickly, it’s of no use.
  4. Be proficient with your gun.
  5. Practice, practice, practice!
  6. Mentally rehearse possible scenarios, including how you would react.
  7. Get involved in the gun community – read the magazines, participate in shooting sports, train when you can.

Bottom line:  guns are great equalizers, but only if you know how to use them