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Officer's Firearm Repeatedly Malfunctions on Camera

Officer’s Firearm Repeatedly Malfunctions on Camera

How much confidence do you have in your firearm that it will work EVERY time? We know at Active Self Protection that training trumps gear, but we also know that a reliable firearm is an important part of winning the fight when it starts!

Original video of the officer’s firearm malfunctioning again and again: https://get-asp.com/16ry

 

What does this video shooting teach us about knowing our firearm well and knowing how malfunctions work?

 

  1. You must know your firearm, how it functions, and how you’ll respond with it in the moment of need. Pressure testing your firearm manipulations in force on force and other training classes is critical because you need to know that you can get your firearm in the fight and keep it in the fight! If your habits will inadvertently drop the magazine or your grip will cause the slide not to lock back on empty or other induce other malfunctions, you do NOT want to find that out when the balloon goes up.

 

  1. The rules of firearm safety apply in a gunfight, just like they do on the range or in your home. Whether you prefer to articulate them as Colonel Cooper’s four rules of firearm safety or the NRA’s three rules for safe firearm handling (I have a discussion of my preference here: https://get-asp.com/cfgf if you want to read it), you must have the presence of mind to keep your firearm pointed in the appropriate direction and only fire when you will not hit an innocent. You are morally and legally responsible for the rounds that leave your firearm, so make sure to train and practice so that you take responsible shots in the moment of need.

 

  1. The rules of firearm safety apply whether you’re training or fighting for your life. One of the most difficult to follow in a real life gunfight is Colonel Cooper’s Rule #4: be sure of your target and what lies beyond it. It is exceedingly difficult to do, but self-defenders must stay aware of what is behind their threat so that they take minimal risks to innocents when defending themselves.

 

  1. Keep your firearm ready to fire. Some people carry their firearm with an empty chamber, but doing so is not recommended for several reasons. First, it assumes that you will have both hands available to you to draw your firearm, which isn’t necessarily the case. You might have a hand engaged or injured. Secondly, it assumes that you’ll have time to chamber a round in a gunfight, but gunfights are won and lost on tenths of seconds. Third, it assumes that you’ll have the dexterity to chamber a round under duress, though in the moment many times I have seen people fumble their chambering attempt. Finally, it assumes that everything will work correctly when it comes time to chamber your firearm, which as we see here isn’t always guaranteed. Keep your defensive firearm ready to fire, with a round in the chamber!

 

  1. In a gunfight, movement is your friend. You must be ready not only to draw and fire, but to draw your firearm and fire while moving laterally, back, and diagonally. You simply will not stand still in a gunfight because it is against every instinct you have when in mortal danger! People who focus too much on stance or Isosceles vs. Weaver forget this fact, but as self-defenders we must know that we will be moving. So practice and train movement on the draw and fire. This is a great reason to have airsoft trainers and practice draw and move in your dry-fire regimen as well.

 

Attitude. Skills. Plan.

 

(music in the intro and outro courtesy of Bensound at http://www.bensound.com)

 

 

 

Copyright Disclaimer. Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.

Multiple Rifle Rounds Required to Stop Murdering Ex-MMA Fighter

WARNING: GRAPHIC. There’s a lot of mess to go around in this officer involved shooting. Knowing how to stop the threat you face, and what that might take, is an important part of Active Self Protection. And from that angle, there are a lot of lessons to learn here. So, what would you have done in their situation?

Original video: https://get-asp.com/oxm2

 

News stories with details on the incident: https://get-asp.com/xbyt (MMA site) and https://get-asp.com/n6em (Indonesian news in English)

 

What does this officer involved shooting teach us about protecting ourselves against any kind of knife attack?

 

  1. The eyes may be the windows to the soul, but the hands are the windows to the intent of a person. If you’re in a potential conflict, ALWAYS pay attention to what the aggressor is doing with their hands. They might have a force multiplier in their hand, or they might be hiding their hand so that you can’t see what is in it or using their hand to conceal something. If their hands are empty, there is a difference between someone with fists and someone whose hands are open and relaxed. As a self-defender your situational awareness must include seeing the hands of any potential threat in your vicinity, so watch the hands! This officer involved shooting was pretty simple, really…he had a large knife in hand that he had already murdered an officer with.

 

  1. In a deadly force encounter, decisions of life and death will be made in the blink of an eye. On the range and in class we have time to consider and to think and to reset and to make multiple attempts, but when the balloon goes up in real life you’ve got fractions of seconds to decide what the best course of action is to protect yourself. The way to be better at decision making in the heat of the moment is training, specifically scenario training and force-on-force training that is designed to work on decision-making skills under stress. It’s offered all over the country, so get training! These officers needed to know when to shoot and how to put shots on target quickly and accurately. Those skills are earned, not given.

 

  1. If you have a firearm out, distance is your friend. A firearm has a functionally infinite range in a deadly force encounter. (yes, I know, that’s not 100% true…for the purposes of a self-defense fight, it is functionally true) If you are at contact distance to someone you have a firearm aimed at, you give them the ability to fight you for your firearm and negate the advantage you have. Therefore, if you have a gun on someone, stay out of range of their hands if at all possible! Keep your distance when you have a firearm!

 

  1. If you have a partner with you when you’re attacked (be it a LEO partner if you work on a team, or your spouse or martial artist buddy), you want to do everything you can to work as a team. Knowing each other well and communicating clearly will help you protect yourself from danger. This takes training and practice and commitment, but two partners working together present a formidable challenge to any attacker. The big gaggle of officers here didn’t communicate with one another very clearly, and so they weren’t set up to contain and stop the threat.

 

  1. Marksmanship matters! The old saying is quite true: you can’t miss fast enough to win a gunfight. As a self-defender you need to practice and train to put your first shot on target as fast as you can, but the key is to put as many shots on target as possible. Usually the first person to put shots on target wins the gunfight. (not always, but usually) So putting the first shot on target every time and quickly is imperative.

 

  1. The rules of firearm safety apply in a gunfight, just like they do on the range or in your home. Whether you prefer to articulate them as Colonel Cooper’s four rules or the NRA’s three rules (I have a discussion of my preference here: https://get-asp.com/cfgf if you want to read it), you must have the presence of mind to keep your firearm pointed in the appropriate direction and only fire when you will not hit an innocent. You are morally and legally responsible for the rounds that leave your gun, so make sure to train and practice so that you take responsible shots in the moment of need.

 

  1. The human body is designed to take a ridiculous amount of punishment and still function. You can shoot someone multiple times and they can still pose a deadly threat! Even mortally wounded people can continue to pose a threat for several seconds to even minutes after being shot, so don’t think for a moment that shooting someone will necessarily immediately incapacitate them. That is Hollywood myth.

 

Attitude. Skills. Plan.

 

(music in the intro and outro courtesy of Bensound at http://www.bensound.com)

 

 

 

Copyright Disclaimer. Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.

Armed Robbery stopped by off duty cop

Off Duty Cop Stops Armed Robbery

My goodness, the difference between the victims and the victor in this armed robbery is STARK. At Active Self Protection we try to bring instances like this to light to show regular people that they are their own defenders, and that the best way to protect yourself against an armed robbery is to be prepared and willing to defend yourself and those around you.

Original video: https://get-asp.com/h4ux (WARNING: this site is very, very NSFW and filled with adult content…strongest warning possible…I get videos from it when I can’t find it anywhere else but do NOT endorse anything about it)

 

What does this off duty cop teach us about protecting ourselves against an armed robbery?

 

  1. In any territorial or predatorial violence, the attacker gets to set the time and circumstances of the attack. They will almost always launch that attack from ambush, or as we like to call it in Umas, from “obscurity.” Surviving that ambush is one of the most important keys to successfully defending yourself. This armed robbery started before anyone in the restaurant saw anything out of place!

 

  1. Transitional spaces are places where we MUST be more careful of potential attack. A transitional space is any location that (1) allows attackers to prey on potential victims with an element of surprise and (2) provides ready escape for the attackers. The armed robber had quick entrance and quick exit here, and the proximity of valuables makes this a very appealing target. If you’re in that kind of environment, recognize that you’re in a more likely place of attack!

 

  1. If you do not have the attitude, skills, and plan to protect yourself from an attacker, then your only option is to submit to their demands and hope it works out for the best. I would never suggest that a helpless person try to defend themselves against a carjacking or armed robbery, though of course if it’s a matter of life and death you must do whatever you can. The point, though, is not to be a helpless victim! This is the heart of Active Self Protection, to motivate you to train and help you develop the attitude, skills, and plan so that you can choose to protect yourself if it makes sense in the moment rather than being forced into compliance with a violent felon.

 

  1. Successful self-defense against many attacks involves a counter-ambush, where the victim finds the right opportunity to seize the initiative from the attacker and launch an ambush of their own. That involves thinking and knowing your own strengths and skill set, and being ready to strike the attacker when your opportunity for counter-ambush comes. It also means not allowing the attacker to see that attack until it’s launched.

 

  1. Real life self-defense encounters are chaotic and there is seldom ability to focus solely on one threat. When there are multiple attackers (or potential attackers) present especially, focusing too much on one threat could be a deadly mistake. We must maintain awareness in a fight for our life not only of the immediate threat but threats all around us, and that takes great training not to get tunnel vision. The officer here did a great job of realizing that this armed robbery had more than one armed robber, and he kept scanning to find where the threat was.

 

  1. The goal in any defensive firearms use is to stop the threat. Never draw a firearm if you’re not willing to use it, but if the presence of the firearm stops the threat, don’t pull the trigger! If the bad guy flees or surrenders, that’s a very successful defensive firearm use and you’ve met the goal. If your first shots stop the threat, don’t take more shots that can turn a defensive encounter into charges for you. Shoot as many times as you must in order to stop the threat, and once the threat stops, reassess and stop shooting. The armed robbery stopped not when the bad guy ran, but when the second armed robber surrendered. Great job by the officer of shooting when he had an active threat, and NOT shooting when the second guy surrendered.

 

  1. The rules of firearm safety apply in a gunfight, just like they do on the range or in your home. Whether you prefer to articulate them as Colonel Cooper’s four rules or the NRA’s three rules (I have a discussion of my preference here: https://get-asp.com/cfgf if you want to read it), you must have the presence of mind to keep your firearm pointed in the appropriate direction and only fire when you will not hit an innocent. You are morally and legally responsible for the rounds that leave your gun, so make sure to train and practice so that you take responsible shots in the moment of need.

 

  1. The rules of firearm safety apply whether you’re training or fighting for your life. One of the most difficult to follow in a real life gunfight is Colonel Cooper’s Rule #4: be sure of your target and what lies beyond it. It is exceedingly difficult to do, but self-defenders must stay aware of what is behind their threat so that they take minimal risks to innocents when defending themselves.

 

Attitude. Skills. Plan.

 

(music in the intro and outro courtesy of Bensound at http://www.bensound.com)

 

 

 

Copyright Disclaimer. Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.

Officer Killed in Shootout with Armed Robbers

Have you thought much about which situations you’re willing to intervene as a self-defender, and which you will just be a good witness? This shootout involving an off-duty officer and two armed robbers shows us how important that question is to practicing Active Self Protection.

Original video with a few details: https://get-asp.com/jms7 (WARNING: this site is very, very NSFW and filled with adult content…strongest warning possible…I get videos from it when I can’t find it anywhere else but do NOT endorse anything about it)

 

What does this shootout teach us about protecting ourselves against armed robbers?

 

  1. Every person gets to decide who they are willing to protect. For some, their “flock” is only themselves and their immediate family. That’s an acceptable answer. For others, they are willing to protect their friends, coworkers, and extended family. For a few, it might mean being willing to protect anyone who is weak, powerless, and in need. Each of us must decide the size of our flock and have that decision firmly in mind when it is time to act. This officer decided that his flock included all people and his off-duty time, and that decision was his to make.

 

  1. Parents must consider their children in their defensive plan. The younger the child, the more the parent(s) must consider how holding or dragging their child will affect their ability to protect both of them. Naturally, the more children you have the more you’ll be constrained in retreat or running, and the more you’ll have to “stick your foot in the ground” and defend yourself without retreat. The shop owner had a little boy in this store, and that little boy was right in the middle of all the danger. You’ve got to think about your kids in your defensive plan!

 

  1. We must each be ready to face the cost of defending ourselves or others, as well as the cost of not defending. If you defend yourself, especially with a firearm, you might well face significant costs financially, socially, spiritually, emotionally, and relationally. You must be ready for those costs! The same holds true of defending others, and you must decide if the costs are worth paying for your family. If you live, you can expect to hire an attorney, spend time in jail perhaps, face social pressure from the media or family or your church, etc. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t step in, but it does mean that you have to count the cost and accept it. Certainly, to defend your life or the life of a family member, any cost is bearable. But whether you’re willing to pay that cost for a stranger is a matter for personal reflection and consideration. And let’s not forget, the cost to this officer was his life. You don’t get to know in advance what the cost will be, so count the potential in your plan.

 

  1. We must never settle for being able to protect ourselves against a lone attacker because of how common multiple attacker engagements are. Rats travel in packs, so we must always be prepared to face multiple attackers!

 

  1. Marksmanship matters! The old saying is quite true: you can’t miss fast enough to win a gunfight. In most instances that we see on surveillance video, the first person to put shots on target wins the gunfight. That’s not 100% because injured people can stay in the fight a long time, but it is a good “rule of thumb” because once someone gets shot they usually stop thinking about whatever it is they were doing and start thinking about the pain they’re in and how not to get shot again. The lesson in that is clear: be the first to put shots on target. (this is the corollary to Joe Frick’s Rules for a Gunfight #3, “Only hits count. The only thing worse than a miss is a slow miss.”)

 

  1. Successful self-defense against many attacks involves a counter-ambush, where the victim finds the right opportunity to seize the initiative from the attacker and launch an ambush of their own. That involves thinking and knowing your own strengths and skill set, and being ready to strike the attacker when your opportunity for counter-ambush comes. It also means not allowing the attacker to see that attack until it’s launched. In this instance the officer’s counter-ambush failed because the bad guy heard or saw the door opening, and that’s what got him killed. Think about your counter-ambush before diving into a gunfight.

 

  1. Spiritual fitness is an important part of Active Self Protection. You don’t often get any advance notice of the last day of your life, but we see over and over that self-defense isn’t a guarantee of winning every fight you might be placed in. You want to be at peace with your loved ones and with God, because you’ll need that peace on the day that you meet Him. Since you can’t guarantee advanced notice, make peace today.

 

Attitude. Skills. Plan.

 

(music in the intro and outro courtesy of Bensound at http://www.bensound.com)

 

 

Wild Shootout Between Cops and Armed Robbers

This shootout is pretty crazy, and it’s in Brazil so the rules of engagement by police are a little different than they are here in the States. Regardless, there are some significant Active Self Protection lessons for LEO and CCW alike from this one!

Original video with details: https://get-asp.com/gyot

What does this shootout teach us about protecting ourselves against an armed attacker?

1. In a gunfight, movement is your friend. You must be ready not only to draw and fire, but to draw and fire while moving laterally, back, and diagonally. You simply will not stand still in a gunfight because it is against every instinct you have when in mortal danger! People who focus too much on stance or isosceles vs. Weaver forget this fact, but as self-defenders we must know that we will be moving. So practice and train movement on the draw and fire. This is a great reason to have airsoft trainers and practice draw and move in your dry-fire regimen as well.

2. Capacity matters. My rule of thumb is that I want a minimum of 5 rounds for each bad guy I might face, which accounts for 2 misses and 3 shots on target for each. (of course, you never want to miss…I am just accommodating me on my worst day)

3. Our goal as self-defenders is to stop the threat. We are not vigilantes and we are not out to kill, we seek to stop the threat against us. Shooting to wound will not stop the threat reliably, and neither will shooting an attacker in an extremity. The only reliably means to stop an aggressor who means us death or grievous bodily harm is to put shots in the center of their available mass to cause nervous system collapse or bleeding out. (exsanguination is the technical term)

4. One of the principles we talk about regularly at ASP is the “Boarding House Rules” which boiled down mean “everyone gets firsts before anyone gets seconds.” Against multiple attackers who are equal threats, putting a shot on target into each attacker is probably wisest to immediately get the threat to start changing. Once every attacker has been addressed, reassess the existing threat to see who needs more attention and engage. Of course, against unequal threats this isn’t the case, so training is key.

5. In a gunfight, cover and concealment are important tools to know and use. Cover is anything that will stop bullets; concealment is that which will not stop bullets but will hide you from being seen by the aggressors. In many instances concealment works as well as cover against attackers who are not highly trained because they won’t shoot through it. Even so, cover and concealment only work for a few moments before the bad guys will start to work around them, so use them judiciously to buy you time and give you an advantage in a gunfight.

6. You must know what parts of your car offer cover, and what parts of your car are only concealment. Car doors and windows are no help against bullets, friends. They are concealment. The engine block provides cover, as do steel wheels and the transmission and axles. If you have to use your car to protect yourself from incoming fire, movement is your best friend and you must be ready to shoot from unconventional positions. Taking a course on using a handgun in a vehicle is much advised.

7. The human body is designed to take a ridiculous amount of punishment and still function. You can shoot someone multiple times and they can still pose a deadly threat! Even mortally wounded people can continue to pose a threat for several seconds to even minutes after being shot, so don’t think for a moment that shooting someone will necessarily immediately incapacitate them. That is Hollywood myth.

Attitude. Skills. Plan.

(music in the intro and outro courtesy of Bensound at http://www.bensound.com)

Officer Shoots Woman Attacking Him with an Axe

How much do you work on intentional movement with a firearm out? Do you actually have experience moving laterally? This officer did a fine job of keeping the proper ranges, and practiced excellent Active Self Protection in stopping the threat he faced.

Original video: get-asp.com/6pqp

News story from local news about the incident: get-asp.com/5w8q

What does this attack teach us about protecting ourselves against armed attackers?

1. If you have a firearm out, distance is your friend. A firearm has a functionally infinite range in a deadly force encounter. (yes, I know, that’s not 100% true…for the purposes of a self-defense fight, it is functionally true) If you are at contact distance to someone you have a firearm aimed at, you give them the ability to fight you for your firearm and negate the advantage you have. Therefore, if you have a gun on someone, stay out of range of their hands or crazy battle axe if at all possible!

2. The rules of firearm safety apply whether you’re training or fighting for your life. One of the most difficult to follow in a real life gunfight is Colonel Cooper’s Rule #4: be sure of your target and what lies beyond it. It is exceedingly difficult to do, but self-defenders must stay aware of what is behind their threat so that they take minimal risks to innocents when defending themselves.

3. It takes great training to do successfully, but it’s worth noting that moving backwards should be our least preferred method of gaining distance in a gunfight. When you’re moving backward with a threat in front of you it is very easy to hit an obstacle and lose your footing, which allows the threat to close the distance while you’re off balance. If possible, move diagonally or laterally to get “off the line” of attack and still engage the threat with your firearm.

4. Our goal as self-defenders is to stop the threat. We are not vigilantes and we are not out to kill, we seek to stop the threat against us. Shooting to wound will not stop the threat reliably, and neither will shooting an attacker in an extremity. The only reliably means to stop an aggressor who means us death or grievous bodily harm is to put shots in the center of their available mass to cause nervous system collapse or bleeding out. (exsanguination is the technical term)

5. Since marksmanship is so vital, your best bet to put shots on target quickly is to have both hands on your handgun. Two-handed shooting gives the most stable platform (especially if you use a thumbs-forward grip) and best recoil control for follow-up shots. There will be times and circumstances where shooting one-handed is the only option, but for best marksmanship get a solid two-handed grip as your default and goal.

6. In a gunfight, movement is your friend. You must be ready not only to draw and fire, but to draw and fire while moving laterally, back, and diagonally. You simply will not stand still in a gunfight because it is against every instinct you have when in mortal danger! People who focus too much on stance or isosceles vs. Weaver forget this fact, but as self-defenders we must know that we will be moving. So practice and train movement on the draw and fire. This is a great reason to have airsoft trainers and practice draw and move in your dry-fire regimen as well.

7. The Tueller Drill is a widely known standard for gun carriers against a knife attack, which states that an attacker can cover 21 feet in 1.5 seconds to get to their target. If the gun carrier doesn’t have their gun out and ready, they will get stabbed trying to get their gun in a fight. This has led to the “21 foot rule”, though it has been revisited by Sgt. Tueller and found to be more of a guide and principle than a rule. At any rate, in a knife attack, recognize that a knife-wielding attacker can be a deadly threat from a significant range, and recognize that they can close that distance very quickly. Get your firearm out and on target as soon as you recognize a threat!

Attitude. Skills. Plan.

(music in the intro and outro courtesy of Bensound at bensound.com)

Cop Shoots His Partner While Being Attacked

Man, I feel terrible for the Thai police…their Rules of Engagement are terrible! Even with that, there are some significant Active Self Protection lessons that flow from this video that we should be aware of.

Original video: https://get-asp.com/3o3l

 

What does this knife attacking maniac us about protecting ourselves during an attack?

 

  1. Evil exists in our world, and no amount of wishing it away does so. Evil people do evil things, and good people must be ready and willing to stand between them and innocent people and do enough violence to stop them definitively. No amount of negotiation will make truly evil people change their ways; only those willing and able to stop them who use attitude, skills, and plan effectively can.

 

  1. In a deadly force encounter, decisions of life and death will be made in the blink of an eye. On the range and in class we have time to consider and to think and to reset and to make multiple attempts, but when the balloon goes up in real life you’ve got fractions of seconds to decide what the best course of action is to protect yourself. The way to be better at decision making in the heat of the moment is training, specifically scenario training and force-on-force training that is designed to work on decision-making skills under stress. It’s offered all over the country, so get training!

 

  1. If you have a firearm out, distance is your friend. A firearm has a functionally infinite range in a deadly force encounter. (yes, I know, that’s not 100% true…for the purposes of a self-defense fight, it is functionally true) If you are at contact distance to someone you have a firearm aimed at, you give them the ability to fight you for your firearm and negate the advantage you have. Therefore, if you have a gun on someone, stay out of range of their hands if at all possible!

 

  1. If you have a partner with you when you’re attacked (be it a LEO partner if you work on a team, or your spouse or martial artist buddy), you want to do everything you can to work as a team. Knowing each other well and communicating clearly will help you protect yourself from danger. This takes training and practice and commitment, but two partners working together present a formidable challenge to any attacker.

 

  1. First aid skills are important. If you’re going to train and prepare to take a life to defend yourself, you should also have skills, training, and equipment to save life should you need to. (I carry an individual first aid kit at a minimum: http://amzn.to/1Or4yVz ) Often that will not involve defensive encounters, and in a defensive encounter your primary responsibility is to yourself and your loved ones.

 

  1. The rules of firearm safety apply in a gunfight, just like they do on the range or in your home. Whether you prefer to articulate them as Colonel Cooper’s four rules or the NRA’s three rules (I have a discussion of my preference here: https://get-asp.com/cfgf if you want to read it), you must have the presence of mind to keep your firearm pointed in the appropriate direction and only fire when you will not hit an innocent. You are morally and legally responsible for the rounds that leave your gun, so make sure to train and practice so that you take responsible shots in the moment of need.

 

  1. The human body is designed to take a ridiculous amount of punishment and still function. You can shoot someone multiple times and they can still pose a deadly threat! Even mortally wounded people can continue to pose a threat for several seconds to even minutes after being shot, so don’t think for a moment that shooting someone will necessarily immediately incapacitate them. That is Hollywood myth.

 

 

Attitude. Skills. Plan.

 

(music in the intro and outro courtesy of Bensound at http://www.bensound.com)

 

 

 

 

Armed Robbery Victim Gives us Lessons Learned From His Ordeal

This is a very special Active Self Protection​ lesson, because it’s the first time we have received the video from the intended victim and been able to talk the incident through with them!  Would you have been able to get your gun in the fight as fast as Daniel did? I think he covered his Active Self Protection pretty well! Thank you, Daniel, for being willing to share your experience with all of us to help us build our attitude, skills, and plan!

News story of this armed robbery: https://get-asp.com/c8ug

 

What does this video teach us about surviving an armed robbery?

 

  1. Situational awareness is your best friend. It doesn’t mean that you always are paranoid or living in “condition orange,” but it does mean that you know Col. Cooper’s color code of awareness and you live by it. Pay attention to your surroundings, and recognize that when you’re in public places you need to be more aware of your surroundings than when you’re in private. Because Daniel was aware, he used the mirror to see the threat early, and because of that was able to get his gun out and on target quickly! When you move from yellow to orange to red, you have to be able to process and decide in a flash.

 

  1. Transitional spaces are places where we MUST be more careful of potential attack. A transitional space is any location that (1) allows attackers to prey on potential victims with an element of surprise and (2) provides ready escape for the attackers. This jewelry store was only a transitional space because the armed robber propped the door open, which shouldn’t happen normally. But bad guys work to defeat your defensive setup, so be ready for that in places of high value items like jewelry!

 

  1. In a deadly force encounter, decisions of life and death will be made in the blink of an eye. On the range and in class we have time to consider and to think and to reset and to make multiple attempts, but when the balloon goes up in real life you’ve got fractions of seconds to decide what the best course of action is to protect yourself. The way to be better at decision making in the heat of the moment is training, specifically scenario training and force-on-force training that is designed to work on decision-making skills under stress. It’s offered all over the country, so get training! Daniel retreated by instinct from the threat, which is normally a good idea, but then he remembered mom was there and he had to go protect her. Train like it’s going to be chaotic and that the situation won’t be ideal.

 

  1. As well-meaning as police officers are, they cannot protect you from danger. As the old adage says, “When seconds count, the police are only minutes away!” You—and ONLY you—can protect yourself from danger when it comes upon you. A police response time of 5 minutes is considered perfectly acceptable in most suburban departments, and times upwards of 30 minutes can be the norm in rural areas! You need to have the attitude, skills, and plan to protect yourself from harm because the police simply can’t.

 

  1. Remember, at the end of a defensive encounter your goal is to get to safety and end the threat against you and your loved ones. Pursuing a fleeing bad guy for whatever reason is unwise because they very well may counter-ambush you or hurt you to make their escape. Once the threat ends, let the threat go and take action to make yourself safer. Daniel and the rest of the family went out to see what the armed robbers did when they left, which could have put them in danger again. Be careful not to add danger to a dangerous situation.

 

  1. If you have a family member who isn’t a self-defender, it’s very important to teach them what their responsibility is if you ever have to use your firearm to defend you both. The same holds true for children or elderly parents or anyone who you are around a lot who doesn’t practice ASP at all. My wife and kids know that if they see my firearm at all they need to get DOWN and, if possible, get away from me because I am about to draw fire. In the car they know to get low. Here, Daniel’s mom is a mama bear for sure trying to get in the way of the armed robber threatening her son, but she could have been badly hurt because she’s not trained or equipped. When you’re not trained or equipped, get down and get away.

 

  1. The rules of firearm safety apply in a gunfight, just like they do on the range or in your home. Whether you prefer to articulate them as Colonel Cooper’s four rules or the NRA’s three rules (I have a discussion of my preference here: https://get-asp.com/cfgf if you want to read it), you must have the presence of mind to keep your firearm pointed in the appropriate direction and only fire when you will not hit an innocent. You are morally and legally responsible for the rounds that leave your gun, so make sure to train and practice so that you take responsible shots in the moment of need. Daniel didn’t have a clean shot in this armed robbery so he didn’t take a shot. That’s maybe not our first choice, but it is an important one.

 

Attitude. Skills. Plan.

 

(music in the intro and outro courtesy of Bensound at http://www.bensound.com)

Officer Involved Shooting Shows Limits of TASER and Pepper Spray

When would you have taken decisive action against this man who threatened so many? Practicing Active Self Protection means knowing when the right time is to act, and the right actions to take! So many times officers get scrutinized incredibly carefully, but body cam footage like this shows us how difficult it can be to decide exactly when to act.

Original video of the officer involved shooting from the news: https://get-asp.com/os9r

 

This guy was known to be violent, and the officers had that information: https://get-asp.com/462j

 

What does this officer involved shooting teach Law Enforcement Officers and Armed Citizens alike?

 

  1. Whether you’re LEO or CCW, you need to know what force options you have available and when to abandon one and move to another. (“force options” are a better model than the older “force continuum” model) You need to know when your pepper spray is the best option, or when to abandon it (or the TASER) in favor of your firearm in a split second decision. The best way, of course, to learn and embed these options in your mind is to train in force on force scenarios with the options and then respond to the situations appropriately.

 

  1. You must understand that your intermediate force options, those in between hands and firearm/knife (like pepper spray, TASER, baton, etc.) will not always be effective. They are designed to be used BEFORE a threat becomes a deadly threat, and we must always be ready for them to fail us. At that point, we must quickly decide whether the right answer is to move to empty-handed skills or to deadly force options.

 

  1. Our goal as self-defenders is to stop the threat. We are not vigilantes and we are not out to kill, we seek to stop the threat against us. Shooting to wound will not stop the threat reliably, and neither will shooting an attacker in an extremity. The only reliably means to stop an aggressor who means us death or grievous bodily harm is to put shots in the center of their available mass to cause nervous system collapse or bleeding out. (exsanguination is the technical term) Here after the first volley it was not at all clear that the threat had stopped, though of course the officers have to use care in not using too much force in the current environment. Shoot until the deadly threat is past!

 

  1. In a deadly force encounter, decisions of life and death will be made in the blink of an eye. On the range and in class we have time to consider and to think and to reset and to make multiple attempts, but when the balloon goes up in real life you’ve got fractions of seconds to decide what the best course of action is to protect yourself. The way to be better at decision making in the heat of the moment is training, specifically scenario training and force-on-force training that is designed to work on decision-making skills under stress. It’s offered all over the country, so get training!

 

  1. In a gunfight, movement is your friend. You must be ready not only to draw and fire, but to draw and fire while moving laterally, back, and diagonally. You simply will not stand still in a gunfight because it is against every instinct you have when in mortal danger! People who focus too much on stance or isosceles vs. Weaver forget this fact, but as self-defenders we must know that we will be moving. So practice and train movement on the draw and fire. This is a great reason to have airsoft trainers and practice draw and move in your dry-fire regimen as well.

 

  1. The rules of firearm safety apply in a gunfight, just like they do on the range or in your home. Whether you prefer to articulate them as Colonel Cooper’s four rules or the NRA’s three rules (I have a discussion of my preference here: https://get-asp.com/cfgf if you want to read it), you must have the presence of mind to keep your firearm pointed in the appropriate direction and only fire when you will not hit an innocent. You are morally and legally responsible for the rounds that leave your gun, so make sure to train and practice so that you take responsible shots in the moment of need.

 

Attitude. Skills. Plan.

 

Whose Rules of Firearms Safety Are Best? Comparing Col. Cooper and the NRA

There’s a humongous donnybrook on a post on our Facebook page about the Rules of Firearms Safety, with people questioning everything from my training to my intelligence to my parentage to my species because of the formulation of the Rules of Safe Firearms Handling I included in the post. Let’s clear up some of the fracas and explain the two major systems of understanding and articulating the Rules, and why I prefer the NRA articulation of the Rules to Jeff Cooper’s. Hopefully this helps the brouhaha turn into a meaningful discussion.

 

Allow me to preface this discussion with a touch of background on this one. I was taught safe firearms handling by two USMC-veteran grandfathers (one of whom served under Chesty Puller in the 1st Marine Division and was wounded in the assault on Pelileu) and by my pop who was a Recon Marine in Vietnam (3/3, first full platoon on the ground in country, for anyone keeping score at home) Let’s just say that these three men pounded Col Cooper’s Rules into my head from a very early age. I have no ill will toward the Colonel’s Rules and respect them. I just don’t think they’re the best articulation of the rules.

 

With that said, let’s examine the Rules.

 

Cooper’s Rules:

 

ScreenShot2013-04-12at111920PM_zps61cedfb2RULE I: ALL GUNS ARE ALWAYS LOADED (or at least, treat all guns as if they were loaded)

 

RULE II: NEVER LET THE MUZZLE COVER ANYTHING YOU ARE NOT WILLING TO DESTROY

 

RULE III: KEEP YOUR FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER UNTIL YOUR SIGHTS ARE ON THE TARGET (some add, and you have made the decision to shoot)

 

RULE IV: BE SURE OF YOUR TARGET (some add, and what is beyond it)

 

 

 

The core of the Colonel’s official articulation is in caps. The additions are in parentheses.

 

The NRA Rules:

 

Rule 1: ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.safety

 

Rule 2: ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.

 

Rule 3: ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.

 

 

 

While I certainly respect Colonel Cooper as the father of the modern pistol technique, I think his articulation of the Rules has weathered with age a bit, and as one of the most important martial arts figures in my life, Ed Parker, said, “An ounce of logic can be worth more than a ton of tradition that has become obsolete through the weathering of time.” Let’s analyze each of Cooper’s Four Rules and see why I don’t think they’re the best formulation:

 

1) ALL GUNS ARE ALWAYS LOADED. No they’re not, but I am not so brain damaged that I can’t see that he means to treat every firearm as if it is loaded. Okay, fine. But the very fact that guns AREN’T loaded all the time and can be checked unloaded all the time makes this one poorly worded. The NRA formulation (ALWAYS keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction) is clearer, easier, and has no natural point of ignoring it. The low level of awareness of too many people leads them to ignore the rest of the rules when the gun is supposedly “unloaded” because it’s fine, right? We know better, but once this one is thrown out mentally people do more stupid things.

 

2) NEVER LET THE MUZZLE COVER ANYTHING YOU ARE NOT PREPARED TO DESTROY. Certainly it’s good to think about what we’re pointing a firearm at, but this one is again poorly worded and in a practical sense constantly ignored. When you handle a firearm, you’re going to muzzle lots of stuff you don’t want to destroy. I was dry firing today and pointing my muzzle at my safe, which I do not want to destroy. However, the gun was pointed in a safe direction! (see what I did there?) When you pick the gun up it is pointed at desk and chair and bed. Hopefully it’s never pointed at your hand! It’s far simpler to say ALWAYS keep the firearm pointed in a safe direction, and then define a safe direction as that which would hurt no innocent people and would cause minimum property damage if the gun went off unintentionally. I get that the heart here is “Don’t point the gun at someone unless you are sure you need to shoot them,” but again since it gets functionally ignored as stated, it leads to an easier mental jump to ignoring other parts of this formulation of the Rules.

 

3) KEEP YOUR FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER TIL YOUR SIGHTS ARE ON THE TARGET. I have no real problem with this one. On the sights, on the trigger. Same as NRA Rule 2, but I like the NRA formulation because it is a second ALWAYS. They are functionally identical here, and both serve a good purpose.

 

4) BE SURE OF YOUR TARGET AND WHAT LIES BEYOND IT. This is not a bad rule, at all, but it’s part of the first NRA rule already because if you can’t verify your target and backstop, it’s not a safe direction so you don’t point your gun at it. And NRA Rule 3 is valuable because it adds safety without compromising the need to keep defensive firearms loaded, because when it’s used as a defensive tool (the moment it is “on duty”) it should be loaded because it is being used. But the second I am going to hand it to someone else, I unload it because I am not using it anymore, and any time someone hands me a gun I verify that it is unloaded because it is not being used. This is why we say we never hand a loaded gun to someone. And before I put a gun away in the safe, I unload it. And when I put a gun down on the table at the range, I only do so when it is verified unloaded. And when I pick it up, I point it in a safe direction (Rule 1) and keep my finger off the trigger (Rule 2) and verify that it is unloaded (Rule 3) so that if I do something stupid, I don’t streak a .45 through my palm. Some argue that the guns in their quick access safe need to stay loaded because otherwise it’s too much time to load them for defensive use in a home invasion. I believe it is acceptable to say that those guns are also in use as home defense tools, but recognize that they must be secured against unauthorized access in some capacity.

 

For these reasons, I think Colonel Cooper’s Four Rules, while not evil or terrible, are aged and poorly worded, especially for new shooters and for those learning firearms safety. I prefer the NRA Rules:

 

Rule 1: ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction. (pointing a gun at an armed robber is keeping it pointed in a safe direction!)

 

Rule 2: ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot. (if you bring a gun up and put sights on target, you should be READY to shoot, even if you don’t immediately shoot, so in my expression you can put finger on trigger when the gun comes up on target)

 

Rule 3: ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until ready to use. (defensive firearms are in use; when in use, load the gun!)