Having trained once at this fine facility, and since I am heading back in January 2019 for another class, I would like to present a link to a firearms training facility website for your interest. They are located in Eustis, Florida, north of Orlando.
Revolvers can be a challenge to load and fire when less than fully loaded. Cylinders need to be "indexed" for the first live cartridge after being closed. Indexing means aligning the chamber, barrel, and stop notches so as the hammer is set, the cylinder rotates the chamber containing the live cartridge into position. You can sense correct alignment by feeling the "click" as you rotate the cylinder. The stop notches engage with the action parts that keep it lined up (indexed) automatically by the action as you set the hammer on a single action revolver, or pull the trigger on a double action revolver. The way to tell the direction of rotation is by looking at the stop notches on the cylinder. Their "arrowhead" shape points in the direction of rotation. If your cylinder rotates CCW, index the first live cartridge chamber to the right of the barrel so that as the trigger is pulled it rotates that cartridge into alignment with the barrel.
Here is an article by a USCCA Editor regarding lights. I thought this deserved attention.
The Light and the Truth…By Kevin Michalowski // 02/03/2017
I cannot believe there is still a raging debate (mostly on the internet) concerning whether or not one should use a light to assist during a deadly force encounter. Well, maybe I can believe it.
This column is certain to fan the flames of this debate. I will not settle anything here because so many people “just know” that a flashlight is some sort of bullet magnet and will cause every bullet fired by the bad guy to home in on you like a heat-seeking missile. To read some of the comments posted online, one would think that anyone carrying a flashlight into a gunfight is already dead and just holding that light so the coroner can find the body.
Interestingly enough, those barstool commandos who “just know” that a flashlight will get you killed never talk about target identification as an important element in a deadly force encounter. It’s as if all good guys will just instinctively know the identity of all bad guys and target identification will never be an issue.
That’s just plain wrong. Flashlights, both hand-held and weapon-mounted, provide an exceptional tactical advantage in a gunfight WHEN USED CORRECTLY.
Did you notice the added emphasis? I shouldn’t need to include that emphasis, but apparently the discussion of flashlight use rarely includes a discussion of flashlight training. And training, as you know, is the key to success. So important is training that I could say this: A firearm will provide an exceptional tactical advantage in a gunfight WHEN USED CORRECTLY.
That latter statement will have only a little more impact because we are just now getting to the point where gun owners are beginning to admit that they need training to win a gunfight. For years, the average gun owner “just knew” how to shoot because his father or grandfather or uncle had taught him to hunt and shoot. I’m glad to say we have gotten to the point where men actually understand the need for training. (I’m making this gender-specific because most women are outstanding pistol students who know the importance of training and don’t come to class thinking they know everything. But I digress. Flashlight use was the issue here.)
Yes, using a flashlight might give away your position, but that’s really only important if you are searching for the bad guy. Searching for the bad guy is something we do not suggest. That’s like going looking for a fight, which goes against the idea of conflict avoidance. But I will grant you this: If you turn on your flashlight, leave it on and go looking for a bad guy, that light will telegraph your approach and give away your position. There are methods for using a light effectively during a search, but since I constantly advise against conducting a search, I will not go into detail about them.
I will say this: A flashlight will help you in the deadly force incident. Shine it on the bad guy. Shine it right in his face. When you do this, take one step to the left or right. He will not be able to see you well enough to aim at you. He will not be able to aim well enough to hit the light if he shoots at it. If he hits you with a shot fired at the light it will likely be pure luck. Fighting an adversary temporarily blinded by your tactical light is far better than fighting an adversary with full use of all five of his senses.
And more important than that, knowing your target and what is beyond it is important to make sure you only put rounds on the bad guy. You are responsible for every round that goes downrange.
Get a light. GET TRAINING IN ITS USE. Use the light to win the fight.
Saw this Op Ed from Mr. Kevin Michalowski of USCCA who is a former LEO. I agree with his sentiment that training is important too, not just buying the latest piece of hardware.
Are You a Gear Junkie? Maybe You Should Train Instead…
By Kevin Michalowski // 11/04/2016
There is a segment of the self-defense community that really loves gear. I count myself in that segment, because I truly do love “stuff.” Guns. Holsters. Magazine pouches. Gear bags. Range bags. Targets. You name it and I will find it interesting and likely be thinking of a reason to buy it.
I will declare this emphatically: Most of that stuff is not required for effective self-defense. What is required for effective self-defense is training. I’ve already stated that I love gear as much as the next person. I am a gun nerd who gets great joy out of knowing the difference between cut rifling and polygonal rifling. Big-dot sights, three-dot sights, night sights, bull’s-eye sights…you name it, I love them. Some work better than others, but I still want to know about them all, shoot with them all, and be able to converse at dinner parties about them all. (This may account for the incredible number of dinner parties to which I am NOT invited.)
Still, I know that training makes the warrior.
No specific piece of gear will improve your performance in a fight. Sure, you may argue that you must have a reliable gun, but that’s a generality. I can’t with certainty say WHICH reliable gun will make you a better fighter. Because, again, the gear doesn’t instill in you the mindset and the tactics you will need to prevail.
Notice I said, “prevail.” I don’t want you to simply survive. I want you to win. I expect you want to win as well, but if you just buy gear and don’t train with it, you won’t be improving your odds of winning. Simple survival can leave you with bullet holes in you and a bad guy continuing his attack. Our goal is to stop that attack and, if possible, escape without getting hurt. To do that, we need to focus on situational awareness, conflict avoidance, and movement.
Those three elements of self-defense will serve you far greater than any piece of gear you could buy. And the great thing about these elements is you don’t need to go to the range to practice them. You can train them in your own home, out on the street, or just about anywhere.
Yes, I said train out on the street. That’s the best place to practice your situational awareness skills. Train by doing. Focus on your surroundings. Look for possible threats, escape routes, and areas of cover. You don’t have to dwell on these items to the detriment of your interpersonal interactions, but you should actively think about them. Don’t keep them always in the back of your mind. Bring them to the forefront from time to time.
Conflict avoidance is simply taking action when you have noticed something that may be a threat. Move to the other side of the street. Ask to have someone walk you out to your car in a dark parking lot. Take definitive action and don’t be afraid that by doing so people will somehow think less of you. Self-defense is less about fighting and more about avoiding the fight. If you start thinking like that, chances are good you won’t have to use your fighting skills.
Then again, when it comes time to fight, I really want you to win. I want you to fight ruthlessly and effectively. That means you need to make quick decisions and take quick action. When things go bad, you need to recognize that immediately and not waste any time thinking, “This cannot be happening.”
Instead, focus on the phrase, “This is happening now. I need to do something.”
Train to move. Your first reaction in a deadly force situation should be to move. Practice movement and combine that movement with your marksmanship skills. It is your last resort, so you need to make it count.
Instead of shopping for that new piece of gear this year, consider focusing on your training.
From USCCA, here is a good short video for dealing with someone trying to steal your car while you are in the driver's seat, a.k.a. carjacking. It assumes you have a pistol ready nearby...
This is an article from Mr. Rob Pincus of Personal Defense Network. Since our responsibilities as firearms owners could extend to circumstances beyond our own immediate safety, to the safety of others, this is a worthwhile read.
Should You Use Your Gun To Defend a Stranger? By Rob Pincus
PDN’s Rob Pincus with Mark Walters of Armed American Radio.
Mark Walters, host of the syndicated program Armed American Radio, sent me a link that he wanted me to review before an appearance on the show. The link was to a story from a CBS affiliate in the Dallas/Fort Worth area about an armed Good Samaritan who stopped a violent attack without firing a shot. He wanted me to review the story and discuss it on the show with him. It was certainly right up the alley of the topics we normally discuss, and it hits on several issues related to our community:
Item #3 requires a little more thought. While most people who advocate for personal defense would extend the legal limits to include defending others who are in danger, there is a deeper level of discussion necessary to determine whether or not our responsibility should extend in the same way. This opens the Pandora’s Box of what I always refer to as the “should vs could” problem. Some people have a hard time distinguishing between what the law says we could do and what a reasonable and responsible person should do. I give you the following example for consideration:
I think it should be 100% legal for a person to take all their savings and all their weekly paychecks and buy lottery tickets. It would be the height of oppression for the government to step in and stop that behavior. Yet no reasonable or responsible person would suggest that spending all your available money on lottery tickets was something that you should do. Fighting for our rights does not always mean that we should exercise those rights in the extreme. The principle of being free to spend our money however we see fit does not dictate foolish behavior … and while the government shouldn’t be allowed to restrict merely foolish behavior, we as a community should discourage it.
We can apply the same logic to topics in the firearms community, such as Open Carry, Castle Doctrine, Stand Your Ground Laws, and getting involved in third-party critical incidents to defend others. I believe it should certainly be legal for us to act in the defense of others and I’ll even go so far as to say we have a responsibility to do so in many circumstances. How and when we do that, however, are matters of subjective judgment based on a multitude of variables and not something that should be boiled down to a yes or no. Furthermore, we shouldn’t yield to our government or conventional wisdom our opportunity as rational beings to decide for ourselves in each situation. I believe those who would do so are taking the easy out … all the more so because they know that their (often loudly) stated positions at the local watering hole or on the Internet will probably never need to be followed through on.
Item #4 brings us to what appears to be a question of ethics and/or morals. If one claims to be interested in protecting themselves, should they ever expose themselves to extra danger in order to help someone else? Remember that “ethics” refers to a system of rules and expectations that a community holds about what is right or wrong, while “morals” are an individual’s own beliefs. Thankfully, we live in a society where it is considered unethical to ignore someone who needs our help. So there shouldn’t be any doubt as to the ethics we are dealing with. Our legal system and the court of public opinion greatly favor the proverbial Good Samaritan. The moral questions are really where the challenges lie:
When would you choose to expose yourself to increased danger in order to help someone else? How big a risk will you take to help someone else? Does the amount of risk vary based on who it is that needs your help? Does the amount of risk vary with how much risk the person you want to help is facing?
These are all questions that you must answer for yourself. You can meet the ethical demands of our society in many cases by simply calling the police and “being a good witness.” That level of getting involved is usually the one recommended by personal defense instructors, as it carries the lowest level of risk and puts the highest value on one’s own safety. Deciding personally to get involved directly to help someone else and how involved to get when you do are issues that you should definitely think about ahead of time. By considering what situations you might intervene in away from the emotion of the moment, you can prepare yourself to deal with actual situations you might encounter.
Training and practice are crucial if you imagine yourself ever defending a third party (or yourself).
Consider also the ways in which you might be mistaken about what you are seeing when you come across an incident and how that should affect your decisions and actions. What happened before you arrived? How can you be sure who the “good guy” is? Always remember that getting involved in a critical incident carries risks that go beyond the moment of physical danger as well. Dealing with the legal ramifications, media attention, and financial issues that may follow a use of force on behalf of someone else can’t be ignored.
Item #5 is probably the easiest to comment on. It is a question of tactics and can be dealt with much more objectively. If you have made the decision to get involved, how do you do it? Here are some pointers:
Get involved as little as possible.Consider the concept of the Force Continuum that is taught to law enforcement officers. The first level is “presence.” In many cases, merely making your presence known to the attacker may make them stop whatever they are doing. Calling out, honking your horn, or taking any other action to make them aware that their actions are being witnessed could be all you need to do.
Don’t endanger yourself more than necessary to get control of the situation.Running in and jumping between an attacker and his victim and physically absorbing the violent action would put you at a much higher immediate risk than picking up a chair and shoving it between them. Similarly, grabbing the attacker and attempting to physically pull them away from the victim (and closer to you) could be riskier than shoving the attacker away from both you and the victim. Always choose tactics that keep you as safe as possible.
Don’t introduce a weapon unless its use is justified … and you would actually use it.Pulling out a gun to stop someone from verbally abusing another person would be reckless. Pulling a gun on someone for stabbing, raping or abducting someone would be reasonable. Consider that the justification for using lethal force to defend someone else will basically be the same as you would face for using it to defend yourself. If you wouldn’t use your gun to protect yourself from whatever you are witnessing, don’t bring it into the situation hoping to calm things down. The fact is that you would actually be escalating the event.
Consider that your actions could increase the risk to the person you are trying to help.It is impossible to predict the response of the attacker when you intervene. Be prepared for them to escalate their attack or simply ignore your commands. How far will you go in order to stop them? Also be aware that if you do decide to shoot an attacker to help someone else, your line of fire may be very close to the person you are trying to help.
Remember that you are not alone in the world, and other bystanders may misinterpret your actions.Just as you may not have all the information about the situation you are getting into, the next person arriving may not realize that you are trying to help. How will your actions look to the next witness?
Think about what you will do when the attacker complies with your commands.The danger isn’t over when the bad guy ceases his attack.
Remember, it is not your job to “arrest” or capture the bad guy. If the bad guy flees, it is probably not a good idea to chase him. If the bad guy surrenders and complies with your instructions, you should probably not approach or try to “secure” him in any way. In the immediate aftermath, you should also be thinking about the possibility of giving medical assistance to the victim and dealing with any bystanders in the area.
When the police arrive, you are as likely to be considered a threat as you are a Good Samaritan … and either way, you need to yield control.Regardless of what the police believe you are doing, it is their job to establish complete control of the situation. That requires you to surrender to them and comply with their commands. The situation is likely to be very tense and potentially confusing. Do your best to remain calm and demonstrate that you are cooperating in every way possible.
Once you have made the decision to go armed in public for your own protection, you have probably considered that you could use your firearm to protect family or friends as well. Many people stop thinking about defending others beyond that point. While you will always have the option of not getting involved if you are witness to a violent attack on a stranger, I believe that most people will be compelled to take action. Especially people who have accepted responsibility for their own personal defense and acknowledged that, whenever it shows itself, the evil in the world should be met by a powerful good force.
We live in a world where violence can be stopped by the proper use of assertive action, sometimes involving firearms. That is a good thing. None of us should want to live in a society where people refuse to get involved because they fear solely for their own safety. None of us should want to live in a society where people roam the streets looking for opportunities to use force against their fellow citizens without regard for solid observation, critical thinking, their own safety and that of those around them, and the rule of law and due process. Somewhere between these two scenarios is the society that most responsible gun owners want: one where the evil that exists in this world is tempered by good people with the training, tools and willingness to act prudently on behalf of good. In that society, there is less evil. In that society, those who would be bullies, predators and violent criminals hesitate to act for fear of the good guy with a gun.
Jon Gutmacher's book on Florida Firearms Law has been updated and is now being sold as Edition 9. Here is a link to his www site to order and view the Table of Contents and a few changes to expect.
Concealing a pistol for carry in public may require testing combinations of holsters and clothing, which will all vary depending on where you expect to be and the climate. In South Florida for example in the summer, it just is not workable to conceal large pistols because you would not be wearing enough clothing to avoid what is called "printing". Printing is a vernacular term for being able to see the outline or shape of a pistol because the clothing or fabric over it is too light and flexible. It allows passersby to know you have a firearm which defeats the purpose of concealment. So in conditions like that, you may be forced to leave your large frame pistol behind and carry something smaller. Refer to the Holster Guide in your student materials to learn more. I can recommend other resources if you want to learn more.
Shooting is a safe sport. And good training, education, and practice keep it that way. Whether you are new or old in the shooting sports, one of the things in common with other sports is "fundamentals". That is, the basic ideas, concepts or techniques that always apply and require mastery to be truly proficient. In pistol shooting, there are five shooting fundamentals outlined in your NRA textbooks. The two most important are aiming and trigger control.
You can maintain at least some level of skill even just by practicing a shooting position with empty hands, then with an unloaded pistol. This is all outlined in your books, so use them. They are a great resource so please don't let them collect dust on your shelf. Use them, it's why you have them.
One of the most popular reasons for taking an NRA Basic Pistol course is to obtain a concealed carry license (CWL or CCL). A common misconception or question I am asked is if I issue licenses. No, the NRA does not issue licenses, nor does any other training school. Only the State you reside in issues licenses and laws vary widely regarding qualifications and where you may use your license. What we provide as instructors is training and proof of it in the form of a certificate you use to make your State application with.
These are some comments from former students. At the end of each class there is an evaluation form with three questions students may answer regarding my class and instructional effectiveness. In order they are:
1. How do you feel this course could be improved?
2. What parts of this training course do you feel were most beneficial?
3. Please make any additional comments.
Responses from Tony:
1. I think it was perfect!
2. Teaching AND reinforcing safe gun handling and shooting.
3. I thought Ken Geis was a great instructor. Thank you.
The address for the Florida statutes regarding licensing is http://www.freshfromflorida.com/Divisions-Offices/Licensing.
For firearms in general, see Florida State statutes Chapter 790.
Was reading a few articles on the Personal Defense Network website run by Mr. Rob Pincus and there was a good write up on the Clearwater, Florida shooting case occurring July 20th 2018 by a very good lawyer named Jon Gutmacher whose book I recommend in class. Here is a link, along with some related articles involving the legalities of self defense I encourage every one to examine if they are carrying concealed firearms.
The Clearwater convenience store
Deadly force for protection of property
Misconceptions about castle doctrine and stand your ground laws
Home defense and lethal force justification
As your Instructor I am interested in your growth in the shooting disciplines. Feel free to share what you are learning with fellow students in this "blog".