Yes, that's right... an online expert has declared the lateral pelvis as the "best worst option" for the tactical shooter, whatever that means.

I've read a number of online blurbs & blogs about this topic, and have mostly dismissed them as unworthy of response. But this one got my attention. Not just for the confusing title, but for the surprising amount of verbage in the article that appears to have been lifted directly from my book, Tactical Anatomy Instructor Manual (TAIM; copyright 2006). I'm not saying it's plagiarism, because you can't say that when someone has copied a term or a phrase or even a partial sentence. But it's clear enough to me that either the author, or someone the author knows, has read my book and copied some of my words directly.

Which is not a big deal, as long as the author(s) use my words to  promote tactical advice I endorse. That happens a LOT (which tells me a lot more people have read my book or my magazine articles than I thought). But when someone turns around and says the opposite of what I teach using my terminology, that sticks in my craw more than a litte.

Let's put it this way... prior to the publication of the TAIM, I had found nothing in the laymen's press  stating that "there are only two reliable means of incapacitation by GSW: CNS disruption, or rapid, incapacitating disruption of blood flow to the CNS."  This is a phrase I've been using in my lectures and in my SXRV training since 2002, and I've seen it repeated in multiple sources both online and in print since my book came out in 2006.  So when someone uses this exact same phrase in their writing, and uses it to supposedly prove a point that contradicts my position on the matter, I get a little bit miffed. 

(Author's note, added Dec. 11, 2016:  Please let me emphasize: I wrote the above phrase and used it in my book, but the concept is not my intellectual property nor my own invention... it is an axiom of wound ballistics and terminal effects, going back to Dr. Martin Fackler's work in the 1970's and Dr. Gary Roberts' work in the 1980's, the numerous contributors to the IWBA Journal,  and beyond; I do not mean to give the impression that this is anything I discovered or promulgated on my own! I read the wound ballistics literature of these, my predecessors, and assure you that nothing I have done through my training or through TAS could have been accomplished without the foundation works of these authors.)

However, I made it clear in the TAIM and I make it clear in all my talks & classes that there are exceptions to this rule. And ONE of those is a lateral pelvis shot that fractures the bony structures of that region (the "weight-bearing triangle", an orthopedic surgical term), WHEN the subject is armed with a contact weapon. A contact weapon is an edged weapon or a bludgeon.

Some authors, such as the "best-worst" guy, point out that a bad guy lying on the ground with a shattered fem, aur can still fight. Well, duh. I wish I'd thought of that... oh, wait, I already did!!  Read the book, Sherlock!

I covered this in detail in the first 2 pages of the chapter on lateral pelvis shots. It doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure out that a bad guy with a firearm who's got a busted leg can still shoot you, and he can still fight you if you close with him. But we're not talking about bad guys with guns, for the most part. We're talking about bad guys with contact weapons. The POINT of shooting a contact-weapon-armed adversary in the lateral pelvis is to KEEP HIM FROM COMING INTO CONTACT WITH YOU. He can't stab you if you're 2 steps away. He can't hit you with his tire iron if you're 10 feet away. And if your adversary can no longer offer you harm with his contact weapon, you don't have to shoot him again. You can wait for backup to arrive to help subdue him... he sure as hell isn't going to run away from you!

The plain fact is that police (and righteous armed citizens) are FAR more likely to encounter a criminal attacker armed with contact weapons than they are with a bad guy carrying a gun. The statistics are pretty clear on this.  Being able to stop a potentially deadly attack by a guy with an edged weapon without killing him is a nice tool to have in your toolbox, most of us good guys agree! 

Curiously, the critics don't talk much about this. And the author of the "best-worst" piece certainly didn't offer any cases where a lateral pelvis shot failed.

But, being the nice guy that I am, I will offer you not one, but TWO real-world cases where a lateral pelvis shot stopped the attack and saved at least one life. These are not hypothetical cases. These aren't internet rumors. These are real life cases, not something I heard from a guy who heard it from another guy. I spoke directly with the officers involved in these shootings, and I have verified the pertinent facts through corroborating evidence. I could cite upwards of a dozen more cases, but these two stand out in my mind because they were two of the earliest successful lateral pelvis shootings by some of my SXRV students.

CASE #1

Multiple officers in a mid-size Midwestern city responded to a call to an angry man with a knife. One of the responding officers, who had taken my Shooting With Xray Vision class (SXRV), retrieved his department-issue shotgun from his squad car as he exited the vehicle. He saw that the subject had a large knife in his hand. The subject was shouting and cursing at the responding officers, threatening to attack. The officer in question took aim at the subject's lateral pelvis and fired one round of 00 buckshot (this was Federal ammunition, with the Flite-Control wad). The buckshot entered the subject's pelvis and shattered the head of the femur and the acetabulum. The subject fell to the ground immediately, and offered no further violence. He subsequently had to have the leg amputated at the hip.

CASE #2

A police firearms instructor in a large Midwestern city was off duty, visiting his girlfriend in her home, when he heard a vehicle alarm. He looked out the window and saw a man trying to break into his personal vehicle with a large screwdriver. The officer, who is a nationally-ranked champion shooter, ran out and confronted the felon. The subject responded by advancing on the officer with the screwdriver as his weapon and threatening his life. The officer, who has not only taken SXRV but teaches it to his department's personnel as part of their firearms training program, recognized the possibility of stopping the attack without killing the subject, and shot him in the lateral pelvis (double-tap) with his service pistol. The subject's pelvis was fractured (the right ileum, as I understand) which was both very painful and made standing on the right leg structurally impossible. The subject fell to the ground immediately and ceased the attack. He was taken to hospital and survived his GSW.

Notice that in both the above cases nobody was hurt except the bad guy. And as the second officer told me, it was a huge relief to him to know he could shoot the bad guy without having to kill him. As it happens, he knew the subject to be a juvenile, and the son of a neighbor. The death of this boy at his hands would have been devastating to him. 

Now, I'll offer you a freebie. Don't tell anyone.

CASE #3

This isn't a single case. The guy I'm talking about here was a cop in a third world country, a former colony of a European power, and who went on to serve in that country's special forces unit. After that, he worked in executive protection for another country outside the CONUS for a number of years, and eventually moved to the USA to open a shooting school. This school was very good, very hard to get into, and it wasn't around very long because some people who have much deeper pockets than you and I gave him an offer he couldn't refuse. Since then, he's been the fulltime trainer of a group of very high-speed low-drag tip-of-the-spear guys a lot of us admire who do good work in the GWOT. This guy (I'll call him "Harry", not his real name) has been teaching the use of lateral pelvis shots for a lot longer than I have. Harry's been teaching lateral pelvis shooting as part of his CQB package because he's actually shot multiple bad guys in the lateral pelvis, multiple times over multiple years, in multiple jurisdictions; and Harry's served alongside other guys who've done a lot of the same kind of stuff. And Harry is a strong proponent of this tactical expedient... because it works.

<sigh>

This is not a theoretical discussion, unlike the blog written by "best-worst" guy.  I'm not citing a bunch of medical papers to prove my point, because as a trauma physician I know very, very, very few doctors who have any experience in shooting people... and aside from myself, I only know a handful of medical doctors in the USA who have enough tactical training and experience to even comment on this subject. I'm not offering the opinions of a bunch of supposed experts who have never actually done what they say can't really be done.... I'm offering examples of real guys who've BTDT and got blood on their shirts doing it.

Shooting bad guys in the lateral pelvis is not an "entry level" tactical tool. I don't recommend it to new shooters, and it don't recommend it to IDPA/IPSC or other recreational shooters for their home defense planning. I only teach this tool to people who have the advanced firearms skills, anatomic knowledge, and tactical training to implement it effectively. I do cover it in my lectures and in my SXRV classes, with some significant limitations... and the only class I train people in this skill (outside of special classes for SWAT/military personnel) is my Deadly Force Decisions class, which I co-teach with my great friend and training partner David Maglio.

I don't intend this to be the final word on lateral pelvis shots. But like I more or less said in the beginning of this blog entry, I'll be damned if I'll let some armchair trainer use my own words to say the opposite of what I teach.

 Train with good trainers, and keep your skills sharp.  

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A week ago I wrote that I feared the Federal government is on the verge of waging a shooting war against American citizens. In the last few days, however, I've seen and read some things that have given me pause. Maybe I was being too pessimistic.

The key element in this has been the overwhelming response across America to the news reporting of the Bundy-BLM standoff, which the government did not expect. The feds thought they could impose a news blackout, and thereby operate with indifference to the law, then peddle a sanitized version of events through the mainstream media that told the version of events that showed themselves in the best possible light... in other words, propaganda. Instead, video of them sicing their dogs on unarmed and unaggressive people sparked a firestorm of outrage that swept across the nation and around the world. As I've followed the story in various internet news sources--and observed that the mainstream media is still largely silent on this story--I realize that the information revolution that has come about through the internet is quite possibly going to save America.

The Bundy-BLM story has shown that the mainstream media is becoming irrelevant. The fact that ALL the major networks agreed to a news blackout at the request of the feds and the White House is staggering... can you imagine Walter Cronkite refusing to cover this story because the president asked him to? I sure can't! It just goes to show how much of a lapdog the MSM has become in the past quarter century. If the MSM had held a monopoly on information in the past few weeks as they did when Waco and Ruby Ridge went down, the public might never have known the truth about this story. But the facts came out, and the whole world watched as the BLM was forced, not by guns but by information, to back down.

The "viral" spread of real-time news from the Bundy-BLM standoff will quite possibly prove to be a watershed event in American history as singular as the battle at Concord in 1775. One journalist (Mike Adams, editor of Natural News.com) says that the Revolution of 1775 was made possible by technology that allowed every individual in the 13 Colonies to own a high-quality rifle. The British, like all other European powers, allowed firearms only grudgingly to their subjects, and concentrated their firepower in the Army. In effect, they had a monopoly on weapons back home that didn't exist in America. They had never had to deal with an armed citizenry; they had never even considered the possibility. In 2014, the government had assumed that it "owned" the media but failed to grasp the fact that nearly every person in America has a portable video recorder on his person at all times in the form of cell phones, and that anyone can upload a video for the entire world to see seconds after the event has happened. The monopoly on information the feds thought they had proved to be an illusion.

So alternative media have had a field day, and anyone can see that the news networks are like the emperor with no clothes. The feds must be realizing that they can't conduct paramilitary operations against citizens with impunity any more (one would hope, anyway), and the egg on the faces of the MSM for abrogating their sacred trust to inform the public is truly epic.

The central political issue today is the same as it was in 1775: the government exists and functions only as long as the governed give their consent, so when the arrogant overreach of the government becomes intolerable to the governed, that consent is withdrawn. At that point the government is in jeopardy and its power begins to crumble, whether individual politicians realize it or not.

 
The politicians will bluster and pontificate and announce that they will only redouble their efforts to coerce the governed into submission, as Harry Reid did last week (sounding a lot like King George III, it seemed to me!). But eventually the reality of their loss of power will be unmistakable, even to the dinosaurs on Capitol Hill. And once the government realizes it has lost the consent of the governed it must necessarily retreat, as the British did after the final defeat in 1783. But we have to take note that it took 8 years for that to come about. If the Bundy-BLM standoff was the watershed event in American history that will lead to restoration of the American Republic with limited government and true restoration of the Bill of Rights, the process is going to take some time, and it might get messy. I hope and pray it will be a bloodless revolution this time, though.
 
And it appears to me that this bloodless revolution can be effected through the power of the people to share information without having to accept the government-controlled mainstream media acting as the middleman. The rise of alternative news outlets has been burgeoning for some time, but in the past few weeks it seems to have come of age. Well done, indy newsmen!

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We will be holding a special "express" version of our flagship Shooting With Xray Vision class at the Saukville WI Police Department on May 23, from 5 pm to 11 pm. This class will cover ALL of the same core classroom material I cover in the regular class, the only difference is there will be no live-fire training. 

SXRV is the original "deadlier force" course, developed over 15 years ago and taught to thousands of police and military personnel in the USA and abroad since then. I have distilled the thousands of hours spent in research and training I've done over the years into this class. There is simply no other course anywhere that can teach you what you'll learn in SXRV.

People who have put this training to use in actual officer-involved shootings and defensive shootings have experienced extremely positive and victorious outcomes again and again. I'll share some of those stories with you in class, if you're interested. 

Topics to be covered in this class will include:  ethics of use of deadly force; US case law in use of deadly force; practical terminal ballistics; gunshot wounds and incapacitation; review of vital human anatomy and physiology; and training in 3D anatomic visualization and targeting. This is a rare opportunity to take this training, I am only teaching this class twice in 2014 and only once in Wisconsin.  

Attendees will need to bring a notebook and pen/pencil, and colored markers (black, red, and blue). 

Tuition is reduced for this class at $100.00 per person. Please do NOT try to register for this class through this website. To register, send me an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and I'll send you a registration form which will need to be mailed in with your check. 

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Leftists have been rocked to their foundations by several developments in the past year... starting with the enormous failure of their gun control campaign following the Sandy Hook massacre (which, was clearly a coordinated publicity campaign involving the Democratic politicians and the anti-gun mainstream media), followed by the gigantic failure of Obamacare rollout and the public outcry against it from all quarters (including leftist news outlets), then the abysmal failure of the Connecticut AR-15 ban followed now by the equally complete failure of the New York "SAFE" Act "assault weapon" grab, and of course last week's BLM backdown from the the Nevada stand-off, it has not been a good year for the Democrats. 

Under the provision of the SAFE Act, citizens of the Empire State were given until midnight on April 15, 2014, to register any "assault weapons" in their possession, thereby creating a state registry. Governor Andrew Cuomo, who pushed this bill through the legislature in only 3 days under circumstances that would be called shady at best, is now faced with the fact that the first real test of his anti-gun law has been an almost complete failure. Unnamed sources from within the NY state government have said that less than 5000 weapons were voluntarily registered by New Yorkers. It has been estimated (by the NY state govt) that there are at least 1 million "assault weapons" in the state, which means that 99.995% of New York's assault weapons are now illegal, unregistered, and firmly in the hands of private citizens who don't give a tinker's damn for Cuomo's gun law. These citizens are now, by the definition of the SAFE Act, felons.   

But New York gun owners clearly don't care. For that matter, neither do gun owners in Connecticut, who similarly defied an "assault weapon" registration law in their state earlier this year. 

Cuomo's law, which faces several serious legal challenges on its constitutionality, is in big trouble. The flat refusal of hundreds of thousands of New York's citizens to comply with the "assault weapon" registry is a wake-up call for the gun-grabbers, and they appear to be totally confused by it.  

Cuomo is faced with the fact that Connecticut Gov. Daniel Malloy had to swallow earlier this year: a law of this type that the people choose to disobey en masse is a ticking time bomb, and the incumbent is stuck with it. The people who oppose the SAFE Act, which is by polls a majority of New Yorkers, are voicing their intent to throw Cuomo out of office at the next election. The people who applaud the SAFE Act are furious with Cuomo for not enforcing the law vigorously, and they vow to replace him with someone who will. He can't win. If he backs down and repeals the law, he loses the liberal gun-control vote. If he enforces the law, he risks inciting violence between police and gun owners and an even greater public outcry as bloodshed is visited upon the good people of New York.   Gun control zealots like Cuomo and Malloy are re-discovering the political consequences of being a gun-grabber in America... it's political suicide.

When I read the liberal press they are either conspicuously silent on the issue, or they express puzzlement that New Yorkers have en masse engaged in one of the biggest acts of civil disobedience to ever take place. They fail to grasp the implications of this watershed event. Americans are saying in numbers like never before that they are sick and tired of the overreach of elected officials, and they are not going to take it any more. 

And almost simultaneously with New York's quiet rebellion, a rancher in Nevada along with an awful lot of supporters around the country have forced the Federal government to back down. 

I get the sense that the Nevada standoff was a watershed event in this nation's history. It doesn't matter to most Americans that, as many legal analysts have pointed out, the law was against Rancher Bundy. Yes, we are a nation of laws; but when the government has made so many bad laws that even the lawyers and tax accountants can't make sense of them, the people will cease to have respect for the law. They necessarily revert to Natural Law, the law of Right. Many Americans, perhaps, most Americans, just don't care that Rancher Bundy has defied the law. They recognize that any law that steals cattle and property from a citizen is bad law, and bad enforcement of a bad law just makes it worse. And as the backstory of Harry Reid and other crooked Nevada politicians profiting from this boondoggle comes out, Americans are even more incensed  and even more committed to defiance of bad law. 

There is no doubt in my mind that the Obamacare rollout fiasco and the intense criticism it drew made the Washington Democrats nervous, but it was and is apparent they thought that they could steamroll over that speed-bump in the road to total power. But the failure of the BLM tactical teams to accomplish their objectives, and the failure of their control of the mass media to keep the story out of the public eye (thank God for the internet!), and the realization that they were on the verge of an actual shooting war with American citizens, and now the NewYork (and Connecticut) "assault weapon" registry's failure, well... in my mind's eye it's like a virtual hard left jab between the eyes.  They are stunned, confused, and temporarily at least set back.

However, I expect them to recover and pick up where they left off, with renewed purpose. And like a stunned palooka who's too punchy (and wasn't that bright to start with) to know that he's about to walk into the beating of his life, they're going to regroup and attack again. It might be at the Bundy ranch, or it might be on Texas' Red River, but it's going to happen. It makes me unutterably sad to realize that the powers that be are committed going to war against their fellow Americans in the blind pursuit of and addiction to power, but it seems to me to be inevitable. But I believe we can rest assured that they will attack again, and American blood will be spilled on American soil. 

Unless we can elect a Republican Senate  in November, and a united Congress can force a bloodless revolution, I fear the outcome is going to be unthinkable. 

 


 

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I just finished reading a fascinating new book. Written by Erik Prince, the founder and CEO of Blackwater, it's the inside account of the founding and operations of the famous--some say infamous--security private military contractor (PMC) corporation that made headlines for a decade in the Sandbox. 
 
I have to admit I've been wishing for this book for several years. During the conflicts in the Sandbox from 2001 to the present, but especially during the peak years of counterinsurgency operations, I was fascinated by the stories coming out about Blackwater and other PMC's. The mainstream media and left-leaning internet bloggers portrayed these organizations and contractors as "mercenaries" (which by definition under international law they were not), and as "cowboys" and "unaccountable" operators--again, false. I got the sense early on that these contractors were an essential element in America's war on terror in the Sandbox. And Prince's book confirms this in spades. 
 
Prince's book illuminates the period of Blackwater's operations in a manner only its owner and CEO could. He touches on the history of private military contractors in America (going back to the Revolution, and ongoing in every armed conflict since). He tells the untold stories of heroism and sacrifice of Blackwater contractors that the mainstream media refused to tell. He tells the backstories to the events that the mainstream media and internet blogosphere distorted and outright lied about, which eventually  made Blackwater the target of Washington politicians. And he gives his account of the blatant attempts by congressman Darrell Waxman (C-CA) and other Democrats to politicize the controversy over use of  PMC's in Iraq and Afghanistan. 
 
Anyone who questioned the media reports of the various Blackwater incidents--the ambush and deaths of 4 Blackwater contractors in Fallujah, the Nisour Square shooting--at the time they were first reported will be gratified to read Prince's account, which harmonizes well with the "fair and balanced" reports of these happenings that were released months later (with no headlines, of course) that exonerated the PMC organization. 
 
This is a highly readable book, and for anyone who wants to be informed of the full scope of PMC's in our nation's military ventures, it is a must-read. 

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I've received a number of inquiries regarding TTGSW classes, all from individuals scattered here and there... but it seems most are east of the Mississippi, and more in the southeastern quadrant of the nation. 

I would love to do a TTGSW class in the SE USA, but I NEED a host facility/agency. This is a big, dirty, messy class, with lots of fake blood and screaming. We need a wide open outdoor range with overhead cover in case of rain. Anybody want to volunteer? I will make it worth your while!! 

Email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  if you are interested. 

Doc

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"Are you competing to create training scars, or are you competing to hone your training?"  -David Maglio
 
This pithy bit of wisdom from my warrior-brother and longtime training partner is the Word of the Month from Tactical Anatomy Systems.
 
I have been shooting action pistol competitively for 15 years, and hope to be shooting action pistol sports when I'm 80. It's an incredible way to maintain your proficiency with your chosen weapon(s). I've had arguments with folks who refuse to regard competition as a component of your training, and aside from the willfully ignorant people whose minds are made up, I've persuaded more than a few to use their competitive experience to hone their training. 
 
Competitive shooting forces you to put your skills and your equipment up against a clock, and in front of witnesses. Unlike your private training time at the range, in competition there are no self-bestowed "mulligans". You perform, and your results are glaringly indisputible. You hit the targets, or you didn't. You shot the course of fire in XX seconds, period. And if you have a friend video-record your runs, you can analyze the things you did right or wrong afterwards and adjust your training accordingly.   
 
I have recently taken up 3-Gun competition, and in the course of doing so have been challenged to revisit some of my choices: of guns, of holsters, of ammunition, of sights, the whole gamut.  In the process, I have revisited my ongoing defensive firearms training and have found some things I need to change, and some things to keep as they are.  
 
Understand that I am not shooting 3-Gun to win matches, although I hope to shoot and place well each time I shoot. I am shooting these matches to challenge myself to keep as proficient as possible with my chosen weapons: pistol, shotgun, and rifle. I do not shoot "race" guns. I shoot guns that I carry/own for personal defense, or guns as similar to my personal defense weapons as possible. 
 
For instance, I have switched from a straight kydex holster to a Blackhawk SERPA holster for competition. Two reasons: first, I have come to value the retention feature on this holster for personal carry... I never want to have someone take my gun from me. But the second reason is also valid: I don't want to have my gun fly out of my holster during a competition, as it did to one of my friends a few months ago. He had cleaned the targets at Position A and was running with his rifle to Position B when his pistol popped out of his holster and hit the ground. Fortunately, the gun didn't fire when it hit the ground (it's happened, people, despite the claims that it can't!), so all he got was a match disqualification, no GSW's thankfully. He now uses a holster similar to his duty holster when he shoots 3-Gun. Your gun will NOT pop out of a Level-3 retention holster! 
 
Shooting competitively using your daily carry rig, or gear as close to your daily carry rig as possible, makes great sense. It forces you to use your daily carry equipment under the stress of competition. And those of you who haven't had the experience of shooting in competition, it is VERY stressful. Not as stressful as returning fire on a felon who's trying to kill you, of course not; but it puts far more pressure on you than your weekly target practice sessions. 
 
So, you may ask, what am I shooting at these 3-Gun matches? My pistol is a Lone-Wolf customized Glock 17 Longslide 9mm, action customized by David Maglio (a trained and certified Glock armorer) with a NY-1 trigger and 3.5 pound trigger connect. The trigger setup is identical to my personal carry Glocks, a G19 and a G23. The sights are also very similar to my carry pistols. I carry it in the previously mentioned SERPA holster, just like the SERPA I use for my carry guns. My rifle is a Smith & Wesson M&P M4 carbine with 16" barrel, using a Burris Fullfield Tactical 1-4X optic with red dot and reticle in a Larue Tactical  QD mount. When I pack up after the match, I dismount the Burris optic and replace it with an Aimpoint Comp3 optic in its own Larue QD, my preferred CQB battle sight. It takes less than 10 seconds and my zero is always correct with either sight. (The only reason I don't use the Aimpoint in competition is that I can't see the damn targets at 300+ yards with it.) But truth to tell, if I had to fight with the Burris sight on my rifle, it would be transparent to me in functional terms. The red dot on the Burris is the same size and color as the red dot on the Comp3. Lastly, my shotgun is a Remington M&P 11-87 12-gauge, with 6-round magazine. The same shotgun that sleeps beside my bed ever night. Yes, all the other guys have 9-round mag tubes on their scatterguns, and only having a 6-round mag costs me precious time when I'm shooting competition, but I don't want to create a training scar.
 
So, getting back to David's quote at the top of the page: what exactly is a training scar? I first learned the term from my friend Dean Sparks, who used to run the firearms program at the Wyoming Law Enforcement Academy. A training scar is something you build into your shooting skillset without meaning to that puts you at a disadvantage in a real gunfight. And being at an unexpected and unnecessary disadvantage when your life is on the line can be fatal. 
 
Ken Hackathorn famously said, "Train the way you expect to fight, for you will surely fight the way you've trained." This is true in competition and in combat. When the adrenalin hits your bloodstream, you WILL not be a thinking person, you WILL revert to your level of training. If you've trained appropriately, you will overcome your adversary. If you've unintentionally trained a maneuver or "skill" inappropriately, you will default to it when the shit hits the fan. It might only cost you a couple of seconds, but your adversary can put 15 rounds into your body in a couple of seconds. 
 
A well-known example of a training scar occurred at the Newhall Incident, where California Highway Patrolmen were found dead with their spent revolver cases in their pockets. When training, they had been required to put their empty cases into their pockets to save on range upkeep and maintenance... and when they were fighting for their lives at Newhall, they reverted to their training, and wasted precious seconds they could have used to reload their revolvers by carefully extracting their empty cases into their hands, then putting them into their pockets. The desire to save time picking up brass at the range had unwittingly created a training scar that cost good men their lives. 
 
If I shoot 3-gun with a 9-round magazine, I will get used to shooting a shotgun that holds 9 shells. And if I should get into a fight with my 6-round home defense shotgun and run it empty, I may well spend precious seconds racking the gun to put a fresh round that doesn't exist into the chamber instead of dropping the bitch on the ground and transitioning to my blaster!!  (Pat Rodgers taught me a great drill at his 3-day Advanced Carbine class a few years ago: have a buddy load an unknown number of rounds into your rifle magazine, then on signal engage the targets. When your rifle runs dry, let your rifle hang and draw your pistol/blaster and clean up the rest of the targets. Don't waste time trying to clear a malfunction when you're in combat. I use this drill every time I train with my rifle. You just never know.) 
 
Okay, that's my thoughts on competition, training, and training scars for today. 
 
Keep your weapons ready, folks. And remember your most important weapon is your mind. Train it well. 

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As human beings, mythology is implicit in our nature. It compels us.
 
We seek tales of uncommon valor, of brave deeds beyond mortal limits, of Beowulf, Achilles, Odysseus, Hiawatha, and the archetype, Superman.
 
Superman... think about it: if you knew what was really involved, who would aspire to be him? Did you ever really think about it? He's an orphan, abandoned, the last survivor from his en...tire planet. He has to pretend he's a myopic, uncoordinated wimp 99% of the time. He can't reveal who he truly is to the woman he loves, so he sleeps alone, and ever will. And even though bullets bounce off him, he's vulnerable to radiation from a stupid green rock that nobody else gives a shit about. He is Totally Alone. Who would pick that life?
 
But Superman (or Batman, or Spiderman, or Ironman, or any number of other made-up flawed and deeply unhappy heroes) has been the subliminal goal for boys and men and America for decades. "Be heroic, but be unfulfilled, lonely, and miserable as a human being." How did this become something to be admired, to be aspired to? This is totally fucked up.
 
It has not only fucked up two or three generations of men, it has fucked up two or three generations of women, marriages, and kids. The great PIXAR movie "The Incredibles" captured the gist of it... but it took the cheap (and admittedly entertaining!) out by letting the entire Incredibles family express their "super" sides. But the truth is that we human beings do not have a "super side". And the myth of superheroism is destroying us.
 
Learning how to be Not-Superman has been a hard focus for me for a while now. And as I work for success in this endeavor, I'm persuading some pretty damn good real world heroes and heroines to this view.
 
Don't be, or expect to be, a Superhero. Be a Dad-hero. Be a Coach-hero. Be a Husband-hero. Be a Cop-Hero, a Nurse-Hero, a Platoon-Commander-Hero, a Boss-hero, a Barrista-hero. Be a hero where you are, but above all be a hero who is YOU. 
 
Do NOT put on a costume or a mask, do not hide behind a secret identity, do NOT exile yourself from who you truly are because someone you think you love wants you to, or how forcefully Society pushes you to do it.

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I've neglected this blog for several months now, I apologize. 2013 was a difficult and chaotic year for me, personally, and I had to let Tactical Anatomy business take a backseat to personal and professional challenges. I am glad to see the end of 2013. 

I hope to be able to put more time and energy into Tactical Anatomy this year, but the first three months of 2014 are going to be very busy for me, so it might be a slow start. At this point I have NO CLASSES scheduled for 2014. Of the 4 SXRV and TTGSW classes scheduled in 2013, only one class gathered enough students to make it possible to hold the training, and I still posted a financial loss on my books. Two of the other three classes had ZERO registrants, despite a lot of emails, etc. I know that trainers across the country are having trouble filling their classes due to the poor economy and the uncertainty caused by the impending Obamacare onslaught, but still... It's discouraging to see so little tangible support for the training I offer. 

If you are interested in attending a SXRV or TTGSW class in 2014, please consider the possibility of hosting the class in your area. If you are willing to take this job on, I'll give you the tools you need to get students signed up (and paid up!), and in turn you'll get up to 3 free slots in the class for you and your friends/family. This is the only way we can get these classes off the ground, so please consider hosting. 

Training has always been less popular with the vast majority of shooters than hardware is. Yesterday a friend posted a link on Facebook to a training article on The MOAT Group's website that I thought was spot-on. I reposted it on my Facebook page, and got a few interesting comments. 

In particular, I love this quote from the article: "Far too many folks are under the impression that buying and carrying a blade and/or firearm makes them more prepared or inclined to defend themselves. This mindset is like assuming you know how to play guitar simply by going to a store and buying one." 

As a guitar player of many years' experience, this parallel struck me as being particularly appropriate. Learning to shoot a firearm well, particularly a pistol, is a slow and sometimes frustrating journey. So is learning to play a guitar (like the Bryan Adams song goes, "Got my first real 6-string down at the five and dime, played it till my fingers bled in the summer of 69"). Learning how to play a guitar well enough to stand up in front of people and entertain them is another thing entirely, though... it's a whole 'nother level of learning and training to get to that point of musicianship. 

The parallel in firearms competency is apt. A man might be able to punch holes in paper at the range with accuracy, and even shoot his deer every fall, but that is not the same as knowing how to fight with that firearm. Learning how to fight with a rifle or pistol is akin to learning how to play your guitar well enough to stand up on a stage and entertain.

The people you can go to for that sort of training aren't on every street corner. The average concealed handgun permit instructor has no training in gunfighting, nor are you likely to find someone at your local gunclub who can competently teach that class. You aren't going to learn gunfighting by taking classes from big-name IDPA or IPSC competitors. And you aren't going to learn it by buying a DVD set from an advertisement in the back pages of American Handgunner. No, you're going to have to do the research and find one of the schools scattered around the country that do it right, you'll have to invest the money to travel and pay for that school. It's not real expensive, but it ain't cheap.

The problem is that most people look at the cost of a school that will teach them something about gunfighting and they think, "Man, that is way too much money!"... but they never take the time to put it into perspective. You can attend a class at Gunsite or Thunder Ranch for about what you'd pay for a midrange-priced custom 1911. Open up your gunsafe and count your guns, then multiply by an average price of, say $600. If you've got 10 guns, which is not a lot of guns for a regular shooter, that means you've got $6 thousand invested in guns alone, never mind the money you've invested in ammunition, reloading equipment, holsters, match fees, and so forth.

So be realistic: doesn't it make sense to spend 25% of what you've already invested in your firearms & shooting equipment, to learn how to use it effectively in defense of your life?  

Last month I read a story about a guy who was fishing for sharks in one of those sit-on-top sea kayaks, with his legs dangling in the water. A shark took his foot and part of his lower leg off, and he was bleeding to death rapidly. Fortunately, he had the foresight to carry a trauma kit with him, and had a tourniquet. Unfortunately, neither he nor his fishing partner knew how to apply it. He bled to death despite having the perfect lifesaving equipment right there, because he never bothered to get the training in how to use it!!!


I urge every reader to think long and hard about this. You never know when you may face a life-threatening emergency that you will only survive if you use the emergency equipment you have on hand: your pistol, your rifle, your fire extinguisher, your tourniquet. Are you sure you have trained with this equipment enough that you will be able to use it effectively when the shit hits the fan, your heart rate is 150 bpm, and your hands are shaking from the adrenalin dump?

If your answer to that question is not a 100% confident YES, then you have just told yourself you need to spend the money and time to get the training that will take you to that level. Tactical Anatomy Systems offers two classes: Shooting With Xray Vision which is school covering the mental aspect of gunfighting, and Tactical Treatment of Gunshot Wounds, which is a school training in the critical trauma care skills needed in the tactical environment once the bullets start to fly. I teach these classes anywhere in the USA, provided enough people sign up for them. Think about hosting one of my classes, or putting together a group of your friends to come down and take the class from me here in Texas. If you want a more comprehensive course in either discipline, drop me a line and I will be glad to help direct you to the schools and trainers you require.

But please, get serious about your training. If you're not trained, you're just pretending.  

Best wishes to all for 2014. 

 

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I know, I know, the title is grammatically incorrect. It should be "fewer" bullets. But I'm no English teacher, so please bear with me. 

Here's the deal: most people I know who carry a handgun daily, whether LEO's or private citizens, don't carry enough ammunition. If you've followed my blog, or taken one of my classes, or you've listened to people who've BTDT and carry a boatload of ammo everywhere they go, you should know this. But I haven't covered this topic in a while, so I'm going to put it out there again for those who might have missed it last time around. 

This blog entry was prompted by an article on a police website last week about an Illinois cop who got into a shootout with a "highly motivated" felon who was determined not to go down. The cop hit the felon multiple times with his service handgun, a high-capacity .45 ACP, and according to the ME at least 6 of those hits were fatal wounds. But the guy just kept on coming at him with murderous intent until the cop finally put a bullet in the felon's brainpan, and finished the fight.

I wish I could say that this was an exceptional case... but it wasn't, and it isn't.

The plain truth is this: contrary to internet mythology, a substantial minority of "good" gunfights involve dozens of shots fired, if not scores of shots fired. For example, in the Pennsylvania shoot-out that made internet rounds several years ago (and which I review as core material in my Shooting WIth Xray Vision classes), a total of 107 rounds of ammunition were fired by 3 police officers, while the single felon fired in excess of 30 rounds back at them. The subject was hit 17 times and, yes, he died of his wounds en route to hospital, but he was still fighting the cops when they put the cuffs on him.  

My good colleague Chief Jeff Chudwin shows a video in one of his classes in which a lone officer gets into a shootout with a felon and is forced to take cover behind his vehicle with only the ammunition on his person, i.e., one hi-capacity magazine in his service handgun and two more mags on his belt. He ran out of ammunition within 2 minutes, and the only thing that prevented his adversary from stalking him down and murdering him was the arrival of a second officer just as he ran out of bullets.

I could go on, and on, and on. I have literally dozens of similar cases related to me. Not from "a friend of a friend", but by the involved officers themselves.

Ammunition is dissipated amazingly rapidly in a gunfight. If you don't put your adversary down, and I mean down, with your first 2 to 5 rounds, you're almost certainly going to be dealing with incoming fire. Which means you're going to be moving to cover, and your adversary is going to be moving, too. Hit ratios drop into the low single digits when both fighters are moving, the statistics show. And you know you're going to be firing while moving to cover, because you want to keep your enemy off-balance so he can't draw a good bead on you while you do so. 

So let's do the math. Your attacker points his gun, you see a opportunity to fight, so you draw and fire a double tap to his "center of mass". He acts like you didn't hit him and fires back. Suddenly you're both moving to cover and rounds are going both ways. Let's say your route to cover was 5 yards and you fired rounds as fast as you could while getting there. That's 2 initial rounds, then another 8 rounds while moving to cover. If you've got a hi-cap auto, you're probably OK now without a tactical reload; if you're carrying a revolver or a single-stack 1911, you were empty before you got to cover. If your enemy has a hi-cap auto and he heard your hammer going snap-snap-snap he knows he's got you, and while you're trying to reload (assuming you have a spare mag or speedloader), he may well close in on you and execute you.

It happened to the California Highway Patrol troopers at Newhall in 1970, kids, and it can just as easily happen to you. Unless you prepare for the worst.  

 

When I was still an active member of my county's SWAT team in Wisconsin, on my armor vest I carried 9 single-stack magazines for my SIG P220 service handgun (72 rounds), and five 30-round magazines for my M4 carbine (150 rounds). Most of the rest of the guys on the team were similarly kitted-out. We read the reports, we did some training exercises that proved to us how quickly we could run dry with a "standard" load-out, and after that, we all carried a LOT more ammo. Regular patrol deputies initially carried only 2 spare mags for their SIG's on their duty belts, but most quickly upgraded to a minimum of 4 spare mags in a quad magazine holder.

What about the armed private citizen? I know there are some folks who figure that if they carry a fully-loaded gun, they're GTG. And honestly, since the chances of getting into a gunfight as a private citizen are miniscule, it's hard to argue with them. But I do argue with them.  They've already acknowledged that there is risk out there, which is the reason they carry a gun in the first place. If a person is already carrying a deadly weapon, why not carry a spare magazine as well? The extra weight is too much? It's inconvenient to add a mag carrier to your concealment rig? Come on!

I strongly recommend the armed citizen should carry at least one fully loaded spare magazine on his person at all times. 

I also strongly recommend the armed citizen to select a hi-capacity autoloading handgun as his primary weapon. I used to carry a revolver or a 1911 as my primary weapon, but over time I came to realize the folly of that. I now carry a Glock 19 as my primary weapon, but I'd be equally happy with a Springfield XD, S&W M&P, or SIG 229. I don't care about caliber, as I have stated before. But I do care about having enough rounds on my person to finish a gunfight, if one should break out. 

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Screen shot of Dr. Williams being interviewed by Police One TV