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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Well, we finally went live with the website upgrade today, and I'm feeling really good about that! 

This upgrade will make registering for classes MUCH easier online, and we will soon have digital downloads available on the website as well, including a digital version of the Tactical Anatomy Instructor Manual (1st edition). I've been reaaaalllllllyyyy busy with some hard Real Life issues for the past few months (no, none of which involve Medical Malpractice or criminal charges, LOL), which has taken away from my time on the rewrite of the Manual, but rest assured that by autumn (or what passes for autumn down here in the west Texas mesquite brush!) the 2nd edition will be available. 

The 2nd edition will contain all of the good stuff folks have come to know and love in the 1st edition, but will have new text chapters on Adult Learning Theory for the firearms instructor, range training drills for live fire and NLTA (SIMS and Airsoft), as well as an update on MILO scenarios shot using Tactical Anatomy hit zones, and how to use them. I think a LOT of folks will be interested in the chapter I'm currently writing, which consists of reports of successful real-time, real-world shootings by LE/military personnel who used their SXRV training to bring their deadly force situation to a swift and righteous conclusion. I'm considering including a chapter touching on the basics of Tactical Treatment of Gunshot Wounds as well, but it remains to be seen whether I can get that down to a manageable size. If I can't, I'm just gonna have to make it its own book.

Changes in the printing/publishing industry are forcing us all toward a new paradigm. I will not be printing any more copies of the 1st edtion of the Tactical Anatomy Instructor Manual, because costs are prohibitive and there are simply much better ways of getting this information out to folks who need it. The 2nd edition will be available in two formats: as a digital download direct from the TAS website, or as print-on-demand hard copy book available from an internet publisher. Both will be cheaper than the current sale price, because I won't have to be eating the obscene costs of printing these books myself as I have been doing since 2006.

I promise you I am working as hard as I can to get this second edition up and available for y'all, but like I said, Real Life intrudes mightily on me at present so I can't promise a specific deadline. 

As for folks waiting for their member status to be approved... Now that we have the new website up, you will be getting some good news soon. There's a ton of y'all, though, so it may take me a week or two. I review every membership application personally, and that takes time. Please be patient and I'll get it done as fast as I can.  

On another e-front, I'm in the process of putting together some video downloads as well, which will come online as production moves forward. I'm a neophyte in the world of Youtube, but it seems that folks want to see prospective instructors in action before they plunk down their hard-earned cash for a class, which is totally reasonable as far as I'm concerned. There are so many jackasses out there selling ridiculous "training" that is as likely to get you killed or prosecuted (and always fleeced) that I believe it behooves anyone wanting to advance his deadly force skillset to seriously check my training out. So I'm going to be putting out a few Youtube videos in the next few months, which will also be available here on the TAS website once I get them produced. 

Please be warned... the first couple of videos are gonna be rough. I've been recording them on my iPhone, and using editing software to put them together. Whenever I get a few days off ER call and have respite from my Real Life issues, I'll be driving into Town where Best Buy lives to buy a decent digital video camera. Until then, it's gonna be grainy and edgy... but I hope the message will be clear enough. 

In other news, we are a GO for both SXRV classes in Saukville, WI, on July 12 and 13. Class registration is limited and filling fast, so do NOT delay if you want to sign up. I can't take more than 30 people per class. 

OK. That's about all I have to say about that, as Forrest Gump would say.

Tactical is as tactical does, it doesn't matter a damn what color you paint your gear. Scouts out. 

Doc

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TacticalAnatomy.com's website is undergoing a major overhaul. The "old" software that my webmaster used to build this site originally is now obsolete and unsupported, so we're having to upgrade to new programs. The website will look very much the same as the old one, but the stuff working in the background will be faster and more efficient.

You will probably notice a couple of cool new things show up when we go live, and other stuff that will be added over the next several months. For one thing, we are going to have the Tactical Anatomy Instructor Manual digitized and available as a download from the website. Hard copies of the book will still be available for purchase, but the costs of printing are so high that I will be able to sell you a downloaded copy of the book for about 2/3 the price of a hard copy.  Another cool feature of the new website will be that upcoming classes will be available for online registration and payment. We had a real hard time getting that to work in the old website but my webmaster has upgraded the software so we can do it efficiently in the new website. We will also have downloadable videos, of classes and of some other cool stuff. Video downloads will be split into two categories, with the more graphic/sensitive stuff being available to members only.

Speaking of upcoming classes, here's what I've got scheduled for the next few months:

Shooting With Xray Vision (law enforcement and military personnel only) at Saukville Policed Department, Saukville, WI, July 12, 2013

Shooting With Xray Vision for Civilians, Saukville Police Department, July 13, 2013

Shooting With Xray Vision (one class open to both LE and civilians), Evergreen Sportsmen's Club, Olympia, WA, October 7, 2013.

Registration for all 3 classes will be accessible within the next couple of weeks when the new website goes live. If you want to nail down your spot prior to that, shoot me an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and I'll get you squared away. 

One negative effect of the rebuild is that I have had to suspend adding new members to the site temporarily... so if you have been waiting for your membership to be activated, this is the reason for the delay. We should be able to activate all of your memberships shortly.

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 I realize that my blog isn't exactly FOX news, so this message isn't likely to get to very many cops before this is all over and done with, but still I am doing what I can. 

Word out this morning is that the surviving terrorist is wearing a bomb vest. 

Anyone who has taken my training, or similar training, knows that the ONLY solution to a bomb vest is to put a bullet through this guy's brainstem before he can detonate the explosives. The best way to do this is with a rifle at a safe distance. I don't know how much explosive he's got on him, so I can't tell you what a "safe" distance is in this case, but I would guess that 50 yards would be about right. Anyone with experience from the Sandbox on this, please feel free to contact me (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and I will post updated radius intel. 

Please be clear on this, I am NOT advocating assassinating this man. But there may be no other alternative that will not cost the lives of law enforcement officers and/or civilian bystanders. 

Do NOT approach this man if you identify him, until/unless his bomb vest and/or triggering mechanism/BHG (brain housing group) have been neutralized. 

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Last week I explained why everyone should have a 9mm. This week I'm going to explain  why no one needs a 380. I realize this is going to upset some people, but the truth is the truth, and I've done enough research on this topic to have confidence I know the truth about this topic. 

Now, first thing: just because I say you don't need a 380 doesn't mean I disapprove of you wanting or having a 380, or even a bunch of 380's. We all have pet calibers and guns that we own and shoot for the sheer pleasure of it, and there's nothing wrong with that. I have a couple little 32 H&R Magnum revolvers that are a hoot, for example. But I for damn sure don't carry them as defensive tools. 

A handgun is a relatively anemic fighting tool when compared to more serious combat arms such as rifles, shotguns, and crew-served weapons. Those of us who carry handguns for defensive purposes should do so with the understanding that the fighting handgun is not a definitive solution, but a practical one. The fighting handgun is a compromise between compactness and portability on the one hand and lethal force utility on the other. In other words, a handgun is the smallest and most packable firearm you can get, but it's also the weakest firearm you can get. 

So since we've already hobbled ourselves by carrying something that's less effective than a long arm, my view on this is that we shouldn't give ourselves an extra handicap by carrying a handgun chambered for a cartridge that is demonstrably ineffective. 

I often refer to the "service calibers" in my work. These are the calibers that are carried by law enforcement and military personnel here in the USA, and abroad. These calibers have all been tested and found to be adequate in gunfighting both in the ballistics lab and on the street. These calibers are 9x19mm (9mm Luger), 357 Sig, 40 S&W, and 45 ACP, in autopistols, and 38 Special, 357 Magnum, and 44 Special in revolvers. (There are a few bigger calibers out there such as the 41 Magnum, 44 Magnum, 45 Colt, 50 AE, and others that are carried by a lawman or two here and there, but they're not commonly issued calibers, so I exclude them from the general term of Service Calibers.) 

All of the above-named service calibers have been thoroughly tested and meet the FBI ballistics protocols established in 1986. Jacketed hollowpoint (JHP) bullets in these calibers will penetrate 10-12" of standard ballistic gelatin after passing through 4 layers of denim, and the bullets will expand reliably. Moreover, most of these bullets will penetrate intermediate barriers (e.g. laminated automobile glass) and still perform to an adequate standard in gelatin. 

However, almost no 380 ACP ammunition that I have personally tested or witnessed being tested will meet the FBI ballistic performance minimums. I was at a class last March at a SWAT conference at which a ballistics test expert from Federal/ATK gave a very impressive and thorough demonstration of the performance of various LE ammo (from Federal/Speer as well as other manufacturers). He shot ballistic gelatin blocks with all kinds of guns and ammo, through all kinds of intermediate barriers, and favorably impressed the class attendees with just about everything, even little 38 snubbies. But when it came to the 380, the results were dismal. One member of the class had his new pocket BUG, a Ruger LCP 380, and we watched it perform. The little 90 gr bullets barely penetrated 5 inches of bare gelatin, and half of that through 4 layers of denim. 

Folks, that's not performance you can stake your life on. 

It may be comfortable to carry a tiny 380 caliber pistol, but it sure as hell ain't comforting when you know how anemic this cartridge is. And it simply doesn't make sense to down-grade to a 380 when there are ultra-compact pistols like the Kahr PM9/CW9 chambered in 9x19mm that are as small as most 380's. 

As my good friend Mas Ayoob often says, "Friends don't let friends carry mouseguns."  I think that's good advice for all of us, and if you're a member of my website, you're a friend, so I need to pass this bit of wisdom on to you. Don't carry a 380 for personal defense. Just don't do it. 

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