I just got home from Columbus, Ohio where I spent a day giving a sort of a “myth-busters” class on armed self-defense for Buckeye Firearms Association. We had 400 attendees, not counting a couple dozen more from BFA staff. The class only ran six hours, but we were able to pack in a lot of “reality check” info.
In October, we gave an intensive 20-hour MAG-20 classroom course over a two-day weekend West Des Moines for Iowa Gun Owners. That curriculum is a full “armed citizens rules of engagement” class. We had thirty-some people in attendance.
Earlier in October we did a full-blown 40-hour MAG-40 course that included all of the above plus a bunch of shooting at the ISRA (lllinois State Rifle Association) range and classroom facility in Bonfield, IL. Got about two dozen people through it, and about 12,000 bullets into ISRA’s well-crafted backstops. It was a combined effort between Midwest Training Group and ISRA.
My primary job is teaching the judicious and effective use of defensive weapons (http://massadayoobgroup.com). It’s always a pleasure to get the truth and the reality to more folks in the American heartland. I’m not saying this to drum up business; we’re already packed full on the 2016 schedule, and what remains on our 2015 calendar.
A respectful suggestion: talk to your state-level gun owners’ civil rights organizations about hosting training. On the local level, talk to your gun club, grange, or whatever about doing the same. You don’t necessarily need high-priced out of state talent; there are lots of NRA-certified firearms instructors, pro-gun attorneys who’ve done self-defense cases, and street-wise cops who would love to come in and share reality with you and others in your club and your community.
The more we spread the knowledge, the more we spread the hard-won truth, the better it is for all of us.
Gunnery Sgt. Brian Zins, USMC Retired, won the national championship of conventional bulls-eye pistol shooting a dozen times, more than anyone else in history. When he talks about marksmanship, I listen. One-handed pistol shooting at 25 and 50 yards places a premium on trigger control, but his advice on the topic can apply to any type of firearm. (I had the chance to meet Gunny Zins a bit over a decade ago: he’s an excellent teacher, and a fine man of the kind we’re proud to see as the face of American shooting sports.)
Recently, he wrote this article for the NRA. Among other things, he takes the rather controversial position that the distal joint of the trigger finger is a more advantageous position for the shooter than the traditionally-recommended “pad” of the index finger, which I would define as the part where you find the whorl of the fingerprint.
I teach it as a very useful technique, assuming the gun fits the hand when you shoot this way. Among other things, it gives the shooter’s finger more leverage, ergo, more control.
All y’all trigger-pullers out there, after you’re done reading Brian’s thoughts and experiences, I’d be interested in hearing yours.
“We were lucky enough to avoid most of the rain,” said Mas, dryly.
“Mas, that joke just sucks,” replied Tom, swiftly.
On this end, we’ve had remarkable good luck dodging bad weather so far this year. This past weekend, rain had been predicted for both shooting days. We got through Day One with nary a raindrop, though. Quarter-inch hailstones and monster rain and lightning storms had been predicted for Day Two. We ended up shooting in light rain some, and went indoors when the thunder rolled, but still finished only a few minutes later than scheduled. Shooting in the rain presents some degree of safety hazard – loaded guns in wet, slippery hands, and vision somewhat impaired by rain on the shooting glasses – but that can be compensated for. Lightning, however, is non-negotiable. When you’re responsible for people’s safety, you don’t send them out in a lightning storm to stand in an open field holding metal objects. Minutes after the last student had departed the graduation ceremony, the skies opened with sheets of rain and an impressive light show of natural electricity.
In mid-May, we had been teaching a MAG-40 class at Karl Rehn’s outstanding KR Training center near Austin, Texas. We got rained on throughout, but thanks to KR staffer Rich Worthey’s masterful navigation of weather apps, we were able to get folks inside before any lightning hit the scene. That heavy rain hasn’t stopped since. Rich told me later that he and his neighbors were beginning to understand why Noah felt such urgency in building the Ark. That whole area has suffered severe flooding since, and now. Indeed, flooding of late has been horrible from Houston to Hoboken. Condolences to all who are going through such brutal weather.
Coincidentally, I happened to be in Chicagoland when it happened. As you might imagine, advocates of the right to self-protection are smiling rather smugly. Being one of them, so am I, all the more so because of my long service on the board of trustees of the Second Amendment Foundation, which funded the landmark US Supreme Court case of McDonald, et. al. v. Chicago, which paved the way for concealed carry permits for law-abiding citizens in Illinois.
What brought me to Chicago in the first place this trip was the largest conference of police instructors in the world, the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association, in Wheeling. This coming Friday morning, I’ll be on a “train the trainers” panel chaired by Don Alwes, whose topic is dealing with mass murder attempts in progress. The shooting mentioned above has already been discussed at this seminar, with much the same approval as is being seen from the law-abiding armed citizenry. It promises to be an interesting discussion.
By the way, as is usual in seminars that cater to actual working cops, the National Rifle Association had a booth showcasing their current and long-lasting support of police training, and the anti-gunners were conspicuous by their absence…
I’m still sorting voluminous notes taken at the annual Rangemaster Tactical Conference, held last week at the Memphis (TN) Police Academy. Though police and to a lesser extent military folks were certainly represented, the majority of the turnout was comprised of law-abiding citizens who keep and carry guns to defend themselves and those within “the mantle of their protection.”
Host and founder Tom Givens makes this conclave an extraordinary mix of participatory hand-to-hand work, live fire defensive shooting, and classroom lecture by subject matter experts. The attendee picks his or her chosen classes from an agenda too big for any one person to take everything. A good overview can be found here from Andrew Branca, who presented articulately there on his signature topic, the law of self-defense.
As always, a side event was the famous Polite Society Match, named after Robert Heinlein’s famous quote that “An armed society is a polite society.” For 2015, 136 of the 180 or more participants shot the match. This year’s event was deceptively simple: two targets at only three to seven yards, timed including mandatory draw from concealment, with hellacious penalties for hits outside the relatively small (and indistinguishable) “five out of five point” boxes in the center of the targets’ heads and chests. What made it tricky was extremely dim light. As you watch one attendee go through it, bear in mind that DrZman, who took the video, had to use his techno-magic to brighten the scene up considerably so a viewer could see what the heck was going on in the first place:
Congratulations to Tim Chandler, who won with an awesome score fired with a 9mm Glock 17.
February weather was ugly in the mid-South, so next year they’ll be putting it closer to spring. You can’t get a better deal on a smorgasbord of America’s top self-defense trainers. It’s now a regular stopping point on my own learning calendar. Sign up here: http://www.rangemaster.com/2016-tactical-conference/.