archives

Col. Cooper

This category contains 30 posts

Okay, So Mr. Suarez And I Disagree On Some Things

I’ll begin by saying I’ve admired Gabe Suarez and his works for many years.  Long-time blog readers of GiA will also know I am a disciple of Jeff Cooper.

Having said that, I am not inflexible.  Of course, I do not have the financial means to make changes to my armament and ammunition at a moments notice.

Here is what Mr. Suarez had to say recently regarding how he differs from Col. Cooper’s teachings, and their history together  (from Facebook):

THE SUAREZ SYSTEM – HISTORICAL CONTEXT
Thursday, June 08, 2017

I was asked how the Suarez material differs from the Modern Technique invented/codified by Jeff Cooper. Here it is…a long read, but it sets down the historical context.

I attended Gunsite in 1990. Cooper was there as were a few of the current “stalwarts” for the modern technique, a couple of SEALs and an entire group of LAPD SWAT with 1911s. I was running my issued weapon, as crappy as it was, a Smith & Wesson 5906 that had been tuned up by Steve Deladio in Long Beach, CA. While I was open minded, I did have some ideas about what was what since I had been working around criminals, gang members and killers for five years.

I had not been in a gunfight yet, but I was around alot of guys who had. In the end, I got top score and won the shootoff, against all of those guys. Cooper and I became friends, and I attended Gunsite every year until 1995. So one could say I became well versed in the Modern Technique. In Cooper’s words in the Intro to Tactical Pistol he described me as, although I would never use them to describe myself, “a master pistolero”. I say that only to illustrate my understanding of the modern technique.

The Modern Technique was born in the competitive field, not the battlefield. I didn’t read this…Cooper told me. The exercise was a man versus man shootoff, involving a draw from the holster, at some ten yards. In that sense, the competition was in fact open. And for that problem, some trends began to emerge. Below eye level shooting, or any moving while drawing – while quite popular with men like Askins, and Bryce, and other accomplished killers for close up shooting – didn’t work so well in that interval.

And since the goal was to hit before the other man hit, there was no need to move or use cover. What won was standing at ease, bringing the pistol up to eye level with both hands, and using the sights. When one man won, others emulated his method and also won.That is the over riding problem with sporting events derived from martial pursuits.

And Cooper, ever the academic, studied and identified the trends, duplicating it in his works.

Now, I respect Cooper’s memory and was proud to call him my friend. And I will say that he was not as close minded as his followers are. I shared the gunfight where I discovered “getting off the X” with him and he said that under those circumstances, it was a brilliant move. I still have that letter somewhere, and I know he mentioned it in his newsletter.

Between my intro to the Modern Technique and the height of my teaching career, I had the good fortune to be in a few gunfights…as the primary shooter. I also investigated a great number of shootings between bad guys and a few with good guy versus bad guys. I began to see trends that the modern technique did not address. As well the gunfight I told Cooper about where the concept of moving off the target line while drawing and shooting was crystallized for me, revealed many shortcomings in the MT methods.

In those days there was no internet or Google. Knowledge was passed on either via scholarly articles in police journals (forget getting anything of value in the gun rags of the day) – or via word of mouth.

In that gunfight, my third I think it was, although alert, I was in a reactive state. I moved to avoid being shot and shot back without a perfect sight picture and killed my adversary. I noted all of this and sought answers. Eventually I came across the works of John Boyd and the OODA cycle which explained in detail why my tactic of movement had allowed me to prevail in a situation where we otherwise would have shot each other. The study continued and by the close of my police career I had used that same method several times with success.

There was no force on force back then. There was Simunitions which was extremely expensive and being a UK company, they despised the idea of lowly civilians using their equipment. Some guys basically stole the gear (I actually mean borrowed for a lengthy period) from their agencies to train, but that was rare…and still is.

As well the anal-retentive range practices precluded anything other than a stationary stand and deliver training system. Eventually however, we brought in Airsoft and worked the training, simulating gunfights over and over and over. We determined that the initiative (who had started things) would determine the successful tactics of each party. We determined that moving kept you safe, while standing, or ceasing movement lead to you getting shot. We also determined those weaver stances, isosceles stances, or any hold on the weapon that was “stance dependent” was untenable in a close range reactive gunfight.

In 2004 or 2005 we had a Force On Force class…the first one, in Las Vegas. I set guys up facing each other at five yards. Armed with airsoft pistol analogs to their real weapons, and suitably protected with face masks, I told them to “GO”. This simulated a true gunfight to a far greater degree than any range exercise these men had ever seen before.

We had extremely accomplished Modern Technique guys totally change their perspectives on gunfighting after that class. We had “Combat Masters” from Taylor’s and Front Sight get their asses handed to them by first time attendees, school teachers, doctors, and students who understood what we were teaching.

And we have been developing it more and more and more ever since. I will tell you and anyone on earth that the gunfighting system taught at the Suarez School is by far the best system to keep you alive in a gunfight, and to help you kill your enemy at the same time. That was the beginning of “our system”.

Now to differences –

Specifically the Modern Technique relies heavily of being alert. In the modern world that is not always possible, and we know that while we try to be thus, the distractions of modern life will impede our incessant “Yellow”. We differ in that we understand the natural inclination, as well as the fact that if one is alert, he will often avoid/evade most problems.

Gunfighting is for when you were taken by surprise and so, a strong reactive understanding is essential. So MT is proactive, which happened maybe half the time. We do not ignore it, but we do not fixate on it either. Our system begins at reactive since that is where most lone operators will be when they realize they need to kill the other man.

Secondly we have the Weaver stance. Perhaps men are stronger today than they were in those days, but we have found in proactive shooting there is no need for the dynamics of the weaver stance with a moderately developed upper body and hand strength. All one has to do is look at what the world’s champion shooters use and you will not find weaver stances there. Often times what is needed is simply getting the weapon out quickly and punching it forward, working the trigger as you do so. Watch a force on force event and you will not see any weaver or isosceles stances. You will see a great deal of one handed shooting.

Next is the matter of Flash Sight Picture. This is but one step in a long continuum of visual references with regard to the handgun. On one extreme you have the pistol just clearing the holster, and the operator relying on pure body index and proximity to the threat. Midway we have meat and metal…the meat of the bad guy surrounding the metal image of the slide. And eventually, arms at full extension, eyes fully on the front sight or red dot, and pure marksmanship at hand. So we do not ignore the “flash sight picture” but it is not a complete use of the sights, or the body indexes either.

The next MT component is Compressed Surprise Break. Again, like the issue of the sights, working the trigger is far more involved with respect to the dynamics of the fight than merely a compressed surprise break. There are times when mashing the trigger just as fast and as hard as you can is called for. Other times we work it like a sniper rifle. All of this, and the way we work the sights is based on distance interval, and the degree of initiative you have in the fight.

Finally, the Semi-automatic pistol in a large caliber. Cooper and his men were very fond of the 1911 in 45 ACP. I don’t carry one of those. I carry a Glock 9mm. I have seen men shot with modern 9mm anti-personnel ammo and have never seen the failures we hear about in the old articles. We have several ER doctors who report that there is virtually no difference between 9mm and the other calibers. So I feel well armed, as do those who know, with a modern 9mm pistol. As well we do not subscribe to the “controlled pairs” or “hammers”. We shoot them to the ground. We rely on bursts. A burst is three to five rounds. Our school solution is a burst to the chest and a burst to the face. And of course, in proactive events, we shot for the face and head exclusively.

That is it in a nutshell. As well, our working of the pistol is vastly different. We are goal driven and focus on the state of the operator in the gunfight. Having been in some, my staff and I realize that analytical academic based weapon manipulations will fail. We also know the physical state one will likely be in. Not one of terror-filled defecation, but certainly one of excitement and adrenaline driven actions.

For example, the malfunctions we have seen discussed here. Rather than the analytical method taught at traditional schools, we understand that if your pistol malfunctions you have just been interrupted in killing the man who was trying to kill you. At such times, and often in low light, you neither have the luxury of examining the weapon, nor often the light to do so.

So we follow a flow-chart process bereft of any decision on the operator’s part other than “did it fix it and can I keep shooting”. So given a stoppage of any sort, the first reaction is an immediate and thoughtless tap rack. If that fixed it, keep killing. That maneuver will fix a failure to fire, as well as a failure to eject (known to traditional students as a stovepipe). It will not fix a feed way stoppage (not really a double feed), or an empty gun. If the initial maneuver fails to remedy the problem, the operator manually rips the on board magazine out and discards it. That will in fact instantly remedy the feed way stoppage in most modern handguns. (We have alternatives for those who must use Beretta M9 or 1911). The operator then loads a fresh magazine on board and manually cycles the slide, fixing either of the last outcomes…feed way stoppage or empty gun. We have students solving malfunctions dynamically and on the move in less than an hour.

Well, there you have it. There may be other things I haven’t thought of. We also favor appendix carry and training from concealment exclusively. We prize hand to hand combat ability and train with knives as well. We like red dot sights on our handguns, and put a premium on physical strength and conditioning.

But we firmly acknowledge our roots.

Image may contain: 2 people, people standing and outdoor
I’ll be the first to say that I am not the experienced professional Mr. Suarez is.  I have received funds for my teaching, but I teach mostly The Modern Technique of the Pistol, as distilled by Col. Cooper.  Of course, I do teach one-hand shooting and Isosceles, as these items might be needed.
Taken point-by-point:
Alertness. 
I try to keep in condition YELLOW.  Yes, I am NOT an operator or an assault-team
member.  Alertness may not keep me from being attacked, but it couldn’t hurt?  My personal motto is ‘Pay Attention’.  I contend much of my Life might have ended differently, had I paid attention or perhaps MORE attention.
Weaver Stance, Flash Sight Picture  and Compressed Surprise Break.
I am old, infirmed and generally set-in-my ways.  Weaver has worked for me for 43 years.  And now I am weaker and have less muscle mass.  (Perhaps, if I were 20 years younger, and in better condition?)  I will continue to operate in these manners, unless the situation warrants otherwise.  I’m old fashioned and old-school.  Remember my use of Bruce Lee’s teachings.  Repetition (as with kata) can bring vertical death.  Or, in the case of gunfighting, horizontal death.  Drill, but vary your drills.  Don’t just punch holes in paper, endlessly.
The semiautomatic pistol in a large caliber.
Despite the Pentagon’s recent findings regarding 9mm hollowpoints, I prefer to rely on Physics rather than magic bullets.
And, of course, I always intone the great Jim Cirillo:  “Stopping power BEGINS st 12 gauge!”  Why do I carry a .45?  Because they don’t make a .46!
Red dot sights
Col. Cooper said optics are for rifles.  Mr. Suarez is selling pistol slides with red dot sights.  Perhaps, for the well-trained spec ops guy(?)  But, as an almost-elderly citizen, they are not for me.
Don’t get me wrong, I would love to train under Mr. Suarez, and again own 9mm pistols.
But. given my current circumstances, I don’t see that happening…

NRA Disallows 1911s As “Primary Handguns” From Its “Carry Guard” Classes

(from TFB – James Jarrett)

Released to quite a bit of controversy at the NRA show, the NRA’s Carry Guard program is again the focus of controversy. As listed on the NRA’s Carry Guard website, instructions for prospective students of their “Level 1” program are specifically asked not to bring revolvers or 1911s as “primary firearms” to the classes.  This instruction is added as a note to bringing a full-size or compact handgun:

*NOTE: NRA Carry Guard Level One is designed for training with a semi-automatic handgun (Glock 19/17, Sig P226/P228 or equivalent). We will not allow revolvers or 1911s as your primary firearm in this class.

I can understand the reasoning to NOT want revolvers in a semi-auto class, but the decision to specifically bar the 1911 is most peculiar and likely to draw some ire of the NRA membership and potential student base.

I mean, the instruction simply does not add up. The NRA specifically asks for a “semi-automatic handgun” but then disallows America’s favorite semi-auto? I can understand if the program wants a minimum capacity, but even that does not make sense as they mention bringing backup guns, etc which then has the 1911 allowed:

You should bring a secondary firearm that you carry concealed, as well as a holster for such. We will run the course with a primary carry weapon and then run a course of fire with a secondary or back-up gun to evaluate the differences. Please bring at least 40 rounds of ammo appropriate for your carry firearm for this portion of the class. Revolvers, 1911s and/or subcompacts can be used for this portion of the class. (emphasis added)

If anything, the NRA should have set a type of handgun and impartial requirements. Instead, they are managing to shoot themselves in the foot with Carry Guard yet again…

I wonder what compelled the NRA to make such as decision?  Many CCW/Constitutional Carry folks with whom I am personally acquainted often carry 1911s.

Including me.

Could it be this politically correct age is creeping over into firearms choices from politics and ‘popular’ culture?

The NRA did ban ‘other’ CCW schools/insurance from their last convention, undoubtedly to limit competition between them.

I’ll bet is Col. Cooper were still with us (as an NRA Board member) this wouldn’t be a thing.

 

“To SELL, Of Course!”

(from TFB, in part)

They say there’s a sucker born every minute.  No where does this seem to be more true than in the firearms industry.  Poorly thought of add-ons, holsters, ammunition design, etc.

I remember Col. Cooper being asked (with regard to the latest variant of some pistol, which certainly was not necessary), “Jeff, what’s it for?  To sell, of course!” was his reply.

I’m certain you can think of many others, as well as selections of the ‘good’ variety that didn’t get marketed properly and went away.

Such is the nature of business…

Ringling Brothers Circus Is Closing Down ‘The Greatest Show On Earth,’ After A 146-Year Run.

elephamts

Tempus fugit.

I was never a huge circus guy as a kid, probably because I wasn’t a very good athlete – although the acrobats did impress me.  Of course, being feet from large wild animals was thrilling!  (except for the smell!)  And being a ‘semi-professional’ magician (starting in the Fourth Grade) I was drawn to performers like clowns – even considering crossing the makeup line and becoming a clown magician myself!  I’d read of Harry Houdini, and how he got his start in traveling carnivals performing feats of strength and ‘oddities’, like being able to pick up needles with his eyelashes while hanging inverted!  (How one does this for an audience – who knows?)

But what really got my attention were the oddities, the Sideshow.  The beginnings of the traveling circus.  People and animals with disabilities or birth defects – Siamese twins, women with beards, two headed snakes – that sort of thing.  Obviously, middle-America in the early 1800’s needed some kind of diversion, right?

And this is precisely why the circuses are ending.  If one wants to see an elephant, there are thousands on You Tube.  The same for magic, people with birth defects and feats of strength.  No longer must one wait in line for tickets, endure the crowds, animal smells and over-priced popcorn to see such things.  The circus can come to you!  And there are TV, movies, shows – all stream-able to your TV, computer or cell phone.

Jeff Cooper sometimes spoke of seeing the elephant.  In the olden days, a farm youth (as most were prior to 1920) had little or no exposure to life outside that which was on the farm.  Birth, death, butchering, harvesting, hunting, planting – all hard physical labor.  But little else.

When a boy ‘came of age’, his father would shove a few dollars in his pocket, point him to town, and tell him to go ‘see the elephant’.  The circus was coming to town!  The boy would dutifully go, see the elephant, the sideshow, perhaps have some liquor and engage in games of chance.  If he had any money left, he might find a woman of ill-repute with whom to ‘spend some time’.

It was all about a rite-of-passage.  Learning something about the outside world.

But, in today’s instantaneous electronically-connected world, there is no rite-of-passage.  Boys (and girls) learn about sex from the Internet.  Not exactly seeing the elephant.

No wonder instant gratification is the motto for the Millennials.

And we as a society are lesser for it.

Go see the elephant before the circus closes forever!  Reportedly, they will stop using elephants by 2018.  of course, the circus will end before that…

Find a woman?

😛

 

 

 

It’s BA-ACK! (Almost)

There are a number of items that have come and gone during my adult life as a ‘gunnie’.  The Snik holster, and The Randall (Mirror-Image) Left-Handed 1911 are two examples.

A third would be the Auto-Mag.  An early effort to put revolver-powered cartridges into a semiautomatic frame.  With a larger capacity, of course.  🙂

As with it’s revolver counterparts (the S&W Model 29 and Colt Anaconda) it’s designed primarily for hunting.  But you know some fools (and larger folks) will carry them concealed.

Because they can!

The Firearm Blog had this, recently (in part):

automag1

If you’re even passingly familiar with Clint Eastwood’s portrayal of Dirty Harry then you’re also familiar with his trademark .44 Magnum (the – at the time – so-called most powerful handgun in the world). And if you’re familiar with “Sudden Impact”, the fourth movie in the Dirty Harry series, maybe you also know about the Auto Mag. Or perhaps you know about the Auto Mag because it’s a badass pistol we’ve been promised another chance at more than once since its movie heyday. So where do things stand as of now?

First, a little company-related background. The original Auto Mag went out of production more than three decades ago. Manufacturing costs apparently outweighed sales profits which eventually led to the pistol’s initial demise which led to a revival as a collector’s item complete with higher price tag. Many attempts were made to keep the gun on the market but in 1982, it all came to a grinding halt. Then, last year, a private investor decided to get involved. They purchased the rights, plans, and even leftover components before setting to work bringing back the Auto Mag. Now, as we edge into the fall of 2016, it looks as though progress has indeed been made.

As of August 2016, Auto Mag is an officially registered trademark. The company is offering the lucky devils who already own Auto Mags their refurbishing services and caliber conversion kits will be offered soon as well. What calibers? We don’t know yet, but you can be sure we’ll let you know when we do. As for future Auto Mag owners, your day will come once the prototype is complete. Firearm manufacturing has come a long way since 1982 in more than a few ways, meaning the new company has to take everything into consideration from metallurgy to machining.

One good move Auto Mag has made is the choice to bring Laura Burgess Marketing (LBM) in to handle the media and marketing side. Marketing matters far more than many people realize – more than even some companies even seem to comprehend – and LBM is a solid choice. LBM will undoubtedly do their part to spread awareness of the pistol’s impending resurrection and will also keep us in the loop regarding future developments.

I don’t expect to see this pistol hit production-ready status until year’s end, but it’s worth the wait. I, for one, am looking forward to trying my hand at the Auto Mag. Who’s with me?

You can keep an eye on the Auto Mag by visiting this link: https://read.automag.com/

Some years back, Jeff Cooper was asked what would be the purpose of making such a firearm.  His answer?  To sell, of course!

Warning Shots

As reminded to us by Tamara

See this? Don’t do this?

“We have a lot of people outside our house, yelling and shouting profanities,” he said. “I yelled at them, ‘Please leave the premises.’ They were showing a firearm, so I fired a warning shot and, uh, we got somebody that got hit.”

“Someone was shot?” the operator asked.

“Well, I don’t know if they were shot or not, ma’am,” he told her. “I fired my warning shot like I’m supposed to by law. They do have firearms, and I’m trying to protect myself and my family.”

This dude messed up by the numbers, killed a man, and wrecked his life and his family’s life, in addition to those of his victim and his victim’s family, all because he was stupid and believed a lot of the sort of BS self-defense advice you pick up from well-meaning ignorant morons in gun stores and on the internet.

Folks, self defense with a firearm is no joke. This is life and death stuff right here; it literally does not get more serious than that. With great power comes great accountability.

I think it was Jeff Cooper who said warning shots were tactically unsound.  First, they alerted the bad guys as to your exact location.  Second, they wasted a possibly valuable round of ammunition.  He recommended generally against them, but if one absolutely had to, put one into a solid backstop or an advancing assailant.  THAT should get their attention!
My initial CCW instructor taught us to remember every round sent downrange is a potential million-dollar lawsuit.
REMEMBER those Four Rules (see sidebar)
(Guffaw in AZ does not dispense legal advice.  Find your own lawyer, and get training and liability insurance!)

The Rifle That Got Away

aka, the rifle who never was(?)

My friend Murphy’s Law recently acquired a piece-of-ordinance that sparked a memory for me.

The Fabrique Nationale de Herstal Fusil Automatique Léger, aka FN FAL

(or sometimes colloquially pronounced fin’fall)

Regular, long-time readers know I got into riflery late in my gun ‘career’.  My focus had largely been police and self defense oriented arms, until Bill Clinton’s assault weapon ban came to be. (#$&%^(@!)

Then, as the almighty government told me I was not allowed to have a particular sub-set of firearms, I had to have one.  Or two.  Or more!

Friends gifted me with a semi AK copy.  Eventually, I acquired three more, in AR configuration (and one parts AR carbine in 9mm, which was never completed.)  And magazines, ammunition, cleaning tools, slings and other acoutrement.

Followed by a domestically-assembled H&K 91 clone.  And an M1 Garand.

Yeah, I’m a completionist!

But, I never did acquire an FN.  Heard stories from shooting buddies who had, and the guy who owned Royal Bookstore (a Belgian emigre’ who became an American citizen and fought in Vietnam.)  And read about them in Cooper’s Gunsite Gossip.

Of course, you know the end to the story.  Burglary,  800 pound safe stolen – with all her contents.

So the FN would have been gone, regardless.

😦

fn

 

Is Your Caliber Going The Way Of The Buggy Whip?

or even 5.75 mm Velo Dog?

a velo-dog revolver

a velo-dog revolver

When I came of (gun) age, the premier cartridge in my circle was .357 Magnum.  This was because it was what most law enforcement folks carried – revolvers. (early 1970’s)

Of course, .38 Special was utilized for practice, because it was easier on the gun AND the shooter.  And less expensive to shoot.

Semiautomatic pistols were just making their way into law enforcement, with 9 mm Smith & Wesson double actions leading the charge.  Single action autos, like the venerable Colt 1911 in .45 ACP, were thought to be at best finicky and unreliable.

Besides, cops carried revolvers and bad guys carried semis.  This is what was view as TRUTH.

But with the advancements in metallurgy and polymers, different ammunition and projectors were soon to be seen.  Most notably Glock and Beretta, in 9 mm.  And after the infamous FBI Miami shootout, the development of the 10 mm, which was later truncated into the .40 S&W.

Carried in DAO and striker-fired weapons, because it was believed genpop recruits (including some small Asians and women) couldn’t safely handle 10 mm or single-action autos!

Even though the military had been teaching single-action autos in .45 ACP for over 70 years!

Recent developments have shown that .45 is not as efficient as once touted.  And even federal law enforcement has reverted back to 9 mm over the .40.

And I have it on good authority that even (some) Gunsite instructors decided to shoot 9 mm instead of .45 ACP, and use Isosceles over Weaver stance!  Col. Cooper must be spinning in his grave.

Time marches on.  As does technology.

Do you carry the ‘latest’ ammo in the ‘most advanced’ machine?

Or are you an old-school guy like me?  🙂

Well, I guess I’ll be moseyin’ down to my buggy, whip and 1911 in hand.

Velo Dog just isn’t big enough for me.

Stopping Power Redux

I had a conversation the other day with (you guessed his name) Bob!  (of PI, gun store and recent amputation fame! – he’s doing fine btw…) (pictured below)

ANYWAY, he was bragging about a recent target shooting escapade, and his use of 9mm now as his self-defense ammunition!0706151257_0001

I was taken aback.  He’d always been an old-school, Cooper-educated type, like me.  I asked him what changed his mind.

He said recent findings have shown 9mm (in modern self-defense designs) have performed better than 45 ACP!

Now, being old-school, I always relied on the findings of General Julian Hatcher, the Thompson LaGarde tests, Marshall/Sanow and Lt. Col. Jeff Cooper.

Almost concurrent with this conversation, I had THIS come across my desk (a Twilight Zone moment, to be sure!):

U.S. Military Makes Monumental Shift To Hollowpoint Pistol Ammuntion

(in part) A military lawyer who made a presentation during the Industry Day noted that the United States is not a signatory to the Hague Conventions which outlawed the use of “dum-dum” and expanding bullets more than a century ago. It is the military’s position that the shift to jacketed hollowpoint (JHP) ammunition, which more efficiently transfers energy to the target and which presents much less of a risk of over-penetration, is more humane and less of a risk to innocent civilians downrange in modern combat where there are often no clear front lines. (…)

I strongly suspect that the Army has already taken a long and hard look at the data produced by the Federal Bureau of Investigation when they recently investigated switching handgun calibers, an investigation that led the agency to abandon the .40 S&W in favor of the 9mm. The FBI discovered that 9mm outperforms both .40 S&W and .45 ACP when using premium hollowpoints, while having less perceived recoil and much greater ammunition capacity.

We are no longer using 60 cal. musket balls.  Have the new findings by the FBI and U.S. Military discounted the previous century’s research, now that the ammunition has been more scientifically designed?  Or do the basic laws of physics still apply – frontal area, mass, velocity and center-mass hits?

So, what do WE think, dear readers?

h/t B. Hall, Doc, Midway, Wiki

Thinking Outside The Box

Most of us live with our firearms.  They are as much part of our daily routine as shaving, brushing our teeth, picking up our wallets and keys on the way out the door.

But, what if…?

Melody Lauer aka Limatunes recently made a choice to put her gun away for an entire year!  Or in her words…

 

The Year I Put My Gun Away

If you could put my blog into a category it would be “self defense.”

To me, however, it’s a little more than that. It’s my story–my unique journey. If others can glean a little from my experiences and thoughts I’m honored, if not, it’s no big deal. There have been times, however, when I’ve purposely withheld parts of this journey from my readers because I wasn’t sure how what I had to say would be received. Or I may not have been ready to put it out into the virtual void. This is one of those times.

I’ve been hanging on to this post for almost two years and it feels like a good time to get it off my chest.

I want to tell you about my biggest “break-through” year in self defense. It was a year I learned more about how to defend myself, increased my confidence, improved my overall skills and expanded my horizons. I learned how to manage fear and angst and to trust my instincts. I learned how to manage medical emergencies, have fun and express myself in many other ways. This was one of the best years of my life.

It was the year I put my gun away.

My journey, my work, my goals have all been a means to build confidence in myself, not a tool. I chose a tool to aide in my journey, not to define it. I sought to be well-trained with a tool, not ruled by it. Guns, to me, are tools to master in a long list of other tools to master (including my sewing machine).

I have always wanted real self-defense solutions, not crutches or bandaids, platitudes or false security. So when I felt my gun was becoming a crutch I decided it was time to get rid of it–or, at least put it away for awhile.

I want to tell you about why I felt compelled to put it down and why I picked it up again and why I always knew it would find a place on my belt again, when I was ready.

While my husband and I were packing for a much-needed vacation to a place without reciprocity I felt nervous at the prospect of having to leave my gun behind. I started thinking about all the “what if” situations and wanting my gun.

I hated the feeling.

It exposed everything I’d wanted to avoid about carrying a gun in the first place. It exposed my weaknesses and my fears, my shortcomings and false security. I showed me I wasn’t confident that I could protect myself without my gun. I was using that gun as a means to “feel” safer, but that didn’t make me safer. It was becoming a cliche I wanted to avoid.

I honestly evaluated myself and decided it was time to rip off that bandaid, throw out the crutch and walk on my own.

You should really go and read her whole essay.  It does turn mindset on it’s head.

Thanks, Melody.

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…