Tag: personal defense

Collateral Damage in the Culture War


There is an air of incivility in American society today: A simple elevator ride can turn in a lecture on social justicean editor of Think Progress is calling for people to “confront Republicans where they eat, where they sleep and where they work” and simply wearing a hat in a restaurant can touch off a violent attack.

Which got me thinking: What would I do if I were in a restaurant and a politically-based fight broke out as I was eating? Would I get involved if, say, a political argument broke out and it degenerated into fisticuffs? Would my reaction be different if I was by myself, or if it happened when I was with my family? What would I do if the fistfight turned even more violent and lethal force was clearly about to be used? Would I use lethal force in that situation? How far would I be willing to go to defend not only my life but my ideals as well?

Member Post


NeverTrumper and Trumpista alike should read this. It’s one of best articles I’ve read (and I have read a LOT of them) on the thought process that goes along with choosing to be your own first responder.  It’s a myth that gun owners despise regulation. Instead, they tend to believe that government regulation should have […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

Weapons of a War That Was Too Close to Home


After a senseless tragedy like what happened in Sutherland Springs last week, the gun-control crowd will inevitably complain about the “weapons of war” on the streets of America; by that, they mean the AR-15 semiautomatic rifle. This is a silly, silly argument because almost every gun in existence, from the handgonnes of the 14th century to Kentucky long rifles to Samuel Colt’s revolver to today’s AR-15, was first used on the battlefield. For centuries, the general populace has used these guns for the same reasons that soldiers use them: to defend lives and protect what is near and dear to them.

My father-in-law was one of those men. He served in the Army in World War II, then worked for the Forest Service in the Tonto Basin of Arizona until he retired 40 years later.

What to Look for in a Firearms Trainer


I constantly see signs by freeway exit ramps advertising concealed carry permit classes for ridiculously low prices. While I completely understand how money (or the lack thereof) can affect buying decisions, when you’re choosing a firearms instructor, you are choosing someone to teach you how to potentially save your life and the lives of those close to you. So, choosing the cheapest one available makes as much sense as choosing the cheapest skydiving instructor.

The minimum amount of training needed to teach concealed carry in many states is instructor certifications in NRA Basic Pistol and NRA Personal Protection Inside the Home. This is the bare minimum, though, and a good instructor will have many, many more hours of classes beyond this. Aside from this minimum, what else should you look for in a good firearms trainer?

  1. Someone who lists their sources. I’ve taken classes from major training centers that never mention anyone other than the people associated with their school. They taught the Color Code without mentioning it was Col. Jeff Cooper who came up with that idea. They also taught the Weaver Stance without saying who invented it, giving their student the impression that everything we know about firearms training was their idea. The fact of the matter is everyone who trains people in the safe use of firearms owes a huge debt to those who have gone before us, and acknowledging that debt is a sign of a trainer who is interested in imparting knowledge, not creating followers.
  2. Someone who has multiple sources. The broader the trainer’s knowledge base, the more options they have to diagnose and correct a student’s issue with learning to shoot well. Also, trainers who have a wide variety of sources tend to come up with more innovative and effective training techniques because they are not hidebound to one way of thinking. Also, look for instructors who have taken courses that require a measured, standardized test of some sort to become an instructor, such as Rangemaster or Massad Ayood Group, because that introduces an element of intellectual rigor and accountability into their teaching process.
  3. Someone with relevant training. I have nothing but the greatest respect for our military and law enforcement, but the jobs they perform are different than the job I have. The firearms training they receive, therefore, is to accomplish a different task than the task I need to accomplish. If the firearms instructor you’re considering has combat experience or is a seasoned police officer, that’s fine. Just make sure they also have training that augments what they’ve learned in the service and helps translate that service in a way that is useful to we armed citizens.
  4. Someone who competes on a regular basis. Nothing will show what is working and what needs improvement than shooting a practical pistol match. Even some of the most elite troops in the Army have learned that performing a simple task like hitting a target 10 yards away becomes a Herculean feat under the simulated stress of a timer and the gaze of your peers. Competing in a practical pistol match helps you apply what you learn in shooting class to a situation that more closely resembles the street because, as noted trainer Massad Ayoob once said, a shooting match is not a gunfight, but a gunfight is most definitely a shooting match.
  5. Someone who encourages wider training. Simply put, any instructor who doesn’t encourage you to train with other trainers has his own best interests at heart, not yours. No one firearms instructor has this all figured out, and if your trainer is not comfortable with you learning from other instructors, he’s more worried about repeat business than the growth of his students.
  6. Someone who is also committed to learning. If the last class your instructor took was during the Bush administration (the George H.W. Bush administration), their techniques are probably not the ones you want to learn. An instructor who has recently taken classes from another instructor will have more current, effective teaching methods that use more modern theories of instructional learning and firearms technique.

Lastly, your instructor should focus on the teaching the students who are in his or her class, versus standing up in front of them and going through the motions. A firearms instructor who’s committed to excellence will also be committed to instilling that drive for excellence in his or her students, making them safer, more prepared gun owners.

Lessons from London


Claire and Jon have discussed what those of us on the west side of pond should or should not say to the Brits about the efficacy (or lack thereof) of a culture of victimhood when it comes to battling Islamic terrorism. I thought I’d offer a few pointers that might be of use in preventing such a situation from happening to readers of Ricochet.

Police officer and Marine Corps combat veteran Chris Hernandez talks about the history and effectiveness of such attacks, and Greg Ellifritz (one of the smartest guys out there right now in the gun training world) has some great info on what you and I can do right now to lessen our chances of being a victim.

Our Diversity Is Our Strength


shutterstock_143305756Connecting a few dots here…

Violent Islamic terrorists and often-violent Black Lives Matter hangers-on are self-organizing through peer-to-peer networks, and as a result, they can strike quicker and faster than governments can manage. Terrorists are agile, while the blue-state model of government is not. Terrorist live in a post-industrial world while our first responders still hobble around in the outmoded, industrial-age shackles of centralized, top-down planning and strategy.

But it doesn’t need to be that way. Thanks to the empowerment of the Internet and the smartphone, we are becoming less and less reliant on central government for how we live our lives. Why, therefore, can’t we use peer-to-peer networking and decentralized response to our advantage? Just as Uber and AirBnB turn our consumer goods into something that helps others, we can turn the smartphone and the concealable defensive pistol into something that protects ourselves and others. We have smartphone apps that can show us the stupid places where stupid people are doing the stupid things that might get us in trouble, and we have apps that will summon help from our friends if we chose to ignore the warning signs and go there anyways or if bad things happen to us despite all our planning. We can carry a portable, concealable means of defending ourselves and our loved ones from lethal force and also carry a portable, concealable means of keeping people alive if the worst happens and lethal force is used against us.

Group Therapy


shutterstock_39383All across America, interest in the shooting sports is booming. Gun sales set new records month after month, and target-shooting is one of the biggest reasons why people are buying guns, along with competition and self-defense. Safely shooting guns is a very enjoyable activity, which is one big advantage we gun owners have over those who seek to take away our guns. After all, have you ever seen anyone smiling at an “Everytown for Gun Safety” meeting?

Me neither.

Going to the range is fun, but going to the range and doing well is even more fun. It’s like golf: When you play a round of golf, at the very least, you’re spending a pleasant afternoon outside with your friends. But playing a round of golf when you sink a tough putt or knocking one out of the tee box that seems to go on forever makes a pleasant afternoon with friends even better, and just like golf, consistent results are the key to better performance.

What’s In A Name?


quote-know-the-enemy-and-know-yourself-in-a-hundred-battles-you-will-never-be-defeated-sun-tzu-310915Over at The Corner, Jim Talent has a terrific post on the Democrats’ willful blindness regarding the ongoing threat of Islamic terrorism:

It’s hard to overcome any problem in your life if you refuse to recognize essential elements of the problem; in fact, one of the first objects of psychotherapists is to get their patients to face the real issues that are disabling them. It’s even harder to win a war if you won’t permit yourself to recognize whom you’re fighting — and not only because, as a practical matter, you have to know your enemy to properly assess his plans and tactics

Until the Democrats realize that our enemies mean what they say and say what they mean, they can’t be taken seriously on national security. In ISIS’s own words, the real reason they are attacking us isn’t because of global warming, Gitmo, a YouTube video, or the designated hitter rule. ISIS is attacking us because we exist, and because our values are different than theirs.

Pay Attention to What You’re Paying Attention To


shutterstock_216207001There’s been a tremendous increase in firearms ownership in America in the past few years. From concern over the availability of firearms under this political climate to the threat of active shooters, Americans are arming themselves more and more as of late.

Arming yourself with a gun, however, is an optional checkpoint on the road to personal security. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: A firearm is not a talisman against evil, it requires a skilled and determined operator to be effective. If you’ve decided that a gun should be a part of your personal security inside and outside the home, get the training you need to safely own and/or carry your gun, and then get some more. After all, no one ever survived a gunfight thinking “Wow, did I ever overtrain for that!”

Before buying a gun, however, consider all the other things in your lifestyle that might be points of vulnerability in your life. Using a firearm to defend your life should be, in the words of Massad Ayoob, only in the gravest extreme*. If it’s possible to avoid a situation where a gun is needed, do so first, last, and foremost.

First Gun, Favorite Gun, Next Gun?


working_gun-2The Ricochet community includes many responsible gun owners, from hunters to law enforcement, military personnel to weekend target shooters, Second Amendment enthusiasts to those just wanting personal protection. Borrowing from Jon Gabriel, what was your first gun, your favorite gun, and your next gun?

By “favorite,” I mean in terms of sentimental value, i.e., the gun that shows up the most in the lies stories that you tell.


You Are Your Own Safe Space


property-rightsGrant Cunningham, who’s one of the most-respected firearms trainers out there today, had an interesting post last month about what really keeps us safe:

With such limited application, there is no way the gun can really keep you safe — it’s all the other stuff you do that keeps you safe; the gun simply gives you a way out when things go horrendously bad. The gun has often been compared to a fire extinguisher: does a fire extinguisher prevent fires? Of course not. It’s just a tool to allow immediate response in case one breaks out.

Preventing fires in and around your residence is pretty easy. We all recognize the iconic image of Smokey the Bear and his message about putting out campfires and we know not to let our kids play with matches. When my oldest was in Boy Scouts, we drew up a fire escape plan for our house, and then we — out of all the families in the pack — also drew up a home invasion plan that laid out where our safe room was and what he and the rest of the family should do if a there was a “bad guy” (Or guys. Or gals.) in the house.

7 Essential Accessories for Your New Defensive Pistol


shutterstock_294491978Choosing to carry a gun on a regular basis is a very big decision. You’ve realized, along with a growing number of people, that there may not be a policeman around when you need one, and you’ve concluded that you have the temperament needed to safely carry a gun.

Deciding to take care of your own personal safety is crucial because you are, and always will be, your own first responder. Carrying a pistol with you, concealed or not, allows for more options in defense of your life that not having a firearm gives you. For most of us, the chances are slim that we’ll ever need a gun to defend our lives, and that is a very good thing indeed. It’s not the odds of having a lethal force encounter that matter, but rather the stakes — and the stakes when guns are involved are extremely high for everyone.

So what other things might you need to accompany a concealed carry pistol to help keep you safe?

Safe At Home


If you’re a gun owner, there will come a time when you’ll hear someone tell you that “You don’t need a pistol or an ‘assault rifle,’ just get yourself a shotgun for home defense.” Chances are the person offering that advice won’t be the current Vice President of the United States, but nevertheless, a shotgun or a rifle brings two things to the table that a defensive handgun just can’t.

1. Firepower. A 12 gauge shotgun firing 00 buckshot throws twelve .33 caliber lead pellets at one time into its unfortunate target. Ouch. A 55 grain .223 bullet weighs significantly less than a buckshot load, but it’s traveling at a tremendous speed that allows it to impart a lot of force on-target, far more than common handgun calibers. In short, when it comes to firepower, pistols are pistols, and long guns are long guns.