2014 in review

Posted: December 30, 2014 in Uncategorized

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,200 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 20 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.



Carrying a handgun in a daily basis is one of the surest ways to guarantee your personal safety. A concealed firearm gives you a tremendous advantage in surprise and as a force multiplier when confronted with a threat of death or great bodily injury. Having a firearm gives you options and puts you on equal footing or gives you an advantage against an armed attacker/opponent.

One disadvantage to concealed carry is having to downsize the amount of ammo available to you or when carrying a small or more compact firearm, the number of rounds are now limited. When in a training environment or on duty, carrying around 3 full magazines (or more) is quite common. Even though I carry 37 rounds of handgun ammunition with me, it was still a limited amount when you look at some of the sustained gunfights some law enforcement officers have been engaged in. While I hope to avoid a gun battle which requires me to reload, or reload more than one time, the possibility exists so we carry at least a pair of magazines. Some of my staff who work in one of our most dangerous inner city areas are now carrying 5 full magazines or a combo of the standard 3 mags with a backup gun.

While off duty or in civilian life, carrying 3 to 5 magazines is just impractical, uncomfortable and probably difficult to conceal. The question becomes, how much extra ammo (magazines) should I carry and why? Like choosing a gun to carry this is a personal choice and does not come with a blanket answer, though I will give you my recommendations. First of all it starts with the gun you carry… allow me to explain.

The first gun I carried concealed was a Glock 17. A single standard capacity magazine holds 17+1 rounds of 9mm ammo. When this was my daily carry gun, I rarely felt it necessary to take an additional 17 round magazine with me. Overtime as I transitioned to the smaller Sig P938, which has an optional 7+1 round magazine, I always carried a spare magazine to bring my total up to 14 rounds… and I was always nervous that maybe I should be carrying two additional magazines for the little thing.

Now that I have standardized on carrying my duty weapon at work and away from it, I have found that the 12+1 capacity is a good balance. Should I have to engage a threat I will have a sufficient supply of ammo already in the handgun, however, I do carry an additional magazine (sometimes two) at all times, but not for the primary reason you might think.

Okay, so the primary reason to carry a spare magazine is to have more rounds available, there is an additional reason you should consider carrying a spare. Reliability! When working with quality semi-auto handguns, the primary reasons they fail to function or fire is typically caused by the magazine. More than any other reason, almost every failure I’ve experience has been to a faulty mag, with the poor quality of design being secondary followed by a broken or worn extractor and lastly by a worn out recoil spring.

If you find yourself in a situation where you need your firearm to save your life or the life of another, it has to work. If you have a faulty magazine that does not seat properly, or have sufficient spring tension to feed the handgun, you will be using a single shot firearm with an immediate action drill between shots. If there is a function problem right away, consider dumping the faulty magazine and inserting a different one. When proverbial excrement hits the oscillating device, you need a gun that functions and having a spare magazine with you, might be the difference between longevity and terminal lead poisoning.

There is one more primary thing to consider when contemplating how many rounds you need to carry. Ability! Probably more important than Reliability, your Ability to make hits with the rounds you have will stop the threat faster.

Wyatt Earp who carried a single action revolver (and won gun fights with it) said it best, “Fast is fine, but accurate is final.” Despite the old west movies we see on TV, cowboys and gunslingers weren’t throwing volumes of fire across town. Having only 6 rounds in a single action revolver back in a day where ammo was unreliable or reloading meant packing powder and balls into individual cylinders, one’s Ability to get good accurate shots on target first was more desirable than more capacity.

When I teach my Defensive Handgun courses I spend a lot of time emphasizing the holes on the target that fall outside the lines. I do this for two reasons: The first is the liability side of the training. You are going to be accountable for each and every round that leaves the barrel of your handgun. Each round that strays from the target is going to hit something, and I ask my students write me a check for $10 million dollars for each “miss.” While this seems silly, it is a teachable moment that allows me to explain to them that they were shooting faster than they were capable, and as a result, are going to incur at the minimum some financial loss… and if the stray round hits someone unintended, the financial loss will pale in comparison.

It is very important to emphasize that a fast draw speed and rapid shots are important skills to develop, but not at the expense of accuracy. I’d rather be the slower gunfighter that strikes my opponent and begins delivering debilitating injury first than be quick on the trigger and wind up as a bullet trap.

As a trainer I will push my students and simulate stress to the best of my ability because I need to know and my students need to know where their failure point is. They need to know that three rapid shots are good hits but a fourth shot is more than they can manage and results in a miss. This is a performance threshold that must be established.

Do you know what your performance threshold is? If you do not, you need to seek out a competent handgun trainer in your area and find the limits of your ability. If you know your performance threshold, how are you training to overcome it and raise the bar higher? Is it time for you to also seek some training? While you are training, you may also discover the capabilities and limits of the handgun you have chosen to carry and find out if the round count and spare magazines you have chosen are sufficient for your perceived needs.

Whatever you decide, spend some time contemplating the questions I have posed. I applaud you for taking personal protection seriously and I firmly believe more armed citizens make society safer. Carrying a handgun is not a decision that is to be taken lightly and equipment selection and set up should be well thought out.

With 2015 just around the corner analyze your Ability and plan to take at least one course in the new year to maintain and increase your proficiency.

Merry Christmas, I hope you have a safe holiday season.

Scott S – One Weapon Any Tool


When we talk about personal defense, self-defense and shooting situations, most of the discussions I read online or conversations with people rarely include the possibility that you will be injured or severely wounded as a result of an encounter. Whether it be a physical altercation, or a gunfight the odds are you will not walk away from either unscathed. Dynamic confrontations require a plan, good fitness, and the ability to maintain the initiative. We’ve talked a lot about these aspects in previous articles (and will do so again I’m sure), so the focus of our discussion today is what to do in the immediate aftermath.

When the fight ends, everyone in the personal defense world begins calmly talking about how to call 911, identify yourself as a friendly citizen, and what to say to attorneys. What really happens after a dynamic confrontation is that you slowly start to regain your senses as your parasympathetic nervous system reasserts its authority and begins to mitigate the adrenaline, cortisol and the other chemicals dumped into your system to prepare you for the life threatening encounter you were just involved in. While you should call 911 and prepare for long hours of interviews, that is an unrealistic immediate response.

After you are certain the threat has ended, the first thing you are going to be concerned with is a self-assessment. Are you okay? Are the people around you (loved ones) okay as well? To conduct a thorough self-assessment you will need to do so physically, not just visually. You may be fighting the effects of tunnel vision and a quick scan of yourself or loved ones may not be enough to detect injury. Once you are safe and if shots were fired then you need to holster your weapon, take the palm of your hand and sweep it over each quadrant of your body. After each sweep, hold your palm up to your face and check for blood. If you are shot, there is a strong possibility that you may not even know it due to your body’s stress response.

As you all know, handguns in particular are not effective at killing, and you can be shot with a handgun caliber (several times) and survive. Case in point: While working in our corrections division I met an inmate who was shot 8 times and left for dead by a drug dealer she had robbed earlier, yet she survived and was one of the toughest fighters I’ve ever met in the county jail system. Yes, I said she… a female.

In 2006 there was another suspect who engaged the police in a gunfight and was shot 17 times, 11 of which exited his body. He had a broken arm from a .40S&W round but was still able to resist arrest even after the shooting stopped.

Shot does not equal dead and when you are training, make sure that you emphasize this, especially during force on force training encounters. Also make sure that when you are training practice shooting more than 1 or 2 rounds each time you draw. It may take a lot of rounds to stop a threat.

Shot means keep fighting and in the real world pain = life = ability to fight on! Never give up!

So in your immediate aftermath if you find that you are wounded, it is time to begin addressing your medical condition and taking action to make sure you are around to tell your side of the story. If you are hit, what do you have as a part of your Every Day Carry (EDC) to address trauma and to stop hemorrhaging. The leading cause of death on today’s battlefield is uncontrolled hemorrhaging so getting the bleeding stopped is top priority. Unless you carry a backpack or purse you might not have your trauma kit handy so improvisation is key.

How much medical expertise do you possess to diagnose and render basic first aid or trauma aid to yourself or a buddy? When was the last time you attended a training course that supplemented your firearms training? Shooting course are great but you need to be well rounded when it comes to personal protection and self-defense. While I hope the plan you worked out in advanced is successful we cannot ever overlook reasonable contingencies.

One of the simplest ways to be sure is to add a small Individual First Aid Kit (IFAK) to your everyday carry items. A backpack is part of my daily carry and I’m never far from it, so keeping an IFAK handy is simple. Women can easily add a small kit to a purse but not everyone has the luxury of a backpack, purse of briefcase so a pocket kit might be an option.

You can keep it as simple as an Israeli or H&H bandage, a SWAT-T tourniquet, a pair of gloves and some Quick-Clot gauze, which will all fit easily into a pocket and will cover you for a short amount of time if you are significantly injured. A lot of companies are making small kits that fit on your belt and are easier to conceal than your firearm. Whatever kit you choose, make sure you are familiar with the contents and how to properly apply them. If you have never heard of any of the items I’ve listed above, perhaps you should consider taking a training course on First Aid / CPR and some Tactical Medical training.

Whatever you decide make sure the kits and contents you buy are from a quality source and manufacturer. If you have some medical training you can assemble a kit yourself to better customize the size and contents suited to you as long as you remember your life is on the line, so make sure you have good kit!

As a disclaimer I want to make sure you are qualified and capable of administering the level of care you are providing. Medical negligence occurs when you exceed the scope of your knowledge and training when applying treatment so I cannot emphasize the importance of training. When you attend a course take your kit with you and have it evaluated by the instructor. Several of the courses I have been to give you a kit to take with you as well as use the contents found in that kit during the training.

As we close, I also want you to consider one more thing. In the aftermath of a shooting, if you come out unscathed and use lethal force to stop someone who is an imminent threat of death or great bodily injury, you might need to use your medical training to save the life of the suspect. While it may be hard for you to help someone who was trying to hurt you, it is a possibility you may encounter. In the investigation and review of the shooting by a District Attorney, it may bode well for you if you rendered aid. There are a lot of variables that go into rendering aid to a suspect after an incident so think through the possibilities on your own and develop a plan now.

When the fight is over, the immediate aftermath is about saving lives.

Be safe,

Scott S

One Weapon Any Tool – www.oneweaponanytool.com

Your mind is the weapon, everything else is a tool.

If you are interested in medical training, please call or email oneweaponanytool@gmail.com


H&H Medical Corporation: www.gohandh.com

Dark Angel Medical: www.darkangelmedical.com

Chinook Medical: www.chinookmed.com

Skinny Medic: www.skinnymedic.com


Distraction Devices

When we deploy with our Special Response Team, prior to creating a breach point or a dynamic entry, they deploy (usually several) distraction devices to cover the movements, and to confuse the direction of the intrusion. A distracted opponent makes it easy to gain the initiative by exploiting their divided attention. While a flashbang device is loud, bright and can be disorienting it is not fatal, however, there is another distraction device almost every American deploys every day that is far more dangerous and deadly to you. It divides your attention, distracts you and allows those with evil intentions to get close enough to victimize you: Cell phone

I recently had the privilege of sitting in on a debrief of a SWAT and Negotiator call out conducted by the Las Vegas Metro Police Department. During this particular incident the young woman who was victimized was returning from the grocery store. She lived alone in an upstairs apartment with a narrow staircase that led to a small landing. The front door faced the parking lot where her car was parked. The young woman was talking on her cell phone as she unloaded her bags of groceries. Carrying the bags upstairs while conversing with her sister on the phone she was totally unaware that a sex offender was walking nearby and took notice.

The suspect was completely unrelated to the victim and had a history of assault and sex charges. He, like many criminals saw the lovely young lady and due to his mental disorder and sick propensities he saw an opportunity to gratify himself. He watched as she parked, continued talking and then proceeded to further divide her attention by unloading. By the time the young lady reached the landing, opened the front door and carried in her groceries, he had closed the distance, walked (almost directly behind her) up the same narrow stairs and walked directly into her apartment closing the door behind her, trapping her alone inside.

Now think about your daily routine and how frequently you carry, use and look at your cell phone. I have a few friends who might as well have it surgically implanted in their hand since it is never more than a few inches away and always on. Every time it blinks, rings, or pings they can instantaneously draw it form their pocket, clip or case and be reading the latest Facebook update faster than you could ever draw your concealed weapon. Just imagine how good you would be if you could get your gun out as fast as you could get your phone out.

When you are walking down the street or sitting on a subway are you looking at the people around you and staying aware or have you completely zoned out and tuned out everything around you? When you are jogging or working out and have your headphones in, have you completely shut out one of your 5 senses? Hearing is vital to your survival and neuroscience shows us you will react faster to stimuli you hear versus one you see.

Now ask yourself, what information on that device is so critical to know that you would shut down your Sympathetic Nervous System responses necessary to your survival? Humans are not good at multi-tasking so anything that divides your focus is going to have a negative impact on your awareness.

Why would you tune out the mannerisms, movements and threat indicators just to look at a picture of your friend’s latest meal? Is viewing a picture of a cheeseburger worth getting beat up and robbed over? One of our patrol divisions monitors the bus service in the county and I remember seeing a video from one of the forward facing cameras where a bus was making a right turn and a guy walking down the street looking at his cell phone (with headphones in) stepped right off the curb and walked directly in front of the bus. While he survived, it was a perfect example of his distraction device working perfectly… costing him awareness, common sense and a severe injury.

Fortunately for the young lady in the incident above, when the suspect shut the door she started screaming. Her sister on the other end of the phone felt something was wrong, listened to her intuition and contacted the LVMPD, provided the address where the victim lived and ultimately saved her sister’s life. While the young lady survived, the distraction device that allowed the assault to take place still extracted a price. While the SWAT team responded and negotiators made contact and ultimately shot the suspect (who lived) and surrendered, he had several hours barricaded in the apartment, alone with her. She was sexually assaulted and battered and ultimately will be scarred for life physically and emotionally.

While I cannot say that the reason this incident occurred was due to the cell phone distraction, I can say with 100% certainty that it played a major role in her ability to perceive and react to the environment around her and was also a cue the suspect picked up on and an opportunity he took advantage of.

While I’m harping on the cell phone there are many things around us daily that divert our attention away from our personal safety. Be it a tablet, music device, phone or computer, make sure you stay aware of who is moving around you. While I understand the need to stay in contact, respond to emails and post pictures of your food, make sure that every other sentence you glance around.

Stay aware, stay safe and don’t get distracted. Your safety depends on it.

Scott S

One Weapon, Any Tool

Visit us at: www.oneweaponanytool.com or on Facebook and Twitter @1weaponanytool

What is the value of training?

Posted: November 9, 2014 in Uncategorized

Another excellent article from our WordPress associates. The Tactical Prof always has sage advice.


Firearms instructors are periodically asked the question “Why should I take training?” The answer often comes in the form of a list of skills that are taught or the reasoning behind using a certain technique. However, these do not address the underlying fundamental reasons for taking firearms training at all.

  1. You don’t know what you don’t know.
  2. Much of what you know is wrong.
  3. It’s good to have some of the answers to the test before taking it.

These issues relate to both technical competency with using a firearm (gun safety and marksmanship) and the ability to use the firearm correctly in a personal protection situation (legal and tactical).

You don’t know what you don’t know.

Shooters who only take their gun to an indoor range once a year “to sight it in” generally have a highly ‘cocooned’ knowledge of firearms. They know how to operate a firearm in a…

View original post 1,037 more words

Excellent article!

Staying Safe

The words see and look may be synonyms in everyday conversations but when it comes to observation and situational awareness, the words have two different meanings. Look is defined as “to direct your eyes in a particular direction,”[1] while see is defined as “to notice or become aware of (someone or something) by using your eyes.”[2] The biggest difference between the two is that looking is passive and seeing is active. Due to the type of society we live in, most of us don’t have to worry minute to minute about our safety. Abraham Maslow identified safety as the second layer in his hierarchy of needs. Since most of us generally have this need met, we tend to have poor observation skills. That is to say, we look at, instead of see our surroundings. This is also amplified by the amount of distractions the technological age has brought…

View original post 616 more words


Everyone is equipped with a unique early warning radar deep inside of them that has been described many different ways. Some call it a “gut feeling,” others call it, “instinct,” or a “sixth sense.” Regardless of the name you assign it, and for the purposes of this article I will call it your Intuition, we all have it. How credible your Intuition is and whether or not you trust or ignore this is a result of your conscious mind overriding your subconscious. Let’s take a few minutes and talk about what this “sixth sense,” is and how it works.

We have to start with what experts call the baseline. The day to day world you live and interact within has several objects, people, locations etc. Each of these has a proper place and a pre-defined role in the social and spatial order. Humans in particular have a series of universal behaviors that are common across every culture. Each culture however has its own unique baseline, so what you define as “normal,” in your neighborhood, school or work life is very abnormal to someone who lives in another country. Imagine for a second that you were whisked away to Japan… There would be a host of unusual sights, signals, customs, and people that are very abnormal to an American. You would stick out, and be very uncomfortable in this diverse and unusual setting until you lived and worked there for a while and developed a new baseline of behaviors you would consider to be the norm.

Living in your baseline allows you to recognize mostly unconsciously things that are abnormal or out of place. These objects or people stick out and you notice them because they are an anomaly to you. Think about how many things you do daily and do not even notice. Have you ever driven your car to work and not remembered how you got there? Chances are this is because your baseline environment was intact and nothing spoiled it, so you didn’t notice it. Have you ever had a favorite store or restaurant you frequent and one day you walk in and it’s under new ownership. Suddenly the people are different, the service, the décor and the menu are all anomalies.

Living in your baseline environment and interacting with people who follow the social norms in your baseline allow us to live basically on autopilot as long as nothing abnormal or unexpected occurs. These variances are called anomalies. An anomaly is something that is or is not happening or someone or something that should be or should not be present. When you detect a behavioral anomaly your mind begins looking at the universal human behaviors like subterfuge, aggression, dishonesty, passivism, submission, etc. People in your baseline life give off body language cues you do not even know you are detecting and based on what you are subconsciously perceiving, you are conducting a threat analysis.

Over the recent series of articles we have looked at the brain and how it scans for threats and functions under stress. Before you initiate a stress induced response (before the fight) you scan your environment and interact with it. Each and every thing or person you see gets processed through your Amygdala. Based on your prior experiences in life living in your baseline environment your brain decides if who or what you are looking at is a threat. If something is a threat a series of chemical and physiological things occur and your programming takes over.

If you see something or someone that does not appear to be dangerous or threatening but based on your subconscious ability to analyze human behavior your mind will initiate another physiological response. Rather than an adrenaline dump, accelerated heart rate or fight/flight/freeze response, your subconscious will turn the data over to your conscious mind for further processing. As the more advanced parts of your brain try to interpret the signals you will begin to feel discomfort. This can be in the form of an ominous or wary feeling, as itchy or hypersensitive skin, or pressure in your abdomen. You begin to get those “gut feelings,” or an Intuition about a person, area or object.

Intuition is your early warning radar that tells you what you are seeing, or who you are talking to has danger potential that is not immediately obvious. It could be that lone stranger that comes in just before closing at night when you are alone in the store, or the unfamiliar group of teenagers hanging out you’ve never seen before. It could be the overly friendly stranger who wants to help you too much or is just a bit too charming. Each of those examples above are in and of themselves nothing unusual. The guy who comes in at the last minute before closing could be there to buy a last minute gift or he could be plotting to follow you for nefarious reasons. The group of teens could be a youth group from a local church or a gang looking for easy prey. The charming strange who offers to carry your bag to your door could be a Good Samaritan or he could be trying to get you alone.

What separates the good and bad intentions is the subtle but detectable cues they display. When their intentions are honest you will perceive it and you will be trusting and open. Humans are terrible at lying and honesty is a virtue that is readily recognized. The bad or evil intentions can be masked, but your subconscious will kick in and recognize these hidden intentions and activate your intuition. While your higher brain processes the intuitive feelings, you stand at the threshold of decision.

Eventually you will come to a point where you will have to act based on what you see, hear, sense and recognize. You have the option of listening to your intuition or suppressing it. I have met dozens of people who have said to me, ‘If only I’d listened to my guts, then _____ would not have happened.” I see this often in the police culture I live and work within. Veteran cops know that when they contact a suspect and get a “bad feeling,” there is a good reason why. Usually they know this because early in their career they ignored, suppressed or overrode that phantom feeling and ended up getting in a fight, hurt, injured or worse.

People who listen to their intuition usually do not regret it. I’ve never met anyone that said, I had this feeling it would turn out badly and I’m glad I got screwed over. Listening to your intuition gives you a chance to extricate yourself from an area, confront or challenge the intentions of a person or begin to transition to your defensive plan. When you suppress or ignore your minds subconscious defensive mechanisms, be prepared for the consequences.

There is one major problem with intuition, and that is too is developed based on life experience. Kids who grow up in dangerous areas or with abusive families usually have a more developed “threat database,” to draw from. They have “Thick File Folders,” from having spent a lot of time in their lives in a fight/flight/freeze cycle. Being able to glean underlying intent for violence early on helped them survive or escape. Just like building schema or behavioral threat recognition patterns, sharpening your intuition can be done.

The key thing to remember is to trust yourself. You have the world’s most amazing super computer between your ears and it is feeding you self-preservation data constantly. Make good use of that data and stay safe!

Train hard and remember: Your mind is the weapon, everything else is just a tool!

Stay safe, Godspeed

Scott S