Posts Tagged ‘firearms’

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In the majority of my articles I discuss the importance of training, reasons why you need to train regularly, and how to find quality trainers. While taking a course from a local certified instructor is very important, as is practicing what you learn on the range, this week I’m going to give you a couple of tried and true methods for improving your firearms skills on your own through the Stare, Study & Steal methodology.

While this method focuses on your visual side of learning, it will help all types of learners since your brain will capture and store the images and what you see you can practice for the tactile learners and usually when watching there is an explanation which will help my auditory learners as well.

The first step is to select a highly skilled source to stare at. I like to watch professional shooters on TV, Youtube and even some of their instructional DVDs because these guys and gals are at the top of their game and have solid foundations that make them successful shooters. Some of my favorites you can watch and glean knowledge from are Max Michel, Jerry Miculek, Pat Rogers, Travis Haley, Jessie Abbate Keith Garcia and Chris Costa.

When I say stare that is exactly what I mean… Watch them closely with a critical eye so you can pick out small details and movements that make them successful in their craft. Hit the pause button and look at how they grip the gun. Observe the direction their feet are pointed, how they bend their knees and how they walk. Watch in slow motion how they manage the recoil of the gun, and look into their eyes as they fixate on the front site. Watch how they lean and how much of a bend is in their elbows. Stare and take mental photos of what you are seeing.

Study each individual movement and if you have to, make notes in a notebook so when it is time for you to practice later when you do not have a video player. Deep, focused and intense staring and studying is a great way for you to lay the basic mental foundations of good habits.

Like boxers and football players watching films of how other perform and how you perform gives you a valuable insight into strengths and weaknesses. Teams watch hours of footage of how other teams play looking for gaps in their defensive line, looking for weaker players they can exploit and stronger players to cover or avoid.

Boxers and UFC fighters study themselves looking for ways to deliver more effective strikes, how to spot weaknesses in their own defenses.
Once you have watched, analyzed and made notes it is time to steal! Take the stance, grip, lean, run, focus and whatever else you see that can make you a better shooter and make it your own. There is no shame in stealing a technique or style that works for you. Find the critical pieces that you are missing or are not performing and add them to your training. Compare what you are doing to what the professionals are doing and see if their methods or techniques can improve yours.

If you have the opportunity film yourself when you go to the range and then use the same critical eye. Look for how you grip and stand versus the professionals. Find the subtle differences between how you do things and make notes. Then do some dry practice and then some live practice on your next trip to the range and correct those errors you are making and build good strong neural pathways.

There are a plethora of techniques and instructors so make sure you also apply a critical eye to the methods and techniques you choose to practice. Some techniques will work better for you than others due to your hand size, height, weight, etc.

This is one reason I also study female shooters because they typically have small frames and hands yet outshoot most men. Their methods of movement, how they set up their equipment and how they fight with a gun can give you a fresh perspective or technique guys wouldn’t normally consider. To be a great shooter you have to be willing stow your pride. You have to be willing to consider new ideas and be able to change your mind.

During the course of my career in being a shooter, and training shooters I’ve had to discard and pick up a lot of what was taught as “doctrine.” Having an open mind and being willing to stare, study and steal will give you marked improvement in a short amount of time.

Till next time, be safe and train hard!
Scott S

One Weapon Any Tool Firearms Training – Your mind is the weapon, everything else is a tool.
http://www.oneweaponanytool.com You can also find us on Facebook.

August 24th is Riflecraft: AR-15 Sign up today, space is limited.

October 18th Bob Mayne from Suarez International is coming to Northern California. Don’t miss this exciting opportunity to meet and train with Bob. To register visit: http://www.handgunworld.com

HARD-WORK

Training is Insulation

I’m constantly fascinated by how delicately intricate, yet powerful the human brain is. When I began my journey of becoming a teacher / trainer I never expected to find myself studying neurology. While becoming a brain surgeon is very low on my priority list, we can learn a lot from that field of research, particularly how to get the most out of our training sessions and how to develop a skill faster. One of the recent resources I have come across was a book called The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle. I’ve taken a few of the concepts he discusses in his book and applied them to firearms training in this article.

Make no illusions, there is no shortcut to success. Even in firearms training, to be successful at a fast draw time, accurate rapid shots, smoother reloads and weapon transitions, you will have to put in the work. You will have to work hard, and repeat these motions thousands of times. You will struggle, you will fail and you will achieve small successes, which are the stepping stones to the next success. As you practice and train do not let your current achievement become a plateau for you.

The good news about the above paragraph is that ANYONE can excel at almost any skill if you are willing to work at it. The more I study people, coaches, and training methods I’m convinced that natural talent does not exist. No one is born with an overwhelming skill set that makes them good at something. We are all unique and we all gravitate towards what interests us. Our interest turns into a desire to study, work, practice and develop a skill. That ongoing hard work and desire to be the best in the field we are immersed in, mixed with guidance will breed overwhelming success that people call, “talent.”

One example I want to point to is a young lady named Jessica Simpson. At 16 years old she hit the world stage with an amazing singing voice the media credited to her years in the church choir. I’ve seen a lot of good choirs, but none of those singers landed a multi-million dollar recording contract. What most people do not know is that Jessica who had a good voice, spent over five years from the age of 11 to 16 working with a voice coach, struggling, training, practicing and disciplining her voice. No one ever heard the flat notes, or the wavering vibrato behind the scenes, we only saw the smashing success and stunning talent that appeared, “out of nowhere,” that made Jessica an overnight success. Those years spent with her voice coach insulated the neural connections in her brain turning the microscopic threads into superhighways.

When you learn a new skill you make a connection between multiple neurons. In my article, “Training to Fight… Neurologically Speaking,” (oneweaponanytool.wordpress.com) we talked about learning how to ride a bike for the first time, how your brain made connections as you practiced and how it relegated tasks that required focus and conscious thought to your sub-conscious so you didn’t have to think anymore, you just hopped on and rode away.

While I touched on the concept before I want to expand on it now. Keep this in mind as we discuss training and talent: Your conscious brain can process about 40 tasks, your subconscious brain can process 11 million. What that means, is that while you are learning, you are using your conscious mind to grasp, struggle and work through a new skill set. Whether it be a good consistent trigger press, or a crisp drive from one target to another, the first few hundred times you try this… you had to think about it and slowly do it. Over time and through repetition, you can now perform this skill without having to put conscious thought into it.

This became a reality for me one night as a young deputy working a patrol beat. I was in a vehicle pursuit with a domestic violence suspect (who was also intoxicated). The pursuit ended when he crashed into a fence trying to get onto the freeway. I do not have any conscious memory of the following sequence of events: I stopped the car, put it in park, opened the door, took off my seat belt, and drew my firearm. All of those things happened automatically, because I had done all of them a thousand times. When I realized I was holding my handgun it stuck out to me, because I realized that my training kicked in when I needed it. The gun seemed to magically appear in my hand and I did not have to devote any conscious attention or split my focus to achieve that. It happened because I have a super highway, or a densely insulated neural connection in my brain that enabled that sequence of actions to occur.

This insulation is called Myelin. Myelin wraps itself around the nerves and aids in the accurate and precise transmission of electrical signals between the interconnected webs of neurons. The more myelin you have around a particular set of neurons, the more precise the movement and the faster it can occur. The way you build myelin is to practice, struggle, and training- pushing yourself to excel when you reach a plateau. You build myelin through hard work.

Before I give you delusions of grandeur about the astronomical capabilities you are capable of, there are two more key elements necessary to breed “talent.” The first is coaching or masterful guidance and the last is dedication through immersion.
Michael Phelps holds 14 gold medals (18 total) throughout the course of his Olympic career in the 2004 & 2008 summer games. While he stands at the top of the world in his sport, he didn’t get there on his own. There was one man who stood behind him as his primary coach and an assistant coach to the US Team, and I doubt most of you have ever heard the name of Bob Bowman. Bowman began his coaching career around 1986. It wasn’t until nearly a decade later that he met a young Michael Phelps at the North Baltimore Aquatic Club.

During his tenure in Baltimore, Bowman helped to produce 3 individual national champions, 10 national finalists and 5 USA National Team members. In recognition of his accomplishments, Bowman was named the USA’s Coach of the Year in 2001 and 2003. He was also named Developmental Coach of the Year in 2002.

It was also during his work at NBAC that Bowman began coaching 18-time Olympic medalist Michael Phelps. Under Bowman’s tutelage, Phelps won five World Championship gold medals and was named the American Swimmer of the Year in 2001 and 2003.
Bowman was named as an assistant coach on the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team, serving as the primary coach for Phelps. At the 2004 Games, Bowman helped coach Phelps to eight medals, including six gold medals and two bronze. Four years later, at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, he coached Phelps to achieve eight Olympic gold medals, which had never been done before in a single Olympics.

Without Bob Bowman, the world never would have heard of Michael Phelps. Without an experienced and dedicated coach, Michael Phelps might not have broken records and earned Olympic gold. Without a lot of hard work, under the watchful eye of an experienced instructor or teacher who pushed, prodded, encouraged, criticized, corrected and maintained the same amount of dedication as the pupil, Michael Phelps would never have made it to the World Championships, let alone the Olympic team.

Hard work and practice only go so far. You need a coach or a teacher to fine tune you towards success. When I started shooting, I thought I was pretty good. I grew up with guns and had spent a fair amount of my own money at shooting ranges throwing lead into paper targets. I found out during my police training that I was actually a terrible shooter with mediocre skills compared to the training staff who had over 150 years of combined experience. Over the next 80+ hours I was corrected, pushed, coached, guided, praised and criticized until I emerged near the top of my class and could consistently shoot in the 90th percentile. That training is ongoing and I’ve logged at least another 100+ hours since then just at work.

Over the last 14 years of continual training at work, on my own, and under the guidance of other top shooters in my area did I really start to achieve what I deemed success at the shooting sports. I could have never gotten to where I am today without top notch instructors helping me. Looking back I realize what I thought was good…was deplorable and I’m grateful for the energy and effort I was blessed to receive. Due to that time, I am now able to step into the role of teacher, counselor and coach for new and developing shooters.

When you seek to develop and become a good shooter it would behoove you to seek a competent trainer and coach. You don’t know what you don’t know and having an experienced eye to watch you, correct and encourage you will help you develop the skills you seek and build good myelin insulation.

Finally you will need to be motivated to succeed. I would be willing to bet that Jessica Simpson was less than enthusiastic about going to her voice coach every time she had a lesson scheduled. I bet Michael Phelps looked at his snooze button more than a few times before his early morning practice sessions… yet both found the motivation to succeed.

The best and easiest way to maintain your focus is by immersing yourself in your chosen sport/career/interest. As a shooter and firearms trainer I am immersed or surrounded by my interest. For example, I carry a gun daily which makes me constantly aware of concealment methods, belts and holsters. At every opportunity to dry practice or live fire practice, I do it. I read about firearms and attend trade shows so I can see what the market looks like and where the future of firearms is going. I read magazines, watch DVDs, and attend classes and try to stay up on trends, tactics and equipment. I buy tools and accessories and test and evaluate them to see if I should be doing something better or can a piece of kit help me do it better. My friends and assistant instructors share the same passions and we can debate endless hours about different firearms, accessories, training methods, techniques, ad nauseam.

I’m motivated to train because I’m surrounded by like-minded individuals who also challenge me, encourage me and hold my interest in my chosen lifestyle of personal protection and training.

There will be friction, there will be failure and success comes in tiny, sometimes almost imperceptible increments. Consider why there are only a handful of top performers in every sport or art worldwide. I truly believe it is because they pressed on even when they did not notice small successes. They pressed on when they mastered one skill and were pushed and guided by a coach or teacher to do better.

There are a lot of boxers with Golden Glove Titles… only a few with a world championship belt. The path to success is getting from one failure to the next. I call this friction, or things that grind against me or obstacles I have to push past to achieve my goals. Friction is hot, it hurts and is discouraging, but it can be overcome.

For more information on the study of myelin and how to develop talent, I encourage you to pick up a book called: The Talent Code written by: Daniel Coyle. The book was the primary inspiration for this article and he goes into much greater depth about all of the topics I’ve touched on above. Daniel Coyle does not discuss the shooting sports, but his chapters on golf, soccer and baseball have strong correlations.

You can do it, you will have to work at it… it’s not going to be easy, but with a good cadre and laser focus you can succeed. Never give up in training, or in a fight!

Be safe, God bless – Train on!
Scott S
Founder, One Weapon Any Tool http://www.oneweaponanytool.com or on Facebook!

Upcoming Classes:
August 9th is Pistol Craft 1: Basic Pistol in Valley Springs
August 26th is Riflecraft: AR-15
October 18th Bob Mayne from the Handgunworld Podcast is coming to California! Register for this special event at: http://www.handgunworld.com

hard work ahead

 

 

As a teacher / trainer I cannot emphasize enough the differences between these two common words. When you go to the range, hang your target and fire a hundred rounds through the paper into the berm, it is easy to get into the mindset that you are “training.” I would disagree with that assessment of your time by calling it “practice,” and here is why.

When I’m looking to learn something new, or improve on a skill, I seek out an instructor who can teach me that skill, hone a skill I have, or push me to my failure point so I know where to work from. Training requires a knowledgeable, subject matter expert who can break down a complex task into a series of steps a student can comprehend and work on. During training, the instructor monitors progress, corrects the errors students make, fine tune your performance, offer criticisms, encouragements and then push you to excel beyond your comfort zone. Training is an evolution where the learner comes out better and more knowledgeable and capable of performing a skillset. Good training is a struggle for the student and should challenge you. You cannot learn inside your comfort zone and there is no amount time you can spend on your own that will truly push you towards excellence.

When your training is over, you take the new knowledge or skillset and “practice” it on your own. Practice reinforces the training. Practice will take those newly formed neural connections and start insulating them until the little invisible thread becomes a super highway, a solid pathway you built up in your subconscious through repetitive, meaningful, challenging work.

While I have drawn a bit of a distinction between training and practice, they really are symbiotic. In order to practice you have to have good training as a foundation to work from. Without training and guidance, you can practice a lot and get really good at the wrong thing or make a superhighway sized neural connection of bad habits. The old saying, “Perfect practice makes perfect,” is very true.

When you do take time to practice, make your sessions short and meaningful. A mere 20 minutes of good slow, methodical practice the right way is far better than 60 minutes of sloppy techniques and imprecise movements. During practice sessions focus on technique and speed will come. Remember, smooth is fast. Practice until the last piece of training you had is smooth and then start looking for the next opportunity to train so you’ll have more good techniques to continue to practice.

Take a moment now and analyze the last few practice sessions you’ve had and evaluate yourself honestly. Is it time for you to seek some training to make sure you are practicing the right things, the right way? If you haven’t been to a training course recently… maybe it is time to take one.

 

Until next time, stay safe, practice hard and seek training.

Scott S – One Weapon, Any Tool

www.oneweaponanytool.com You can also find us on Facebook!

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Anyone that has ever been to a range or handled a firearm has (hopefully) been introduced to the basic firearms safety rules. While there is some debate about the number of firearms safety rules, the basics I teach and live by are:

  1. Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction
  2. Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to fire
  3. Be aware of your target and what is behind it

Most folks usually include: Always assume and treat every firearm as if it is loaded. Some combination of those rules are what you will find and are the best practices when handling dangerous tools. I know there are a lot more rules out there and some ranges I’ve seen have upwards of 20 rules, my favorite of which: Do not put ammunition in your mouth. There is only one reason why they had to post that rule.

Whatever basic rules you apply when handling, shooting and working with firearms, these rules do not get left at the range. When you pack up after a day of shooting and go home, you need to continue to apply these safety principles everywhere! When transporting, cleaning and arranging guns in the safe, remember to practice safety. The tool does not become less dangerous or require less focus or application of safety just because you are away from the range.

The worst offenders are concealed carry and off duty law enforcement. After a long day carrying a gun, you can’t wait to get home and deck it for the evening in your safe, or other safe storage location. Let me pause and add in another gun safety rule: Never leave your firearm where an unauthorized person or child can access it!

When taking the gun out of the holster, or taking the holster off I can’t tell you how many times I see people get swept by the muzzle. In a hurry to relax I’ve seen cops draw their gun and sweep their own foot or arm setting the gun down, and even set it down with the muzzle facing a loved one!

When things become routine it tends to breed complacency and when handling a tool that is potentially lethal if mishandled… we need to make an active decision to fight commonplace practices and make sure we are following proper gun handling safety rules. You wouldn’t take your running chain saw and set it near a loved one or swing it towards them haphazardly, so why would you do it with your gun?

For my friends and readers out there take a minute and think when you are about to handle your firearm. You have to engage your brain first before you handle your tools!

 

Be safe this week!

Scott S – Founder

One Weapon, Any Tool

www.oneweaponanytool.com 

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The word tactical gets thrown around a lot these days. From firearms accessories, clothing, vehicles, and training courses, this word gets used, misused and if you add it as a prefix to something you are selling, you can automatically charge $10 more… because it’s tactical!

Most of the “tactical” stuff out there is really nothing more than “tacti-cool.” It really serves no purpose other than to make your rifle, pistol, boots, SUV, or hat cost more and project an image that you are some kind of mall ninja, wannabe operator or instructor touting as gospel some tactic he saw on Youtube. Things that are truly tactical are not meant to help you define or project an image. They are meant to help you win fights!

We’ll start with the basic American dictionary definition as a starting point. Tactical: Of or pertaining to a maneuver or plan of action designed as an expedient towards gaining a desired end, or temporary advantage. Re-read the definition.

I’m going to distill the definition a bit further, which is what I believe tactical really is and means. Tactical: Simple and reliable. Economy of motion.

Think about all of the cool accessories and features you can now purchase for your AR-15 rifle platform. I’m going to use the AR as an example for most of the article since it is one of the most popular platforms in America and almost every gun owner has one. The AR has seen a huge evolution in design, features, accessories, etc. over the last 20 years. We went form the plastic hand guards to quad rails so we could meet mission specific requirements, but how many of those features and upgrades are simple to use? How many are, “to hell and back,” reliable? How many of those features enable you to get your gun into the fight faster than the bad guy? How many of those upgrades and “tactical” features are simple to operate, and can help you starting putting rounds on target faster than your enemy?

When it comes to guns and gun fighting, complex gadgets and features that must be deployed or adjusted before you can pull the trigger will slow you down and cost you the initiative in a fight. If it is easy to operate and works every time… it is tactical!

Features and gadgets should also assist you in making simple motions that maximize your speed to target. Economy of motion can also be translated as smooth! Smooth is fast and motion that detracts from your ability to move your rifle quickly from onto target and from one target to another is not tactical.

I’m not trying to say that all features and gadgets are bad. There are some very good pieces of kit out there. I just want you to evaluate the need for a cool doohickey. Is it going to interfere with your ability to fight? OR Will it give you an advantage if you train with it a little bit? Lastly… does it work, is it simple to use/operate and can it take a beating?

What is your definition of tactical now? What items hanging from your quad rail are just tacti-cool? How can you simplify and make it truly tactical? Go forth my friends and evaluate!

Be safe and Godspeed!

Scott S – One Weapon, Any Tool

www.oneweaponanytool.com or find us on Facebook!

multiple-attackers

When you are contemplating your personal defense how many attackers do you train to defend against?

At what distances do you train to interdict these attackers?

Are you ready… after firing your gun to slide lock to engage them in hand to hand combat to defend your life, or the life of someone worth dying for?

What other tools do you have nearby that can assist you in winning the fight?

While these are some pretty direct and heavy questions, they are worth contemplating, preparing a strategy and training to win when the odds are against you.

Growing up in the “good old days,” when two kids on a school yard or adults in conflict would settle things mano-e-mano or one to one, and let the better man win. It was how we settled arguments when every other option had failed. During these conflicts the crowd would gather, and friends of both sides would watch while the two individuals settled things. These fights were rarely fatal and there were gentlemanly rules of engagement.
In our modern society, cowardice reigns and the one on one fight is gone. You need to look no further than the evening news to see groups or gangs of combatants attacking a lone victim, and unlike the good old days, they will do so for the slightest perceived insult. Working patrol and especially during my experience in corrections, the fights were almost always 2 on 1 or more. Robberies are now committed by crews not individuals. Ten years ago no one heard of Home Invasions, but now they are rampant and always committed by a group or gang of thugs. When talking about personal defense, are you prepared to deal with the home invaders or are you preparing for the 1970’s lone cat burglar?

When you spend time at the range it is sometimes difficult to hang two or more targets and practice shooting each one in rapid succession. Most ranges limit the rate of fire and confine you to one lane which makes it difficult to achieve realistic practice. This is why you need to go to a training class! In my intermediate and advanced courses every student will end up having at least two and often three targets posted in front of them with urgency to put a minimum of two to four accurate rounds into each target. To add some pressure I’m also using a timer so you can accurately gauge your abilities. If you have never tried driving the gun from target to target and getting good hits, you need to train this.
Moving the gun from target to target is not an easy skill to master, and if you swing instead of drive the gun, you’ll end up missing! If you do not understand what I mean when I say, Drive the Gun… you need a training class!

The main reason you need to hone this skill is because gun fights occur at very short distances. Having multiple attackers less than 10 feet away forces you to shoot quickly and get hits. I do not have the exact stat but nearing the 90% mark, most gun fights occur less than 21 feet away. Measure out 21 feet with a tape measure and ask yourself honestly… how many bad guys could you shoot before they got their hands on you?
This brings me to my last point for the article: When you don’t have a firearm or find yourself in a hand to hand struggle, how prepared are you to continue fighting the threat. You have never been in a fight until you’ve had to fight someone for control of a loaded handgun! If you can’t get to the gun and you need to keep your attacker away from it, what makeshift weapons of opportunity are nearby? An empty gun, a flashlight, lampshade, bat, knife, heavy book, or shovel… whatever you can get to and use, do it! Your life depends on it.

Now, not every situation will involve a firearm, but the fact of the matter does not change. If you are attacked, expect to be outnumbered, and have a plan to defend yourself. Martial arts like Krav Maga, Kenpo, MMA and Kajukenbo are excellent at teaching defense against multiple opponents. The key to surviving these assaults is this: Action beat reaction. Use the maximum amount of violence in the shortest amount of time. You need to seize and maintain the initiative against multiple attackers. Note I used the word survive. You are going to be hit, you are going to get hurt, but that doesn’t stop you from fighting on!

It is not a matter of if… it is when! Get trained up, get ready and win the fight!

Be safe this week. Stay vigilant.

Scott S

One Weapon – Any Tool
Your mind is the weapon, everything else is just a tool!

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Anyone who’s been around the firearms community is familiar or at least heard of Every Day Carry or EDC. It is a common acronym for what is in your pockets as you go about your daily routine. For the majority of people it is a set of keys, a folding or pocket knife, cell phone, and a wallet. If you carry a concealed weapon it may also include your firearm, a spare magazine, and an illumination tool. In addition, everyone usually has a few more comfort items in their pockets and if you are a member of the fairer sex, then you may have a purse full of dozens of essentials. If you are a mother of small children there may be several bags of clothes, bottles, diapers, wipes, and binkies as a part of your EDC.

I’ve noticed a trend among some members of our community that take their EDC overboard. You need look no further than Youtube or the mall ninja’s on the internet to understand what I’m talking about. My favorite overall was a young man who described his primary gun, two spare magazines, a much smaller backup gun with spare magazine, a large high lumen light and a backup lower lumen light, two folding pocket knives, a multi-tool as well as a pocket tin survival kit, fold out solar charger, pepper spray and the other items we all carry daily like the wallet, phone and on his keys was a large kubaton to go with his para-cord belt, bracelet, compass and watch. While I admire the guy for being prepared and having the right mindset, it is simply impractical.

The EDC items you choose to carry should be based on what you are likely to encounter in your day to day existence and give you the right tools to select from and assist you in solving the problems with the tools you have. While our friend above (who lives in the suburbs) has a vast selection of items, I doubt he has used most of what he carries in quite some time. Even working a patrol beat I never carried that much equipment on me and I was in a high threat environment. While I had some more tools in my patrol car I used frequently for larger or different problems, day to day life in the ‘burbs is unlikely to require the use of a compass, para-cord shelter, solar charger and water purification tablets. Having one gun is always a good idea and if you carry a gun, you should have at least one spare magazine with you at all times. Two guns for a New York reload is fine maybe downtown Chicago, but not for a trip to the mall. You should also be able to move fluidly, fight and run and if you are overburdened with equipment, especially if it is in a variety of locations on your person. Could our friend above really be effective in a fight or tactical retreat? Is it practical?

This is the point in the article I want you to stop and think about the items in your EDC and decide if those items are EDP. To help you, lay out all of your EDC items on the table in front of you. Pick up each item one by one and think about the last time you used it. Items like a folding knife or a multi-tool are obviously good choices. If a firearm is one of your tools, is it in a good practical holster that secures to your belt and is there at least one spare magazine with you? I carry a light and wonder now how I ever got through life without a flashlight on me at all times prior to carrying one. Even sunny days have dark spaces you will drop things into and when there is a power outage unexpectedly I’ve been glad to find my way out of some dark interior spaces. Again, a practical item that sees use.  

If you come across a questionable item like a small survival tin, a second knife or light, or a kubaton ask yourself (honestly) when was the last time you used it. There is a sound wisdom in the philosophy that two is one and one is none, but we are not standing on the peaks overlooking Afghanistan. When you are deep in Indian Country it is important to have redundancy, but in suburbia if your light fails you can walk over to the nearest 24 hour market and buy a couple batteries. If your knife dulls or breaks, you will be home in a few hours and can sharpen or replace that tool. If your phone battery dies, you can plug it into a wall instead of laying out a portable solar array.

After you sort through the items and have divided them into the: I use this pile and the: I don’t use this pile. Now decide what items you really can’t live without. It is okay to carry a few comfort items and if you have to have a backup gun and an additional magazine for that, or a second knife, then carry it. Just consider the weight to usefulness trade off. Consider the likely hood of you actually using that item in the foreseeable future. Think of a scenario when you might need a particular item(s) and then ask yourself if your scenario is plausible. I can come up with a “what if” scenario for every item in the world, but is it something that is likely to happen to me.

Being prepared is important, but being paranoid is impractical.    

The last thing I want you to consider when you analyze your EDP is this: Am I proficient with this item? Having a cool kubaton on a key chain gives you a use of force tool but when was the last time you practiced using it… especially with your keys still attached to it? Have you ever tried to cut wood with the little saw in your multi-tool? Have you ever practiced deploying that tactical pen and window breaker?

I’m not going to give you my list of EDP items either. I am not you. You live in a different neighborhood than me, work in a different area and commute a different distance though cities, country roads or over waterways. I just want you to evaluate carefully what you really need, not what you think you need.

Until next week, be safe, stay vigilant and Godspeed.

 

Scott S

One Weapon, Any Tool – Your mind is the weapon, everything else is just a tool

www.oneweaponanytool.com