Posts Tagged ‘mindset’


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


Too often when thinking about personal protection we focus on the defensive aspect. We talk about being ready to defend yourself and those you love and we have a plan to defend our homes. I think this is a misconception that is going to get someone hurt or killed because when you are on the defense that means one thing… Someone is doing something to you. Being on the defense means you are being attacked, you are covering, hiding, fortifying, or blocking and there is no victory in defense.

I think we need to turn this on its head and start talking as a community about the Offensive Mindset.

Think about it, there is nothing defensive about pulling the trigger and actively trying to kill another human being who is a threat to you. There is nothing defensive about striking, kicking or inflicting damage on someone that is try to do the same to you. You want to be on the offense. You want to be the one moving forward on the balls of your feet, with your head down and ears pinned back.

When it comes time to protect yourself you want to bring the maximum amount of violence to bear as fast as possible and overwhelm your opponent. Reread that last sentence and ask yourself… is that the definition of defense? We need to talk about the offensive mindset and we need to start now!

While we should never discount a defense completely, the defense is what we establish to ensnare our opponent and slow him down to give us the initiative and use our offense to win the fight. When you are attacked initially, you may be surprised or startled and begin the fight in a defensive posture. You have to move from defense to offense as quickly as possible and be the one who dominates! You have to act with intent! When the fight is on and your life is at stake you have to act decisively. There is not time to assess and come up with a plan. This is the moment that the training you have (or don’t have) is going to kick in. There is only one goal, be the one who walks away and take as little damage as possible during the altercation.

Your intention is to use violence and inflict pain, damage or death upon another living breathing human being. You have to do this, or you will become the victim. You have to think about this now while you read this in your living room in front of your computer rather than thinking about it when you are faced with a lethal or dangerous threat.

Violence is nothing more than a tool. Bad guys use it to intimidate, harm, rape or steal. You use violence to fight off the attack, protect yourself and the innocents with you. Using violence is not a bad thing and you need to reconcile yourself that hurting someone, may be what saves your life. You have to establish your own rules of engagement now so when it comes time to fight… You FIGHT!

Fighting is always a last resort and even as a deputy I hate getting into fights… but I will if I have to and it’s going to end badly for you. I will give you every opportunity to submit to arrest or comply, probably more chances than you deserve, and the choice lies with the evil doer which way they want the encounter to go.
When not on duty I will walk away and give you every opportunity to leave me alone and go away. If you want to push your luck, make sure you are ready for what’s coming. I’m ready, are you?

Are you?

Remember, it is not for you to start the fight, but it is for you to win it. Fighting is a last resort but I will book anyone a ticket there if they try to physically harm myself or a loved one. Go forth and train!

Hopefully I’ve shaken up the way you think about personal protection and self-‘offense.’

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes:

This is the law: The purpose of fighting is to win. There is no victory in defense. The sword is more important that the shield, and skill is more important that either. The final weapon is the brain. All else is supplemental.
-John Steinbeck

Be safe – train hard – Get into the Offensive Mindset
Scott S
One Weapon Any Tool


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,” ( 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 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:


I’ve been absent for a couple of weeks now, partially because I spent a week at a training course on responding to active shooter incidents. While this course was designed for law enforcement officers, there are many similarities in the way you as a concealed carry citizen could respond. As time goes by I will hopefully bring you more articles about active shooter incidents, training and response. As this is my first attempt to broach the subject, I’ll give a brief overview.

An active shooter event is not a new phenomenon. If you go back through history there are dozens of incidents where deranged individuals have used bombs, cars, knives and firearms to cause mass casualties. Over the last decade however, active shooters have evolved primarily in two ways. Mental health, psychotropic drugs and extensive studies related to behavior are now on the forefront. Pharmaceuticals of every type alter your body in some way, and as psychiatrics are using new and uncharted mind altering prescriptions, we are starting to reap some of the uncontrolled and unexpected side effects.

The other driving force behind more recent active shooter events is the media infamy associated with each event. Each killer this day and age wants to go down in history as the top killer with the largest body count and be remembered in history for the evil he/she perpetrated on the world. The new generation of active murderers are seeking publicity and the major media is playing right into their greedy, selfish, horrific and murderous ends.

Each new shooter who sets out is now conducting reconnaissance, developing elaborate plans, and becoming a more sophisticated threat. What started with two high school students and a few firearms is now a tactical vest wearing, 3 gun wielding, bomb and booby-trapped psycho. While I harbor strong beliefs about the reasons these murderers are often successful, it is not the focus of this article. (For some insight, read: Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill, by: Lt. Col. Dave Grossman)

What I do want to focus on is your preparation, training and mindset if you find yourself in an area where the next psychotropic altered maniac unleashes their attack.

We’ll start with why you carry a gun in the first place. To protect yourself and your loved ones from the imminent threat of death or great bodily injury. You also carry because you know that there is also an off chance that you might have to save the life of a third party (fellow citizen you may not know). If you carry, it is also because you are going to be in a public area, with lots of people where there is a certain calculated risk that bad things could potentially happen. Places likes a mall, movie theater, or when dropping off your child at school.

Regardless of where you are when you hear the tell-tale sound of gunfire, you have to have already made up your mind if you are going to intervene or not. Some circumstances may make the choice for you, sometimes the threat will be near but not direct. Whatever you decide, make sure you consider some risk factors.

Are you going in? Statistic gathered during these events (and research by Israeli police) show that intervention by a single armed person drastically reduces the number of victims during an active shooter event. If an armed person (police, citizen, military) engages the suspect and upsets their plans, lives will be saved. If the killer is focused on you and your attempt to deny them infamy, people in the area have an opportunity to escape. One major thing active shooters fear (terrorists too) is failure to achieve their goal. When active shooters are confronted by a lethal threat they often kill themselves which is also a victory by other means. (Clackamas Mall)

Before you feel like being a hero I want to sober you up with another interesting piece of data. First responders who engage a mass murder during these events have a 40% chance of suffering great bodily injury or death. You may not come out of the event unscathed… or even alive. On duty, I have body armor, an AR-15 and a trauma kit that make my odds better. As an armed citizen, you most likely do not have protection, a force multiplier or medical gear necessary to stop major hemorrhaging. If the statistic is 40% for law enforcement, I’d venture a guess that it higher for an armed citizen. If you fall victim to the shooter without inflicting injury of your own, you have now just armed the murderer with another tool with which to wreck more havoc.

If you decide to go see what is happening, you will be alone. The active shooter may not be. While we were in training the two killers that murdered the police officers and then ended up in a Wal-mart store were confronted by an armed citizen…who was ambushed and killed by the female he was not expecting. Remember this golden rule when conducting threat assessments: There is always one more threat! I believe Joseph Wilcox is a hero and his intervention helped prevent the escape of the two suspects allowing law enforcement to intervene and force them to suicide. His death was unfortunate, however he did something many people would not do and his sacrifice was not in vain. Rest in peace hero.

The crowd will also be moving against you, and if you have a firearm, you are going to have to protect your weapon while pushing towards the threat. When you decide to draw your own firearm is a choice you will have to make. On duty, and in full uniform, it’s easy to have it out and ready. Off duty, or a civilian in plain clothes, you could be mistaken for the shooter by the panicked crowd and have some mob justice dispensed upon you. There is no right answer, just something I want you to think about now, so you are not trying to decide under stress.

As you move towards the threat also be aware of potential booby-traps. Improvised Explosive Devices or IEDs are left out to inhibit or kill first responders or used as force multipliers to kill more victims. If you encounter an IED find cover and get low. If an IED is thrown at you, run to cover and get low or charge the threat, neutralize the threat and take cover as fast as possible. If you encounter an active shooter that is equipped with IEDs, you might want to back out of the situation. As a citizen do not have a fatalistic sense of heroism. A tactical retreat may be a good option against an ensconced, sophisticated, well-armed, or well armored threat.

As a citizen responder, you will lack heavy armor and specialized equipment to deal with every situation. I encourage you to try to do something, but be smart, don’t get into a situation or circumstances that overwhelm your senses or training. You have to accept the fact right now that people are going to die, you will try to prevent that, you will not be able to save everyone.

Also as you move towards the threat you will encounter carnage. There will be floors slick with blood, you will encounter severely wounded people who will scream and beg you for help. You have to decide if you are going to move on towards the threat or stop and render aid. No one will fault you for rendering aid or dragging someone to a safer location and if they are coherent, you might be able to gather some intelligence as to what the shooter looks like, what they are wearing and which direction he/she/they went. If they have a phone they can also call 911 and give a description of you so the responding officers do not mistake you for the suspect.

While I’m on that topic, let’s address it. You will be in regular everyday civilian attire. You look like everyone else in the fleeing crowd and may easily be mistaken for a threat. (Especially if you dress like a 5.11 billboard.) It is a risk you will have to take if you decide to intervene. The police do not care who you say you are, they care about what you are doing. If you are seen probing an area with a firearm, you may be engaged by police gun fire. If you are challenged by the police, comply with their instructions and DO NOT point your handgun anywhere near their direction. If they tell you to drop your gun, do it. I don’t care if it is a $3000 Nighthawk Custom 1911… drop it!

If LE intervenes and you are taken into custody you can expect to be handcuffed and treated roughly until the threat is over. Be grateful you are alive and give the police time to sort out the details. You’ll have plenty of time to explain your intentions a couple hours later.

If you do manage to make it to the threat and neutralize him/her, you may be physically and emotionally spent. Adrenaline will be overwhelming your system and you will be on a high like you have never experienced. If there are no more threats then it is time for you to conduct a self-assessment.

Start with you… are you injured or shot. I suggest running your hand over yourself and looking for signs of bleeding. Adrenaline will deaden pain and constrict blood flow so you may not feel it. Check and re-check and make sure you are medically sound. If you are injured, it is time to improvise. Use your shirt, an electrical cord or whatever you have to stop the loss of blood.

Next you need to do a weapon assessment. If you have a spare magazine this is the time to reload and make sure you still have the potential to continue to fight in case there is a second (or third, or fourth) shooter who may be coming to check on their partner in crime. Under extreme stress you might not know how many rounds you fired and you may not even realize you reached slide lock. Assess your weapon and stay ready.

If you have a cell phone it is time for you to call 911 and give updates. If police announce themselves as they approach, respond back and let them know you are in the room or hallway. If you know the police are approaching, holster or discard your weapon, and obey their commands!

If police are still working their way towards you, and you can connect with a dispatcher, give a description of what you look like, what you are wearing and stay on the phone until officer’s contact you! An easy way to remember what information to give is to start at your head and work down to your feet. Hair color, skin color, shirt and pants color, shoes and any unique features like scars or tattoos. Anything the dispatcher can tell the officers that will distinguish you from the real threat.

Remember, you will be treated like a potential suspect initially. Your handgun may be placed into evidence for a while. You should ask for legal representation, but be cooperative. Lastly, be patient while the police gather information, contact witnesses and compile the series of events. If you are lucky enough to have made a difference, you also need to be prepared for the media swarm that will likely vilify you for carrying a gun in the first place.

As I close this article I want to remind you to remain vigilant, be prepared and be smart. I sincerely hope you will never encounter an event like I have described. If you do, I hope this article will give you some groundwork you can think about and prepare for mentally. You cannot save everyone, people will die. Do what you can, but please, do something! Before you have to do something, get some training!

Be safe, and Godspeed.
Scott S – Founder or One Weapon, Any Tool



We set standards so we have a benchmark of what we would like to achieve in life.  Whether you are aware of it or not, you are constantly evaluating things in your life based upon standards you set and measure yourself against to determine success.  You set a standard of living that you are comfortable with and when you work hard for your bi-weekly paycheck, you are satisfied with meeting your life standard.  When you are working, your boss has a set of standards and expectations you must meet if you want to stay employed.  As a good employee, you are constantly trying to exceed those standard so you can each your objective of being the boss someday. 

When it comes to our personal protection we also have goals, and depending on the standards you set for yourself will depend on how you come out of the encounter. Simply hoping to survive the encounter is the minimum and lowest standard and if merely surviving is good enough for you… then you need to re analyze your priorities! 

Survival means barely making it through a hardship and coming out alive after an intense struggle.  Survival could mean you suffered severe injury, lost someone you loved or worse…but you are still alive.  Survival in a personal protection scenario is the last option.

The standard you set for yourself when preparing for and fighting through an encounter is unequivocal victory for you and the absolute safety of your loved ones.  When it comes to being attacked, especially when death or great bodily injury are imminent, you have to win.  Before you can be the victor, you have to set standards in your training regimen that will prepare you for encountering violence and doing violence to another.

Talking about violence is uncomfortable for most people, but it is an everyday reality and as I write this article we just saw a depraved, misogynistic young man in Santa Barbara unleash violence on the public.  While I refuse to type his name and glorify his pathetic acts, he prepared, planned and executed his plan to lash out and hurt as many people as possible.  It is a shame he didn’t run into me during that rampage, because I have a plan and have trained to deal with a low life like this.  I don’t relish the thought of hurting someone and I certainly hope to die peacefully without ever having to drop the hammer… but I have prepared mentally that circumstances may someday dictate the employment of the lethal tools I carry.  I might have to go to the darkest corner of my mind and use violence to make sure I go home, and my family is safe!  Do you have a plan?  Have you trained for this type of encounter?  Have you decided what is worth killing for?

If you haven’t thought about it, start now.  If you haven’t trained for it… find a training course near you and go get the training you need to exceed standards when your life is on the line. 

When you do have time to go to the range and train, make it count.  Hanging a target at 10 meters and congratulating yourself for hitting inside the center ring when you are not under any type of stress is not going to serve you when a psycho is accelerating towards you in his car after stabbing three people.  Find a friend with some property or a range area where you can hang several targets, run and get your heart rate up, and shoot from different positions.  Wear the clothes you normally wear every day and actually practice with the holster and equipment you carry.  Instead of dots, and colored silhouette targets, get some that have pictures of people on them and condition yourself to shoot at another human.  When you think you are getting good, find a force on force course that uses Airsoft or Simunitions and watch your skills deteriorate under simulated stress.  I’ve said it a hundred times and will do so a few thousand more, you have to seek training, practice what you learn and raise the standards you set for yourself until victory is the only acceptable outcome!


Until next time, stay safe, train hard and play hard!  Godspeed.

Scott S

One Weapon, Any Tool

Also on Facebook and Twitter: @1weaponanytool 


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When I founded my firearms training company I set out to educate my students in the principle that the mind itself is the ultimate weapon. As a long time practitioner of martial arts, a defensive tactics instructor, a firearms trainer, and a deputy sheriff; self-defense and personal protection is something I take very seriously. I recognized that no matter where I was, either armed or unarmed I was capable of defending myself and those I love. I was capable of doing so because I had trained my mind, thought about situations, analyzed my surroundings, run through scenarios, watched and remained aware, looked for cover and concealment and I knew that I was ready to use violence to overwhelm any threat I may come across. Yes, I was ready to physically harm or kill another human being to ensure I go home safely… and my partner or family member goes home with me.
I also realize that I am not the world’s greatest kick boxer, knife wielder or gun fighter. There is always someone out there that is better than me… and should I meet that person, I’ve thought about how to extract, fall back and fight a different fight, or escape. If your life is in danger and you or your family escapes the lethal threat, that is a win. You can call me a coward if you like, but any lethal encounter you survive unscathed is a victory. Sometimes the better part of valor is to egress. I don’t care how badass you think you are, or how much training you have had, there is someone out there better trained, and better prepared than you. Being a warrior also means knowing the limits of your ability.

Knowing your limitations gives you a place to start when you undertake training. You should seek out people who have skillsets superior to yours and strive to achieve their level of proficiency. During my basic pistol courses while I’m teaching new shooters the fundamentals of marksmanship, they always marvel at how fast or accurate I can shoot. I use these demonstrations as teachable moments to explain to them that the only difference between us, is the number of repetitions. What a new shooter is doing on the range for the first time, I’ve done 10,000. They are striving to achieve my level of skill, have sought training and are working towards success. I continue to do the same things except I compare myself to Max Michel and strive towards his level of proficiency. Max Michel is sponsored by Sig Sauer and is a multiple time world champion shooter. What I have practiced 10,000 times Max has practiced 150,000 times. (Check him out at

As you develop your warrior mindset you also need to remain humble. You have to be open to learning new techniques, willing to change your mind about how and why you do things, and realize there is always room for improvement. As much as I hate to acknowledge this fact… as an instructor, you should take multiple training classes from different instructors. Not one instructor has all the knowledge or answers or methods to help you achieve unconscious competence. While I admire loyal students, after three or more classes, I’ve nearly exhausted the amount of knowledge I can impart. You need to branch out, seek new techniques and tactics and find what works for you. If one person tells you they have all the answers… run away! Look for instructors who are constantly trying to evolve, learn and ones that are even willing to change their mind about equipment, techniques and training. I’ve had a several training concepts I’ve had to question and change over the last 14 years. I expect there will be many more changes in the future.

Part of your pre-battle mentality is having a winning mindset.

Warriors expect to win. This is a fine balance between confidence and cockiness, but every fighter that trains and prepares for battle, has an expectation that they will win the conflict. They trust their training and know they put in the sweat and blood equity and have a plan to emerge victorious. When they face a lethal threat and the confrontation begins, the stronger will usually prevails. When working patrol and the jail, when I got into a fight I would subconsciously tell myself, “It’s time to win.” While every physical conflict I got into was not an overwhelming victory… it was a victory. I knew I was going to win, that was an unshakeable belief deep inside me. My unbending will coupled with training was too much for an opponent who lacked sufficient will. The suspects wanted a quick, easy fight not one with a determined opponent. Criminals, like most predators prefer easy prey. If you look like a potential threat, if you look aware, if you appear confident, the criminal will move on.
Part of having an iron will is also harboring the desire to use violence to enforce your will if the situation dictates. In our “civilized” society the practitioner of violence is shunned and looked at with wary or disdain by the “civilized” people. (Often referred to as the sheep of society). You have to decide now, that you are willing and capable to physically harming or potentially killing another human being if your life or the life of a loved one is faced with an imminent threat of death or great bodily injury. You have to make that decision prior to being faced with that event. If you wait until something bad happens you will freeze or hesitate. If you freeze or hesitate rather than act, then you will be forced to live with regret over your indecision. One of my favorite quotes is from a fellow warrior and American Hero, Chris Kyle. He simply states, “Despite what your momma told you, violence does solve problems.”

Everyone… yes, every single person on this earth is capable of killing given the right set of circumstances. We are not as civilized as we like to believe. We still have human nature and eons of hardwired conditioning locked in our brains which has helped us thrive and survive so long. Humans are built to adapt, solve problems and survive. Fighting and killing is one of the ways we do that.

It comes down to this series of very simple rhetorical questions:
Who are the most important people in your life?

Who are you willing to die for?

Are you willing to kill to protect the people in your first two answers?

All of this is a required part of your Pre-Battle Mentality. To awaken your inner warrior, start looking at the world around you. Identify the places you go, the potential threats you may find there and start playing out scenarios in your mind about how you would deal with them. Is it best to fight or retreat? Do you have an expectation of winning? Are you willing to use violence and the tools you carry with you to solve the problems you may face? Is the training you have sufficient to meet those threats?
Think hard, prepare your mind for where your body has to go. As always, stay safe, train hard! Godspeed.

Scott S – One Weapon, Any Tool

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God made mankind… Sam Colt made ‘em equal

Firearms ownership is not only a right guaranteed to us by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, it is an underrated privilege many people take for granted and ignore.  Having the right to own a firearm and in most states, carry a firearm puts the owner on equal footing with every other man or woman on the planet. 

Recently, I suffered a moderately serious injury to my knee as a result of martial arts training.  Not being able to use my personal body weapons for defense, it has taken away from me a valuable force option and until I recover fully I’ve become more reliant on the other force options available to me.  One of my primary options, is my concealed carry firearm.  I realize that my firearm is not a magic wand that will solve all of my problems, it is an option available to me should I find myself in a situation where I need to defend my life or the life of a loved one.        

Firearms are empowering by nature and someone who owns and trains with a firearm is a force to be reckoned with.  A handgun makes the 150 pound housewife as dangerous as the 250 pound mugger seeking to rape, pillage and plunder.  A rifle makes the citizen soldier an anti-terrorism liaison and the home defense shotgun makes the family father a hurricane crashing down upon a home invader.  There is an old saying that still rings true today:  God made man, and Samuel Colt made them equal.  Putting a gun into the hands of a person instantly transforms them from a subject of the crown to a citizen of the republic. 

A housewife alone at home with her children and a gun makes her a staunch defender of her homestead.  The proverbial accountant is now as dangerous as the outlaw biker.  A firearm has become a symbol of power which is also one reason criminals fear it…and carry it.  The one thing all criminals fear is an armed citizen who is capable of defending themselves. 

A firearm should never be the only “tool” available during a crisis.  There is another old adage that tells us, “When all you have is a hammer, every problem becomes a nail.”  As a human being, you are a tool user, and your trained, prepared and proper mindset makes any tool you choose a dangerous one.  Having pepper spray, a bat or baton, or even martial arts training will enable you to vary your approach to different threats you may encounter. 

Having a hammer in your toolbox is very important, but it is not the only tool you should reach for every time.  Under certain circumstances however, it is the right tool to go to right away!  Whatever options you have make sure you are proficient in their use. 


As always, stay safe and God bless.   



This week’s article is about training to fight.  I’ve been studying neurology lately and have been uncovering a vast amount of information about how the brain works, and how little we actually understand about the gray matter between our ears… not to mention how little of the matter we actually cognitively control.  I picked up Incognito by David Eagleman on the recommendation of Aaron Cowen from Sage Dynamics.  This book really lays out information about what goes on in your head that you cannot control.  The book does give some insights into how we learn and build habits, and I’m trying to integrate that information into training methods used here at the One Weapon Any Tool to build good habits that will enable us to win.

The fact is, in life we all struggled with a variety of simple tasks the first time we tried to accomplish them.  Remember back when you first learned to ride a bicycle.  There were a ton of tasks you had to split your focus on.  You had to maintain your balance, apply pressure to the pedals, steer, and fight the anxiety inside you about the aftermath of a potential crash.  The more you tried, the less you had to worry about balance.  A few more minutes and apply pedal pressure was automatic.  A few more minutes steering with the handlebars was integrated with leaning.  Finally your anxiety dissipated because you knew you were in no harm from falling off the wheeled contraption.

But why?  Why did it get easier?  In Incognito, Dr. Eagleman explains that while your physical body and cognitive mind was in a flurry, your subconscious mind was making thousands of neural connections.  The more and faster these connections were made, the easier the tasks became and the less aware you became of the physical exertion needed to complete the tasks.

How does that apply to guns?  Glad you asked. 

Just like riding a bike, manipulating a firearm has several complex fine and gross motor skills that need to be weaved together to make fast and accurate hits.  I teach 7 Fundamentals of Marksmanship in my courses.  Each of the 7 pieces make up a solid foundation which will make you a good shooter.  Continued application of these skills when practiced properly, and repeatedly require less conscious thought as your subconscious takes over, creating neural connections which puts these skills on auto-pilot. 

For example, a proper Isosceles Stance.  You have to actually think about putting your feet in a fighting stance position, about shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent and hips tilted forward.  You can do the proper stance if you think you way through it.  Now, as you rehearse getting into the proper stance over and over, soon, you won’t have to practice any more, you will be able to do it naturally.  Once your stance becomes natural you can focus on your grip.  Once your 100% or thumbs forward grip becomes natural you can focus on sight picture / sight alignment, so on and so forth. 

I am a big believer that hard work trumps talent.  Talent has its limits, but someone who studies, strives, works hard and is not afraid to put in the time and training will excel over someone with talent.  For a talented person, a skill is easy.  For someone who has to work for it, a honed skill is a reward and is valued.

The only difference between you and World Champion Speed Shooter Max Michel, is that he has over 100,000 repetitions.  Before he got to 100,000 he started with 1, then 2, etc.

So as you go out and train remember to start slow, get it right and build the proper neural pathways necessary for success.  After the first 100 times the first skill become natural and you can start on your next skill.

Take the time to do it right so it will pay off for you in the future.  Perfect practice will train you for the fight.  When it comes time to fight, you will excel almost like you are on auto-pilot because the core tasks and engrained in your subconscious.  Every shooter who is serious about self-defense should strive to achieve unconscious competence.  Hope you enjoyed the article.  Stay tuned for more from David Eagleman inspired training.

Remember:  Amateurs train until they get it right.  Professionals train until they can’t get it wrong.


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