Posts Tagged ‘weapon’


I’ve seen shooters at all levels that struggle to some degree with “flinching,” or what we commonly call anticipation. This is evident when you look at a target of a student and see the rounds striking the lower left area because just a split second before they fire, they “flinch” and the final aiming point and muzzle dips and turns resulting in a low hit or miss. (Opposite for left handed shooters)

New and less experience shooters, or those who do not practice regularly struggle with anticipation. The primary causes of anticipation are: Fear or uncertainty, improper grip, and lack of practice or training. The good news about “flinching” is that it is curable with a little bit of work.

Fear or uncertainty is usually the first thing we need to address. Everyone has an aversion to pain and new shooters and those who are inexperienced or do not shoot frequently enough are afraid of being hurt by the handgun when it discharges, cycles, or both. There is also quite a bit of anxiety or uncertainty that also needs to be overcome. To be a good shooter you have to tolerate a bit of discomfort, but that can be minimized and managed by a little bit of practice and confidence.

I tell all of my students that the “scary” noise and the mechanical actions happens faster than they are able to perceive it, and none of it happens until micro-seconds AFTER the bullet leaves the barrel of the gun on its way to the target. So getting the perfect shot in the right place happens before any of the things we are uncertain or afraid of, actually take place. So getting the round to hit what you are aiming at is a simple application of the fundamentals… and then the “scary stuff” happens.

I know this information is not comforting to the timid shooter, so let’s analyze the second part of this problem. More gun than you can handle! You need look no further than Youtube for endless videos of idiot boyfriends handing their girls or guy friends extremely large caliber hand cannons, offering no training or advice and then laughing hysterically when they get hurt. These videos breed stereotypes and fear among potential new shooters. Hollywood doesn’t help either when they wrongfully depict a handgun discharging and sending the shooter flying backwards. If you are a timid, new or inexperienced shooter, start with a small caliber handgun and build confidence before picking up something larger. A defensive caliber does not have to start with a point four (.4-) to be effective. (Uh oh… I just said calibers less than .40 are good for defense… Brace yourself for the hate mail)

I have handguns available to rent for my courses and they are usually .22LR or 9mm. I also use steel frame handguns that are a little heavier to help mitigate some of the recoil. Starting off with something manageable helps assuage some of the fear or uncertainty. When they are expecting a civil war cannon bang and all they get is a sharp pop, shooters realize that handling a firearm is not that difficult after all. It only takes a couple hundred rounds for confidence to soar and after seeing how well you can shoot a small gun, most shooters are eager to step up to something bigger. So if you are learning to shoot start small.

The second part of the flinch equation is an improper grip. I teach and strongly advocate the 100% or thumbs forward grip. Shooters of all sizes, strength and skill levels have had great success using this grip. Using your Google-fu you can find dozens of articles on this style of grip and its numerous advantages. This two handed grip style will give you the maximum skin to surface contact on the handgun as well as the best position to manage the cycling of the slide during recoil. If you page through the Home Defense Gun (.net) site you can find an excellent video that demonstrates this grip. If you are improperly holding the handgun, the recoil you are absorbing will be felt to a much greater degree than necessary, which will cause pain or extreme discomfort and cause you to “flinch” unconsciously.

The best way to fight the flinch is to seek out quality training and practice on your own. I recommend a lot of dry fire practice if you have a problem with anticipation or flinching. Dry firing means that you develop strong neural pathways (muscle memory) without any of the “scary” stuff happening. By focusing carefully on the fundamentals of proper trigger press, sight alignment and follow through without having to worry about the noise or mechanical action will allow you to grow comfortable and confident. When you do finally hit the range you can apply the skills you acquired during dry fire practice. With a solid foundation to build on, the right grip, and a manageable caliber handgun you will be well on your way to ending the “flinch” or anticipating.

To end the fight against the flinch once and for all you will need practice. Here is a drill I recommend to anyone struggling with anticipation or “flinching.” Take a handful of empty casings and as you load your magazine or cylinder, randomly place an empty casings into the magazine interspersed with live rounds. (Or have someone else load your magazines randomly). As you shoot on the range, you will not know when your gun will go bang or click and if you have a problem anticipating the recoil or flinching, you will catch yourself doing so as the hammer falls on the empty case. When you pull the trigger and there is no bang, no mechanical reaction and you still flinch and drop the front sight down and left in anticipation… you’ll feel really silly. After a few bouts of this behavior your concentration level will increase, and since you do not know when the gun will really fire, you’ll fight the flinch, stay on target and start making good hits. Try this out and post your results, I’d love to hear your feedback.

Once you master the smaller caliber and the fear and uncertainty fades, challenge yourself and pick up the next larger caliber available. Confidence comes quickly with a little practice and training. Once you grow accustomed to the motion, mechanical action and the noise, you’ll start to relish the discomfort you feel and after a while, you’ll enjoy it… from there you’ll be well on your way to being a top notch shooter.

Train hard, stay safe.

Scott S

Your mind is the weapon, everything else is just a tool! For more information please visit our website at: or find us on Facebook. For more firearms, safety and personal protection articles, videos and sound advice visit my friends at or search for Home Defense Gun on Facebook.

Despite what I’m doing it always seems like I have something I need to carry. Be it a folder, grocery bag, holding a door, holding a phone or my daughter’s hand, I usually have something in my non-gun hand. If you carry a concealed weapon, you should take great care and practice making sure you always have your primary or gun hand free in case you need to access your weapon. Keeping your gun hand free limits your options on how much you can carry and usually means your off hand is occupied. For the article I’m going to use the phrase off hand. I know the more common description is “weak hand,” but I prefer to keep the work weak out of my vocabulary. You may be less skilled, but you are not weak!

I bring this topic up because I want you to think about how much time you spend shooting one hand only? Very few instructors offer courses where you are required to shoot your handgun with your primary hand only, not to mention your off hand only. Most training course emphasize good marksmanship which is achieved by a solid stance, grip and the other applied fundamentals. This is a great way to learn, but how you learn to shoot is going to be very different from when you have to shoot to survive. Outside of some advance police pistol training I do not see one handed shooting in very many curriculums.

Whether you attend my basic handgun or one of my more advanced courses, I make all of my students shoot with one hand for several reasons. The first reason is to show them it is possible. You should see the looks I get from students when I tell them to let go with one hand. After some initial apprehension, the student always shows intense concentration and they shoot exceptionally well with one hand only. Just when confidence starts to increase I have them put the gun into their off-hand only. Again, more looks of horror and doubt followed by encouragement, concentration and success.

In my Offensive Pistol course we up the ante a bit by giving the student a life size doll which completely ties up one hand, forcing them to access, withdraw and shoot the target with one hand. This is important because like I mentioned at the beginning of the article, we are always carrying or holding onto something. In a real life encounter we may have our off hand occupied, or if we are with a loved one they may be latched onto one of our arms in panic. In the event you are involved in a gun fight and become injured and lose the ability to fight with one hand, having a skillset you have trained will make a life-saving difference.

While shooting with one hand usually requires a bit more concentration when practicing, you will find that over time you can make very accurate hits. In practical or defensive pistol training we need to remember that we are not looking for the same level of accuracy as someone who is participating in a marksmanship competition. While we should always strive to shoot faster and try to make our rounds touch each other, in a real life environment we should strive for, “Combat accuracy.”

There are varying definitions of combat accuracy so let me explain my perspective this way. When shooting I want my students to get their rounds into a soccer ball size area of center mass. When shooting with one hand, and shooting quickly this is not difficult to achieve with a little practice. As your skill increases you will be better able to control the recoil and get those rounds closer together, but if you can put your shots into a soccer ball size area you will be effective against a lethal threat.

To close out the article I want to give you a tip you can try that may make shooting with one hand a bit easier. Sitting or standing where you are shake your arms to loosen up a bit. Now raise them up in front of you and notice how your hands are naturally pronated or angled towards the center line of your body. This is the common way you rest your hands on a piano, or computer keyboard.


This is a very natural position for your body. Now, keeping your hand in that position, simply add the handgun. You will notice that the handgun is also pronated or angled slightly inboard towards your centerline. This should feel natural and comfortable, but be careful not to over pronate and end up going full gangster as you hold the handgun. The gun should rest naturally at a 45 degree angle. (See photos)


From this position you can easily see your front sight and achieve a good sight alignment and picture. Shooting one handed from this position also allows you to stand square to your target instead of turning sideways and exposing your vital organs.

The other thing to avoid is over rotating your hand the other way so your handgun is sitting straight up and down or about 90 degrees. If you rotate you’re the gun you will feel additional tension in your forearm and wrist which will cause you to fatigue faster and will make mitigation of recoil more difficult. If you notice with your hand in the pronated position, the grip panel is facing downward, allowing gravity to assist you in by counteracting the rise of the handgun during recoil.

Next time you head to the range, make sure you spend some time outside your comfort zone. Spend some time shooting with one hand and apply some of the techniques I’ve mentioned above. When you have adequate control, shoot faster but maintain accuracy. Build your skills and confidence and then shoot with your off hand as well. If you carry a concealed handgun, make sure you carry in such a way you can access and draw your handgun with one hand as well. This skill is vital to your survival. It pays to be one armed man!

Be safe, and remember: Your mind is the weapon, everything else is a tool!

Scott S

Founder – One Weapon Any Tool Firearms Training

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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


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