Always vet your trainers…

CNN has an article on a man accidentally shot by his shooting instructor during a safety class.


Please ensure that the instructors you are learning from are of a high caliber. Professional. Safe.

If your instructor:

  • Doesn’t show you a firearm is cleared
  • Sweeps you with the muzzle
  • Does anything you feel is unsafe

Then consider leaving the class immediately, seek a refund and a new instructor.

Published in: on August 14, 2013 at 7:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

Tragedy, not far from my old home…CT

Dear readers,

I have held off writing about the Newtown shooting for a variety of reasons. First off, as a former Connecticut resident, it hits close to home.  I did not know any of the victims, but I may eventually discover a friend or family member may have. Second, emotions are high, and we need some time to reflect and to heal. 

Remember, when you want to have a reasonable discussion, and make rational decisions, you do NOT do that when your emotions are high.  However, I do have some thoughts I want to share:

To Teachers, who are wondering “what can I do to help make my kids safe?”

It is sad that we even have to discuss such things. But as teachers you’re in a potential target zone. You and your children. Plan accordingly… the following are a few strategies. None of these are full proof. They simply provide an improved chance of survival.

  • Have a means of barricading door.  Preferably something beyond a merely locked door knob which may be forced open. My recommendation to school systems looking to implement such affordably is to drill a hole in the cement floors and cut 10″ long piece of rebar. During an emergency lock-down, teachers would be instructed to insert the steel rod in the hole. This would make it very difficult to force open a door.
  • Erect a bookcase in an area that can shield you and your students. While far from full proof, a large quantity of paper has been known to stop many bullets. With most handgun rounds being stopped under 8″. Even the 5.56 round used in an M16 might be stopped by 8″ of paper. If the perpetrator is unable to get into the classroom and shooting through a wall. A shelf of books may be the difference between life and death.

    The Box of Truth did some demonstrations on the effectiveness of paper.

  • Consider placement of aquariums as well. Particularly plexiglass ones (as glass will merely shatter). Water impede most rounds. And a large 55 gallon aquarium could provide an additional barrier to hide behind. A large bookshelf with a 55 gallon aquarium on the other side could provide a formidable barrier to projectiles.Box of Truth demonstrations on water
  • Keep a couple cases of paper in your room. Hand out two reams each and have your students place them over their hearts or heads. (Or their textbooks.) Yes it may seem silly. But aquarium + bookshelf + reams of paper/books over the heart or head may very well be what keeps a student alive.
  • If allowed, carry pepper spray. Probably not allowed most schools. Consider aerosol sprays (cleaning agents, etc).  It is a lot easier to overcome an individual who is trying to break through a classroom door immediately after they’ve been sprayed in the face. I won’t say hornet spray, but seriously…while totally illegal. I don’t think there is an American in this country who’d object to a teacher using such to keep their students safe.
  • Keep softball bat in a classroom cabinet/locker.
  • If you have fire extinguishers in your room, grab it and be ready. It’s not much, but it can be used to spray, blind and confuse an attacker.  It also works as a blunt weapon for bludgeoning.
  • Firehoses are fairly powerful, I wouldn’t want to face a gun wielder with one. But I would prefer to face him with a hose over nothing at all. If you can be set up around a corner, and hit in the attacler in the face it may give 2-3 of you enough time to tackle and disarm him.
  • I don’t think anyone would mind you praying under those circumstances.
  • Keep your wits, look at what tools are available to you. This last one may be the single greatest asset you have available to you. But remember, our wits function better when they’ve had time to think and plan in advance.

All of these options are poor. I admit that. But they can increase the odds of a teacher keeping their kids safe, and should be considered.  I wish no one had to think about them. But by thinking now, having a plan, you are far more likely to keep your kids safe.

The Eyes of Truth

Some say the eyes are the window into the soul.  One fear of many shooters is that they can also be the perfect window for a ricochet or other flying debris to enter through. This is why it is nearly a universal axiom of shooting instructors that ALL shooters should wear some sort of eye protection. In fact, most ranges mandate this as a requirement of shooting on their premises.

Personally, I do not have the budget to afford $100+ eye protection.  Sure, I know there are those who extoll the fact that it’s your eyes and safety. And a $100 isn’t a lot to keep you safe. Perhaps no, but when you need to buy a car and 6 years later you’re still delaying the purchase of that flat panel HDTV, a $100-$200 on an insurance is often more than the average casual shooter is willing to expend.

I myself have mostly relied upon the $5-$15 models available at your big box stores, or upon my prescription glasses. Of which, only polycarbonate is recommended. Glass and ordinary plastic is prone to shattering; glass usually in a horrific manner.

If you want the low down of how various eye protection responds to a variety of impacts, check out the recent post over at LuckyGunner.


LuckyGunner blog test numerous eye protection units of varying quality, price, and construction in a “Box of Truth” style experiment.  The results are interesting to say the least.

The results may cause you to change your eye protection or eye protection habits. I know I tend to just rely upon my prescription glasses. I may need to consider alternatives, and whether I really should be doubling-up with a yellow over-lay goggle.

In fact, I’d love for Luckygunner to test a pair of cheap prescription glasses (available from with the addition of cheap basic yellow overlay glasses. I am curious to know how the doubling impacts the wearer’s safety.

Published in: on July 20, 2012 at 12:54 pm  Leave a Comment  
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There is No BATMAN!!!

There is No BATMAN!!!

There is not denying, this is a tragedy perpetrated by a deranged individual. Some will point to this as reason to ban all guns. I have little doubt that a gun ban would not have stopped this individual. Based on reports by this was a well planned and thought out attack.  The shooter incorporated gas (be it tear or smoke, is unclear at this point) and had multiple firearms.  However, this massacre could have easily been accomplished by simply coming through an emergency exit. Chain locking it. Pouring some gasoline as he walked up the hall. Locking the entrance way. And lighting a match. In fact, such would have likely left more dead, been far more gruesome, and required a mere $20-$40 worth of investment.

I do believe that the assailant timed this deliberately with the release of the Dark Knight Rises. Clearly, the assailant is trying to associate himself to the horror of the villain’s portrayed in the Dark Knight films. The correlation between Bane and the assailant are numerous.  But in no way do I believe the movie or films like it are the cause of this style violence. This is caused by an individual with mental illness. It will be interesting to see if Sebastian’s call on there being a record of schizophrenia and mental illness for this guy will bear out to be true. But I’d put good money on it.

Here is what I learned personally. My first thought isn’t necessarily correct. Often when I am watching a movie I am carrying a pocket .380 concealed on my person. My first thought when reading this is that, with me being armed, I could potentially take down the assailant. Usually, 1-2 hits is enough to end a rampage by these crazies.  But in further reading the article it details that the assailant on top of wielding smoke grenades and multiple firearms, also was wearing a bullet proof vest. This means he was mindful and expectant of being shot (likely from police). It’s very likely my .380 would have proved insufficient (aiming a pocket pistol for a head shot in the dark is no easy feat) except at very close quarters.  That is a reminder that merely carrying a firearm is not a magic talisman.  Regardless, I’d still rather be wielding an LCP against a man with a handgun, rifle and body armor than nothing at all.

UPDATES:  News alert just stated that the assailant’s apartment is booby-trapped as well. This was not some mindless fool who decided to do this on a spur of the moment. This was well thought out and complicated. And apparently an explosive device was found at the theater.


When the mother heard… “She immediately expressed concern that her son may have been involved. “You have the right person,” she said.”–abc-news-topstories.html

This is a problem in cases like this. It seems everybody knows there is a danger, but no one seems to have done anything beforehand.  In fact, with budget cuts for the treatment of the mentally ill, the releasing of thousands of mentally ill patients back onto the streets; we can expect a greater number of violent incidents.

Women and Gun Growth

Connecticut is seeing a surge in gun ownership among women. As a former Connecticut resident who is fond of reminding the gun community how much of our gun heritage originates in that small little state – this is GOOD NEWS!!!

Per the article, in the first half of 2012 over 3,500 women were issued carry permits. To put that in perspective, currently 30,000 women have carry permits.  So in a mere 1/2 a year Connecticut has added 10% again onto the number of women with carry permits.

Now realize, if you could earn a 10% return in 6 months you would be considered an uber-growth stock.  Let’s not forget we are talking about a New England state, one considered to be a liberal bastion. What this means is that the perception of gun ownership is ceasing to merely be a conservative, redneck ideal and is increasingly being viewed with broad political appeal

The effect on the future of politics may be profound. Currently, the vast majority of 2nd Amendment support derives from the conservative base. It’s often why we get slammed when Republicans are in office. If the Republicans don’t back our cause the Democrats are surely not going to leap to our defense.  But if firearms ceases to be a left/right issue, and the Democrats start to see more and more of their constitutuents supporting 2nd Amendment rights. The right to keep and bear arms will become a swing voter issue.  If you understand the game of politics, the swing vote is the mighty vote.  The staunch conservative and liberals seldom affect the outcome of elections. It’s that middle undecided vote, the vote that brings the 2%-4% percentage point difference in close elections, and decides who wins and who loses.

If this trend grows, more and more Democrats may find themselves less gung ho on gun control  Sure, you’ll have the die-hard liberals. But those Democrats who actually don’t give a darn about the issue one way or the other could begin to become supporters, if they view it as a way to garner an edge in an election.

The article includes a number of profound fact, just to summarize:

  • 43% of women polled reported having a firearm in their house
  • 23% of women polled said they own a gun
  • 3,500 new carry permits for women in the first half of 2012
  • Women focused training event – SOLD OUT
  • 73% increase in firearm sales to women
  • 50% increase in female participation in shooting sports

Wow, what can I say? This was one of the most informed, well researched and accurate articles I’ve seen on firearms in a very long time. Excellent job by the Hartford Courant!,0,1008483.story

Do you shoot or blog? Asks Sebastian

Sebastian talks about shooting and blogging.  And do we blog because we can’t shoot…

Gotta admit there is a part of truth to that. It’s been far too long, and far too long in between, since I’ve gone down to the range.

Part of it is that life is busy. Part of it is also being a father of three. For me to go to the range, it must be a day when I have it off, and when my wife has it off.  That works out to 1 weekend ever other week (4-5 days a month). 

But in that same time I have to get the rest of life done, catch up on chores and cleaning of the house, home repairs, mow the grass and tend to the weeds.  As for shooting during the week, I commute a  100+ miles to Baltimore. That pretty much kills the middle of the week for me.

Yes, I miss shooting…

I’d like to do some more dry-firing and am hoping to purchase the LaserLyte Personal Trainer

Published in: on June 7, 2012 at 1:06 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Carry & Train

You’ve bought a gun. Maybe even got a permit. Now what?


While I do not advocate mandatory training laws, because there are times when an individual needs to be able to add the ability to protect themselves quickly (ie: wife with a restraining order against an abusive husband). But that in no way means I do not see training as a personal requirement.
This is one messy case: (Please note, there may be numerous relevant details of which we are not privy too. These details may or may not justify the individual’s claims. The advice below is regarding the situation as postulated in this particular article.)–abc-news-topstories.html

The guy claiming self-defense walks up to a neighbor having a party and making too much noise. But he does so with a gun drawn.

Unlike the Zimmerman case, in which acting as a neighborhood watch member, Zimmerman questioned a supicious individual.  This was a direct confrontation initiated by the gun holder.

Walking over to a neighbor with a gun, is pretty much a no no.  Even if the situation does not result in shooting; the relationship between you and your neighbor will forever be ruined. You will have to endure that strained relationship until one of you leaves.

The result, man walks over with gun to neighbor.  Brandishing the gun. And making the neighbor escalate.  All over a bit of noise. Granted, no matter how bad the noise is. A decent pair of firearm hearing protection could have provided an alternative to destroying your life in a questionable self-defense claim.


1) Do not create a confrontation.

2) Do not enter a situation in which a confrontation can arise in a “ready” state (ie: ready to shoot). As this places a threat on the other individuals.

3) Don’t waste your life over a minor annoyance. Pursue matters through other channels (ie: local law enforcement and legal system).

4) Do not draw, unless you fear for your immediate well being.  

Had this man gone out with a light jacket, gun in pocket, hands in pocket or with a concealed carry rig and politely asked his neighbors “Hi there, the party is really loud.  Not trying to stop you guys from having fun, but if you could tone it down just a notch, that’d be great!”

In such fashion the individual could have been ready to protect himself if an immediate threat arose; without triggering alarm and further confrontation brought about by actively wielding a firearm when the situation did not merit it.

Regretfully,  this advice was not heeded. And from the description of the case I’d wager that the shooter will find himself facing a murder charge. This guy brandished over noise, and then shot and killed a man. Zimmerman was actively being assaulted. If these facts stand the test of truth over time, than I’d have to support a conviction. This is not the type of firearm we want.  We want responsible gun owners.

[DISCLAIMER: We really don’t know, and likely never will, the fullness of the facts involving this case. So if more is revealed. Perceptions and judgments would be altered as well. However, I believe the above advice to be prudent in all situations. Don’t put yourself in a bad situation, don’t come out with your gun pointing, and don’t escalate a minor disturbance to the need of killing.]

Published in: on June 7, 2012 at 12:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Open Carry Debate

I see many critical of the Californian open-carry movement and quite a bit of heated discussion on the subject.   (See some great discussion over at the I, personally,  am of the opinion that California has pushed to the point where we need vocal and disruptive action, and perhaps even civil disobedience. 

People forget that there was a time not so long ago where in many places you could not carry a firearm.  Ironically, I grew up in San Diego in the 80’s where you could actually carry (if done openly). 

What are Californians to do?  It’s not like the activity is eroding their rights. Their rights have been continually eroded. (Carry bans, ammo purchasing limits, etc, etc, etc.)

I believe that Americans in California have four options:

1. Give up their rights (Bad, bad, bad)

2. Peacefully protest and object through traditional channels (fairly ineffective but there is some hope, Federal court system, etc).

3. Civil Disobedience (Breaking of laws you feel are immoral.  Carries many consequences, but sometimes we have to bear the consequences for change. If not for civil disobedience we might still have segregation.)

 Recently, I even considered the possibility that certain rifles and handguns might be able to be carried despite the bans on carry – using BATFE’s own regulations.  Take the Sig P250, which receives the serial numbering is an internal trigger component.  That is the part that is OFFICIALLY the gun.  An AR15 has the serial # on the lower, this allows you to buy uppers without the need for an FFL transfer. So what happens if an individual carries a pistol or a rifle but leaves the serial # portion at home. It would seem to me that they would not legally be carrying a firearm.  And perhaps this is the next protest we should expect to see in California. 

4. Armed Opposition (This is the last route we want to take. And I believe that while things like Open Carry, etc stir up the pot.  That such activism is indeed necessary. But the truth is, there is a point, and may we never reach it again, in which the rights are so infringed that the only choice is armed opposition.)

There was a time when we practically lost carry in much of America.  We could have easily found ourselves a disarmed nation akin to Great Britain.

Realize, we could very easily be having this same debate regarding “The need to carry, versus not having the need to carry” OR the “need to own a firearm versus not having the need to own a firearm”.

There are many people who feel as opposed to firearm ownership in general, as feel opposed to open-carry. 

And let’s be brutally honest here. Open carry is the AR debate ALL over again.  Let’s rewind to the 80’s and 90’s. “Why no one needs more than 10 rounds and no one needs an military style weapon.”

How much was the gun community split on that? How many top dogs in the industry split on that or even came out on that end? Be it Bill Ruger or Jim Zumbo?

Imagine if the gun community came out and said “No one buy AR15’s or even Mini14s. We know they’re just semi-auto rifles. But well, their presence and ownership might get all semi-autos or even all firearms banned.”  Where would we be today? Would the AR15 be the #1 selling rifle platform?  I don’t think so…


My position, is if you’re going to open-carry. Be respectful. Be polite. Respect private property.  Be a Norman Rockwell Boy Scout. 

For safety considerations I tend to advocate “open carry” only when two or more gun owners are out and about.  Less you present yourself as a target.

As for activism, I believe open-carry is better in a group activism and when that activism has cleared all hurdles ahead of time. By this, I mean – do not go to a restaurant chain and argue it’s a public place blah blah blah.  Rather, approach the management ahead of time in a polite fashion. Receive the okay of the private establishment’s manager. Than proceed…

Guess what, not only will this reduce likelihood of an issue. But it will make for a much better witness as well.
For those who feel open-carry causes no good. I am reminded of an incident at a Costco in recent memory where an individual engaged in concealed carry had his firearm accidentally seen by a passer-by. The Costco was evacuated, the cops called in, and the man in question unwittingly walked out not even realizing he was the concern – he walked out to his death as the cops gunned him down and questioned later. Sure, different actions on the gun owner’s part might have avoided this situation.  But had there not been such an immediate fear on the mere sight of a man carrying a firearm, this and other similar incidents could be avoided.


20 Years of Warning

Woman who fired a warning shot is charged and convicted with aggravated assault and sentenced to 20 years.

Essentially the woman fired a warning shot at her abusive husband. I believe there is more to this case, and I think it was a matter of timing that the husband wasn’t actively assaulting her when she fired the warning shot.  However, it is a reminder that warning shots tend to be a bad idea.  The expectation is that you only draw your firearm if you fear for your life and well being. If you fear for it, why did you waste a bullet on a warning rather than shooting to “stop” the situation?

Never fire a warning shot. Shoot to stop, or don’t shoot.  And if you do fire a warning shot. Remember, you didn’t fire a warning shot. You simply missed and the individual retreated and you did not pursue them.  A justified homicide will set you free, but an accidental homicide will land you in jail.

You must know what action you are taking, and why you took that given, and you must be able to explain your reasoning clearly.


Published in: on May 12, 2012 at 1:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

#nraam Thank You

Dear St. Louis,

Thank you for hosting us and providing us a place to enjoy ourselves.

To all my readers, you’re why I blog, thank you for all the likes, shares and followings. I hope you’ve enjoyed our coverage.

This concludes our coverage of the 2012 NRA Annual Meeting.

The N.U.G.U.N. Blog