Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Dark Arts for Good Guys: The Right to Knife

To what extent are you willing...and capable of saving your life? If no gun were available could you ...would you...are readily capable of doing so with a knife.

Would you slit an attacker's throat?

Could you use a knife to filet three inches of forearm off of a rapist, a serial killer?

Can you descend to that primal place of fight at bad breath distance and prevail? In a very real world people are attacked inside of elevators and the ability to escape may not occur until the word “Lobby” is back-lit. Mothers are forced to the floor boards of vehicles and raped in front of the children, adventure seeking teenagers are found beaten and tortured to death with their heads found in creek beds. Grown men are jumped and beaten by teenagers on subway platforms left mangled and crippled for life.

And this happens every-single-day.

Whether you are in the back streets of Kuala Lumpur, NYC ,a remote camp site in New Mexico or in the cubicle at your office park as a gunman walks around shooting people. A knife beats bare hands and, while a big knife is better the reality is when it goes down you're most likely going to have a folder or small fixed blade to work with.

Isn't a gun better?What brand makes the best tac-folder? I heard knives are illegal to use in defensive situations? Don't worry about it. This isn't an argument about which is better, or knife-nerding about why knives are cool.

The situation is this, you are about to lose your life. Save it. Because what you need more than anything is the willingness to engage..to step INTO the fight.

Into a fight......WITH a knife?

Why do you think you practice that 21 foot in one second drill at the pistol range? The dictum is that the average person can cover twenty-some-odd feet of ground in a second and start killing with a knife. Well brother the phone rings both ways don't it. If a bad man can cover a short distance fast and kill with a knife, the average citizen can reverse the role.
Look the human body dies from either one of two ways. Natural causes or trauma. When we talk about knives and bad guys we are talking about trauma. Therefore the idea in self-defense is to create a negative alteration to the attacker's body and...... to their mind. Screw with both of those simultaneously and winning is the by product, because you should never give an attacker much credit in the bravery or the commitment department. The moment they start losing they are in the hole, because they just invested in you or rather who-they-thought-you-were (read: Food).

It's a hard concept for decent people to get around, but for a career criminal they spend the majority of their time devoted to their career...just like you do. A rapist, a serial killer, a spree shooter, general thug doesn't think about getting on with a normal like. Rather they attempt to appear normal so they can operate in the same theater as you and I. Hence the old saying a wolf in sheep's clothing.

You having a bad work day, might mean a ding in the pay check or a reprimand from the boss, or an unhappy client. For the criminal it means getting hurt, getting caught and locked up or getting killed.
How do we go about delivering bodily harm with a knife to an attacker? After all there really isn't a place on the body that can't be stabbed or cut or cause copious amounts of pain so why bother thinking this through? I mean in a fight its going to be blind stabbing....right?

For the same reason we go to the pistol range and do live fire defensive drills, aim center mass or for the head. Because in these regions bullets cause the most destructive damage to the body.
And like that, using a knife for defense has some great areas, good areas and available areas. I won't say bad because lets face it even if someone can function with a knife stuck in the top of their skull it's not “ideal” living conditions for them.

Here is the last thing I want you to remember as we go about breaking down the target areas of the body. Think about it now, occasionally as you read this by stopping and closing your eyes, and when you lay in bed....IT-IS-GOING-TO-BE-A-CLOSE-FIGHT.

Closer than you want....and closer than you may think you are capable of dealing with.

Think of his bare teeth and spit an inch from your nose, his hand gripping a fistful of your shirt, his forearms snaked around your throat.

Worried a bit? Hesitant with that idea? Scared out of your head but don't want to really admit it...that's cool get it out. Now take a minute to close your eyes, wrap your weak hand around his throat, take that thumb of yours and *click* open that tactical folder of yours and win.

Upfront. Stabbing beats slashing for the purposes of increasing a lethal wound quicker. A slash bears a strong psychological bomb. Lance the body and it opens. When it opens things spill out. It also creates a long external but, shallow (relative to how deep you cut) wound area. Blood and muscle are now exposed and there is likely nerve damage but the slash cut does its best on bare skin. Great if your attacker is naked or even half naked. Not so good if he is wearing a down jacket. Though from a tactical advantage the slash-cut to the face (especially above the eyes) is going to be a thin cut because of the amount of bone-to-skin but head wounds bleed bad. Blood in your attacker's eyes is going to keep blinding him until he contends with it. This requires putting pressure on the wound, which in turns requires one or both hands. Thus increasing your target area on him and decreasing his ability to cover his vitals.

The puncture however is what we are looking for whenever we can get it. A ball point pen requires something like 5lbs of pressure to break through and create a puncture wound on soft areas (like around the carotid artery). A knife, especially with a good clean point a pound...maybe two. Go push on a scale and see what that feels like.

But we are not talking about being nice here. If you are puncturing you should be s-l-a-m-m-i-n-g the blade into him with 20 and 30 lbs of pressure. The deeper the wound channel the better. Couple that with multiple stab wounds and the fight changes quickly and in your favor.

Queasy uneasy yet? 

Not very politically correct? What do you think your bullet fired from your pistol does?

It creates a penetrating wound that in some cases will go in the front and out the back. Your bullet stabs a hole in the body of your attacker. With a gun you are getting to do it from a distance. With a knife and especially a small one you are doing it body on body contact and you are having to physically manipulate that blade past clothing and skin hopefully glancing or all together missing bone in the process.

Still think you don't need to practice?


The head isn't that great of target for the knife as it is for the bullet. The skull, which acts as both a vault to protect the brain and to give structural support to the face is dense, hard, and round. All joking aside it's not an unlikely possibility to slam a knife into the cranial vault and find out it's stuck. While a blade in the head is....well odd and obviously dangerous it's not necessarily fatal or even painful (though it could make for a decent handle to grip on while deliver blows with your fists until he stops). There has been more than a couple of people who have walked themselves into an ER with something stuck in the skull.

The vulnerable areas of the head are the face and the base of the skull, which if you look at sits higher than you think. The chin for example can sit more than a few inches below the skulls base by comparison.

So while stabbing and slashing the back of the skull is pointless when compared to other parts of the anatomy, the skull's base is not a bad area to attack. Get below the Occipital region and target the Cervical Vertebrae with stabbing blows or deep cuts and it's light out. Sever the spinal cord here and death is anywhere from tenths-of-seconds to-seconds.

How would that be possible?

Take for instance if you were on your back, your attacker on top of you or your body pinned up right against the wall (think kissing position) with your arms free. Roll/shift your body to the side while grasping the top of his head and pulling it either sideways or over your shoulder and the skull's base/spine is just a few inches from your face. If you can get your arms either around him or above the shoulders you are in. You are also right in the same area as the pharynx. Since this is where both food and air pass through you've got this tiny flap of connective tissue called the epiglottis that closes over the glottis when you swallow food thus preventing pulmonary aspiration. Ever hear those horror stories about drunks being found in the jail cells dead on from choking on their own vomit (as if this post wasn't gruesome enough I know). Well same principal. Stab wounds into this area can cause blood to back up in the throat. If an attacker can't breath he can not fight (you will see this again).

An attack on the face is no doubt traumatic, but not necessarily lethal. Take out the eyes and the attacker loses any ability to target you. Not to mention the immediate reaction of losing sight. His interest in his own dilemma is now greater than his interest in you. The nose is the next decent target and is probably the pain center for the head. It is also home to the Nasal Concha or turnbinates, which divide up the nasal airway. They are responsible for forcing inhaled air to flow in steady , regular patterns. It also acts as a filtration and temperature control center and is the last stop before encountering the cribform plate that separates the nose from the brain. Damage here can be lethal from the immediate impact to the brain in some cases. Regardless, a knife slammed here or a severe laceration where the nose is removed and blood begins actively flowing back inward (and outward) in copious amounts thus making breathing difficult.

The Temporal bone aka the Temple isn't necessarily thinner, but rather flatter. It does make a good point of attack as a knife blade attack from the side is less likely to break or jam and it is also near the Superficial Temporal Aretery (i.e. it's close to the surface of the skin). Either way a knife blow here is just that a blow and any good and solid impact is going to cause disorientation and possibly unconsciousness. This is due to referral shock to the brain not because the area is inherently weak, this is the “punch drunk” scenario. Motor function is disturbed along with the ability to think clear.

The ears are also an area very susceptible to damage. Mind you I said damage, not death, but severe crippling pain. A Ka-Bar LDK may not seem like much more than a shiv but, slide that little 1.5 blade into the ear canal of an attacker and use it's little bent handle like a cork screw and the screaming you hear won't be your own.

The Neck/Throat

No target area (in my opinion) on the body is more ideal than the neck and throat region. It rarely bears any significant cover from clothing and even then generally one layer from either a collar, or mask. And where a lot of areas that “matter” on the human body ,like the brain or the heart, most are protected by bone in one way or another...the throat isn't, the neck not so much. There is a small support system of Thyroid cartilage that essentially acts as a base, and while it is somewhat tough and fibrous it doesn't have the density and strength of bone.

Without question your three best points of counter attack here are the right and left carotid arteries and the trachea (read: wind pipe). If you take your thumb and index finger and open them like you are prepared to pinch something and put them each on the opposite sides of the wind pipe you will feel a soft border on the outside edge of each. That is essentially where the arteries are. Severe and forceful slashes and stabs here stop a fight. Not so much because they cause immediate non-voluntary incapacitation or death like a rifle bullet to the head or a snapping of the neck, but rather they cause rapid blood loss...rapid. 

Cutting the trachea creates a back flow of air and blood. Again when an attacker has to fight to get air he can't fight you. He has to choose. The thing about this area is you don't have to work to find one over the other because more likely than not you're gonna hit two out of the three.

You have to be willing to go at it. If you can use both hands....actually use everything. There are no rules that say you can't stab a rapist in the throat while deliver a knee to the groin...or each one repeatedly. If he drops his chin to cover his throat, stab the lower portions of the face and eyes. Or instead of trying to force the head back to open the target area, get a good grip on the back of his head and pull it even lower using his idea against him. His neck area is now tight and fully exposed, and what does the neck do? Supports the head and the throat. Slashes, stabs and cuts here cause structural support problems. Air and blood are again introduced into airways, blood is leaving the body as fast as the heart can pump it out and...you are slicing through neck muscles, nerves like the cervical plexus. Severing all of this creates irreparable damage to shoulder functions.

Since the arm relies on the shoulder and the shoulder relies on the nerves here signal function becomes disrupted. Grips aren't as strong on you, blows less severe. Combine that with an amazing amount of blood loss in short fashion and an inability to breath your ability to escape is almost immediate.

Mind Games

Knife defense is seen as controversial. It's also necessary. Talk to a career police officer and he will tell you about how to defend against a knife attack. Talk to a combat Soldier, a Marine, or someone out of Special Activities where attacking and hand-to-hand combat is about killing and, not detaining and you will find that the ability to use a knife lethally is fundamentally important.

It is easy to say “not me” I'll never need it. The paramount problem I think most people have with defending with anything other than a handgun is one of several things. For starters its a combination of training and muscle memory. You get it ingrained it into your head to draw, aim and fire. Even with taking a good firearms course that really gets into raising your heart rate and reality 90% of your range experience else where is very sanitized. You shoot-you go home.Training creates confidence. Confidence creates reassurance, reassurance creates bravery.

Understand that is not belittling, it's just how it is. The knife suffers from what the gun does not. There is no “knife range” to go to. No target to set up so you can “knife” at it for 50 or 100 rounds. So most people who carry a knife for defense don't get beyond drawing it and presenting it while standing in the kitchen, only to fold it back up or to re-sheath it.

Get in the habit of mentally visualizing an attacker inside of an elevator and launching an quick barrage attack upon you. Or trying to shove you into the back of a van. Oh I get it. You are thinking this part is for the women...cause you know...rapists. True enough. But at some point Bob Levinson, Daniel Pearl, Paul Chandler and only a few other hundred thousand men through out history have been forced into captivity. This isn't a “please come with us kind of thing” it's an shit kicking assault until submission happens kind of thing...and that is just the kidnapping.

Not long back in Boston, a guy was riding a subway with his toddler son. He told the boy to wait “over there” pulled a claw hammer out of his back pack and began slamming a complete stranger while yelling “Allah Akbar!” ...and no I'm not kidding. The man he attacked could have fought back with a knife and won.

In India, where everyone from the West who practices yoga sees this as a “spiritual place”, I stopped an assault that occurred inside of vehicle with a CRKT Hissatsu fixed blade.

The Virginia Tech Massacre, where guns weren't allowed on campus, could have ended in short order if someone with balls and a blade would have chin grabbed the son of bitch and cut his throat.

And that is the reality. It is an incredibly scary prospect for many to step INTO a fight with a knife and kill the bad guy. Some people are cowardly by nature, they have water where there should be blood. Can't fight because they're afraid to fight, afraid to fire, afraid to stab, afraid to resist.

And then there are others who don't fight because they can't think beyond the pistol. If this is you I suggest you stop and reorganize. Because there may come that day where you are vacationing somewhere where your conceal carry permit is broken and as you look out over a beautiful chasm from a suspension bridge taking in the view with your family the guy next to you decides he want to throw people off it...just because. 

The end game is this. There is a difference between "feeling safe" and having viable options to safely defend oneself. 

We don't talk, train, and fight out of a sense of hatred. We do these things out of love. The love to get home, to see our children raised, our families thriving as a whole. I don't “hate” anyone who is trying to do me harm. But they sure in hell are my enemy and I intend on seeing them dead first if it comes to that. I've come home beaten, bruised, battered, rattled, torn, cut, bit and burned...but I've come home.

I expect the same of you.

The Right to Knife Part II coming soon.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Screw Luck

It's odd that man's oldest tool, the knife, is regulated to bastard status in self-defense.It's focus for study is often seen as after the fact, or in addition to. Yet it is the easiest to obtain, to smuggle and in some cases deploy.

As the saying goes "The man with a knife has a chance. The man with no knife has no chance"....and that goes for the ladies as well.

So get ready to get bloody, get low down and world class &$*#)%# mean.

The Dark Arts for Good Guys series is returning with a few articles on edged weapons of all shapes and sizes.

Friday, June 17, 2011

For The Defense: Is self-defense an absolute right?

Earlier this week I received a phone call from a colleague asking if I could assist in a legal defense appeal. The Client is doing life+ with no chance of parole for a double homicide/triple shooting....twenty years ago.

My friend had been interviewing his client in the states maximum security prison and recommended that I be brought on (before I even knew about it, so how's that for trust). He was given the green light and we talked as he was on the drive home. Once fee was discussed and agreed upon I made a trip yesterday to request the court record from archives and, had some time to look over it the thousand plus pages this afternoon.

Here is my question for you, for you to stick in the back of your head should you ever get called into jury duty for such a case...and for you to comment on as well. It is this:

Is lethal self-defense an absolute right?

I believe it is. Regardless of your character and though the law actually reads as such it at least in this case didn't seem to care about that. The same circumstances are often brought up in rape cases and if you were to shift the paradigm slightly of "can a prostitute be raped?" that is where this case is at.

Back in the winter of 1990 the Client is in a neighborhood tavern, he begins chatting it up with a young lady and two guys take issue with this at which time a verbal altercation in the bar begins between the three men, but no physical altercation. Finally the bouncer (in my opinion) makes a fateful decision by throwing all three men out together. The Client begins making a B-Line for his vehicle. No talking smack, no "come on fight me" he's leaving.

At this point B-I-Q #1 and #2 give chase and the three men begin full on fighting. The Client goes around 5'7" and 149lbs while the other two are 6ft-6'1" and between 180-200lbs.

The Client states at one point on the stand that he is becoming physically exhausted and can not keep up against his attackers who show no sign of stopping and at one point B-I-Q #2 grabs his legs and lifts him. The Client pulls a snub-nosed .38 special fires twice into one B-I-Q and once into the other. Killing them both.

In an odd twist of fate a witness is also shot, not by a stray round, but rather due to a shoot through round (I don't know what ammunition was used at this point and time) that connects with him some distance away. He does survive and what I have learned holds no ill will towards the Client saying he was just trying to survive.

Yet the Prosecutor asks him during the trial "why didn't you just fire a warning shot..you know to scare them?"

The hullabaloo to the jury was that the fight wasn't fair. The two weren't armed and the Client was. No one on the original defense team felt it was imperative to mention how many people are simply and effectively beaten to death every year.

Self-defense, even in the P.C. rampant 90's, doesn't require the capability to read your attackers mind so that you can gain insight into the lethal/non-lethal intent. And in fact he (the Client) met obligations in trying to flee from the altercation by getting to his car before being jumped and attacked.

The Client would tell you he wasn't exactly an upstanding guy back in the day and one could argue that, that's Karma for you. But Karma isn't law. The law makes no moral exceptions for who has the right to self-defense and who doesn't.

Hence the "can a prostitute be raped" question. Of course she can.

Once years ago I was in a pub with some friends. I had just left protecting my Principal (client) and was carrying my pistol (a Kahr K9 if I remember correctly). One guy in our group (not a friend and high on the a-hole quotient) started talking trash with some other guys in the bar. A moment before it went bad he looked over and said to me "you got my back right?"

"Absolutely" then shook my head no to the other guys. He was a problematic personality and wasn't any friend of mine, and frankly not worthy of waiting next to him for bail. On that note he punches (attacks) a guy in the other group and a fight ensues...for him. We stayed out of it. And we were right to.

Good ol' fashion bar brawl right?


He assaulted someone and at some point in the ass kicking he got had he pulled a gun and shot his aggressors he would have been in the wrong.Even if he was about to lose consciousness. He was the initial aggressor and attacked, they defended.

What? Really?...I mean what about the whole Dark Arts for Good Guys...leave them dead in the street attitude. 

Will Smith has one of my favorite lines of all time in Men In Black that goes "Don't start nothin'. Won't be nothin'."

When he swung first he started it. Words can inflame you, but they can't kill you.

My Client on the other hand weighed in on a heated exchange but tried to avoid a fight which didn't matter because he was pursued and attacked.

No one bothered to ask during the trial what could have happened to him had he NOT had that snub-nose. If they had stomped his head in, broke his back and paralyzed him, or pulled out weapons of their own unseen and unknown of before?

While your character may come under scrutiny during a trial the key element is this regardless of your level of saint or sinner-hood. If you are attacked you have the right to defend yourself by any means necessary to preserve your life. Sadly the court room world thinks we live in the Lone Ranger world where we all have to fight fair. Until someone make an app for reading minds the fighting will remain unfair.

Teddy Roosevelt may have said it best with "Don't hit at all if it is honorably possible to avoid hitting; but never hit soft!"

Needless to say it's going to be an interesting summer.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Mindset Always Carries the Fight

The short of it goes something like this. One Gurka v thirty Taliban when his check point was over run.And he did so alone for over fifteen minutes.

The best quote coming out of the article is from Corporal Dipprasad Pun

"There wasn't any choice but to fight....... I was alone," he said

Go here for the details

Thursday, June 2, 2011

You have the right to the 4th Amendment.....well you USE to

My good pal told me about Indiana no longer honoring the 4th Amendment last week and it was disturbing enough, and I saw somewhere someone official said "but we won't allow this to be abused."

But I was here when I read the following quote that makes you want to jump on the parapet.

According to Newton County Sheriff, Don Hartman Sr., random house to house searches are now possible and could be helpful following the Barnes v. STATE of INDIANA Supreme Court ruling issued on May 12th, 2011. When asked three separate times due to the astounding callousness as it relates to trampling the inherent natural rights of Americans, he emphatically indicated that he would use random house to house checks, adding he felt people will welcome random searches if it means capturing a criminal.” 

Sheriff Hartman has cried foul on this quote and issued a statement on the Newton County Sheriff's web site

On May 16, 2011, I was contacted by a reporter of an internet radio station.  Her question
concerned a recent Indiana Supreme Court decision, allowing police officers to make random
warrantless searches.  I advised her that I was not clear on that particular ruling; she
then asked how the Sheriff’s Office conducted searches of residences.  I informed her that
searches were only conducted with a warrant, probable cause or when an officer is in hot
pursuit.  When questioned about the Supreme Court ruling, I advised her that as police
officers, we enforce those laws set forth by our legislative branch.  This reporter then
asked about the violation of Constitutional Rights.  This State Supreme Court ruling in my
opinion cannot override our U.S. Constitutional Rights and I’m sure this state ruling will
be revisited.

When I was asked about my thoughts on random searches and how people would react, I gave
her the scenario of looking for a criminal or escapee.  I advised her that if people were aware
of this situation, they would gladly let you search a detached garage, outbuilding, etc., if
it meant keeping them safe, but this would only be after securing permission.

This court ruling is just open for lawsuits if a police officer would attempt a random search
without due cause.  Somewhere in this conversation things were definitely taken out of context.
I'm now quoted as saying the Sheriff's Office will be conducting random house to house searches.

I want the citizens of Newton County to rest assured that no member of the Newton County
Sheriff’s Office will enter the property of another person without first having a warrant or
probable cause to do so.  I strongly stand behind my oath to uphold the Constitution of the
United States of America, as well as that of the State of Indiana.

Sheriff Donald E. Hartman, Sr.

 Actual court document here

Regardless the sooner this is challenged the better.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Questioning the Glock and Galco Holster Accidental Safety Warning Incident (Updated)

Like many of you last week I got an email from a buddy about the potential accidental discharge of a Glock 19 in a Galco holster going off by itself.

To see the "official" report you can go here to its tactical's web page showing the incident.

Now before we start let me say this. I'm not an arm chair investigator. I do this for a living and have for over fifteen years. I work very sophisticated and often complicated cases and have done so for major corporations and private citizens alike. I go where the work takes me and where my findings take me, even if that means an unhappy client. So that being said I have no beef with ITS Tactical and while I have a good many Galco holsters this isn't a "Save Galco" campaign either. So this in no way should be construed as an "Us vs Them" situation.

So let's get started.

So the first problem.

The photos are in some cases protected from being copied (post edit: this was pointed out by one reader not to be an absolute case and he was able to copy some photos) And under normal circumstances this wouldn't raise a flag just a company protecting their product. However what does raise a red flag is since when does a company copyright another person's and in this case conveniently an anonymous individuals work ? Claiming it as someone else's but carries their corporate logo? The way a copyright works is that you can only protect your own original work. So the question is who do these photo's belong to really?

Editor-in-chief’s note: We’d like to thank the anonymous individual who came forward with 
this important information and allowed us to get it out to everyone here at ITS Tactical.

The Second problem "Anonymous' letter"

It begins with "What the hell was that?!?” she said. It took me a half a second to realize that my gun had just gone off…on my hip…in its holster. My wife and I had just finished breakfast at our favorite cafĂ© and got into the car.Me being the passenger, I rotated my torso to the left to fasten my seatbelt like I always do. When I straightened again, my Glock 19 discharged, blowing a 9mm hole through my pants, underwear, the leather seat and bottom of the car’s door frame."

Let's stop here for just a moment. Anyone who has had the unfortunate occurrence of having to discharge a handgun inside of a car or room can tell you this, no one needs to ask "what it was" because for starters your ears are ringing and buzzing. Something that goes oddly unmentioned as does that ice-pick in the ear feeling that comes from being the shooter or the closest person the gun during its moment of discharge. Nor does he mention the searing pain from coming into contact with a bullet. Our hero is able to brush all of this aside and report the damage to his car.

An inconsistent statement and an obviously unsafe one:

After ensuring I wasn’t hemorrhaging profusely and didn’t have to make a dash for the hospital, I stayed seated in the car as my wife came around to my door and opened it. I undid my belt and slid the Galco JAK202 Slide Belt Holster, with the gun still in it, off my belt. Why it went off was immediately apparent.

hmmmm he stays seated, examines a wound that is under the muzzle of a still loaded pistol that went-off by-it-self . If the gun went of because he jostled himself around in the car, he felt it was a good idea to look at the wound before making his pistol safe by unloading it?

Then there is the simple aspect of actually seeing his injury to determine how bad he was injured with his gun in the way of the wound. The area of injury would have been pretty substantially covered from his view by the pistol for him to accurately asses this. Not to mention that he was trying to look under his muzzle at the wound with the door still shut.

"I stayed seated in the car as my wife came around to my door and opened it"

Well he was nervous you say. Agreed. Who wouldn't be. But after he is able to assess the "damage" he then endangers himself by again not making his weapon safe by removing it from the very holster that endangered his life to begin with. Instead he again jostles around a loaded gun to take it off of his belt. If a pistol shot you with out your manipulation then it stands to reason that making sure the gun didn't get a second chance to kill you would be paramount.

Who taught this guy gun safety?

The Plastic car seat shrapnel problem:

So let's say for argument sake (as one reader pointed out) that he obviously did not take the pictures of the incident immediately after it happened. That he most likely went home cleaned up and calmed down and maybe even waited till the next day before going back and recreating the scene of the incident.

if you look here

you see the inside of the door jamb where there exists pieces of plastic from the seat frame immediately under the the seat's exit hole and around the entry hole into the floor board. These pieces have not moved and are in a circular fashion of the round passing through?

Pieces that would appear to weigh the same as or less as grains of rice and sand.Very light in weight. Yet they remain undisturbed by the wife opening his door as he says she does.

If we go with the idea that they went home and composed themselves this means the door has to then be shut again with a certain level of air force opposite of the door being opened. And then home where the door is opened for him to exit, most likely shut again, and then opened once more for the photo session. That is if we are doing a bare bones concept of him traveling post shooting and pre-photo session.

This also does not take into account the simple vibration of a car in idle let alone actual driving on a street, any slight jolts from pulling out of a parking lot or into a driveway.

The next is the "blowing a 9mm hole through my pants, underwear...."

as shown here .There are a couple problems here. For starters there is cloth missing from the "blast hole" and the fabric appearing to be deliberately cut in some aspects also lacks any corresponding powder burn. Nor is there any powder burn or embedded powder in the cloth or in "Anonymous'" skin. There is also a significant lack of blood on the skin and blood stain on the cloth around the wound.

Before you tear into me telling me how wrong I am keep reading. Because I conducted my own live fire test and did not get anywhere near the same results. But let's stay on course.

Anonymous continues with "The bullet nicked my hip, but the wound is nothing a bandage couldn’t cover."

Outside of Louis L'Amour novels bullets don't "nick" the don't have sharp edges in travel. Knives do. Bullets bore holes and, had the round made contact with his skin he either would have had a bullet hole or one hell of an Indian burn running the partial course of his leg. How "fortunate" he was to be barely injured where "Anonymous" could treat the wound at home as opposed to say a hospital where all gunshot wounds require a police report and investigation.

He continues with "I stayed seated in the car as my wife came around to my door and opened it. I undid my belt and slid the Galco JAK202 Slide Belt Holster, with the gun still in it, off my belt. Why it went off was immediately apparent"

For all of his "details" he seems to not mention if the slide was open or closed. Or if the spent brass stove piped or cause the pistol to malfunction ...  or if it cycled just fine.

I also find it interesting that while he was supposedly humble enough to admit that he knew of the issue but, did nothing to resolve it.


You put a loaded pistol next to your body where obviously to you could fire?

"The trusty, comfortable, leather holster I had been using for a year and two weeks had done what a baseball glove does after lots of use; It got soft. This particular holster carries the pistol outside the waistband, but inside the belt. The belt slides through slots in the outer side of the holster. The problem stemmed from the leather on the inner side of the holster getting soft. A crease formed, which eventually was large enough to extend beyond the trigger. Manipulate the gun in just the wrong manner and this crease is no different than a finger on the trigger. Boom."

The holster became soft enough where the trigger is but did not become soft and deform in a much thinner area of where the belt slides through causing those edges to curl? Where there is the most torque placed on it?

holster link photo 2

holster photo link 3.

For all of the effort gone into the photos how come "Anonymous" isn't wearing his gun? In Hollywood they call that a continuity error. Maybe that muzzle didn't line up with where the bullet went.....

There is also a small debate that the it would go without saying that "Anonymous" took the photographs of the incident well after he got home, cleaned his wound and settled down from the experience. 

So let's look at the test I conducted.

First and foremost understand I did not attempt to recreate the holster scenario. My original suspicions stemmed from the muzzle blast and that is the primary focus.

To replicate the scenario I used a very thin grey t-shirt to act as the underwear over a piece of recently cut walnut to act as hip/leg. Understand the stump was not supposed to replicate tissue or a human leg. This was not a "ballistic" test". Rather I was interested in the cloth being torn by the muzzle blast. The stump as a good size for the top portion of a leg to hold the shirt and pants up, allow me to secure the guns to a holster and belt. It merely had...wait for it...a supporting role.

Next I took an old (10+ years old) pair of knock off desert camo pants that have seen extensive washings over the years so they are not new or in like new condition.

Then I attached a 9mm Beretta 92D loaded with factory Winchester 115 grn hardball into a belt slide holster with the muzzle sufficiently exposed. Yes I realize that the gun used in the alleged incident was a Glock 19. But ultimately for the muzzle blast test the manufacturer is irrelevant with the caliber being more of a primary focus. And barrel length between a Glock 19 and a Beretta 92D is less than a half an inch.

As to ammo "Anonymous" doesn't address what he was carrying but again we are examining muzzle blast and I think you will agree even if he was carrying +P rounds he'd have been hard pressed to have such a dramatic difference.

 The following photos are of the pistol being fired in the holster, and very minimal grey powder burn, no ripping or tearing of the pants and a very small and almost unnoticeable 9mm bullet hole in the pant leg. The slide does lock back but there were also no additional rounds in the magazine.

What looks like grey dirt on the pants is in fact the muzzle blast
No ripping, tearing, or "nicking"

The 9mm hole in the pants


To be thorough I was able to secure a Glock 23 (in .40 Smith & Wesson) to further examine the alleged incident. The point to remember still is that my intent was not to focus on the holster but rather the muzzle blast. In Anonymous' claim his Glock 19 fired "...blowing a 9mm hole through my pants, underwear...."see here.

In the photos below you see where I took a leather belt and placed it between the pant and the green nylon gun belt and allowed for the black belt to be doubled as to represent the two layers of an inside the belt, belt slide holster.

After I examined yesterday's test there was an argument to possibly be made that the holster the Beretta was fired from had the gun setting "farther" from the body than the in-the-belt holster. Though I thought the distance was negligible, you just never know maybe it would make all the difference in the world. Thus leaving the next post with me apologizing profusely.

As the accompanying photos show there is little difference. There is an the photos show, a small hole in the pant from the muzzle blast, but when the pant is pulled away and the t-shirt underneath that represented the underwear is examined there is no damage. 

I also question myself as to weather there could be any difference surrounding the incident because he had possibly "carry" or HP ammo where I had used standard ball.

Ammunition in this test was factory 180 grn Winchester hollow point. If a 9mm "carry" round from a Glock 19 was able to blow a hole in Anonymous' pants and underwear then the .40 S&W should only do it better.

So here we go again.

Immediately after firing the gun jumped partially from it's "holster". It ejected the spent brass and cycled without hindrance. Unlike the Beretta test I did have more rounds in the magazine to see if the gun would cycle properly. I could have squeezed the trigger and fired another round.

So there you are. Two tests, two pistols, two slight variations on hip carry, from two stair stepped calibers. Damage from the muzzle blast shows a small range of no discernible pant damage to a very minor pucker mark.

Still doubt? Ask this.

If "Anonymous" suffered a significant muzzle blast that tore open his pants, his under wear, and his skin from exposure to the muzzle blast from the side, why then is there only a 9mm size entry hole into the car seat?

Why isn't the car seat damaged in at least in the same capacity as the pant?  Since the seat would have taken 100% of the muzzle blast from almost contact range the damage would have exceeded anything delivered from a side blast.

seat photo here

So what if the this test had created a similar result from "Anonymous'" experience would I have published those results?

Absolutely. It was never the idea to prove anyone right or wrong. I had suspicions and wanted to see if the results were anywhere similar. I'm not anti-Glock in any capacity. Nor am I anti ITS Tactical.

Is it still possible that I am just wrong on this. Yes. I've worked in the investigation field long enough to know that there is always those one-in-a-million occurrences and you never ever force conclusions to fit your (my) theory .I think there are some issued of doubt raised in my mind's eye to "Anonymous" story and in two test's the damage wasn't replicated.

But I did find a comment not related to the incident when researching around in the revamping of this post.

In carteach0's blog he reviewed the JAK slide holster.  In the comment section of his he responds to one reader with:

"Well, if Galco says it's not suited for the G-30SF, then so be it. They are the experts and I wouldn't doubt their word. I, on the other hand, carry my G-30 SF in this holster without any issues. I do take care not to snag my trigger when holstering the Glock, and I can see where that might be a problem. People take that risk upon themselves using a holster not specifically designed for the pistol."

Again my issue has never been trying to recreate the holster manipulating the trigger but, rather the extensive damage done from the muzzle blast.My intent was not to sell this test as conclusive proof, as someone accused me of. Hell if I'm wrong I'm wrong.

I do think ITS Tactical should have done some very basic independent testing to see if such an incident could pass a litmus test before they participated in a potential liability campaign.

I can also tell you that everyone who carried a Glock is going to be a hell of a lot more diligent in how they holster and I think it was a good gut check for us all to give our equipment once over.

Lastly IF this is true. If he really did damn near shoot himself in the ass then frankly he got exactly what he deserved.

"I can’t say I didn’t know the crease had been formed in the holster".

Saturday, May 28, 2011

How you carry yourself

I don't really ever wade into the whole online forum/discussion thing, and it's certainly not because I think I'm too good for it. Mainly it's because I have my opinions, too busy working, thinking about writing one thing or another, trolling gun broker when I have no business doing so or, yaking on IM with this guy.

But I was reading here on the Breda fallacy the other night about how she carried openly (I'm assuming for the first time) and nothing happened. She wasn't looking for a confrontation she just decided to do it locally and no one noticed. What some might call a nice day.

But one individual took some type of offense in some weird way on a forum that she linked to. The quote goes "Yea, there are people that own guns that would NEVER consider OC unless it was some sort of event. These people have not jumped on the band wagon, they think that the sheep will cause a fuss, call the cops or whatever. At least they are aware and maybe they will be active later. I say to them, grow a set".


First realize were all on the same side here. Second this type of attitude is no different than the always annoying Perez Hilton who chases down people who are gay and living quietly and demands that they come out of the closet. All the while playing Montgomery Gentry's "you do your thing I'll do mine".

But I suppose in this day an age it is simply easier to chastise a total stranger than offer an encouragement.

The first time I open carried in a very public fashion that I can recall was at the rip age of 21 with my beautiful Colt Combat Elite. I was visiting my sister who lived in Arizona and we had all stopped in an Applebee's for lunch. As we are seated I notice two guys openly carrying and peacefully eating their lunch. I looked at my old man and said "I'm gonna do it" so I went out to the rental car and buckled up. It was a very exhilarating non-issue. Later on the same trip I went into a super market in Phoenix openly carrying, after I had checked out and was going out the door the manager came over. He was easily a couple of decades older than me and politely said "Sir we don't allow the carrying of firearms in our store", I had missed the sign on the door (these weren't a common thing to look for once upon a time). I apologized profusely and said that it wouldn't happen again. We parted by telling each other to have a nice evening. I remain convinced that he was not apart of a global conspiracy to disarm me.

So all of that to say this.

If you are going to openly carry your pistol please don't openly carry that chip on your shoulder.

This whole idea of getting into a verbal confrontation with a street cop and tyelling (yes that's intentional) them about our rights doesn't win any friends and regardless what you think that is exactly what this is about. I agree there are far far far too many law enforcement officers who simply do not know the law and have decided that if they tell you "no" that, that is also law. Our job as pro-gun/pro-carry advocates is to win the hearts and minds.

So make sure that this is really about the cause of open carry and not you being an attention whore. Because if you watch enough of the videos you can tell who is doing it for the right reasons and who was told that weren't funny enough for open mike night or smart enough for the debate club.

If you are really committed to making a public demonstration of openly carrying do it right. Don't be a pussy walking around waiting for some poor beat cop who is having a bad day and now gets to respond to a "gunman" (hey he doesn't know till he gets there). Shine those brass balls up and go to your state capital, find out where your representatives have lunch and quietly go sit down at a table near them and have a good time with your pals, tip well and leave
If you are going out looking to make a statement and have it on youtube. Be smart. A-take a shower B- wear something decent. i.e. look respectable.

"This is who I am! Asshole!"

ah...no. It's the clothes on your body.

I love my Lynyrd Skynrd t-shirt and having my shirt sleeve rolled up so I can show off my forearm tat. But a button down shirt, a decent pair of dress pants, and a nice leather holster looks like a class act.

Oh I know you're gonna tell me "well I ain't got no extra money to dress up all fancy Mr. Bodyguard.", uh huh. Sure you don't not with that $800 pistol and that $1,000 dollar AR with the extra $700 in accessories hanging on it. So don't act like you made a wrong turn and just came out of the hills with a flintlock. You aren't there by accident you went to make an intentional statement. Do it well.

There are a lot of folks (myself included) who have been lobbying, donating, and carrying  a gun as a private citizen for a very long time and we are very comfortable with ourselves that we don't need to be lectured about "taking a stand". Some of us are very comfortable with our hoploality.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

.45 ACP v Grizzly Bear

A quick update from last year's post (45 ACP Big Bear Medicince ?) . In it I mentioned that a man and woman were hiking in Denali National Park when the woman was charged by a Grizzly that was shot and killed by her male companion armed with a .45 Automatic.

You can read the full article here but here is a quick overview of the situation.

  • The woman was approximately 25 feet away from the man when the bear emerged from the brush and charged her.
  • He fired in quick succession seven to nine rounds into the right side of the bear. The bear stopped several feet from the woman and turned back into the brush (where it subsequently died from the gun shot wounds).
  • They marked the location on their GPS, and according to the tracks of the bear coming out of the brush and returning into the brush along with the spent shell casings match the couples account of the situation. Thus the forensic evidence corroborated.
  • The bear was injured which may have explained the attack, but none of its injuries life threatening. It was an older male that weighed in at 434lbs.
  • The couples names have not been released since they in short committed no crime.

The long and short of it is this. Is the .45 ACP capable of killing a charging bear? Yes.

Most people's first choice? No.

Lastly, shot placement, mental acuity, and gun speed all still matter over caliber.

A quick and interesting aspect I found on this website for hunting in British Columbia show the full decomposed remains of a Grizzly. I point to it because you get a good look at the other wise unseen bone structure of these massive bears. Go Here

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Bug Out Bag v The Go Bag (reality, practicality and myth) Part II

The Bug-out-Bag's portability and maneuverability fails (in my opinion) in one immediate regard.


The recommended amount of water per person per day is a gallon. A gallon of water roughly equals 8lbs. Three gallons=24lbs.

This doesn't take a lot of things into account.For instance the joy of hot Summer conditions and, that the easiest walking routes are covered in black asphalt. Or that traveling off road can mean climbing hills and, hacking through green under growth. Both will require frequent replenishing of fluids.

Cold Winter brings with it an increased weight of gear overall due to heavy clothing and bulk. Toss in food, guns and ammo, and any personal items and it get damn heavy damn fast.

Though there was an interesting article not too long back in National Geographic about African Aid workers purifiying drinking water by laying out disposable water bottles filled with clear but unsafe water on sheet metal. After six+ hours in the sun the UV light killed live protozoa. (post edit and thanks for the reminder anonymous reader).

Adding ammunition into the mix looks something like this:

A fifty round box of .45 acp 230 grn FMJ weighs 2lbs 4.7ounces, a fifty count box of 9mm 115 grn goes 1.61lbs. Three 30 round AK-47 magazines weighs 4lbs.

Bags also have an funny way of getting outdated or deteriorating. One day you open up your pack and discover your magnesium fire-starter has left a lovely grey film on everything (tip: wrap it in with aluminum foil) or the other bane of a survival kit. The gummy black bastardness of electrical tape over time.

Think all of this Bug out bagging is wrong. Go take your 72 hour kit and stay away for 96 hours. Don't head to the woods go to the shittiest neighborhood you can find in the dead heat of summer, locate and abandoned building and lie low. Then by comparison do a 96 hour drill at your domicile. Shut the power off, shut the water off and hunker down for four days. Either way you come away enlightened.

So what about the whole "Go Bag" concept?

The Go Bag was once defined for me by a former spook-turned-instructor in my formative years of Executive Protection as a professionals personal kit that combines daily use along with contents that may only see use during selected occurrences. This rings true for the SOF Operator, the Patrol Officer, the IT guy, right on down to yours truly. If there is one piece of worth while advice I have learned over the years and it may sound stupid don't pack for comfort, pack for use.

The creature comfort feature is what ends up making a bag unbearably heavy.

Case in point. Once before heading over seas with a client in the dead of winter we were spending the night in New York. The Principal a very corporate casual kinda guy (no ties I was told) and given that we were going to be spending three weeks in India taking a parka for one night seemed stupid. So instead I packed the heaviest wool sweater I had. Did we (and I mean him) decide to walk through half of Manhattan's neighborhoods after dinner in 20 degree weather. Yep. Did I buy a stocking cap from a street vendor in China Town. Yep. Was it freezing cold. Yep. Was I happy two weeks down the road in 95 degrees in Mumbai that I didn't have a parka in my bag. Ye....you get the picture.

Bags will evolve and change over the years as need be. And I actually keep somewhere around four to five bags in a ready, to semi-ready, to three-quarters empty state. The bags themselves range in size from small and medium daily carries to larger ones that may see use once a month. All of them have small shaving and first aid kits, cliff bars, spare batteries, spare knives, and an assortment of needs as the size of the bag increases. While they are not always overly tactical, they are always practical....for me and my needs.

Of the bags I consistently operate from the second and very heavily relied upon is a Duluth Trading Company's Cab Commander (in tan). If you don't have one buy one. It's stays loaded and in the 4runner with everything from a spare coffee thermos and water bottle, knife, picks, maps, compasses, rain jacket, food and so on. The nice thing aside from being within arms reach. If I switch vehicles it's as simple as grabbing it and go.

In the winter I keep a very very upscale winter kit (sarcasm) made up of my cold weather hunting gear, a spare sleeping bag, long underwear, jeans, socks, sweaters, etc all nicely packed in a $10 east German surplus duffel bag (see I told you OD was fashionably pre-war-on-terror). Around Christmas this past winter I received a call from a colleague at 4pm on a Friday afternoon regarding a somewhat dubious missing persons case. The weather was bad, we had just dug out three days prior from a massive snow storm and more was on the way. Since my cold weather Go-Bag was already packed and loaded I had very little in the way of prepping needed other than filling my coffee thermos.

I'm not going to fall into the trap of telling you what you MUST have in your kit, but there are a few things I heavily recommend regardless of size. A decent to very good tactical folder, an LED light of some type with one or two sets of spare batteries. A water bottle. I like a stainless one unpainted, because my thought is should I ever end up where its an emergency situation I can boil water in it over a small fire. A substitute is a plastic Nalgene bottle that fits into one of these. I may have ripped on packing 20+ pounds of water but, I didn't say don't carry any.

One of the best pieces of advice I've ever applied to all of my go-kits is simply a bar of soap, a wash cloth and a hand towel. A Steward (which is more applicable than 'flight attendent')I knew who worked aboard a billionaires private jet remarked that "hot soapy water, a nice soft towel and a clean face and new shirt can literally change your mental ability to work a 20+ hour day". He is very very right. I consider just as important as my night scope to be honest.

The inherent value of a go-kit, is that regardless of your profession, it gives you physical resources for the various demands placed on your professional and personal life.

In one of the more infamous cases where I was very thankful to have a "Go Bag" at the ready was several years back. A buddy and I were out on a morning bow-hunt when my phone began a non-stop buzzing. When I finally answered there was a very panicked stricken secretary on the other end asking if I could be at a local private airport to fly out. Thinking these thing always take a couple of hours to get fully prepped I said "sure, when do I leave?" her response "30 minutes", as I looked at my camo laden self I went rather slack jawed momentarily and said "can we do 45?" she confirmed that would work and that the plane would be held for me (my ego was something stupid for the next several days from that statement alone).

Fortunately I was less than three miles from the airport in question. Unfortunately my "go bag" was about 20 miles away so I did what any single (at the time) professional security spook would do. I called my mom (lest you think that I think far too much of myself not to give this woman the credit she deserves).

I walked on the plane inside of 40 minutes unshaven, head to toe in ASAT camo with five corporate executives all in suits. Waiting and smiling.

The end game is this. A kit should be reflection of you, the inside of your head, and the needs of your daily life. I see my bags in the same light that I do the pockets on my pants, (see Rule 8). Preparedness even on a small level makes all the difference. You learn from it. You'll never have every single specific thing you need, but with a good kit you learn to make things happen and adapt to it as they come.

Because real cowboys ride in the rain.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Bug Out Bag v The Go Bag (reality, practicality and myth) Part I

Faced with a half a pot of coffee at 10:30 on a Sunday night and the dire need to finish a case summary of an eight month investigation that is formally being taken over by the Feds; now seemed as good of time as any to blog.

Amongst Internet lore few things spark more debate, discussion and “expert” rambling than the mysterious “Bug Out” or “Go Bag”. Yet lest I split unimportant hairs here, contrary to popular net speak the two bags are not actually one in the same.

The infamous bug out bag is for those situations that have deteriorated due to potential deadly natural disasters or human induced “problems” (like your aerial surveillance plane was shot out of the midnight sky in unfriendly territory and AAA stopped taking your calls over that pesky $55 fee). But if you read many an experts (real and self-titled) opinion of contents it can be somewhat overwhelming and discouraging.

First requirements are fashion (sarcasm) it should be black, coyote, or dark earth in color . Olive drab is sooo pre-Afghanistan (consequently I have bags in all these colors). Second it should have literally the best of everything from a price perspective. From a top of the line M4 with no less than ten mags and ammo to a tactical pistol with six mags, Sure-Fires most expensive and brightest flashlight, spare batteries, and enough food, clothing, and medicine to keep you alive for the next 72 hours.

This goes for every member of the family....yes the dog too.

The problem with this mythic monolith should the feces hit the impeller is that according to the recommended list of contents you realize you need a bug out trunk, not a bag. For a new comer to the area of self-preservation it can all be a bit mind numbing, akin to putting together a tricycle blind folded three hours before sun up on Christmas morning.

But mockery and sarcasm aside, you need to be prepped with a system that is ready. As the Wife, The Dog, and The Mouse have since relocated to Little Farm (still under development) we have seen severe storms come through the area in all kinds of temperatures that by God's grace we have been missed.

A month ago when several tornados ripped through our area, one missing us by 3/4 of a mile, we were again spared but did lose power for ten + hours. I decided to relocate the Wife and Mouse to my folks house for the night a few miles away who still had power, and then come back to watch over the house. Before climbing into the 4Runner to drive them over I put my Remington 870 behind the seat stoked with #1 Buck. Already wearing my .45 she said to me "a little paranoid aren't we?". I explained that she had never seen civility amongst the population break down in the same way I had and if I was being paranoid I'd be wearing a bandoleer of shells.

I say that to say this.

While I don't have any actual bag or bags packed for emergency evac these days like I did when I was single I do have my gear organized and stowed under the basement stairs. My feeling being that this area is tornado and earthquake resistant. It would take a pretty substantial situation for me to feel we need to "bug out". To that end an example would look like a biological or nuclear attack or a substantial natural disaster like Japan 2011 or New Orleans in '05 post Katrina. Something that makes the region either toxic in the health sense or social collapse in epic..epic.. scale.

Despite all of its darkly romantic notions bugging out presents far larger issues than staying put. I have tools, vehicles, defensible structure, multiple firearms, ammunition, reloading capabilities, food, clothing.....resources.I'd much rather stay, live uncomfortable for a time, fight when and if I have to than run-fight-survive.

As we go about structuring Little Farm my concept for this home is that it is also a micro-training facility, an urban farm and a fortified location. Should the need arise that we absolutely must leave we can, but staying is vastly preferred.


Because I've been there. Skulking through the woods at night, leading somebody out of a bad situation with armed men about wanting to kill you. Shivering in the cold with minimal gear with people who also need part of that minimal gear and who are also in a constant state of panic out of said situation. And that is knowing mentally I need to survive this short time frame to get back to civilization.

Fleeing from it into a vast uncertainty, carrying a 70+ pound bag of gear, food and clothing along with several .45s and a rifle, with the Wife, and a kid who still doesn't have teeth, can't walk yet, let alone do any kind of over-watch. It's going to have to be TEOTW literally.

If you entrench yourself behind strong fortifications, you compel the enemy seek a solution elsewhere. - Karl Von Clausewitz

Part II coming.


Our conversation had started with me asking “ So who shot you in the throat? ”, a basic conclusion on my part, b ecause on one sid...