THE DEADLY FORCE PARADIGM : THE “MAY”

Let’s revisit the MAY element in detail, as I promised in a recent MSW post on my use of deadly force paradigm. (HERE)

MAY: The inquiry — whether the use of deadly force is within the law.  (We live in political correctness infected and curious Rule of Law interpretation times; so, that inquiry is to be distinguished from the distinct and less easily answered —  can/will I be charged with a crime).  In earlier posts I urged the importance of knowing “the law” beforehand, what sources to study, and to be mindful of “trends” (the inclinations of prosecutors, juries, and judges . . . good luck with that) in the law of justified deadly force. Here’s sources, in my (but not necessary the only) order of research, usually available free — online or in every law school library:

  • Current year state statutes (caveat, even unambiguous statutes can be subjected to surprising judicial interpretation these days)
  • Jury instructions (often termed “pattern” or “standard,” possibly officially promulgated by state highest court, required or suggested in criminal cases and all trials, not always consistent with or limited to language of related statute)
  • Appellate case law (including opinions of the court over your locale’s trial court, the state’s other intermediary appellate courts, and the state’s highest court for criminal appeals)
  • Local prosecutor’s memoranda on use of deadly force by LEOs and nonsworn in cases not prosecuted
  • Federal case law commentary on state statute or common law use of force principles, or on Constitutional rights bearing on state criminal proceedings
  • State law legislative history and enactment commentary (may or may not exist)
  • Other state(s) interpretation(s) (highest state court opinions) of similarly worded statutes

Continue reading

AAR: Jerry Barnhart 2 Day Tactical Pistol

The Burner…I’m not talking about the little Bunsen burner we used many eons ago in Chemistry class (gen Xrs and up) but the guy named Jerry Barnhart who burns down stages and is one of the most winning competitive shooters out there.  I had the pleasure of training with Jerry recently for a 2 day Tactical Pistol course.  Now before the inter webs go a blazing on “competition will get you killed!” and such, please direct your anger to my four part series here at MSW and see why I don’t agree with that fallacy.

Anyway, bottom line, shooting is shooting.  Period.  The competition or tactical drills that follow are secondary if you can’t make the shot.  This includes: shooting for accuracy, shooting on the move, head shots, 50 yard shots, etc.  So, can it with the “yee gads, that there is foolish training” talk and learn how to shoot under pressure and maybe we can have a coffee.  But I digress… Continue reading

Beretta 92FS/M9 Safety Deactivation: An Easier Way

Here’s an easier way to disengage the Beretta 92FS safety, thanks to Ernest Langdon. I’ve been doing it a much harder way all these years.

A couple months ago, I attended Ernest Langdon’s Advanced Tactical Pistol Skills class. It was a good reminder that this thing called “practice” is required to maintain the proficiency at which I have become accustomed to performing. Suffice it to say, I had an eye opener. Last week, Ernest came back to do another class and I was one of the first in line to attend. Among the many little nuggets of information I picked up over the past two classes, one that particularly stood out was the safety manipulation on the Beretta 92FS. While I haven’t had a ton of time on the pistol, I had shot it a little since it is the standard issue pistol at work. I had always deactivated the safety (should it be inadvertently engaged or during de-cock process) by flicking it in an upward arc motion with my thumb. Of course, this compromised my grip and was not a particularly efficient or comfortable movement. During class, Ernest mentioned the proper way to deactivate the safety, which is simply to swipe the lever in a downward arcing movement with the strong thumb and the lever will snap up into fire position. Maybe I had been living in a cave for all these years, but this was new to me, so I am sharing it with all of you.

In the meantime, consider training with Ernest at any of his upcoming courses. You’ll have a great time and learn a ton.

SOURCE: Langdon Tactical

THE DEADLY FORCE PARADIGM REVISITED: CAN – MAY – SHOULD – MUST

In a 2012 year-end post, I offered a decision paradigm on the use of deadly force. (HERE). The paradigm consisted of four elements — usually considered ad seriatim.  My paradigm remains a work-in-progress. I write now to restate it in a stand alone post, and to add some broad thoughts on the elements.  (I expect to tackle the elements in more depth in future posts).

Deadly Force Paradigm

CAN –  do I possess (to a reasonable certainty) the necessary equipment, skills, and mindset to accomplish the task (i.e., WIN)? This element should be addressed objectively, long before the moment-of-decision presents. Common sense in “equipment” selection, and repeated training and practice are essential.  Being physically fit is definitely part of this element.  (HERE).  Have you done all you can to be truly prepared to respond in a deadly force encounter?  By the way, which is paramount — equipment, skill, or mindset? Always? Continue reading

Your Next Weapon Mod: FITNESS

I’ll bet you don’t see this at your next carbine course.

An observation of mine in recent months looking at pictures of people online attending competitions, shooting courses, training events etc is the there is a huge variety of fitness levels represented in our sport. I use the word “sport” lightly as obviously that means something different to different people. This would seem as an obvious observation but then again lets take a few steps back. I grew up playing traditional sports such as baseball and football, where fitness is a direct contributor to you ability on the field. I then carried on into college and again to play sports we had strength coaches and trainers focused on keeping us conditioned enough to compete at a high level. I have no experience with professional sports but I would take an educated guess to say that it only becomes more important at that level as well. Continue reading

How to Draw From a Safariland SLS Holster

The Safariland 6004 is likely the most popular holster for modern law enforcement professionals.

With the prevalence of the Safariland 6004/6280 duty holster in modern law enforcement applications, it still shocks me that there are so many LE folks that still draw from an SLS equipped holster in the most inefficient manner. The Self Locking System (SLS) is the commonly seen rotating hood system that largely eliminated traditional snap holsters in modern holster systems. Technically classified as a Level II retention system (meaning it requires two actions to defeat the retention device), the SLS has pretty good security and can be disengaged with a single motion. Unfortunately, I still commonly see officers whåo draw from an SLS using two or more motions to disengage the hood before ever lifting the gun out of the holster. Continue reading

Langdon Tactical Technologies: Advanced Pistol Skils

Ernest Langdon demonstrates the nuances of the emergency reload.

One of the things about the shooting community is that it is small, and anyone who has been in the industry for any period of time knows each other. I have had the pleasure of knowing Ernest Langdon for over a decade, and have always found him to be a genuine, down-to-earth, personable guy who just happens to have top shelf shooting skills. Sadly, I  never had the opportunity to get on the range with him. So when a buddy invited me to sign up for Ernest’s Advanced Pistol Skills course that he was hosting for a private group of local LE guys, I jumped on it.

Unlike the “typical” competitive shooting champ, Ernest also has quite a bit of experience with which to frame the mechanical skills he’s developed over the years. In addition to winning more titles than I can count (without taking my shoes off), Ernest has a significant background including serving in various capacities in the Marine Corps as a Sniper School instructor and the HRP course. Ernest is the founder of LTT (Langdon Tactical Technologies) and is the guru when it comes to the Beretta 92/M9 platform. I was lucky enough to have him tune up a trigger on my personal 92FS years back and it is one of the smoothest triggers I’ve ever felt on a 92. (Thanks to his partnership with Wilson Combat, you can now have a similar trigger on yours as they do custom work on Beretta 92s now.) Continue reading

BODY ARMOR AND BALLISTIC RATED MATERIALS : FOR THE NON-SWORN?

                                             

Body armor and ballistic rated panels (for use in packs, briefcases, or other off-body use) are described best by the well-known Kafkaesque adage:  It is better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.  I don’t mock the “tacticool” nature of body armor, and I avoid debating the SWAT or military “wannabe” aspects of owning it. (I readily acknowledge you are not alone if you do). I think armored materials are something worthy of consideration for anyone who frequents gunfighting classes, shoots regularly, or because of employment or other lifestyle particulars, has concerns of going where negligent friendlies or armed hostiles might be present.  The days of body armor being only for LEOs passed (somewhat quietly) years ago.

Executive Summary:  Let’s default to my deadly force paradigm:  If you CAN afford it, and CAN do what you need to do when it is deployed (adequately conceal it, run and move effectively, maybe in confined space, and shoot, with additional bulky kit, maybe 18 pounds worth), go for it.  If you acquire it, study up on and observe the manufacturer’s storage and care specs for the particular product.  Unless a specific federal, state, or local law prohibits the ownership of such products, the non-sworn MAY own/wear body armor and ballistic-rated materials.  SHOULD you buy such products?  That is for you the reader to answer, as is how/when to use it.  If you buy, buy the best-tested you can afford which is convenient to deploy, fits properly, and can be stored and maintained to suit your lifestyle. Expect some ribbing from “friends.”  How about the MUST?  It is beyond question the products save lives.  Yours and/or the life of someone you “cannot live without,” regardless of who is slinging shots. At the very least, overt soft armor and plate carriers provide convenient, user-friendly platforms to attach identifying patches, pouches, and other “things.”  And plates do provide a good weight-bearing workout. Continue reading

ELBOW ISSUES FOR SHOOTERS, PART 3: TOOLS

Voodoo Floss bands and lacrosse balls for mobility self therapy

Before I launch into the final installment of elbow issues for shooters, I’d like to offer my sincere thanks to all those emailed and posted with suggestions for healing and their well wishes. I apologize for not being able to respond to all of the posts and emails, but I definitely take note of all of the advice which has been offered. This last article (for now, anyway) will go over some of the tools which I use to assist in self therapy.

The first important piece of kit for elbow pain management is a simple neoprene sleeve such as the one seen in the pic from the last article. A neoprene wrap does not inhibit mobility and helps keep the joint compressed and warm during activity. I typically wear one when I am shooting or handling firearms for any period of time. I have had better luck with this type of wrap than those pressure pad style bands which wrap around the forearm and stick a small gel pad on a theoretical problem spot on the arm. I have seen this work for some buddies, but the gel pad only provides a localized effect and does not help the rest of the joint. I found mine a waste of time and ended up throwing it away.

The next item has been an absolute game changer, and I must thank my long time friend Jeff Gonzales from Trident Concepts for turning me on to Voodoo Floss. I have included several links below for resources from Dr. Kelly Starrett, who is a key proponent of the Voodoo Floss bands. These elastic rubber bands are used to wrap and compress the problem joint. After wrapping, work the joint through the full range of motion, then remove the band. The combination of wrapping/compression, movement, and the rush of blood flow to the joint area has a restorative effect on range of movement and function. I had gotten to a plateau using just the strength development regimen from the previous article, and actually seemed to be regressing a bit when I attempted to PT hard in conjunction with the strength exercises. Adding in a daily pre-workout regimen with the Voodoo Floss, which I am able to do alone in about 5 minutes, has boosted my joint function and reduced the pain significantly. While I am not pain free, I can say with certainty that Voodoo Floss alone has done more for my elbow issues than all of other other modalities combined.

In addition to the Voodoo Floss, my daily joint therapy kit includes a pair of lacrosse balls. After flossing, I lay one ball on the ground, put my forearm on it, then press the other ball directly over the first ball, basically sandwiching the tight area of my forearm between the two lacrosse balls. This has been a very effective way to massage the forearms, and gets deeper than the foam roller I previously used.

ArmAid with optional orange massage ball installed.

A local LEO whom I’d met a several classes turned me onto the final secret weapon in my elbow therapy arsenal, the ArmAid. This nutcracker looking device allows you to stick your arm through the center of it and use your other hand to close the arms and provide pressure for massaging your forearm. It allows attachment of various rollers, and I use the orange deep tissue roller ball which provides good results. I use this device to provide additional relief after workouts or other elbow aggravating activity.

As caveated before, I am not a physical therapist, but I have been down this long road and hope that sharing my pain will help readers get a better handle on theirs. I have often been asked what I might have done differently to prevent all of the problems that I have now. I would suggest adding strengthening and mobility work into your training regimen in order to improve and prolong your time behind the gun or in the gym. Your elbows will thank you!

 

Links:

Youtube: Dr. Kelly Starrett explaining Voodoo Floss

Voodoo Floss at Rogue Fitness, with Youtube link to Kelly Starrett fixing a sore elbow

ArmAid

 

Elbow Issues for Shooters, Part 2: Exercises and Resources

Neoprene elbow brace in action during a Mac class last year.

In my last article, I outlined a bit about my battle with the issue of elbow tendonitis. I will again caveat that I am not a medical professional nor do I play one on TV, and am only sharing my own personal experiences. During the last several years I had tried just about everything for my elbows – cortisone, physical therapy to include eccentric exercises, massage, ice, ultrasound, stretching, traditional strength building exercises, fascial scraping (Graston), and rest. The only common modality I had not tried was acupuncture, only because none of my health practitioners referred me to it. All of the attempted treatments worked acceptably until it came time to do those extreme activities such as opening or closing my hands and bending or extending my arms. As long as I avoided those movements, my elbows felt ok. Continue reading

Elbow Issues for Shooters, Part 1: The Problem

Receiving ultrasound therapy.

Readers of this blog have likely seen my references to chronic elbow pain over the last several years. I am creeping up on my fourth decade of shooting, and the mileage has not been kind to me. Many of my peers who are shooters, trainers, or armed professionals have also reported a bout of elbow pain at some point or another. In this 3 part article series, I wanted to detail my trials and tribulations with elbow pain, and how I have been trying to address it. Continue reading

AWERBUCK REDUX : MORE WARRIOR WISDOM

                                  

I previously posted “Louis Awerbuck Remembered” (HERE). (Click on the book above for the link to the Kindle at Amazon).   I wrote there I might have more gems to relate.   As promised:

  • If you have the time, go for the potentially most effective target area. If you don’t, get whatever meat and bone you can get, and maintain continuity of fire until the deadly force threat is gone. Continue reading

It’s Just Sights and Trigger….

After finishing the recent Top Cop Pistol Championship match, I reflected back on my performance and was very pleased to have been able to turn in very clean and consistent runs on all of the stages. I was coming into the match on the mend from chronic tendonitis in both elbows, and frankly was dreading having to shoot much at all. My elbows were still bad enough that during the meager 150 rounds at the official match practice day the week prior, I was not able to finish a single string without great pain. Knowing that I would be unable to complete rigorous live fire or even dry fire preparation for the match, I knew I had to resort to a novel approach – I would watch the sights and press the trigger cleanly. Continue reading

Knowing

 

Knowing:

I like to use the word knowing in conjunction with the word CONFIDENCE.  Is knowing and confidence the same?  I’m going to talk about knowing in competition and the tactical world.  So what is knowing?  Knowing you have the confidence to make a shot.  Knowing you can hit a steel target at 50 yards.  At a 100 yards.  In competition, having the confidence to take a 30 yard shot on a partial target because you’ve done your homework.  You know what the sight picture looks like for that distance and what type of trigger pull you need.  You’ve zero’d your gun and know where the rounds are going to land. Continue reading