A Fracture Well Cured: Coming Back from Injury


Shooting skills are diminished by injury. How do we get them back?

Shooting skills are diminished by injury. How do we get them back?

A score of eighty-eight percent on our state’s generous law enforcement qualification course is not acceptable in my book. It had been my first attempt that year just over three months out of my second surgery. I can hardly remember a time when I didn’t shoot a perfect or near perfect score on a qualification round. In a nine-month period, I’d had Ulnar nerve surgery on my left elbow and triple surgery on my right shoulder. It’s hard to say which is more responsible for the lengthy recovery time: the injuries and subsequent surgeries themselves or the years of procrastination. Either way, my days of being useful as a real cop were seemingly over.

Physical atrophy is to be expected after a joint surgery (and even in my prime, I was more slight than might), but the real problem for me was the subsequent emotional atrophy. I was under doctor’s orders not to do even a single push-up for at least a year. That meant an automatic failure of the SWAT team’s mandatory P.T. test. I was a team leader and was forced to resign several years before I had planned. At about the same time, I was removed from my primary position as a shift commander and put in an administrative/supervisory role over non-sworn personnel. The cumulative effects of these life changes were devastating beyond physicality. Continue reading

The Movie Theater Active Shooter Equation

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Active Shooters in Movie Theaters

As we tune in to the news on just about any given week, we see more and more copycat “active” shooters in movie theaters in the United States.  This unfortunately is the new norm.   Because this is the new norm, our tactics are going to have to shift to combat these cowardly acts of seemingly random murder.

In examining the events of past theater shootings, the only constant variable is they occur in the darkness of a movie theater, aside from the constant that the shooter is mentally ill..  The scenarios have presented different targets, different responses by victims, and different guns involved used by the shooters.  The shooters have sat in different parts of the the theater, struck at different times in the movies.  Based upon that, our tactics must be fluid. 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


From “No Second Place Winner” (© 1965), by William H. (“Bill”) Jordan (p.101):

“There is no second place winner in a gunfight!  That sage remark is of unrivaled importance to an enforcement officer. Nothing he can buy from a life insurance firm takes the place of his ability to shoot fast and accurately. Storebought insurance will make his wife a rich widow, but it will be someone else who helps her spend the settlement. Not too attractive a proposition from the masculine point of view. The kind of life insurance he can buy with competent gun handling ability is obviously much more practical.”    [You can read/download Jordan’s book, HERE].

MSW posts urging weapon reliability and “get out and train” (whether specialized classes with the been there done everything hardcore trainers, shooting drills on the clock on your own, physical conditioning, and yes, competing) really speak to one thing, winning a life threatening encounter.  I wanted to write a post to put out my long-held lament on the subject.  It strikes me often: I see streets named after and plaques honoring LEOs killed by the gunfire of evildoers.  (I was casually acquainted with several of the deceased LEOs, and a bit more with a couple).  But I never see what would inspire and make me feel much better —  a street named after an LEO who WON a gunfight.  So here it is, to be filed under the CAN element (mindset) of my paradigm on deadly force. Continue reading

Made In The USA: Thorlo Socks

Socks are an often overlooked but important piece of kit.  The importance of high quality and application specific socks cannot be overstated, whether you are military, LE, hiker, hunter, urban walker, runner/jogger, competition shooter, or stand protective post or at a workbench for extended periods.  I have been trying different socks for some 30 years. Continue reading

Why You Should Cross Train

If you have been following our posts here, you’ll know that we are pretty big on maintaining some modicum of physical fitness as part of our overall survival strategy. Good physical health will not only increase your survivability in a deadly force encounter, it will increase your overall quality of life. How many times have you gone to a class and seen the student that would more likely face a cardiac arrest than a home invasion robbery in the next 24 hours? Before learning how to be a ninja with that new wunderpistol, maybe that guy should go out and walk around the block a couple times.

Years back, Hilton got heavy into CrossFit and has made some great fitness gains by training smart. Since my college years, I have been training one martial art or another, starting with traditional Japanese arts, and eventually settling with Thai Boxing and Filipino Martial Arts. About six years ago, I found Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and haven’t turned back.

I’m not saying everyone needs to start grappling. But go find a physical activity that you enjoy and get out and do it. Preferably it will be something that you can immerse yourself into for an hour or two several times a week, and will motivate you to stay fit so you can perform your best. Training and competing in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu helps motivate me to stay in shape and watch my diet. While it is good physical activity, it does not replace the need to do some regular PT, so I still hit the gym.

Shooting is fun and rewarding, and can develop the skills necessary to defend yourself and your loved ones. But don’t forget to stay in shape. As my buddy Joe says, “Round is a shape.” Hopefully, that doesn’t describe you.

Go outside and have fun!


The criminal aftermath is over for George Zimmerman.  (Contrary to the drivel of some legal pundits, there is no legitimate basis whatsoever for federal criminal charges).  Zimmerman has successfully negotiated the near impossible battle of both mortal combat and courtroom trial, the latter after undeserved and overwhelming demonization by the media. 

First, let’s get the deserved moral outrage out of the way.  My opinion is short, but not that simple:  The prosecution was politically motivated pandering and a miscalculation of Constitutional proportions by a dopey governor and trial prosecutors who ignored facts and law.   How do I know this?  The chief of the prosecutor’s office gave a press conference shortly after the verdict which brazenly confirmed the foregoing … beyond any reasonable doubt.  Guess what? Does not happen frequently, but it does happen.  You carry a gun?  Accept it.  You should already realize even an innocent or noble misadventure can turn into one of “the gravest extreme.”  (Read the book of similar title, by Massad Ayoob).   Sadly, good public servants lost their jobs.  Maybe not so noble elected officials should too. Continue reading

Evolution in Training – The Importance of Staying Current

When people see the topic of evolution, it usually brings forth some heated arguments.  This article is about how we fail to evolve as firearms and tactics instructors.  This failure of evolution has brought forth a lot of heated arguments as well.

I don’t see this failure as much in the larger, more mainstream firearms and tactics schools as I do in the smaller ones.  Certainly it exists in larger schools.  I see it more often in training at the local level, and mainly in institutional organizations and police training. These schools often have instructors that have been around a while, and generally they haven’t been to a school to upgrade their skills and knowledge since Carter was in office.  And the curriculum shows it. Continue reading


At some point (over 30 for some, 40 for many, and by 50 for most) the eyesight prescription (Rx) which corrects for the best distance vision no longer also provides a sharp handgun front sight.  For many, “progressive” eyeglasses or “multi-focal” contact lenses do not work well for shooting, and thus they are not the answer.  Here’s a suggestion for a relatively easy fix which can work for duty, competition, and everyday activities.  It’s called monovision; one eye is corrected to see close up (normally for reading), and the other to see distance.  If it is going to work for you, within one week or so you will no longer realize you are using a somewhat exotic Rx.  However,  you may experience a slight decrease in the depth perception you would have using regular binocular vision. Continue reading

It’s that time of year again…A Word of Caution

It is that time of year again where the sun is up longer and is more intense than we are used to in most cases.  With that in mind, please review the following and keep a close eye on your students and fellow instructors.

Heat Exhaustion (Mayo Clinic)

Heat exhaustion is a condition whose symptoms may include heavy sweating and a rapid pulse, a result of your body overheating. It’s one of three heat-related syndromes, with heat cramps being the mildest and heatstroke being the most severe.

Causes of heat exhaustion include exposure to high temperatures, particularly when combined with high humidity, and strenuous physical activity. Without prompt treatment, heat exhaustion can progress to heatstroke, a life-threatening condition. Fortunately, heat exhaustion is preventable. Continue reading

Get the Lead Out: The Very Real Threat of Lead Poisoning

by Nick Kim. Used with permission.

In the Wild West someone said to have “lead poisoning” usually died of a gunshot wound, although some actually probably did die of illness caused from excessive exposure to lead.   (Annie Oakley, so they say).  While it would be extraordinary today for a frequent shooter or instructor to die of  illness caused by long term exposure to the heavy metals associated with ammunition, the serious inhalation and contact hazards associated with shooting, handling ammunition components, and cleaning of firearms can and should nevertheless be minimized.  This is especially critical if you or someone in the household is pregnant or have children in your home.   Continue reading

Wilson Tactical Training: Defense Fit

Hilton engages multiple targets with the SIRT Pistol while I begin my weighted box jumps/steps in this DefenseFit session.

Too many times I have either attended or taught firearms courses with students, wishing to learn how to survive a deadly force encounter, who would be better served walking around the block. Don’t get me wrong, anyone serious about personal safety should have a baseline level of firearms knowledge and I applaud anyone willing to spend their own money and take the time to better themselves by attending a firearms class. However, there are many folks who wrap themselves around the axle about caliber selection or the best way to put down multiple armed attackers when the reality is, given their physical condition, they are far more likely to die of a heart attack or slip into a diabetic coma than find themselves in the middle of a home invasion robbery.
Continue reading