There are two vulnerable moments when you’re trying to access a safer space. Both of these places should be locked and require a key for access. Tactikey an affordable tool that will not inconvenience you to carry and you will almost certainly have it in your hands when entering your home or car. While there are many forms of personal safety and protection to include situational awareness, mace, and a firearm each has its purpose. The tactikey is no different. This has its place in our toolbox.
If you’ve ever struck an object with things in your hands “like a set of keys” which has been taught for years you realize it also caused pain to yourself however necessary under the circumstances. The tactikey reduces this with its polymer material and design assisting in mitigating the damaged caused to your own hand when using a key or keys in self-defense.
Again one of my favorite parts to the tactikey was the fact that it is something you’re going to need in your hand regardless of an attack. You don’t need a firearm to open your car door and once you pull a firearm it must be purpose driven. We can’t go waiving a gun around a parking lot for no reason or we will be charged with brandishing.
I also like that I put it on my house key which is also with my car keys. It helps me find the right key when it is dark out and I can quickly pull my keys from my pocket and find the one I’m looking for. An added benefit to an already useful tool. Will this solve all self-defense situations absolutely not, however the benefits far outweighs its affordable cost of around $9.99. The real question is why not? It’s a nice little tool to add and there really isn’t a big down side. Oh and I almost forgot to mention so far there isn’t a single place I have not been able to carry it.
In light of the recent Own the Night shoot brought to Wallum Lake Rod and Gun Club in Rhode Island I wanted to write about Inforce lights and low light techniques. Own the Night was a great way for many to experience and get an introduction to low light training, but class slots were limited and few were able to get training.
It is extremely important to understand the pros and cons of both handheld vs weapon mounted lights, as well as an understanding of the various techniques that come with both.
I was always a proponent of handheld flashlights as in the civilian world it has various applications for personal protection. However one of my favorite aspects is being able to see my sights if I need them. The downfall as you know is shooting one handed which I have practiced extensively.
The TFX by Inforce offers high lumens in a small package, however my favorite part of the design is its stipple like grip which allows for great control with sweaty hands or those were gloves. The biggest downfall is that is doesn't come with a pocket clip or any means for carry. I've found various solutions to this problem, so I don't find it to be a big deal. (More about that in another post...How to carry your Inforce TFX).
I highly recommend if you only carry one light you choose a handheld light over a weapon mounted version. Weapon mounted versions do allow for easier shooting as you can acquire your too handed grip, however in the civilian world we can't take out our flashlight when needed as a deterrent in a dark parking lot or other various applications.
Now if you asked what do I carry for lights. I do carry a weapon mounted light as well. While I've used Surefire X300's and Streamlight TLR's and have nothing bad to say about them. They were designed with Law Enforcement and Military in mind. These do not need to be concealed and are typically carried in a strong side hip outside the waste band holster. I never found them comfortable for concealed carry and reserved them for home defense guns. I didn't begin carrying a pistol mounted light until I found the Inforce APLc. This light added almost no bulk and could be carried appendix as easily and comfortably as it was carried previously to it being mounted.
You may ask why do I carry two lights. They are electronic and can fail, batteries die, and situations change. While I use a TFX daily, I can't draw my pistol unless I intend to use it. However if I do need to use my pistol I can acquire a two handed grip if necessary.
This is merely and discussion and introduction to No-Light Low Light shooting. I encourage everyone to get additional training and learn more about the application of your tools.
Your safe of the future. As we know to use a firearm for personal protection the first step is having it accessible. Being a responsible gun owner we also realize the importance of keeping it out of the hands of unauthorized individuals. Shortly after my daughter was born about a year and a half ago I began the search for the best quick access safe money was not a question in this search. I didn't care what the cost were as keeping the firearm our of her hands was priority along with getting it into my hands as quickly as possible in the event there was a bump in the night to protect her and my wife.
I found several cheaper options and was even almost sold on one. Then I stumbled across Vaultek and as I normally am I was skeptical. I was thinking this has to many features and with extras there is just more things to fail. However after getting my hands on one I realized this is not the case. Vaultek safes were very well thought out and all the different access options allow you to fit the safe to your needs and your level of security.
While the safes come in various styles, sizes, and colors. This includes access methods with some or all of the following. Key, Keypad, Biometric Fingerprint, Cell Phone App, and a Remote. I'll talk about my favorite which is the keypad.
Other safes have keypad entry I'm well aware, but no one does it like Vaultek. The keypad while it is backlit does fade away when the scope isn't being used. However brush your hand slightly over the top and the keys become backlit for easy entry in the darkest of hours. Worried about your battery dying? I don't just hold the number 5 (varies on some models). If the lights 1-4 change to green your at 80% battery life, if 1-2 are green and 3-4 are red your at 40%. This is a very easy convenient way to check or if your feeling lazy on the couch or lying in bed open up the app and you can check the battery life on all your Vaultek safes from one convenient location. That's not all though. Want to know if someone maybe your teenage kid has been tampering with your safe and trying to figure out the code? Hold 3 and 5 together (again varies by model) if the 4 lights up red then someone is in trouble. If its green we know that no one has attempted and failed entry.
I'm not going to go into all the other features, but these are packed full and make great vehicle safes for those with concealed carry permits in their state as well as larger sizes for the nightstand and quick access in the home.
I seem to notice a common trend in civilians who get 1st aid certified or other basic medical training. They don't practice these ever so important skills! Why don't they practice because there isn't a lot of good resources how to train these skills after your class. Hopefully this will start to get people thinking on what they can be doing to improve these crucial life saving skills.
The standard for most people is to get 1st aid and CPR certified in a day course. Then go a few years never revisiting these skills unless god forbid they have an emergency. Just like firearms training or anything else these are perishable skills.
We certainly wouldn't want a surgeon operating on us who only practiced in a classroom a few days every couple of years now would we. While I myself don't practice medical drills nearly as much as I like I am always looking for ways to grow and keep my skills sharp. I've purchased duplicates on most of my medical equipment to open the packages and get familiar with it. I'll occasionally practice applying a tourniquet on various limbs of myself or another willing trainer.
I'm curious to hear others thoughts about a new program available by ME Drills available as an APP on apple or android. While we can't practice the physical skills it does allow us to practice the order and remember the proper techniques. While my thought is this certainly won't replace good hands on training and practice its a great way for people to supplement their medical skills practice for a reasonable price.
They have several subscription services to include those offered continue education credits. Starting at $23.99 for a year going up to $49.99 or you can also purchase individual modules $3.99 each.
Visit www.medrills.com for more information and a complete list of training modules covered.
As everyone will come to find out I'm a bit of a holster junkie! I test all styles and methods of holsters to find what works the best for me and then continue to try and test other styles to find out why someone may choose that holster. I'll write more about some of the unique ones and some of my favorites. Brandon from Ultimate Holsters out of Massachusetts sent a few my way for me to get student feedback. The material he uses in his Hybrid holsters is silver infused antimicrobial padding. Not only is it hygienic, but its a very soft material which doesn't require and undershirt as it is ok to have pressed against your skin. It seemed they do take a bit of breaking in as does almost any leather or hybrid style holster, but after it does the comfort level only increases. The second thing that really stood out amongst ultimate holsters is the cloud tuck belt-less holster. This holster uses a unique clip which locks securely to you clothes and does not require the use of a belt as most holsters do require a quality gun belt. This seemed really popular among the ladies as they don't seem to wear a belt as often as my male students. If you don't wear a belt often and need a good holster option I would certainly check them out. Below is a button to their homepage. For a 10% discount enter stonewall at checkout.
A student of mine recently sent me an article and said "this sounds a lot like what you have been teaching us!" . I typically prefer to write my own posts, but I couldn't put this any better than Brian Wang from Monarch Defense did in his article below. I've included a link to his other articles where you can read more from him.
It’s simple, really. Here’s how in 5 steps:
I regularly see newly minted pistol instructors who are full of idealism and enthusiasm, who hope to hang up a shingle and get rich while being awesome, yet who are absolutely clueless. Not long ago I was the same way. Having struggled and failed, and struggled some more, I’d like to offer 5 points of realistic advice to my younger self and set a standard for my fellow “instructors” to follow. Do you teach? Then read this. Researching an Instructor before taking her class? Then read this.
Step 1: Wear the student’s shoes.
You’ve got safe full of black rifles and a binder full of accolades from a decade as a police officer. Excellent! How does your experience pertain to an arthritic widow who works at an elementary school, is left handed, cross dominant, far sighted, scared of guns, and inherited her late husbands magnum snubbie?
How does a tour of duty in Iraq prepare you to teach a father and his 2 toddlers gun safety?
What's the ideal defensive shotgun load for an elderly couple that lives in a condo?
What's the best way to carry in a purse?
I think you get the idea: It Depends! Your experience (as great as it may be) is irrelevant UNLESS you can relate it meaningfully to the student’s needs!
The number one mistake I see amateur instructors (of all ages and experience levels) make is to assume that the answers they have are valuable. This is erroneous. Rather, it is the questions the student has, especially the ones they don’t even know to ask, that are most valuable. Your skill or experience, without empathy means nothing to the student. Therefore, you have to watch, listen, and put yourself into their shoes. That’s what makes a good teacher.
Step 2: Learn how to learn.
Before you can guide students in their journey, you have to be a student, but as you study and perfect your craft, the most important thing you gain is not knowledge, but rather the process of gathering knowledge. Understanding how you and others process and retain information is the foundational experience which allows you to be a successful teacher, and truly benefit your students. How can you possibly understand how to teach if you haven’t mastered how to learn?
How do you learn how to learn? Take classes and adopt mentors. Read books, and practice learning new skills every day. No one gets good at doing anything once, so if you want to be a teacher, then you must be a student, and you must be a student of Everything.
Step 3: Learn how to teach.
Your knowledge is worth nothing unless you can transfer it to someone else coherently and efficiently. The shooting industry, like any other, is chock full of subject matter experts who absolutely suck at communicating. The absolute worst thing you can do for your students is to show them a cool and fast technique, give them the false confidence that they can replicate your movement, and then leave them to figure it out, or shoot themselves in the foot (literally).
Some say “Those that can, do, and those that can’t, teach.” This is only propagated by those who are ignorant to the art of educating, and therefore cannot see the value in something which they cannot see. In fact, the true teacher must be able to learn, to do, and then to lead others to learn and do. Such a task is an order of magnitude more complex than simply “doing”. Does my use of the word “teacher” bore you? If so, move along, this isn’t your profession.
Research the “Socratic Teaching Method”. Live with the assumption that every time you tell the student an answer, you rob her of that educational opportunity. Your job as a teacher is to lead them, by discussion and demonstration, to discover the correct answers for themselves. Your job is not to answer questions, but to provide questions step by step so that they can answer them themselves when you are gone.
What factors help knowledge retention? Simply put, if you just “tell” your student, they’ll be lucky to retain 10% by the end of the day. What’s easy for you to connect in context, floats around a cerebral void for students who have no prior experience. This means you have to ask, and learn about your student’s life experience, and tie in parallels and analogies to what they already hold to be true.
Rather than say, show! If your student has sat in class for 20 minutes and not touched an object in demonstration, you’ve gone far too long! We learn best if we can See, Hear, Touch, Do, Write, Read, and Reflect! If you, through analogy and vibrant metaphor can bring the student to “Taste” an experience and “Smell” something such as fear, that is the mark of a true communicator.
Step 4: Gather knowledge.
“Once a teacher, always a student.” The student doesn’t have 10 years to devote to reading books and gathering knowledge, so that’s your job. The student doesn’t have $30,000 to spend in tuition, so that’s your job! A funnel has two ends: The wide end is for books and classes that you absorb so that you can synthesize that information into concise packets of digestible data that come out the small end for your student. Oh, you planned on just getting your Basic Pistol cert and jumping in? That’s a good start, but don’t kid yourself; You’re no expert after only 16 hours of class. Do you know any dentists who took a weekend class before opening up shop? How many mechanics do you know who only have 2 days of schooling? Your job as a teacher, is to be a professional student. If that’s not in your assumptions, this industry is not for you. Your students and peers are counting on you.
Step 5: Be Humble.
Lastly, the hardest lesson I ever learned as a self -defense firearms instructor was that of humility. I was young, skilled, and arrogant; It was a mistake which cost me my reputation, tanked my business, strained the relationship with my employees and lost the facilities which I had worked so hard to foster. It was finally my teacher and mentor David Maglio who drove home the message when he disowned me. That is the cost of being full of yourself. Be humble.
There you have it, how to be a firearms instructor in 5 simple steps. Now, just go and do it 60 hours a week, it’s easy!
To read more from Brian Wang of Monarch Defense please visit his website
Regarding my experiences as a personal protection instructor, I can't stress enough that practicing
personal protection far surpasses merely owning a firearm and taking it to a range. Although I do believe
that a firearm can be a valuable resource, it is just one of many tools that has the potential to save one’s
life. In my experiences, when asking people about their home defense strategy, many say that they have
a gun, but this is not a sufficient answer. Often, their firearm may not be easily accessible even if the
need for one surfaces. This is a concept that will be addressed in future posts.
Citizens that have a concealed weapons permit (CCW) know that there are certain places where even
they are prohibited from carrying a firearm. When I conduct a personal protection class, I teach much
more than just firearms. I introduce a strategy that will keep you and your family safe in various,
potentially harmful environments. As mentioned previously, a firearm may not always be a viable
option. Let’s say that you and your family were cooking dinner. While one of your family members was
chopping up vegetables, they accidentally lacerated their finger. Let’s also say that in this situation, you
are the type of person that cares very much about your family, but you have only considered
neutralizing an external threat as a form of personal protection. It is in this scenario that protection
encompasses much more than a good guy with a gun. It is at this time when medical training and
equipment is the crucial element to personal safety.
Another commonly overlooked aspect of personal protection is navigating communication channels with
calm, collected, clear and concise interactions. In the book Verbal Judo by George J. Thompson and Jerry
B. Jenkins, we can learn how to adapt skills that prevent potential conflicts from escalating out of
control. Since this training utilizes our voice and body language, it is a valuable asset that we can take
with us everywhere we go. Speaking is something we do our entire lives, but we hardly work to improve
the skill. The text was designed as a resource for law enforcement and security officers to begin to
defuse potentially dangerous situations utilizing their words. Most of us are already familiar with the last
resort; using a firearm to neutralize a threat, yet we know very little of what is arguably the most
important method of personal protection.
There are a few ways to begin training your communication skills.
1. Start by reading this informational text. I've provided the link below.
2. Take the online course for $60 offered by Levitt-Safety https://www.levitt-safety.com/tc/whats-
3. Visit www.verbaljudo.com to have a course hosted, or attempt to sign up for one of the limited
classes scheduled around the country.
As an NRA Training Counselor a large base of my students are the future NRA instructors of today. If you have taken one of my instructor level classes you have almost definitely seen a fishing tackle box full of orange dummy rounds. I used to purchase individual snap caps and dummy rounds, but this kit was certainly well worth every penny. At $61.99 from Brownells this kit has come in extremely handy.
SPECS: Polypropylene box, clear. 10¾" (27.3cm) x 7" (17.7cm) x 1-5/8" (4.1cm). Orange plastic rounds. Contains (10 each) .17 HMR, .22 LR, .22 Mag., .25ACP, .32ACP, 7.62x25, .380ACP, 9mm Luger, 9mm Makarov, .357 SIG, .38 SPL, .40S&W, 10mm, .44Mag, .45ACP rounds.
click the image below to bring you to the product on brownells website
This book by Kenneth R. Murray is a must read for anyone looking to further develop their skills as an
instructor. Murray, one of the founders of Simmunitions, gives us an in-depth look at the massive
benefits to reality based training. Not only can we learn the benefits of reality based training, but we he also shows us why it is so crucial we step back and look at why we train a skill the way we do and how it will effect us in real world scenarios. I'm reading this book for my second time because there is so much that can be taken away and one of my favorite topics teaches us about training scars. We have two valuable resources which effect our training. These are our time and our money and often when we try to cut corners in either of these we create bad habits or unsafe training practices that could get us hurt or even worse killed. Understanding this caused me to change my own training and the instruction I provide to my students. Although something may appear to work well on paper, it sometimes gives us this false sense of security.
If you own a firearm for personal protection, this book is an absolute must. In The Laws of Self Defense
by Andrew Branca, he reveals the legalities of using a firearm for personal protection in all 50 states and
translates the information so that the majority of individuals can understand their legal obligations,
limitations and rights.