Including... • Self-Defense Tools: An Interview with Massad Ayoob • The Bible and Self Defense (Part 3)
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Massad Ayoob, Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Foundation advisory board member, participated with us in the very first eJournal in January when he gave us an excellent interview enumerating the most common mistakes armed citizens make after being involved in a self-defense use of force. Just last month, I was fortunate to host Massad when he came to town to teach LFI I. In addition to all the good use of force and legal education he gave the class, I was impressed again, as I always am, at how Ayoob has his finger on the pulse of the self-defense industry.
With this in mind, I thought it might be fun for our readers to check in with Massad and ask, “What’s the State of the Art in pistols, rifles, intermediate defenses and more?” The opportunity came at the very end of his LFI I class, as the students were completing their written tests.
Our interview follows:
eJournal: Massad, the handgun industry is always introducing new models. With an eye toward people improving their self-defense gun choices, have you run across anything new that you really like?
Massad Ayoob: Well, I’m pleased with the Ruger LCP. There have been some birthing pains, but that is true of virtually everything. I like the way that Ruger has gotten on top of it and gotten everything squared away. It is reminiscent of how well Joe Bergeron and his team at Smith & Wesson got on the initial complaints about the Smith Military & Police and pretty much cleared them up.
After the 20th century history of “There’s nothing wrong with our guns! You must have screwed up” to see the way both Smith & Wesson and Ruger have responded to the initial, minor concerns with the M&P, and the subsequent concerns with the (Ruger) SR9 and the LCP, it’s really a paradigm shift in the industry that I’m glad to see.
I was delighted to see Beretta’s new program where any police officer who buys one of their PX4 program guns, then is killed in the line of duty, Beretta will provide a $10,000 death benefit to their family, and unlimited grief counseling and psychological counseling, which you and I know costs a lot more than that. And particularly in an item, like a department issue handgun, which is generally an institutional purchase, to see something where the company is giving the benefit to the end user, and not the guy who signs the check, that just warms the cockles of my heart.
As far as gun designs, one that has really impressed me, it has almost seduced me from being the ballistically promiscuous gun changer that I am, and to committing, if you will, to a firearm, is the 4-inch barrel XD .45, with the manual safety. The gun has splendid ergonomics, great reliability, and more than acceptable accuracy. The manual safety has all the good ergonomics of the XD plus that proprietary to the user feature if the gun is temporarily lost in a struggle.
Another thing that I’ve liked about the XD guns ever since they came out: they are among the very, very few service pistols that have standoff capability. That is, if the gun is jammed into the body of the offender in a very close, belly-to-belly fight most auto pistols will go out of battery and will not fire. The XD will and it will tear a massive contact wound and that will very likely save your life.
I’ve been hugely impressed in the last four or five years with the innovation I’ve seen coming out of Springfield Armory, though there is a lot of innovation industry wide. I’m seeing lots of good stuff, but I’m consistently seeing some of the best, most truly useful, innovative stuff there. The little EMP 9mm is the first truly reliable 9mm platform in the 1911. And the smaller grip and better trigger reach, of course, gives superb ergonomics.
The SOCOM 16 .308: that tiny compensator is like magic. I can’t say it kicks like a .223, but it kicks way less than an AK or full-powered .308. It kicks less than a .30-30 carbine, and you’ve still got the legendary M14 reliability and splendid accuracy. That’s become my car gun in my SUV.
eJournal: That’s very interesting, because I was going to ask you what you were seeing that you liked in rifles, because we tend to focus so much on handguns, that we forget about shotguns and rifles. So, is that your favorite rifle right now?
Massad Ayoob: Yeah, pretty much. I also like the DSA carbines, the short barreled, American-made version of the FN FAL. I particularly like the handling, and the accuracy is good. They’re set up well and the quality control is splendid. So we’re seeing a lot of stuff in the rifle area and we have more good AR15s than ever. Ruger is, at last, thank God, bringing back the properly made 20-round Mini-14 magazines to the public and not just the institutional purchaser.
eJournal: What did you think of that little black NRA Mini-14 we saw at SHOT Show?
Massad Ayoob: It is nice! That is the shortest barrel they’ve ever put on one from the factory, in a semi-auto, at least. I really liked the handling and the accuracy was decent. I was getting about 2.5 inches at 100 yards, and with the utter reliability we’ve come to expect from a Mini.
Above all, that gun is almost a symbol of a commitment from the factory saying, “Look, this is no longer a family owned principality. We’re going to be more responsive to the public than we were.” I knew Bill Ruger, Sr., and I loved the man; I liked his son Billy and his late son, Tom, but I have got to say the direction Ruger is taking now is a better direction for the right reasons.
eJournal: What about other means of defense? Have you, for example, embraced personal Taser®s like the one they’re calling the C2 model?
Massad Ayoob: I haven’t embraced it yet for the simple reason that I haven’t worked with it yet. I was always very skeptical about the electronic stun guns. As you know, we use them as training tools on the range. When the Taser® came out I thought, “OK, here’s another exaggeration. Yeah, yeah, one touch will turn Godzilla into a salamander, yeah sure.” Then I took my Taser® ride and was instantly convinced. My department now has the X26s. The civilian model is simply one that I haven’t tested yet. That said, it does have tremendous potential as an intermediate-force weapon.
eJournal: Will Taser®s make pepper spray passé?
Massad Ayoob: No, not necessarily. The Taser® costs several hundred dollars; the pepper spray is ten or fifteen bucks. It’s kind of like saying you can be an armed citizen if you can afford a $5,000 Heinie Custom .45. A Heinie Custom .45 is fine, and a Taser® is fine, but I also think us ordinary po’ folks need Glocks and Rugers, and the pepper spray. I think it is well established that with proper training and a proper system, it works really well at the lower end of the force continuum and I don’t see that going away anytime soon.
eJournal: What other force options to you like?
Massad Ayoob: Certainly the Kubotan, the little Mini-Mag flashlight that is designed by one of Kubota’s protégés to do what the Kubotan does…
eJournal: I didn’t know that’s where the Mini Mag came from!
Massad Ayoob: Yes, his protégé John Peters went to Don Kellner who was then at mag Light and said, “We’re worried about people calling these (Kubotans) weapons. Can you make one that glows in the dark so we can call it a flashlight?” And Kellner’s like, “Duh! That’s a no brainer.” And they came up with what’s probably the most popular flashlight in the United States, and coincidentally, a neat little self-defense tool. And unlike the original Kubotan, ironically, it is perfectly welcome on commercial aircraft and in courthouses.
eJournal: Sounds good to me! Massad, let’s take this topic a bit farther. For example – and let’s make this as extreme as possible – if a woman you loved lived or was visiting where guns were not legal to carry, what kinds of defenses would you recommend?
Massad Ayoob: Certainly unarmed combat; certainly pepper spray. But I would recommend that to the person who can carry a gun, too. The gun in personal defense is basically the nuclear level; you still need conventional forces for conventional needs.
For protection against lethal force in a place where it was impossible to carry a gun, if it were a woman I loved, I would send her to Graciela Casillas’ knife fighting classes. I would buy her more blades than a combine, and I think she’d be, within range, as lethal as anybody with a gun.
eJournal: Switching topics again: as you interact with your students, as well as clients in the expert witness side of your work, do you perceive any new trends or personal safety issues of which you think we should be aware?
Massad Ayoob: Not necessarily, none that we haven’t identified or written about before. One thing that worries me a little is the number of folks who think that rescinding the retreat requirements in some states (which some are erroneously calling the castle doctrine), means, “Oh, this means that if I was right to shoot the bad guy, I can’t be sued.” And that is not what it says, though I think it’s a tremendous moral victory for our side.
Every state that has such a thing, still has the loophole that if they can allege negligence, they can still bring suit. Even if you should win, based on the absence of the retreat requirement, you still have to spend several thousand n legal fees and it is not the panacea that some are calling it. It’s a great stride forward, but it really does not change the paradigm that much.
In states that people were allowed to stand their ground from the beginning (if you want a proper street term for this type of legislation I would call it a stand your ground law, not a castle doctrine), but in the states where you were allowed to stand your ground, we are still seeing wrongful prosecutions of armed citizens that are politically based, we are still seeing unmeritorious law suits that are generally greed based, and that’s not going to change. It’s one more tool in the toolbox, but it doesn’t mean that all of a sudden it’s moonbeams and butterflies for the armed citizen.
eJournal: What about the Heller decision?
Massad Ayoob: The Heller decision, I think, is a landmark. I felt privileged to have had some small input on one of the amicus curiae briefs.
I was disappointed that it was only 5-4. I had been expecting a low of 6-3, and maybe as much as 7-2. I knew we would lose Breyer; I knew we would lose Stevens. One is Teddy Kennedy’s creature, and the other is somewhere to the Left of Teddy Kennedy. Ginsburg, I had hoped, might get past this “must be citizens of the world, do as the rest of the world does” and remember “we’re not the United Nations Supreme Court, we are the United States Supreme Court.” I was deeply disappointed in David Souter. His history had given me hope that he would apply more intellectual honesty to the situation.
eJournal: Massad, we’ve run out of time. I deeply appreciate your time, and on behalf of the Network, let me thank you for all you’ve done for us.
Massad Ayoob is director of the Lethal Force Institute.
by Marty Hayes, J.D.
Recently, we finished taping and editing the Network’s third educational DVD, which is now at the replicators being mass-produced. I want to take this opportunity to explain just how we believe our members should use the DVDs.
First off, as mentioned on the DVDs, if you are in front of a judge or jury and need to justify your actions, you will need to prove that your actions were reasonable under the circumstances. One thing that will help establish this, is if the triers of fact have the same training or knowledge as you have. Under the rules of evidence, you, as the defendant, have the right to introduce evidence that will help the triers of fact understand the mind set leading to your decision to fire. This evidence may include your instructor explaining what he or she trained you to do under those circumstances. But also, this evidence can include you explaining to the judge or jury the nature and extent of your training and knowledge, IF you can document that you possessed that knowledge before hand. For example, let’s say that you shot an individual who was threatening to cut your throat, and that person was five steps away from you. Knowing what you know from the first video, you knew ahead of time that a person five steps away possesses both the ability AND the opportunity to use that knife against you. Your prior knowledge of that fact is something the jury should understand, so they can decide if a reasonable person would have pulled the trigger when you did, knowing that someone threatening with a knife is a deadly danger to you, even five steps away.
Your ability to introduce a properly documented training video (DVD #1), will greatly assist the triers of fact in understanding that your actions were indeed reasonable, and hence justifiable.
You need to document that you viewed these DVDs so there is no question that you knew this information ahead of time. This documentation can be done in several ways. First, on the label of the Network DVDs, we printed lines for your initials and a date viewed notation. Each time you watch one of the Network DVDs (and I would recommend doing so occasionally), fill these out. In addition, take notes on the material the DVDs teach, and once you have a good set of notes, mail the notes to yourself in the U.S. Mail, return receipt requested. When you get them back, file the unopened, postmarked envelope away in your safe deposit box. If you ever get a judge who doesn’t believe you knew this information ahead of time, introducing a signed, sealed and delivered copy of notes taken while watching the videos should do the trick.
Another tactic would be to give your notes to your attorney and have them filed with your records at that office. (There may be a small fee for this.) Then, in the event you are prosecuted, your attorney, who most likely would not be your defense attorney anyway, could testify as an officer of the court that you gave him or her these notes. Next, you testify about how you took these notes. For example, perhaps you watched the video three times as your notes would show.
Another way to document watching the videos would be to do it in a group setting, at your gun club, for example. Make a list of all who were present and also saw the video, and then you could call one or more of these people as eye witnesses to viewing the video. By the way, we have no problem with you playing the DVDs for your friends and family, though we do want commercial training organizations to get written permission before doing so.
About the Attorney List
I can’t believe how the time is flying by since starting this project. It appears from the history of this endeavor, that adding the Network to my daily workload on has exceeded my working ability, and I am not getting done many things I want to accomplish. This happened during law school at times, and the best way I found to alleviate the problem was to cut out all extraneous items in my workday, and hunker down and get it done.
We have had several attorneys express an interest in joining, but I have been unable get the list going until now. The DVDs are off my desk and Gila will mail them out to you as soon as replication is done, and so I am now working on the attorney list in earnest. As we publish this edition of this eJournal, I can announce that the start of the Attorney List is officially posted at http://www.armedcitize nsnetwork.org/ec/attorney.php, and while we do not have many names as on it, it is a promising first step. Thank you to each member who helped get this ball rolling by sending me the names of attorneys, and please keep those names coming in. Within the next few months, you should see a sizable growth in the list. Please understand that we intend this aspect of the Network to be a vital one, and my main work on the Network for the rest of the year will be spent in this effort. Because of this, I have no additional articles in the eJournal this month. I’ll see you next month.
If I were in charge of handing out awards to the gun industry, I’d give Sturm, Ruger & Co. “Back Up Gun of the Year.” The manufacturer doesn’t really need my approbation, however, because the entire firearms media seems to be lining up to laud the LCP (Lightweight Compact Pistol), their tiny, double action only .380. I saw the first LCP in January at the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show, when then Ruger President Steve Sanetti made the new pistol the headliner at their press conference.
I was not the only one to enthusiastically embrace the new Ruger. The gun press from the moment of the its introduction piled praises on the LCP, including Internet and TV personality Michael Bane’s immediate kudos and the recent favorable article in SWAT Magazine by editor Denny Hansen. By August, the 2008 Shooting Industry Academy of Excellence gave it their Handgun of the Year award, and recognized Ruger as Manufacturer of the Year.
The LCP is a .380 autoloader weighing just 9.4 ounces, only 3.6 inches high and .82 inches wide, with a loaded capacity of 6+1. It owes its surprisingly light weight to a glass-filled nylon frame, and a blued steel slide that is quite light, because unlike older-style .380s, this pistol uses a locked breech design, and thus does not require the heavy slide to which we are accustomed on older blow-back designs. With street prices running between $280 and $300, upon cursory inspection the LCP looks like a better-made variation of the Kel Tec P-3AT, though sold for not much more cash.
However, before suggesting that the LCP just a Kel Tec P-3AT clone emblazoned with the Ruger name, take a look at the frame and the extractor. Both are different, and the Ruger slide differs in contour and unlike the Kel Tec parent, consists of just one piece. Kel Tec magazines do not function in the Ruger. The magazine floor plates have minor dimensional differences, and Kel Tec mags have quite a lot of play when inserted in the Ruger and will not feed.
Neither brand locks the action open on an empty magazine, but the Ruger LCP has a small, but functional slide lock, something Kel Tec sacrificed on their P-3AT. Initially, I found the Ruger’s small, flush slide lock nearly impossible to engage. With practice, however, it’s become easier and now it is rare that I fail to lock the slide open on the first try.
I first shot the LCP at an indoor range when a friend and I put about 200 rounds of varied FMJ and hollow point ammunition from Federal and CCI through the little Ruger. It fed and extracted everything flawlessly, and our only complaint was the difficulty of making out a sight picture because the bay in which we were shooting was poorly lit.
In addition, the eight-pound trigger couples with the tiny grip area to increase the likelihood of pulling the sights out of alignment during the trigger pull. Still, in casual shooting on the indoor range, the little .380 gave palm-sized groups in rapid fire at 10 yards; later in bright sunshine on the outdoor range with the white marks on the sights, the gun gave three and four inch groups at 15 yards using Federal Hydra Shok and Federal HiShock ammunition. Though I can’t imagine using the LCP beyond the 15-yard mark, it is capable of hits on a torso-sized target from the 25-yard line, though these distances are really beyond the mission of such a small gun.
Because the Ruger sights are quite shallow, I borrowed a trick from Teddy Jacobson of Actions by T, and decided to apply a stripe of reflective paint up the front sight with a matching square of white in the flat cut out of the rear sight notch. Lacking paint the day I went to the range, I experimented with a dot of white correction fluid and voila! My shot groups shrunk remarkably. Though Teddy used florescent green and orange paints and certainly not White-Out®, he often improved fixed pistol sights in this manner. Nowadays, failing health limits his work.
Though the white markings helped a lot, I still struggled to achieve sight alignment with any rapidity. After about a month of struggling to improve test groups with the stock sights, I cajoled Crimson Trace Corporation to let me help test a prototype laser sight for the Ruger LCP. (Check out the product details to the right.) What a remarkable accessory! Before the laser, I was grateful to turn in a three-inch group from the 10-yard line, in ordinary lighting. Now, using the laser in low light conditions, two to three inch groups were the standard, with one extra-careful effort yielding a sub-two-inch group.
Of course, with its short, 2 3/4-inch barrel, the LCP isn’t intended as a target pistol, but it is important to me to know just what level of accuracy I can expect from a gun. Using the laser in the low light range, A-zone hits on an IPSC target were a snap during Vice-President drills. Without the laser, I would have relied purely on point shooting for this kind of challenge, and would not have attempted it much beyond four yards; with the laser, good hits on multiple target drills from the ten-yard line were not impossible.
A Brief Setback
When Kel Tec introduced their P-3AT, I adored the size, hated the sights, and initially mistrusted its durability. Boy, was I wrong. Assisted by several enthusiastic friends, we tried to wear out my sample Kel Tec, but it has turned out to be quite like the ubiquitous AK-style rifle in that it goes “bang” every time we pull the trigger. We shot that little polymer .380 until our fingers ached, but the worst failing we saw came from failing to reset the trigger properly between shots. We acknowledged its durability after about 1000 rounds, and the Kel Tec continues to function as a sample in our school’s Handgun Selection Seminar.
Unfortunately, with the Ruger LCP, what started out as an enthusiastic gun review lost considerable steam, when at just under 300 rounds fired my sample broke, the tip of the trigger pivot sheared clean away. I was deflated because I had such high hopes for the miniature Ruger, and hoped it might replace an abusively heavy, all-steel .380 I use as a hideout/backup.
So back to Ruger went the little LCP. Less than a week later, it was returned, repaired and working good as new. Since then, an additional 500 rounds fired have functioned flawlessly, though I had a sense of déjà vu when we experienced difficulties when failing to reset the trigger, causing what looked like failures to fire. In truth, it was a shooter error and not the fault of the pistol, because it happens only when the shooter attempts to “catch the link,” instead of returning the double action trigger fully forward before starting the next trigger press. It is easy to mistake a “click” in the trigger return as the reset point; it is not.
I find it extraordinary that 800 rounds have gone through this LCP with not a single double feed or other feeding or extraction failure. The gun was shot as just it came from the factory, with no cleaning, lubrication, or other care during the testing.
In closing, I struggle with concerns about how much we can and should expect from such a miniature handgun. Though my Ruger LCP broke just before it reached the 300 round mark, it could just as easily have held together until I was up to 1,000 rounds. While I only feel comfortable carrying a gun I’ve shot extensively, I also recognize that in a tiny gun, extensive shooting and the subsequent wear and tear must certainly contribute to eventual mechanical failure.
Earlier this evening, I put another 150 rounds through the Ruger LCP, and it continued functioning flawlessly. As a back up gun, it will be hard to beat this one. It is no fun to shoot extensively, as the blister on my trigger finger emphasizes. With that in mind, I think it is realistic to anticipate that most LCP owners may put a few hundred rounds through it to prove reliability, and then occasionally shoot a box of ammunition just to stay familiar with how it handles. Beyond that, Ruger’s LCP is the epitome of the phrase, “carried often, shot seldom.” Don’t buy one with the idea of using it to learn to shoot, or as a gun with which to take classes. It is a specialized piece of equipment, miniaturized to fill the specific role of back up, and in that role, it should do quite nicely.
Caliber: ...........................380 ACP
Steel Barrel: ..................2.75 inches
Weight, unloaded: .........9.4 ounces
Length: ..........................5.16 inches
Height: ..........................3.6 inches
Width: ............................82 inch
Trigger Pull Weight: ......8 pounds
Trigger Pull Length: ......1/2 inch
Slide: .............................Blued, Through-Hardened Steel
Frame Material: ............Glass Filled Nylon
Ships with one magazine
Sturm, Ruger& Co.
1 Lacey Pl.,
Southport, CT 06890
In last month’s Network eJournal (click link to view), this series discussed some of rationale behind personal and church security. As the series continues this month, the author delves more deeply into the Biblical foundation of defense.
by Dr. Richard Seim
We saw in the second article that the sixth commandment, Exodus 20:13, teaches murder is wrong. Within the context of the whole Bible, the idea that the sixth commandment teaches all killing is wrong was shown to be without merit. Then we found, some fifty verses later, that if someone broke into a home at night and the tenant took the life of the interloper, he was justified to defend his home and family (Exodus 22:2-3).
Let’s look at one more passage that points to the defense of home and family and introduces us to the concept of defending others. Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall of the city for protection. Those who opposed this, decided to mount terrorist attacks against them, “Now when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the Ashdodites heard that the repair of the walls of Jerusalem went on, and that the breaches began to be closed, they were very angry. All of them conspired together to come and fight against Jerusalem and to cause a disturbance in it” (Nehemiah 4:7-8 NASB). Nehemiah had no army. His were simple people who came to rebuild the wall and inhabit Jerusalem. In response to this threat of terrorist attacks, he had his workers defend the unfinished wall in a very interesting way. “Our enemies said, ‘They will not know or see until we come among them, kill them and put a stop to the work.’ … then I stationed men in the lowest parts of the space behind the wall, the exposed places, and I stationed the people in families with their swords, spears and bows” (4:11-13 NASB). Knowing that defending family would highly motivate the defenders, Nehemiah set the guard according to family groups. He knew that the defense would be much more important if one was defending his family.
“When our enemies heard that it was known to us, and that God had frustrated their plan, then all of us returned to the wall, each one to his work” (4:15 NASB). Notice that when the terrorists realized Nehemiah’s people were armed, they chose to leave them alone. This is a very strong passage about trusting in God while placing your sword (handgun) in its scabbard (holster) and carrying your spear (AR15). At least in part, God used the due diligence of the people to thwart the terrorist attack even while they trusted in Him.
In Nehemiah’s case above, the possible attack was not an all-out war but a small terrorist activity. That is the way it so often was in the Old Testament. Even Abraham delivered his cousin Lot and others who were kidnapped and taken hostage. He had trained and armed men ready to go after those terrorists at any given moment. When they overtook and overpowered those terrorists, Abraham gave praise to the God he trusted after he wielded sword and spear (Genesis 14). Even as Abraham and Nehemiah trusted God, trained for defense, and then picked up their arms, the Psalmist penned, “Blessed be the Lord, my rock, Who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle,” (Psalm 144:1 NASB).
By the way, a quick side note here: When the Philistines wanted to subjugate Israel, they disarmed them, “Now no blacksmith could be found in all the land of Israel, for the Philistines said, ‘Otherwise the Hebrews will make swords or spears’ ’’ (1 Samuel 13:19-22).
Those passages point out that self defense and defense of home and family, even to the point of lethal force, is acceptable when justified. Obviously, part of the point of the Nehemiah passage is that we are to defend each other as well. In my opinion, Nehemiah 4 makes a very strong case for diligent church security against terrorists or even one terrorist invading a church gathering.
Biblically, what is our responsibility to each other? Ecclesiastes 4:9a & 12a says, “Two are better than one …if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him” (NASB). Did you notice verse 12a? “And if one can…if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him” (NASB). Did you notice verse 12a? “And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him.” At least three concepts are pointed out here.
First, the Bible teaches that it is not good to be overpowered. Rather than being overpowered, it is better to resist the one attempting to overpower you. If you cannot resist so as to overcome, then secondly, it teaches that if you can have a partner wherever it is that you might be overpowered, you should take him with you, that way you have backup. I may in fact come to the defense of another. A third concept is, even though one is to trust the Lord, the Lord here points out that the one trusting Him can be overcome and should defend himself, with help. Again, in the church gathering setting, the application is that we are to aid each other in case someone attempts to overpower us. At the very least, it instructs us to watch each other’s backs.
A very interesting passage dealing with the need to help another in trouble is found in Deuteronomy, “If in the field the man finds the girl who is engaged, and the man forces her and lies with her, then only the man who lies with her shall die. But you shall do nothing to the girl; there is no sin in the girl worthy of death, for just as a man rises against his neighbor and murders him, so is this case. When he found her in the field, the engaged girl cried out, but there was no one to save her” (Deuteronomy 22: 23-27 NASB). This passages teaches that if a man rapes a woman, he should pay the death penalty. Note that the Old Testament legal system considers rape on the same level as murder (“only the man who lies with her shall die”).
Notice verse twenty-seven, “the engaged girl cried out, but there was no one to save her.” Implied here, unmistakably, is the fact that if a woman is “crying out” because she fears she is about to be raped or is in the process of such an assault, those who hear her are supposed to help her. So, according to the Bible, we do have a right or responsibility to assist others.
So the Scripture tells us that defense of self, family and others is wise and that backup is always a good idea, “two are better than one.” It also teaches us that, if someone is yelling for help because a violent crime, such as rape, is eminent, those who hear the cry should help.
In our next article we will move into the New Testament to determine the meaning of passages such as, “But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also” (Matthew 5:39 NASB).
If you enjoyed this column, be sure to read the September eJournal for Dr. Seim’s next installment.
About the author: Dr. Richard Seim is senior pastor at the Renton, WA Trinity Baptist Church. In addition to his calling as a Christian pastor, the author teaches NRA gun safety classes, and has graduated from multiple classes taught by the Lethal Force Institute and the Firearms Academy of Seattle, Inc
Member’s Only Section Now on Network Website
As we started the Network Affiliated Attorney program of which President Marty Hayes writes at the end of his column this month, we faced the need for webpages available exclusively to Network members, since access to this private list is one of the benefits of paid membership.
This, and other information restricted to Network members only, will be available by using the same member name and password you use to access the Member’s Forum. The Member’s Only content log in page looks similar to the Forum’s log in page, so when you browse to any exclusive content, you will be prompted to log in, then automatically sent to the page you requested.
Currently, only http://www.armedcitizensnetwork.org/ ec/attorney.php exists behind the password protected log in, but as our efforts grow, we anticipate additional content that we may not deem appropriate for public use, so we will make greater use of this section as the need arises.
We hope you won’t forget to update your membership information with the Network! If you move house or change email addresses, you can call, drop us a note or use the easy online address update form at http://www.armedcitiz ensnetwork.org/addchange.html.
Join the Network On-line
Membership is now available through the Network’s on-line store at www.shoparmedcitizensnetwork.org, with a link at the bottom of the navigation links on the left side of the on-line store’s front page.
Concealed Carry for Self Defense
by Tom Givens
2 hour and 15 minute DVD $34.95
Tom Givens is a well-known author who has written countless gun magazine articles and five textbooks on the topics of guns, self defense and mindset. When I asked why, in light of his success as a writer, he ventured into the DVD market, Givens explained that people really don’t read much anymore, and book sales were falling off. Especially in students under age 30, Givens sees a propensity for using the computer and television to obtain information. “Everything is geared toward watching TV and using the computer,” he explained.
As a result, Givens’ instructional DVD credits are growing. In addition to the program we’ll review here, he offers “Introduction to Self Defense” and “Defensive Shotgun” DVDs, and toward the end of the year will produce a program teaching the defensive mindset and the color codes of awareness, topics he is well qualified to teach.
Tom Givens teaches people who are likely to face violent crime. As he explains in the DVD’s introduction, Memphis ranks high on the list of most violent metropolitan areas in the U.S., with a 2.5 times higher violent crime rate than Los Angeles, for example, he cites. Of the estimated 25,000 students he has taught, Givens knows of and has debriefed 46 who have been involved in defensive shootings. From this he has drawn proven methods the viewer can learn in this and other Rangemaster DVDs.
Safety Comes First
“Concealed Carry for Self Defense” begins with a safety briefing from which even long-time shooters can learn. Givens stresses repeatedly the simplicity of the four universal rules of gun safety. “Think about the four rules,” he directs. “They’re one sentence statements. A child can understand them. There’s really not any excuse for the kind of silliness we see with guns...Most of what most people call accidental shootings are not accidents of any form. They’re negligent shootings.”
Givens goes on to demonstrate safely unloading and handling revolvers and semi-automatic pistols and how to verify that a handgun is unloaded. Hinting at a later topic, Givens emphasizes the holster’s value in maintaining a safe muzzle direction. There are only three places a pistol belongs: in the holster, kept under control at the ready position and pointed at the target during shooting, he teaches. Before going further, Givens discusses selecting a proper handgun. Focusing on different types of handguns for different purposes, he tells the viewer “you pick them for what you want to do with them,” drawing an apt analogy to various power tools used in every day tasks. He explains the importance of reliability, concealability and ergonomics, offering additional useful commentary on how these apply to a gun’s ultimate usefulness.
Givens illustrates the dangers in arming oneself with a cheap gun, displaying a couple of guns that students bought and broke before firing a whole box of ammunition through them. “Would you buy a car made in Argentina? Then why in God’s name would you buy a pistol like that to bet your family’s safety on? Stupid!” he exclaims. “We’re here about carrying a pistol on your person in anticipation of a sudden, violent conflict in which your life or the life of a loved one is in grave, immediate, mortal danger,” he emphasizes.
“The main thing we want to get across to you here is that you don’t need a tiny pistol, you need a pistol that you can fight with efficiently. Occasionally, you want to remind yourself, ‘why do I carry a gun?’ I carry a gun because I might have to fight for my life,” Givens concludes, adding that concealment is more dependent on holster design than gun size, as a lead in to the next section.
The next segment of the DVD covers selecting a holster. Leading into the topic, Givens defines how concealability, security, comfort and accessibility influence how well a holster works. He shows holster types, variations and materials. While leather is quieter, he explains, Kydex® is good in hot climates because it is sweat proof, less prone to rust the gun, sturdier and more durable.
In addition to conventional belt holsters, the DVD demonstrates use of specialty gear including what Givens calls a pelvic pack (commenting that it’s not worn in back over the fanny), bellybands, ankle holsters for back up and pocket holsters. One of the most intriguing elements in the presentation is a segment showing Rangemaster shooters demonstrating holsters and concealment garments. This gives viewers an excellent chance to study draw and fire drills from a variety of concealment products, followed by holstering, which is equally instructive.
Givens also addresses defense ammunition, explaining, “The goal of shooting somebody is to make them stop what they are doing…we need cartridges that are designed to do that,” he states, describing different types of ammunition that is and is not suitable for defensive use. He offers an interesting discussion of stopping power, referencing investigations in which he was involved during his law enforcement career. Instruction about cartridge caliber and hollow point bullets is well done and informative, and applicable for defensive concerns.
Of course, the best gun, equipment and ammo are of little import if we can’t hit the target! “You have to hit what you shoot at to accomplish anything,” Givens tells the viewer in introducing this segment of the presentation. “Shooting AT things doesn’t help you; you have to actually hit things.” The shooter is accountable for every round fired, he stresses.
At the other extreme, pinpoint accuracy is of little value unless defensive shots are delivered quickly, Givens continues. “There’s always going to be a time limit involved in a fight,” he points out. “Actually, we couldn’t care less how fast you can shoot, what we care about is how fast you can hit,” Givens explains, offering a glimpse of the subtle humor leavening his teaching style.
As he moves on to the “how” of accurate shooting, the viewer receives a from-the-ground-up explanation of the shooting platform, or fighting posture. The stance should provide stability, mobility and flexibility, Givens explains before defining the whys and hows of the position. A good exposition on sight alignment and uses of the sighted index, aiming point, and related topics follows. “When someone tells you you don’t have time to aim, they just don’t understand the problem. What you don’t have time to do, is miss. You DO NOT have time to miss,” he emphasizes.
Trigger control receives appropriate emphasis. Givens teaches taking up the slack while coming up on target, and catching the link as an aid to better marksmanship. Here he challenges traditional descriptions of working the trigger, explaining that it won’t work to “squeeze” the trigger, since squeezing brings the entire hand gets into the motion. Follow through is critical due to the handgun’s relatively low power, Givens continues. Calling the pistol a “reactive instrument we can carry around,” he draws examples from his law enforcement experience to offer a perspective about lethality of pistol shots compared to a shotgun, for example. This is why, when using a handgun, repeated shots are so important, he illustrates, giving several examples.
“I want you to resist the temptation to fire the shot … and jerk the gun down and look-see what happened,” Givens instructs. “You can see those bullet holes on a paper target, but you’ll never see them on a clothed human being – ever, so there’s no point in looking for ‘em. What you should be doing instead is what? Right! Working on the next shot. Ride the front sight right back down, let the trigger reset and start working on the next shot,” he emphasizes. “You don’t know how many it’s going to take out in the real world, but I can tell you we’re going to have to fire until one of two things happens: either he falls down or he runs away.”
The presentation explains speed reloads (slide still forward), emergency reloads (slide locked back) and tactical reloads, defining the purpose of each type, a teaching style at which Givens excels. He suggests that the tactical reload is “out of context” for self-defense shooting, owing to a fight’s time constraints. It is “the most complicated dance that we ask you to do, and we ask you to do it after you’ve just shot …” Retaining a magazine is more realistic to a military situation, was developed around single column magazines, and as taught today is “a range technique,” he concludes.
He does give a good demo on how to deal with the thick double-column magazines, however, for those who may be compelled to perform a tac load in competition or by department mandate, plus he shows the IDPA style reload with retention, but objects to the fact that the gun is unloaded longer during that procedure.
Presentations from the holster receive good discussion and demonstration as well, with Givens calling the draw stroke a series of small controlled movements. These he breaks down into several distinct steps. Once again, he emphasizes the import of the first shot and how brief the time is in a self-defense emergency. Discussing the holster, Givens shows how the pistol grips must rise sufficiently above the belt so the hand can get a full firing grip on the gun in the holster. He also suggests ways to get a concealment vest out of the way while drawing.
Givens offers a good tip on how to get the gun back in the holster, indexing by feel without having to look down at the holster. I won’t give up the hint here, you’ll need to get the DVD, learn his lessons, and then you’ll have it, too.
Going armed at all times
Appropriately, at the end of the presentation, Givens grows serious as he discusses using violence to stop violence. As the lecture concludes, he reveals that of the 46 students mentioned at the beginning of this presentation, all 46 prevailed and only a couple were injured. However, he interjects, two other students he trained were murdered on the street. Neither was wearing a gun at the time. Your skill with a pistol doesn’t matter if the gun is left at home in the gun safe, emphasizes a solemn Givens. The only gun that’s going to matter is the one that’s on your person, he says with quiet emphasis. “When the flag flies, you can’t go get it.”
The topics covered in this DVD are all about taking back control of your life and safety and the safety of your family, Givens summarizes. “That is what this is all about,” he says quietly.
Despite a serious beginning and conclusion, Givens’ teaching skill and his dry sense of humor grows on the viewer. By the end of the long, two-hour program you may feel a little surprised at how quickly the time has passed. Still, if time is limited, the program is broken into three distinct segments that can be watched at different times. Considering the breadth of topics covered and the depth of the detailed instruction, I’d say the DVD “Concealed Carry for Self Defense” is a bargain at $34.95.
2611 S. Mendenhall Road
Yesterday, I got a call from a gentleman who was desperate to find a gun rights lawyer. He must have seen the Network’s advertisement in the monthly grass roots gun rights magazine that serves his area. This is my guess, because it was apparent he knew little about the Network, erroneously thinking that the Network was an attorney referral resource, which we decidedly are not, though it is a misperception that we continually dispel.
Though the caller appropriately did not choose to relate to me the details of his predicament, he explained that he needed an attorney for two reasons: initially, to get charges against him dropped and secondly, because he was uncertain of his legal position during some of the events during his contact with law enforcement on the previous day.
Apparently, the man had felt compelled to open his locked gun safes at the behest of sheriff’s deputies who subsequently confiscated his firearms, though they did not have a warrant. I suppose a lot of gun owners simply cannot imagine a circumstance in which they would be handcuffed and asked to consent to a search of their house or told to turn over their firearms. Because it seems so inconceivable, many make no preparations, and if questioned or arrested, whether by misfortune or mistake, they lack knowledge and resources with which to fend off violations of their rights.
A lot of things can initiate a cascade of misadventures that culminate in a visit from the police: fallout from a nasty divorce, a long-simmering property line dispute, a vengeful complaint that you threatened a co-worker or former employee, a family argument, just to start the list. We think of these precursory events as things that happen to other people…right up until we find that one has happened to us!
Through the course of the day, I fielded several calls from that poor fellow. I felt really sorry for him. It made me ponder how often we fail to prepare for trouble until trouble has broken down the door!
I battle the procrastination demon every day, so I really understand putting off making these kinds of preparations. Taped on my desk top, where I see and act on it daily is this wisdom attributed to Malcolm S. Forbes: “One worthwhile task carried to a successful conclusion is worth halfa-hundred half-finished tasks.” Another axiom, this one so brief that it doesn’t even need to be written down has been attributed to W. Clement Stone: “Do it now!” (I thought my mother made that one up, and since I can’t find the actual attribution to W. Clement Stone, maybe I should just credit it to her memory.)
Do you have an attorney and have you talked to him or her about services you as an armed citizen might need? Network members: have you sat down and studied the Network DVD lectures and made that information part of how you respond to threats – both physical and legal? Or are you still just thinking about joining the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network, LLC so you can reach out for the support and power of a group of men and women just like you to stand with you in the face of legal adversity?
If some of those answers are “no,” why not just do it now? You can join at www.shoparmedcitizensnetwork.org Fellow armed citizens: if we don’t establish this support network for ourselves, no one else is going to do it for us!