Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Impact Expansion Rounds: The next wave in high performance combat ammo?

The topic of handgun stopping power is immensely popular both on line and in the printed media. I cannot be critical of those who follow the topic closely as I was once fascinated by it as well…so much so that I actually made it the subject of my Master’s Thesis in Criminal Justice Administration. When doing my research for that paper, my former law enforcement agency allowed me to use letterhead to request shooting and autopsy reports from across the nation. This effort resulted in a network of people I was able to draw upon over the years to keep track of which rounds/calibers were actually working in the street and which were not. As these folks retired (along with me), my network shrunk, which is fine as I now realize that bullet size, expansion and velocity are only part of the equation. As Dr. Vincent DiMaio, former Texas Medical Examiner and the author of Gunshot Wounds, once said, “It’s where you hit them and how many times you hit them” is the real key to handgun incapacitation potential.

Expansion does offer some performance advantages, however. An expanding bullet slows inside the body delivering energy to surrounding tissues. Some question how much tissue damage expansion creates but let’s be honest…it sure can’t hurt! Common sense tells us a bullet that gets bigger has the potential to reach out and destroy more as it passes. In addition, a bullet that stays in the body does not become a danger to non-hostiles that may be behind a perpetrator that needed to be shot. Of course, missed shots are a greater hazard than over-penetrating rounds, but his has always been the case. And keep in mind the bullet that hits the wall next to our attacker pretty much nullifies all of the ballistic research that went into its creation! The down side of a bullet that expands and slows is lack of penetration, both in the body and through hard objects the suspect may be hiding behind. Motor vehicles are of special interest to law enforcement officers as a high percentage of enforcement activities take place in and around cars and trucks. Considering the amount of time the average citizen spends in and around cars, there is also a good chance a vehicle could become a factor in an armed citizen shooting as well.

Simplistically, a conventional hollow point expands due to what some call a “hydraulic factor” or “fluid physics”, i.e. fluid (blood, urine, fecal matter), wet material (tissue), or other matter enter the bullet’s nose cavity and due to the forward motion of the bullet said material cannot escape backwards so the side walls of the bullet rollover.  In early hollow point designs, this “collapse’ was usually one side or the other…if at all…but was seldom a complete mushroom as seen when the bullet was fired into consistent tissue simulant.  The human body is not a consistent medium with hard bone, tough muscle, soft gelatin-like fat and wet fluid filled regions being the norm. Current hollow point deigns have solved previous expansion problems via cavity and jacket designs that allow for consistent expansion of the side walls. Bonding mechanisms have increased penetration through tissue and intermediate barriers. But even as good as current hollow point designs are, they are still subject to plugging due to solid material clogging the cavity turning the bullet into a conventional round nose projectile, likely passing though whatever is shot.  

Several years ago, I was invited to the Federal Ammunition plant in Minnesota where I had the opportunity to check out the research/testing going into the company’s Expanding Full Metal Jacket (EFMJ) round, a bullet that would expand via impact instead of the conventional hydraulic factor(s). (NOTE: While there, I was also permitted to see the testing of their HST round before it was introduced. This bullet was VERY impressive and I am not surprised by how well it has worked in the street.) While EFMJ did not perform as well as Federal would have liked initially, they stayed with the concept and now offer the load through Speer as their Guard Dog line. Others have worked to solve the plugged cavity problem with Corbon offering their Powerball load (which actually preceded EFMJ) while Hornady introduced both Critical Defense and Critical Duty loads that have worked well in a limited number of shootings I am aware of.  Power ball and Critical Duty/Defense are slightly different than EFMJ in that they have conventional cavities that are filled with polymer material that upon impact push back into the bullet cavity and create expansion. While different, they are still dependent on impact to expand or deform.

The FBI is currently testing a new duty round (word is adopted) known as the “Gold Dot LE II” or “G2”, though no one at The Bureau is officially acknowledging this that I know of, it is a not well kept secret. This same rumor mill states this bullet design offers .45 hollow point-level performance (gelatin wound track) in a 9mm load.  The bullet looks like a conventional Gold Dot hollow point with a clear elastomer plug “protecting” the hollow point cavity. This 147 -grain load actually travels 40 fps slower than the regular 147 grain GDHP. The testing I have seen on line is somewhat disappointing as the GD II seems to punch through ballistic test media easily and deeply. That said, people who have seen the FBI testing of this bullet are greatly encouraged with one telling me “I have carried a .45 for 20 years but I just went out and bought a Glock 17.”  Not sure what to make of this other than what has been released to the public and what The Bureau has are different loadings.

Am I enthusiastic about impact expanding loads? Not so much by their current technology, but by the potential performance that could be built into the bullet design. While at the Federal plant, I had a conversation with several engineers working on the EFMJ project. Consider a bullet that expands only while it is in contact with whatever it is passing though…the duration of contact… but the expansion stops when the contact stops. An example would be a bullet that passes through a car window is only in contact with the window for approximately ¼ inch so the expansion would be minimal. But once the bullet struck a person inside the car, the bullet would traverse the person’s torso staying in contact for a much longer length of time, resulting in a fully expanded bullet. The implications for such a bullet are huge! While it is true that impact bullet design is not there yet, it is getting closer. The current Guard Dog round from Speer is much improved over the original EFMJ while Hornady’s Critical Duty and Defense loads are showing promising results in actual shootings, expanding well even though they are passing through intermediate barriers.

While I would not call impact expansion loads “smart bullets” I do believe they have a strong potential to be the next generation of combative ammo and since they are not a conventional hollow point design… and all but eliminate the potential for fragmentation… they should meet the Hague Accords standards for warfare making them issuable to the military for general use, though the U.S. Military has recently approved hollow point ammo so this is now a mute point. The Federal EFMJ was used during the Global War on Terror by several Special Mission Units as well as the U.S. Marines in both .40 and 9mm and while they did not perform to the level of one of the best law enforcement hollow points, they were superior to NATO Ball. I spoke to one Marine who was present when an EFMJ was used to shoot an insurgent with a Beretta 92 pistol and he advised that two rounds took the terrorist out of the fight. “This was a real improvement,” he advised, “normally you have to drain the magazine as ball 9mm acts like an ice pick…in and out with little affect.”

Only time will tell if impact expansion ammo will be the next wave of combative ammo, but I, for one, remain encouraged.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

After almost 30 years…thoughts on gear.

I wrote my first published article in 1987 for the Ohio Tactical Officer’s Newsletter.  My first nationally published article came in the spring of 1988 for COMBAT HANDGUNS Magazine. People ask me regularly how to get started in gun writing…truth be told, I have no idea! My first article was requested of me by COMBAT HANDGUNS Editor Harry Kane due to a conversation he had with Smith & Wesson PR Director Sherry Collins.

Sherry mentioned to Harry that S&W had built 13 custom 5906 pistols prior to the release of the Third Generation series for a SWAT Team in Ohio.  I was a member of that team and a “cold call” by Harry to my agency resulted in that article.  My second article was in SWAT Magazine on the Steyr AUG-P 5.56, also a gun our team was using. The rest, as they say, is history.

Since that time I have written over 1,500 articles and columns on a wide range of firearms topics, focusing on law enforcement, military and personal security subject matter.  At one time, I had three columns going at once “Plainclothes” in GUNS AND WEAPONS FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT, “Firearms” in LAW OFFICER Magazine and “On Patrol” in HANDGUNS Magazine.  At this time I still write the “On Patrol” column but have resigned it as of the end of 2016.  Truth be told, I have nothing left to say…

Since the VAST majority of articles and columns were product reviews it is safe to say I have seen a lot of gadgets, gizmos and gewgaws…enough to last me a lifetime.  “But you haven’t seen the current generation of gear, Dave!” Really? Do you really think the stuff that is currently being introduced is truly “original”?  It might be “new” to you, but little of it is new to me.  Keep in mind, most of it is 1911 and AR-15 based and a new generation of floating hand guard does not excite me much.  It’s a metal tube, so what? A new optic? Looks a lot like the same stuff we had years back. Maybe more reliable but still a red dot.  I saw my first Kydex holster in the late 1970’s as made by Bill Rogers of the Rogers Holster Company, now part of Safariland. It was good stuff then and would still be considered cutting edge.  I wish they would bring it back in its original form.  Ammo? Yes, we have the BEST combative grade ammo of all time, but it is still a hollow point and the truth be told, Winchester Silvertip was pretty damn good regardless of what the FBI claimed. I would carry it today with no concern beyond my wanting to hit what I am shooting at.

That said gear in all of its forms is the best yet.  These days I no longer get the “gun writer handouts” as I did in the past. I now pay for my gear, so like most of you I want to spend my money wisely. What I thought I would do in this blog is lay out some stuff that has worked for me, not just recently, but over many, many years…sometimes decades! No, it may not be the “cutting edge” but I have found I seldom what to be the first person to use new gear. I want to see the stuff that as been proven time and again in the field and on the street.

Please keep in mind I also may not be “up” on every new piece of kit out there and some is just too damn expensive for what my “real world of work” is. For example, you will not see me mention Arcteryk as I see no need to spend $500 on a jacket when other brands work just fine for me. With that in mind, here is some of my choices after many years of use…

Glock Pistols. I resisted the plastic gun for many years…after all, guns are made from steel and have a hammer.  I’m glad I finally realized my error.  They are tough, simple and work in all weather conditions. I have to modify the grip, but I will admit the 4th Generation is a step in the right direction.  Now that S&W has shot themselves in the foot with their letter to custom gunsmiths, I’m sure the demand for Glock will just grow.  Custom modification to a carry gun is as American as Apple Pie, but S&W does not seem to get this.  Remember S&W was the company that signed the agreement letter with the Clinton Administration…

Ruger Revolvers. While Smith & Wesson was once THE revolver of American Law Enforcement, I found Ruger to be more robust with better trigger actions. Customer service was superior, too! The Speed, Service and Security Six revolvers were similar in size to the Model 19 while the GP-100 was their answer to the L Frame. Currently, the LCR snubby is the class of the field with a smooth trigger, useable sights and a grip that is not too big or too small and comes in multiple calibers.  Ruger will also NOT go after custom gunsmiths…

Remington rifles and shotguns. A caveat here…this was the long guns of the past. At one time the Remington 870 and 700 were the class of the field, but current generation guns are not what they once were. Too bad…if you can find an older 870 in a pawn shop or traded in to a law enforcement dealer, check to see if it is in good shape and buy it. Many police trade in’s are rough on the outside, but great on the inside as they are carried and abused, but shot little.  I had an early 1187 in the 1990’s that I wish I would have kept…it was smooth shooting and as reliable as a manual typewriter.

Milt Sparks holsters. The original Summer Special, as designed by Bruce Nelson, is still the IWB rig that all others are measured by.  The quality of Spark leather (under the watchful eye of Tony Kanaly) remains high and in demand…just try and order one!

Alessi Leather.  Lou Alessi was a friend and his concealment rigs were second to none! At the risk of sounding arrogant, his popular CQC and CQC-S rigs were my idea, a claim that can be verified by Mike Boyle and Rich Grassi who were there when the holsters were “born”.  We were in his shop during the 1997 ASLET Training Conference in Buffalo as I started telling Lou what I felt was wrong with his belt rig. Lou looks at me and says, “OK asshole, (this was in fun BTW) what do you feel would be the perfect holster?!”  I commenced to tell him. As I talked, he began to ask questions and saw the potential in what I was saying. Make no mistake, these were Lou’s designs, I just helped him in the right direction!  Alessi Leather still exists, but I feel his former partner Skip Ritchie (Ritchie Leather) is where you will get Lou’s original designs. Skip operates out of the original Alessi shop using Lou’s actual dies.  Skip is continuing the legend.

Under Armour.  While there is certainly more expensive and more “tactical” oriented clothing, Under Amour works! Worn by scholastic, collegiate and professional athletes, sportsmen, military units and just everyday Joes, Under Armour has gown from layering garments to a clothing line. I got my fist UA shirt while a member of the now gone Heckler and Koch International Training Division and was instantly taken by the garment. I still have it as a matter of fact! Since that time, I have purchased Cold Gear, Hot Gear, shirts, pants, shorts, fleece, jackets…you name it and it has always worked as advertised.  No, its not the current “in, cool guy, Ninja” tactical gear but I don’t care. Never give up a known for an unknown, especially when spending your own money.

Spyderco and Kershaw Knives. Both companies make well designed and built blades at a reasonable price. They have both high and low end knives in folding and fixed configurations. If you leave one of these knives behind (or in!) you don’t feel like you left your wallet as well.  I have carried both brands over the years and have never been disappointed in the quality for the money.

Surefire. Nope, not the least expensive gear on the planet, but it is well designed and manufactured and they stand behind everything they make.  If you ever get the chance to tour their facility you will get an idea of how meticulous they are in designing, building and assembling their products.  I have used their stuff for years in a variety of assignments and weather conditions. This gear is really tough…

Maxpedition. I have used A LOT of nylon gear, especially bags and such. Everything from nylon sacks to well partitioned specialty function carriers. Maxpedition just seems “to get” what folks need for a wide variety of functions. Their material is top of the line and their stitch lines are robust. I have yet to have a zipper fail, something that has happened to me with other brands. I stop by their booth at every SHOT Show and I have not found them to be the nicest people, but they make great gear.

Merrell Shoes.  I have used a wide variety of Merrells and they always seem to last. I am currently wearing the All Out Blaze Series in boots, hiking shoes and water sandals and all are exceptional. I really like Solomans, but they are too thin in the instep for me…

Aimpoint. The stuff is tough, well designed and works every time! Get one! Expensive but worth every penny…nothing more need be said…

Magpul. The same as Aimpoint…well designed, tough and sold at a reasonable price point.  While there is an endless supply of stuff to dress your “Guy Barbie”, Magpul is the fist place to look. You might not have to go any further.

Federal Ammo.  I remember when 9BP was the 9mm load to have. It was street proven in a number of shootings and is still a reasonable choice. Soon to follow was Hydra-Shok, EFMJ and HST, all of which have proven to work. Individual loads like the 147 grain Hydra-Shok 9mm, the 168 Grain Boat Tail HP .308 and the “132 Tactical” 00 Buck load were legendary in their time. HST is THE law enforcement load of choice, amassing an enviable street record in all calibers.

I could go on and on as I have seen a lot of gear. Hopefully this will help you narrow your search for those essential items of kit.  Keep in mid that advertising can be slick and lead you down the wrong path. Do your homework and choose wisely as few of us have an unlimited supply of cash…

Stay alert and Check 360 often! 

Monday, December 7, 2015

The New Handgun Combatives Target: Shot placement is paramount!

“Its not important you hit something, its important that you hit something important! “    Ed Sanow

“ What handgun stopping power comes down to is where you hit them and how many times you hit them” Dr. Vincent DiMaio

“ Shoot tem until THEY think they’re dead. Your viewpoint does not matter. Also keep in mind they may not have read the same wound ballistic studies you have so they do not know what they are supposed to do.”    Dave Spaulding

My training company focuses on the “combative application of the handgun” which means shot placement trumps all else. Yes, speed cannot be ignored as the “typical” domestic handgun fight lasts just a few seconds, but what ends the fight is well placed shots into vital areas of the body. PERIOD!

We all know there are three primary mechanisms to stop an attacker with a pistol. The first is psychological incapacitation. In a nutshell the person has been shot so their brain tells them to go down. While this does happen more often than many believe you certainly cannot count on it to save your life! It also seems to affect more good guys than bad guys…not good…

Second is the violation of vital organs such as the brain or heart. We all know that a shot to the Abdullah (aka The Almond) at the top of the spinal cord is instantly fatal, but it is small and very hard to hit. The brain is covered with a hard helmet called the skull meaning rounds will need to hit the eye sockets, nose cavity or ear canals to have a better chance of hitting brain matter.  That said have you ever seen a person shot in the head that did not penetrate? I’ve seen it several times and the person struck does the same thing someone does when hit with a baseball and not wearing a helmet…they fall down. No guarantees, but incapacitation is incapacitation regardless of whether death is involved.  If the person goes down for whatever reason, I am good with it.  Thus, face shots…especially at close range…can still be effective even if penetration is not achieved.

Shots to the heart and spinal column can also be quite effective, though there are a number of documented cases of people being shot in the heart and remaining mobile for 20, 30, 40 seconds before succumbing to their wound.  It is called “ambulation after death” and it is due to blood and oxygen already in the brain. A lot of damage can be done in this short time span. The spinal column is at the back of the body and is more accessible to a shot to the back, which can be justified in court due to how fast a body can turn, but a frontal or side shot is more likely. 

The final method is blood loss, which as we all known can take a few minutes, but if it eventually stops the fight and it is all we have, it will have to do.  The heart and major blood vessels will be the target of this wounding mechanism.

Regardless of what you believe about handgun stopping power theories, bullet caliber/size/weight, velocity or any of the other related topics, the one thing most everyone agrees on is that shots to vital body parts is the best way to stop and fight and the more rounds delivered, the more likely this is to occur. This is why I spent a sizeable amount of time in my classes on shot placement and recoil control before moving on to tactics and techniques like movement, one hand manipulation, cover, etc. Stopping the threat before it can do you harm might be the ultimate tactic!  It will require solid shot placement…

In order to accomplish this essential skill, I spend a great deal of time shooting 3 x 5 cards in my classes.  A 3 x 5 card is about the same size as the heart and aorta and is likely the best focus region for handgun incapacitation as it is centered in the high chest.  I like to use a series of paste overs in my courses that emphasize the vital parts of the body along with 3 x 5 cards to get my students to “zero in” on the vital zones.  I have been working with Law Enforcement Targets ( over the last few months to develop a new target that will help me continue this emphasis in my classes.  It will replace the older HC Target as the new one better emphasizes the goals I am trying to accomplish in my courses.

The primary strike zone is a 6 x 10 rectangle high in the chest that follows the heart, aorta, major blood vessels and the spinal column vertically up the chest cavity.  While some will argue this strike zone is too narrow for a frontal shot, it is wise to keep in mind this same strike zone will be narrower if a side shot is required thus the narrow 6 inch strike zone can be used to represent these less optimal shots.

The strike zone can also include the head, if the shooter so chooses, as a headshot can be quite effective as previously discussed.  I have opted to include the entire head for the same reasons as IDPA…I think a shot anywhere to the noggin can be a fight stopper, especially at close range.  The eyes and nose are supplied to give the shooter an idea of where shots are best placed.

At the bottom of the target is a series of 3 x 5 cards that I use for various drills in my classes.  You will note there is a dotted 3 x 5 card around the heart in the chest cavity portion of the target to help emphasize what these 3 x 5 cards represent.  These cards also allow for more practice before target replacement or taping is required.  I am a big proponent of what Todd Green calls “negative taping” in which only misses are taped. By doing so, less time is spent taping and more time is spent shooting.

The targets are cut to fit over any USPSA or IDPA target so used targets can easily be made into new targets by applying a bf ot 3M Spray Adhesive.  The head cut also allows for shirts to be placed over the target for even greater emphasis on shot placement or enhanced realism.

The HCT-1A is available from LE Targets right now, though it will not be up on their web site for a few days.  Give this new target a try…I think you will like it! Thanks for checking in!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Alien Gear IWB Rig

While on business in Miami recently, I met with my good friend Arthur Viani at Ghost for a fine cigar and Bourbon…its something we do as often as possible and while I am sure it is not good for me, it sure is good! While enjoying our unhealthy pastime, the conversation drifted to holsters and Arthur told me about an IWB rig he was quite fond of.  “This holster is comfortable to wear all day and has no “hot spots” that will annoy the shit out of you” he exclaimed.

His proclamation came after I admitted that I no longer wear IWB rigs. I was once a huge fan of the carry mode, having carried a variety of pistols and revolvers IWB for decades. Like many, my first IWB experience was with the suede clip-on gun sack offered by many manufacturers, mine just happened to be Bianchi. I wore this in varied locations with a J Frame snubby…groin line (aka appendix carry but a bit further to the side), behind the hip, cross draw…none with any success before I was given my first “real” IWB rig.

A friend of mine was an LAPD officer assigned to Metro and he showed me a Ted Blocker rig he was using with his Smith & Wesson 6906 and was quite happy with it. It had a metal belt clip, but unlike the one found on the gun bag, this one had a hook on the bottom of the clip that locked in on my belt. My buddy told me he would swing by the LAPD Academy and pick one up for me. He did and I was quite happy with the new rig until I moved on from my 6904.

As guns changed, so did the holster and I finally settled on the classic Milt Spark’s Summer Special, a design created by the late, great Bruce Nelson, California Narcotics Officer, firearms trainer and holster manufacturer. His wife/widow Sandy was recently appointed to the Board of Directors at Ruger...a well deserved appointment!   I met Bruce on several occasions and found him to be a true gentleman who died way too soon.  As the years and decades rolled by, I noticed my Summer Special became less and less comfortable. A “dead spot” for lack of a better term had developed on my hip that made wearing an IWB rig almost intolerable! I moved away from that mode of carry thinking I would never return.  It was at this point that Arthur gave me an Alien Gear rig and told me to try it.

A check of their web site revealed the holster is called a “Cloak Tuck” and is a hybrid Kydex/leather holster with a fore and aft belt attachment(s), either a clip or J Hook depending on what the end user wants.  My rig came with two plastic clips that can be adjusted up and down along three holes that allow for the cant to be adapted to the wearer’s requirements. The tightness of the Kydex to gun fit can also be adjusted via the spacers that attach the Kydex body to the leather hip plate. 

The leather plate is long and fairly wide, designed to spread out the pressure of the gun inside the trouser band, something older rigs like the Summer Special do not supply. This is not an indictment; it just “is what it is” nothing more or less. The back of the leather plate is covered with some type of rubber material which…if I understand the web site video correctly…is to keep moisture from making it’s way to your holstered handgun. It also, however, supplies a certain amount of padding that makes the holster more comfortable and keeps it from “traveling” around once inside the waistband.

I put the rig on in Arthur’s shop and wore it around, finding the draw is clean and crisp from the Kydex body while the rig did not irritate my “dead spot”. Hmmm, things were looking up! The only way I would know if the rig was for me was to wear it around…a lot! So I opted to do so. I started wearing the rig that day under a T-Shirt while in Florida and then under a jacket and coat once I returned to November in Ohio.

The holster continued to be comfortable and I quickly became a fan. I talked about the holster on my business Facebook page and was contacted by a reader who stated "other instructors" did not like the Alien Gear holster as it was not secure. He was interested in what I thought. Admittedly, I was not sure what he/they were referring to, but figured if there was a problem I would encounter it soon enough.

As I wore the rig I did not encounter any problems with the gun staying in place, either in the holster pouch or in the belt, so I figured that as not it. Truth be told, the only real "problem" I have with the rig is getting it in place! Its not like tucking a Summer Special into the requires some finagling. It does not surprise me that once in place the rig does not move. The only other thing I could think of was the belt clips themselves.  Admittedly, I first thought the tension of these clips was a bit weak, but as I wore it I did not encounter any problems with them unlocking on to the belt.

The only other "problem" I had with the holster was the high sweat shield on the back behind the gun. This shield gets in the way of my shooting hand thumb as I wrap around the pistol to get a secure firing grip. I am a FIRM believer in the gun is not lifted until the shooting grip is established! I see many students trying to adjust their grip once the gun is clear of a high sweat shield rig only to drop it at some point. When I do fouled hands drills in my Combative Pistol course, this is quite common. Get a solid grip before drawing! The high sweat shield concern is not a new phenomenon for me, so I just decided to cut it off. It was at this point I discovered the Alien Gear rig has a thin piece of flexible metal between the leather and rubber lining.  Normally I would just cut and forget, but the metal required additional attention as I did not want to get cut or snagged. In the end, I fixed the problem with a bead of Shoe Goo along the cut. 

I like the Alien Gear holster and plan on using it for years to come.  It is comfortable, made in America and well thought out and is reasonably priced. If Arthur wanted it back…oh well…

Monday, November 9, 2015

HOLD ON A MINUTE!!  That’s just wrong…

Definitive [dih-fin-i-tiv] 

1.most reliable or complete, as of a text, author, criticism, study, or the like: the definitive biography of Andrew Jackson.
2.serving to define, fix, or specify definitely: to clarify with a definitive statement.
 3.having its fixed and final form; providing a solution or final answer, satisfying all criteria

I have spoken out before on what I have seen/read on the Internet and I know it might be becoming tedious. All to often, the person or group who posts on line is not trying to offer solutions to real world problems, but to raise their profile in an ever -growing world of personal security subject matter particularly training.  For example, I do not read the comments that accompany my You Tube videos for this vary reason… some are just mean and spiteful so why do that? Recently, however, I stumbled across one that criticized an ammo I review I did. I stated clearly that I could not get ammo from a rival company because they refused to supply it, thus, I could not supply any information regarding its viability.  What was the criticism? Maybe I should wait to get information from this rival company before I post my review! What did this fucktard not understand about they would not supply it?!  Why did he post such a stupid statement? He wanted to be heard, even if it did make him look like an idiot.

The desire to be the ultimate “expert”  (ex-spurt= ex is a has been and a spurt is something you do in your undershorts) can be intoxicating just like gaining political power, with individuals shouting others down, calling each other names or becoming more outrageous than the next for no other reason than to garner attention. Lets be quite frank ere, there is little truly ORIGINAL (new is when you first see or hear something…its new to you) in the combative arts and skills. There are only so many ways to shoot a gun, throw a punch, use a knife or swing a club and they have all been invented. Even in the field of human movement there is little to make human motion efficient has been known for a long, long time, as has how to develop such efficiency. If someone tells you they have invented the “latest, greatest technique/tactic” it is wise to be very, very wary…but it is being done all the time and people are buying into it!!

It’s hard to believe, but there are folks out there who will lie to you to get your hard earned money.  I know of one very well known instructor who when confronted with the shortcomings in his system responded with “Look, I don’t know if ----- works or not…I’m in this to make money!” Great guy, eh?!  Your name on a head stone could put money in his pocket…nice. Does anyone else see something terribly wrong with this trend?

Because I am old I have a database of knowledge that younger folks do not. It is the natural order of things and will always be. It will happen to you, too. Sure, you can gain a great deal of knowledge in your youth, but you will continue to gain more as you age…as time goes by…unless you choose to stop doing so. THAT choice is up to you. In my case, I continue to seek out that which is note worthy, things useful when trying to fight for my life or to pass on to my students. When I was first exposed to the Internet I thought I had been brought to “The Well of Knowledge” and it truly was… at first. Then the tactical knuckleheads discovered it was their way to gain notoriety without having to spend time in the military, law enforcement or face any greater threat than a sore finger. They didn’t have to prove themselves or even spend their own money going to training! They could just pretend and pontificate, they could post their stupidity via a blog or video and because it had big, tactical–sounding words full of catch phrases or flashy content they could become a celebrity. Is this where you want to gain the knowledge you need to protect yourself?  It’s a question worth asking…

The concept of people wanting to gain their personal security knowledge from the Internet is certainly perplexing, if not just lazy, but they apparently want to do it quickly as well. My son-in-law recently informed me we need to keep our free You Tube training tips videos to four minutes or less as those that go over are not watched.  Interesting…so not only are people wanting to get their “karate in a can” on line versus hard earned, hands on training, they want it to be in short doses as well. In truth, many are not really interested in learning the art of personal security as long as they sound like they are “knowledgeable” when they log in to their favorite forum.  Once again, it’s about raising ones profile, as the desire to be a celebrity in the age of social media is the ultimate goal of many.  Maybe it hasn’t happened yet…I do not know…but people will die due to this trend and it gives me pause.

Over the last few months, I have read a number of blogs that talk about what criminals will do or dispel the “myths” of what really happens during armed conflict or criminal attack.  These are widely read articles as people want “The Answer” to short cut their alleged “preparation” and further their journey to be all knowing in four minutes.  The problem with such blogs is they are not definitive, but antidotal at best. To say something like “a criminal will always display (or not!) his/her knife in this way” is absolute bullshit! Having spent much of my adult life dealing with Violent Criminal Offenders (VCO), there are several things I can definitively tell you is:

1.    They don’t think like you do
2.    How they behave is never consistent but based on the moment
3.    They will hurt/kill you without remorse

Those who state a VCO will act in a certain way has probably gotten most…if not all…of their information by reading a book.  I spent time working with them in jail environments, transporting them to and from penal institutions, arresting them on the street, investigating their actions and interviewing them in depth so I have a little “hands on” knowledge and to try and place what they will or will not do into definitive, specific actions is wrought with peril.  READ SUCH ARTICLES WITH A DEGREE OF SKEPCICISM AND DO NOT PLAN YOUR ACTIONS BASED ON WHAT YOU HAVE READ! Sure, trends do emerge over time, but little is definitive. While it would be safe to say “the majority of police shooting occur inside ten feet” not all do, some are at long distances so you cant count on closer quarters and you would be mistaken to only practice close up.

Those who have studied the combative arts for more than a few days know it is not the person who can stab the hardest, swing the quickest, draw the fastest, or shoot the tightest group that will win the fight.  While such skills are worth having, it is the person who can keep their head, read the situation for what it is and ADAPT correctly to a rapidly unfolding situation that will prevail. What are they adapting?  Their foundational combative skills to meet the task at hand, something you cannot learn, master and anchor by reading a blog or watching a video! Talking or typing a “good game” on line may make you sound knowledgeable, but you will be far from skilled and situationally adaptive. Being situationally adaptive starts with being situationally aware as the person who sees the fight coming at a distance has more time to prepare. In a nutshell, the Internet ex-spurt might be dangerous but not in a useful way as stupidity does not win fights.

Those who try to tell you your opponent will act in a definitive manner are doing nothing more than setting you up for failure and slowing your ability to adapt and respond quickly and appropriately. Why? Because you were told the bad guy would do “this” and they did “that” and now you are trying to figure out what to do next while being punched, stabbed or shot.  Oops…

I still “surf” around the Internet looking for nuggets of wisdom because they ARE out there. But I also have the knowledge base to know when someone is posting stuff that could get me killed. For those that don’t, they could be setting themselves up for serious injury or death if the Grim Reaper ever visits their home, work place or parking lot. What should you expect from a violent attacker? For them to attack you! How that unfolds will always vary to a certain degree. Rest assured, they won’t feel bad for you, cut you a break or view the event with your morals as THEY DON’T THINK LIKE YOU DO!

Train hard and train real! Get off the Web as a primary information source and get hands on training from an instructor who knows what they are teaching and can tell you WHY it is important to you. I know, its expensive but what it your life worth? Be wary of instructors who refuse to tell you why what they are teaching is worth your time, money and energy to learn, master and anchor.  “Because I said so” or “because this is how I teach this” is not enough.  As I was told many years ago by a former member of the 22nd SAS …Right now someone is training so when they meet you, they beat you. Train hard and stay on guard!