Publisher’s Note: Like John, I too have evolved beyond the Threeper parchment worship and infighting that pits various factions within in eternal handbag fights. Even the late Mel Tappan would be embarrassed by the equipage and carriage of the incipient insurgents. I would like to add that when it comes to pistol carriage, carry it everywhere including your home. Two reasons for this: it generates unconscious competence and you never know when you will need it. You don’t head to work in the morning and inform your wife you’ll be having a head-on collision on the way to work and will be late for dinner.
Dry fire is the king of practical training in these difficult times of ammo scarcity and price spikes.
And I want to assure my friend, Max V, that the reference to TFBC has nothing to do with him. -BB
I’ll admit it. I have a soft spot for the Three Percent (III) movement even though I have ideologically evolved past it. Nonetheless if you want to pluck my heart strings just mention Samuel Whittemore or the British defeat at the Battle of Kings Mountain. I’m guaranteed to succumb to the romantic notion that there still is a Remnant in these united States that retains that fighting spirit of the Revolutionary generation or perhaps the tactical prowess of guerrilla tacticians like Francis Marion or Daniel Morgan.
Having a naturally conservative disposition with affection for history and certain traditions, I generally don’t see too much of the fighting spirit of the original III being translated into modern weapons handling, tactics and procedures. Much of what is still being pedaled in the Threeper world is based on Mark Koernke YouTube clip’s of pudgy militia men patrolling in M81, ancient ALICE gear and whatever assortment of “North Idaho Sniper Rifles,” (Scoped SKS as John Mosby tells us) Kalash’s or M1 Garand’s they can push into service. Hello, the 80’s called and they want their tactics back.
There are several people out there that I consider separate from the mainstream firearms training industry and more aligned with the preparedness or III world, including John Mosby from the Mountain Guerrilla Blog and Max Velocity, (and some others who probably don’t want to be named publicly) that are doing a fine job of mitigating a lot of these unfortunate Tactics, Techniques and Procedures (TTP) that are rampant in that community.
Lets cut to the chase. The Derp can be deafening at times. In an effort to help combat some of this and save a lot of folks a lot of heartache, I am tossing out a few tactical tidbits for those interested. (All while staying in my lane of course)
“It costs to much to train.”
Recently an article I penned generated several comments about how certain shooting drills are not really things Threepers should be practicing. Things like Non-Standard Rounds (NSR), FAST drills, VTAC 1-5 drills, 2-2-2, High Smith Rifle Drill, 2-2-4-2-2, Bill drills, Mozambique, cadence drills, etc. The argument was that you can’t do a drill that uses 15 rounds (although it works skills that may save your life) because it requires a little bit of expense on ammo and such drills can only really be done effectively by .mil or cops because they have free ammo to shoot as much as they want. Mundanes such as us do not have an ammo sponsor. And furthermore, when SHTF (that’s as subjective as what the term “constitutional” means) ammo will be limited, so shooting a lethal threat till they stop doing what they are doing is a no-no.
Yes, ammo costs can be a concern and I hardly have the ammo budget that some instructors or competitive shooters have of 1000 or more rounds per week. But you CAN get money to buy training ammo if you put your mind to it. What is your life worth? One of my ideological mentors is Boston T Party. He famously said that he would rather have 100 rounds and 900 rounds worth of quality training, than 900 rounds and only 100 rounds in quality training.
I wrote previously about the dangers of an apocalypse (#Barrackalypse) only focus in your preparedness or self defense training, while ignoring the much more likely every day scenarios that are all the more likely to occur. The corollary unmentioned previously to this is that you have to balance the likelihood of X event with the cost of not being prepared for it. Stated differently, most of us will go our entire lives without having to resort to lethal self-defense, but the cost of not being prepared to employ your gun or pull a blade while in the clinch is so great, you can’t afford to be unprepared. Founding member of Magpul Dynamic’s years back and current shooting ninja CEO of Haley Strategic, Travis Haley, describes those events as the “less than 1%” that you have to be prepared for even though statistically it may not be that great of a chance you’ll ever find yourself in those situations”.
Bringing this all together, if you cannot find the money in order to train, it’s really a matter of evaluating your priorities. Not to turn this into a Dave Ramsey lecture, but if you find yourself complaining about not having ammo money, yet you have cable or satellite TV subscriptions, Netflix, car loans, designer clothes with the holes already torn in them, Blue Apron meal programs, a tanning membership, eat out more than 1 time per month (yes including the drive thru) or you smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, eat pizza’s and wings on Sunday afternoons at your football parties, drink four Monster energy drinks per day or get a Starbucks Venti Grande Mocha Latte Cup of Asshole two times per day, I simply don’t want to hear it. Your conviction to defending life, liberty and property is a lie.
People often lament, “A class costs to much!” Meanwhile they have 3 1911’s that cost 1000$ each that don’t even run in a training environment, 11 Budget build AR’s (run em through a class to see how many different ways they’ll all break) and milsurp Night Vision Devices (NVG) sitting in the safe. In the grand scheme, taking classes early on actually saves you money in the long run. You’ll expend much less ammo on net, because you were taught to do things right the first time instead of just making noise for years and not really getting anywhere. Sell a couple of your Wackmaster 6000’s, and get a good top shelf AR rifle (back-ups are always good) and use the rest of the money to take a class and buy ammo.
Classes show you the whys of the employment of certain techniques or tactics, what and how to practice on your own time, as well as the art of self-diagnosis. For instance, it sounds great that X school you saw on YouTube teaches you to constantly move while doing your reload or clearing a malfunction, (to simulate real world movement to cover) till you are being taught to use cover at Instructor Y’s Force on Force shoot house class and you end up shimmying your jolly old self out from behind cover to perform the reload, when you should of just stayed in place, and you get smoke checked. These courses help break bad habits.
On a final note, we hear “we train all the time!” And this notion often gets associated with the airsoft and paintball crowd. Yes, these guys play quite often. Many take it really serious. But lets not confuse games with legitimate real world practice or training. Yes, there are some serious Mil-Sim guys out there. But lets remember its still a game.
A training mentor of mine was relaying a story recently about how he participated in a Force on Force event with some air-softers. One of the airsoft guys ran out of ammo and called for a magazine from his friend. The friend just ran out in the open and gave the guy a mag. During this time, the OPFOR who was trained in legitimate SUT popped the guy in the gourd and rolled up the entire team and the game was over. They can train the wrong thing 10,000 times, and we’ll still win.
“.308 Uber Alles.”
The older generation of survivalists who grew up in an era when the AR15 was less reliable tend to be very fond of full size .308 battle rifles for all situations. A myriad of multi volume prepper novels will be sure to point out the superiority of the HK91 over the poodle shooter 5.56 rifles or how great God’s Gun in .45 ACP will hit someone in the arm and go back in time and kill their grandparents.
I don’t intend to have a caliber debate. But I do intend to make you think. For the .308 M1A/FAL/HK91 only crew, have you ever tried to work that platform in tight or confined areas? Have you tried searching your house or slicing corners in confined spaces? Close quarters work with a cumbersome platform often will turn out like a monkey screwing a football bat. If you want to see a soup salad, try to deploy and run an your m1a national match while seated in a vehicle. Why a soup salad? Because soup sandwiches are an easy day. Have you tried placing multiple strings of fire at a fast cadence into combat effective zones in typical NSR or failure to stop drills? Have you considered how much those 17 magazines of 7.62×51 weigh? If you cant walk up a flight of stairs without passing out, but think you are going to carry a 120lb ruck and 500 rounds of loaded 308 mags on your chest, you may not have thought all this through.
There is an informative ballistics study involving an off-duty cop named Jared Reston. He pursued a shoplifter, which turned into a gunfight. He was shot 6 times with a .45 including in the face at a very close range. He described it as similar to being punched in the jaw. He wasn’t incapacitated and was able to take out the shooter. The .45 didn’t make his body explode and fragment into 8000 pieces.
Don’t rely on caliber. Rely on mindset, accuracy and training. At this stage of the game, arguing about calibers is the arena of amateurs. Modern JHP pistol ammunition in the 9mm-45 calibers are relatively the same as far as ballistics go. Pick one and go with the gods.
“Preppers have to retain all their magazines in SHTF”
There is a meme that gets trotted out quite frequently about how you have to always train a reload with retention because during SHTF, we won’t have a resupply chain. This sounds great doesn’t it?
Until you get killed during TEOTWAWKI because you fell out from behind cover while in Broke Back Prone trying to stuff your empty $9 PMAG into your pants pocket for 1 min and 45 seconds. Or instead of just dumping that mag on your emergency reload when you found yourself at slide lock in a barren, cover deprived parking lot, you fiddled around adding valuable seconds to your reload by trying to stuff your empty G19 mag into your under-roo’s.
If you are behind cover or otherwise safe and you have to perform a reload, and you have the time to retain the mag, sure, why not? But if you are in a “time is life” situation, quit worrying about your magazine and make it home alive to see your family again.
CCW for Dummies
As of late there has been a lot of interest in defense plans against active shooters. The Derp tends to get really thick in these types of conversations. Suggestions abound of how or what to carry. And the loudest opinions often come from the least experienced or trained. Some people complain that Inside Waist Band (IWB) carry isn’t comfortable for them. Someone better call the WHAAAM-bulance. Clint Smith famously said carrying a gun isn’t supposed to be comfortable, it’s supposed to be comforting.
The Tactical Fantasy Band Camp (TFBC) Choir Section suggestions to combat active shooters have been down right laughable to include home made pistol holsters to the notion that people are going to really carry their NPAP or SBR with them in a bag 24/7 and have it with them at exactly the right time, skin it out, and smoke check the guy with 2 well placed shots to the brain box. Or my personal favorite, Hondo Rolling into the nearest riot with a bayonet mounted Pump gun for anti-BLM Protest Ops.
Let’s just be realistic for one freaking second. Its great to armchair commando every shooting you see on the news, but the odds of having a long gun on you day to day and stopping an active shooter event is slim to none. I’d submit most of the people offering these suggestions, probably don’t even have the consistency to #carryeverywhere as it is.
The most relevant thing in the tactical arena to most people’s daily life is a discreetly carried pistol along with the mindset and situational awareness to employ it. The FAL locked in your safe will not help you at the stick up at the local Stop ‘N Rob in the bad neighborhood you found yourself in to ask for directions. We can point to cases across the country every single day of interpersonal violence. But I’m drawing a blank on examples of Red Dawn in CONUS.
Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel and create incognito off body carry methods that will simply be too slow and easy to leave behind or silly home made contraptions to mount to your belt, look at what people who take this stuff seriously are doing right now. You’ll find out quickly that probably one of the most common set ups is a Glock 19/23 sized gun. The go-to gun for the SOCOM boys. These guns are generally small enough to conceal yet big enough to fight with. Inside the waistband will generally be the most concealable. Anywhere from Appendix/1-2 o’ clock to 4 o’ clock is popular. Put some metal sights on it. If you have the cash send it out to ATEI to have it “Dougified.” Carry a reload. Statistics show that civilian gunfights generally do not have a reload during the fight, but it would be wise to have another mag to fix a malfunction if one did happen. To hearken back and riff on Brannon LeBeouf’s comment; you may not need that extra mag, but what if you did?
Something to consider is appendix carry offers several advantages over other positions. You can deploy your handgun very easily while in a vehicle. (Or seated in general for the cubicle dweller) Who doesn’t drive every day? That’s what I thought. It is one of the easiest positions to deploy a pistol in while in a close entangled struggle, and offers the best position to protect and retain your weapon, not to mention, for many body types, it is the most concealable position. Uncomfortable? There are guys who carry full size Glock 34’s and 1911’s with RMR’s and Surefire U-boats appendix style. I don’t want to hear it. Toughen up buttercup.
Get a quality Kydex holster. If you are not comfortable, you haven’t tried the right holster or you are a pansy. You decide which. I like various models from Raven Concealment and G-Code. Don’t forget to carry a hand held light. A weapons mounted light (WML) is even better.
“I don’t need a light: Muh night sights!”
Over the years I’ve been to a lot of preparedness and gun related events, shows, conferences, and the like. You’ll generally hear at least someone at every event put forth the notion that one doesn’t need a weapon-mounted light, because they have tritium night sights. Cool story bro, how do the tritium sights illuminate your target to positively identify (PID) it at O’ Dark Thirty? You can’t hit what you can’t see. And you are liable for those rounds if you kill an innocent because you couldn’t PID. You are liable for every round that comes out of your gun. How will you feel if you shoot your neighbors 14 year old son at night in the back yard after the balloon goes up because all you saw was a shadowy figure and you just lined up your Trijicon 3 dots and blasted away? 3 Dot sights also have a disadvantage, that you can line the dot of the front sight on the left side or right side of the rear dots and it will still look in line to your eye in the dark, but your point of impact will be drastically different.
Here is the down low that about 5 minutes of low light practice will show you. “Night Sights” don’t really do anything for you at night. They work really good for that dusk/dawn time where you are able to see your target in natural light but it’s hard to pick up your sights. This is about 30-40 minutes per day if you’re lucky. Any other time, you can see your sights because its daylight, or when you light up the target with white light you can also see your sights. So why is everyone all wound up about night sights? Beats me.
Be sure a hand held white light is included in your everyday carry (EDC). Even if you run a WML, if you drop your keys while walking through the Piggly Wiggly parking lot, pulling out your 19 with a 600 lumen Surefire U-boat isn’t optimal when a soccer mom comes strolling by. The Surefire Fury line of lights for hand held lights are great. I dig the Raven Concealment clips. They just came back on the market. Or try the Thyrm or the original Graham Combat Rings. These all allow you to have an affirmative index point when deploying your handheld light with the various techniques, and also allow you to retain your light when manipulating your handgun during low light without having to first stow your light away. With your finger through the ring on either style clip, you can simply swing it out of the way and get the handgun back in the game.
Ready Positions: “You can’t point your gun there!”
There are certain factions in the gun world that will throw a complete tantrum if you employ a different ready or transition movement position than they do. Commonly this has been framed as a debate between SEALS and Army guys. SEALS run a default gun up, as they are often amphibiously deployed. Don’t shoot the boat. Army guys are in helicopters so they keep their guns down so a negligent discharge wouldn’t hit the blades. Some SEALS claim a low ready position only came about in their community because of catwalks on shoot houses during training, so to keep from muzzling the instructors or onlookers, they had to go low.
The arguments are as bad as the caliber debates.
Here is the deal. Don’t let your muzzle cover anything you don’t want to kill, destroy or buy. Don’t laser anyone. You are responsible for what comes out of your muzzle, not the person who happened to walk in front of you. Instructors and trainers who teach a high ready for certain circumstances are often told by certain units they are training to “just save it, we aren’t doing high ready.” Then the instructor walks them into a shoot house and they clear stairways moving up, at high ready. He taps the guy on the shoulder he talked to earlier and says: “Hey man, you know you are at high ready, right?” Doh! This just shows that there is a time and a place for something you may of thought didn’t serve a role. If you are always absolute on these sorts of things, you may be wrong.
I may be able to run faster at high port allowing me to pump my free arm to get to cover faster than running at low ready with 2 hands on the gun or with a mag well grip, one handed, muzzle down, off to my side. Other guys may be the exact opposite. Some instructors will completely ban a gun up position, yet they will want all the reloads performed in ones work space, with the muzzle up.
If you only know a low ready or muzzle down position, but you find yourself around three year-olds, your muzzle is now covering their heads. Where do kids have a tendency to go when things to bad? They tend to cling to your legs. If you only know a muzzle down position but have to exit a vehicle you probably have successfully flagged several major arteries in your legs and arms that you don’t want to blow apart and you’ll bleed out in a minute or two. If you only know a gun down movement technique, but you find yourself in a team environment running through your buddies while they are in prone, you are wrong.
If you only know a gun up position, and you are in your house trying to figure out who just crashed in your door, and your kid’s room is above your head, you are wrong. If you only know a high port aversion technique but you find yourself low on the ground and your buddy has to come in above you to help you out, you are wrong.
There is nothing wrong with a guy who drives a lot and has 3 kids, generally defaulting to a high port, high ready or temple index-type transition or ready position during training or practice for post engagement processes or movement, because its most likely what he’ll use in the real world. But those same high muzzle positions may not be optimal if you find yourself in a crowd of hysterical people at the local mall, because the sight of your gun may make them go even more crazy. Context. Understand it.
As you can see we can go on forever. The point is that high, low, up, down, it doesn’t matter. Just don’t laser anyone or thing you don’t want to destroy. What matters is that when you have to put the muzzle somewhere, because its covering something you don’t want to destroy, kill or buy, that it is in the safest position available. Ready positions are fluid. They constantly change because situations constantly change. Dave Spaulding calls it his “arc of ready.” A handgun ready or movement position may flow from compressed low ready to temple index to high ready to compressed ready in a matter of a seconds. The situation dictates.
The issues presented above are simply a sampler of silliness floating around the Threeper community. It would do a lot of people a whole lot of good to lay down the novels about the roving motorcycle heathern’s (That’s Appalachian for heathen) and hone their weapons prowess. Maybe some of this will break the Internet enough to generate enough comments for round 2.
Head up, Gun up.
About the author: John Meyers traces his Appalachian ancestry back nine generations to the 1750’s. He lives with his family on the high ridges of the Smoky Mountains.