Defeating Doomsday Derp: Tactical Tidbits for Threepers by John Meyers

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.

48 thoughts on “Defeating Doomsday Derp: Tactical Tidbits for Threepers by John Meyers”

  1. Pingback: Defeating Doomsday Derp | Western Rifle Shooters Association

  2. Bravo!

    Will repost on MVT.

    Wish i could have said this, but then people would say ‘Max is mean.’ 😉

    One thing, I have done gun up/gun down in my time. We insist on muzzle down in a standard tactical training environment because 1) it is real ground, and often people will stumble and fall, and the muzzle mostly just goes into the dirt and 2) it works best for standard ready-up patrol engagements. But we don’t do dogma, and we can accept and have taught muzzle up, for example for CQB scenarios. I think flexibility and being open minded is the key.

    Great article, you may have broken the tactical interent.

    And it wasn’t all about me? That makes me a sad panda….

  3. If your trying to reach an audience of newcomers, it would be a good idea to assume that they don’t know all of the abbreviations. Spell it out for them so they can learn and not be scratching their head wondering what they mean. Aside from that, I enjoyed the article.

    1. For all the newcomers that may not be familiar with military abbreviations (e.g. OPFOR,) let me tell you about this thing called “google”. It’s a search engine that allows one to look up…pretty much anything, and find answers to, for example, military abbreviations.

      Even better is the ‘Let me google that for you’ website, which points out the above with even more sarcasm:

  4. So many shooters talk about the shooting.

    Many talk about which holster is best.

    Those are the glamorous parts of the practice.

    I would wager that most reading this do not carry their weapon most of the time.
    Me included.
    It is a pain to carry 3 or 4 pounds of extra stuff on your belt.

    It is now too expensive to buy the new lighter offerings when you have already invested in the full sized versions years ago when you were younger and had money.

    I am not sure if shaving a few ounces makes much of a difference.

    I still hold to the idea of a solid work horse is better than the show pony’s when the work needs to be done.

    Just the carrying takes 99.99% of the time.

    What I am getting to, is that to me, carrying a weapon is the hardest part.

    It is easy to take it off and set it down when you need to do chores.

    Sometimes one forgets where it is left sitting.

    I am trying to become accustomed to doing chores and working in the woods with the added inconvenience. In the home it is just as much in the way.

    If it is out of reach by inches when needed, it is out of reach by a mile.
    I prefer shoulder harnesses for my carry.

    1. “What I am getting to, is that to me, carrying a weapon is the hardest part.”

      To riff on GI Joe…carrying the gun is half the battle. Indeed.

    2. I’m an old guy (mid-sixties) with a back held together with ten screws and two rods. Wearing anything around or off my waist these days is painful (think “sciatica”). Yet I carry all of the time, even in my house when there are handguns available in almost every room (yes, including within reach of the toilet). As I’m sure a number of good trainers have said, “You may not have time to move to the closest gun.”

      I also live where cougar, bear, coyote, and rattlesnakes abound. To protect my wife, myself, my dog, and my chickens (don’t laugh – lost three of them to the three skunks I had to kill to keep from losing any more),

      I carry even around our 22 acres where we can see in all directions for a minimum of a thousand yards out to several miles., _but_ I’ve flown rotorcraft, so I know a helicopter can fly in, quick stop and drop aggressors before I can run from the barn to the house, even hearing it before I can see it. So, my handgun gives me a chance to get to a long gun at either structure.

      Yes, a shoulder rig is less painful than carrying even a fraction of what I carried on a belt as a cop on the street. But I’ll take a little pain over being unarmed when I need to protect those I love – including me.

  5. The only thing that I would take issue with in this excellent article, is the section about needing a light. If you are going to make decisions based on data, reality etc….then you need to look at Tom Givens data. Tom runs Rangemaster, a training company that focuses on realistic training for civilian defenders. You won’t find “Ninja Tactics” taught by Tom, he teaches reality-based self defense for civilians and has for over two decades, he is a well known and vetted instructor.

    Tom has had 66 of his students engaged in gunfights over the years. Sixty three of them prevailed, the other three…forfeited, they were not carrying their guns…I would venture to say this is more than any civilian oriented instructor……Whatever he is teaching, seems to work in the real world. Tom has carefully tracked the circumstances of his student’s shootings- time of day, location, number of rounds fired, distances etc…..His findings merit study by any serious student of the gun.

    To date, he has not documented a SINGLE INSTANCE where a civilian defender used a light. Not one, even though many of the encounters occurred in low or no light. When I discussed this with Tom recently as to why he felt that was the case his answer was interesting–“If someone is going to rob or rape you etc….That’s a close range deal. Nobody yells across a dark parking lot “GIVE ME YOUR WALLET OR I’LL SHOOT YOU”…..If they are close enough to get your wallet-which is the entire point of the encounter from their perspective, you don’t NEED A LIGHT. 1. You KNOW what they are up to and “who” they are and 2. They’re close enough usually that you don’t need much of a sight picture. 3. There are very, very few encounters that occur in a total blackout. In most urban areas, there is plenty of ambient light to shoot by

    There may be other data out there but I’m not aware of any as comprehensive nor as applicable as his, cop shootout data etc… isn’t on point-their job and situation is MUCH DIFFERENT than that of a civilian defender. Now, there may be other reasons to carry a light, but the need to shoot folks with your CHL blaster…..isn’t high among them.

    1. Will,

      I take issue with Given’s data. He is a fine trainer. He is right in that most civilian confrontations occur in “low light” not “no Light.” Meaning parking lots, ATM, etc where there is some ambient lighting. I do not carry my pistol routinely with a WML.

      However, at night in my house I have a WML on all defensive weapons. Pistol, Rifle and Shotgun. Why? Because I “may” need to fully identify the target or the nature of the noise….there is no data on these type of incidents b/c no one tracks them. Lights are an option to prevent a shooter from making a horrible mistake.

      If you have teenagers coming and going, you need a WML!

      1. I can agree with that. If you have “static defense” weapons, then a light isn’t an issue- the extra weight or bulk doesn’t matter as they aren’t being carried around etc….It’s just one of those things that is taken as “gospel” among gun carriers and it may not be as necessary as we have been led to believe. I’ve been called out about it by people….I carry so much crap day to day-knife, two guns, reloads, cell phone, huge key ring, Tourniquet, wallet, watch…. that I have simply “drawn the line” at a light and don’t carry one though I have them in my desk at work, in all my vehicles etc……

        I will say this though- if you are defending your home, a place where YOU CAN ABSOLUTELY CONTROL the contours of the “battlefield”…you should make sure that they are favorable. There really is no excuse not to. Meaning- your house should NEVER be pitch dark etc….You should strategically place mirrors or other reflective objects where you can use them to your advantage etc….Because modern homes are so shoddily built in most cases you need to set up “fire zones” where you know that the outgoing rounds aren’t going to blow through your kids walls or end up in the front yard or street- or your neighbors house….I’ve done this in my home by placing book shelves filled with books in several critical areas- and yes, I’ve tried to shoot through shelves of books on the range and they make pretty darn good ballistic protection-even against rifle fire. Lots of considerations of course in your home space.

        A great article and some good discussion.

    2. Great points. Givens does hold the record as far as having students who have engaged in the most number of successful documented self defense shootings.

      It is quite true that many situations are close contact as a number of others such as the ECQC/Douglas/Sharp/Burch camp have eloquently pointed out. But not all. Grocery store aisles average 20-25 yards. What is the distance of your average movie seat to a clear area in front where an active shooter may start his madness? Things to think about.

      If memory serves, the Givens numbers are largely based in Memphistan, TN. An urban area. I for one don’t live in an urban area. I’m 40 min from a Walmart. And I know I cannot see my hand in front of my face some nights. I can barely light up my chicken house 40 yards away with 500 lumens. I’m probably more likely to have to shoot a coyote or bobcat harassing animals at night than an intruder, but I still like to see.

      One thing about stats is the information left out. Perhaps all shooters in the low/no light situations didn’t even have lights on them. It may be the case that if they had a hand held light, they could of maintained dominance over the individual by shining it in their face, and issuing verbals, without having to go to gun in the first place. If the person backs down and doesn’t turn it into an ‘affair of honor’ you can simple lower the light to their chest or lower body and issue an apology and get on with life.

      1. Agreed. Yes, most of Toms’ data come out of Mogadishu on the Mississippi….Everyone has to examine their own life, their unique circumstances and decide what is right for them and the threats they are likely to face. In more rural areas, definitely have a light- AND a Long Gun! Backup is much further away, plenty of hard cover, distance often further….I wouldn’t tell someone NOT to carry a light on the street, but it may not be as mandatory as the Orthodoxy would suggest….To me it’s more of a, “What do YOU want to/can carry and what do YOU need for the threats YOU are likely to face?” kind of thing….

        The funny thing is that I have actually used a light to avoid a bad situation. I was in Italy as a chaperone of a Boys Choir that was on tour there. We ran into a group of North Africans who were trailing the boys one evening- they were probably Algerians, they were speaking in French, which unknown to them, I speak. They had watched the boys buy some souvenirs and flash their money etc…and knew they were just kids and obviously foreigners. I caught enough of their conversation to figure out what was going on. Seeing that they were starting to position themselves I intervened and told them in no uncertain terms that their mothers were Camel Fooking Whores etc….this really took them by surprise to say the least! They hesitated a moment- and the boys departed quickly as they figured out it was a bad situation. At that moment I threw up a Fenix with about 300 lumens on them and they decided that was enough and beat feat….I had a Cold Steel Voyager as back up but against 4 men it was a poor plan…..Glad I had the light!

        1. I use a ‘task light’ more than anything I carry. Even more than a pocket knife. In fact, I’d personally suggest, if anyone lives a similar lifestyle as I do, a hand held light is more advantageous over a WML, if I had to choose between the 2.

          When pertaining to actual engagements, I’ll take a WML any day as an addition to the daily carry, as I can:
          1. Use both hands on the pistola
          2. Have light on target and still see while having to hold a toddler, move people out of the way, with non-dominant hand.

          Bulk isn’t an issue for me with a WML, even when carrying appendix.

    3. If you are familiar with Tom Givens you should be be familiar with Claude Werner, if not fix that and look at his negative outcome series (he gives presentations on it at the Range Master Tac Conference) where people did not have a light etc and shot people that didn’t need to be shot.

      While Tom’s students didn’t need a light, not everyone is so lucky.

      1. As a former police officer, I routinely found myself in places where having a light made it safer for me and those I encountered. How many times did I find myself in a warehouse or an alley where there was no – or very little – light. In low-light situations, shadow and silhouettes could make what you were seeing – or not seeing – very different from what was actually there.

        As a civilian, going into strange places like that doesn’t happen often. But, what if your vehicle breaks down at night and you are forced to walk, especially in a rural area without street lights? What if you are over at a friend’s home (or anywhere else) when the power goes off, perhaps due to civil unrest/rioting/etc.?

        Also, as an older guy (mid sixties), my eyesight is not what it used to be. Light makes it easier to see, especially in detail.

        Excellent small LED lights of great brightness (600 to 1000 lumens) can be purchased cheaply – not the very expensive Surefires, which were great when they started selling them, but now are over-priced.

        Excellent lights by Olight and Nitecore and Streamlight (my favorite for mounted weapon lights, like the TLR-1 HL – High Lumen) are all available at reasonable prices (check out – great selection and great prices, including Surefire if you simply won’t buy anything else – no, I don’t get paid or ” gifted” by them, just liked doing business with them over the last five or six years).

        There is no reason to _not_ carry a small light, and many good reasons _to_ carry one. Just because it is possible to win a gunfight without one doesn’t mean it is the preferred way to go. If carrying a handgun all the time is a good idea, don’t you think the same might be true of carrying a small, handy liight?

  6. Michael Ledbetter

    Great write up but I am going to throw in a life twist here. My everyday day carry, training/education, and short term disaster readiness is being challenged as I am about to find out a lot about how the Arizona Family Court system feels about it. My ex is using it against me in a complaint to restrict my parenting time to next to nothing and that being supervised because I am up to certain things. She is using the fact that I have taken defensive pistol courses, carbine classes, have gone to several local MVT style courses, and train with like-minded individuals.

    I have emergency food, an emergency water supply and purification systems, alternative cooking systems, and several of “900 rounds of training” on hand while seeking more opportunities to learn all while being a regular dad, friend, and co-worker. I am the guy who has tried to adhere to your recommendations here and doing so could have a seriously negative effect on my time with my son. No matter what happens I wouldn’t change the fact that I have undertaken these things but let this be a word of warning to anyone in or near my circumstances.

    Your grey man method may not be grey enough… that, and never fully trust your ex.

      1. Bill, Thanks for the referral. I was hoping that I might find someone who would do that and boom, there it was. I will call them within the hour. My hearing is in March 2017 so I will go back to lurking on these sites but this is my note of appreciation.

        1. The Armalite 180 is a 5.56×45 rifle (.223), not a .308 (7.62×51). As she looks like the photo could have been taken in Ireland a while back, it could be an AR-18, the select-fire version, instead of the AR-180, civilian semi-auto version.
          (I own an AR-180.)

    1. She is an IRA combatant engaging British Army troops in Belfast. That is an iconic picture which has been painted more than once as a mural in Catholic/Nationalist neighbourhoods in Norn Iron.

      1. And the AR-18 was popular because it had (has) a folding stock, which made the weapon a little easier to conceal. If she was a combatant in Ireland at that time, it was the 18, not the 180 version.

        1. The AR-180 semi-auto has the same folding stock. I said hers was an AR-18 because the IRA used select-fire Armalites instead of other battle rifles because of the folding stock, not because the folding stock was different from the stock on the 180.

  7. Jeddadiah Alvarez

    Excellent information all! Point to ponder- all gear wears out. I have several kydex holsters over 30 years old. Several have recently cracked on a minor smack. Have several much newer kydex holsters that broke in below zero weather while hunting. So figure out a gear replacement schedule, and consider your environment which brings leather holsters back into primary choice locations.

    1. Yup, I carried a Glock 34 in a Blade Tech IWB with the “sweat guard” tab on it for many years, great holster. Not long ago the tab snapped off, it had just gotten brittle and flexed one too many times I guess. It’s still usable though- I hit it with a dremel tool to clean off the jagged edge… maybe a bit less comfortable now but it works.

      I bought a replacement- actually TWO so that I now have a fresh spare if one goes down on me again. I carried in leather for over a decade- Sparks, Null, Kramer….good stuff but have found that I’m slower out of leather than Kydex so these days all of my day to day holsters are Kydex of one make or another.

      1. Will,
        Consider storing any kydex holsters your are not using or are saving as back-ups/replacements in zip locks with the air removed ( a drinking straw will evacuate them pretty well). Light (sunlight is worst) and air (oxygen) will cause the plastic to break down more quickly, as it oxidizes. I think almost all plastics will benefit from being kept cool, in the dark, and sealed up.

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  9. I’ve been to a lot of different schools, with a lot of different instructors, each of whom had their own way of wanting things done as far as muzzle up/down, reload in workspace, bullets toward buttcrack in your mag holders, beer can grip or what have you.

    Eventually I adopted the method of just doing things the way they want when I’m in their class and try to learn from it. Then when I’m back on my own I go back to what I am most comfortable with (works best for me).

    Unless of course, I like what they showed me better (or it works better for me however you want to put it) in which case I steal it like a yankee.

    Bottom line, be flexible, be willing to learn from these people you are paying the training money too and do your best to adopt whatever wisdom you can get. And at least try it before you bitch about it.

    And yes, the gun you actually have on you is way better that that awesome bad boy in the safe…..

    1. Great points. Their range, their rules.

      It doesnt pay to be the guy who goes to a class to pay the instructor/teacher/trainer/whatever to show him how YOU do things.

      These techniques get thrown into the tool box and the wheat gets separated from the chaff as one studies how to apply it to their situation.

      In the end I’m more of a fan of a teaching style that shows you options (and each options pluses and minuses) and you can decide which is more applicable to your body mechanics, situation, lifestyle, etc.

  10. Mr. Myers KISS MY ASS or bark at the hole. Stop. You don’t like my weapons, tactics, sight choices , transport or training? Well mind your own business–ASSHOLE. Your religion of the great AR tacticool ninja black rifle god and his holy Glock, is YOUR religion and your OPPINION, and like your asshole belongs to you alone. I don’t want it. AND: If you are representative of the “III%” you can stick that up your opinion too. So you had two weeks training at butt crack ninja school and now know EVERYTHING about TEOTWAWKI. You have converted to the true faith and HATE the infidel non believer who refuses the word of the holy pie cutter. SO WHAT? My life and death AND MY OPPINION are my own to do with as I will . FUCK YOU. THATS WHY.

    1. Ray,

      I rarely zero out anyone’s comments but yours are so ill-informed and rude, you’ve given me a chance to do so. I’m always amazed at how ungentlemanly certain males get when they command a keyboard. If ad hominem argument is the only argumentation you know in concert with poor grammar and spelling, please take your bilge elsewhere. I think the Clinton campaign needs poor writers who can’t argue on merit.



  11. The expense aspect is a most worthy point to bring up. I think it applies to everything for many of us working, or not working, guys. It is a serious question of balances. How to maximize every hard to come by dollar and make sound long lasting choices with limited funds.
    Like the observation regarding pistol night sights. I been sweating how to justify buying them for my pistols. Not anymore, because what John wrote about relying on your WML instead. Great advice. Never having tritium night sites, I did not know the particulars. Running Aimpoints and Trijicon reflex sights on my carbines, being they are so reliable and dependable, night sites where always front of the back burner list. I can use those dollars for things like more medical kit, or another good combat grade optic, or towards one of Max’s very fine courses. Or, more ammo!

    Appendix carry is my choice, there is an intimate relationship between myself and pistol not possible in other carry’s. I think it goes beyond just the readiness of this position. You know your weapon is there, it’s talking to you every time it digs into you. It’s an awareness thing, or like a very close friend. It is like a constant reminder to keep left of bang so to speak. And isn’t that the best weapon of all? Staying left of bang?

  12. As for lights, there isn’t a more useful tool in the toolbox with the exception of a gat. Streamlight makes some great little light blasters that are no larger than a pen. Their AAA powered ProTac series are awesome lights you can carry in your shirt pocket.

    As a former runner with old man hips, I now walk for exercise. And 3/4 of the year it’s in the morning darkness in the city. I find that judicious use my little ProTac LED light discourages predators of all ilks from considering me as prey.

    I prefer to light em up for a quick second and discourage agression on their part, rather than have to shoot them with my LC9 when they decide that I’m vulnerable.

    Check out the small ProTec. They’re cheap enough that you can but one for the truck, one for bedside, and one for the pocket.

  13. Great article. Most I have read in some fashion via MVT or that crazy, rambling, ranting sombitch, John Mosby (hehe, I really like Mosby’s philosophy) but one point that I haven’t put a lot of thought into was about night sights.

    I have a WML on my home defense gun but I’ve also have always been in the “gotta have tritium dude” camp without putting much thought into that so I appreciate the insight.

    One other thing to throw out there re: threeper myths. Put all of your cool guy gear on (sustainment load, etc.) and either run some sprints outside -or- hop on the treadmill and see how it feels. Really helped me to shakedown what works or doesn’t and I didn’t have to pay for a class to figure that out. For instance, my battlebelt was running low on my hips and really limited my leg movement when running pretty hard so I threw some suspenders on it and now run the belt “high-and-tight” (high on my hips) and can haul ass without restriction. Plus I found I had to square some stuff away for noise reduction.

  14. I truly have to wonder sometimes at all the self proclaimed experts. I watched as my buddy was taken out by a young teenage boy with a homemade shotgun. A determined foe putting into to place the one shot one kill principle. All of the modern armament that Tim was carrying did him little good in the end. That’s why I’ll stick to my grandfathers M1 Garand with m2 AP rounds. Yes I stick to the forties for my weapon and rely on the centuries old one shot one kill principle and most importantly I will rely on my abilities and my resolve to get it done. There is no wonder weapon you can buy and no book you can read to give you that invincible stature. You either have it in you or you don’t. Best start looking inwards soon to find where you stand.

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