Author’s Note: The Donald was elected. As the cycle goes, the Patriots are slowly going from burgeoning revolutionaries and restorationists of the Original Constitutional Order to defenders of the new regime and falling back asleep because their team is at the helm. This happens every time a new CEO takes over the Racket in Mordor.
These are the Yo-Yo Patriots and Sunshine Soldiers. They only pay lip service to freedom when their party isn’t winning. When they are in control, they defend every tyrannical measure to the death and surely throw in a few ‘if you don’t love it, leave it’s!’ for good measure. As Pat Buchanan wrote years ago, the Right is doing nothing but preserving the last liberal victory.
I’ve heard it all. From it being legal to start shooting BLM protesters to Trump is currently repealing all gun laws.
I’m here to urge all of you to not develop a bias toward the New Normal. Now is the time to hone those skills and sharpen those hatchets. Let us remember Malcolm X’s talk on the House Negro and the Field Negro. Which one are you?
The previous installment of this series generated a number of comments. In an effort to help combat more Derp that is pervasive in the community, I offer part two. The purpose of this series is not to mock, but to educate. These tactical tidbits are an effort to save a lot of people time, money as well as mitigating lots bad habits and training scars. Lets get right into it. -JM
Often more hotly debated than 9 mike vs. 40sw vs. 357sig vs. 45acp vs. 46 vs. 10mm vs. 11 in some circles is whether it’s a good idea to actually carry a loaded gun. The gun has a full magazine inserted, but an empty chamber. This is often called ‘Israeli Carry’ (IC) because it was and to my knowledge still is the Standing Operating Procedure (SOP) for the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF).
The story as to how the IDF adopted the empty chamber method as explained by Jeff Bloovman of Armed Dynamics is said to of dated back to a time when the nation-state of Israel formed in 1948. The rag tag, untrained army had only mismatched weapons at the time. Particularly pistols. With an amalgam of weapons ranging from Hi-Powers to 1911’s to Lugers and others, it was to hard to keep the guys from having Negligent Discharges (ND’s) and to teach all the myriad of different types of manipulations to work the safety’s on each different type of gun. So they came up with the idea of just having them run an empty chamber and having them rack the slide to load the gun upon engagement. While this SOP was developed for a specific reason, it’s lost on most modern practitioners. They believe themselves to be IDF operators, who upon contact will rack that slide, assume their half squat horse stance and get to work.
Entire YouTube video series exist about how a new concealed carrier can ease into working up to carrying a round in the chamber by using snap caps and other silliness. I could sum up this entire issue by simply saying, if you are not carrying a round in the chamber, you are WRONG, but lets talk about some draw backs to the method.
Children. It’s always the children. And Izzy Carry proponents waste no time in stating that carrying a loaded firearm in a quality holster around children lacks all sense. The argument is that a kid will rip the gun from the holster and shoot Tac-Dad in the head. This is merely a problem of not being in control of ones own gun, which is probably one of the most important principles of responsible concealed carry. This is a non-issue for a trained and responsible carrier. But lets talk children for just one second. Imagine that the fight breaks out in whatever scenario gets your heart racing and you have the time and opportunity to draw a weapon in condition Izzy. You have your flailing and hysterical toddler in your other arm. You begin to develop tunnel vision and auditory exclusion. You get an adrenaline dump. You have to clear your cover garment, and draw one handed. You cannot use your normal two-handed rack method. You are pressed against a wall so you cannot rack off your holster, one handed like you practiced at the range. Your front belt line is covered with your toddlers flailing leg. You are reduced to trying to bring your heel to your gun to rack that slide off of it. You lose your balance. You fall and are now completely at a disadvantage in the fight. Would you rather have your gun loaded or unloaded in this situation?
Let’s talk about malfunctions. Lots of malfunctions are caused when chambering rounds. If you carry without a round in the chamber, during your load-under-stress sequence, if you get a failure to chamber, you just caused a whole other problem. You are willingly making the probability of a problem occurring during the opening of a fight more possible.
Lets set up another scenario. The fight begins, and you being your Count Dracula draw stroke process, as soon as your gun hand indexes your holstered weapon, your strong side/weapon side arm gets shot. Your Brachial is nicked. Massive bleeding is occurring. That arm is useless. You cannot begin to work the MARCH protocol on yourself until you stop the guy from shooting at you. You must draw your weapon on your right side, with your left arm. You must then rack that weapon to chamber a round, and then get to work. In the mean time, the assailant’s buddy begins to beat the ever-loving snot out of you with an iron pipe from 4 feet away. Do you believe it would advantageous to have a loaded gun in this instance or an unloaded one?
People on the internet make claims about these methods, yet usually do not have any training time in any sort of real world context or force on force situations to actually vet their Tactics, Techniques and Procedures (TTP’s) they are promoting as good advice on the internet. Not only does promotion Izzy carry generally show a lack of training from reputable sources, it also demonstrates a lack of confidence with the firearm.
We can demonstrably show which method of carry is more advantageous by simply suiting up, putting a UTM guy in your holster and letting your buddy start punching you in the junk while another restrains your arms and puts you in a head lock. Generally you get no Izzy Carry defenders volunteer to try this out. Just take an ECQC and I think you’ll figure out really quick that empty chambers can get you ‘kilt in da streets.’ Some instructors go so far as to think it could even be a civil liability issue to promote IC. You do the math on it. I’ve already done it.
Ninjified Cubicle Commando’s
We all like gear. I like gear. Particularly good gear that works and that lasts and fills a hole that needs filling. In fact its part of my day-job and I’ll be the first to tell you gear does not a gunfighter make.
One of the areas that often get’s too much focus by the aspiring Master of the Art of Gun-Fu is gear selection. Generally a person of the prepper mindset tends to go overboard with tactical load bearing equipment (usually of horrible quality) before ever really identifying their mission. They ask questions about load outs, without ever even considering METT-TC. (Simply put, METT-TC is mil-speak for Who, What, Where, Why and When) Its not uncommon at all to see guys with 24 magazines, 35 lbs. of armor, helmets, and more commo gear than an 18E on the line doing Up Drills and 1 Reload 1’s for the first time, that only require 1 extra magazine that can be tucked into a back pocket. Many times all that equipment being strapped on, before learning basic fundamentals and manipulations of your carbine, actually works to inhibit learning. You may spend those hours adjusting your kit and trying to hold up your helmet clad head and fatigue prematurely, or may not even physically be able to manipulate the gun with all that kit on to begin with, instead of actually learning to operate that carbine and other basic fundamentals.
When learning skills less tends to be more. If you are learning skills for the first time or have just learned them and are starting to gain conscious competence in them, it may be best to keep the extraneous kit off body, and work only with what you need, adding in the kit at a later date if it fits the context of your lifestyle or mission. If you are doing drills that only require 2 magazines and the main goal of the training day is to work those skills alone, why do you have on 60 lbs. of other kit you don’t need? If you can answer that, carry on then.
This brings us to the “train like you fight!” mantra. As Pat McNamara points out in his unique and brilliant way, lets not confuse that mantra with how much Velcro and Fastex buckles we can strap on. Train like you fight is about training for the context of your life and mission. Perhaps working skills in adverse conditions, etc. If you work in a cubicle for 12 hours a day, your only weapon is a S&W Shield and 1 magazine, and you are in a suit and tie, just realize that you running carbines and chest rigs and helmets in full multicam probably shouldn’t be your first priority of training. If you live and work from home, and you have a carbine within arms reach, that should probably be your priority. There is nothing wrong with going to a carbine class and running mags out of your pockets, in street clothes, because if you carry a truck gun and have to bail out or have to defend your home from a violent break in, that is probably how you’ll be set up.
Another common theme is people allow gear purchases to stop them from taking training or going to practice. They’ll argue that they can’t afford X, Y, or Z piece of gear, so they cant take X, Y, Z class. When in reality they probably already have what is needed to take that class. In my experience I’ve seen people get 10x more out of running a simple magazine in their back pocket than others who have spent a couple hundred dollars on EBay getting every piece of gear Condor makes. We’d rather see guys practicing skills than shopping online.
Context is critical. Leaving aside the obvious fact that if you find yourself in a fight in the present day its going to be in your street clothes with the stuff you have on you vs. having time to kit up and go to war, lets look at it from an operations perspective.
Most folks assume the Special Forces Assaulter kit, and top to bottom camo is how The Resistance will fight every battle in the Final American Revolution. If one takes a second to study how the practitioners of 4th Generation G-Work operate, it generally has more to do with blending in with the human terrain than standing out. The Tactical Fantasy Band Camp version of this doesn’t always match up with reality. Michael Collins left this advice:
“Our uniform will be that of the man on the street and the peasant in the field.”
Priorities of Work: Training in Context
“Let’s do a little word substitution game. For each time you see the word Contextualist and Absolutist replace it with professional and amateur. Now read it again.” – Matt Graham
One of my biggest frustrations in dealing with others of like mind is lack of recognition of the intuitively obvious. All training from reputable sources is beneficial in some way. So don’t take this the wrong way. My issue is with lack of context and misappropriated priorities. If we are spending all our time learning how to write OPORD’s (Operations Orders) for the Coming Insurrection and how to conduct explosive breaching operations with a healthy dose of Helo Insertion techniques, yet we cannot draw our Every Day Carry hand gun from concealment and be better than Minute-of-Barn-Door at 3 feet, its time to fix this.
As early as possible, one should be identifying what their context is. What do they do every day? What do they carry? Do they work in a cubicle or do they work on a construction site? Do they wear sweat pants or dress slacks? Do they drive or take mass transit? Do they live or work in a Non-Permissive Environment? Everyone’s life and context is different. We must identify these things, prioritize them and act on them. Determine where you go every day and what you carry. If you place your question about X, in context, you can generally answer your own questions through deductive reasoning.
People often confuse spending large amounts of time training only Squad Level Small Unit Tactics (SUT) and going Ricky Bobby on Australian Peels for instance, with training for things that are actually applicable to their daily lives. I’m 100% in favor of learning those other cool things, as long as you have the most likely threats and your skills to combat them are already worked out. If you are taking Helo Ops 101, when you cannot operate your home defense shotgun at conscious competence, just realize that you are training largely for entertainment. (EnterTRAINment). If you weigh 700 lbs. and cannot execute a Nike Defense and Evacuation Plan, as Clint Smith says, “stop eating stuff bigger than your head,” and move a round a little bit.
Context is key. Understanding your mission, allows you to conduct sober analysis of what you should actually be focusing on. Tatiana Whitlock has a line that sums this all up nicely. “Train in the context of your life, for the fight of your life.”
Fundamentals, be it combatives or gun work, reign supreme. Practice and training should focus on those. There is no such thing as an advanced gunfight. It still all boils down to sights, triggers and weapons handling.
I have written previously on training priorities and mindset here.
Do’ers vs. Talkers: New Years and Normalcy
I’m personally not the biggest fan of New Years Resolutions. I don’t think we need a new year to do work, get stuff done or fix problems. But instead of turning this into a bash-fest on the New Year’s Resolution Gym Crowd or other groups, I commend their effort.
One of the biggest issues with preparedness or training groups in particular is getting people all on the same page. Getting folks to make X a priority. Be it issues with time, money, resources, dedication or drive, it’s hard to get stuff done individually, let alone group tasks or work. This needs to change. We need to do the best we can with what we have. If we cannot afford a gym membership, but we need to lose 20 lbs., the only thing stopping you from going on a run several times a week and changing your diet is you. If we claim we don’t have time to train, but we spend our weekends watching football and throwing back beers, lets just be honest and say that training isn’t a priority. We also have to recognize one’s Span of Control. We cannot really control what other people do or have prioritized as important, but we can control ourselves.
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Cecil Burch has been putting out material relevant to this. His method to combat some of these problems is to not get caught up in not having money to buy 500 rounds per month to go to the range, or not having the time, but to use those 5 minutes you are watching your late night TV show to hit some dry fire drills every day. Instead of spending a whole day at the range, away from family or work or other commitments, walk out back and shoot just 1-2 drills once every few days or one time per week. Instead of having to save up money for ammo, miss work and spend a 3 day weekend to train SUT with your group one time per year, put down the beers for a few hours on Sunday afternoon and dry flow search / clear your house. These small measures done consistently will compound and you’ll reap large benefits.
Jim Wendler’s great strength program, 5/3/1, has a great take away relevant to the discussion. He bases his periodization models in the book on a training max. He has you take 90% of your true 1 Rep Max (1RM) and use that as your training max. His programming is then based on the training max. You perform the selected percentages of sets/reps and since the training max is lighter than your true 1RM, your final set for that lift, you do as many reps as possible. We can do that with our Gun-Fu, combatives or preparedness. Set your New Years goal realistically. One that you know you can hit by using the slow and steady method. Keep your eyes on the prize. Don’t set the bar so high that you’ll never be able to obtain it or you lose drive after a couple weeks. Instead of saying you’ll lose 20 lbs. in 6 weeks, set the goal to lose 20 lbs. in 6 months and if you lose it sooner, all the better.
Do’ers need to develop an allergy to Talkers.
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.