Mar 232019

Self Defense PrioritiesGetting Your Self Defense Priorities in Order

Getting your self defense priorities in order is a good idea. You do not want to put the cart before the horse so to speak.

I listened to Andrew Branca the other day on this subject and I thought it was important so I put together my thoughts on the matter.

Get A Gun– many people come to me without a handgun and they say “I need to know what handgun I should buy“.  Handguns are like shoes they have to fit your hand and you have to be able to work the controls. Find a good quality gun one that won’t let you down when you need it. There are several top brands of handguns on the market just like there are cars. Some people like Fords some Chevys. It’s most important that you find a handgun that fits you properly. Most brand name dependable handguns are gonna cost between $400 and $600. Yes, there are guns that are under $300. When your life is in danger are you interested in that bargain basement shooter that may or not work when the time comes. I have helped many of my students acquire a good handgun for self defense thru my contacts in the industry. Small guns while easy to hide have many problems.

One of Your Self Defense Priorities is to Learn To Use The Gun-

Gun Safety– the 4 rules of gun safety are paramount. Don’t leave home without them.

Daily handling and common tasks- loading and unloading, proper holstering and unholstering, cleaning your gun, transporting your gun, locking your gun in your vehicle when you’re going somewhere you can’t take it. These are all skills you need to develop.

Learn to Shoot- now you have to learn to put shots on target. This can be done in a number of ways but it all comes down to practice. I take my level 1 students to the range and get them started with all the proper form. Grip, stance, trigger press, and sight usage. Then they can practice in the proper way and not develop bad habits. Dry fire techniques are great for learning self defense shooting and should be practiced when you can not go to the range.

Learn to properly Draw form the Holster- many people try to learn drawing from the holster by reading a book or watching a video. Getting good instruction from a qualified Instructor goes a long way in learning this important skill. You cant see the mistakes you are making on your own. Someone needs to watch and be able to coach you so that you can learn the finer points of skilled holster draw. Remember shooting ranges have specific rules about drawing from the holster. Many times you can do things with an Instructor that you can not do on your own.

Learn When You Can Use The Gun- this self defense priority is where everything comes together. You can learn all the wonderful things about using your gun and then when it comes time to use it make a terrible mistake and violate the laws of self defense.  Andrew Branca has some wonderful education materials on this subject and I suggest that you at a bare minimum read his book. Other educational materials are also available from him such as online webinars and CDs.

Get Self Defense Insurance- this is the very last thing you should be thinking about. After all other self defense priorities are handled then you should think about protecting yourself and your family with self defense insurance. There are currently about nine products on the market. Some good some not as good. I am currently recommending the USCCA programs as it has many benefits and is rated as one of the best. I have a spreadsheet for all the popular plans and the benefits for each. Just ask and I will send it to you. One of the learning opportunities in this area is a CD produced by Andrew Branca, it is excellent and I have done the course myself.

Other Articles of Interest:

May 312018

Concealed Carry Handgun with SafetyMany people are confused about safeties on a Concealed Carry Handgun and what they are all about. First, if a Concealed Carry Handgun has a safety you are obligated to use it. You don’t get to pick and choose. If a safety is present then not using it is failing to operate your firearm safely and correctly. You can’t look at a similar gun and say well that gun doesn’t have a safety so it must be optional.  Manufacturers put safeties on guns for many reasons. It’s a safety rule for handling firearms that goes way back. Remember when you took Hunters Safety you were taught that when the gun is loaded you put on the safety. Then when its time to fire the gun you take the safety off and fire. This is how guns with safeties must be operated. Safe triggers and grip safeties are safety features, not safeties. A Safety is an on/off switch. Safeties can fail they are mechanical devices. Anything mechanical can break you can not totally rely on a safety. Some people think a gun without a safety is not safe. That is not true many Concealed Carry Handguns are made without safeties because it just one more thing to have to do when you pull your gun for self-defense and it takes time. Safety is in keeping your finger off the trigger until its time to shoot( Rule #3). Sure this takes practice but that’s how firearms are operated safely.

Why is it that Concealed Carry Handguns are considered safe when they are holstered? Because in a proper holster you cannot access the trigger when the gun is holstered. Guns do not fire unless someone or something pushes the bang switch. Second many Concealed Handguns now are made without safeties and that doesn’t mean they are not safe? You will notice that on most revolvers there are no safeties. Generally speaking, this is because of the long double action trigger pull that is required to fire them usually about 8-10 lbs of pressure. One of the things I see a lot is that the safety is hard or impossible to operate on some of the chosen firearms. When you pick a gun and decide that’s the Concealed Carry Handgun you want you should have no problem operating all the features. If you can’t operate the safety it isn’t going to get any better later. I’m not gonna pick on guns in this article. I’ve carried many guns with safeties that worked properly, and I’ve seen many that are hard to operate, and I’ve practiced many hours with those firearms. If I picked one up today I instinctively know how the safety works and where it is.

Many people that have carried 1911 style handguns know that a safety is essential on that style gun. This is because the 1911 model gun is a single action gun with a very tiny trigger pull. It’s really easy to have an accident with a 1911 style Concealed Carry Handgun if you are not using the safety properly. The other thing I like about no safety is in my carry rotation (wearing different guns for different seasons or styles of dress) all the guns operate the same way draw, point, and shoot. When I carry a gun like a 1911 for concealed carry I have to have some orientation time and I will carry it for some period of time, not just one day. Switching guns often that operate differently is a good way to get confused have an accident or maybe not be ready when you need the gun.

Then there are the people who solve all these problems by rational thinking. I have children! If they get hold of the gun maybe they won’t be able to figure the safety out, or I can’t keep my finger off the trigger so I need to have a safety, or I just don’t put one in the pipe that way I won’t make a mistake. If any of these ring a bell maybe you need some more training!

Update September 2018
I am seeing a move towards the AIWB (appendix inside the waistband) carry mode. This mode is the fastest to get the gun on target and explained by some to be the most dangerous method of carrying a concealed firearm. You are pointing your gun at the femoral artery in your leg and your Manley toolbox if you are a male. Some advocates of appendix carry have moved to guns with safeties and or traditional DA/SA (double action-single action )guns that are hard to pull the trigger. Thus preventing the dreaded accidental discharge from a Glock type weapon stuck in the front of your pants.

Articles you may be interested in:

Learn To Shoot Pueblo Colorado

Concealed Carry Permit Renewal Pueblo Colorado

Guns for Sale Colorado’s new Law

Mar 232018

Buying a defensive handgun is like buying a pair of shoes you wouldn’t let someone else do it for you. The handgun has to fit you and you have to be able to work the controls. You also have to be able to put shots on target when it counts. When buying a defensive handgun you should buy the largest caliber gun that you can shoot and hit the target with.

Buying a defensive handgunBuy a gun from a dealer that will help you when you need it. Recently I have had several students guns break right out of the box. Some stores return policies are”don’t bring it back here”. Always clean and grease a new gun before firing it for the first time. some places will not take guns back even right after you’ve bought them. If you order a gun on the web or buy at a gun show then what are you going to do? The dealer that you ship the gun to for the background check may help you but they are under no obligation to do so. Remember you bought the gun online to save $20. Guns are hard to ship back to the manufacturer you should deal with a dealer that is a locally owned full-service dealer until you understand all the problems associated with buying a gun.

Pick a reliable name brand gun when buying a defensive handgun. Saving money at this point is not the best idea you have ever had. You want the gun to go bang when you press the bang switch. There are several top gun manufacturers in this country and these guns are not that expensive that you can’t afford to buy a quality one. Remember you get what you pay for.

Caliber size is not the most important factor when buying a defensive handgun but it always helps to have a caliber size big enough to actually stop the threat. .22 .25 .32 and .380 are not good defensive handgun calibers just look at some of the tests. Sure you might stop a threat with a small gun if you get lucky but when- 3 days from now. If I’m gonna take the time to learn how to defend myself and carry a handgun I want to defend myself. Having a small gun so it is easy to hide should not be your biggest concern. Small guns have less power, are hard to control (more recoil), have more safety issues (hands in front of the muzzle), and generally, do not shoot well because the sight radius and barrel are so short. In the United States, ammo manufacturers are making five times the amount of 9mm (Luger, 9mm Para, 9×19) ammunition as they are any other round. This means less expensive practice ammo and good availability of ammo when you need it. Law enforcement has recently started to move towards 9 mm rounds the military and the FBI are already using them. I don’t think the .380 round is a good self-defense round and neither does law enforcement. A minimal self- protection round should be 9mm.

Work on a safe and efficient draw and presentation of the handgun from its concealed carry location. Remember if you choose a handgun with a safety then you must learn to use it. Some ranges have limitations as to how or even if you can draw from a holster. Practice in the clothes you will wear daily. If you ever need that gun to save your life or the life of a loved one you will need it fast. You will have a very short amount of time once the bell rings. The faster you can access your gun the more time you have to make good decisions, get to cover or if necessary put those hits on target where they count.

Learn to keep your gun running. If it’s empty, feed it. If it malfunctions, fix it.

Practice getting solid hits from 3 to 7-yards, quickly and reliably. Do some handgun training at 15-25 yards, just enough to get hits at those distances. Concentrate your handgun training on those skills you will most likely need in a self-defense encounter. The FBI states that most self-defense gunfights end in 3 rounds or less and happen within 10ft (3 yards).

Buying a defensive handgun

is like buying a life jacket to go whitewater kayaking. I don’t think you want to trust your life to the blue light special when buying a defensive handgun.

I am usually available to go gun shopping with my students, all you have to do is call me and make arrangements.

Articles of Interest

Concealed Carry Permit Renewal
Concealed Handgun Definition in Colorado
Intervention With a Concealed Handgun
Having a Sound Self Defense Strategy
Learn To Shoot

Dec 102017

Choosing a defensive firearm

choosing a defensive firearmThroughout the year I have published many articles from different sources about picking firearms and ammunition for self-defense. Here is some information for you to consider when choosing a defensive firearm and ammunition for self-defense.

Instructors polled at a recently held high-level instructor conference (not the NRA) showed that the two handguns that were most prevalent in their daily carry were Glock and Smith & Wesson M&P series firearms.  90% of those instructors polled we’re carrying a 9mm caliber firearm.  The firearms broken down into the two biggest categories by the manufacturer were 40% Glock and 26% of them were carrying a Smith & Wesson M&P series firearm. Reliability was the reason these two guns are carried the most. When you pull the trigger on these self-defense guns they are more likely to go bang every time. It was stated that no one at the conference was carrying a Springfield XD series gun and that only one person was carrying a 1911 style handgun.

The instructors were also polled about their defensive firearm rounds. 74% were using either Federal HST or Speer Gold Dot. A small percentage were using Hornady Personal Protection rounds. 68%  of those polled were carrying standard pressure rounds no + P or + P +, as some state,  standard P or no P was the choice of professionals. Many in the group were carrying guns that had been modified with sites or grip enhancements like stippling. About 75% of them were in possession of some type of emergency medical equipment.

It is very insightful to take the information that professionals think is important for their daily survival and use it to make good choices in your self-defense firearm purchases and daily carrying options.

Most professionals carry a Glock or Smith and Wesson M&P series handguns.
Most professionals carried a 9mm caliber gun.
Most professionals used Federal HST or Speer Gold Dot ammo in those guns.
Many are prepared for some type of medical emergency.

Many of us make choices when Choosing A Defensive Firearm based on many factors.  Sometimes those decisions are based on finances or style. This information does not come from someone trying to sell you something. Most articles written in the industry are promoting an item so that people will buy it. This information was provided by professionals in the business of training people and it is what they use to protect themselves and their families.

Aug 242017

mouse gun for concealed carryOne of my students recently came to the range wanting to learn to shoot her mouse gun for concealed carry. A mouse gun is most often considered a category of small revolvers, or semi-automatic handgun sometimes called a pocket pistol. I’m not going to call out any particular brand every manufacturer has one they say that is intended for concealed carry (CCW) self-defense. Remember these guns need to be holstered even in a pocket or purse. Typically such small pistols are of .380 ACP (9mm Short) caliber or less, with .32 ACP, .25 ACP, .22 Long Rifle and .22 Short calibers also being common.



One of the things she figured out quickly was that the recoil was hard to manage. Anytime you shoot a short barreled gun recoil is going to be significant and velocity suffers. It’s harder to get a good solid grip on small guns even with smaller hands.


Then came the bad sights. Most of these small guns have terrible sights and many are not changeable. The sight radius is short on these guns. When referring to iron sights, the sight radius is the distance between the rear sight and the front sight. The longer the sight radius is, the more accurate the shooter is able to be (as the front sight post will appear to be smaller, covering less of the target. A trick I have learned on these mouse guns for concealed carry is to paint the front sight with bright color fingernail polish.

Ease of Operation and Safety

Then the ease of operation and safety come into play.  Some have a manual safety some do not. The ones that have a safety many times are not easy to operate. It very easy to point the muzzle somewhere it’s not supposed to be, and many shooters have put their hand in front of the muzzle trying to operate their mouse gun efficiently. Many of these guns in my experience are not easy to lock open properly and some do not even have the ability to be locked open  (slide stop) for inspection and safe handling. Then there is the finger on the trigger problem. It’s easy to get your finger where it doesn’t belong on these little guns.  It has been said that these guns are for seasoned gun handlers, not beginners or those just learning.


Then finally the ballistics. Most of these guns shoot a small caliber round that is less likely to stop an attacker when necessary. As you can read in one of my recent postings on Facebook, tests show that these calibers underperform. Remember velocity is lower because of the short barrel and when the bullet has no velocity it does not expand as it should. So the bottom line is that you have to be an expert shot with your mouse gun to really be able to defend yourself properly.

Ease of Concealment

While it is true that the mouse gun for concealed carry is easy to conceal many of the compact guns are just as easy to conceal and they have much better features to ensure that you can take care of the task you are carrying the gun for in the first place.

Nov 232014

Concealed Carry Gun

Concealed Carry Small Guns

Small guns have been a trend for some time – popular for gun shops to sell and people to concealed carry. One of the big advantages of concealed carry small guns is that they are easily concealable, but don’t be fooled as small guns have some drawbacks.

First, concealed carry small guns are hard to operate. Many people have a hard time locking the slide back on their small guns. Remember part of picking a good gun for concealed carry is that you can easily operate the controls. Keeping your hand away from the muzzle is another problem. When you operate the slide either to load or to clear a malfunction, remember not to put any part of your hand over the muzzle or you could possibly be missing a finger or get an extra hole in your hand.

Many people who think they can not handle or conceal a mid to full-size gun are kidding themselves. Mid-sized guns are easy to learn how to conceal and are much easier to handle and shoot.  Many of these concealed carry small guns are hard to operate safely even by the best gun handlers. The other criteria for making a good choice in picking a handgun is that you can put shots on target when necessary. I don’t know about you, but these little handguns are not easy to shoot. The sight radius is short and many times the sights themselves are non-existent.

The one last thing I will say about small guns is you will be tempted to put it in your pocket or purse naked (no holster). Bad idea!!!! All guns need to have the trigger guard and trigger protected.  It is very unsafe not to do so. Pocket holsters have come a long way and will allow you to carry your hideaway safely and keep your finger off the trigger until ready to fire. All in all, little concealed carry small guns are at best hard to operate, hard to accurately shoot, and easy to hide.

Other articles of Interest:

Getting Your Self Defense Priorities in Order

Vehicle Firearm Tactics for Concealed Carry

Concealed Carry Training For Southern Colorado Gun Owners

Handling Your Concealed Carry Firearm

Concealed Carry Training on your schedule….