Jun 142020

OC/Pepper Spray is an Important Part of your EDC (Everyday Carry). Let’s look at some of the great aspects of this tool as part of your overall self-defense strategy.


OC/Pepper Spray is not legal in every state. In Colorado, we are lucky because it is considered a non-deadly force option for self-defense. Remember the two buckets of force concept that Andrew Branca teaches in his Law of Self Defense curriculum. In life, you have two buckets of force to use for self-defense. You have a non-deadly force bucket and a deadly force bucket. If someone is attacking you using non-deadly force ( most courts consider the use of hands non-deadly force) in Colorado and most states you are not allowed to reach into the deadly force bucket to solve your non-deadly force problem. In the non-deadly force bucket, what tools do we have? We have our hands and we may have some other tools that may or may not be legal in the jurisdiction we are in.

Many places tasers, stun guns, and collapsible batons may not be legal to use or possess, and even if they are some of these may be considered deadly force if not used properly or something goes wrong when you deploy them. OC/Pepper Spray tops the list as a non-deadly force tool in my opinion. I do not want to go hands-on with anyone and most of you won’t want to either.

Ease of Concealment-

OC/Pepper Spray is easy to conceal and if you choose the right one it may even be hard to tell what it is. For example, the one I like and carry every day is very easy to conceal because of the size of the container, and it is not easy to tell what it is because the outside of the container is unmarked. It fits in my closed hand and is hard to see from any distance. It has a great clip so it clips into my pocket securely and is ready to use at a moment’s notice. You should never attach keys to your OC/Pepper Spray it makes it hard to conceal, carry and deploy in most cases.

Ease of Use-

Pepper Spray is easy to use and most people can deploy it successfully with a little training. Remember to always warn the attacker and the people around you that you are about to deploy the OC/Spray. I have personally had situations where I warned someone and they decided that they did not want the agony of what I was about to unleash on them, and it ended the incident.OC/Pepper Spray

Stealthy Carry and Deployment-

It can be hard to carry and conceal other tools like stun guns, taser, and batons. OC/Pepper Spray is easy to carry and conceal if you have chosen the right product. I have searched high and low to find the most discrete and powerful product there is and that is easy to conceal and carry. Remember to be like 007 in the carry of your daily self-protection tools. You always want the element of surprise on your side.


If lost, stolen, or if you have to throw it away or give it up in a non-permissive environment what have you lost? A few dollars? Replace it and move on. It’s not like losing an expensive knife or even a pocket gun.


When we carry a non-deadly force option it helps us in our defense when we have to use deadly force. Remember the hammer and nail saying everyone uses in our industry. When all you have is a hammer everything looks like a nail. If we have only a firearm everything looks like deadly force. When you have considered options the legal system is more likely to consider your story and your use of force reasonable. I could have used non-deadly force (OC Pepper Spray) but I felt I had no choice but to use deadly force right away under the life-threatening circumstances I was facing.

As a Certified Use Of Force OC/ Pepper Spray Instructor, I highly recommend that it be carried everywhere you go. There are many places in life we can not carry our concealed firearms legally. OC/Pepper Spray gives us a tool that we can use successfully if necessary in those non-permissive environments.

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:

Sep 102017

Self DefenseOne of the concepts I stress to my classes is that having a sound self-defense strategy is a must. This sound self-defense strategy should include but is not limited to a good understanding of how your self-defense firearm works. This means being very familiar with all the functions of your gun (manual of arms). I can’t tell you how many times I have asked a student to pick a gun up and show me that it’s safe and unloaded and they struggle with the functions of their own gun. Like not knowing that on the firearm they own the slide can’t be moved with the safety on! Good gun handling and gun safety are skills I teach many people and hopefully, when they go home they practice these skills so that they become a good safe gun handler.

Awareness is an important part of the equation. If you do not know what’s happening around you how will you try to avoid it or deal with it? Avoidance is a great tool and may save your life and the lives of others who you are responsible for. I’m not talking about paranoia I’m talking about being alert (color codes of awareness).

The next step is marksmanship and a smooth, safe presentation of the gun. Most people in the industry agree that you should strive to be somewhere below 1.5 seconds on a smooth presentation and be able to put shots on target. Draw from the holster takes practice and to do it correctly and safely takes some good form (how to draw from the holster). Marksmanship is a skill that must be practiced. You should be able to consistently put shots on an 8-inch circle at 21 feet. Dry firing can help you to gain both of these skills and you should have a short and frequent practice session with your concealed carry firearm. Remember that with practice you gain speed from being smooth and you gain confidence from the repetition of doing it right. many encounters in self-defense happen in less than 10ft. 1.5 seconds in this arena will probably be a bad day for you and your family. Reaction never beats action. If someone has a firearm pointed at you you’re not going to be able to outdraw them.

Then comes the legal strategy. You have to drive the narrative (the story). Being a fan of Andrew Branca I have learned a few basic concepts of the laws of self-defense. two things that come to mind is that the 5 elements of self-defense should be understood and you should read as much as you can about these 5 elements (from Andrew’s Book) and from articles that are written by industry leaders. The next thing is to have an idea of how you are going to deal with the 911 call and the first responders at the scene. Andrew has an approach which he thinks is optimal but he states on many occasions that in the heat of the moment people might get lost in what to do or say. Many times when people are put under severe pressure or stress they forget what to do or say. That’s why just like in gun training you need to train yourself in these concepts so they are a habit. Make it how you think, it’s who you are, because you understand the concepts and why they are important to your sound self-defense strategy.

So here they are. Are you weak in any of these areas if so take a section and work on it? The fortunate thing is that self-defense shootings are rare. This means you likely will have time to get better. Don’t be complacent get a strategy to work on your areas of weakness.

Manual Of Arms
Presentation Of The Firearm
Legal Strategy

Do you understand these concepts? If not do some homework and figure out how they apply to your self-defense strategy. These are terms that intertwine the legal strategy and are important concepts to understand. Be careful of your sources, there are many who do not understand these concepts, and internet information can be slanted. I have information on all these topics. Let me know and I can supply it for you or direct you to a good source.

Disparity of force
Tueller drill
AOJ Triad
Stand your Ground
Duty to Retreat
Castle Doctrine

Sep 162012

Gun Control SkillsAiming your handgun is one of the gun control skills you must acquire to be able to hit the target and of course protect yourself in a self protection encounter. Aiming your handgun is a basic part of gun control skills and its use,  also a very important safety aspect of handling a firearm i.e.,muzzle direction. The sights are located on top of the barrel of your handgun. The front sight needs to be level with the top of the rear sight. Many types of sights are available on firearms today but the all serve the same purpose, to align the barrel of your firearm with your target so you can hit what you are aiming at. No matter which variety of sights your firearm has, the key skill is to keep your eyes focused on the front sight while aligned with the rear sight. The target should be slightly blurred and you should be focused on your front sight.

Gun Control Skills-Trigger Control

No one, not even the very best shots can hold a gun perfectly still. Trigger control and sight alignment go hand in hand and are the shooters best gun control skills. Most misplaced shots are due to poor trigger control. Learn to take the slack out of your trigger and then press the trigger in a smooth action to break the shot. You will have more enjoyment from your shooting time when you are hitting the target.

Gun Control Skills

Remember the FBI report that says shot placement is more important when selecting a gun than caliber size.

Gun control skills will make you a better shot and give you greater self  protection.

Feb 062011

handgun malfunctions training

Types of Handgun Malfunctions:

TYPE I –> Misfire: a misfire occurs when the firing pin strikes the primer but it does not fire.  This is the most common type of malfunction.

TYPE II –> Stovepipe: a stovepipe occurs when the casing that has been ejected is caught in the ejection port by the slide.

TYPE III –> Double Feed: this malfunction occurs when a round is in the chamber and a second round attempts to feed into the chamber. This results in a true jam. On most semi-auto’s,  the slide has limited motion and the magazine will not eject by pressing the magazine release.

EMPLOYING  TAP, ROLL(turn gun 90 degrees to the right), RACK, AND REASSESS on TYPE I and II  handgun malfunctions is your best option. Don’t forget that in a TYPE I malfunction you should always wait 30 seconds to see if you have a hang fire. In a self-defense situation this would not be practical.

Type III The clearance procedure can be summarized as: “Unload, Clear, Reload. Lock the slide back, Drop the magazine and rack the slide 3 times to clear it of all ammo. Insert a new loaded magazine. Rack the slide to chamber a round. Access your target and fire if necessary.

In a self-defense situation, it is important to react quickly and naturally. I and many trainers believe if you have a different method of clearing each malfunction, you are more likely to panic or spend precious time diagnosing your problem.

These and many other topics will be explained in many of my training sessions. If you have any question feel free to contact me. Also Training ideas and classes are available in my Fall/Winter Newsletter.

Mar 132011
Bad Guy

Bad Guy

While standing in line at the grocery store today I overheard a lady telling the clerk that she wished she had shot the two bad guys that were stealing her stereo out of her car the other night.

Whats wrong with that statement????

Well, let’s look at the facts…..is any one’s life in danger?  Was anybody threatened with grave bodily harm.??..I  don’t think so. Let’s look at the statute.

Colorado  18-1-706        Use of Physical Force in Defense of Property
A person is justified in using reasonable and appropriate physical force upon another person when and to the extent that he reasonably believes it necessary to prevent what he reasonably believes to be an attempt by the other person to commit theft, criminal mischief, or criminal tampering involving property, but he may use deadly physical force under these circumstances only in defense of himself or another as described in section 18-1-704.

Basically, if you shoot someone for a crime against property you are the criminal. Remember you can only use deadly force in defense of a life.