Edition 43

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I hope this finds you and your team well.

After yesterday’s terrible news from London, I believe it’s a good time to remind everyone that all our classes are free to all active duty military (any branch including Coast Guard) and full-time SCARNG / SCANG.  If you know someone who qualifies, please pass this newsletter on to them.

We have room in both the 7 – 8 JUNE CWP class and the Basic Carbine Operator class on 14 – 15 JUNE.

Heads up:  Because of the heat, I’m seriously considering taking the month of August off from CWP and defensive firearm classes.  I’ll keep you posted, but don’t delay taking that class from us if you can help it.  Also, don’t forget we go to a Sat / Sun schedule for defensive firearm classes next quarter.

Exception:  IF I get my UTAH CWP instructor certification by then, I’ll schedule one for August since it’s all classroom and involves no range time.

Please forward to anyone you know that might be interested.

Train hard, put God first!




I was doing some skills maintenance work with another trainer last week and he caught me making a fairly common mistake during my after action assessment:  When I’d scan the area behind me, I was moving my head and eyes but I wasn’t really ‘seeing’.  I was just going through the motions.  We catch students doing that all the time.


A proper scan involves many sub-tasks dealing with weapon handling, how we move, when we perform reloads and what kind, etc.  Here, I want to focus (no pun intended) mainly on some of the visual issues of an after action assessment.


So, you’ve just won a fight to your front.  Either the Threat has changed his mind because you won the psychological fight or you’ve had to convince him by shooting him.  He’s down and no longer presents a threat or he’s running away.  What do you do now?


First, remember the Plus One Rule:  If you see one BG, assume there are two; if you see two BG’s, assume there are three; etc., etc.


You’re very probably experiencing tunnel vision so your peripheral vision will be greatly reduced.  I hate to categorically say ‘you absolutely will experience’ ANY of the common physiological responses to stress, but here I’m tempted.  Leaving stress completely out of the equation, the act of focusing on the sights is alone enough to cause some perceptual narrowing.


Tunnel vision is so common and so dangerous we put duct tape on the outer third of each lens of your shooting glasses to force you to deal with the effect during training.  Students are universally bothered by the tape when they’re not on the firing line.  But, not one student has reported being aware of the tape DURING a drill.


Tunnel vision is sometimes called ‘perceptual narrowing’ which does a better job of describing the problem.   And it doesn’t take stress to cause it.  A hard visual focus on something can cause tunnel vision.


If you’re in a stressful or dangerous situation, keep your head on a swivel.  Like a fighter pilot.


So, you’re moving your head.  Good.  Now slow down and actually see.  Don’t move your eyes faster than they can process what they’re sweeping over.  I can’t stress enough how important this is.  One of the tricks we use in defensive firearm classes to train the student to slow down and process is to have other students behind the firing line hold index cards with various words, numbers or shapes printed on them.   Not up, but down where hands are normally held.  The student on the line then has to call out what he sees in the hands of the students at his 3, 6 and 9 o’clock positions as he makes his scan.  He should not perform any non-emergency reload until he’s completed the scan and can say for certain there are no other fights imminent.

What door?

Several years ago I was moving through a shoot house at a tactical seminar and confronted with two danger areas:  An open window to my right and a hallway to my left.  I was so busy moving my visual and mental focus from those two obvious danger areas, right and left, that I completely missed seeing the not-so-obvious door in the middle of the wall directly in front of me.  It is SO easy to miss otherwise obvious details because you’re focused on something else.


Check this out (a very important point is made at the 2:48 mark):

You can read more about the phenomenon here:

Inattentional blindness


Back to our problem…

If you see someone during your scan, first look at the whole person.  Every person will fit into one of four categories:

Category 1 =  Friend

Category 2 = Neutral

Category 3 = Threat

Category 4 = Possible (threat)


‘Friends’ are people you know that can and will help you.  That includes those you actually know and those you can categorize as ‘Friends’ by their uniform, actions, etc.  I may not know you, but when you take your place on the line and lock your shield to mine, we’re friends.


‘Neutrals’ describes the vast majority of people (sheep) and may include people you actually know and call friends but who cannot / will not help you.  They just get in the way.


Category 3 is easy.  Category 4 presents a problem.


When categorizing people, be cautious about taking drastic steps based on individual pieces of information, whether that information is in the form of appearance or behavior.  Remember to look at the whole person.  If someone you don’t recognize is shooting AT you or running AT you with a contact weapon, etc., that probably means something.  But, not all strangers with guns are Bad People.

An important point

You may have difficulty recognizing people you know.  The eyes are working but there’s no comprehension.  I have seen people fail to recognize actual real life friends and co-workers during training scenarios where the stress level was presumably less than during a real incident.  Be careful.

Put yourself in their shoes

Should you decide to get involved in someone else’s problem, here’s a recommendation:  BEFORE you approach a Friend or other Good Guy/Girl this stressed, first call them by name [if you know it] and then say yours.  ‘Pat, it’s me, Steve!’  These three pieces of information – the sound of your voice, the fact you know their name, and your name – should help them mentally connect the dots and put you in Cat 1.


I know it sounds bizarre, but this is not an uncommon phenomenon.  Be prepared in case they don’t recognize you.  

Another One Day Basic Defense Shotgun?

In response to the write up of our last BDS, I’ve had a few inquiries about when we’ll do another.  That depends on you.  Any interest in a one day BDS?

.38 S&W Special Ammunition Available

Just got a call from Schofield’s ACE Hardware in Florence.  They recently received a shipment of 4K rounds of .38 Special ammunition (Blazer, 158 LRN), selling at $30 / 50.


Also in:  1K rounds of .357 Magnum, selling at $35 / 50.


.38 Special ammunition has been very hard to find lately so consider getting some now if you intend to take a CWP class.  We require a maximum of 100 rounds for a CWP class, although you can get by with less.  Minimum is 50 rounds for the qualification course.


They’ve also got mil-spec AR mags at a good price.


Any questions, call 843-669-6393.

Reserving a Spot / Deposits / Cancellations

We’re changing our policy regarding deposits and class cancellations.  For our classes at Lake Darpo, you probably know we have to arrange for the use of both the Darlington County Sheriff’s Office range and the Darlington County Recreation Department’s (DCRD) cabin.  In both cases we compete with others for that space.   So, when we reserve a weekend,  we’re impacting other people that may want the cabin or range but got in line behind us.


DCRD has a policy that they be notified of cancellations at least two weeks before the requested date(s) or the requester loses their deposit.   Over the years, we’ve had to occasionally cancel a class at the last minute and DCRD has been very generous with us, because of our non-profit status, and returned our deposit even though we were within the two week period and they could have kept it.  In return, we’ve been very generous in returning deposits of students who have cancelled at the last minute.  If it doesn’t cost us anything, we’re not going to charge you anything.


Due to the ammunition situation, class cancellations are becoming more common and I don’t want to lose the goodwill we’ve developed with the DCRD.  No problems so far; I’m just being proactive.


Here’s the new policy:

If you want to seat in a class, you need to get me a deposit.  If I don’t get a deposit from you, I’m assuming you’re not coming.  That applies to everyone.  If I don’t have the required number of deposits when I reach the two week mark, I’m cancelling the class then and notifying DCRD and the DSCO in case others want to use either facility.  


This doesn’t mean that ALL reservations must be received more than two weeks before a class date.  It means I’m making the GO or NO GO decision for that class based on deposits I’ve received by the two week date.   If you find yourself suddenly able to attend a class inside the two week window, bu all means contact me.  IF the class is meeting and IF there’s room available, I’ll gladly reserve a spot for you once I receive your deposit.


Obviously, if your situation changes and you have to drop out prior to the two week deadline, I’ll refund your payment or apply it to a future class, your choice.  After that, refunds will be decided on a case by case basis.


Again, this isn’t meant to be punitive to our students.  DCRD has a policy (for a reason) and this is what we have to do to operate within it.


Thanks for your understanding.  If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.

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