Monday, October 20, 2008
8:25 pm edt
There are a LOT of things you can start doing immediately that will make your time away from home
safer. Here are just a few quick tips on the matter.
*Be alert and attentive while unlocking your vehicle
and getting in- this is a great time for an ambush, from a criminal perspective.
*Check the rear seat or area of
your vehicle before getting in, and do a quick check to make sure your vehicle hasn't been tampered with.
your vehicle doors as soon as you get in- before you even start your engine.
*While driving, remain in "Condition
*Remember to always leave plenty of room between your car and the car
ahead of you when stop at a traffic light, to allow you to 'get out of Dodge' as fast as possible in case something
happens. Remember- it's always better to get out of the situation altogether than to have to get out of a fight.
*Try to never allow yourself to become "boxed in" between cars. There's a big difference between having to
jump a curb and having to push a car out of the way. Stay out of the middle lane if you're going through 3 lanes of traffic
that could stop.
*If someone cuts you off or honks at you, just let it go. It's not a big deal! Yes- they are
probably ignorant jerks, but don't even react. Just go about your business.
*Be VERY attentive at traffic lights
and stop signs- even in rural areas. These are perfect ambush points- so be ready, and don't linger any longer than you
*Always be polite and extra courteous to other drivers. Pause for a moment to let people enter the roadway
in front of you in thick traffic, and slow down to let people merge in front of you. Smile and use hand signals to communicate,
and wave a "thanks" to those who let you in.
I'm not sure where the idea of "karma" came
from, but I've done a LOT of traveling on the USA roadways, and I can sure tell you that on the road- what goes around
Being polite and forgiving can save from road-rage altercations, but it can't help against carjackers.
Remember what I said about Condition Yellow!!
Sunday, October 19, 2008
3:52 pm edt
When I close for occasional weekends, I am working for YOU!
3:48 pm edt
My instructor, 9th degree black belt Lee Wedlake has been a black belt for
over 30 yrs. A member of Mensa, Lee has authored 6 books with the 7th soon to be released. He was a competitive IPSC hand
gun shooter and has trained at the famed ESI body guard school. He also has a love of flying and is an FAA certified flight
instructor and Major in the Florida Civil Air Patrol and is now the director of Standards and Evaluation for all the
200+ CAP pilots in the state.
I share this with you so that you know where the level of
expertise I give my student come from and why I take some weekends off. I am proud to have Mr. Wedlake as my instructor and
friend and families friend. My wife Debbie tested for her purple belt in Lee's school "3 weeks" before Rachel
was born. Rachel and Joshua spent a great deal of time in Lee's Fort Myers school. I would teach or attend class with
babies in tow, diapers in my karate bag and them sleeping in back or bonding with others so I could pursue my kenpo training.
Read Mr. Wedlake's latest blog below. I am mentioned and you will have a better understanding why I do what I do.
Know it all? by Lee Wedlake Oct 08'
I was over at
Mike Squatrito's Gulf Coast Kenpo in
Cape Coral today. He had asked me to go over the Staff Set with him. This got me thinking about how people often seem to think
that once they get to black, they don't need any more lessons.
I work with Mike periodically, and he does a
good job sharing what he learns with his students. I teach Kyle Zwarg and Rick Stone
at Kyle's studio in Ft. Myers. All my senior students, Steve White, Gary Ellis and Graham Lelliott
get on the mat with me, and have done so this year. Steve Hatfield in Ohio takes a lesson when I go there and showed up in
Chicago for a seminar this month, and he's a 6th degree. Two of my 5ths
participated in the recent Chicago seminar, they being Kurt Barnhart and Ed Bilski - and they do every time they can.
Ed Cabrera is at every PDS
I hold in Florida, so is Tim Walker. Keith Mathews in Georgia and Robert Wallace in South Carolina are working with me every
time I go to Keith's. 5th black Bruce Meyer in South Carolina is on the floor
at least once a year, usually more. Marc Sigle in Germany takes private lessons when
I see him in Esslingen and when he comes over here. One of my newest guys, Brian
Price, in Pennsylvania, takes some private time when I see him, too. So does Sam Babikian.
Lance Soares from Massachusetts and Tony Velada
from Chicago both come to Florida to train. And Australia's Jack Nilon spends
six months at a time here in Florida, working with the two local schools and taking private lessons with me.
people are second degree and higher, are direct students, and are not "sitting on their laurels". And I have people
such as Frank Shekosky in Connecticut, who takes a lesson when I go there even though
he's formally not a student of mine but he's looking for knowledge. Numerous others come to my seminars (you know
who you are), sometimes from long distances, all wanting to improve. My point is, they are not sitting, they make things happen.
They know they don't know it all, and neither do I. They keep me motivated to keep learning as well. After all, they're
chasing me. I'm glad I don't have to prod them - not like one student of mine who hadn't taken a Kenpo
lesson in almost two years and then left to open his own school. I'm proud of them, and I thank those who come to support
my seminars. There's a lot left to learn.
Friday, October 17, 2008
2:44 pm edt
The Basics of Marksmanship
|Getting hits on a target is easy to do once you know how to do it. Like any other control and
dexterity dependent skill, there is a proven and correct way to shoot a pistol. |
By Gabe Suarez
From Concealed Carry Magazine, July 2007
Getting hits on a target is
easy to do once you know how to do it. Like any other control and dexterity dependent skill, there is a proven and correct
way to shoot a pistol. I am not talking about bull's-eye shooting, although some of the skill involved in that discipline
also corresponds to tactical shooting. We are primarily interested in self-defense shooting. This means that we want the ability
to place solid hits on an adversary from a condition of unreadiness and under urgent time limits.
Before you can
expect to hit anything, there are some "hardware" issues that must be seen to. The ammunition must be capable of
an acceptable level of accuracy. This is not as much of a concern when using quality defensive ammunition, but it may be if
using more economical "training ammunition." Primarily, you must make certain that the pistol is zeroed correctly.
This simply means that the sights must be arranged in a way that they will coincide (visually) with the physical impact of
the bullet strike on target. There are hundreds of different types of sights, and to explain how to zero every particular
weapon would take a volume. For zeroing procedures, please refer to your weapons training manual or owner's manual. Don't
dismiss this part of the equation. Doing so will only lead to frustration.
There are several fundamentals to marksmanship.
They include: sight alignment, sight picture, trigger control, pistol grip, shooting stance, breath control and follow-through.
Of these seven, four are most important. It is these four which must be focused on by the tactical shooter. They are: sight
alignment, sight picture, trigger control, and follow through.
Sight alignment is the relation between the front sight, the rear sight, and the
shooter's eye. It is established by placing your visual focus on the front sight and aligning it with the rear sight (irrespective
of any target). The top of the front sight must be seen as level with the top of the rear sight. Additionally, you must see
equal amounts of light visible on both sides of the front sight as viewed through the rear sight notch. This describes perfect
vertical and horizontal alignment of the sights.
This is the sight alignment that we would always like to have.
Sometimes we will settle for less if the target is close enough. Generally, the closer the target is, the bigger it appears
and the less perfect your sight alignment must be. Conversely, the more distant target is or the smaller the target is at
close range, the greater the requirement for precision will be in the alignment of the sights. In practice, however, we must
always strive for perfect alignment.
Sight picture is the existing sight alignment as it is seen superimposed
on the target's center of mass. Center of Mass describes the central portion of the visible target. Now let me ask you something.
How many things can the human eye focus on at any one time? The human eye is similar to a camera; it can only focus on one
thing at a time. With regard to the sight picture, there are three things that we want to keep in alignment: the target, the
front sight, and the rear sight. Now imagine looking at these three points through a camera. If you focus the lens on the
front sight, you can still see the target well enough, although it appears somewhat out of focus in comparison to the front
sight. Additionally, you can still see the rear sight well enough, although it also appears slightly out of focus in comparison
to the front sight. By focusing in on the front sight, you can see both the target and the rear sight well enough in the peripheral
vision (although not as clear and focused as the front sight), so you are able to keep all three points in alignment. That
is the "secret" of sight picture. The more difficult the shot is (i.e., a distant target or small target), then
the more precise that sight picture must be. The visual and mental focus must always remain on the front sight.
very important aspect of the sight picture is whether you should close the non-dominant eye or keep both eyes open. The simple
fact of the matter is that most students that I've seen cannot focus on the front sight as well if both eyes are kept open.
If it's not an issue for you, then don't worry about it. If you find it difficult to focus on the front sight with both eyes,
then you must close one eye. But which one? We all have one eye that is more "dominant" than the other. That eye
is the one that you want to use for sighting. For most shooters, their dominant eye is on the same side as their dominant
hand. In other words, a right-handed shooter will most likely have his dominant eye on his right side, and so on. Some shooters
are cross eye dominant, i.e., right-handed and left eye dominant, or vice versa.
|Here is how you find out which eye is dominant:
Make a small "OK" signal with your primary hand, and look at a target through the opening with both eyes open. Now
close the eye that is opposite of your primary hand. If the target disappeared from view, your support side eye is dominant.
If it did not disappear from view, your primary side eye is dominant.|
If your primary side eye is dominant, you
simply close the support side eye when focusing on the front sight. If your dominant eye is on the support side, you have
Either close the eye that is opposite of your primary side and learn to sight
with the non-dominant eye, or close that non-dominant eye and modify the shooting position slightly by angling the head slightly
to allow the support side eye access to the sights.
Some of you who may have been schooled to keep both eyes open,
take notice. The non-dominant eye is only shut off for fractions of seconds while the shots are fired. Therefore, you are
not missing anything in your immediate surroundings. Secondly, the reason given for not closing one eye is that you may need
it to see things around you. This is hardly a combat reality. If a hostile man is standing in front of you and intent on killing
you, then to survive and win, you must do him before he does you. In such instances, do you really think you will be looking
around with your non-dominant eye for other adversaries? Of course not! You will be too busy with the problem at hand to worry
about other potential problems out there somewhere.
Here is the sequence of events: Your eyes are initially focused
on the target, specifically on the center of mass. The pistol is raised up into the line of sight between the eye and the
target. The non-dominant eye is closed to allow the dominant eye to focus better on the front sight. The sight alignment is
verified by bringing the visual focus to the front sight, as seen through the rear sight notch, and as the two points of reference
are aligned on the target's center of mass. As the eye focuses clearly on the front sight, the rear sight and the target will
be visible in the foreground and background, but they will be slightly out of focus. You must see the front sight with crystal
clarity and sharp enough focus to be able to count the serrations on it. Moreover, you must concentrate your mental focus
on that front sight to the exclusion of all else around you. (More on this later, grasshopper!) This keeps the pistol on target.
Trigger control is the third fundamental, and probably the most important. Proper trigger control allows the shooter
to fire a shot without disturbing the sight picture. The trigger must be pressed smoothly to the rear, without any disturbance
of the sight picture until the pressure suffices and the pistol discharges. Two key elements to this are the finger placement
and the surprise break.
Correct finger placement on the trigger is dependent upon the type of trigger you are operating.
The placement should allow you to press straight to the rear without any lateral divergence in pressure. Placing too much
of the finger, or conversely, not placing enough of the finger on the trigger will cause your shots to string laterally on
the target. Such extremes in placement will cause you to exert pressure to the side as well as the rear, with poor results
|Naturally, some triggers
are easier to operate than others, but all can be managed with enough training. With Colt/Browning single-action triggers,
the area of the first pad of the finger seems to work best. When using a Glock pistol, the area between the pad and the first
joint will allow you the best control. Finally, if you are using a double-action pistol, you must place much more finger on
the trigger in order to provide the leverage necessary to operate the heavier trigger. For these shooters, the area just above
the first joint will work the best.|
Before we discuss the actual operation of the trigger, I want to discuss our
physiology. We are still hard-wired like our caveman ancestors.
They were fairly good at caving heads in with stones
and such, and our brains don't work any different today.
The result is that it is unnatural for us to experience a small explosion
out there at the end of our hand. That is precisely what happens when we shoot, right? Invariably, our subconscious minds
want us to flinch, close our eyes, and do all manner of silly things in anticipation of the forthcoming BIG BANG. This creates
all manner of problems with marksmanship. Not to worry, however; we can easily get around this by allowing the shot to surprise
When operating the trigger, the shooter applies smooth and constant pressure to the trigger until eventually
and almost unintentionally the pressure is sufficient to break the trigger. This is called a surprise break. Pressing the
trigger in this manner may be likened to using an eye-dropper. Think of the process involved. You align the dropper above
your eye, you get the proper sight picture by focusing on the end of the eye-dropper; and finally, you gradually begin increasing
pressure until one drop forms and falls into the eye by surprise. If you force the drop out by mashing the eye-dropper, you
will flinch, close the eye, and get the eye-drops everywhere except in your eye. The same process applies to operating the
trigger on a pistol. First, align the sights with the target and establish an appropriate sight picture. Next, focus visually
on the front sight while building constant, smooth pressure on the trigger until the pistol eventually fires by surprise.
Of paramount importance is that the break of the trigger is not specifically expected by the shooter. He knows that
it is going to go, and he is continuing the constant pressure on the trigger, but he does not know the exact instant when
it will break. The trigger must break almost unintentionally. If the shooter anticipates the break or forces it to occur,
he will invariably bear down reflexively on the weapon and flinch at the final moment. This will cause the shot to go errant.
Remember when I said that the human eye could only focus on one specific thing at a time? Well, when under stress,
the human mind is much the same way. If you focus your mental and visual attention on the top edge of the front sight while
you operate the trigger, that is where will your thoughts will be when that trigger pressure is enough to cause the gun to
fire. Your attention will be on the front sight, and not on the small explosion that happens. That is how you experience a
surprise break, but most people do not understand this.
In a combative situation, you will not have an open-ended
time interval in which to press the trigger so very carefully. However, this does not invalidate or change the process. Go
back to the eye-dropper analogy. Those of you who put drops in your eyes on a daily basis know that it becomes quite easy
as you get used to the procedure. As you become accomplished at using the eye-dropper, you do not require the lengthy time
interval to align, focus and press. On the contrary, in happens very quickly due to practice. Operating the trigger on a pistol
is the same. Through perfect practice and programming, you will operate the trigger in the same fashion as with the surprise
break, but you will do it in less time. This called the compressed surprise break.
Follow-through is the fourth
fundamental, which is often ignored. Follow Through is controlling the pistol and the trigger after the trigger breaks (and
fires the shot) in order to avoid disturbing the alignment of the pistol. When the trigger breaks, maintain your focus on
the front sight, and keep finger contact on the trigger as you hold it to the rear. When actually firing a shot, you will
visually lose the front sight momentarily on recoil. Regain front sight focus immediately, as soon as the recoils dissipates.
Additionally, do not release the trigger until the recoil cycle is complete. Maintain finger contact on the trigger and hold
it to the rear as the shot is fired. Release it only after you have refocused on the front sight. Even then, only release
the trigger far enough to reset it. After the trigger release begins, you will eventually notice a slight click. This is the
disconnector resetting the trigger. This is as far as you need to go in order to fire a second shot. Allowing the trigger
to move any further forward increases the recovery time between shots.
The ability to fire an additional controlled
shot is extremely important in a tactical situation. Except for special circumstances, such as single, precise head shots,
you will usually fire twice. The reasons for this are to enhance the damage on the target, as well as to insure at least one
hit in stressful situations that may cause missed shots.
The way to fire that second shot quickly is to release
the trigger only far enough to reset it via the disconnector device in each pistol. The trigger will be reset when you hear
the audible (and feel the tactile) click as you begin to release. At this point, refocus on the front sight as you did for
the first shot. Simply begin the pressure build-up with the trigger finger again. You must experience a second surprise break
for the second shot. This is called a controlled pair. Each of the two shots is a controlled, individual shot. Each of the
two shots requires a separate sight picture and a separate surprise break, even if executed very quickly.
are the Secrets of Marksmanship. Study them well as they are the keys to hitting. In the end, they are the keys to your survival.
Gabriel Suarez is an internationally recognized trainer and lecturer in the field of civilian personal defense.
He has written over a dozen books and taught courses in several countries.
Suarez International, Inc.
303 E. Gurley St., Ste. 461
Prescott, AZ 86301 USA
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
9:59 am edt
"Restaurant Safety: How to stay safe out and about..."
October 6th, 2008
know, one subject that is discussed frequently
on our internet-forum is how to stay safe while
you're out and
If you're in a bank or other place that could be
targeted for robbery, you must always remain
heightened level of alertness so that you can spot
threats before they act. This will give
to evade, or if you absolutely cannot, to prepare
for a life-threatening encounter.
Even when you're not in a high-risk area, it is
still very important to remain alert and aware
your surroundings- remember: Crime can (and
does) happen anywhere and everywhere.
Perfect examples of this
are the mall and church
shootings that we have seen in the recent past.
These are two places where it is easy to
relatively safe, and it can be difficult to keep
your guard up.
One of the places where I feel
the most vulnerable
is in a restaurant. Luckily, there are some simple
step that we can take to
give us as much advantage as possible!
First, when looking for a table, try to find one
near an exit,
but one that still gives you a good
view of the entry door and cash-acceptance area.
It's always best
to try to sit in such a way so
that the person entering the building won't get a
good look at you unless he
or she turns their
Criminals tend to have heightened senses of
right before they're about
to rob a place- so if they caught your 'sheepdog'
glance, there's a good
chance they might get
If that made them turn around and walk out-
awesome. But if
it marks you as their first
target- not awesome. I'm of the mindset that
better to AVOID being on the criminals
radar alltogether if at all possible.
Once you have your table, try
to position yourself
so your back is against a wall- preferably not a
glass window. With your back
to a wall, you can
always know for absolute certain that there is
nobody sneaking up behind you.
that you're sitting in a position that will
allow you to be as effective and safe as possible,
there is another
practice you can use that most
people never think of- talking quietly!
easy to learn a LOT of information
about someone by listening to their conversations
from another table or booth-
even from across the
Criminals (like sheepdogs) already have an
uncanny ability to pinpoint
who in an establishment
owns which vehicle in the parking lot- and that
alone will give them lots of information
So why give them any more than necessary?
Seat yourself or your group wisely,
and talk quietly
amongst yourselves. Do these things and you'll be
increasing your security at a restaurant
and bounds over the average joe!
Be safe, friend!
Tim Schmidt USCCA - Founder
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