Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Right to Keep and Bear Arms

I've been discussing firearms lately because skill with weapons makes up a vital part of Christian Martialism. This, of course, presupposes a right to keep and bear arms (RKBA).

Before I get into a discussion of the RKBA, it would probably be a good idea to establish a working definition for the word right. Much to the consternation of both the secular humanists and the conservative constitutionalists, I am going to depart from both current and historical usage.

Today people claim a lot of things as a "right". Indigents have a "right" to food stamps. Illegal aliens claim the "right" to collect Social Security. The ignorant and unlearned claim their "right" to a college diploma. The list could go on, but you get the point.

Many of today's rights-so-called belong to the category of entitlements. That is, Congress passes legislation that says a person is entitled to certain benefits. There are two things wrong with this.

First, a congressional entitlement grants people access to benefits that Scripture says they're not entitled to. Entitlement programs are funded by legalized plunder. (If you're not familiar with the term "legalized plunder", you need to read Frederic Bastiat's The Law.) They violate the statute, "Thou shalt not steal."

Second, even if you could find a Congressional entitlement not funded through theft, it would still not be a true right. This is because if Congress can give you a right, then Congress can take that same right away. This constitutes a radical departure from the historical position of rights as inalienable, ESPECIALLY by civil government.

This brings me to the traditional/historical view of rights. Conservative constitutionalists often appeal to Thomas Jefferson's words in the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Although an epistemologically self-conscious Christian (if you don't know what that means, email me & I'll send you a reading list) will dispute the claim that truths are self-evident, that's not where I want to focus my attention at this point. Jefferson says the Creator has endowed us with certain rights that cannot be taken away. On a superficial level, I agree with his words, but on a deeper level I cannot agree with their meaning.

Specifically, I disagree with the meaning that Jefferson attached to the word Creator. While Thomas Jefferson may not have fit the classical definition of Deist, he was certainly a proto-unitarian. He denied the deity of Christ, and in private correspondence he likened inspired Scripture to pile of manure.

Jefferson's god was not the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ as presented in the Bible. And because his view of God was wrong, his view of inalienable rights was skewed. Jefferson's false god is not the God presented in Holy Scripture, and Jefferson's god is not the source of the individual's rights.

If the God of Scripture is the source of our rights, then we must look to Scripture rather than to "self-evident truths" to define those rights. As a result, our views will differ from Jefferson's. A major case in point is that an explicitly Christian nation -- one consistent with Biblical worldview & precepts -- would recognize no right to hold public office by one who -- like Jefferson -- denied Christ's divine nature.

Before I take this any further, I want to make sure that you fully understand my presuppositions in this matter. I think this might best be accomplished by answering the trick question: In America, what is the "supreme law of the land"?

If you answered that question by saying, "The US Constitution," you & I are on different pages. I have wholeheartedly committed to the position that the revealed Word of the living God as found in the 39 books of the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New Testament is the one supreme Law of every land. (I told you it was a trick question, but it is the Enlightenment Conservatives who have tricked you into believing in the supremacy of a merely human document.) The commands of God overrule any and every lesser authority.

Now that you better know where I'm coming from, we can tackle the question of just exactly what constitutes an absolute right that no human authority can take away. At this juncture, the answer becomes very simple:

No human institution has the authority to prevent you from doing what God requires.

That is to say, you have an absolute right to do whatever God commands. If any human government would prevent you from doing so, it is in the wrong. And
to remain faithful to your heavenly King, you must defy it at that very point. You should defy it with grace and due respect, but defy it you must.

This leads to the truth that, in some respects, institutional authority is inversely proportional to individual rights. Since all authority comes from God (Romans 13:1, ff.), legitimate authority ends where the individual's God-given rights begin. No human government has authority to make you disobey God.

This puts me in mind of Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah who asserted their rights over and against the the king's vaunted authority to enforce false worship.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up." (Daniel 3:16-18)

Their resistance to the king did not spring from some mythical "freedom of religion". Their right to worship God alone was rooted in His Law:

Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me. (Exodus 20:4-5)

In like manner, you must not look for the rationale for speaking your mind in some nebulous "freedom of expression" granted by some nebulous god. You will, rather find it in our Lord's commands to speak the truth (Ephesians 4:15) and to proclaim His Word. When the powers that be tried to muzzle the apostles, they asserted their right to preach the Gospel on the basis of God's authority:

Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, "We ought to obey God rather than men." (Acts 5:29)

The difference between the apostolic assertion of right based on God's Law and the Jeffersonian version based on natural-law theory can be seen in the fruits. Natural law has led our nation to conclude that pornographers have freedom to express their perversions equal to -- or greater than -- the freedom you have to proclaim the truth of Christ. If you take God at His word, however, you must not acknowledge that peddlers of filth possess any such right (Exodus 20:14; Matthew 5:28).

Take another example: home education. For almost a generation, some Christian parents have tried to assert their right to educate their own children. Many appeal to "freedom of religion" as the foundation of that right. There are two things wrong with this: 1) God recognizes no such "freedom"; 2) They are looking for their rights in "self-evident" natural law instead of in the Word of God.

The Lord of Heaven has declared:

And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates. (Deuteronomy 6:6-9)

And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4)

Parents have a right to keep their sons and daughters out of the secular humanist schools because God holds them accountable for the souls of His covenant children. He commands parents to rear them in His discipline and counsel.

Several years ago, I sat in the office of a school district superintendent in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. He had brought truancy charges against my wife and me that carried penalties and court costs of $28,000. I told him that I wanted to be a good citizen and I recognized his station as a public official.

I also told him that I would do whatever I could to satisfy him, as long as it did not involve either asking his permission or accepting his oversight in the education of my children. He replied, "Well that's the whole thing." He was right; as long as I acknowledged Christ as King and Lord over my family, I could not in any way surrender to the state's lordship claims respecting my children's education.

I told the superintendent that if he seized all my assets, it would not cover the penalties levied against me. I further told him that I didn't want to go to jail, but that I would do so before I turned my daughters over to the him. In the end, this nominal Roman Catholic and thoroughgoing humanist expressed respect for our convictions.

That's more than we received from the evangelical community in general and Christian homeschoolers in particular. They complied with the rules, which they thought were minimally intrusive, and they didn't want us to rock the boat. We often heard the rebuke, "Render to Caesar . . . ." They tended, however to leave out the rest of the verse. Here it is in its entirety:

And Jesus answering said unto them, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." And they marvelled at him. (Mark 12:17)

Now, what belongs to Caesar, to civil government? Nothing more nor less than the parameters of authority granted to him/it by God. On the other hand, what belongs to God? EVERYTHING, including Caesar. And also including our children.

Civil authority has no autonomous claim on us. It has no legitimate interest in our lives or our families' that is independent of God. The question is, How does this relate to the RKBA?

Continued in "The Right to Keepa and Bear Arms, 2"

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Friday, May 30, 2008

Guns 'n' Knives, 2

There are some really good questions coming into the "comments" section. The danger here is that people will think I'm some kind of expert. I'm not. I have moderate experience in the areas I write about, and I've read & thought about some of these topics for a long time. But I'm not an expert -- not really.

That said, let's see if I can field a couple of questions without getting myself into trouble. Stephen Boyd writes:

I have heard a lot recently about "double taps". Some folks say that you should pull the trigger as fast as you can, and others say that you s[h]ould train yourself to re-obtain your sight picture, before pulling the trigger the second time.

Stephen, I'd say that in a lethal encounter, only shots on target count. If you can hit your target with a fast double-tap, then do so. If you can't, then take whatever fraction of a second you need to realign. Although I'm thinking that this would be less of an issue using the P&S method, only a trip to the range and some actual practice will tell you what's right for you.

drpaleophd asks about a particular gun disarm:

Do you read Black Belt magazine? Because in the current issue there is an article on disarming a gunman about 9 ft away from you, using what they call the crescent attack method.

From my short time in Shito Ryu karate, I know the crescent walk and the crescent kick, but I'm not familiar with the crescent attack. If you can send me a link to information about it, I'd be glad to look at it.

My first reaction, however, is that the whole idea gives me the shivers. If you think it would work, though, why not get someone to help you practice it. After you think you've got the moves down, give your helper an airsoft or other soft pellet gun. If you can disarm him before he shoots you, then you'll know it works. (Even with soft pellets, eye protection would be a good idea)

There were some questions about knives & knife courses, that I'll have to address in another post.

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Point Shooting: Grasping the Weapon, 3

Continued from "Point Shooting: Grasping the Weapon, 2"

My last post on this topic generated a lot of questions, comments & off-blog correspondence. All more positive than I expected. Although Emil Bandy tried the method & finds it uncomfortable for him, I appreciate his thoughtful comments & questions. He says:

I have tried dry firing my 1911 in the way you described....

As soon as I saw that, I said to myself, "How cool!" Here's a young guy with his own .45. Emil, if you read this, bow your head & thank God for your parents (I certainly do), who value you so much as to let you own a 1911 Gov't Model.

Emil also asks the question:

Also, isn't it true that you will lose some control of your weapon if you remove one of your fingers from the front of the grip?

Instead of answering that question myself, I'm going to refer you to a link that I just came across yesterday (thanks to dlr). The website Point Shooting is dedicated to P&S (point & shoot), and it promotes an ingenious aid to the point shooting method. Anyone interested in the relative stability of the point & shoot grip should read "The P&S Grip is a Very Strong Grip"

As I mentioned, I did not originate any of this. I just put together various elements out there that seem to make sense to me. I'm actually happy to be able to direct Christian Martialists to resources that feature real experts. The Point Shooting site has loads of material by said experts. If you have any interest in point shooting (pistol or rifle) I'd recommend you spend some time there.

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Monday, May 26, 2008

Guns 'n' Knives

Weapons training (guns 'n' knives) can sometimes foster a false mindset. Witness this conversation to which any number of martial artists has been subjected:

Inquirer: I heard you study jujitsu (karate, tae kwan do, hap ki do, kung fu, whatever).

Martial Artist: Yes, are you interested in training?

Inq: Nah. You can't chop a .45 (.38, .357, 9mm) slug out of the air.

MA: So, you're saying your handgun is more effective than any martial arts skills?

Inq: ***** right!

MA: Then, you must own a .45 (.38, .357, 9mm)?

Inq: Yes, I do.

MA: Cool! May I see it?

Inq: It's at home (in the truck, car, etc).

The Christian Martialist trains with guns 'n' knives because someday he may have to use them to defend himself or others. Don't let that training, however, lull you into the assumption that orcs will only attack with weapons when you're equally armed. This ain't romanticized medieval Christendom, and that orc definitely ain't Sir Galahad.

Some gun gurus say that your weapon should never be more than an arm's length away (including in the shower, on the beach, etc.). And a very few dedicated pistoleros have managed it. If you're not among them, however, you need to think about how -- open handed -- you'd deal with an armed assailant.

I've previously posted a "Pistol Disarm" article which many of you have read. More needs to be said about facing someone with a firearm. The same goes for the knife.

In the upcoming WARSKYL conference, if there's time, I plan to address the issue of open handedly facing an orc who has a knife. And, time permitting, there will be practical drills for a very common type of blade attack (not the overhand, ice-pick attack you see in the movies).

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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Odds 'n' Ends

My StatCounter tells me that in the last 30 days there have been well over 500 hits on WARSKYL. My thanks to all you regulars -- Christian Martialist Sheepdogs (& other interested parties).

New arrivals to WARSKYL should consider checking out the favorite posts at the right of the page. They'll help give you a background to what Christian Martialism is all about. BTW, I'm still open to suggestions for that favorites category.

I am making progress on the workbook I plan to make available at the WARSKYL conference. It will be a syllabus/work-text of the material presented. Still no date set; I'll keep you posted.

HELP! A sudden and unplanned relocation 10 years ago interrupted my regular martial arts practice. I've had a few off-and-on practice partners over the past decade, but no one able to commit long-term. Here's where my readers may be able to help me.

I know that I have several more people who frequent my blog than ever make comments. And I'm also certain I must have some visitors from upstate South Carolina. I'm wondering if anyone close to my area (Possum Kingdom -- South Greenville County, near Belton) is interested in meeting with with me once or twice a week to practice martial arts & practical self defense/cqc.

I'd be willing to meet with an individual, couple or family. If you have M.A experience & are willing to bear with an old guy who's out of shape and out of practice, that's great. If you have no experience, but would like to learn some new skills (as I reacquire mine), that's great, too.

I know many people are a little shy about posting public comments, so if you have an interest or know someone in my region who might have an interest, you can email me at:

gravelbelly@gmail.com

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Friday, May 23, 2008

Fight Like Granny

"You fight like your granny," is probably not usually considered a compliment. Unless your granny fights like the ol' gal in this video clip:

Fight Like Granny

Remember, the fight is 95% mindset & 5% technique.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Point Shooting: Grasping the Weapon, 2

Continued from "Point Shooting: Grasping the Weapon"

I have pieced together this method from various sources. W.E. Fairbairn laid the classic groundwork for point shooting in Shooting to Live. Then there's the off-vertical orientation of the handgun so popular in the gangsta culture. Finally, there's something my barber suggested which I've added to the mix.

Since I am not an expert pistolero, instead of telling you how to hold your weapon, I want to suggest that you try an experiment. In "Point Shooting Revisited", I asked that you point your index finger naturally at an object across the room or outside the window. If you're like me, the back of your hand will align somewhere between horizontal and a 45-degree angle to the floor.

Point with your arm extended straight in front of you, at eye level.

Now, while pointing in a safe direction, take your UNLOADED handgun (always check) and place it in the hand that's pointing. Leave your index finger outside the trigger guard. If you have a large autoloader (like the Model 1911), that finger should line up with (but not touch) the lower edge of the slide.

With your index finger parallel to the barrel, the weapon points wherever you point your finger. You are now taking advantage of the hand-eye coordination that, from infancy, has become second nature. In this position, your middle finger becomes the trigger finger. Try dry firing your UNLOADED weapon (check!) this way.

Now take it to the range and fire a few rounds. Just keep your index finger off the slide to avoid injury (although in a real gunfight, I suppose a boo-boo finger is a fair tradeoff for your life). I've found that using the index finger to point helps my accuracy in point shooting, and when I point my finger, wrist alignment becomes automatic.

Welcome to the off-vertical ,digital indicator method of grasping a handgun -- also known as gangsta-plus.

If you get a chance to try this at the range, let me know how it works out for you. Does it seem more natural, or do you have too much unlearning to do? Does it extend the functional range at which you can point-shoot accurately? What works for me may not work for you. As I said, I'm no expert.

Continued in "Point Shooting: Grasping the Weapon, 3"

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Monday, May 19, 2008

Point Shooting: Grasping the Weapon

Continued from "Point Shooting Revisited, 3"

In Point Shooting (VHS), the declassified Army training film, there is a sequence on the differences between the proper way to grasp the revolver & the Model 1911 . The trainers emphasize the necessity of proper wrist alignment for accurate fire. This is an absolute must if one holds the weapon in the traditional orientation -- grip perpendicular to the ground.

This is how our trainers and our heroes, from Gene Autrey to Dirty Harry, have conditioned us to hold a handgun. But I remember a training session in which the trainer (a PA State Trooper) held his weapon upside down and hit the 10-ring on the target. His point was that, as long as the sights were aligned, the orientation of the weapon did not matter.

This little fact means that the traditional orientation of the weapon is as unnecessary as it is unnatural. The unnatural way we were taught to hold a handgun makes compensatory wrist realignment a necessity. And in the stress of battle, such learned traits may disintegrate entirely.

Although handgunning is not my forte, I would like to suggest another method of grasping the weapon when engaged in point shooting. I'll describe it in "Point Shooting: Grasping the Weapon, 2".

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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Movie Fights

ME: Tell me, O Master Warrior, can I truly learn anything from watching movie fights?

MASTER WARRIOR: Yes, Clodhopper. You can learn choreography.

Movie fights are not generally like real fights. If you recall the "Sucker Punch" series, you realize that real life confrontations are usually abrupt, brief and brutal. And whoever hits first, wins.

Movie fights are scripted for entertainment, not to instruct you in self defense. Like professional wrestling, they present exhibitions that showcase the participants' slick moves. You have to comb through a mountain of old films to find anything that resembles real fighting.

A favorite fight scene from my childhood came from the movie Bad Day at Black Rock, starring Spencer Tracy as a one-armed WWII vet. In it, he absolutely destroys the bully played by Ernest Borgnine. It's not all that realistic (especially the final windmill throw), but I like it because Tracy's character uses some actual WWII combat techniques -- notably, the judo chop or edge of hand blow.

Here's the link:

Bad Day at Black Rock Fight

Another fanciful feature of that fight is that Spencer Tracy keeps waiting for Ernest Borgnine to attack him rather than finishing the fight. Some people might think that's the fair and honorable thing to do, but if orcs were fair and honorable, you wouldn't have to defend yourself in the first place. In a street situation you must quickly neutralize the threat to a degree sufficient enough to make a safe escape.

Recently, lt (who is my barber and my friend) sent me a link to a fight scene from Cloak and Dagger. It's a spy thriller from the 1940's starring Gary Cooper. Fritz Lang, the director, did not shoot a fight scene like one you'd see in today's action movies.

There are no wide, looping punches, nothing really slick or impressive. Just two men, struggling to kill each other with their bare hands (okay, there's a gun and a knife, but they don't really come into play). It's gritty and nasty and brutal, and it has more realistic elements than the fight in Bad Day at Black Rock.

Here's the link to the video clip:

Cloak and Dagger fight


Whoever scripted this scene also knew something about WWII combatives. The Tiger Claw to the eyes came straight from W.E. Fairbairn's Get Tough. So did Gary Cooper's use of the Judo Chop (Edge of Hand Blow). The bending fingers, stomping and kicking give the impression of desperate men looking for any opening to take the other out.

It's not neat or slick or pretty, but real fights aren't, either. The drama comes not from cinematically appealing techniques, but from the desperate, anything-goes, life-or-death struggle itself. I do question whether the two-hand front choke would be the real fight ender, since there are so many ways to break free. On the other hand, fighting mano a mano is exhausting, and it's possible that whoever runs out of gas first has nothing left to make even an elementary escape.

ME: What do you think of movie fights now, O Master Warrior.

(Master Warrior feints a kick to the groin, and when I flinch, he delivers a dope-slap to my head.)

MASTER WARRIOR: I think you need to spend less time watching movies and more time practicing, Clodhopper.

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Friday, May 16, 2008

Mental Toughness, 5

Continued from "Mental Toughness, 4"

Major Konstantin Komarov (Russian Special Operations) has written about the need for high pressure (stress) in training. This observation follows the story of how . . . .

The remaining content of this post along with the other posts on Mental Toughness now appear in the e-book How To Cultivate the Christian Martialist Mindset. It is available as part of Gravelbelly's COMBAT PREP PACK.

. . . can be destructive of endurance, mentally and physically.

Continued in "Mental Toughness, 6"

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Knee Spike

Continued from "Palm Heel Chin Jab"
Today I have a link to a video that will show you how perform a knee spike. It comes from Ted Truscott's Defend Yourself 101 page. Warning: Tattoo Girl practices with a bare midriff. Depending on your family's specific sensitivity & values regarding these things, a parent may wish to preview the video.



I've picked up some useful tips from both this video & the one in "Palm Heel Chin Jab".
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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Palm Heel Chin Jab

Can you perform the palm heel chin jab like a girl? If you're familiar with Ted Truscott's Defend Yourself 101 website which specializes in self defense for women & seniors, you might take a comment such as, "You fight like a girl," as a compliment. There are three reasons you strapping young men should pay attention to this source for women's self defense:
  1. It may help your mothers, sisters, wives;
  2. If it's really effective & works for women & old folks, it would work even better for you;
  3. It's based on the WWII combatives of W.E. Fairbairn;
Here's a video clip of Ted Truscott teaching the palm heel chin jab:

Palm Heel Chin Jab

He's a good teacher, so listen to his comments & corrections as the students practice.

To follow my previous discussions of the palm heel, click this link:

Palm Heel Strike

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Monday, May 12, 2008

Christian Martialist as Sheepdog, 4

I want to call your attention to dlr's comment that directs you to a post on The War on Guns blog. That post is based upon this article in The New York Times that mentions the dismal hit rate of police in NYC and L.A. It relates to a side discussion of the past few days about whether police officers' training methods are effective.

What caught my attention was the blog's "Only Ones" series. I presume that it refers to statements to the effect that law enforcement officers (LEO's) are the ONLY ONES who are qualified enough, trained enough, etc. to carry firearms. The series highlights a number of stories about officers who abuse their power.

Municipalities tend to refer to their police as the "finest" (New York's finest, LA's finest, and so on). The truth is that the police department represents a cross-section of the general population. There ARE some mighty fine LEO's . . . and some mighty despicable ones, as well.

As the general population's mores decline, so will the average moral fiber of their police. And people with dreams of a totalitarian state welcome this. It will take little persuasion to convince officers guilty of personal abuse to engage in official abuse.

In principle, it has already begun. How many officers have refused to establish routine checkpoints where, without warrants or probable cause, they stop citizens to see if their "papers are in order"? How many Christian officers who have sworn to uphold the US Constitution have balked at this?

In "Christian Martialist as Sheepdog, 3" I wrote about the inadvisability of Christian Martialists joining the military or serving as police officers. I have not changed my position. You may say that police forces need more Christians to serve as salt & light, and if this is your motive for joining them, then may God bless your efforts.

And if God crowns your efforts as an LEO or soldier with success in turning the tide of abuse, then may I have the grace to acknowledge that you were right, and I was wrong. In the present state of our nation, however, I believe that the safety of your church, your family and your person rests in the hands of America's truly finest -- her Christian Martialist Sheepdogs. May their numbers and skills increase, whether they've ever read or heard of WARSKYL or not.
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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Point Shooting Revisited, 3

I appreciate all my readers' comments, but the ones on this topic are just too good to leave in the "comments" section. WARSKYL regular dlr writes:

I think folks may be surprised how hard it is to actually hit a paper plate consistently, even at close to very close range. Try it...

That reminds me of a story . . . Hmmm, now I sound a lot like one of my heroes, George "Gabby" Hayes. Most of you youngsters under 50 will have to Google his name to find out who he was. Anyway, back to the story.

It was, let's see, way back in the '70's when I worked dispatch for a security outfit in Tampa, FL. On one particular graveyard shift, an officer I'd never met called and asked if I had a handgun he could borrow. I put my firearms out on loan about as often as I rent out my children. (That's never, in case you're wondering.) Iasked him why he needed a weapon, and he told me.

It seems that a client firm suspected some of its employees of dealing drugs. They wanted someone from our security company to work undercover, and this poor innocent agreed to do it. The client and our company both promised him total anonymity.

Well, as you've probably guessed, he eventually got subpoenaed to testify against the drug dealers. And he was scared. "These guys don't fool around. I need a gun for protection." After he found out that I don't lend my firearms, he asked me, "What kind should I buy?"

He'd never fired any kind of projectile weapon before. I did my best to give him the info to make an informed choice, and that morning after work (way back before 3-day waiting periods) he bought a .357 magnum -- although I would have chosen a 1911 Gov't Model for him. Then I called a friend of mine, and we took this neophyte out for his first shooting lesson.

After some basic safety, trigger squeeze and breath control instruction accompanied by drawing sight pictures in the sand -- Florida doesn't have real dirt -- we got to the shooting part. We used paper plates as targets.

At one point, for variety, I set up 3 paper plates about 10-12 ft. away. I told him they represented three gunmen attacking us. Since I was on the left, I would double-tap the left plate first and he would double-tap the right plate, and then we'd both take out the middle plate.

As we played out the scenario, he fired three shots at each of his targets instead of two. I, as this tyro's first firearms instructor missed both of my targets entirely. (I still cringe with embarrassment at the memory of it.) And there he stood with an empty gun & one hostile picnic platter still alive & mad as all get-out.

He learned two valuable lessons: 1) When your life's at stake, don't depend entirely on the other guy; and 2) Don't waste shots. I learned a couple of lessons, too: 1) Knowledge and experience are only valuable to enhance your skills, not to replace them; 2) Those plates must be really fast, to dodge bullets like that.

That story & dlr's comment remind me of something I want you to understand about the potential of shooting without sights. Whenever I watch the Point Shooting video, I'm impressed with the distances at which the G.I.'s in the film are able to deliver accurate, unaimed fire. I think one of the keys is that they train to always grasp the weapon exactly the same way, every time.

That is the topic in "Point Shooting: Grasping the Weapon". At some point, I'd like to expand on some of dlr's other comments, as well.
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Friday, May 9, 2008

Point Shooting Revisited, 2

My previous post, "Point Shooting Revisited," garnered a couple of posted comments which I really appreciated, and which I think deserve the attention of another post.

First, dlr closed his comment with the following statement:

And I am certain what little handgunning skill I possess would go out the window the moment bullets start zinging past my head.

Yes! And that's just the reason to incorporate as many reflexive and instinctive reactions as possible into our methods. That was why I've emphasized the startle response and its practical application in unarmed self defense. When the bullets are zinging, the adrenaline dump may block a lot of your learned responses, but you will still be able to point at the orc who is shooting at you.

Of course, incorporating instinctual responses into your methods does not mean that you don't have to practice. That's why I appreciate so much the comment from Emil Bandy:

I probably need to start practicing a little more in that stance instead of the weaver stance.....

I don't think Emil means that he will forsake the Weaver stance altogether, and neither should you. The Weaver stance provides a relatively stable base for aimed shooting from a standing position. As I've emphasized before, there are circumstances when aimed placement of your shots will be necessary.

If you want to really hone your skills, you might practice point shooting with an eye toward establishing your own practical limits (20 feet? 30 feet? farther?). Once you have established that limit, practice placing aimed rounds at distances beyond that. Actually, you may want to practice aimed fire at a little shorter distance than your point shooting limit. This will give you more options in tight situations.

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Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Point Shooting Revisited

I normally don't try to tick people off. I do all the time, though without trying -- it's a gift. And I'm afraid this post is going to rub the fur the wrong way on some very good sheepdogs.

If you've been a reader for awhile, you remember I've written before about point shooting. I've also posted comments on an FBI report entitled Violent Encounters: A Study of Felonious Assaults on Our Nation’s Law Enforcement Officers. The report details the fact that in most shootouts, the officers put fewer shots on target than their adversaries.

Before I go any further, I'd like to ask you to do something for me. Pick out an object in the room (or out the window) and point at it. Point naturally -- not as if you were going to shoot it, but as though you were pointing it out to a friend.

Now, look at the position of your hand. Is the back of your hand perpendicular to the floor, or at about a 35-45 degree angle to it? That's the natural position of your hand when you point.

That's also the typical gangsta position for holding a handgun. Did that position evolve by adapting their shooting to the natural mode of pointing? Even more importantly, is this position inherently better for point shooters?

I know this reads like heresy to handgunning purists (deepest apologies to my barber!), but it's an issue we must face if we want to train most effectively and efficiently.

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Monday, May 5, 2008

Mental Toughness, 4

Continued from "Mental Toughness, 3"

While it is reasonable that hope in future glory might help someone through a hard situation, Paul goes adds to it an incredible claim: "And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also . . . ." The Christian is not supposed to merely endure hardship on the basis of his future hope, he is to glory in his hardship. The apostle then explains that it is knowledge of the process that allows one to glory in his tribulations.

And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also knowing that tribulation [literally, pressure] worketh patience [endurance]; and patience, experience [provenness]; and experience, hope. (Romans 5:3-4)

Here is a diagram of that process . . . .

The remaining content of this post along with the other posts on Mental Toughness now appear in the e-book How To Cultivate the Christian Martialist Mindset. It is available as part of Gravelbelly's COMBAT PREP PACK.

. . . in the midst of your stress and pressures. (See Psalm 23)

I want to continue this discussion in "Mental Toughness, 5"

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Friday, May 2, 2008

Henry V

Some time ago, my barber sent me the link below. I want to dedicate it to my brother sheepdogs.
Henry V is a just a story by Shakespeare. But in the end, there is only One Story. There is but One King. And there is but One War. God grant us grace to choose sides wisely in every conflict, and to remain faithful.

Though we may never meet in this life, yet we stand together for the King and by the Book. We few. We happy few. We band of brothers.

Click here