An excellent video – why magazine capacity limits are a bad thing…

April 29th, 2013

While it’s not pleasant, part of truly understanding this is knowing how firearms stop an attacker.  It is important to understand WHY and HOW guns work in a defensive role.

When you shoot someone, they don’t fly back across the room.  They don’t explode in a shower of sparks.  They don’t crash through tables.  They don’t fall away in slow motion.  They don’t stand there with a giant hole in them that you can see through.

The truth is that very often, at first, they won’t even react.  They may not “feel” it.  They may keep doing what they were doing that made you have to shoot them.

You see, when dealing with handguns, there really isn’t anything such as “stopping power”.  Stopping power comes from things like a .50 BMG.  You can’t conceal a .50 BMG, and you can’t easily wield one in self defense.

Handgun bullets stop by making holes – ideally holes in things that bleed a lot (heart, aorta, other organs).  This blood loss causes a loss of consciousness.  That results in the person stopping what they were doing that made you have to shoot them.  That’s why you often hear of individuals being shot so many times.

Shot placement is critical.  Using as large of a round as you can, as long as you can manage the recoil and reliably, repeatedly place aimed follow-up shots is important.  Using good expanding ammunition is important.

In real life, you won’t see the police immediately run up to a subjecct that they have shot to take their gun.  They remain at a safe distance.  Why?

When someone passes out from blood loss, it’s like fainting.  What happens when someone that has fainted goes horizontal (hits the ground in other words)?  They begin to regain consciousness because their blood pressure begins to rise again.  If the gun is still in their hand – on inside their reach – they can once again become a threat.

You shoot to stop the threat.  On the street, this may mean shooting until you can safely run away.  In your home, it generally means shooting until the threat is permanently de-animated, to use an industry term.

Knowing this, watch this video.

This clearly illustrates, from a realistic, functional perspective WHY limiting the capacity of magazines owned by law-abiding citizens is a bad idea.

A practical example from the world of television “The Walking Dead”

April 1st, 2013

On the season finale of season 3 of “The Walking Dead” Carl, Hershel, and Beth were hiding out away from the prison when the Governor and his army attacked.  As the Governor’s crew ran away, an older teen came across them.  Carl had him at gunpoint, and told him to drop his gun.

He made like he was putting it down, but kept moving toward Carl with the firearm in his hand.

Carl shot him.

Later, Hershel told Rick that Carl was wrong.  Rick seems worried about his son now.  But as a firearms instructor, I can say that Carl did the right thing.

In a defensive situation, you have a SPHERE OF INFLUENCE, and a REACTIONARY GAP.

The teen had a long gun.  Even through it was not in an IMMEDIATE firing position, it could still make a pretty good club.

You maintain a REACTIONARY GAP to give you time to REACT to the ACTIONS of another.  Keep in mind that ACTION is faster than REACTION.

The teen kept closing on Carl with the gun still in his hand.  He was reducing Carl’s reactionary gap.

Carl had already told him to put it down, and the teen did not immediately comply.  He instead chose to keep approaching Carl.  His eyes were darting around, and it really looked like he was going to try something.

Carl did the right thing.  He did what he had to do before the teen could eliminate his reactionary gap.  It was a good shoot, and in the same situation I would have done the same thing with no regrets.

It’s just television, but sometimes even TV can provide good examples for training situations.

Ban guns on university campus – tell students to “vomit or urinate” to ward off attack

February 19th, 2013

This is rich…


The legislature in Colorado decided to outlaw lawful concealed carry on college campuses.  A few hours later, the campus police department at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS) posted the following recommendations for students facing a rapist or other attacker..

Updated message from February 18, 2013 at 6:30pm from the Department of Public Safety:

What To Do If You Are Attacked

These tips are designed to help you protect yourself on campus, in town, at your home, or while you travel. These are preventative tips and are designed to instruct you in crime prevention tactics.

Be realistic about your ability to protect yourself.

Your instinct may be to scream, go ahead! It may startle your attacker and give you an opportunity to run away.

Kick off your shoes if you have time and can’t run in them.

Don’t take time to look back; just get away.

If your life is in danger, passive resistance may be your best defense.

Tell your attacker that you have a disease or are menstruating.

Vomiting or urinating may also convince the attacker to leave you alone.

Yelling, hitting or biting may give you a chance to escape, do it!

Understand that some actions on your part might lead to more harm.

Remember, every emergency situation is different. Only you can decide which action is most appropriate.

Yes, when you disarm the law-abiding, you have the government and governmental agencies tell them to urinate, vomit, or tell the attacker that they have a disease.

“Bullet-Proof” Backpacks for kids?

December 30th, 2012

I have been hearing a lot of talk about folks wanting those bullet-proof backpacks for their children, or finding other defensive systems for their children that attend public schools.

I’m not really going to go into any specific brands, but I noticed one parent commenting that they got some level IIA clipboards for their child.

Would something like that have helped in the situation in Connecticut?  IF the shooter did indeed use a .223 rifle, the answer is no.

You see, there are multiple types of body armor panels, and differing thicknesses/flexibility within those.  The higher the level of protection, the more the expense.  Getting armor in a higher level that is more flexible is more expensive.

A few years ago I wrote an article about body armor as a type of informational primer.  You can find that article at…

I’d recommend that you take some time to read it, it covers the types of rounds that each level can be expected to stop.  However, none of the concealable, flexible types of armor will stop a rifle round.  .223, .308, .30-06, and others will run right through them.

The odds of needing such a product are low.  I’d recommend that you study up and determine if the product you are looking at will really make a difference based on what you are paying for it, and how your child understands to employ it if necessary.

If the school lets them have their backpack at their desk, that’s one thing.  If they require them to hang them all up along the wall, they might not even have the time to get to it – if it might make any difference at all.

James Bell Jr.

The truth behind talking about “needs”

December 26th, 2012

The most common rallying cry among those that are seeking to destroy the Constitution is based on talking about “needs”.  They say no one “needs” magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

The basic question becomes, who are they to define “needs”?

They justify that by talking about “feelings”.  They feel that their position is morally superior.  Since they feel that (without any objective proof), it somehow gives them the right – in their minds only – to define “needs”.

Thankfully, the Constitution (and the Bill of Rights) do not talk about needs.  They deal in RIGHTS, powers, and authority.  And among the RIGHTS that are granted the protection of the Bill of Rights are the RIGHT to freedom of speech (which they use and hold dear) and the RIGHT to keep (own) and bear (carry) arms (which they don’t care about).

There is nothing in the Bill of Rights about NEEDS, but in our nations founding documents is a statement about “life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness” – which are called “certain unalienable Rights”.  Theis means that they can not be trashed by man.

Now, in my pursuit of happiness, I have a great many magazines for my firearms with capacities of 13, 17, 20, 30, 33, and even 50 or more rounds of ammunition.    My personal home defense firearm is DESIGNED BY THE MANUFACTURER with a capacity of 50 rounds of ammunition.  Why should I have my happiness and the intended function of my defensive arms reduced by a lawmaker, especially when I have done nothing wrong?

Don’t we, as a nation, believe in punishing people that do bad things, not people that do good things?

I don’t attempt to define the needs of any Senator, as long as what they do does not interfere with any of my rights – especially those which are afforded the protections of the Bill of Rights.  If the Senator from California feels the need for armed security or to carry a concealed firearm of her own, that’s fine with me.  I’m sure that those providing her security use firearms that function as intended by their manufacturers – including holding the amount of ammunition intended by their manufacturer.

When people start talking about “feelings” as a way to justify “needs” in relation to legislation, you can be certain that no good will come of the effort.  It’s the first step in attempting to trample upon the rights of others.

Child pornography – an open discussion on common-sense laws

December 21st, 2012

I saw this on a site this morning, I have to get on this bandwagon…

CHILD PORNOGRAPHY is such a problem in the US, I suggest we Highly regulate the ownership of cameras. Here is my proposal:

Anyone who wishes to buy a still camera must first get fingerprinted, and have a thorough background check / mental health screening done, in order to prove the person is not a known sex offender. You must also prove “good cause” and give proper reasons why you NEED a camera. Simply stating that photography is your hobby is not a good enough reason to warrant a permit to purchase or carry a still camera.

Video cameras are another issue. Did you know that video cameras can take up to 30 photos EVERY SECOND?? In order to own one of these, you must first submit to a full mental health screening, and your local law enforcement authority must approve of you before you are allowed to own one. You must also give “proper cause” as to why you need such a camera. It must pertain to your job in most cases, and be an absolute necessity for your employment.

High capacity memory cards are particularly dangerous, and should be banned all together. They can take, and store, literally THOUSANDS of photos of naked children. Who would need so many photos anyway? If limiting the capacity of memory cards to say, 10 photos, saves just 1 child from being illicitly photographed, it is worth it.

Now teachers and day care providers…They should not be allowed to own a camera, or a camera phone, even in their homes, let alone being able to carry one on their person while at school. Schools are simply too sensitive of an area to risk a possible sex offender / child pornographer having a camera around so many children. Schools should be NO CAMERA ZONES. Period.

Concealable cameras, such as camera phones, should also be banned, as they can get into sensitive areas undetected, and take illicit photos of children all too easily.

Please, we need to have an open discussion regarding the regulation of cameras, video cameras, and high capacity memory cards. It is the only way to prevent our children from being victims.

Some of you will say we can’t do this because cameras are covered under the 1st Amendment.  But it doesn’t say anything about HDTV digital still and video cameras, which can be used to take as many as 60 images every second AND transmit those images across the internet in real time.

No, it’s time to open up this discussion.  For the children.

Do you get it now?

16-December-2012 – Dianne Feinstein & Dick Durbin – New AWB Coming…

December 16th, 2012

As I watched “Meet The Press” this morning, Dianne Feinstein (D from California) announced that she will be introducing (with other House co-authors) a new Assault Weapons Ban.  She mentioned “magazines, drums, clips and strips” with a capacity of more than 10 rounds, and said “”It will ban the sale, the transfer, the importation and the possession, not retroactively, but prospectively” of assault weapons” and magazines.

Dick Durbin (D from IL) also called for one on “Fox News Sunday”.

One of the common threads they mentioned was “no one needs these things”.

Let’s put aside the whole fact that the Bill of Rights was intended to be inviolate.  Let’s put aside the fact that the 2nd Amendment – a part of that document – contains the enhanced protection of stating that it “shall not be infringed”.  Let’s put aside the notes in the Federalist Papers and other documents (written  as commentaries at the time) that the 2nd Amendment is intended to cover arms in use by military forces, and let’s put aside the fact that the rifles used in these shootings are NOT fully-automatic assault rifles”.

Let’s also put aside the fact that Connecticut already has an ASSAULT WEAPONS BAN, and that – reportedly – the firearms used were in full compliance with that ban.

No, let’s not.  If an AWB didn’t prevent this latest incident, WHY IN THE HELL WOULD A FEDERAL ONE DO ANY MORE?

First, the ban being suggested by the Senator from CA would prevent you from passing any covered items on to your children.  When you die, Mr. and Mrs. America, turn them all in.  They won’t inherit your firearms, someone in the government will, or they will destroy them.

They justify this by saying “no one NEEDS these things”.

Well, let’s look at what other people need, and weight them on the basis of safety…

Cigarettes.  They cause cancer and increase health care costs.  No one NEEDS cigarettes.  Banned.

Alcohol.  It causes DUI’s, right?  It’s addictive.  No one NEEDS alcohol.  Banned.

ATV’s.  No one NEEDS to be able to drive off-road, and failing to use them responsibly could hurt the environment.  Banned.

Central Air Conditioning in homes.  No one NEEDS central air.  You can use a window unit in the room you are in and cool just that.  It takes less energy.  Banned.

Televisions larger than 32″.  Larger units take more energy and required more natural resources to produce.  Banned.

Hardcopy books.  Everyone has computers, you can read what you need to online.  We can’t afford to lose any trees, and were are not banning your ability to read, we are just banning the wasteful hardcopy book.  Banned.

Any car larger than a smart car.  Big cars will kill anyone riding in a smart car.  Smart cars are fuel efficient.  No one NEEDS anything larger than a smart car.  Banned.

Wait, you say that your kids won’t all fit in a smart car?


You don’t NEED all of those kids.  Limits on kids.

In the real world, you take a chance every time you get on the road.  You trust that the other drivers on the road will drive responsibility.  You have the FREEDOM to drive a smart car or an F350.  Of course, you know that if an F350 plows into you, you will die.  It’s a risk you take.

You walk on the sidewalk and through crosswalks.  You take chances, FREEDOMS, every minute of every day.

The want to call this proposed AWB a “common sense” measure.  Well, you can use the vague idea of “common sense” to justify anything, even the things I posted above.

Living in a free society, we accept that there are risks.  We know that sometimes, bad things will happen in a free society.  You have the freedom to prepare for those, and do what you can to mitigate them and the damage they could do.

Don’t be so eager to  take away freedoms that others exercise, even if you don’t elect to exercise them.  You never know when your favorite freedoms will be targeted.

In a future entry I’ll note WHY those “high-capacity” magazines are a good thing, and should not be limited.

James Bell Jr –

Another “incident” – now more demands for the wrong things

December 15th, 2012

Yesterday in Connecticut, an individual killed his mother at her home, took her car to the school where she may have worked, and killed 6 adults and 20 children, and then killed himself.

According to reports, the firearms he used were owned and registered to his mother.  He used two handguns in the attack (a Glock and a Sig, both reported to be 9mm but unconfirmed at this time) and a .223 rifle was left in the trunk of the car and not used in the attack.

Within minutes there were calls to ban guns, ban magazines, ban ammunition – many of them invoking the familiar “do it for the children”.  Even Barak Obama said that we have to do something.

In the opinion sections of newspapers across the country, there were calls for everything from the immediate disarmament of all Americans to the taxation of ammunition at extraordinary rates, to doing nothing at all.

However, you know that politicians won’t let a good crisis go to waste.  They WILL want to do something.  As they do with other issues, they will conveniently ignore the Constitution and the Bill of Rights (and the historical commentaries about them in the Federalist Papers and the Anti-Federalist papers, and the common-sense reading of them), and they will call for what they define as “common-sense gun laws” “for the children”.

Sadly, if you look at what happened, the individual involved was in violation of so many existing gun-related and other laws, that piling on more would clearly not have helped.

If you look at how the people inside the school reacted, there are stories of locking kids in closets, huddling fearfully in corners, and basically “locking the door and hoping they don’t have blasters”.  Why is it that these were the best responses that they could manage there?

Because the adults in that school – as in so many others around the country – are prohibited from having firearms to defend themselves and the students.

You see, the “other side” feels that eliminating guns will solve the problem.  They don’t look at the alternative – allowing people EVERYWHERE the opportunity to DEFEND THEMSELVES.  That’s simply unthinkable, inconceivable to them.

In Israel, schools sometimes have a retired soldier working as a security officer.  But in addition to that, some of the school administrators are armed.  They accept that they may have to defend themselves, and they are prepared and willing to do so.  Why can’t people here also accept that?

Some of them feel that we are “too civilized” for this, that the “old west” is gone.  If you take off your rose-colored binders, you will see that we are not too civilized for that, and that there is still a need – and always will be a need – for people to be willing to accept the PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY for their safety, and be willing, trained, and prepared to defend themselves.

You will never get rid of firearms in our society.  To try to do so is in direct violation of the Constitution, and also ignores the reality that criminals will also have some form of arms.  Let’s imagine for a moment that you could.  Once you “eliminate” guns, you will then soon be forced to confront the reality of the dangers of swords and knives (which both Australia and England are facing now) and even rocks.  There will still be violence, and those willing to employ aggression in their efforts.

The other side of the equation is where the equalizer is – allow ALL the ability to defend themselves.  In Utah, teachers can (and many do) carry concealed firearms.  School administrators can carry concealed firearms.  Any adult that is not legally prohibited from owning a firearm can get a permit to do so.  That permit requires training, and even that basic training along with the presence of a firearm for defense can save lives.

In Connecticut they are apparently prohibited from doing so in schools.  Their hands are tied, and they are forced to cower in closets and corners rather than being able to defend themsevles.

Is concealed carry an absolute guarantee of safety?  Of course not, but it does provide a chance that you don’t have without a firearm to defend yourself.

In the coming days we will hear yet more calls for all manner of “common-sense” gun control laws “for the children”.  Sadly, none of these will do anything except disarm or limit law-abiding Americans, and will still allow criminals the opportunities and abilities they have now.

Let’s do what we can to promote the real equalizer – unrestricted concealed carry everywhere.  At least then, if trouble does come looking for you and you can’t avoid it, you have the ability to stand and defend yourself.

James Bell Jr. –

Aftermath of the shooting in Oregon – the calls for more “gun control”

December 14th, 2012

I have been following the situation in Oregon since the shooting at the Clackamas Town Center a few days ago.  I knew there would be calls for “gun control”, and sure enough one of their state legislators is proposing a ban on “high-capacity” magazines – which they are defining as holding more than 10 rounds.

I was also reading the comments section of the Oregonian.  Some of the arguments in various letters to the editor are frightening in their lack of understanding of the Constitution, and their lack of common sense.

One such letter at has the following comment…

“If gun owners want to practice shooting their semiautomatic rifles, they should be able to go to a legitimate target shooting range, purchase enough ammunition to shoot at appropriate targets, and leave the shooting range with an empty rifle and no ammunition. “

So much for understanding the intent behind the 2nd Amendment.  If this person drinks alcohol or smokes, I’d recommend allowing alcohol sales and consumtion ONLY in bars (no alcohol at home, grocery stores, eating establishments, etc) and the same for tobacco sales and use outside of tobacco bars.  But, they can take the empty bottles and butts home when they are done.

Another comment I found interesting was this one from, which I will answer here…

“I ask someone who is a gun advocate to explain why an average citizen should have the right to own an AR-15 or any assault weapon. Don’t explain it as a Second Amendment right, because I don’t object to you owning a handgun for protection or the typical hunting rifle. And please don’t insult my intelligence by using the worn-out argument that “guns don’t kill people; people do.” Had the shooter walked into the mall without that AR-15 the loved ones of Forsyth and Yuille might not be heartbroken this week.

Please explain it in a way that makes all of us feel that your right to specifically own an assault weapon outweighs the lives of Forsyth and Yuille. “

First, an AR-15 is NOT an “assault weapon”.  The term “assault weapon” applies to fully-automatic firearms.  AR-15’s, Ruger Mini 14’s, FN FS-2000’s, Ruger 10/22’s,  Marlin Model 60’s, and hosts of other semi-automatic firearms all operate the same way.  They fire ONE round every time you pull the trigger.

Secondly, it was not HIS.  He stole it from another individual that had apparently purchased and used it legally.

Now, the person asking the question above says not to argue on the basis of the 2nd Amendment because ” I don’t object to you owning a handgun for protection or the typical hunting rifle”. That is a flawed argument, as it assumes that the 2nd Amendment is about personal protection with handguns and hunting.

There is a set of documents out there called the Federalist Papers, and another set called the Anti-Federalist Papers. In these are commentaries, written at the time, by the framers of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights – of which the 2nd Amendment is a part.

In these documents, they make it clear that the entirety of the Bill of Rights was assumed to be something that would not be infringed upon. Yet they gave the 2nd Amendment the additional protection of stipulating that it shall not be infringed upon.  It is also clear that ALL purposes for owning firearms were protected – up to and including the ability to fight the government if it were ever to be required again, as they were forced to do.

If that’s the case, equally  capable arms to those posessed by the government were obviously included. I won’t get into the whole “nuclear and tanks” arguments, but try reading those documents. They will be very enlightening to helping you understand the reasons WHY things were done in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Now, you also attempt to throw out the whole “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” truth.

How do you feel about cars? Are you in favor or banning them too? More people are killed by cars than by guns. Have you also called for a ban on cars? Or perhaps you’d be in favor of everyone having to own a smart car, and prohibiting anything larger that is clearly more dangerous?

How do you feel about swimming pools? Should we limit their depth?

If you don’t want me to insult your intelligence, then please employ it equally in all aspects of life.

Had the shooter walked into the mall without that AR-15 the loved ones of Forsyth and Yuille might not be heartbroken this week.

How many rounds of ammunition did he have?   How many shots did he fire?  How many people were injured or killed?

Any hunting rifle could have done the same thing.  Any Ruger 10/22 could have done the same thing.  Any handgun could have done the same thing.   What he was carrying DID NOT MAKE A DIFFERENCE.  He elected to take those actions.  He could have done so with ANY firearm.  He could have done so with a sword.  He could have done a lot more with a car into a group of pedestrians.

But, let’s look at something else along with your last comment…

 Please explain it in a way that makes all of us feel that your right to specifically own an assault weapon outweighs the lives of Forsyth and Yuille.

Again, it wasn’t an “assault weapon”.  But even so, In Oregon, you do have the ability to obtain a Concealed Firearm Permit.  You say that you don’t object to handguns for personal defense.  Well, in Oregon you can get a permit to carry a loaded handgun on your person for your defense.  Why didn’t Forsyth and Yuille have concealed handguns to defend themselves with?  Why didn’t any of the others there?

If THEY had elected to take responsibility for their own safety, they might have had a chance to defend themselves.

You see, in a free society, bad things can and do happen.  That’s part of the risk you take living your life in a free society.  That’s why the 2nd Amendment (and the law) covers being able to carry a firearm to defend yourself.  You are free to take responsibility for your safety and have the ability to defend yourself.  No, it’s not a guarantee of safety, but it does give you a fighting chance.

You may elect to buy a smart car and drive it on the freeway next to F350 pickups and 18-wheelers.  You trust that the others on the road obey the laws and are responsibile.  Yet you know that not everyone obeys the law, and you know that not everyone is responsible.  You know that some people drink and drive (against the law), but you take that risk in stepping into your car or even walking on the sidewalk.  Even though others have trucks that you won’t survive against in a crash, you still get on the road with them and allow them the freedom to drive what they want, and trust that they will obey the laws.

It’s the same with guns.  You can not care about freedom and say “Well, I don’t want others to have guns that scare me”.  They did that in England and Australia.  Now they are looking at banning swords and putting restrictions on what sizes of kitchen knives you can buy.

You are either for freedom, or against it.  You either accept the risks of living life in a free society, or you go where there is less freedom and a greater “feeling” of security.  But even in those places, that feeling is just that.  A feeling.  If someone with ill intent decides to act, it will happen anyway.

James Bell Jr. –

Another “mass shooting” – immediate lessons to be learned

December 12th, 2012

Yesterday at the Clackamas Town Center mall in Oregon a shooter killed two, injured one, and then apparently took his own life.  I lived in Oregon for many years, and I spent a bit of time at that mall over those years.  I know the area around the food court where the shootings took place.

At this time LE has not released the identity of the shooter or the deceased individuals, nor have they released any details on what he was wearing or what firearm was used.  Reports make it sound like an AR-15 (semi-automatic), and that he may have been wearing a “tactical” vest with magazine pouches.

The problem is that you have lots of “witnesses”, but how many of them are trained or have any real experience?  We will have to wait for those details to be formally released.

What I want to cover is the immediate, first-hand reports from people that were in the mall.  There are some lessons that you can learn from what they reported.

Most of the following details come from the following reports from the Oregonian news paper at these URL’s…

From the first report that had something worthy of note…

“Fourteen-year-old Hannah Baggs looked directly at the Clackamas Town Center gunman just moments before he entered the mall and opened fire.

“He was, like, 10 feet away from us, wearing a white mask and carrying something heavy with both hands,” said Hannah, a freshman at LaSalle High School. “He went running into the store. I was scared, but I didn’t tell my mom because I didn’t want to get her upset.”

Even though she’s only 14, this young woman saw something that made her feel alarmed.  Where she failed was to act on that feeling.  If you see something that isn’t right, that’s out of place for where you are, or that just makes you feel uneasy, you need to act on that feeling and “get out of Dodge”.  She should have told her mother about it, and got out right then.  Instead, they waited for the shooting to start.  They did make it out, and they did the right thing – went to their car as fast as possible and got out of the area before the police responded.

You may be asking why that last part is important?  If you read my Blog, you will find an entry detailing what I would have done if I was at Trolley Square (a mall in Utah where a shooting happened a few years ago).  In that article, I explained that I would NOT have engaged the shooter unless he came between me and my family, or if he came between us and safety (which I defined as getting out of the mall, to our car, and away from the site as fast as possible – before the police have a chance to respond).  You do NOT want to be there when the police arrive, especially if you are carrying a concealed firearm.  You can read that entry below for more details on what can go wrong.

That part aside, what happens to the “witnesses”?

In the Trolley Square case, they were held for quite a while in the cold, wet weather.  Some families were marched out with their hands in the air.  This happened again in the case in Oregon.  YOU do not want to be there.  They already have enough information on what happened, you being there and keeping your family in the cold, wet weather for an extended time will not help.

In this case, there are several reports of this…

 “Hours after the shooting started, Armstrong was still waiting outside the mall to get to her car.”

“Immediately after the shooting, police officers began locking down the massive mall and blocking exits. While four SWAT teams conducted a store-by-store search of the 1.4 million square-foot mall, air traffic above the mall was restricted so helicopter ambulances could land.”

The mall’s theaters, full of theater-goers unaware of the chaos outside, were escorted to safety.

At same time, several TriMet buses were called to take witnesses away for orderly interviews by police. Regular bus service was suspended on TriMet’s 28, 29, 30, 31, 71, 72, 79, 152, 155 and 156 lines. “

You do NOT want to get separated from your family and taken away by the police in a bus to be interviewed.

In such a situation, IMMEDIATELY get yourself and your family out of the mall via the nearest safe route, get to your car, and get out of Dodge before the police respond.

However, keep in mind that even though YOU may have a plan and a goal, others may actively work to thwart your plan even if only inadvertently.

“Pavlenko took a breath and found her strength. She grabbed her cellphone and ran for the nearest exit, where a crush of confused food court workers had gathered, crying and asking what had happened.

Pavlenko ran out the door and downstairs without her purse or car keys, her work T-shirt offering little protection from the rain.

That’s when her boss, Katrina Onishchenko, the owner of the five-month-old business, spotted her across the parking lot. She tried to reach her, but could not get through the maze of police cars and crime scene tape. ”


“Shoppers, employees and witnesses ran for the parking lots. Stores were locked down. Cell phone circuits became overloaded. Interstate 205 and neighboring streets backed up with traffic. ”

“Susie Santos, 39, of Oregon City was trapped in Payless while shopping. The employees locked the shoppers in.”


“A staff worker at Panera Bread Co. was standing by the front door, not letting people in or out, Garcia said.”

Part of good situational awareness is knowing the overall layout around you.  Be aware of the locations of emergency exits, and keep your head on a swivel.  While store policy may be to lock the store down – that may not be the best thing to do given the tactical situation.  While they may be well meaning (or may be acting as minimum-wage automatons), you may have to work around employees if you can see the situation going badly.

Reports said that mall security ordered all of the gates between store entrances and the mall closed – but those gates won’t stop bullets.  They may also trap the shooter in with you.  You may need to be very dynamic in getting your family out of there, so be looking for options.

And if you are wondering – in this situation using the fire exit IS acceptable.

I’ll post more later, but I wanted to get these first thoughts out there.  The best time for education is while the incident is fresh in our minds.

James Bell Jr –

The Utah CFP, DWR, and What You Can Carry…

October 18th, 2011

I have recently noted a good deal of chatter and concern over questions about…

What Kind Of Firearms Can You Carry And Conceal


Interactions with DWR/DNR Folks and other LE folks that don’t know the answer to the first part.

I was attending the Utah BCI Instructor Training Course this last weekend, and I went straight to the source.  I spoke with Jeff Dunn, an Investigator with the Utah Bureau of Criminal Identification, and one the instructors for the Instructor Course.

On the first part, here is what he told me…

As long as the firearm the permit holder intends on carrying is legal to own and possess per state and federal law, a valid Utah concealed firearm permit holder can legally possess/carry rifles, shotguns and/or handguns.”

He further clarified that this includes lawfully possessed Class III / Form 4 items.  If you could legally own an FN P90, you could carry it.   As it is, concealed carry of a legally registered MP5 or Uzi would be just as possible but is less practically concealable than a handgun.

This also includes shorter, personal defensive firearms such as the FN PS90.  Now, with discretion being the better part of valor, carrying something more bulky such as a rifle or shotgun may mean open carry.  Is that the best option?  That’s up to the individual to decide.

On the second part, BCI is doing what they can to educate various LE Agencies around the State.  Here is what he told me on that end..

To answer your question, the sworn officers with the Utah Bureau of Criminal Identification (BCI) taught the Utah Department of Natural Resources (DNR State Park Officers & upper management with the Division of Wildlife Resources) a two hour concealed firearm permit and weapon law update/refresher class in 2009.”

At that time, they educated them on the Utah Concealed Firearm Permit, and let them know what the real story is.  Now, did each DNR officer internalize the information given in that training?  For that matter, does every LEO in the State know all of the laws that they have to deal with?  Take a look at, then toss in all of the various County and City Ordinances.  I doubt they understand all of that.    

That said, LEO’s have a duty to keep up on the latest laws and changes with each legislative session – as do Concealed Firearm Permit Holders.  Thankfully we have a “State supremacy clause” that says that the State Legislature makes laws relating to firearms.  That gives them a more limited scope they have to study in relation to firearms laws.

As it is, I hope that this clears up at least one item, and makes it clear that BCI is working to make sure that LEO’s around the State understand our Concealed Firearm Permit.

It was a very good class, and I like being able to get the straight story from BCI every three years.  Of course, instructors are also free to contact BCI at any time, and that’s the recommended course of action whenever you have a question.

If any of my readers have questions they would like answered, let me know and I’ll do my best to answer it, and check with BCI if I don’t know it.

James Bell Jr –

Here is a .PDF with my complete e-mail exchange with Jeff Dunn for reference.

A few thoughts on the Five-seveN for defensive carry.

October 1st, 2011

Many of my students in recent months had the chance to handle the FN Five-seveN during my training classes while I had one on loan from FNH USA.  It’s not small, but it is easy to manage and offers advantages in weight and capacity.

The 5.7x28mm round has long been the subject of internet armchair guessing and armchair quarterbacking when it comes to debating the functional capabilities of the round for defensive purposes.

Sadly, the Five-seveN firearm was used with factory SS192 ammunition in the shooting incident at Fort Hood in 2009.  An Army Officer, Major Nidal Hasan seemingly decided that his islamic background took priority over his oath as a Soldier.  He attacked primarily unarmed Americans at Fort Hood, and killed and wounded many.

There is detailed testimony that can be found at

In a recent on-line discussion about this round and the functional observations that can be made from this incident, one user noted that

“Clearly the round was highly effective.

In the opening moments of the massacre 2 soldiers and a civilian all tried to attack him by throwing tables and charging him with chairs over their heads, and all three were immediately stopped by SS192.

Stopping 3 determined attackers instantly, 2 of whom are military trained, is impressive, any way you cut it.”

That is more or less a good summary of what I came to from the incident.

As an instructor, the State of Utah uses the term “stopping power” in the required materials for the Utah CFP training.  When it comes to that, I show a photo of a .50 Barrett and show a .50BMG dummy round.  That’s stopping power.

When it comes to a handgun, you are dealing with a compromise – something that you can easily CARRY and CONCEAL.  You should not expect that the subject will fly back 20 feet when hit, explode in a shower of sparks, or instantly drop dead.

The goal is to STOP them from doing whatever it was that they were doing that required you to shoot them.

If they are trying to rape you, you are shooting to make them stop trying to rape you.

If they are trying to stab you, you are shooting to make them stop trying to stab you.

There are examples of immediate incapacitation (or de-animation as some put it) from many calibers – but many more examples of functional stops – the attacker was rendered unable to continue what they were doing.

What I have found to be true…


Larger calibers are generally better (making a larger hole to start with) and compensate SLIGHTLY for shot placement.

Reliable, consistent, bullet behavior (combination of penetration, expansion and/or fragmentation) can give you the edge but should not be relied upon.

Mental preparation and planning are ESSENTIAL.

Training is required.

REACTION is slower than ACTION.

Give yourself every advantage (night-sights, targeting-assist lasers, etc).

Now – there were mitigating factors to be considered in this incident.

All of his opponents in the initial part of the engagement were unarmed.

Most of his opponents were TRAINED, but were not mentally expecting anything where they were.

Some of them reacted aggressively (positively).  But against an ARMED OPPONENT who had apparently PLANNED his actions, they REACTED as best they could, but they were – literally – outgunned.

Had more of them been able to be armed, the incident would have ended much more rapidly.  But since “guns are evil” applies on our soil, that was not an option.

This incident gave us real-world data (from a significant number of shots) that says that the Five-seveN factory round (SS192 specifically) fired from the Five-seveN pistol, can be quite effective at FUNCTIONALLY STOPPING an attacker even in non-Center Of Mass hits.

From Officer Munley –

I got hit in the thigh first, and I believe that started to take me down. My Beretta 9 mm handgun had jammed just as the second bullet hit me in the knee and knocked me to the ground.

That round shattered her bone into about 120 pieces.  A non-COM hit that took her functionally out of the fight.

You also have other folks that didn’t realize they were hit initially.  This is not uncommon.  If a round goes clear through without a Central Nervous System or critical organ hit, that happens.

I would not say that the data from this incident shows that the Five-seveN is any better than the more conventional carry calibers (9mm, .40S&W, .45ACP), but it is certainly no worse either.  I felt very comfortable carrying one for the 3 months I had our review unit, and found that the weight and capacity were, in fact, quite advantageous.

More On The University Of Utah

September 22nd, 2011

So – now that the University of Utah is looking for a new president, GOUtah and others are pushing the board of regents to find a more friendly choice.

As things sit right now – the University of Utah has no problem with legal, permitted concealed carry.  This, of course, was only after the legislature had to spank them repeatedly into respecting the law of the land.

However, if you open carry on campus, the campus police will confront you, and if you won’t conceal it they will force you to leave the campus.  There is nothing illegal about open carry on campus, but they won’t tolerate it.  Keep that word in mind – tolerate.

From the article in the SL Tribune…

“In an interview last year before departing for the University of Washington, Young stressed that the U. had no intention of singling out lawfully armed people or even tracking who holds concealed-carry permits. But open display of firearms poses a menace to public safety and creates an environment that is not conducive to academic pursuits, officials say.”

Now, I’d love to know how the open display of a firearm poses a menace to public safety?  A gun in a holster isn’t like a dog on a leash.  A dog on a leash can still lunge, bite, and threaten of it’s own volition.  A gun in a holster is an inanimate object.  It’s no more lethal or threatening than a car in a parking space, or a chair sitting on the ground.  If someone was to decide to use any of these, they could be employed in a lethal manner.

The real problem is an irrational fear.  A fear of an inanimate object.

They presuppose that anyone carrying a gun openly is going to go crazy at any moment.  They don’t realize that there is a very high likelihood that anyone possessing a gun and willing to carry it openly is most likely a law-abiding citizen.

In fact, if they want to carry it openly and loaded in Utah, they need to have a Concealed Firearm Permit – meaning that they have a criminal background check run on them every day.  Otherwise, an openly carried firearm must be unloaded – making it mo more dangerous than a heavy handbag, backpack, umbrella, motorcycle helmet, or any number of objects commonly carried on campus every day.

Police carry their firearms openly (plus often one or more concealed too), and this doesn’t seem to bother them.  Yet, in the State of Utah, we have had uniformed police sexually assault women, and perform other violent violations of the law.  Yet, they don’t have a problem with them carrying openly.  They make assumptions about the character of LEO’s (Law Enforcement Officers) versus Concealed Firearm Permit holders that are incorrect.

I’d like to submit the following.

Here in the Western USA – especially in places like Utah and Idaho where the Constitution is generally more respected than it is in places like New York, Massachusetts, and Maryland – it is not against the norm for people here to carry firearms openly or concealed for lawful purposes.

Therefore, if they plan to come here for an education, they need to condition themselves to expect this.

If they have an irrational fear of firearms, then perhaps Utah isn’t the best place on Earth for them to be.  They may be much more comfortable in places where it is against the law to do so.  They just need to keep in mind that in places where it is against the law, they have a sure sign that the Constitution isn’t as honored there either.

If they suffer from the misguided belief that openly carried firearms create an “environment that is not conducive to academic pursuits”, they don’t want to come here.  It has been said that an armed society is a polite society.  That’s very true.

But it also means that if the members of that society take upon themselves the responsibility for their own protection, then they most likely respect not only the 2nd Amendment, but all of the others too.  That means that they are more likely to honor and protect the rights others have to free speech, even if they don’t personally agree with what the person is saying.  And, they have the ability to actually PROTECT that right from those that might chose to ignore the rest of the Constitution.

Keep in mind that it was the intention of the Founding Fathers that the entirety of the Bill of Rights would not be infringed – that’s why it’s there.  But when you look at the context, and in the commentaries left by the Founders, it’s clear that the Second Amendment was given the additional, special protection accorded by the line “shall not be infringed” so that it enables us – as a last resort – to protect all of the others

Rather than fearing either concealed or open carry, they should be cherishing them.  Because it means that not only is the Constitution being respected and implemented, but that WE THE PEOPLE have the ABILITY to protect it at all times.

Remember that I pointed out the word “tolerate” before?  We hear a lot about “tolerance”.  I’d submit that people that truly honor the Constitution and carry firearms for their defense are about the most tolerant people out there.

I might not like what someone is saying during a speech, but they have a right to say it.  And as a legally Armed American, I can defend their right to say it in the event that  someone decides to deprive them of it.  That’s a big difference between America and most of the other nations on the Earth.

God bless America.  And please, stop trying to deprive us of our rights.  Those rights we exercise may someday preserve your right to say what you want, worship as you want, or live as you want – as they have done before.

The Susan Powell Case – A Few Thoughts

September 16th, 2011

First, I’d like to reference a couple of videos that I have referred to before…


Among the things that you will learn from those videos – which feature an Attorney and a Police Officer telling you….

The police and prosecutors CAN and WILL use everything you say against you – including twisting it around in any way possible to make it look bad for you.

If they already consider you a “person of interest”, you can gain NOTHING by talking to them.

The police can and will lie to you (and to the media and to the public).

In recent weeks we have seen the West Valley City Police Department go out and “search” for Susan Powell near Elko, serve a search warrant at the present home of Josh Powell in Washington State, and now “search” again for Susan Powell near Topaz Mountain.

The first time it was easy to tell it was bogus.

No calls for volunteers to assist with the search

Over such a large area that would have been very smart.  Plus, local volunteers would know the area much better than LEO’s from hundreds of miles away.

They invited the media and cameras along.

Would they have done that if they REALLY expected to find her body out there?

They were going WAY too fast in the examples where they had the media photo them on their ATV’s.

A real, serious search would have been much more coordinated and meticulous.

They said that they photographed and documented all of the mine shafts they cleared.

Police don’t photograph locations that have no evidence.  They only care if there IS evidence.   The photos and everything were for the benefit of the media and the public to make it look good.

Many of us pointed these things out when asked by the local media.  That was a red herring, a show to see if Josh Powell reacted in some way.

What they were doing was playing the “Hot, Warm, Cold” game, and watching to see if Josh freaked out or otherwise told them “hot”.  They then went and took his computers and other items to see what they could find out.

Then this week they start another “search” out near Topaz Mountain.  This time they did it a little differently…

No media out on the search with them – they are in the area but not with the actual search party.

This makes it look more real.

They make a show of having “cadaver dogs” out there with them.

Are all of those dog teams real cadaver dogs, or only one or two real teams and the rest out there to make it look good?  They learned from the last show that it wasn’t good enough, and that people didn’t buy it.

They claim to have “found bones”.

This was the test.  Did Josh freak out?  Apparently not.

They initially said that the ME was on the way, then they said that the ME would be out the next day.

Then they said that the ME would come out if an archeologist determined that the bones were modern – versus cowboy, pioneer, or Native American.

 If they really thought they had something, I wouldn’t see the ME waiting.  They wouldn’t want to risk anything.  The ME would have been out there in a heartbeat – as well as the FBI, etc.

Then they say that there aren’t really any bones (when they already said there were) and now it’s just the hit from the cadaver dogs.

But digging hasn’t revealed anything yet. Honestly, I don’t know if I believe there was even a hit by the dogs.

It makes you have to question if there really was a hit of any sort, or if these are yet more – well, lies – designed to try to get a reaction out of Josh Powell.  And that brings us to the crux of the issue.

Is doing what they seem to be – playing this “hot, warm, cold” game – fair to the Powell family?

Is this going to end up eroding the confidence that the public has in the West Valley City PD?

Her father flew to Utah when the “discovery” was announced.  If they are indeed lying about this to try to get a reaction from Josh, this is certainly cruel to her family.

Some people will say “Well, if Josh would just talk to the police, he could save them the heartache”.  To those people I will refer you to the videos I mentioned at the beginning of the article.  What if he is innocent?  Talking to them won’t help him.

They have the responsibility to focus on ALL avenues of investigation, they can’t hold off on the others until he is ruled out.  They make it sound like they can’t do anything else until he talks to them.  That’s incorrect.

The overall bigger issue is this – if it turns out that this was indeed another red herring from the WVCPD, is it eroding public confidence in them?  Can we really trust in what the police tell us?

I guess that the good thing that can come from this is bringing to the public awareness that the police CAN and WILL lie to you, to the media, and to the public in general.  Now that the public is aware of this, it might make them better jurors.

Knowing what you know now, take a look at this article again…

Next time you hear something reported or hear about a Probable Cause Statement, remember that the media is reporting what the police told them.  Is it all true?  Is any of it even factually correct?  Most likely not.   Keep an open mind.

House considering National CFP Recognition

September 14th, 2011


Lawmakers are considering a House bill that would give Americans who hold permits to carry firearms in their home states the right to carry their weapons across state lines.

Although many states have entered into voluntary agreements, there is no nationwide framework for honoring permits and licenses uniformly. A bipartisan bill, co-authored by Reps. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., and Heath Shuler, D-N.C., aims to change that.

Supporters say the measure would not create a federal licensing system, but would require that all states recognize lawfully issued permits — regardless of where they were issued. Gun rights advocacy groups say it’s the only way to make sure that lawful gun owners’ Second Amendment rights are guaranteed when they travel away from their home states.

The actual bill is H.R. 822:

National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011 – Amends the federal criminal code to authorize a person who is carrying a government-issued photographic identification document and a valid permit to carry a concealed firearm in one state, and who is not prohibited from possessing, transporting, shipping, or receiving a firearm under federal law, to carry a concealed handgun (other than a machinegun or destructive device) in another state in accordance with the restrictions of that state.

Here are the specifics:



To amend title 18, United States Code, to provide a national standard in accordance with which nonresidents of a State may carry concealed firearms in the State.


Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,




This Act may be cited as the ‘National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011’.




The Congress finds the following:


(1) The Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States protects the fundamental right of an individual to keep and bear arms, including for purposes of individual self-defense.


(2) The Supreme Court of the United States has recognized this right in the case of District of Columbia v. Heller, and in the case of McDonald v. City of Chicago, has recognized that the right is protected against State infringement by the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.


(3) The Congress has the power to pass legislation to protect against infringement of all rights protected under the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.


(4) The right to bear arms includes the right to carry arms for self-defense and the defense of others.


(5) The Congress has enacted legislation of national scope authorizing the carrying of concealed firearms by qualified active and retired law enforcement officers.


(6) Forty-eight States provide by statute for the issuance to individuals of permits to carry concealed firearms, or allow the carrying of concealed firearms for lawful purposes without the need for a permit.


(7) The overwhelming majority of individuals who exercise the right to carry firearms in their own States and other States have proven to be law-abiding, and such carrying has been demonstrated to provide crime prevention or crime resistance benefits for the licensees and for others.


(8) The Congress finds that preventing the lawful carrying of firearms by individuals who are traveling outside their home State interferes with the constitutional right of interstate travel, and harms interstate commerce.


(9) Among the purposes of this Act is the protection of the rights, privileges, and immunities guaranteed to a citizen of the United States by the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.


(10) The Congress, therefore, should provide for national recognition, in States that issue to their own citizens licenses or permits to carry concealed handguns, of other State permits or licenses to carry concealed handguns.




(a) In General- Chapter 44 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by inserting after section 926C the following:


‘Sec. 926D. Reciprocity for the carrying of certain concealed firearms


‘(a) Notwithstanding any provision of the law of any State or political subdivision thereof, related to the carrying or transportation of firearms, a person who is not prohibited by Federal law from possessing, transporting, shipping, or receiving a firearm, and who is carrying a government-issued photographic identification document and a valid license or permit which is issued pursuant to the law of a State and which permits the person to carry a concealed firearm, may carry a concealed handgun (other than a machinegun or destructive device) that has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce, in any State, other than the State of residence of the person, that–


‘(1) has a statute that allows residents of the State to obtain licenses or permits to carry concealed firearms; or


‘(2) does not prohibit the carrying of concealed firearms by residents of the State for lawful purposes.


‘(b) A person carrying a concealed handgun under this section shall be permitted to carry a handgun subject to the same conditions or limitations that apply to residents of the State who have permits issued by the State or are otherwise lawfully allowed to do so by the State.


‘(c) In a State that allows the issuing authority for licenses or permits to carry concealed firearms to impose restrictions on the carrying of firearms by individual holders of such licenses or permits, a firearm shall be carried according to the same terms authorized by an unrestricted license or permit issued to a resident of the State.


‘(d) Nothing in this section shall be construed to preempt any provision of State law with respect to the issuance of licenses or permits to carry concealed firearms.’.


(b) Clerical Amendment- The table of sections for such chapter is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 926C the following:


‘926D. Reciprocity for the carrying of certain concealed firearms.’.


(c) Severability- Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, if any provision of this section, or any amendment made by this section, or the application of such provision or amendment to any person or circumstance is held to be unconstitutional, this section and amendments made by this section and the application of such provision or amendment to other persons or circumstances shall not be affected thereby.


(d) Effective Date- The amendments made by this section shall take effect 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.

It basically says that if you have a CFP in your home state, you can carry in any other state that offers a CFP for their own residents – and that you are subject to their laws and carry restrictions while there.

How does this relate to Utah?

For visitors to Utah, it doesn’t do anything.  Utah already recognizes permits issued by ANY State or County in the USA…

 UCA 76-10-523

(2) The provisions of Subsections 76-10-504(1)(a), (1)(b), and Section 76-10-505 do not apply to any person to whom a permit to carry a concealed firearm has been issued:
(a) pursuant to Section 53-5-704; or
(b) by another state or county.

For Utah CFP holders, it would mandate that other states recognize OUR permits when traveling.  While the Utah CFP is one of the most recognized permits out there, there are a few states that do not.  This includes Nevada and New Mexico – and also states like Oregon which issues permits for Oregon residents but doesn’t recognize other permits.


Generally there is no reciprocity with other states concealed handgun licenses. If you want to carry a concealed handgun in Oregon, you will need an Oregon Concealed Handgun License.

There is a good deal of debate on this – even in the firearms community. Some people are very concerned that it’s an in-road to federal control of concealed carry.  But when you read the bill, it is a VERY positive thing. It is a good thing, and is a logical extension of the McDonald decision (

It’s not the federal government trying to get involved in issuing permits.  It is them saying  that Concealed Firearm Permits are given full faith and credit in other states.

In my opinion, it is a good thing.  Please, encourage your legislators to support H.R. 822.

Range Incident – 15 Year Old at Utah Range

September 3rd, 2011

Here is a link to the news…

In hearing from someone that was there, it sounds like his chair swiveled out of the way as he was transitioning to a seated position.  He brought the gun in close to his body as he fell, but his finger was still on the trigger.  As he hit the ground, it pivoted up and he pulled the trigger.  The entry was just under the chin, and the exit was through the top of his head.

The last report that I have is that he is still alive, thanks to the efforts of the gentleman on scene that began CPR immediately.

I was looking at a number of forums, and there are people expressing everything from sympathy, to outrage that “anyone would allow a 15 year old to handle a monster 45”.

When we take a step back and look at the situation, he made the mistake of having his finger on the trigger when he had not made the decision to fire.  That’s the essential rule that he broke.

It’s true that as he was falling, he allowed the firearm to point at something that he didn’t want to destroy.  That is another rule technically broken, but he was in the act of falling.  Had he not had his finger on the trigger, he would not have been shot.

Those rules work together.

I have drilled those rules into my nephew and others that I have had the opportunity to teach.  Every time at the range or in a class.  They work together to keep you and others safe.

In this case, a very tragic accident happened.  But we have to accept that sometimes, in a free society, bad things can and do happen.  It doesn’t make guns bad, it doesn’t make the father an evil person, and it doesn’t make the son an idiot.  He and his father were enjoying an activity together.  That’s what he remembers now, I’m sure.

I do want to address the people referring to that “monster 45”.

If you have never shot a gun, a .45ACP may indeed seem intimidating.  But in practice, many people notice LESS perceived recoil shooting a .45ACP than they do shooting a .40 S&W.  There is more of a “pop” from a .40 S&W.

I think I first shot a .45 when I was about 8, but I might have been younger.  My nephew shot a .40 S&W at 10.  They are not monsters.  In fact, some of the most fun I have had with my nephew was when we were out shooting and I was able to watch the joy in his eyes as he practiced and developed his ability to hit whatever he aimed at.

This father was not negligent in allowing his son to shoot a .45 ACP.  His son made a mistake – but it was as he was falling down.  Yes, if he had obeyed all of the rules of firearm safety he would not have been injured.  But he didn’t.  It still does not make them idiots, and it doesn’t make guns bad.

Thankfully we live in a free society, and sometimes bad things happen in a free society.  I’d rather that be the case, than that we outlaw guns, or outlaw anyone under 18 from ever shooting them as I have seen suggested.

Hopefully he will fully recover.  Our prayers go out to them, and we hope they can remember the joy of being together more than the pain of this incident.

Lehi Boycott Update

September 3rd, 2011

I got quite a few positive responses to my recommendation to boycott Lehi while their PD was conducting their police state checkpoint.  Thank you to all that chose to avoid Lehi.  This sort of thing – done in the name of “safety” – can’t be allowed to continue.

I checked the Lehi PD Website, and found it to be so wonderfully up to date.  But they did have some statistics relating to the last time they did this “sobriety checkpoint” in 2009.

It said that between 10 PM and 3 AM they stopped a total of 826 cars.  They found the following violations…

7 alcohol arrests

16 misdemeanor arrests

6 DUI arrests

11 traffic violations

8 arrests for outstanding warrants

5 vehicle impounds for improperly registered vehicles.

That means that they impeded 826 vehicles and only caught 13 vehicles with alcohol-related offenses.  They caught 40 other offenses unrelated to alcohol.  53 total offenses.

That means that they impeded 773 law-abiding citizens in their police-state effort, which was ostensibly for “safety”.  Chad Smith (Lehi Police Chief) went on to say…

“Impaired driving is unacceptable and we, as a police department, are committed to get these type of drivers off the road. We are going to continue this type of proactive enforcement to make this a safer community”

So Chad, you see stopping and impeding the lawful travel of 773 people as acceptable?

Sorry Chad.  While you may be “legal” in doing so, you are morally and ethically WRONG.  Please stop this kind of activity in Lehi.  Have your officers OBSERVE, and then act when the observation warrants it.  We don’t want a nazi-like police state here in Lehi.  It makes it unfriendly and uncomfortable.  We aren’t supposed to feel like that here in America.

If you enjoy doing this, there are plenty of places you can go to practice this type of enforcement.  I understand that this is still acceptable in many of the Balkan states, and in much of the Middle East.  Please, don’t do this here again.

I’m a Lehi resident, and I’m recommending a Boycott of Lehi on 1 and 2 September

August 26th, 2011

Lehi PD is the latest to jump on the “dui checkpoint” (meaning let’s stop all of the law-abiding citizens in the hope of finding a few drunks) bandwagon.  They just announced that they are going to do one on 1 and 2 September 2011 on Pioneer Crossing at 600 East in Lehi.

As a resident of Lehi, I VERY MUCH OBJECT to using the police department in this manner.  They plan to stop ALL law-abiding citizens in the hope of catching a few bad guys.  That’s wrong – morally and ethically.

If police officers believe that it’s OK to impede the law-abiding public in an effort to catch a possible few bad guys, then we have a problem.  I’d prefer police that honor not only the letter of – but the intent behind – The Constitution.  And “DUI Checkpoints” are completely against both.

We don’t want to live in a Nazi-Germany-like state where we have police on every corner, and they can approach you at will with no legitimate cause and ask for “your papers”.  This is approaching that kind of state.  And morally and ethically it is wrong.

So even though I’m a Lehi resident, I’m recommending to EVERYONE that they do NO BUSINESS at all in Lehi on 01-September-2011 and 02-September-2011.  Go to American Fork, Pleasant Grove, Lindon, Orem, or even Murray or Provo.  Don’t give your dollars to them here in Lehi.  Deprive them of the tax dollars and deprive the police of the opportunity to impede you in your law-abiding activities.

If the Lehi PD wanted to verify the registrations of all sex offenders in the city (I wonder if they have ever bothered to do that?) or sit in school zones (where it might actually create some SAFETY), I wouldn’t have an issue with it.

But when they want to impede EVERYONE in order to catch a possible few, they go over the line.

Please, don’t visit or travel through Lehi on 1 and 2 September 2011.  Spend your dollars elsewhere, and don’t get your time wasted in a morally and ethically questionable activity conducted by the Lehi PD.

Firearms in the News – Fires and Dogs – Utah

August 5th, 2011

There have been a number of items in the news lately relating to firearms, and I want to take a moment to detail a few thoughts.

First – did you see the item on target shooters starting wildfires?  Great investigative technique there.

The fire investigator goes to where they think the fire started.  They take a big magnet and run it over the ground.  If a bullet with a steel core is pulled out of the ground in the vicinity, that’s assumed to be the cause.

Wow.  I’m really impressed.  I’ll bet that you can go over a large portion of western Utah – or even the western USA – and run a magnet over the ground and find steel core bullets.  Just because there is a bullet there, I’d way the odds of it starting a fire are extremely low when compared with the cigarette butts, match fragments, and other items that are also in the same area.

Now, if we are talking large quantities of tracers fired rapidly into one area (such as Camp Williams), we know that could do it – it has in the past.  But not too many shooters have tracers, and aside from the military they are illegal to shoot in Utah.

I think they found a convenient cause to blame, but they need to do some real investigation to find the real cause.  The problem is that doing so takes a lot of work.  A lot more than running a magnet over the ground.

There was also a recent incident known as the “dog hater incident”.  This one is a real winner – and I deal with this scenario in my Concealed Firearm Permit Classes.  This incident has been picked up by a lot of media sites.  This example is from

“His most recent victim has asked to remain anonymous, but was willing to go on camera to talk about an incident that took place Saturday evening. Calling himself Nick, he explained to reporters that while out walking his two terriers, fireworks went off and spooked them.

A man approaching them was nipped on the ankle by one of the small, scared dogs, and reacted by immediately pulling out a pistol and pointing it at the pooch.

“He had the gun out for at least 30 to 45 seconds before the very last thing he said to me after all the banter and complaining about his ankle was, ‘You’re lucky I’m in a good mood’ and he puts the gun away and walks away,” said Nick.

Given the overreaction of the gun toting maniac, police have obvious concerns for the safety of area residents, and describe the suspect as just under six feet tall with grey hair. Anyone with relevant information is asked to contact Cottonwood Heights Police at 801-840-4000.”

But wait, all of a sudden the “maniac” goes to police with a different story, and the bite marks to prove it. This is from the Deseret News…

“COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS — He was dubbed the “Dog Hater.”

But now Cottonwood Heights police say their investigation has taken a complete 180-degree turn and a man wanted for allegedly pulling a gun on a group of dog walkers may have actually been the victim and was defending himself.

Saturday evening, a man was walking his two dogs with friends near 3000 E. Danish Road. He later told police that his dogs were spooked by fireworks and nipped a man who was walking by.

That man allegedly responded by pulling out a gun and threatening the dog walkers.

But after the incident was reported by the local news, the man who pulled the gun turned himself over to police and gave a different story, which detectives Wednesday said seems to be backed up by the evidence.

The gunman actually had to be treated by a doctor after the dogs knocked him to the ground and bit his leg and face, said Cottonwood Heights police detective Ryan Shosted.

“The guy was attacked by the dogs and feared for his own safety,” he said.

The dogs that were being walked were both about 70 pounds, Shosted said. One was an Australian Shepherd and the other a Blue Heeler.

“He was walking past the dog owner and the dogs jumped on his back and knocked him down,” he said.

The man had a bruise on his knee consistent with being knocked over. Shosted said the bite on his leg was also “significant” and part of his finger tip was bitten off.

The man, in his late 60s to early 70s, was an Army veteran and had a concealed weapons permit. He pulled out a handgun and told the dog owner to get his dogs off him or he would shoot them, Shosted said. He later told police it was the first time he had ever pulled his concealed weapon out.

After detectives heard the man’s story, they went back to the dog owner and after interviewing him, cited him for the dog bite. He was allowed to keep his dogs, however, as they were both licensed and had had rabies shots.

The case with the gun will now be reviewed by the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office. But Shosted said it has all the appearances of a case of self-defense.

“Ultimately, the guy was legally carrying a gun and he was in fear for his safety,” he said.”

Now, I always tell my students that 911 is a game – it’s called “Who Dialed First”.  The guy that calls 911 first is presumed to be the good guy until proven otherwise.

The mistake that this CFP holder made was that he didn’t call 911.  He just went on his way and had his wounds tended to.  He grew up in a time where people took care of themselves, and people generally had the moral courage to admit when they were at fault.

“Nick”, now identified as Nick Drost, elected to lie to the police and the public rather than accepting fault for what he allowed his dogs to do.

The CFP holder should have called police, but he didn’t.  The bad guy called the police first, and was then presumed to be the good guy until it was proven otherwise.   Fortunately it turned out all right for the CFP holder, but remember – if you are  in a situation where you are forced to draw your firearm, even if you don’t fire it, call 911 as soon as it is safe to do so.  Otherwise, the bad guy may decide to make trouble for you on the back end.

Lesson learned.

We are in for a fight – again

July 15th, 2011

There has been a theory out there that says if the democrats feel that they are going to fail to keep the White House, they would rather leave behind more reasons to hate them.  Things are not looking good for them in the executive office, and not really looking good for them in the Senate either.

Last week the press secretary for the President said that they are working on “gun control” – meaning Anti-2nd Amendment issues.

Obama pushed out an Executive Order directing the BATFE to collect yet more information on gun owners.

Now we have some details on legislation to solidify that order being announced today.

It looks like McCarthy from NY (on her website she has a heading called “Gun Safety” that doesn’t have a single item on it relating to safety features on firearms or safe gun handling) and a couple of her cohorts are going to try to  push another Anti-Constitution law on us TODAY.

They plan to introduce their new legislation at 11:00 at the House Triangle.  It seems to be an effort to solidify the recent Obama-issued Executive Order to keep track of anyone that buys more than one long gun (rifle or shotgun) in a 5-day period.  I’m sure there is a “and for other purposes” in there too – and none of those will be good for us.

They just don’t get it.  “Shall Not Be Infringed”, especially in light of the Heller and McDonald decisions, isn’t clear enough for them.

The NRA is working to make it that clear.  Wayne LaPierre delivered a message to the Unite Nations the other day that I think is worthy of note.  They are trying to push a treaty on small arms that would directly conflict with the 2nd Amendment.  Please take a look at his address to the United Nations at

I strongly recommend that YOU join the NRA or renew your membership today.  As a service to you, we can help you do either one for $25 – saving you $10 courtesy of

Please, add your voice to ours in this effort.  We are literally under attack by enemies of the Constitution and freedom both foreign and domestic.  We need to work actively in Washington and elsewhere to make sure that “Shall Not Be Infringed” is upheld.  The NRA is the best representative organization we have.

Click here to join the NRA or renew your membership for $25.

Are you in this fight, or just watching from the sidelines?  It’s time to decide.

On this July 4th…

July 3rd, 2011

I was just outside and I could hear many fireworks exploding in the distance.  I found myself pondering a few thoughts….

I’d like to recommend that in the next 24 hours you read the Declaration of Independence.  Take note of the list of trespasses that the king George made against the people.  Note that the Founding Fathers indicated that changing their form of government was not something to be done lightly, but that the situation at the time required them to take that action.

Also take special note of the degree of dedication that the men had, who put their names to that document…

“And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

Realize what that meant – for many of them they had to flee their homes and leave their families.  But they knew that their cause was just.  That inspired the following from our National Anthem…

 “O! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation.
Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the Heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust;”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

I’d then like to recommend that you watch The Patriot in the next few hours, before the main fireworks celebrations tomorrow.

Pay attention to the arguments made about going to war.  Pay attention to what was required to bring some men to that action.  Note also that some would not participate.

It is surprising that some men would not desire freedom, but that is the case even today.  I saw a special on Russia today and I will quote a Russian man from that doumentary as closely as I can.

“We do not need freedom here.  We need another Stalin.  Democracy is not for us”.

I find that ultimately sad.

Lastly, when you are watching those fireworks tomorrow, take a few moments to close your eyes and think about the scenes in The Patriot where the fighting was in the towns and farms of America.

There are those in other lands that don’t want us to have our freedom.  They desire to hurt us, and would gladly be shooting up our cities and farms of today.  Those sounds you hear could indeed be Amercans fighting for their freedom, but our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines have taken the fight to them.

Those sounds that you hear are the sounds that they hear every day, taking the fight to the enemy so that we can sleep peacefully at here at home.

Thank them.  Thank them with all of your heart.  I thank them.  I hope they know that they are loved and respected.  As for me and my family, we honor them.

Thank you all.  May God bless and keep you.

I must digress a little – let’s talk Immigration and Honesty

April 30th, 2011

The following article – in which an LDS branch president from Draper and his family, here illegally, were arrested and are being deported – got me thinking about honesty.

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are taught from a very young age to memorize the following…

Article of Faith #12:

We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.

They are also taught to sing a song containing these lyrics…

Keep the commandments; keep the commandments!

In this there is safety; in this there is peace.

He will send blessings; He will send blessings.

Words of a prophet: Keep the commandments.

In this there is safety and peace.

(Children’s Songbook, page 146).

 I point these two out because of the SAFETY and PEACE aspects of coming into the United States of America via LEGAL means.  When one does so, one is granted certain protections that are NOT afforded when one comes here in a manner contrary to the law.

It is much like those that obey the commandments of God.  When one does so, God is bound by certain promises.  But when one does NOT obey His commandments – they are given NO guarantee.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints openly baptizes and accepts as clergy and missionaries those in the United States contrary to the laws of this nation.

Yet, according to the teachings of the Church, and according to the documents which LDS leaders use as guides (which state that members should be encouraged to stay in their home countries), this seems to be in DIRECT contradiction to not only POLICIES, but DOCTRINES.

Policies – such as the incredibly unwise POLICY prohibiting concealed carry in LDS houses of worship in Utah – are generated by men.  DOCTRINE – it is believed – comes through inspiration from God Himself.

Let me give you another example that might shed some light on this.  LDS members are taught there are many levels to heaven.  Only in the highest of these will families be together, and be able to continue on through eternity.

It is also taught that being sent to a lower level won’t be seen as much as a punishment, as it will be seen as compassionate.  If one was admitted to a level that is too high for their spiritual development, they would be constantly uncomfortable and would not be spiritually at peace.  They would not feel right being there.  They would be in constant fear.

Does this sound like a familiar argument?  Those would promote illegal immigration often state that those that are here illegally live in a state of constant fear of discovery.  They don’t feel comfortable or at peace.

Yet, if there were here legally, they would have those blessings.  It makes sense.

Let’s take this even further.

If your wife is sent to that highest level but you are not, do you expect that God will simply let you enter it anyway?  “But my family is here, I need to be with them!”

Will God accept that?  Will He look the other way?  Will you be able to lie about your Celestial Kingdom citizenship?

LDS are taught that He can not look upon sin with even the least degree of allowance.  God doesn’t have compassion in that.

Taken to its logical conclusion – it is clear that in heaven according to LDS doctrine, families will be separated.  This is why people are told how important it is for them to be married in the Temple, and then to do all they can to become perfect – even as Jesus and God are.  If they don’t, they won’t be together and won’t go on forever as a family.

So, why is it different here?  Why are they not telling these illegals that want to be baptized here “go back to your native country, we have missionaries there that will help you”?  Why are they not taking the DOCTRINE of obeying the law (and US immigration law IS friendly to the Constitution) and APPLYING it?

The Glory of God is Intelligence – Light and Truth.  Light comes from APPLYING truth.  They don’t seem to applying it here.

Now, if President Thomas S. Monson was to come out and say “Thus Sayeth The Lord – It Is Not Needful To Obey US Immigration Law”, and do so BOLDLY and NOBLY as Joesph Smith said should be done, then that would settle it.  Let the chips fall where they may.  Do what is right, let the consequence follow – right?

President Monson hasn’t come out and said anything.  But we have seen men acting in ways that certainly appear to contradict established DOCTRINE.

I hate to see this.  Things have changed since I grew up in the Church.  They still make children memorize the articles of faith, but they don’t seem to be taken as seriously as they once were.


New Utah Concealed Firearm Permit Laws coming

April 20th, 2011

If you are thinking about getting a Concealed Firearm Permit, you may have heard that the fees are going to drop by $5.25 for Utah Residents on 11-May-2011.  That’s true, but I wouldn’t recommend waiting until then.

I have been hearing from a lot of folks that they plan to wait to apply for their permit until that date.  That means that they will be in the batch with tons of other folks – and it will take longer to get your permit with the increased number of applications.

I’d recommend getting it NOW and getting it faster than waiting.  I won’t be surprised to see the lag time go over 60 days starting next month.

Another change will be that non-Utah residents will have to obtain a Concealed Firearm Permit in their state of residence (if one is available) before they can apply for a Utah permit.  If you are not a resident of Utah, you have a little while longer to get your Utah permit application turned in before you have to go through the new process.

We are running a class on 23-April-2011 @ 1:30 PM in Lehi to help folks get their applications in before the deadline.  Feel free to e-mail to register.

KSL and Concealed Firearm Permits – At Least Get It Right

March 28th, 2011

Many of you may be aware that KSL and the Deseret News did a joint job on Concealed Firearm Permits in Utah over the weekend.

Their article can be found here…

The article involved interviews with Steve Gunn and others, and contains an inaccurate statement…

You don’t have to physically handle a gun in class to get the permit though.

While the the official minimum training guidelines from the State Of Utah at do not presently include the hands-on practical exercise, every instructor I know has a hands-on exercise at the end of class where the students demonstrate the safe handling, loading, firing, and unloading procedures for both revolvers and semi-automatic firearms BEFORE the instructor will sign and stamp their application.

It seems that BCI has pulled the mandatory hands-on exercise from the latest guidelines, but I don’t know anyone that doesn’t still employ it.

The rules of firearm safety apply to EVERYONE (except God)

March 16th, 2011

They apply because no one (except for God) can recall a projectile after the trigger is pulled.  This is why you NEVER ignore them.I just found this on

Security guard shoots bathroom floor

March 16th, 2011 @ 12:55pm

By Pat Reavy


WEST VALLEY CITY — A security guard at West Valley City’s driver’s license bureau accidentally fired his gun into the bathroom floor Wednesday morning while trying to fix a problem.


About 7:30 a.m., a 23-year-old employee from Chapman Security was at the Driver’s License Division, 2780 W. 4700 South, when he noticed the thumb safety on his handgun was not engaged, said West Valley Police Sgt. Mike Powell.


The man went into the bathroom to fix the problem, but for an unknown reason kept his finger on the gun’s trigger while attempting to remedy the situation, Powell said. He accidentally fired a shot into the tile floor, he said.


No one was injured. Powell said charges would not likely be filed.

First, I don’t buy the story.  He just happened to notice that the thumb safety was off?I suspect that he was playing with the gun while doing his business.  But I can tell you this…It was a NEGLIGENT DISCHARGE because as an armed security officer he was required to undergo training that included the rules of firearm safety.  He has been taught the rules, knew better, and ignored them.  That’s not ACCIDENTAL, that’s NEGLIGENT.Negligence is a legal term.  You hear it in court all the time.  Negligent homocide, negligent vehicular manslaughter, etc.  You don’t want to be there.This is a teachable moment.  Don’t be this guy.

Notes on the Ruger LC9

February 17th, 2011

I got a little more trigger time on the Ruger LC9 this week.  I shot a quick video to answer the most freq1uent question I’m asked about the latest Ruger semi-automatic firearms (how far does that loaded chamber indicator stick up?) and to show one of the things that was VERY notable the first time I shot it.

The baseplate of the magazine moves.  It moves a LOT.  There is a sub-floorplate in there, and it seems they used one from an LCP magazine.  This is purported to be identical to shipping products, so I’m not impressed.

In terms of shooting it, the recoil isn’t that bad to me, but I try to take into account that some people are more sensitive to it than others.  I don’t see anyone having issues with it with standard 9mm range ammo, but I do think that some will find it a bit too much when shooting 9mm +p defensive loads.

Groups were terrible.  All of those shooting it felt that the trigger pull was inconsistent, and the accuracy was not really good.  Several of us had rounds that were way off.  Expect to require a lot of practice with it in order to reliably hit your target with good shot placement every time.  Much more than with a Glock or Springfield XD right out of the box.

The three-dot sights are far better than what you have on the LCP.  But the way it performs, it’s still a close-range gun – not a good target firearm.  I would not classify it as being suitable for even 25-yard shooting without a TON of practice.

Before I forget, there is a magazine disconnect in this firearm.  It will not shoot without a magazine inserted.  I’m not a fan, and one person that looked it over (take down isn’t uber simple) felt that this part of the mechanism was weak.  We’ll see where it goes.

While this isn’t a formal product review as we do on, I’m comfortable saying that this is a close-range firearm, out to about 21 feet or so maximum.  I recommend a ton of practice with it, until you are able to accurately place shots consistently at that distance, before you carry it.

9mm is certainly better than .380 auto, and this is a very thin gun.  At the price point I can see a lot of folks looking into it, but I’d go a little bigger (and a bit more money) and get a Glock 26, Ruger SR9c, or consider a Kahr.

At this point, that’s my opinion.  If you are going to get one, practice with it until you can reliably, consistently, make accurate shots at a minimum of 21 feet before you actually carry it.

SHOT Show and State Legislature

January 27th, 2011

Well, the SHOT Show has been over for almost a week now, and I’m still busy with it.

We left the show on Thursday to make our way back to Salt Lake via St. George.  That was a relaxing evening, but then the work started.  I have a pile of hardcopy press kits (with information about new products for 2011 and other company news items) about 3 feet high, and a stack of kits on CD-ROM about 1 foot high.

This is a lot of material to go through, in addition to the notes and videos and photos taken during three-plus days of hands-on shooting at Media Day at the Range, meetings and interviews and press conferences at the show itself, and from walking both floors of the show from end to end – looking for items that our readers will be interested in over the coming year.

And I got back home just in time to start covering our State 2011 Legislative Session.  That’s going to get interesting, and there are already some good bills presented.   Yesterday I wrote a quick note about the ones out so far – and the house passed the bill making the 1911 the State Gun.  We will see what happens – we still have a lot more to come.

At the federal level, we have folks talking about a ban on “high capacity magazines”, which they are defining as anything over 10 rounds.  It was tried before as a part of the “assault weapons ban” and it didn’t do anything to help anything – but it did hurt LAW-ABIDING AMERICANS.  That is wrong and we CAN NOT let them do it again.  Get involved.  Join the NRA, join the GOA, contact your elected representatives, but above all DO SOMETHING.  Don’t go quietly into the night on this one.  It can and must be stopped.

We will have more in this blog and at in the near future.  Keep checking back.

Utah Legislative Session – Bills to Watch

January 26th, 2011

The following bills have been proposed that we recommend our readers become familiar with…

HB 0214 – reduces the initial fee charged for a concealed firearm permit by $5.25, while increasing the renewal fee by $5.

HB 0210 –

provides that “torture” does not include shooting an animal with the intent to humanely kill the animal;
provides that it is a defense to prosecution for animal cruelty if the conduct of the actor towards the animal was reasonable and necessary to protect the actor or another person from injury or death;
provides that the provisions of this bill do not affect or prohibit the humane shooting or killing of an animal if the person doing the shooting or killing has a reasonable belief that the animal is a feral animal

HB 0219

This bill modifies the state symbols and designations to designate the Browning model M1911 automatic pistol as the state firearm.

SB 36 –

This bill:
requires a nonresident applicant for a concealed firearm permit to hold a current concealed firearm or concealed weapon permit from the applicant’s state of residency that recognizes the validity of the Utah permit in that state or has reciprocity with the Utah concealed firearm permit law; and
requires a nonresident applicant to pay an additional $5 processing fee for the issuance of the permit.

I’ll keep you updated as we find more.  You might also want to look into the Illegal Immigration Enforcement bills.  We need to do something. 

Another “Assault Weapons Ban”?

January 13th, 2011

As I write this, I’m getting ready to head to Las Vegas for the 2011 SHOT (Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade) Show.  It’s the biggest industry trade show where all of the manufacturers get together to show their products to the gun dealers that sell them to you.

With the recent shooting of a Congresswoman (Gabrielle Giffords) and several other people in Arizona, there are a few of the elected legislators in our congress that are beginning to float a new bill that is very reminiscent of the “Assault Weapons Ban”.

One aspect of that that ban – which was in place from 1994 through 2004 – eliminated magazines with a capacity greater than 10 rounds.  That meant that you were severely limiting the personal defensive capability – and the enjoyment of – most modern arms which are designed by the manufacturers with capacities greater than that.

Of course, law enforcement – and the bodyguards for members of congress – would be exempt.

That’s just wrong.

It seems that Carolyn McCarthy (D) NY is one of them.  I just tuned past the Rachel Maddow show on CNN and both of them were gushing over the possibility that civilization might be saved if gun owners will just roll over and accept this “simple, common-sense” limit on the 2nd Amendment.

Carolyn went as far as saying that this would prevent magazines like that going to the cartels in Mexico.

She needs to get a clue.  Do your research Carolyn, please.  Look at the statistics, don’t listen to the Mexicans.

The original “AWB” didn’t help.  It expired in 2004.  Look at the statistics before, during, and after.  They are there, and they don’t support her conclusions.

I strongly encourage you to contact your elected representatives and encourage them to NOT go along with ANY such legislation.  You may need to remember what happened to those responsible for the original “AWB”.  Most of them lost at the next election.

I’m expecting to hear a lot more about this during the show.  I’ll keep you updated on what happens.  Stay aware, and be involved.

For more coverage from the SHOT Show, please check out

University of Utah – Honesty? Anyone?

January 6th, 2011

Many of you have heard about the recently disclosed documents from the University of Utah dealing with legal open carry and concealed carry.  If you haven’t, here is a link to them…

The University of Utah has placed two of their police officers on leave because they leaked this document.  A complete story on this is available at

Remi Barton with the University of Utah says that this information isn’t for the public record because…

the guidelines in question are protocols that officers use when responding to “potentially dangerous situations,” and therefore aren’t intended for public consumption and aren’t subject to state open-records laws.

Let’s read from the introduction to the document…

This guide is designated to provide UUPD officers with a quick reference when
responding to calls of persons displaying/openly carrying weapons in non-violent situations.

So, this guide IS NOT intended to reference “active shooter” scenarios.  It’s specifically intended for NON-VIOLENT situations.

Now, if a student writes a thesis with clear and blatant lies, that student is called to account for such behavior.  If they steal someone elses’ work, it’s not tolerated, and is considered dishonest.

But when the University itself does something dishonest – well, that’s apparently kosher.

I don’t think so.

First, the two officers that released this information – which is a clearly written example of how the University of Utah is attempting to ignore Utah law –  should be considered heroes.  They did the right thing.

Secondly, the University of Utah is basically lying about the intent of the document, by saying that it is intended as policy in dealing with potentially dangerous situations.  The document itself clearly states that it is for reference in NON-VIOLENT situations.  It’s one or the other, and the document itself states that it’s not what the University of Utah says it is.  No excuse for trying to hide it behind the guise of public safety.

So much for honesty at the University of Utah.  Michael K. Young should hang his head in shame.

Then you have the fact that the University of Utah is ignoring Utah law – yet again.

I’d recommend that you contact your state legislators and let them know that you object to your tax dollars being used to support an institution that ignores Utah laws.  The session starts later this month, and the University of Utah is asking for a lot of money.

Michael K. Young may have just shot himself (figuratively, of course) in the wallet.

I’d also like to address one other issue….

He wrote…

It is clear to me that having weapons in plain sight on this campus creates a fearful and intimidating campus environment.

Mr. Young, this is the western United States.  Utah is a much more free state than California or New York.  Here, it is acceptable for people to openly carry firearms.  Utah law DOES permit concealed firearm permit holders to openly carry firearms on your campus.

If you feel that this creates an intimidating environment, I’d invite you to relocate yourself to a state where this is not acceptable –  such as California or NewYork. Then you won’t see firearms openly carried, and most likely won’t encounter a concealed firearm either.

If you feel intimidated by things that are socially acceptable here in Utah, go somewhere where you will be comfortable with the social norms of the area.

I know that if I was not comfortable living somewhere because I didn’t like the social norms of the area, I’d be smart enough to move to a place where I felt safe and accepted.  I wouldn’t “kick against the pricks” in an effort to change that society to accommodate me.  The big people, real world doesn’t work that way.

This isn’t a zero-tolerance elementary or junior-high school you are running.  It’s supposed to be an institution of higher education where honesty and integrity are valued, and the free flow of ideas – even those foreign or contrary to yours – is encouraged.

Welcome to Utah.  It’s a more free State than most others.  If you don’t like that, don’t try to change it.  Don’t try to turn the University of Utah into your own idea of a utopia.  We like Utah the way it is, and it’s not your authority to ignore Utah law when it doesn’t fit your ideals.

If you can’t OBEY Utah law and be intellectually honest the way you tell your students to be, then please go find another school to run in a state where you will feel comfortable, where the laws are already the way you want them to be.  They are out there.  If you are not comfortable here, don’t keep torturing yourself.  Either learn to be comfortable here, or go where you will be comfortable.

That’s what a smart person would do.

After an incident, do not talk to the police…

December 31st, 2010

I have posted on this topic before, but a recent situation in Las Vegas which has the police refusing to testify at coroners inquests relating to officer-involved shootings makes the reasons for this very clear…

You can read the complete article here…

Chris Collins is the president of the officers union.  Here is his primary statement as to why officers will refuse to testify..

Collins said he wants officers to avoid being questioned four times about the same incident — during the criminal investigation, at the inquest, and then, if there is a civil suit, a deposition, and at a trial.

To paint a picture of the problems that might arise, Collins gave a fictional example: After shooting a suspect, an officer tells homicide investigators he was 6 feet away when he shot; during the inquest, the ombudsman grills him and gets him to say it was “6 or 7 feet”; then a civil suit is filed and the officer has to go into a deposition and answer again; then he answers one more time during the civil trial.

Even though by the time the inquest is held, the district attorney has typically decided not to charge the officer, Collins said going through the questions four times is onerous.

Keep in mind that if YOU are involved in a shooting incident, you will be asked to state exactly what happened multiple times – from the 911 operator which will be recorded, to the first responding officers, to the investigating detectives, and more.

Anything you say CAN and WILL be used against you.  That includes the possibility of it being twisted around to confuse you or other witnesses.

The police know this is what happens.  They do this on a routine basis.  They are working to avoid having the same tactics used against them.

Follow their lead.

If you are involved in a shooting incident, your first call is to 911 giving them only what you must.  Your next call is to your attorney.  I recommend Mitch Vilos.

Until he is there, say nothing to the police.  Don’t fall into the trap that they know about, and don’t want to get in themselves.

Situational Awareness – Always Be Mindful Of Your Surroundings

December 14th, 2010

I ran across this in an article this morning in the Las Vegas Sun…

Metro Police are seeking the public’s help in identifying suspects accused of robbing a woman in the garage of her northwest valley home in September.

Police said the three approached the victim as she pulled her car into the garage about 3:20 a.m. Sept. 19 at her home, which is near Jones Boulevard and Elkhorn Road. One suspect allegedly pulled a gun and demanded her purse while another rifled through the car’s interior, police said.

The suspects then fled on foot and later used her credit card at several businesses, officials said.

One of the surveillance images released, taken at a business where the credit card was used, shows a woman with two suspects. Police don’t believe the woman was involved in the robbery.

Officials described the suspects as black men in their 20s — two in their mid- to late-20s and one in his low 20s.

The first suspect is described as about 5-feet-10-inches tall, weighing about 230 pounds with a muscular build. Another is described as about 5-feet-9-inches tall and about 175 pounds with a goatee. The third is described as 5-feet-10-inches tall and weighing about 200 pounds.

Even if you are at home, do not let yourself be caught unaware.  Turn on your high-beams (if you can) and look around your home and the others around it.  If something seems out of place or you see someone trying to hide, consider your options.Use your remote to close the garage door behind you before you exit your vehicle.  Don’t exit your vehicle or unlock your doors until the door is safely down behind you.Have your home well lighted on the outside.  Don’t leave dark places for someone to hide.Encourage your neighbors to do the same.Just because you are pulling into your garage doesn’t mean you are safe.  It’s a perfect time to try to jump someone the way these three did.  Don’t let it happen to you.

Another, unfortunate “Teachable Moment”

November 30th, 2010

I ran across this on yesterday…

SALT LAKE CITY — A man is in critical condition after he accidentally shot himself while checking for burglars.

Salt Lake police say it happened around 3:20 a.m. at a residence near 900 East and 500 South. They say the man thought he heard someone in his apartment, woke up and grabbed his .22-caliber handgun and his flashlight.

He went to turn on his flashlight but pulled the gun’s trigger instead.

The bullet hit him in the chest. He was able to call 911. Officers broke down the apartment door and found him injured. The man was taken to University of Utah Medical Center in critical condition.

Police say there is no evidence of a burglary in the apartment.

While I won’t go into details about why using a .22 caliber firearm for defense isn’t a good idea – since perhaps that was all that he had – I want to take a minute and talk about the importance of obeying the rules of firearm safety.

The various rules of firearm safety work together.  When all are obeyed, accidents (or negligence) are avoided.

When one is disregarded, the chances of serious bodily injury or death are still mitigated to a degree.

But when more than one are disregarded, then we have the situation illustrated here…

Let’s look at the rules for a moment…





Now, how many of these rules did he violate.  Certainly the second – the firearm was pointed at his chest.  He also violated the third – he had his finger on the trigger and somehow confused that with the switch on his flashlight.  He technically violated the fourth as well.

Since the firearm was ready to use, he didn’t technically violate the first but he failed on the second and third, and now he is in critical condition as a result.

You are RESPONSIBLE for EVERY PROJECTILE that leaves your firearm.  You are ACCOUNTABLE for whatever damage it does.  You CAN NOT call a projectile back once you pull the trigger.

If you don’t follow the rules, this is what can happen.

Get Out And Vote

October 31st, 2010

In a couple of days, you will have the opportunity to get out and vote for elected representatives at various levels.  This is a responsibility and an opportunity to be involved in “the system”.

I encourage our readers to look at the candidates – not just vote along party lines – and find the person that will be represent YOUR interests.  In some unfortunate cases your choice may be limited to selecting the candidate that will take away the fewest of your freedoms.  In such cases, consider running for officer yourself and offering an alternative.

Take a look at my video on YouTube ( and get out and vote.  Elections have consequences.  Do your part to make a difference.

The last month – a few thoughts

October 20th, 2010

I keep intending to post some updates but it has been a very busy month – actually a little more than that – since I last posted.I finally completed the first part of the article covering the PS90 for home defense.  It covers the PS90 itself, and we have recommendations and reviews for the optic and extended side rails.  

We haven’t been able to get the ballistic gel tests done on the ammunition yet, but we do have some chrony readings included.Feel free to take a look so far.

Next up will be recommendations on a tactical light and targeting assist laser, plus magazine pouches and more.

I’m also getting some videos up on our YouTube channels – one for and one for  Those should be coming in the next few days.

In my Concealed Firearm Permit classes over the last month I have been getting some great students.  I have been teaching some Saturday classes at Impact Guns in Salt Lake City every few weeks – and the response has been very good.  Be prepared for a 5 hour class – it’s VERY difficult to get through all of the required material and make sure everyone understands in anything less.

I have some interest for a class in St. George on the 11th or 12th of November.  I’d love to get down there for a class – and if there are enough interested students to justify the cost of the classroom I’ll do it.  If you would like a class on the 11th (daytime or evening) or the 12th (daytime only) in St. George, let me know at

A little example of “Superior Judgment”

September 6th, 2010

I keep a plaque in my office with the following saying on it…

A SUPERIOR SAILOR is one who uses his SUPERIOR JUDGMENT to keep out of situations requiring the use of his SUPERIOR SKILLS.

I look at a firearm – concealed or otherwise – as being the SUPERIOR SKILL in this statement.

I want to illustrate a real-world example of avoiding a situation where you could be justified in using a firearm – using “Superior Judgment” – or simple discretion.

I have a neighbor with a Doberman Pinscher.  He frequently lets it outside when he is out.  It has shown aggressive behavior towards others in the neighborhood (growling, baring teeth, even chasing).

Our city has a leash law which requires that any dog not in a fenced backyard must be on a leash under the control of a person capable of doing so.

Several in the neighborhood have felt threatened, and the dog has entered the garages of other neighbors and growled at them.  Laws such as this exist so that you don’t need to feel intimidated by someone else’s animal while enjoying your own property, and to keep animals safe as well.

My neighbors all know that I’m a firearms instructor and that I carry at all times.  The other day when I came home I was openly carrying – as I often do at work and around the house.

When I pulled into my driveway, his dog immediately started in after my Jeep (barking, growling, baring its teeth) and he whistled at it.  It ignored him.  At one point his little girl grabbed the dogs collar and tried to pull it, it started pulling her – hence the requirement that someone capable be in control of the leash.

Without exiting my Jeep – from which I knew that I would not have to defend myself against the dog – I tried to explain the leash law and asked him if he would put it on a leash.  He said “It’s just a baby” and ignored me.

I was using judgment.  I didn’t want to enter a situation where I might have to use my firearm, and even though I was outside on my own property I took the high road.  I could have exited the jeep and ended up in a confrontation with the dog on my own property – but I didn’t.  Personally, I’d rather not have to defend myself against it in front of his daughter.  But, I won’t take being intimidated on my own property either.

I tried to reason with him and he didn’t listen.  But, in the immediacy of the situation I avoided a confrontation that might have required the use of my firearm and which may indeed have been justified.

Keep in mind that if it could not have been avoided or it was imminently threatening to attack me or a member of my family (not inside a vehicle but in the yard with nothing between us and the dog, for example), I would not have hesitated to have put it down and immediately called 911.

I went inside, and the next morning I called animal control.  One of their officers responded and I filled him in on the situation.  He then went over to their house and explained the leash law and let them know that there were penalties for not obeying it  – and that animal control will be checking and observing for compliance.

I’m sure my neighbor isn’t happy, but if he had listened to some friendly advice and done as the law said he should and as I requested, he would have avoided the situation.

As it is, I avoided the need to defend myself in that situation, and hopefully prevented the need in the future requiring that sort of response.

Why Didn’t Anyone At Least Try To Help?

September 1st, 2010

I was recently asked why – in the Church shooting situation in California – no one tried to help.  The answer is relatively simple.

  • None of them were armed.  They did not possess appropriate weapons to be able to fight back.

But even more importantly…

  • They did not have a prepared mindset – something I discuss in CFP and other defensive courses.
    • They were not trained to think about “what if” scenarios and come up with mental plans to deal with those scenarios (which helps to compensate for the “action is faster than reaction rule”).
    • They had never internalized the need to “improvise, adapt, and overcome”, so they were not prepared to grab a chair, or a picture off of the wall, or an empty baby car seat and at least do something.
      • Any of these against a firearm is a major disadvantage, but the Church leaves them with no other means at this time.

This is why armed and trained CFP holders are important.

LDS Bishop Shot in California – No Firearms in LDS Houses Of Worship in Utah

August 31st, 2010

I was originally going to avoid posting anything about this incident, but I have learned enough details about the shooting incident in California that I have to.  Please read this very carefully.  This has to change.

On Sunday 29-August-2010, Bishop Clay Sannar was shot and killed in an LDS meetinghouse (Church) in Visalia, CA.

The shooter was Kenneth Ward.  He was a former member of the LDS Church.

He walked in between meetings and asked to see a leader or Bishop.

He went into the Bishops office with Bishop Sannar and shot him in the foot.


Because those witnesses were unarmed and did not have a prepared mindset, they simply looked on as it happened.

Gordon B Hinckley decided on a POLICY (not a DOCTRINE)  prohibiting firearms in LDS Houses of Worship in the State of Utah.  They had the law modified to allow for this.  The LDS Church is the ONLY Church that does this.  They discourage the practice in all LDS Meetinghouses outside of Utah.

We have had one sister in Utah killed because no one there had a firearm and was prepared to act.

We have now had this incident in which a good man was dragged like a sheep to the slaughter in front of his congregation.


I call on President Thomas S. Monson to reverse this policy and permit licensed and trained Concealed Firearm Permit holders to carry in any and all LDS houses of worship.

I know he has armed bodyguards in attendance when he is in the Temple, the holiest of places for LDS members.  He takes that precaution when he is in that place where only good-standing Mormons may go.  Yet we have had crazy people rush in to them before, and threaten those inside.  LDS Meetinghouses are far more common and far more accessible.

Personally, I never carried while in the Temple, but before the law went into effect I did carry up to the locker room in the Temple.  I never felt the need to go beyond with a firearm.  But as I said, LDS Meetinghouses are far more common and far more accessible.

If they are worried about accidents, this can be taken care of very simply.

If you are carrying a firearm, keep it on your person and under your control at all times.

If you have children, keep them under control.

Situation solved.

How many more must die before this POLICY will be reversed?  In both of these cases, an armed and trained member might have been able to help.  At least it would have given them a fighting chance.

God and Angels did not step in and intervene in these two shootings.  It seems clear to me that God would expect us to do our best to take care of ourselves.

Please.  President Monson.  Give us that chance.

EPA not considering ammo ban but still looking at fishing

August 28th, 2010

The EPA announced late yesterday that they are not considering the ammunition ban portion of the request discussed in my previous blog entry. They are – however – considering the request to ban fishing sinkers.

You can read their press release here…

In this was a clear example of the incrementalism that our foes love to employ. They openly admitted that they could not ban ammo, but hoped that they could ban the components to make it.  They tried to find a loophole (having the EPA regulate components that go into ammo instead of the ammunition itself), but in this case they failed.

At the very least the EPA honored the bounds of their authority. We have to be vigilant to make sure that this remains the case.  I’ll keep you updated if anything new happens on this.

URGENT – EPA considering a ban on lead ammunition

August 26th, 2010

A group of organizations have recently asked the EPA to ban all “Lead Fishing Sinkers and Ammunition Components” – using the 1976 Toxic Substance Control Act – which EXEMPTED these items at the time.  They want the government to take MORE control and to make shooting virtually impossible.

The organizations in question are…


You can view their complete petition here.  I thought the “lead poisoned” Bald Eagle on the cover was an especially sick touch.  I’d love to see an independent autopsy on that bird to verify the cause of death.

The important thing is that the EPA is taking public comments on this topic.  I’d recommend ALL of our readers contact the EPA and request that they DENY this petition.  You can do so by clicking HERE and typing your comment in the box on the right side of the form.

Please don’t give up your rights.  Fight for them.  In this case, you can do so by sending your comments to the EPA.  You can also e-mail Lisa Jackson (Administrator of the EPA) by sending her a note at

I’d also recommend that you contact your elected representatives and let them know.  You can easily do so by clicking HERE.

Get involved, and preserve your rights and freedoms.  This is an active fight against those that would take them away.

A great place to shoot in Southern Utah

August 24th, 2010

I try to keep a good list of places to shoot for my students.  In Northern Utah it’s pretty much Impact Guns at either their Ogden or Salt Lake City locations, Rangemasters in Springville (Utah County), or finding a SAFE area away from other shooters west of Utah Lake – which is becoming more and more difficult.

In Southern Utah (St. George area), there aren’t any indoor ranges.  I’d really love to see that resolved, but I have customarily recommended heading out South and West on Navajo Road (west of Bloomington) and going down by the Arizona Strip.  It’s nice to be able to go out whenever you want.

This last weekend I was down there and wanted to verify the zero on an XPS 3-0 on a PS90.  I had moved the position of the optic which meant I needed to get it zeroed back in. We were in the Hurricane, UT area, and decided to check out the Southern Utah Shooting Sports Park.  I found their website and it turned out that they were open on Friday morning.

The Southern Utah Shooting Sports Park (SUSSP) is located by Quail Creek Reservoir, at the Fairgrounds off of Highway 9.  Just turn right at the Driver’s License office and keep going straight past the fairgrounds.  There are signs to direct you.

There are actually several venues there – including the rifle and pistol range, a sporting clay shooting range, a cowboy action range, a tactical range, and an archery range.  Each one seems to operate on an independent schedule, and on this trip we visited the rifle and pistol range.

SUSSP Left Side Range

SUSSP Right Side Range

It’s a controlled range with at least one RSO.

When we got there, we got signed in quickly and got a lane.

For those of you from the SLC area – this is NOTHING like the controlled range at the Lee Kay Center.

They had shooters on the line firing everything from a black powder rifle, Ruger 10/22’s and defensive caliber pistols to AR-15’s and my PS90.  Everyone is welcome and they were very nice people.

For those of you not familiar with the Lee Kay Center, it’s an outdoor controlled range just west of Salt Lake City.  It’s primary focus is Hunter Safety Education.  The people that work there have a (deserved) reputation for being very unfriendly to people shooting non-hunting arms and pistols.  It has been often reported that they make derogatory comments about anyone shooting anything they consider to be non-hunting related such as AR-15’s, AK-47’s, FAL’s, etc.

Even though they have a pistol range at Lee Kay, they do not permit firing more than one round every couple of seconds.  I interviewed some of their folks a few years back, and they openly stated that…

“There is no legitimate reason for anyone other than the police or military to practice “double taps” or any other rapid firing.”.

I hope none of them are ever in a defensive shooting situation.  If they practice what they preach, they may not survive the encounter.  I haven’t been there since that interview, but I hear from folks all the time that say it hasn’t changed.

Enough about those people.  Let’s get back to the GREAT experience at the Southern Utah Shooting Sports Park.

There are plenty of lanes, and they are equipped from 100 to 200 yards.  They have target stands, sandbags, and well marked ranges out to 25 yards, with longer distances marked as well and longer-range target stands available.  When they call for – and have established – a “cold range”, you are free to position your target stand wherever you need to.

Once everyone is off the range and they go hot, you are free to load and fire.  They use the NRA standards for range safety, and did a good job of it.

I positioned myself at the bench and used that to steady myself as I sighted it in.  I dialed it in over about 15 shots, and then went to town.  I made a few minor adjustments and had it right on the 1 MOA dot at about 20 yards.  I fired a few rapid sequences alternating between two 8″ Shoot-N-C targets and had no issues with the RSO.

The Author Sighting In The PS90 And EOTECH XPS 3-0

During the next cold range, I placed two more 8″ targets out there, and at the start of the next hot range period I fired off some slow shots into the 1 3/8″ Shoot-N-C dots I placed around the 8″ targets.  I was able to hit each with 1 shot.

I then fired 50 as fast as I could into the top target.  All 50 were inside that 8″ circle.  I consider that very effective for the intended purpose of the PS90.  The RSO was looking on, and when I was done he was smiling and said “It looks like you have it dialed in just right”.  I had to agree.

If you are looking for a place to practice your shooting skills in the Hurricane, UT area, I recommend that you check out the Southern Utah Shooting Sports Park.  It’s a fantastic facility run by some great, professional people.  They are open Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday from 08:00 to 12:00.  They are also open on Wednesday from 17:00 to 20:00.  Their hours change seasonally, so check out their website at

The “BIG” Project

August 8th, 2010

As some of you may be aware, I have been working on a big project for covering home defense.  We are going to start producing videos as well as technical articles, and I’m kicking off the series with our recommendations on Home Defense.

Good home defense includes having good, functional locks on all outside-leading doors and windows, lighting to make your home less inviting to the bad guys, and a working alarm system with contacts on all outside-leading doors and windows.  Keeping that alarm system armed when you are home (in the home mode, disabling any interior motion detectors) will give you advance warning of any intruders if they make it past the physical defense layer.

Think about it.  If an alarm is blaring and alerting you and your neighbors to an intruder, are they likely to stick around?  It’s a sure bet that if they do, they have more than a simple home burglary in mind.

Most folks consider the shotgun to be the end-all-be-all of home defense.  It’s true that at close range they are generally quite devastating.  However, they also have a number of drawbacks.  There is one big one to keep in mind.



While shotguns may indeed allow you to hit a target more easily without a good sight picture – they do so by firing multiple projectiles at a time.  YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR EVERY PROJECTILE THAT LEAVES YOUR FIREARM.  That includes every pellet from your shotgun.

I hear a lot of rumors and crap on the Internet about “bird shot won’t go through walls but it will destroy an intruder” or “if the shot goes through the wall it won’t penetrate skin”.

You need to keep in mind that what you see on television – and a lot of what you read on the Internet – is FANTASY.  This was again driven home at work this week when I was trying to dispel this myth to a customer.  Two gentlemen were standing nearby, and they were nodding in agreement as I educated this gentleman on the reality of home defense.  I thought they looked familiar.  It turned out that they were the Editors of another publication that I had met at the SHOT SHOW a couple of years ago in the Press Room.  They chimed in their agreement, and he started getting the idea.

The outer walls of houses are made of siding (often plastic or thin metal), plywood, fiberglass insulation, and drywall.  These things, even put together, will not stop rifle rounds.  Plywood has a better chance of stopping bird shot, but drywall will not stop it.


So, while you are tearing apart the bad guy, the pellets that miss him are going to hit whatever is in their path.  Maybe nothing.  Maybe your kids in their room.  Maybe your neighbors home.  Maybe the car in your driveway or across the street.  Whatever they hit, you just bought.

I had some exposure to the FN P90 earlier this year.  It’s designed as a personal defensive firearm, is fully automatic, and is perfect for protective details and home defense.  There are rounds for it that are devastating, yet limit over-penetration.  However, being fully automatic, short-barreled, and made after 1986, there is no chance for anyone other than law enforcement agencies or the military to own them.

However, FN does make the PS90.   It has a longer barrel, and is semi-automatic only.  And to learn more about why we recommend it highly for home defense, you will need to check out this upcoming series from  We have one we are testing, and so far it has proven that it has what we feel you need.

You can even get them from Impact Guns – unless you live in California.   Just enter PS90 into the search bar.

Campos Found Guilty

July 28th, 2010

They just announced that he was found guilty on all charges.  I’m a bit surprised given the evidence and the courtroom demonstration,  but he did make the decision to go out looking for the men that confronted and followed his daughter rather than calling the police.  I think that was the major factor.

Let this be a lesson to everyone – you simply don’t want to be there.

An update on the Serbeck/Campos Incident

July 28th, 2010

The trial – as some of you may be aware – is underway.  If you read further down in the blog, you will find my analysis based on the 911 Call (with a link to it) and the Probable Cause Statement (with a link to it).  It has been VERY interesting to see how things have progressed.

I had an individual question my credibility based on the fact that I pointed out that it is entirely possible for the safety on the firearm to have changed position based on the statement that Mr. Serbeck put his gun down and kicked it away.  They claimed that it was highly unlikely.

Yesterday in the courtroom, an expert dropped the gun and kicked it away.  The safety lever moved from deactivated to activated.  The gun was also stepped on, and again the lever moved from deactivated to activated.   Apparently, not only was the gun kicked away from Mr. Serbeck, but it was also turned again by the foot of another individual.  It also had blood on it.  Interesting that it would have blood on it when Mr. Serbeck claimed to have kicked it away before he was shot.

I have always said that there is something not right about what Mr. Serbeck claimed – how he was holding the firearm and what he did with it.  I think we are starting to see that his story is not making much sense.

NEITHER ONE of these men should have been where they were.  This situation was the result of an entire series of bad decisions made by both men – starting with the bad decision by two older white males to confront two underage females.  In an age where avoiding even the appearance of evil is a good idea (schools are locked down over incidents like this), they really screwed up.  They also apparently tailgated the girls at another point.  Again, a VERY bad decision on the part of two people that were acting as if they were on a neighborhood watch – even though they apparently have no training to do so (where you are trained to OBSERVE and REPORT, not to confront) and there was no officially organized or recognized neighborhood watch program.

At each point in the situation there were decision points where it could have been stopped.  Even Mr. Campos confronting them did not have to be such a tragic decision.

This incident does need to be analyzed decision-by-decision.  Right up to the decision where Mr. Campos decided to fire his gun.

The moral of the story is that NEITHER MAN SHOULD HAVE BEEN THERE.   Both parties made a series of very bad decisions, and they are now paying for them.My advice to you is to simply keep a clear head at all times.  Don’t be there.

Of Tasers and .22’s…

July 19th, 2010

I have been having a lot of folks seeing advertisements for Taser devices, and asking about them for both home and outside-the-home protection.  Some are worried about their judgment and feel that a less-lethal option may be better for them.  Others want to add another tool to the toolbox.  Either way, you need to think it through.

First, you need to understand that Tasers are considered “less lethal” options.  They are NOT non-lethal.  Although the company has not lost a lawsuit yet, the fact is that people have indeed died after being Tased.  Usually they are on illegal drugs or medications for mental conditions, but they have still died after exposure to the device.

Second, the most common Taser device for non-LE is the C2.  It’s designed to hit a subject at a range of up to 15 feet and leave them incapacitated (actively Tasing them) for 30 seconds.  It’s designed so that the victim deploys it, drops it, and uses that 30 seconds to get away.

If you miss or if the person is wearing body armor, what’s your backup?  What if it doesn’t work?  What will you do?

If you are thinking of home defense with it, well, if you get a hit and the guy goes down, you have 30 seconds.  What do you do when that 30 seconds is up?

Do you run away, leaving him in your house?  I wouldn’t. When he gets up, he is going to be seriously pissed off, giving him time to do who-knows-what.

Do you have handcuffs or other restraints and training on how to employ them?   If not, you may have to keep shocking him until the police arrive.  Then he might just go after you for pain and suffering.

In reality, Police Officers have a whole duty belt full of tools they can use to facilitate compliance in relation to an ARREST.  It’s not practical for most of us to carry all of that around – that’s what we pay them for.

The question is – are you planning to ARREST your assailant, or are you planning to DEFEND YOUR LIFE?

I have also heard from some students from other instructors who have been told that .22lr (long rifle) firearms are very small and easy to conceal.  They apparently neglected to mention that .22lr has VERY little stopping power, and is not seriously recommended by ANYONE.

Yes, those little derringer-style revolvers from North American are cute novelty items and make for interesting conversation pieces.  They are NOT truly effective as a defensive firearm.  They are intended to be used at contact range if employed at all.

Have you ever seen a police officer carrying a .22 on duty?  No.  They carry mainline calibers (9mm, .40 S&W, .45 ACP, .357 Magnum, .357 SIG, or 10mm) that have proven stopping power. If you have to shoot, you are shooting to stop the threat.  

I know a gentleman that was shot in the abdomen with a .22.  He didn’t know he was shot until he felt an itching and realized he had been shot.

You do NOT want to rely on a .22 to save your life.  Yes, they can be small.  But so can a good, reliable 9mm, .38 special, or even a .380 ACP.  Any any one of those give you a far better chance of stopping the threat than a .22.

At this time of year…

July 5th, 2010

We have a lot to be thankful for, starting with the men that were willing to pen their names in support and affirmation of this….

“And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”

That took a great deal of courage, as in doing so they literally put their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred Honor on the line.

Moving to this day, we have a Constitution that they put together as a restraint on the Government they formed, that it would be limited and constrained only to those purposes which they set forth.

Some of them, feeling that it was further necessary to specially protect certain rights, pushed for a “Bill Of Rights” to enumerate God-given rights that the Government must never harm.  Among these is the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

It is interesting to note that it is the only one which specifically states “shall not be infringed”.  They felt strongly enough about it that they gave it extra protection.

Just last week, the Supreme Court of the United States by a vote of only 5 to 4 (meaning that 4 Justices were not willing to accept the plain language that it is written in) voted that the 2nd Amendment applies equally to all levels of government as do the rest of the Bill of Rights.

There is yet a long fight ahead to fully restore that which has been infringed.  It should not be any fight at all, but there are yet those that can be rightly considered “enemies domestic” that persist in trying to infringe on that basic right.

I am personally thankful that the Founding Fathers were willing to stand in the places they stood in their day, and give their best to provide for us a nation which is free.

I hope that we can restore and strengthen it, so that they can smile upon us when we see them again.  As of right now, that free nation stands tenuous at best, and we must be vigilant in pressing forward to give our best.

Let us keep that Republic they gave us, and not have to hang our heads in shame at what could otherwise be a glorious meeting when we see them again.

Trigger time with the P90

July 1st, 2010

I’ve been working on a project idea relating to home defense, and I got some trigger time with an FN P90 this week.  Unfortunately, it’s not available to non-LE/non-military since it’s fully automatic and was made after 1986.  Hopefully, the Supreme Court ruling this week will one day lead to the 2nd Amendment being respected fully, and the removal of such restrictions.

In the meantime, the P90 is a very nice firearm.  It was an older one with the older, discontinued sight – but it was still very balanced, easy to manage, and allowed for some comparably tight shooting even in FA.

The civilian-legal PS90 is available, which has a longer barrel and no “happy switch”.  More on that later.

Some days, I just love my line of work.

Target from the Deseret News article…

June 30th, 2010

I’ve had a few people ask to get a better look at the target I shot for the Deseret News article.  Here it is…

I’ll be the first to admit that it wasn’t my best day at the range, but all were hits on the target.  I hope you enjoy.

Yesterday was a good day…

June 29th, 2010

First, the McDonald decision came down from the Supreme Court.  That was a good thing.

Justice Thomas wrote an opinion that concurred with the judgment of the Court, but which gave a very compelling argument for using the “Privileges or Immunities” clause over the Due Process clause.  That was even better.  His understanding is most impressive.  There is a link to the decision on the main page.  I encourage all to read it.

Then I was interviewed by the Deseret News about my take on this.  It really does not mean much for Utah at this point – we already have a state preemption clause prohibiting local governments from establishing gun laws, and we have no state bans.  But it makes a big difference for those not living in free states.

They even sent a photographer out to take some photos of me shooting with a co-worker.  Take a good look at my target – all of the shots are in the black, but a few are a little low.  During a blood test for lead levels the other day, the “nurse” (butcher) went clear through the vein.  I have two large bruises on my left arm, and it hurts like a son of a gun, but I still made good hits on the target with every shot – including the head shots.

I’m on the left in the green shirt in the photo…

Personally, I felt it was a great day.

2nd Amendment IS Incorporated – Just In

June 28th, 2010

Moments ago the SCOTUS (Supreme Court Of The United States) announced that in the McDonald v Chicago case, the 2nd Amendment IS incorporated via the 14th Amendment.  State and Local governments ARE now clearly subject to the 2nd Amendment.

It seems that 4 of the 5 Justices on the majority felt it is through the Due Process clause…

nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law

Justice Thomas – however – felt it should be via the Privileges or Immunities clause…

No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States

That would indeed have been a stronger statement – and may yet come back to haunt this nation, in that now it looks like the P or I clause is pretty much neutered.  However, this was a victory.

The Right Of The People To Keep And Bear Arms Shall Not Be Infringed is now CLEARLY applicable to ALL levels of government.  Combined with the Heller decision, the Constitution is stronger overall this morning.

I’ll write more on this later at my other blog,

Find the pistol that fits your hand…and that you can operate

June 18th, 2010

I recently saw a post on a firearms site relating to a guy looking for a pistol for his wife.  She could not operate the slide on a particular firearm, and he was trying to find out what was wrong and how to overcome it.  He didn’t want to consider any other option other than how to get her to operate the pistol correctly.

That’s not quite the way it works.

A few weeks ago I had a woman come into the shop looking for a Kimber 1911 for concealed carry and for home defense.  She was sure that she needed a Kimber 1911.  The units that come out of their Custom Shop are quite nice.  I happened to have one, checked it to make sure it was unloaded, and handed it to her.

It was clear that she understood HOW to operate it, but after a few moments it also became clear that she could not physically operate it.  It did not fit her hand well.  It wasn’t as much of an issue of hand strength as hand size.  She could not hit the slide release while maintaining a good grip on the firearm.

She really wanted a Kimber 1911, but she could not handle it in terms of operating the controls easily.  While shifting her grip would allow her to do so – along with adopting more of a grip-hand “punch” rather than a support hand “pull” – she could not operate the firearm without these things.

Some people would say that this was good enough.  That may be true – on the shooting range.

But there was no way she could perform a malfunction clearing drill on that firearm in any where near the required time for a “when you really need it” situation.  Her natural point of aim would also not work out with that firearm.  It simply did not fit her hand.

We discussed that, and I asked if she had ever considered a revolver.  She said she didn’t really like them.  It turned out that it wasn’t based on any first-hand experience with them, but based on things she had read and that her husband had told her about how pistols have a higher capacity, etc.

Since she really wanted a pistol, I had her try a Glock.  I had her try a Springfield XD.  I had her try a few other semi-automatic pistols and they all had similar issues.

I then convinced her to look at a revolver.  It fit like a glove, and  in the end we found a .357 revolver with an integrated laser that she loved, which fit her hand wonderfully and that she was able to hit with at distance on the shooting range.

Her husband also ended up buying a revolver before they left the store.

The moral of the story is: Find the firearm that fits your hand correctly, and that you can handle, and that is appropriate to the application.  Friends recommendations and things that you read on the internet are all fine and dandy, but if the gun doesn’t fit your hand, you won’t like it, you won’t shoot well with it, and you certainly won’t be able to handle it properly when you really need it.

Find one that fits you well.  You will be much happier.

Ran into Mitch Vilos today…

June 8th, 2010

I bought a copy of his book and we chatted for a bit.  We discussed a few cases, and he pretty much agrees with my assessment of the Campos/Serbeck incident (he is not on the legal team for that case).  Neither should have been where they were, and they missed so many opportunities to de-escalate the situation.  They didn’t have to engage the way they did.

We also talked a bit about the Dell Schanze brandishing case. He was found not guilty on that one, but it looks like he lost his reckless driving case.  Mitch didn’t handle that one, but did handle the brandishing case.  His book has copies of the evidence and presentation.  Very thorough.

It was very interesting speaking with him, and I very strongly encourage my students to keep his information handy if they are ever in a shooting situation.

I’m just starting to read his new book.  I’ll keep you updated, and I’ll be publishing a full review on soon.

Shoot until the threat is ended – however it ends…then STOP…

June 7th, 2010

Defensive shooting is used when someone is trying to do something to you that can cause death or serious bodily harm…

  • Rape is considered serious bodily harm.
    • The risks of disease also carry the possibility of death
  • Stabbing can cause death.
  • Shooting can cause death.
  • etc.


If they fall to the ground dead, then they have stopped – but don’t assume they are dead.  We talk about this in class.

If they run away, then the shooting accomplished the purpose.

If they are running away, there is most likely no more reason to keep shooting at them – unless there are other mitigating factors.

Call 911, and report it.  Then call your attorney and say nothing until you have spoken with them.

I ran across this today.  Here is a case where someone didn’t follow this advice.  (The Mr. Bell in the story is not a relative of mine).

There are lessons to be learned here. He fired when he should not have.  He blew it.

However, I do take exception to ONE aspect of the case that they are trying to make against him…

“I hope that this sends a clear message that firearms must be used with the utmost care at all times,” Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said in issuing the charges.


Criminal defense lawyer Gail Benson said the charges against Bell are appropriate.“This is why we don’t allow vigilante justice,” Benson said. “It’s … dangerous for untrained people to start shooting at someone that far away.”

Now, read from this one…

Keep in mind that in the second incident, it was a trained police officer that fired on a fleeing subject that had already shot at him once (and had tried but failed once).  Look at these statistics from this incident…

Jessop thought he’d fired seven or eight rounds into the fleeing vehicle.

It turned out he’d fired 14.

Six of those bullets hit Davis’ vehicle, including the one that drove through the passenger and driver’s seats and into Davis’ back.

After Davis’ vehicle struck a building and came to a stop, Jessop loaded his rifle and got in his car and moved closer.


Officer Jessop stated at the time that he thought he fired 7 or 8 times.

He actually fired 14 times.

Of those 14, 6 hit the fleeing vehicle.

That means that 8 rounds potentially hit the three-year-old down the street or the lady cooking dinner in her kitchen.

What would have happened to Officer Jessop if his rounds had done as the rounds did in the first story?

One of those 6 hit and killed the perpetrator.

That means that 5 rounds could have potentially hit a passenger, sleeping child in the back seat, etc.

While the man in the first story blew it, even a highly-trained police officer has difficulty in this situation.

Nevertheless, the man in the first story should have stopped shooting after the threat to him was ended – unless there was still a threat to someone he had a duty to protect.

We discuss this in class, and use the second incident as an example of what NOT to say after a shooting incident, and some of the things that happen in a shooting incident.

The first incident is a clear illustration of when NOT to shoot.   Only until the threat ends – however that end comes about.

YOU are PERSONALLY RESPONSIBLE for every projectile that leaves your firearm…

June 6th, 2010

Yesterday, while preparing to take a Concealed Firearm Permit Class, a gentleman was looking at a small .380 pocket pistol.  I showed him the benefit of having a targeting assist laser on it.

He indicated that he was not concerned with that as he felt that simply shooting back would most likely save his life – even if he didn’t hit the target.

I explained to him that he needs to hit the target since he is responsible for every projectile that leaves his firearm.  His response was “at least I’ll be alive to face that responsibility”.

My response was “unless it hits the three-year old down the street or the old lady at the bus stop over there.  In that situation, you might feel a little different.”

His face then clearly showed that he had not previously considered that possibility.

When you accept the personal responsibility for your own protection that comes with a Concealed Firearm Permit, there is an accompanying personal accountability that comes with it.

You are personally responsible for every projectile that leaves your firearm.  You are responsible for whatever it hits, and whatever damage it does.  Unless you are God, the act of pulling the trigger is a terminal act.  It can’t be un-done.

You can not assume that you can simply point-shoot the target.  You need to practice, train, and prepare.  You should also give yourself EVERY advantage.

If you elect to carry a small pocket pistol, you need to realize what the drawbacks to them are – and how to compensate for those.

Remember, with great power comes great responsibility.  You can consider that firearm to be great power to defend yourself.  Make sure that you are well prepared for it, and the accompanying great accountability.

The Serbeck/Campos incident. Don’t be there.

June 1st, 2010

When I was asked about the Serbeck/Campos incident, the discussion turned to “What would I have done if I would have been there?”.  My answer is simple.

I would not have been there.

This very unfortunate situation was the result of a whole string of bad decisions on the part of two individuals – Mr. Serbeck and Mr. Campos.  In my opinion, BOTH parties seem to be at fault here.

The HOA “neighborhood watch” was asking for something bad to happen when they (two older white males including Mr. Serbeck) stop and confront two teenage females. The goal of a “neighborhood watch” is to OBSERVE and REPORT. They should not CONFRONT. They made a big mistake there, and that was the first mistake that precipitated this incident.

Had they OBSERVED the actions of the girls and REPORTED them to the police (if they did anything worthy of reporting in the first place), this would never have happened.

Instead, they decided to CONFRONT. Just being on the HOA, the “neighborhood watch”, or having a concealed firearm permit does not make you a police officer. They broke one of the first rules of the neighborhood watch program.

Mr. Campos (the father of one of the girls) was rightly concerned, but should have made sure that his daughter was safe in the house and in no immediate danger, and then called the police. The law allowing you to keep a loaded firearm in your vehicle does not make you a police officer.

He went looking for the men that confronted his daughter.  That was a mistake as well, but it was not a terminal mistake.  With that decision made, if he had simply remained in his vehicle and REPORTED the other vehicle to the police while OBSERVING it and REPORTING what happened, he could have avoided the problem.

He decided to CONFRONT. That was yet another mistake.

If you listen to the audio of the 911 call, Mr. Campos indicates that Mr. Serbeck drew and cocked his firearm.  Mr. Serbeck, the HOA president, says that he exited his vehicle with his firearm “held upside down by the barrel”.

Now, if it was me and I was not planning on defending myself, I would not have had the firearm in my hands at all – demonstrating that I was not a threat.  Exiting with the gun in hand at all was another mistake.

I also have to say that – to me – something isn’t right about what Mr. Serbeck stated.

“”Serbeck exited his vehicle with his own firearm, holding it upside down, by the barrel,” The statement reads. “He then placed the gun on the ground and kicked it away, disarming himself. [Campos] then fired two shots at Serbeck””

If someone is holding a firearm on you, you have a decision to make. Defend yourself or surrender.

If surrender is your intent, you would not want to have the firearm in your hand at all – upside down by the barrel (which makes no sense) or in any other position. You would want to keep your hands empty and clear – no threat. If that was his intent, he should have left it on the seat when he exited the vehicle.

That part of his story does not make any sense. I find it very suspicious – personally. I don’t know many people that would exit their vehicle with a firearm in that position. Something just doesn’t sound right.

The police made a big deal out of the fact that the safety was on when they found the firearm.  Now, if he dropped the firearm and kicked it away – or if it fell after he was shot – it’s entirely possible that the safety lever may have moved.  Knowing firearms as I do, I tend to discount what the PC Statement says about that – especially knowing that there was a live round in the chamber.

And that brings us to Mr. Serbeck being shot and paralyzed by Mr. Campos – an action that was the result of a whole series of bad decisions by BOTH involved parties.

In my opinion, NEITHER PARTY SHOULD HAVE BEEN WHERE THEY WERE. The “neighborhood watch” was asking for something like this by playing patrol cop, and the father was looking to catch the guys that were harassing his underage daughter and her friend.

AVOIDING EVEN THE APPEARANCE OF EVIL is very good advice. If the “neighborhood watch” had done what they should have, this would never have happened. If the father would have done what he should have, this would never have happened.

As for people that say that the neighborhood watch was justified – take one step backwards and a deep breath.  While I can see the desire to keep their neighborhood safe, DISCRETION should make one question the wisdom of confronting anyone – especially underage girls.

Isn’t that what a lot of child predators do? Don’t we hear about things like that all the time?

How many schools have been locked down when something like this happens?  Someone goes up to a kid and starts questioning them or saying things to them.  The kid tells the school, and they lock it down and swarms of police descend looking for the perpetrator.

AVOIDING EVEN THE APPEARANCE OF EVIL.  It’s good advice.  Remember that a Concealed Firearm Permit is there for when…




The job of a legitimate “neighborhood watch” is to OBSERVE and REPORT. These two CONFRONTED two underage teen girls.

That was NOT smart. And I can think of a lot of parents around there that would be tempted to do the same thing her father did. It was not smart, but think it through for a minute.

The HOA president and his buddy should have known better. Their actions precipitated the incident. Now, a whole bunch of people are paying the price for a series of bad decisions that started right there.

I’m not saying any of this to exonerate Mr. Campos.  He made a series of bad decisions as well.  But when I listen to the 911 call and read the PC Statement, I’m left to wonder.

My best advice – use your head in such a situation.  Don’t let it get out of hand.  Now we have one man paralyzed and another facing a lengthy prison term due to a series of bad decisions they both made.

Don’t be there.

Probable Cause Statements – Information and Belief

May 31st, 2010

There are a few cases that come up that I get asked about in Concealed Firearm Courses.  One of these is the somewhat famous case relating to Dell Schanze.  The other is the case of Reginald Campos and David Serbeck from an incident on 22-July-2009.

After I was asked about the Campos/Serbeck case last week, I was amazed at the way that some people think.  They take the issued media statements from the DA’s office and the police Probable Cause statements as absolute fact.  One lady said “They can’t lie, can they?”.

Well, you will find that the police can indeed lie to you, and they will lie to you when they are dealing with you.  I will refer you to this video and this video for more information.

The gist of the video is a lawyer AND a police officer both telling you that the police can and will lie to you, and that they will twist anything you say so that it can be used against you. The police officer makes this VERY clear.

“Anything you say CAN and WILL be used against you”.

Every attorney I have ever heard talk says the same thing – do not talk to the police.  Keep this in mind as you read on.

If you ever read a Probable Cause statement, it will say that it is a BELIEF.  Here is how a “PC” statement works.

The police take all of the stories they get and their own theories, and try to write a screenplay that fits together.  You start with the main scene (whatever got them involved – in this case the shooting of Mr. Serbeck by Mr. Campos), and then try to come up with the  story line that will get you to that point.

If you know anything about movies, you know that screenplays often go through many revisions before the story that makes it to the screen is finalized.  Probable Cause statements are NOT factual or true.  They are a theory – they are the best story that the police can come up with that fits – and that the DA feels they can sell to a jury.

The DA will take that story to a jury and see if they like it.  If they do, the DA will win.  If they don’t, the defense will win.  Think of it as hoping to win a People’s Choice award with a movie.  If they audience buys it, you win.  If they don’t, you just wasted a bunch of money.

Here is a link to the Probable Cause statement in this case.  Read it carefully.  Look at what it says.  There is a lot to learn in it, and it hasn’t even gone to a jury yet.

Now, here is a link to the audio of the 911 call that Mr. Campos placed.  Listen to it and compare it with the PC statement.  There are a lot of differences.

Just a few questions and some observations:

If someone had a gun pointed at you or was drawing a firearm in such a situation, would you be able to determine that the safety is “on” based on visual observation?  Would a police officer?  How would a police officer react?

Are you familiar with the safety levers on various handguns?  Do you know what they all do?  On how many firearms can you still work the slide with the safety on?

If someone is confronting you with a firearm and it was not your intent to defend yourself, would you exit your vehicle holding a firearm?  Or would you exit the vehicle with empty hands to show that you are not a threat?

Would you hold a firearm as described by Mr. Serbeck?

Keep in mind that Mr. Peterson is a friend of Mr. Serbeck.

What did you learn from the video that I referred you to earlier?  What does the PC statement indicate was received from Mr. Campos?

I have also been asked what I would have done if I was there.

I wouldn’t have been. I’ll deal with that aspect tomorrow.

Concealed Carry and Discretion – The Better Part of Valor

May 31st, 2010

In my role as a firearms instructor, I’m sometimes asked about “What If” scenarios.  I teach my Concealed Carry students to do this frequently as a part of their mental preparation – forming response plans for scenarios that they may encounter.  It improves your reaction time.

Last week I was asked about the incident at Trolley Square.  For those of you that are not familiar with it, Trolley Square is a shopping mall in Salt Lake City, UT.  It is important to note that Trolley Square has signage prohibiting firearms on the premises.

On 12-February-2007, a muslim man named Sulejman Talović entered the mall with a handgun and a shotgun.  He went on a shooting spree.  He killed 5 people and injured several others.  He was eventually killed.

Students and others have often asked what I would have done.  Would I have gone to confront him?

The answer is an absolute NO.  I would only have dealt with him if he was between me and my family, or between us and safety.  I would not have gone looking for him.

I have been called a coward for giving that answer.  But there are very practical concerns, as well as legal concerns that go into that attitude.

Remember, Trolley Square is an unarmed victim zone.  They have signs prohibiting firearms on the premises.  While those signs hold no “legal” weight in Utah (unlike a 30.06 sign in Texas), most good Concealed Firearm Permit holders will avoid such places.  I do, so I would not have been there.

However, putting that aside, say that I was to have been there.

A Concealed Firearm Permit does not make you a police officer.  It is there for when you have done all that you can to avoid trouble, and trouble still comes looking for you.  It allows you to protect yourself and those you ELECT to protect.  In my recommendation – that’s your immediate family.

Going to confront him is a bad idea on multiple PRACTICAL counts…

  • The police will have been called.
  • They will be looking for a man with a gun.  If you expect them to have an accurate description, try listening in to a police scanner sometime.  It takes a good deal of time for that information to be ACCURATELY transmitted.
  • If you are going around with your gun at low ready, guess what?
  • If someone else – like an off-duty police officer or another Concealed Firearm Permit holder – is doing the same thing, guess what?
      • Do you KNOW what the shooter looked like, or are you looking for a MAN WITH A GUN?
  • If you run into each other, it could end VERY badly for one or both of you.
  • If you run into a responding police officer, it could end very badly for you.
    •  Even if you are not shot on the spot, you will most likely end up handcuffed and in the back of a police car until the whole thing is sorted out.  Expect that to take hours or longer.

Now, let’s look at the police response.

  • The police will be setup at the entrances.
  • They will expect the possibility that the gunman (or gunmen) may disengage and pose as fleeing victims.
  • In the case of Trolley Square there is video of families being told to keep their hands up and being taken to sorting areas where they were fully checked out.  They stood in the cold for hours, kids too.
  • When they are frisking people, you may not have the time to announce your permit before someone yells “gun!” and you find yourself in a bad situation.
  • It could get even worse if a scared individual sees your firearm print through your clothing or your shirt rides up in all of the running.  What happens when the soccer mom next to you sees your gun?
    • She won’t yell “gun” like a cop.
    • She’ll yell “It’s him!!!!!!!!”
      • LE will assume for the moment that she is an eyewitness and just positiviely ID’d the suspect.  Do you want to risk that, especially if your family is around you in front of the armed LEO’s?

If I would have been there, I would only have confronted the gunman if he was…

  • between me and my family
  • or
  • between us and safety.

In that case I would end the threat, whatever was required.

My goal as soon as I realized what was happening would have been to get my family to our car and get us out of the area as fast as I possibly could.  We don’t want to get caught behind the cordon they will be setting up, and have to wait for hours in the cold while they figure out what’s going on.   Better to not be there.

Discretion – It is the better part of valor.

New Book – I haven’t seen it yet…

May 30th, 2010

I just got an e-Mail from Mitch Vilos about a new book he has written.  He’s the Attorney that I recommend in my Concealed Firearm Courses for Utah students.  I have spoken with him, and he does know his stuff.  He’s also a nice guy.

His new book is “Self Defense Laws of All 50 States”.  His books on Utah law in the past have been very good, so I would expect the same from this one.

You can find out more at

Thinking about work in Armed Private Security? Be smart about it.

May 30th, 2010

In my line of work, I have the chance to interact with many folks in Law Enforcement and the military.  I also get the chance to watch folks from the world of Private Contract Security.  In the last few weeks, I have seen a few folks that were testing to qualify for licenses as Armed Private Security Officers in Utah.

Some of them see it as an interim path to getting into Law Enforcement.  Some of them see it as a job that pays a little better than work as an Unarmed Private Security Officer.  Some of them take it very seriously.  Some of them don’t.

When you put on a uniform that in way resembles that of a LEO, you become a potential target.  If you are responsible to provide security in a location where something could happen, you will be the first one targeted if something really does happen.  Do you wear body armor?  Even if not armed, you should.  If you don’t know anything about body armor, take a look at

If you are going to be armed, it’s most likely because the possibility of something happening has crossed someones mind.  Most security companies don’t want armed employees.  If they have them, it’s because at least some of their customers have encountered something that leads them to want an armed presence.  Knowing this, you need to be fully prepared – including body armor and AN APPROPRIATE FIREARM, AMMUNITION, and TRAINING.

I overheard the following in the last two weeks in a local gun store after a training session for Armed Private Security Officers…

“Where are your duty holsters for Hi Point 9mm guns?”

“What’s the cheapest hollow point ammo you sell?  I got three magazines I need to fill for work.”

First, NO ONE MAKES DUTY HOLSTERS FOR HI POINT FIREARMS.  I have been reviewing and writing about duty gear for a long time.  No one – Safariland, Bianchi, Gould & Goodrich, Galco, not even Uncle Mikes – makes duty holsters for cheap, inexpensive firearms like Hi Point because they are not suited to situations where you may have to depend on them to fight for your life.

There is a reason why you see LEO’s carrying – and their departments certifying – Glock, Sig, Beretta, Smith & Wesson, Springfield, FN Herstal, and the ubiquitous 1911.  THEY ARE GOOD, RELIABLE FIREARMS THAT ARE PROVEN TO BE GOOD ENOUGH TO DEPEND ON THEM.    You will never find a LEO carrying a Hi Point.

If you can’t afford such a firearm and your company won’t supply one, do yourself a favor.  Don’t work armed until you can.  You are putting yourself and anyone you may have a duty to protect in danger using a non-suitable firearm.

Second, YOU DO NOT WANT TO RELY ON THE CHEAPEST HOLLOW POINT AMMUNITION TO FIGHT FOR YOUR LIFE.  There is a reason that LEOs carry – and their departments certify – Cor Bon, Federal Hydra-Shok, Winchester Ranger SXT, Hornady TAP, and even Golden Sabre.  It’s because they have been proven in the field and tested in ballistic gelatin to expand properly and reliably and help to end the fight.  You won’t find your local LEOs carrying Winchester “white box” or Remington basic hollow points.

They do cost more, but what is your own life worth?  What are the lives of those you have a duty to protect worth?

To be fair, I don’t want to lay all of the blame here on the security officer trainees – although if they took their work seriously they would already have known this.

The security companies themselves should refuse to allow anyone to work armed that has unsuitable firearm.  I know that an Armed Private Security Officer carrying a Hi Point would make me question their ability, and the judgment of the company that put them on duty.  I worry for the folks that aren’t as aware, but will simply see a person in a uniform and carrying a gun and will feel safe.  If they only knew.

One suggestion I can make is for anyone considering such work but unable to afford a quality firearm… join the Glock Sport Shooting Foundation.  You can find an application here…

It costs $35 for one year.  Aside from being able to participate in competitions that will help improve your shooting abilities and learning good skills, you will be able to purchase a Glock firearm at a discounted price.  From the GSSF Website…

The GSSF Pistol Purchase Program is another benefit of your GSSF membership. If you are a current, new or renewing GSSF member, you are eligible to purchase a GLOCK pistol at discounted pricing once per year.

Impact Guns ( participates in this program in the Salt Lake and Ogden, UT stores.  It’s a great way to help you to purchase a firearm that you can rely on.

Armed Private Security isn’t necessarily a bad way to earn a living.  But remember – you (to some extent) look like a police officer.  If someone decides to do something bad, you will be obvious target #1.  Don’t put yourself at a disadvantage.  Be smart about it.

Newest Utah Firearms Laws

May 29th, 2010

Here is a quick roundup of what happened in the last legislative session relating to Concealed Firearm Permits:

House Bill 78 (Third Substitute)

             33          Section 1. Section 76-2-402 is amended to read:
             34           76-2-402. Force in defense of person — Forcible felony defined.
             35          (1) (a) A person is justified in threatening or using force against another when and to
             36      the extent that [he or she] the person reasonably believes that force or a threat of force is
             37      necessary to defend [himself] the person or a third person against [such other’s] another
             38      person’s imminent use of unlawful force. [However, that]
             39          (b) A person is justified in using force intended or likely to cause death or serious
             40      bodily injury only if [he or she] the person reasonably believes that force is necessary to
             41      prevent death or serious bodily injury to [himself] the person or a third person as a result of
             42      [the other’s] another person’s imminent use of unlawful force, or to prevent the commission of
             43      a forcible felony.
             44          (2) (a) A person is not justified in using force under the circumstances specified in
             45      Subsection (1) if [he or she] the person:
             46          [(a)] (i) initially provokes the use of force against [himself] the person with the intent
             47      to use force as an excuse to inflict bodily harm upon the assailant;
             48          [(b)] (ii) is attempting to commit, committing, or fleeing after the commission or
             49      attempted commission of a felony; or
             50          [(c) (i)] (iii) was the aggressor or was engaged in a combat by agreement, unless [he]
             51      the person withdraws from the encounter and effectively communicates to the other person his
             52      intent to do so and, notwithstanding, the other person continues or threatens to continue the
             53      use of unlawful force[; and].
             54          [(ii) for] (b) For purposes of Subsection [(i)] (2)(a)(iii) the following do not, by
             55      themselves, constitute “combat by agreement”:
             56          [(A)] (i) voluntarily entering into or remaining in an ongoing relationship; or
             57          [(B)] (ii) entering or remaining in a place where one has a legal right to be.
             58          (3) A person does not have a duty to retreat from the force or threatened force

             59      described in Subsection (1) in a place where that person has lawfully entered or remained,
             60      except as provided in Subsection (2)[(c)](a)(iii).
             61          (4) (a) For purposes of this section, a forcible felony includes aggravated assault,
             62      mayhem, aggravated murder, murder, manslaughter, kidnapping, and aggravated kidnapping,
             63      rape, forcible sodomy, rape of a child, object rape, object rape of a child, sexual abuse of a
             64      child, aggravated sexual abuse of a child, and aggravated sexual assault as defined in Title 76,
             65      Chapter 5, Offenses Against the Person, and arson, robbery, and burglary as defined in Title
             66      76, Chapter 6, Offenses Against Property.
             67          (b) Any other felony offense which involves the use of force or violence against a
             68      person so as to create a substantial danger of death or serious bodily injury also constitutes a
             69      forcible felony.
             70          (c) Burglary of a vehicle, defined in Section 76-6-204 , does not constitute a forcible
             71      felony except when the vehicle is occupied at the time unlawful entry is made or attempted.
             72          (5) In determining imminence or reasonableness under Subsection (1), the trier of fact
             73      may consider, but is not limited to, any of the following factors:
             74          (a) the nature of the danger;
             75          (b) the immediacy of the danger;
             76          (c) the probability that the unlawful force would result in death or serious bodily
             77      injury;
             78          (d) the other’s prior violent acts or violent propensities; and
             79          (e) any patterns of abuse or violence in the parties’ relationship.
             80          Section 2. Section 76-10-506 is amended to read:
             81           76-10-506. Threatening with or using dangerous weapon in fight or quarrel.
             82          (1) As used in this section, “threatening manner” does not include:
             83          (a) the possession of a dangerous weapon, whether visible or concealed, without
             84      additional behavior which is threatening; or
             85          (b) informing another of the actor’s possession of a deadly weapon in order to prevent
             86      what the actor reasonably perceives as a possible use of unlawful force by the other and the

             87      actor is not engaged in any activity described in Subsection 76-2-402 (2)(a).
             88          (2) [Every person, except] Except as otherwise provided in Section 76-2-402 and for
             89      those persons described in Section 76-10-503 , a person who, [not in necessary self defense] in
             90      the presence of two or more persons, draws or exhibits [any] a dangerous weapon in an angry
             91      and threatening manner or unlawfully uses [the same] a dangerous weapon in [any] a fight or
             92      quarrel is guilty of a class A misdemeanor.
             93          (3) This section does not apply to a person who, reasonably believing the action to be
             94      necessary in compliance with Section 76-2-402 , with purpose to prevent another’s use of
             95      unlawful force:
             96          (a) threatens the use of a dangerous weapon; or
             97          (b) draws or exhibits a dangerous weapon.

House Bill 214 – as it is very long, you can read all of it at this link:

             13          This bill:
             14          .    changes the names of the Concealed Weapon Act and the Concealed Weapon
             15      Review Board to the Concealed Firearm Act and the Concealed Firearm Review
             16      Board;
             17          .    provides that duties related to the issuance of a concealed firearm permit previously
             18      designated to be performed by the Criminal Investigations and Technical Services
             19      Division will be performed by the Bureau of Criminal Identification;
             20          .    clarifies the ability of the bureau to revoke a concealed carry permit of a licensee
             21      who is convicted of a felony or other crimes or offenses; and
             22          .    makes certain technical changes.

House Bill 380            

32          53-5a-103. Discharge of firearm on private property — Liability.
             33          (1) Except as provided under Subsection (2), a private property owner, who knowingly
             34      allows a person who has a permit to carry a concealed firearm under Section 53-5-704 to bring
             35      the firearm onto the owner’s property, is not civilly or criminally liable for any damage or harm
             36      resulting from the discharge of the firearm by the permit holder while on the owner’s property.
             37          (2) Subsection (1) does not apply if the property owner solicits, requests, commands,
             38      encourages, or intentionally aids the concealed firearm permit holder in discharging the firearm
             39      while on the owner’s property.

Concealed Carry versus Open Carry in Utah

May 28th, 2010

I am often asked “Is open carry legal in Utah”.  While the answer to this is yes, there are a lot of things you need to consider before you decide to carry in the open.

If you have a Concealed Firearm Permit, you can also carry a loaded, openly visible firearm.

If you do not have a Concealed Firearm Permit, you can’t carry concealed.  Any openly carried firearm must be TWO actions from being fired AND with no live round in firing position (interpreted to be the chamber in front the firing pin/hammer).

  • For a Semi-Automatic Pistol – this means no round in the chamber.  You must rack the slide, then pull the trigger.
  • For a Double-Action Revolver this is interpreted to mean that the cylinder under the hammer AND the next one in rotation must be empty.   You will have to pull the trigger twice before it will fire.

I strongly advise you to consider the following carefully before openly carrying.

First, Concealed Carry provides a tactical advantage.  If the aggressor does not know you are armed, you retain the element of surprise.  Keeping in mind that REACTION is slower than ACTION – if you are carrying openly the aggressor will be even more prepared to ACT against you.

Secondly, if you do NOT have a concealed firearm permit, you can not openly carry your firearm “ready to go”.  It must require two actions to fire.  Keeping in mind that REACTION is slower than ACTION… this is not a good thing.

Third, there are a lot of people out there that get very scared (generally without good reason) when they see someone carrying a firearm without a badge and uniform.  Those people are very likely to call the police and express their concern (fear).  You may be inviting a confrontation at the least.

Lastly, there are some people – even workers in our own government – that are hostile to open carry.  When I was at a recent training session sponsored by the BCI (Bureau of Criminal Identification, the department responsible for Concealed Carry Permits), one of the instructors from BCI made the following statement…

“Open carry is only legal because it’s not illegal”

Now, when I look at that statement, I can see that someone has failed to internalize the purpose, meaning, and intent of the Constitution of the United States of America.  I can also see that this is someone that has a position of influence within a government agency.  I find that unfortunate, and frightening.

I point this out to illustrate that open carry – while being legal – may not be the best way to go about your business and not encounter undue resistance and attention.  While it may be legal, you may find that it’s not always wise given the tactical and practical concerns that accompany it.

New Mexico not honoring the Utah Concealed Firearm Permit

May 27th, 2010

It was recently announced that New Mexico joined Nevada in not recognizing the Utah Concealed Firearm Permit.  Honestly, it means that’s just one more state to avoid.

As for the reasons, here is what I have compiled.  It’s not surprising since NM is not as Second Amendment-friendly as UT.

The NM permit has more restrictions…

  • No carry inside schools/preschools
  • May only carry a single firearm at a time (Utah has no numerical restriction)
  • Restricted as to type/caliber (specified on permit)
  • $100 application fee
  • 15-hour training class
  • Shorter term (4 years)
  • Must take a two-hour re-certification course at the 2-year mark
  • $75 renewal fee
  • 4-hour renewal course
  • No non-resident permits issued – must be a NM resident
  • More onerous to obtain – including requiring that a certified birth certificate, 2 photos, 2 sets of prints  be supplied to the State.

I also seem to recall that you can’t carry in locations serving alcohol there – in Utah you can but can’t be legally under the influence (0.08 BAC, same as for DUI).

In the press release about this, it looks like unscrupulous NM instructors were mostly to blame…

“We’ve had situations where certain concealed carry instructors in New Mexico solicit clients with the promise that if they train here and obtain a Utah license, which entails significantly less training than does a New Mexico license, it will qualify here,” said Department of Public Safety Secretary John Denko.  “This is incorrect, and is nothing less than an effort to circumvent New Mexico concealed carry requirements which are designed to protect the public safety while honoring individual rights under the Second Amendment of the constitution.”

Essentially they were telling their students that they could get a non-resident Utah permit and take only the Utah training.  While it would simply have been better for them to restrict non-resident permits and accept only Utah permits held by Utah residents, they did the easy thing and now deny ALL Utah permits.

My personal recommendation is to go vacation or do business with states that recognize our permit.  AZ, CO, WY, ID, WA, and plenty of others are on that list.  Pay them a visit, and know that you can take care of yourself while you are there.