Joining the Club

I’ve heard it said that there are two classes of competitive shooters – those who have been disqualified, and those who will be disqualified at some point in there shooting career.

I am somewhat embarrassed to report that on Saturday, I moved from the latter group to the former, and joined the DQ Club.

The good news – no one was hurt and I was not in danger of hurting anyone. As a matter of record, as I was moving from point 4 to point 5, I “broke the 180” while moving laterally, and no one was in the area where I pointed my gun.

As God’s sense of humor would have it, it was on my last stage of the day, as I was moving to shoot the last 3 targets. And I was the next to last shooter in my group, so rather than pack up, as is the tradition, I helped break down and all, before going home.

Now, in retrospect, I see what happened. In my planning, I was going to shoot from spot 4, some feet back from there the number is, where I actually shot. Had I gone east-west from 3, shot the two targets and moved to 5, all would be good. But I moved up to make the shots on the other targets closer, and then I didn’t keep my gun pointed down range as I moved to 5.

All in all I am pleased to report my fellow competitors were very consoling, and shared their first DQs with me. One shooter, who I have been competing with since 2002 when I moved back to the Atlanta area, did a ND after falling. He said he’s had 5 more DQs since, no one hurt, and no two the same.

Lesson learned. Now, let’s keep this the only one.

Note, if you want to share your DQ stories with me, you can comment, or email me at FillYerHands at Gmail, and I will sterilize them if you wish, and share at some time in the future.

Rule 5-3/4 – Don’t Put Your Gun in the Oven

Well.

Apparently someone put a gun in the oven, and it went off.

So this leads to

So we have. . . .

Rule 0. Eyes and Ears – Always wear eye protection, and hearing protection where warranted.

Rule 1. All guns are always loaded

Rule 2. Never point your gun at anything you are not willing to destroy.

Rule 3. Always keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.

Rule 4. Know your target and what’s beyond it.

Rule 5. Never try to catch a dropped gun.

Rule 5-3/4.  Don’t put your gun in the oven.

 

EDC as a Lifestyle

I was reviewing my blog, and as it turns out, in the years I’ve been writing this, I’ve never done a post on my everyday carry. This seems strange to me, since most of it hasn’t changed in a long time.

To start with, I’ve carried a pocket knife for as long as I can remember. Starting in about the 7th grade, I carried a Boy Scout version Swiss Army knife, up until about the time I graduated from high school. Yes, in those days we could carry a knife with no comment from anyone at school. I even had a teacher borrow mine once or twice.

I changed knives in college, and then went back to the Swiss Army knife you see above, in 1992.

I added the Leatherman tool a few years ago after I received it as a gift. I particularly like it because it’s got tools I can use, like pliers and a file. But the thing I like best is that it doesn’t have a blade, so the TSA lets me take it on an airplane, and so when I travel without checking bags, I’ve got something, at least.

In the same vein, I’ve carried a flashlight for my whole career. As a chemical engineer, there are many times every day when I needed to be able to see something in a shadow or in the dark, and I started carrying an explosion proof flashlight. I still do, only this one is 200 lumens, and uses AA batteries. I keep about 6 rechargeable batteries in rotation, and when the last charged set of 2 go in, the other 4 go in the charger overnight. When I travel, I always carry a spare set of batteries, and I keep a set of 4 in the Get Home Bag.

Next is my wallet. All I carry in there is my various ID – driver’s license, Weapons Carry License, insurance cards, and the like – and my credit cards, and a few business cards. I haven’t carried cash in my wallet since I was in college, and when I do I carry it in a different pocket than the wallet. This has to do with avoiding pickpockets.

In fact, I always carry these things in certain pockets, for a reason. Here’s where:

Right front: cell phone, knives, car keys, cash, and a pen.

Left front: wallet, flashlight.

Left rear: a handkerchief.

Note I don’t carry my wallet in a back pocket, so I can avoid pickpockets. I also carry my wallet on the left side, so if I’m asked by a policeman for my ID, I’m not reaching on the same as my pistol.

I also carry my flashlight in my left pocket, so I can draw it and go to a Harries or other flashlight hold.

On a similar note, in my car I keep my insurance card and registration in a folder on the back of the driver’s side sun visor, since I can’t promise that I haven’t just been to the post office, which would mean my pistol is in the glove box. Again, no sense drawing attention to anything I don’t have to.

Now we get to the most recent addition – a pistol. In the summer I carry Liberty, my G19, IWB at 3 o’clock.

In the winter I mostly carry Bruce, my G17, on my belt OWB at 3 o’clock, with an open shirt or jacket or fleece vest over it.

Year round I carry a G17 magazine with a plus-2 extender on my left side at 3 o’clock.

So there you have it. Nothing that isn’t part of my life, for quite a while.

Having said that . . .

I will likely add a medical pack in the near future, now that Linoge has shown how to put it all in a cell phone case. Stay tuned.

Gun Free Victim Zones Win Again in Sydney

Sydney

The recent siege of a cafe in Sydney, Australia, just underscored once again the failure of Gun Free Victim Zones.

And, once again, we are faced by the anti-gun faction who bemoan another gun-related crime, and claim that the presence of an armed person in the cafe would have done nothing to stop this, as a gunfight would have been worse.

I agree. A gunfight might have led to more deaths.

But remember, it’s not the possible gunfight that is the argument for carry of arms by law abiding persons; it is the uncertainty that it puts in the mind of the potential criminal. When he knows that someone in the target zone may be armed, he is likely to move on to another target.

Of course, we cannot measure this directly, except to note that the assailant in the theater shootings in Aurora, Colorado, intentionally passed by other theaters that allowed guns, before arriving at his final target.

So consider that when choosing which businesses to visit. I avoid those that don’t allow guns, not for political reasons, but because I am not longer protected by the real value of an armed public – uncertainty in the eyes of the criminals.

 

Be Prepared, Part 12 – Keeping the Get Home Bag Up to Date

Be Prepared, Part 2 - Getting Home

 

This past Sunday was beautiful here in Kennesaw, and I took the opportunity to clean out and check our Get Home Bag. In this case, I took heed of some family changes in the last couple of years that have changed the needs of the bag somewhat.

First, my wife normally is the one away from home, although certainly on a family trip we would all be involved. In any case, we both went through it and agreed on what to include.

Second, we took into account last year’s snow storm, and what my wife might want to use from the bag.

Here is what we have in the bag, with the changes indicated in bold:

  • Granola bars (we are going to find some energy bars or fruit bars as well)
  • Water
  • Change of clothes (2 shirts, sweat pants, and 2 pairs of socks )
  • Work gloves
  • Ball cap and sock cap and woman’s ear covers
  • Poncho
  • Shoelaces
  • Bandana and shemagh 
  • Rubber jar opener (to make a makeshift sink drain plug if needed)
  • Cell phone battery charger
  • AA Batteries
  • LED flashlight
  • Light sticks
  • Ammo
  • Lighter
  • Candles
  • Purel
  • Germicidal wipes
  • Bedroll and fleece blanket
  • A towel
  • Space blanket
  • Hand Warmers
  • Entrenching tool
  • Multitool
  • Trash bags
  • Map
  • Compass
  • Whistle
  • Pen & paper
  • Rope
  • Drugs – Aspirin, Immodium, Sudafed, Antacids

In addition, I have a first aid kit and fire extinguisher that would be added.

Of course, we did the usual maintenance – fluffing the blankets and towels, and replacing the granola bars.

Now we are all set for the winter to come!

++++

Epilogue:

See other GHB posts from Linoge and Erin.  Good stuff.

 

Why Gun Shows Don’t Allow Loaded Guns

SAMSUNG

 

More than once have I read, from non shooters and anti-gunners, derision at the fact that gun shows are sticklers about not allowing loaded guns. They see that as obvious proof that gun owners are all negligent morons who cannot be trusted with their own safety, much less the safety of others.

Then comes a story like the one from last weekend, where a vendor at a gun show in Orangeville, Pennsylvania, accidentally shot a woman while demonstrating a concealed carry wallet holster.

In the same weekend, another person was killed at a gun show in Texas.

It’s obvious things are out of hand.

Fortunately, no. Here is the truth:

Probably no one is safer with loaded guns that the folks who attend gun shows, be they vendors, salespeople, or shoppers. Most have spent their lives around guns, and will go the rest of their lives with no incident.

But, the key to gun safety is awareness.

Pay attention.

Every gun show I have been to has had police at the door, reminding us to unload our guns before entering. So, it stands to reason (and a casual reading of the news reports confirms) that it is when you combine a lot of vendors, each excited to show their products, with a lot of excited shoppers, and the aisles are full and bustling, that the awareness shifts. Vendors, anxious to demonstrate the latest, overlook Rule 1. They are paying attention, just not to gun safety.

And accidents happen. And will happen.

So, once and for all, the reason we don’t allow loaded guns at gun shows isn’t because guns can’t be trusted, or gun owners can’t be trusted, it’s because, in all the excitement, awareness and attention get sidetracked.

Are accidents at gun shows a real epidemic in America? I think not.

A Google search will show that there aren’t a lot of accidents reported. One study even concludes that guns shows present no significant danger, either in accidents at the shows, or from the guns sold there.

On the other hand, there were 120 deaths among fast food workers in America in 2012.

Now, I know that comparing the two isn’t valid, and it’s probably something we would yell at the anti-gun crowd for. But my point is this – if we have that many deaths, and many more injuries, in a workplace where everyone should be paying attention to safety, don’t become inflamed when an isolated accident happens in a venue where people sometimes slip up and pay attention to other things.

So, the next time you’re at a gun show (especially if you are a vendor), pay attention to the Rules of Gun Safety. Always.

Be Prepared, Part 11 – Chaos

zombie-hordeSeptember is National Preparedness Month, so I thought I bring you at least one more installment in this popular series, Be Prepared.

As events like the Boston Marathon bombings, September 11, and Hurricane Katrina have shown us, our world can be thrown into Chaos any time. Keeping our families safe is always a priority, and in a time of Chaos, it becomes even more important, as it becomes more difficult.

Of course, the problem with Chaos, as Jurassic Park’s  Dr. Ian Malcolm would tell you, is that anything can, and does, happen. It is, by nature, unpredictable. You cannot predict, with any degree of certainty, what will happen, or how people or systems will react to any given situation.

But that does not mean that we can’t make plans based on scenarios that we think are likely to happen. The best example of this is the reason every car comes with a spare tire and a jack. We can’t predict when or where, or even if, we will have a flat tire, but we can be prepared for it, and train for it by learning how to safely change a tire.

Most readers of this blog have also done that in a more specific way, by deciding that there is a finite probability, as Tom Givens would say, that we will encounter someone who needs to be shot. So, we carry a concealed weapon, we train ourselves in its use, and we prepare to deal with those consequences.

So, make a plan.

When we did our family plan, one thing we saw was that a lot of times we might not have a clear picture of what was happening – there would be Chaos. For us, the best way to mitigate that Chaos was to have everyone in the same place, preferably at home. So, in the event of Chaos, we need to know:

  • How is everybody? Are they injured? Are they threatened, or are they safe? If they are safe, are there threats in the area?
  • Where is everybody? If they aren’t at home, how can we get them home safely? Can they do it alone or do they need assistance?
  • What is the immediate situation, and what is the outlook for the foreseeable future? Do we need to move?

Then the plan becomes taking care of the answers to these questions – getting everyone safely home. In the course of this, here are some of the things our family came up with:

  • Every vehicle has a first aid kit, ponchos, food, and water.
  • My son goes to school with a first aid kid, poncho, food, and water. If has has to, he can walk home 5 miles. He knows the way home cross-country, avoiding main roads.
  • My daughter goes to college in downtown Atlanta, about 30 miles from where we live in the suburbs. One of the things we plan for is the possibility that she might need to evacuate downtown, but that she might be unable to do so safely by herself. As a result, I never leave my car at night without enough gasoline to get downtown and back.
  • I know 4 different ways to her college that don’t involve taking a main highway.
  • In the event of real unrest, communication is essential. For that reason, everyone in my family has a printed list of phone numbers of all the other members, plus others outside our area. We don’t rely on the phone list in our cell phones, since those may be lost, broken, or the batteries may be dead.
  • In real unrest, cell phones will be overloaded, as they were after the Boston Marathon bombing, and making calls will be nearly impossible. However, since the SMS text system uses the cell phone’s carrier signal to broadcast, if you have cell bars, you can almost always send text messages. Our family shares a text messaging plan, and we also know the codes to send emails to text messages. Look that up for your carrier.
  • Because it might not be easy or prudent to send a long text message, we all have a list of codes to use in text messages.
  • Family members outside our area are included in the system. Heaven forbid, “bug out” might get real.
  • In event of real bug out, we have a series of pre-chosen rendezvous points, depending on the direction we choose to go, which would be picked based on the threat and likelihood of threat in the direction we choose. We also have them picked based on how far we need to go.

In the end, you can’t plan for everything, but you can expect the Chaos that will come. Have a plan.