Published by The Shooting Center & National Association of Chiefs of Police JUNE 2020
Benefits, Pain of Pepper Spray
Carrying Non Lethal
The Shooting Center Newsletter May 2019
Lessons Still Applicable Today
HOME on the RANGE
Back To Basics
Learning From Wyatt
2020 Training for civilians
and for LEOs at www.NACOPLEEP.org
Pictured: Trainer Israel Matos demonstrates proper grip at a recent training session.
All NACOP- endorsed trainers emphasize safety first. (Photo By Jennifer McCants)
Are You Carrying Non-Lethal?
By Kenny Rivera
I am a responsibly armed American who believes in the second amendment and the right to protect myself from grave bodily harm, so I carry concealed. However, there are times when a gun may not be the best tool for the job, and, just recently, such a time involved a sudden dog attack.
The incident: I was out walking my two dogs: Rex, a Jack Russell/Shihtzu mix and Rocky, a small black lab mix. As we are finishing our walk, standing right in front of our house, a neighbor’s dog who we will call "Benji" (larged-framed and weighing in at 60+ pounds) tore loose and came right at us. My two dogs instinctively jump into action to protect themselves and me from this attack. Naturally, I try holding them back as Benji comes barreling down upon us, teeth and all!
As the dogs tussle on the ground with Benji in full attack mode, Benjis’ owner, Jose, comes running over to try to control his animal. However, all three dogs are instinctively locked in a battle for their lives. Jose grabs his dog but it breaks free and lunges back into the fight as I reach into my pocket to pull out my POM™ pepper spray. With Benji advancing again, I hit him squarely with the jerk sauce but it doesn’t phase him and he continues his attack. Ding, ding...all three dogs square off again like an MMA brawl.
Benji towers over Rex, attempting to maul him, while Rocky wraps his leash around Jose in his zeal to assault Benji. I can't pull back on the leash because Jose is now wrapped up in it and is unable to move, so Benji decides I'm the bad guy and turns his full fury toward me. As he springs toward me, I spray him down again at the same time as Rocky leaps at him from behind and catches a face full of
spray, as well. I continue spraying Benji as he knocks me to the ground and I catch hold of his collar, keeping him at arm's length. The pepper spray is finally starting to kick in and Benji is feeling it. The fight is starting to leave him but, by now, he’s on top of me and I am holding onto him for dear life. I start hearing "let him go, let him go!" The neighbor's wife and my daughter have hurried onto the scene from their respective homes. Jose's wife has latched onto Benji's collar while my daughter has taken control of Rocky. Through the commotion of Benji yelping I hear, "Dad, it's okay... let him go."
When the spray clears, I’m on the ground, Benji is finally immobilized, Rocky is doing alligator rolls on the lawn while Rex looks on in fear. Everyone got a taste of the jerk sauce, four human and three canine victims.
Containment: As we separate and take our animals into our homes. I take my dogs directly into the shower, and my wife lathers them up with Johnson's tearless baby shampoo, bathing them several times to ensure they are spray free. As we are in the bathroom, both my daughter and I can smell the pepper spray residue on our clothes. About twenty minutes into it, we begin feeling the impact! My daughter's face starts to heat up at the same time as my arms begin to itch. Then it hits, the full effect of the residue. It immediately shut my eyes down, oh the pain! My nose starts to run like an open water faucet, only option – jump in the shower and decontaminate! All this and I wasn’t even directly hit!
Decontamination: Remove all contaminated clothing. Wash all of the affected areas; I used the baby shampoo to scrub my hair, eyes, face and body. However, there are other protocols such as whole milk and saline.
Effects: Pepper spray is an inflammatory agent. It’s designed to inflame your capillaries and cause a horrific searing sensation and boy does it burn! When you touch a contaminated area you actually help activate the pepper spray by opening up the capillaries, so don’t touch and definitely don’t rub. The instant you do this the burning sensation will increase ten-fold and will begin to spread. Your skin will feel hot, like that terrible sunburn you got when you fell asleep by the pool – only much worse.
All in all, the incident could have been much worse. POM™ pepper spray is not made for dogs, it’s made for humans. But IT DID WORK. I certainly did not expect to use it that day (of course who expects such traumatic incidents? It's why we prepare!) While my dogs received several bites, no serious injuries occurred but I am convinced that, had I not been prepared, one or both of my dogs and myself or my neighbor could have been seriously injured.
In the event that you attempt to intervene in a dogfight and you are not prepared, you are most likely going to get hurt. Keep in mind that separating a genuine dogfight can be risky and even your own dog, in the heat of battle, can bite you.
Kenny Rivera will be offering a Pepper Spray class on June 13 at the American Police Hall of Fame facility. To register, click HERE.
'The fight is starting
to leave him but, by now, he’s on top of me and
I'm holding onto him
for dear life.'
A NACOP Instructor Experiences the Benefits, Pain of Pepper Spray
By Ken Corley
How we present ourselves is how we should want others to perceive us. Proper attitude and demeanor are critical when it comes to being a law-abiding gun owner and a concealed carrier. This was driven home to me by conversations with two specific students over the past month.
Gun owners really are the epitome of good behavior, according to recent statistics presented by the major training platforms.
Your instructors likely know these stats: Roughly 22 out of every 100,000 concealed carry license holders are convicted of crimes annually. This includes both misdemeanors and felonies. That number is one-fifth that of law enforcement officers -- with 103 convicted each year -- and dramatically lower than the 3,813 people convicted from the general population.
Indeed, according to the data, America’s 18 million concealed-carry permit holders accounted for 801 firearm-related homicides over a 15-year span, about 0.7% of all firearm-related homicides during that time.
These facts and figures come as a surprise to a lot of students., including the two I mentioned in my opening paragraph, both men in their fifties.
"Many of you already know this, but, for me, it was a shocking revelation," one student wrote in his review. "First, I have always been a Second Amendment supporter. I never owned a gun but supported your 'natural' right to it. The people who owned and carried always seemed more mature, kind and responsible and, as such, were people I liked to be around.”
This speaks volumes about the quality and dependability of law-abiding gun owners. He goes on to say, “I have spent years in a number of martial arts and am very confident in my ability to handle any situation that comes my way. I never felt owning a firearm was a necessity for me. (But) I have seen the world changing and thought it would be a good idea for my lady to have one and not a bad idea for me, too, so we signed up for a class with (NACOP-
endorsed instructor) Ken Corley. I handled a great many weapons on a cow farm in my youth, from .22 LR to black powder rifles and everything in between. I got to be a pretty good shot too. I thought I knew a fair amount about firearms too. I didn’t."
This same student, Canadian by birth and a legal resident alien in these United States, said he was surprised by the level of responsibility gun owners have...and how well they live up to it.
"The liberal media and anti-2A folks would have you believe that CCW (license holders) are gun-waving fanatics," he noted, adding that he was not prepared for the number of additional hoops individuals must jump through to own a weapon. "The arguments against guns, I have found, are formed by people who enjoy the privilege of protection, but not the responsibility. There are far more restrictions on gun owners than one would think. Only those who have not walked that path think we need more (restrictions.)"
Another who expressed surprise upon learning more about gun owners and gun ownership was a friend I've known for many years. He decided to seek his CCW license since his wife already had hers.
We set up a one-on-one class and he was shocked at the amount, and complexity, of information I shared with him. Like so many first-time students, he thought he knew a lot about guns but discovered plenty of gaps in his knowledge. We enjoyed a great few hours discussing all things gun-related, but, like the previous student I mentioned, he was struck by the twin concepts of situational awareness and conflict avoidance -- and by the fact that most concealed carriers aren't looking for a fight; they are looking to avoid one!
I stressed to him the importance of a PROPER ATTITUDE AND DEMEANOR when carrying, or even owning, a firearm.
Most concealed carriers know -- and most instructors instruct -- that the ONLY way to guarantee you survive a violent incident is to avoid it in the first place. Put more succinctly: You win every gunfight you are never in.
I explained to my friend that, carrying or not, you choose how you will react in any given situation...and walking away is sometimes the most sensible response.
“I wish I'd thought this way earlier in life; it could have saved me so much trouble. You have fundamentally changed the way I think and react," he responded.
This seems so simple to us as instructors and to all of you who are used to practicing safe gun handling. Most people have never been shown the basics. They do not know proper stance or grip or how to clear malfunctions. Many have never been taught how to resolve conflict without confronting it head-on. What a difference a day makes after some clearheaded thought. Most students also have never considered the guilt, shame, and the shunning by family and friends that follow a shooting, especially if a death occurs.
I tell every student that they are on their way to a new understanding. When you put on your firearm, you will look at everything differently. You will avoid conflict as much as possible. You will be polite and courteous. You will walk with a sense of confidence and purpose you may have previously lacked. You will become intimately acquainted with TWO IMPORTANT QUESTIONS: Is this worth going to jail over? Is this worth dying/killing for? Answer: Probably not.
We are examples to all who know and see us. Let’s be the best examples we can be. We teach so much more than firearm fundamentals and tactics. We teach students to become responsibly armed Americans.
Ken Corley is a USCCA certified trainer and a NACOP-endorsed instructor. You can find his bio under the instructor section at www.NACOPSTEP.org.
Looking for qualified, skilled tactical trainers?
Check out www.NACOPSTEP.org for NACOP-endorsed classes & trainers. Or go to www.shootingclasses.com for skilled instructors locally, regionally or nationwide.
For FREE & deeply discounted law enforcement training classes, go to www.NACOPLEEP.org.
Range And Classes Continue Here
"The arguments against guns, I have found,
are formed by people who enjoy the privilege of protection, but not the responsibility..."
Getting Tired of COVID-19 Isolation?
Students Express Surprise at Responsibility of CCW License Holders
The range at the American Police Hall of Fame has remained open throughout the pandemic and, now, as June begins, our classes are resuming in earnest.
Some classes continue to observe reduced numbers. All classes welcome those who would prefer to wear masks and/or gloves. Additionally, we continue to sanitize equipment and surfaces for public safety.
Tara Dixon Engel, VP of Training, noted that private training is increasing in popularity among those who want to limit their exposure.
"I worked with a couple recently where the wife was high risk and they were hesitant to share classroom and range space with other students. We did a one-on-one session and got them qualified for their CCW license. It was fun for them, it was safe, and, it was rewarding for me as an instructor to have the time to really focus on answering their questions and observing their shooting skills."
Engel added that most of the NACOP- endorsed instructors are available for private training, at a cost of $45 per hour or $75 for couples.
"That cost may vary depending on whether you need to rent a gun or other equipment, and based on the individual instructor's policies, but I encourage you to inquire about your favorite instructor's availability," she noted. "Email me at Tarae@aphf.org and let me know with whom you want to work and we'll get you set up."
The popular weekly Tactical Practical course, Fridays from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m., resumed on May 29. Participants are encouraged to call ahead and schedule their time.
The museum has also re-opened, Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. but is now closed both Sunday and Monday.
For those new to firearms, please check out everything we offer at www.NACOPSTEP.org. This web site tells you about our instructors, the classes we offer, and it has a calendar of upcoming training and practice sessions. Just click on the class that interests you and a registration link will pop up.
You can reach us at 321-264-0911. And, if you have any questions about classes, please contact Tara Engel at extension 133.
Being the Best Kind of Carrier
Pro Shop Closing; B&H Moving In
The Pro Shop, located within the Hall of Fame facility since 2007, closed its doors at the beginning of June and the floor space will be leased to a familiar name in the Brevard County region. B&H/National Police Supply will be expanding its operation into Titusville while maintaining its current Merritt Island and Orlando locations.
“We are very pleased with this arrangement,” said Brent Shepherd, CFO of National Association of Chiefs of Police (NACOP), which operates the range and museum facility. “B&H is familiar to civilians and law enforcement alike. Their customers are our customers and we are looking forward to partnering on a variety of activities and programs that will benefit shooting enthusiasts and law enforcement professionals throughout the region and beyond.”
Proceeds from The Pro Shop have supported the Museum and various other programs at the facility, including the Law Enforcement Education Program (LEEP), the civilian Safety Training Education Program (STEP) and the facility’s compassionate programs for law enforcement families. Use of the range and visits to the Museum will continue to support those same vital programs.
Shepherd added that B&H has a robust law enforcement discount program through a variety of manufacturers. The new shop at the Hall of Fame will cater to both civilians and law enforcement customers.
For more information about NACOP or B&H, call 321-264-0911 or email Policeinfo@aphf.org.
Looking for world-class training with America's finest trainers?
Go to: www.NACOPSTEP.org for civilian training, and www.NACOPLEEP.org for law enforcement training.
Home on the Range is published bi-monthly by The Shooting Center and Pro Shop at The American Police Hall of Fame & Museum, 6350 Horizon Drive, Titusville, FL 32780. On alternating months, we produce a "News Flash" version, featuring condensed stories and teasers for the next edition.
The publication is exclusively digitally delivered to over 20,000 readers each month, and there is no cost for a subscription. To receive a monthly copy, please email Tarae@aphf.org.
Brent Shepherd.....................Executive Editor
Tara Dixon Engel................ Managing Editor
Paul Pawela Royce Bartlett
Eric Roessler Brian Smith
Bob Fowler John Falldorf
Michael Lazarus Gretchen Laiuppa
Kenny Rivera Ken Corley
Note: To have an article considered for publication, please submit to Tarae@aphf.org. Content will be edited for space and editorial considerations. Photos are encouraged.
A NACOP-endorsed training session
By Brian Smith
I have a concern with the current climate in our society, such as the “stay at home” order where many people are unable to work and earn a living during this two month period of time. People are suffering. As a middle-aged female who has witnessed the difference in the evolution of times and events, I have a fear that crime is about to increase. Unfortunately, I must take public transportation to work and fear that I may be grabbed from behind in a strong-arm robbery or an abduction attempt. What advice do you have that can help me?”
Answer: Ms. Robinson,
I share in your concern that certain survival crimes may increase due to a lack of income. However, with regard to your fear of a blindsided attack, I would recommend enrolling in a martial arts class or short-term self-defense clinic to learn tactics from a trained professional. In a controlled class setting, techniques are demonstrated by the instructor and practiced by the student in a manner to minimize injuries.
I hear about gun stores experiencing products flying off the shelves due to the massive gun and ammo purchases that are occurring in high numbers. Many citizens are purchasing out of fear, but without the formal training to handle a firearm safely. Having a concealed carry firearm is counterproductive if you can’t get access to your firearms when grabbed from behind which restricts your ability to access your firearm. I will display a couple of escape techniques that are simple but are not life-saving tactics in an attack. The varieties of strikes or maiming techniques that exist are not included, due to injuries that can occur in practice without proper supervision. Professional training is still recommended.
PART - 1: REAR CHOKE HOLD
The greatest fear of man is suffocation.Therefore, if our oxygen supply is cut off, we immediately panic and began flailing while gasping for air. If an attacker grabs you by the throat from the rear, your stress level is going elevate quickly which will affect your fine motor skills.Your reaction is to think fast to prevent from passing out. This technique can prevent you from being choked out and buys you time to scream or execute a defense against your attacker.
An attacker grabs you from the rear, placing his forearm against your throat, as shown below:
Immediately hook the middle fingers from your hands over the attacker’s forearms. Then, lock your elbows to your abdomen area to prevent further pressure to the throat.This will buy you time and also allow you to scream if necessary, as shown below:
PART – 2: REAR BEAR HUG
PART - 2: REAR BEAR HUG
The rear bear hug is a common attack when the attacker feels physically superior over his victim.
When grabbed from the rear, immediately strike into the attacker’s groin or grab the same area and twist violently. This gives you the element of surprise and discomfort to the attacker.
Twist or peel the fingers back in hopes of inflicting serious damage to the attacker and breaking the attacker’s grip. Another alternative (or perform both tactics) is to stomp on top of the attacker’s instep with heel of your shoe when trying to escape, as shown below.
Other tactics to consider: if you feel the attacker is attempting to lift you off the ground, slide your foot in between the attacker’s feet and hook the inside of the attacker’s leg with your foot. The attacker will have trouble lifting you or lifting and walking, see below.
Brian C. Smith is a retired police captain and former police chief with a total of 42 years of police experience. He has served in patrol, investigations, range master, training commander, and commander of a special operations unit. Brian can be reached at email@example.com
The Golden rules of firearms safety:
All guns are always loaded.
Do not point the muzzle at anything you are not willing to destroy.
Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on target and you're ready to shoot.
Be certain of your target and backstop (i.e. know your target and what lies beyond.)
The Definition of Safety in Training: The expected benefit of any endeavor should significantly out- weigh any known or perceived risks.
“There is no more dangerous object in the
house than the unloaded gun” - Mark Twain
Back To Basics: Safety First!
By Paul Pawela
Question: why do we constantly go over the cardinal rules of firearm safety every time we are training in firearms?
Answer: Because safety is the first order of business for deadly force management, threat management and survival training.
We know, or we should know, the first obligation to any instructor or student in any gun class is to emphasize and reemphasize the cardinal commandments of gun safety. No instructor should ever apologize for reviewing, and repeatedly hammering, the basics of safety. All gun handling is deadly- force application and threat management.
So, we continue to go over firearms safety rules because, quite frankly, people forget them easily. This happens too many times because:
We are relaxed (remember comfortable familiarity breeds laxity and carelessness)
We are preoccupied by a task or under stress on the job or on the range.
This is why the safety rules need to be hammered into our subconscious so they can work their way into our muscle memory and instinctive responses.
Firearms safety should be integrated into and reinforced at every firearms training event and at every point in every training situation, therefore we need consistency between safety guidelines and our own survival rules.
Safety rules should be applied in tactical situations as well as potentially lethal encounters.
When approaching a potentially dangerous situation: keep your finger off the trigger unless you need the gun to go bang.
Challenging a potential threat: Keep your finger off the trigger unless you need the gun to go bang.
Covering a threat at gun point: Keep your finger off the trigger unless you need the gun to go bang.
Specific Firearms Safety Rules:
All firearms training must be properly and adequately supervised by someone in authority. All safety precautions must be adhered to and enforced.
Strictest discipline must be maintained. Carelessness will not be tolerated during firearms training.
Immediately upon picking up a firearm, open the cylinder or action (drop the magazine first, if it is a semi-automatic) and check to see that it is unloaded. Then check it again!
Never give a firearm, or take a firearm from, anyone unless the cylinder or action is open and the chamber visible.
Never anticipate (Keep your finger off the trigger until the gun needs to go bang) a command. Too often, in basic classes, students don't follow the instructor's command, they follow what another student does!
Be sure there is no obstruction in the barrel of a firearm before loading.
Load ONLY after position is taken at the firing line and the command is given to load the firearm.
Unload when instructed.
Keep the firearm pointed down range at all times!
Never permit the muzzle of a firearm to touch the ground!
What to do in the case of firearms misfires:
Revolver: Point the firearm down range for 10 seconds. After 10 seconds, try to re-shoot, if revolver does not shoot, discard the faulty cartridge then reload and fire weapon. Semi-automatic handguns: Point down range for 10 seconds. Remove magazine, cycle or rack the slide, if it does not fire again. Rack the slide several times, ensure no obstruction (bullet) is lodged half way down the barrel (inspect with flashlight and rod). Once confirmed there is no obstruction in the barrel, reinsert magazine, rack slide forward and attempt to fire again.
Never fire a succeeding shot after a squib load without first unloading and checking the barrel for obstructions. (What's a squib? A round of ammo that lacks sufficient force to reach the target, and, sometimes, to even exit the barrel.)
Never leave the firing line without first unloading your firearm!
Never go in front of the line of fire until the line has been cleared and the "all clear" or "range cold" command has been given.
Never carry a loaded firearm on the range except when on the firing line.
Never dry fire on the range except under the supervision of an instructor.
Pay Strict attention to the range officer. He/She will instruct you exactly what you are to do.
General rules for the safe condition of all modern firearms fall into one or more of the following categories: A). Safety on if applicable (for example, on a 1911 style firearm); B). Magazine removed; C). Unloaded; D).Visually and physical checked.
Explanations of Accidental and Negligent Discharges.:
Accidental Discharge: an unintentional discharge caused by any event that the shooter could not have been expected to foresee or prevent. Example: a defective semi-automatic that malfunctions and goes fully automatic.
Negligent Discharge: is an unintentional discharge caused by any event that the shooter could, and should have, foreseen or prevented. Examples: pulling trigger without making a conscious decision to do so, firing the proverbial UNLOADED gun, or placing finger on the trigger without intent. Reasons this could happen:
1). Startle effect.
2). Loss of balance.
3). Sympathetic response.
Once again, worth repeating: Safety rules should also apply in tactical situations as well as potentially lethal encounters:
1). When approaching a potentially dangerous situation.
2). When Challenging a potential threat.
3). When covering a threat at gun point.
The tactical rule is the same as the cardinal rule: Keep your darn finger off the darn trigger unless you mean for the gun to go bang!
The risks we want to avoid can be defined in purely self-interested terms: We want our tactical rules to be the same as our safety rules to ensure they minimize all risks in the event of a deadly encounter.
Which means our safety should apply across as many situations as possible, therefore, our safety rules should be consistent with our tactical rules.
In better explaining the four safety rules let us put them in proper prospective:
1). GUN: Always treat every gun as if it is loaded!
2). Muzzle of the Gun: Don’t let the muzzle of the gun cross anything you are not willing to destroy!
3). Trigger: Keep your finger off the trigger until the gun needs to go bang!
4). Target: Be sure of your target and what is beyond!
One of the greatest mentors I ever had in the firearms industry was Jim Cirillo a retired NYPD National Shooting Champion, a Federal Law Enforcement Firearms Instructor, a gun writer and author of several books. More importantly, he was the survivor of over 20 gunfights - and here's what he had to say about firearms safety:
“From my own experiences and those of my peers, I have come to a very serious conclusion: The firearms fancier, collector, shooter, handler, or instructor, whether expert or not, is susceptible to the unintentional discharge of a firearm”.
My own conclusions via my civilian and law enforcement training classes is this: All of the USA’s top three counter terrorism units, the Army’s DELTA FORCE, the Navy’s SEAL Team 6 and the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team, share something in common: their operators shoot around 100,000 rounds per year through their handguns alone. (This is not including the rounds they shoot through carbines, sub-machine guns, shotguns or sniper rifles which is equal to, if not more than, those expended in handguns, depending on the role of the individual operator.) And what else do these high-speed shooting operators who shoot for a living have in common? Every one of these top tier Hostage Rescue Teams has had an accidental death of one of their team members in a shoot house training scenario because someone had their finger on the trigger when they shouldn't have. If it can happen to the most experienced of trained professionals, what makes you think it cannot happen to you?
Safety, Safety, Safety, and more Safety!
Paul Pawela is Director of law enforcement training for the National Association of Chiefs of Police and founder of Assault Counter Tactics training company.
The 'tactical rule' is the same as the cardinal rule: Keep your darn finger off the darn trigger unless you mean for the gun to go bang!
Wyatt Earp is widely regarded as the most famous lawman and gunfighter of the old west, and is best known for being one of the last men standing at the famed gunfight at the OK Corral in Tombstone, Arizona. in 1881.
In that gunfight Earp, with two of his brothers, Virgil and Morgan, along with famous gunfighter/gambler and Earp best friend Doc Holiday, would confront five desperadoes known as 'the cowboys.'
Confronted in a small alleyway, no wider than fifteen feet, two cowboys would break and run as the other participants became immortalized in the most epic gunfight in American history. Three bad guys would end up in boot hill cemetery. Three lawmen lay wounded, two with serious wounds, while the hero of the day, Wyatt Earp, remained unscathed despite 30 rounds fired at close range. That shoot-out was not his first nor would it be his last, and Wyatt Earp’s gunfights have as much relevance today as they did in his time.
Earp’s advice can be applied to any law-abiding citizens who carries a firearm in today’s society. Below, I have pulled numerous quotes from Earp regarding gun-handling and have added my own commentary in red italics as necessary. In most cases, Mr. Earp's observations speak for themselves.
“ I was a fair hand with pistol, rifle or shotgun Translated: Wyatt Earp knew how to fight as most men did in that time, with fists, knives, or guns. Men of that era were proficient in all aspects of fighting, but I learned more about gun-fighting from Tom Speer’s cronies in the summer of '71 than I dreamed was in the book. Those old-timers took their gun-play seriously, which was a natural condition in which they lived. To them, shooting was considerably more than aiming at a mark and pulling a trigger." Translated: Take shooting seriously when practicing. Don’t go to the range simply to shoot small holes in targets: practice as if your life depends on it!
"Models of weapons, methods of wearing them, the means to get them into action and the operation of them, when combined with high speed and absolute accuracy, contributed to the frontiersman’s shooting skills.
"The most important lesson I learned from those proficient gunfighters was that the winner of a gun-play was usually the man who took his time. The second was that, if I hoped to live long on the frontier, I would shun flashy trick shooting and grandstand plays as I would (shun) poison. Later, as a peace officer, I was to fight some desperate battles against notorious gunmen of the old west, and wonder has been expressed that I came through them all unscathed," Earp told biographers.
For the Record: As a peace officer in Dodge City, Wyatt Earp shot George Hoy, who later died of his wounds. He was credited with critically wounding Frank Mclowry who had a very good reputation as a gunman in the Gunfight at OK Corral. Earp was also credited with killing Frank Stilwell a notorious criminal, Florentino Cruz a cowboy who was considered one of the prime suspects in the murder of of Wyatt’s Brother Morgan. Wyatt was also credited for killing Curly Bill Brocius who had an excellent reputation as a gunfighter , and, at the same time, killing Ed Barnes, another outlaw cowboy. It was rumored Wyatt and friends shot and killed Newman “Old Man” Clanton along with several other cowboys and Earp was suspected of ending the life of one of the old west's most feared gunfighters ,Johnny Ringo.
"I was responsible for the deaths of certain outlaws," Earp explained, "and their friends have said I wore a steel vest under my shirt. There have been times when I’d have welcomed such a garment but I never saw one in my life outside a museum, and I very much doubt that any other frontiersman has either. Luck was with me in my gunfights, of course; so were the lessons learned in Market Square during the summer of ’71."
Jack Gallagher, another famed frontier lawman, offered advice that Wyatt said influenced him: "Gallagher said to wear weapons in the handiest position; in my case, as far as pistols were concerned, in open holsters, one on each hip if I was carrying two, hung rather low as my arms were long, any style, for cross-draw. Others carried one gun directly in front of the stomach, either inside or outside the waistband, and another gun in a holster slung below the left armpit. Still others wore two of these in shoulder holsters. Style was a matter of individual preference." Translated: in modern times what has changed?
Earp noted that , "when mounted on a horse and, 'armed to the teeth', as the saying goes, a man’s rifle was slung in a boot just ahead of his right stirrup, his shotgun carried on the left by a thong looped over the saddle-horn.
"With the adoption of breech-loading weapons, a rider equipped with two pistols, rifle and shotgun customarily had one of the belts to which his pistol holsters were attached filled with pistol ammunition, the other with rifle cartridges, while a heavier, wider belt filled with shot-gun shells was looped around the saddle-horn underneath the thong which held that weapon," the lawman explained. "He was a riding arsenal, but there might well be times when he needed the munitions. Bowie Knifes were worn largely for utility sake in a belt sheath back of the hip. When I came on the scene their popularity for purposes of offense was on the wane, although I have seen old-timers who carried them slung about their necks and who preferred them above all other weapons in settlement of purely personal quarrels."
Translated: Today we travel in modern automobiles instead of horses so why are our vehicles not mobile arsenals (as pictured below)? In them should be at least two handguns and at least one AR-pistol or a shotgun with the portability of the Mossberg Shock Wave or the Remington Tac 14 (or both) as well as plenty of ammo! Also advisable is a good safe of some sort to keep things secured when traveling.I never go anywhere without knives from Bastinelli creations in both fixed blade and folder.
"When I say that I learned to take my time in a gunfight, I do not wish to be misunderstood," Earp explained. "For the time to be taken was only that split fraction of a second which means the difference between deadly accuracy with a gun and a miss." Translated: the first shot/hit is the most important.
"It is hard to make this clear to a man who has never been in a gunfight," the famed lawman continued. "Perhaps I can best describe such time-taking as going into action with the greatest speed of which a man’s muscles are capable...but mentally unflustered by an urge to hurry or the need for the complicated nervous and muscular actions which trick shooting involves. Mentally deliberate, but muscularly faster than thought, is what I mean."
Earp continued, "In all my life as a frontier peace officer, I did not know a proficient gunfighter who had anything but contempt for the gun-fanner (i.e. the trick shooter) or the man who shot from the hip. In later years I read a great deal about men noted for skill with a forty-five. From personal experience and numerous six-gun battles which I witnessed, I can only support the opinion (of) the men who gave me most valuable instruction in fast and accurate shooting, which was that the gun-fanner and the hip shooter stood a small chance to live against a man who, as old Jack Gallagher always put it, took his time and pulled the trigger once."
"A skill gun fanner could fire five shots from a forty-five so rapidly that the individual reports were indistinguishable, but what could happen to him in a gunfight was pretty close to murder. I saw Jack Gallagher’s theory (of taking time and pulling the trigger once) borne out so many times in deadly operation that I was never tempted to forsake the principles of gunfighting as I (learned) them from him and his associates."
Earp also had tremendous respect for another legendary gunfighter: "Wild Bill" Hickok.
"No man in the Kansas City group was Wild Bill's equal with a six-gun. Bill’s correct name, by the way, was James B. Hickok. Legend and the imagination of certain people have exaggerated the number of men he killed in gunfights and have misrepresented how he did his killing. At that, they could not very well overdo his skills with pistols.
"Hickok knew all the fancy tricks and was as good as the best at that sort of gun-play, but when he had serious business in hand, a man to get the acid test of marksmanship, I doubt if he employed them."
Earp also busted the myth of the two-handed shooter: "That two-gun business is another matter that can stand some truth before the last of the old-time gunfighters have gone. They wore two guns -- most of the six-gun toters did -- and, when the time came for action, went after them with both hands. But they didn’t shoot them that way. Primarily, two guns made the threat of something in reserve; they were useful as a display of force when a lone man was stacked up against a crowd."
Earp noted that some men could shoot equally well with either hand, and in gun-play might alternate their fire, while others would use up all the ammo in one hand and then shift the reserve gun to their natural shooting hand.
"Whenever you see a picture of some two-gun man in action with both weapons held closely against his hips and spitting smoke together, you can put it down that you are looking at the picture of a fool, or at a fake," Earp said disdainfully. "I remember quite a few of those so-called men who tried to operate everything at once, but, like the fanners, they didn’t last long in the proficient company."
Translated: To this day anyone serious who carries a gun should carry a back-up for several reasons. First, if, for whatever reason, the primary gun does not go bang, you can default to the back-up weapon. Second, if you're in a close contact confrontation and the gun is knocked out of your hand, go to that back-up! And, third, if you are in big trouble and outnumbered but accompanied by an unarmed friend and or family member, give them your back-up so they can back you up!
Earp had little regard for anyone who carried a gun "to scare people." Too often today, firearms purchasers admit that they probably "couldn't really shoot someone" but are hopeful the mere presence of a firearm will dissuade criminals. Earp knew better.
"In the days of which I am talking, when a man went for his guns, he did so with a single purpose. There was no such thing as a bluff. When a gunfighter reached for his forty- five, every faculty he owned was keyed to shooting as accurately as possible, to making his first shot the last of the fight. He had to think of his gun solely as something with which to kill another before he could be killed. The possibility of intimidating an antagonist was remote, although the 'drop' was thoroughly respected, and few men in the west would draw against it."
Translated: Always take the gun seriously. Be ready, one day you may have to use it in a gun-fight and have to be mentally prepared for that. Remember that the goal is not be fancy, it is to use the minimum amount of rounds necessary to end the threat -- and walk away alive.
"I have seen men so fast and so sure of themselves that they did go after their guns while men who intended to kill them had them covered, and, what is more, won out in the play," the lawman noted. "They were rare. It is safe to say, for all general purposes, that anything in gun-fighting which smacked of show-off or bluff was left to braggarts who were ignorant or careless of their lives."
Translated: Then, as now, the goal of carrying is not to show off or threaten, but to save your life or the lives of loved ones.
There endeth the lesson from the legend himself, Wyatt Earp, as I close with my own two cents on gun-fighting:“Nothing has tactically changed from then to now, the only thing that has changed is the technology."
*Translated for modern gun handlers
From left, "Doc" Holliday, Wyatt Earp, Virgil Earp and Morgan Earp.
Wyatt Earp on Gun-play
“Fast is fine,
but accuracy is everything.
In a gunfight,
you need to
take your time
in a hurry...”
- Wyatt Earp
'Shooting Straight' Has Patron Page
Shooting Straight radio host Royce Bartlett has announced the creation of a sponsorship page at Patreon.com for those who would are interested in sponsoring a real -- and growing -- radio show (but can't afford an arm and a leg to do so!)
Shooting Straight Radio Show is a weekly program dedicated to firearms, the 2nd Amendment, and everything pertaining thereto. It airs live worldwide every Saturday from 2-4 p.m. Eastern Time on WMMB and iHeartRADIO (92.7 FM, or 1240 and 1350 AM in Brevard County, Florida), and can be viewed live on video on the WMMB and Shooting Straight Radio Show Facebook pages. The show has gained an international following and this recent move to Patreon.com is one more way for Bartlett to further grow the show and its content, and to engage with his listeners in the process.
"Sponsorships start at just $5 per month," Bartlett explained, "and I would be honored to have my listeners play a sponsoring role in the program. Benefits of sponsorship vary based on which tier you choose. I would just be happy to have anyone on board at whatever level. It all helps me keep the show on the air and reach new listeners and freedom-loving Americans."
To view the various levels, visit www.patreon.com, and type "Shooting Straight Radio Show" into the search bar that reads "Find a creator"; or just click HERE.
Now anyone can be a sponsor and help support freedom!
Whether you're an instructor looking for students, a student looking for classes, or a range looking for customers, check out the BEST on-line resource for firearms training information nationally:
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You can join the USCCA for as little as $22 per month.
But did you know that you can join USCCA at The Shooting Center or The American Police Hall of Fame and a portion of your fee will be donated back to support the amazing non-profit programs here?
Just ask next time you are on site or text the word 'POLICE' to 87222.
Support a GREAT cause, protect yourself and maybe win $1,000!
If you're taking classes in Brevard County, go to: www.NACOPSTEP.org for the BEST Firearms & Defensive trainers and training in Florida!
NACOP-endorsed instructor Kenny Rivera will be presenting an OC (pepper) spray training class on June 13.
The class will teach proper techniques for using the spray defensively and will give students their own spray canister.
Students will only use inert spray for training exercises. The cost of the class is $75. You can register at NACOPSTEP.org or by searching "Kenny Rivera" at shootingclasses.com.
To find out about classes, email the instructor at firstname.lastname@example.org
Register HERE for the class. Or go to www.NACOPSTEP.org
SIGN UP at: www.NACOPSTEP.org (select class on calendar and register) or at: www.shootingclasses.com/royce-bartlett
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