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BurntEyes

Self Defense, Tactical Training and Competition Discussion

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I've been putting off starting this thread for a while. Multiple recent discussion on the gun thread and the creation of the Night Vision thread prompted me to finally kick this off. 

The purpose of this is to specifically talk about issues as it relates to self defense and the actions, tools, training and learning that is associated. I specifically opted not to include guns in the title as self defense is a very broad topic and frankly use of firearms is the last in a long line of steps prior for proper self defense. Further, there are situations, states, locations, and work demands that forbid or eliminate the ability to carry a firearm. In the world of self defense, dealing with and being prepared for injuries is also a part of the equation.  Having said that, I'm also interested in promoting and engaging discussion as it relates to training, tools and competition directly related to firearms, so I anticipate they will certainly be a part of the discussion. 

To that end I am going to provide some full disclosure. I've spent, during my life, well over 1 month worth of 8 hours days training in firearm tactics. I've also been shooting "self defense" competitions for about a decade. I've also read extensively, and taken training that have little or nothing to do with firearms including improvised weapons, martial arts, first aid, and edge weapons. However, that does NOT make me an expert in any way. Rather, I have my own opinion of what I think is valuable and relevant. I'm happy to provide that feedback and input and learn where my ideas and notions might be incorrect. I hope to learn similar opinions from others with different and varying forms of training and education. I note all this as I don't want anyone to feel reluctant to ask questions nor to think I believe I know it all. I don't, I don't even know a small fraction of what is out there in the world. 

With that long book written, I'll start with a suggestion FOR a book Pre-Fense by Steve Tarani. I have trained with the author and as such know exactly what he focuses on in his classes. The following book is one of his I have read, and I am currently reading another. I strongly recommend these books because at the core of what they describe is the first, most important step. The choice, and it is a choice, to prepare yourself for bad circumstances. Beyond that, the most critical skill in self defense is situational awareness. With the phone addiction today and the self isolation via head phones and all manner of electronics, it is the most important first step is situational awareness. Further, his book isn't a doom and gloom paranoid read. Rather fact based points followed by very straight forward, non-GI Joe discussion.

This link is to his home page, but his books are available via Amazon and elsewhere. 

https://stevetarani.com/books/

Final note. I've said this before and I'll say it again when I engage in this topic. I absolutely and truly hope that all the training and learning I've done ultimately goes largely unneeded in life. Parts I do use all the time, but most I have never used and hope it remains that way. I have no desire to fight, get into a gun fight, or even a yelling dispute. I avoid heated personal face to face conflict, with specific purpose and intent. If you want to call me a punk, scared or whatever, I'm perfectly good with that and you are free to do so. 

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23 minutes ago, BurntEyes said:

the most critical skill in self defense is situational awareness.

This.  Whether on the mean streets, deep woods, or on foreign soil.  It's like the mindset taught during defensive driving - but everywhere.  Being prepared without being paranoid.  

As for physical training.  Train with purpose.  I will give Crossfit a little love, they helped make "functional fitness" mainstream.  Getting beyond vanity lifting is a big part of things.  

I am still a BJJ nube.  Been a white belt for a little while (time and travel with work).  To me it allows you to best manage the situation, and then extricate yourself on your terms.  With the intention always to simply get away.  Street fights can turn deadly.  You catch a head shot, bounce your noggin off the curb.  That's it.  

Last "fight" I was in was at a club year back.  Wife and friends were drunk (Candleroom, Dallas) out front (happy drunk, not sloppy).  Bouncer was hopped up on something.  Group of us out front talking.  Group of second girls out front get verbally abused by door guy.  Wife puffs up and goes over to "defend their honor".  He pushes her (my wife).  I catch him from the side in a full sprint.  Bounce him off the side of a parked car, get the guy in a rear-naked choke and immobilize him until he calms down.  Manager comes out, realizes his guy is going to get the cops and a ton of bad heat down on him, fires him on the spot and is beyond sorry.  All worked out.  I was sore for a week.  And shaking like a baby deer. 

I think one of the biggest benefits of handgun and fight training is learning the real-world consequences of violence.  Understanding the real world implications of a negligent discharge, or taking a punch in the face, etc.    

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26 minutes ago, El Diablo said:

Any tips for old, blind fucks such as myself?

Average range for an altercation with a firearm is 7 yards or less.  Practice holster drawing, drawing, and then more drawing so you are smooth, calm, and safe.  

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3 hours ago, El Diablo said:

Any tips for old, blind fucks such as myself?

You still have ears. Listen for troubling noises, yelling, loud bangs whatever. Make friendly people around you aware and don't be afraid to ask them to use their eyes to help evaluate. Start making a plan of escape. A plan that fails is better than no plan at all. Start moving away from the issue/situation. Close a tab, get in your car or if merited, simply leave. Most importantly, listen, and pay attention to what you hear. 

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27 minutes ago, BurntEyes said:

You still have ears. Listen for troubling noises, yelling, loud bangs whatever. Make friendly people around you aware and don't be afraid to ask them to use their eyes to help evaluate. Start making a plan of escape. A plan that fails is better than no plan at all. Start moving away from the issue/situation. Close a tab, get in your car or if merited, simply leave. Most importantly, listen, and pay attention to what you hear. 

That all sounds good on paper but I liked the idea of practicing drawing my gun better. ;) They didn't say shit about hitting anything with it.

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Just now, El Diablo said:

That all sounds good on paper but I liked the idea of practicing drawing my gun better. ;) They didn't say shit about hitting anything with it.

Well, then, as the old saying goes..

Why not both tacos?

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The following is going to come up, as it always does, and we can just refer folks back to the first page.

What is the right gun and caliber for me, or what gun should I buy for my wife/girlfriend/boyfriend/cousin/whoever:

Rules of thumb for the "right' SD pistol

1) Which firearm(s) are you most comfortable with operationally. Loading, cleaning, shooting.

2) Which firearm do you shoot most accurately

3) Which firearm are you most comfortable carrying

Nobody can answer any of those questions for you. Find a range with lots of different pistols and run them. Then start looking at holsters. (Feel free to ask) Then start taking training. (The CHL doesn't not count. Consider it another intro to firearms class) Practice draw stroke, shooting on the move, failure drills, multiple targets, and various shooting positions/styles. Do it more often. Do it some more. Reassess, and buy a new gun and gear. Train more.

If it is for someone else, take THEM to the range and follow the same procedure. I strongly suggest intro to firearms classes for all of them, particularly significant others. There are plenty of places that offer lady's only classes. Let them take ownership of the process. Allow them to discover what weapon works best for them given the steps above. It's a process not a single answer as there is an entire world of subjectivity and personal preference involved. 

Finally, which caliber is best. : Again, see 1-3 above. 380 (9 kurtz), 9mm, 40 SW, 38 Spc, 357 mag, 45 ACP are the most common and all function from a ballistics stand point. There are upsides and downside to each. Find what works for you, in a caliber you're comfortable shooting, that you shoot most accurately, in the gun that you prefer. Stick with that gun and caliber. 

but but but BE, I don't want to go through all that process just tell me what to get.

Get a Glock in 9mm, put it in a safe at home, and carry some mace. 

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I have also done a lot of defense classes, 10 years of Krav and trained with SWAT teams of various departments. 

The best advice I have is situational awareness and be prepared to leave any situation at a moments notice.  You will never lose a confrontation that you are not in.

If you are going to carry, practice your draw from the same clothes you wear whenever you are carrying.  You need 1000s of repetitions to become muscle memory that works under stress.

Whenever practicing, shoot with a timer from the draw if possible.  Put some stress on yourself.  Even better, do some IDPA or USPSA or competitions with your friends. .  This will improve your hits on target under stress. 

I suggest reading Colonel Dave Grossman's books on the human reaction to stress.  His seminars are fantastic.  Understanding how your body will react and how you can train to improve your reactions is very helpful.  I try to train with people who have actually been in gunfights and get their perspective on what actually happens.  

I am not an expert in anything and look forward to learning from this dialog.  

 

 

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Absolutely keeping your head about you all the time. Not everyone can remain calm and defuse most situations. Like you said, I don’t give a damn what someone thinks about me.

Don’t be engrossed in your phone all the time when you are in public.

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2 hours ago, Auto Driller said:

Any suggestions for handgun / self defense courses in the Houston area?

Could you clarify a bit what depth you're interested in? 

Couple of hours class? Day long, days long? Will help with specific suggestions.

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Only practice Mozambique drills. Done.

 

 

“Yo homie, is that my briefcase?”

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5 hours ago, BurntEyes said:

Could you clarify a bit what depth you're interested in? 

Couple of hours class? Day long, days long? Will help with specific suggestions.

 

5 hours ago, Jkwellborn said:

Not to mention your experience with a handgun.

I have an LTC and would consider myself slightly better than average when it comes to handgun proficiency but definitely subpar in situational shooting. Looking for scenario-based practice, e.g. low light shooting, home defense, active shooter defense etc. Half day or full day would work.

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8 hours ago, Auto Driller said:

 

I have an LTC and would consider myself slightly better than average when it comes to handgun proficiency but definitely subpar in situational shooting. Looking for scenario-based practice, e.g. low light shooting, home defense, active shooter defense etc. Half day or full day would work.

First, for situational shooting practice you really should investigate IDPA competitions in the Houston area. If you get active in this it will give you repetitions no class can offer if you compete consistently.

I'll do some research to see if I can find any trainers I'm familiar with are going to be in the area. I know Larry Vickers is teaching a Pistol Caliber carbine class in Houston. He's among the best. Anyone that can, should take this class. In particular, any AR guy that plan on using them for home defense should absolutely take this class. I mention that class because...

Lowlight, home defense, and active shooter are different types of classes/training. You won't be able to find a single class that covers all of that and you will really want to start with a basics class as you add low light shooting, home defense etc, on top of basics. Think of each step as a building block. Basics, intermediate, advanced. There are CQB then low light, then house etc.

While I am looking through trainers I'd again say investigate IDPA.

Further, you should narrow your initial engagement desire and I'll note while there may be some one day classes, it's just going to be a basics class due to the reasons noted above.

On active shooter... Pick up the book I recommended above. It's the best place to start. If you end up using a gun in an active shooter situation it's likely you missed the first step of self defense which is situational awareness. Then you missed the second which is creating a plan of escape.

Edited by BurntEyes

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I've been around guns all of my life and consider myself a pretty good shot.  After watching  Jack Wilson take that bad guy down with one quick headshot, I've decided I want to take some training courses.  I'll be following this thread.

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Quick side note I should clarify/define basics.

It includes but is not limited to:

Gun Safety

Proper gear and fitting

Draw stroke 

Grip

Trigger control

Sight picture

And tactical reloads (depending on length of class)

I have reached out to someone more knowledgeable than I for Houston based trainers with a good industry reputation and will report back.

 

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2 hours ago, Lat22 said:

I've been around guns all of my life and consider myself a pretty good shot.  After watching  Jack Wilson take that bad guy down with one quick headshot, I've decided I want to take some training courses.  I'll be following this thread.

Same.  Problem is most of don't know what we don't know.  Especially under duress, you get that adrenaline dump and your fine motor skills go to shit.  We are dangerous, in that we tend to have an overinflated sense of our own capability.  Stay humble.  Be a student.  Never stop practicing.  Be aware of your limitations.

The light clicked for me in the field pig hunting.  Guy had dogs and we were chasing behind.  He'd keep the mid-sized ones to sell.  Double-tap the big fatties that stink.  I have a holstered pistol (it's light enough to see outside).  Thick brush.  One catches me by surprise and charges me.  And I metaphorically shit the bed.  It was such a visceral moment that my hands are shaking, I can't unholster my pistol (on my hip.  not concealed or hard to get to).  Zero dexterity.  I just kind of move in the opposite direction and the pig gets away.  Had that been a person with a knife or pipe or something.  I would have been toast.  It happens so fast.  All my prior training was in lit sutuations, with a resting heart rate.  From a stationary position.  I've only watched pistol matches, but that's great advice to learn how to shoot, move, and reload under time.  

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I know what that feels like.  I was gutting a pig via headlamp last year and a cow came up behind me.  No CR, but our property is ground zero for, ahem, undocumented movement.  My stomach went to my throat and I completely lost my ability to move or react, even if only for a second.

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3 hours ago, BurntEyes said:

First, for situational shooting practice you really should investigate IDPA competitions in the Houston area. If you get active in this it will give you repetitions no class can offer if you compete consistently.

 

I shot IDPA with West Houston Shooter Club ( https://www.facebook.com/WestHoustonShooters/ ) for a couple of years but haven't been in a while.   They shoot a weekly Wed night  IDPA match and a monthly 3 gun on the  at Impactzone  out  on the Katy Prarie near Monaville and a monthly IDPA match at Area59 west of Rosenberg.  Shiloh Shooting range holds match at their range, as does Pearland Shooting Club and another one up near Conroe.

 

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I'd love to learn how to properly use a gun. Only thing I've ever shot was an M16 when I was Army. But I live in San Francisco so I think I'm fucked.

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9 hours ago, ajax said:

I'd love to learn how to properly use a gun. Only thing I've ever shot was an M16 when I was Army. But I live in San Francisco so I think I'm fucked.

Not at all. I can not speak to the quality but here is one right outside San Fran.

Delta Training Group, LLC
https://www.deltatacticalgroup.net/

Steve Tarani who I noted above also teaches class in CA. Granted they aren't pistol classes for the most part. More edge weapons, improvised weapons etc. Frankly, given you are almost guaranteed never to be able to concealed carry I would say his classes are more valuable.

Edit - I seem to recall you have some BJJ history. You would get even more value out of his class as the application of skills will be extremely familiar.

Edited by BurntEyes

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10 hours ago, davidg said:

 

I shot IDPA with West Houston Shooter Club ( https://www.facebook.com/WestHoustonShooters/ ) for a couple of years but haven't been in a while.   They shoot a weekly Wed night  IDPA match and a monthly 3 gun on the  at Impactzone  out  on the Katy Prarie near Monaville and a monthly IDPA match at Area59 west of Rosenberg.  Shiloh Shooting range holds match at their range, as does Pearland Shooting Club and another one up near Conroe.

 

So I reached out to my contact and while he had one in Dallas he had none in Houston. Sorry I can't be of more help but perhaps another Surlster can.

That said, you already have a very easy in for finding quality training. Given that you have already shot IDPA I suggest picking it up again. The majority of folks there are serious shooters. Asking around with the folks that seem to be aware, like RSO or the like is a good bet to get a recommendation. Plus you get the added benefit of refreshing your skills and slinging some lead.

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