Cause of Death

We shoot, if we have to shoot, to stop the attack. We often also hear trainers and thinkers tell us that we need to come to grips with the idea of killing someone.

I now think that’s the wrong emphasis.

I think it’s more important that you work on being able to handle the knowledge that you have killed someone, that you have been the cause of the death of another human being.

My thinking is that if you train and practice and study correctly, the physical act of shooting and everything else you need to do to stop an attack is going to be and should be pretty much automatic. From the time that you decide that there is a threat to life to the point where the attack stops, emotion and most conscious thought should not be present. You decide to act, you act according to your training and experience, you stop acting as you observe the successful stop of the attack. Emotion can drive, but should not direct, your action during the fight itself. It’s not that you don’t think at all, but that you move some actions into an automatic status so that you are free to think about what you need to think about if you’re going to act in defense of life.

Because of the way we have to shoot and the way we are told and taught and train to shoot, the process of stopping the attack may result in the death of the attacker(s). That is what we need to be able to deal with more than the idea before hand that we might end up killing someone. What is more important is dealing with the knowledge that we actually have killed someone.

If we haven’t come to the best terms with the knowledge of having done (as opposed to doing) then we risk not being able to act the way we should and take the actions we should after the attack is over when we’re dealing with (mainly) police and other investigations and (secondarily) friends, family and the press. If we don’t set up ahead of time, we may end up saying the wrong thing or doing the wrong thing, saying too much or too little, doing something that we don’t understand makes the action we took look a different way than it is.

This has happened to others and they have suffered for it. Start now to prepare so that it is less likely to happen to you.

In Consideration of Riots

They’ve happened before and the will happen again. The reasons the next one(s) start may be different, but there will be some common elements. Local criminals first, then criminals, anarchists, and professional agitators from outside the region will start looting, burning, beating, and maybe killing (depending on how long it goes and how big it gets).

Motives are irrelevant to the subject of this particular study of riots. What is relevant is what happens and on what timeline things happen. And what you can do to avoid it or to escape it or, in extremis, to deal with it.

If something happens in your Area Of Operations or Area Of Responsibility (AOO where you are; AOR where somebody you care about is) that could trigger unrest or starts a public protest, keep an eye on it and keep an ear on it. That would also be a good time to check any riot-specific plans and preparations you have and do what is necessary to plug what holes you can in the near-term.

Consider the addition of things such as smoke generators (i.e., grenades) and things like OC foggers and (if you can find them) CS/OC grenades to your vehicle and some other places you are or have to be at regularly.

Check the street maps again. Get some routes in memory. Don’t count on being able to look at a GPS while you’re jinxing through a possible conflict zone.

Set the vehicle up as best you can to be able to go through or around obstacles (animate and not) even if it means leaving the street to do it. And study proper ramming technique, while you’re at it.

Consider the addition of a car or truck gun to back up your carry weapon.

Those of us who work or operate in areas that restrict carry and storage of firearms should think seriously about what circumstances and under what conditions we will break those rules in order to have weapons at or near to hand. This is a more serious consideration for some than for others. Better, then, to make what decisions you can about it, set what lines should be crossed, and as best you can work out the limits to your willingness to obey those rules in the face of potential group/large-scale violence in your area.

There’s other things, but these are some things to think about while you have time and space.

Need to do a bit of marketing if you don’t mind.

I write books some of you might be interested in:

Gunfighting, and Other Thoughts about Doing Violence

This is a series. The link is for a combination book containing Volumes 1, 2 and 3 in it. 1 and 2 cover a number of subjects under the umbrella of the counter-offensive fight. Vol. 3 focuses exclusively on the use of the rifle in the counter-offensive fight.

Facing the Active Shooter is more a booklet than a book. The core of this one is an outline-format series of suggestions for the armed citizen in the event they are where an active shooter or shooters is. I think this is a different approach to this subject than most others take.

All of these are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle formats now. Vol. 1 has gone through one update so far.

In addition I will be publishing Bare-Bones Gunfighting by or before mid-November 2015. Following that will be the fourth volume of the Gunfighting… series which will probably come out sometime in the second quarter of 2016.

For those of you who might be interested in fiction I also have two books out now, one stand-alone technothriller and the first part of a science-fantasy series. A second book of the series will be released shortly. Other fiction will follow in-between the factual work.

I also teach classes. Check the Training page for course descriptions and the Calendar page for dates. Contact me at if you want to work up a class at a range in your area.

KISSing Too Much Could Get You Into Trouble

There’s a kind of dichotomy to the KISS principle when you think about it. Because when you break it down as far as it can go, open carry is simpler than concealed carry, and the simplest way to respond to an attack is to stand there and shoot back. Doing either of those would be applying the KISS principle…right?

But there are, ironically enough, complications to doing either of those for most of us. In the first case, open carry might limit our options for carry (probably will in most areas) and could draw fear or resentment or even snatch attempts or first shots from others. In the second case, standing still isn’t usually a) what our body wants to do under threat of death and b) what is recommended as part of the counteroffensive response.

So it is possible to KISS something too much. But we do want to KISS things enough to help us fight. I don’t want to have to do detailed diagnostics on a gun malfunction during a fight, for example. I want simplest, quickest, surest method of getting it fixed. I want KISS on something like that. In fact, I want to KISS everything to the most practical extent I can, because I believe what Clauswitz says about the simplest things becoming difficult in war. So there has to be some balance here about this.

What to do?

Roger Phillips has what I think is the best idea for a principle: Keep It As Simple As It Needs To Be. How simple that is will vary with the technique or tactic or mechanism we’re dealing with and likely also varies from person to person. It will take some thought to work out the right amount. But that thought, I believe, will be well worth the effort. Because you can over-simplify things.

KIASAINTB is a pretty crappy acronym, but I think it’s a very good idea when applied to the fight for life.


It puzzles me the way that others in the gunfighting-study-world  look askance at the way that I and others look at anything from American football to Renaissance and Medieval swordfighting to Indonesian martial arts (and many things in between) for things that can and will help us at the least survive uninjured and preferably win decisively. There’s a sense I get from some of them that they unconsciously think that the human body suddenly gets to move a different way if there’s a gun in their hands instead of some other weapon. Or they think that they don’t have to move, to ‘get physical’ because they are fighting with a gun instead of a knife or club or bare hands. Or they think that you can’t seriously believe that you can dodge a bullet like you could a sword or knife, so why try and learn how?

The fact is, you can’t dodge a bullet. What you need to understand beyond that, though, is that you can’t dodge that knife or that sword, either–once it’s fully under way, that is.

That’s NOT what we’re training to do, though. And it’s not what we’re looking at these other arts to show us.

You may need to think about this for a little while, but here’s the idea: You are not seeking to dodge the bullet when you move evasively, you are seeking to dodge the shot. Just like with a sword or knife you’re not trying to evade the point, you’re trying to evade the thrust.

There is a difference. In that difference is the key. And that key is why we look outside the realm of gunfighting for things we need to know.

Everything in It’s Place

If this seems familiar it’s because it is. I’m in the process of building a new website that will include this blog and will be transferring the blog entries over here as I do that. This is the very first one I made when I started this in August of 2014:

A long time ago I was trying a bear-hug release technique that I had just learned out. Hard to describe it briefly, so I’ll just say it was something new to my then-current experience and leave it at that. The guy that was doing the hugging was much bigger and much taller than I was. His size allowed him to envelope me much like a bean-bag chair does when you sit in it.

So he does the hug, I do this new-learned technique, and I don’t go dropping out of the hug like I’m supposed to. A rather bummerish development in my view. So without much if any thought that I can remember I move to the alternate plan, which plan being to slide my hands around behind me and grab him by the balls.

Arms open, I’m out. And appreciative of my freedom I am, I’ll tell you that.

Morrow of the story: Wherever and whenever you can, have some kind of backup in mind. This is a good reason to do what-ifs regularly. Thinking through as many situations and variants as possible ahead of time makes it easier to come up with alternate responses to sudden and surprise situations when you need to.

The other thing I get from that and leave you with is this: Plan A, your best-considered and best-practiced response, can be (to a point) elegant and have some subtlety in it. (You still want to keep it pretty simple if you can, though.) I don’t see that as a problem if you’re smart about it. After that, though, I think the backups need to get simpler and more direct and more brutal as they go.

It’s the opposite of the way I work in my IT job. I have a problem in IT, I look at the known most obvious first and work my way through a list of less and less obvious and more and more subtle causes. In a fight, I might (probably not, but maybe) try some feints or misdirection or some kind of combination technique (or combination of techniques) if I can first. But if that doesn’t get me what I want–victory or escape or an opening to either of those that I can exploit–the thing I can do quickest and with the least conscious thought (which could get in the way of me surviving this) is going to be something more simple and direct. And the more letter-plans I go through, the simpler and more direct (and vicious and brutal, probably) they’re going to be.

Because when other things fail, sometimes the best thing to do is just to grab them by the balls.