Dear Brendan,

Let’s dive back into this and keeping moving forward.  For those of us that carry a concealed handgun this next part should get your attention.  I believe it’s fair to say that some people that carry handguns have an overconfidence or false sense of security.  Do not fall into the trap of thinking because you have a gun you can handle any situation with your gun.  I compare this mentality to some old school conventional military officers’ mindset that every soldier is a hammer and everything on the battlefield is a nail.  The problem with that is it’s simply not true.

The dynamic and ever changing environments we operate in today around the world are just too fluid.  

In the last letter we tested the working theory used by some in the shooting community. That theory is that they will simply shoot the person, the threat.  However, we quickly learned that’s not always possible to do.  Be careful not to set yourself up with a single point of failure.  Do not get stuck thinking your handgun is your only weapon and forget about all the other tools you have to leverage and use against an attacker.

Do not make the mistake of thinking the best solution is always your handgun.  There may actually be several other better solutions or Courses Of Action (COAs) for you to take.  

If you are on the ground and a guy is on top pounding away on your face you may not be able to draw your gun.  So what is your backup plan and how are you going to transition from empty hands to other weapon systems?  

The right answer to that question requires real world training.  

It’s not always going to be easy to transition from your primary weapon to your secondary weapon.  You may or may not be able to use both hands.  You could be in a position where you are unable to reach one side of your body.  Remember you have a left and right side.  You have what some refer to as your strong side and weak side.  You need to be able to reach weapons on either side with either hand.  You may also be busy trying to keep retention of one of your weapons and again you find yourself with only one free hand.

You have to train for this.  

It’s also amazing some of the positions you can find yourself in during an empty hands fight or a gunfight.  You need to train in various positions.  (standing, kneeling, sitting, laying, from your back, side, stomach, strong side, weak side, and from cover or concealment)        

You need to be aware of improvised weapons such as Surefire flashlights, pens, and anything else that can be used as an impact weapon.  Be creative. Think outside the box.  Remember your life or that of a loved one could be on the line.     

I’m going to briefly mention some other areas and if you are interested we can cover down on these offline and via other private training.

Striking with your handgun and as an impact weapon.

Grappling with a handgun.  You always want to try and get the superior position and superior weapon.  Hey, there is no such thing as a fair fight.  Train in unconventional positions and various concealed carry positions.

Knives and other edged weapons.  I will write you at least one letter on this subject at a later time.  For now remember this and give it some thought. The knife was one of man’s first tools and weapons.  Your knife is meant to be felt and not to be seen.  There are a few types of people that carry knives.  You have those that use them everyday for everything and anything.  Then you have a much smaller group that carry knives purely as a tool or weapon.  Carry a knife to save a life. You will not see this person using their knife as a screwdriver, letter opener, can opener or some other task that it was not designed for.  

I personally have various knives for self-defense and fighting and I have others as simple utility knives or work tools.  The knives I have designated as weapons I treat more or less as I would a handgun.  You treat a knife as a handgun in the manner that if someone pulls a gun or knife on you, that equals lethal force.  Also in keeping with good Situational Awareness, remember that others carry concealed handguns.  These armed citizens may not be able to tell who is the good guy and who is the threat, you or the other person.  Now you have to deal with a citizen with his concealed handgun as well as the threat.  You can see how the dynamics of an already deadly situation can become even more complex in the blink of an eye.  Remember your communication skills and observation skills.

Please be aware that if you like we can cover various knife and edged weapon training.  

Training can cover folding knives, automatic knives, fixed blades, neck knives, methods of carry, strong side and weak side, inside the waist band fixed blades, left and right handed folders, methods of drawing, grips (saber/hammer, ice pick, reverse grip), angles of attack, live hand, checking hand, single knife, two knives, military tomahawk, improvised edged weapons (screwdriver, scissors, long neck glass beer bottle, etc.). The list is almost endless.

To close out this series of letters on modern combative concepts I want to leave you with the proper mindset. We all face everyday threats and there is a three-part process that goes through many of our heads before we engage in a fight.  

The first fight is usually in our own head.  You ask yourself if you have the will to fight and go up against a particular threat or attacker. The second fight is between you and the other guy.  The third fight is between a lawyer, jury, and the TV or the media.  If you let the third fight cause you to hesitate or distract you from fight one and two you have lost.  

First, you must win the fight. Second, you call a lawyer.

You will be your own worst enemy if you have to pause and ask yourself for permission to fight and for permission to win the fight at all costs.  If that is the case you may be more of a danger to yourself and those around you than the threat itself.  Ask yourself would you rather be carried by six or judged by twelve?   

Here’s another key to success.  People normally fear the unknown.  This applies to the first time you go to the dentist.  But once it’s no longer an unknown the fear seems to magically disappear.  By training for real world threats in real world conditions, in all positions and situations, you gain a new sense of confidence in yourself and your abilities and you have a level of familiarity that eliminates past anxiety or fears you may have had previously.  You no longer panic and are able to remain calm and to think. This means you could save not only yourself but others you love.  

When that day comes you have become the sheepdog and the protector of those who cannot protect themselves.

I’d like to help you design your training to win the fight for you and your family.  We want to give you an unfair advantage.

Your Friend,