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My name is Chris Gragg and I am writing a series of articles reviewing the firearms training classes offered by BluCore Shooting Center. This is the second class that I have taken at BluCore, (the first being Pistol I) , and in my opinion, one of the most important firearms training classes that anyone can take.
The decision to carry a concealed handgun is a very serious one, and comes with serious responsibilities. No one should carry a gun without the proper handgun training and legal education. Now that I have taken the class, I have the proper training and education required by the State of Colorado to legally carry a concealed gun.
So here are my thoughts and impressions about the class. In a nutshell, I absolutely loved this class! There are several reasons why:
- The class was very thorough and covered all aspects of concealed carry including: the legal aspects, concealed carry clothing and holster considerations, modes of carry and draw strokes, as well as live training on the range.
- This class gave me the knowledge needed to fully appreciate the responsibility that comes with carrying a concealed handgun, and gave me practical knowledge about how and when the use of deadly force may or may not be appropriate. I felt that the class adequately covered the fundamental legal knowledge to carry a concealed handgun, and presented real world examples of situations related to concealed carry.
- The live fire drills we conducted on the range were extremely valuable. Standing still and shooting your gun at a paper target is one thing, but drawing from concealment and firing under simulated stress is totally different. Working through gun malfunctions or clothing hang-ups, and shooting while moving are all covered in the live fire drills, and are all designed to simulate real world scenarios.
By the time we completed the classroom and range time, I felt that I was prepared for concealed carry and could responsibly carry a handgun in my everyday activities.
More specifics on the topics covered during class…
Class: BluCore Concealed Carry
Concealed Carry / Self Defense Tools :
The class covered all aspects of concealed carry and the proper tools that make up your every-day carry, and the essentials for self-defense carry. Upon completing the class you will understand the use of the followingself-defense items that make up your every-day carry:
- Right Gun
- Right Ammo
- Gun Belt
- Combat Mindset / Situational Awareness
- Cell Phone
- Legal Aspects of Concealed Carry
Legal Aspects of Concealed Carry
The class spends about 1.5 hours in the classroom, and about half of that time is spent discussing the basic legal requirements / guidelines for carrying concealed, the use of deadly or non-deadly force, and how the law looks at the use of a gun in self-defense. This class is not meant to be an in-depth discussion of the legal aspects of concealed carry, it is meant to give a good general knowledge of these situations and best practices for carrying concealed. For more in-depth knowledge of the legal aspects, BluCore offers a 3.5 hour course on the Legal Aspects of Concealed Carry, designed to give a much deeper understanding of CO laws regarding concealed carry and real life examples of CCW cases.
Basic Shooting Fundamentals Review:
Prior to discussing the specifics of concealed carry, the instructor quickly reviewed the fundamentals of shooting to ensure that everyone in the class had a solid understanding before any live fire drills would be done.
- Stance –Proper stance to ensure a good strong base and to stay on target while firing.
- Grip – Proper grip to maintain good aim and control recoil.
- Sight Alignment – Obtain a good sight picture before firing to ensure that you’re on target.
- Trigger Control – Good, even trigger pull and follow through for the second shot.
Ammunition Types and Uses
- Jacketed Hollow Point – JHP are the recommended self-defense rounds because of their stopping power, and they carry less risk of over penetration, which is important in home defense or a self-defense situation that takes place in public.
- Full Metal Jacket – Your normal range ammo. Less expensive than JHP, but not as good for self-defense because of the over penetration factor.
Concealed Carry Clothing –
Instructors discussed the importance of a good gun belt and various clothing options for concealed carry, from warm to cold weather, as well as different levels of concealment that come with each. Instructors conducted an in-depth lecture / discussion on what types of clothing are appropriate for concealed carry and the holster / carry options that fit each, as well as the draw techniques for different types of clothing.
- Retention/Fit – The #1 Priority for your concealed carry holster. If the holster cannot contain your firearm during a run, or in a physical confrontation, you risk losing your gun, and the fight.
- Drawing – Your holster should be reliable and easy to draw from, and should stay in place when you are drawing your gun. You don’t want your holster coming out with your gun, so make sure that the holster has solid attachment clips.
- Re-Holstering – In addition to being easy to draw, it should also be easy to re-holster your gun. For the sake of practicing your concealed carry drills, you are going to need to draw and re-holster many times, so make sure that your holster maintains it’s shape when the gun is drawn and can be re-holstered without you having to look at your holster during the process.
- Materials – Different holster materials have their strengths and weaknesses. Take into consideration the holster material and how your will be carrying your pistol.
o Kydex – Kydex is a plastic material that is injection molded to fit your model of gun, and will retain its shape when drawn. Kydex holsters are very durable, have good retention, and because they maintain their shape they are easiest to re-holster, but they are going to be less comfortable than nylon or leather because Kydex is a stiff material.
o Leather – Generally speaking, leather holsters are the most comfortable, yet they can also get hot and sweaty. They may take a breaking-in period, and leather holsters may not retain, or re-holster as well as kydex.
o Nylon - Nylon holsters are popular because of their comfort and they are inexpensive. However they are not as durable and may wear out over time.
o Hybrid – Hybrid holsters are usually made from a combination of kydex and leather, and offer the additional comfort of a leather holster backing, with the greater retention and re-holstering benefits of the kydex material. A leather / kydex combination is a great all-around option.
- Match Holster with Carry Position – When considering how you are going to conceal carry, you need to pair your holster with your preferred method of carry. Practice with several different options and see which one is most comfortable for you. It’s recommended that you check out the return policy on any holster you buy and give it a trial run for several weeks to make sure you like it. If not, return it and find one that suits you. If you’re not comfortable carrying your gun, you will leave it at home, completely defeating the purpose of obtaining your CCW.
Modes of Carry and Positions
- Open Carry – The State of CO permits open carry of firearms, but certain cities / counties do not allow open carry. Open carry is not generally advised because it draws unwanted scrutiny from the public and law enforcement. Open carry also may give away a tactical advantage you may have in the case of a bad guy.
- IWB Carry – In Waist Band carry is probably the most common method of concealed carry, and allows you to completely conceal your gun with a variety of different shirts, including fully tucked options. This method offers excellent concealment, however is not as easy to draw as OWB.
- OWB Carry – Outside Waist Band keeps your gun on the outside of your pants, and offers the easiest drawing position, although less concealment than IWB.
- Ankle Carry – Ankle carry is a great option for concealment, although one of the slowest for drawing your gun. Ankle carry works great in winter or in an environment where you are concerned about “printing”. Many professionals will use ankle carry for a backup gun, and not their primary CCW.
- Carry Positions – Instructors demonstrated different carry positions, and how each position will affect your movement throughout the day.
o Appendix carry – carry in the front of the body, in your lower abdomen area.
o Small of Back – carry in the middle of back
o Side Carry – Carry on the side of your person, from the 1’oclock to the 5’oclock position
o Women-specific carry positions – there were no women in our class, so these were not covered, but women can carry in a thigh holster or bra holster, options not available to men.
In addition to demonstrating some of the more common carry methods, the instructors demonstrated the various draw strokes associated with each method and the type of clothing being worn.
The fundamentals of the draw stroke from concealment:
- Move above gun – move hands above gun while clearing clothing to expose gun and make sure clothes are not in the way.
- Push down on gun in holster to seat grip firmly – rather than trying to just pull the gun up, which can cause a poor grip and require adjustment, you need to push down on the gun in the holster to seat the grip firmly and then extract from holster.
- Remove from holster – once you have a firm grip on the gun in holster, draw the gun
- Muzzle up – Since most shootings happen within 20 feet, you may be in a fight while drawing, so you must be able to get the muzzle on target quickly, so bring up the muzzle as soon as it clears the holster and get it on target
- Present – assuming you are not forced to fire and have time to present, you would do your normal presentation of the gun and sight your target
- Fire – if you have decided that you need to fire, you would sight your target and fire when needed.
There’s too much detail to cover here, but you can read this post for more detail on cold weather concealed carry. In the future,BluCore will also be putting together supplemental videos to demonstrate the various concealed carry draw techniques.
Practice Drawing Your Concealed Carry Handgun
- As with everything firearms related, practice is extremely important. If you are going to carry concealed, you need to practice, often. Not just shooting, but also your draw. Practice until it becomes second nature and you can consistently draw and hit target within 2 seconds.
- Our classroom instructor recommended practicing your draw each day before leaving the house to make sure that you can draw easily with the clothing you are wearing that day. Practice makes perfect…
Range Exercises We Performed:
Exercises were done from a high ready position, and after some dry-fire draw practice these drills were performed while drawing from holster.
- 1 shot, 1 dot – place 1 shot on 1 target, remove finger from trigger, return to holster position, reset, sight and repeat, 1 shot on 1 dot. Fairly easy, but the point is to emphasize the proper steps are taken while firing slowly – “Present, Sight, Check Tension, Pull” returning to the holstered position between each shot.
- 2 and 1 – place 2 shots on 1 target, while maintaining trigger control and then move to a different target and place one single shot on the target. Difficulty increases with the distance between the 2 targets. Again in this drill we return to the holstered position between each round of 3 shots.
– Place 2 rapid shots in the “chest” area of the paper target, followed by 1 shot in the “forehead” area of the paper target. This drill is a “failure to stop” drill and is intended to simulate shooting an attacker wearing body armor, where your first 2 shots hit center mass, but the attacked continues to advance, and a head shot is needed to stop the advancing attacker. On this drill I was able to place all of my shots into the center mass, and 80% of them into the “forehead” area of the target. Those that missed the “forehead” ended up in the “mouth” of the target. Again in this drill we return to the holstered position between each round of 3 shots.
- Shooting While Moving – This was a fun one! In this drill we fired seven rounds while rapidly approaching a target that was approximately 15 yards away. After firing all rounds on the target and advancing to the end of the range, the drill was performed in reverse. Seven rounds were fired on target while walking backwards away from the target. This was a great drill to show how difficult it can be to fire accurately while moving, and accurately represented a live firefight.
I felt that this class was extremely valuable. At the end of the class I felt that I had a good understanding of the responsibility of carrying a concealed handgun, and the ability to use it. The legal aspects were thorough enough to feel that you wouldn’t break any laws while carrying, and the live fire drills reinforced all of the tactics taught in the classroom.
Two of the most important factors that were covered in the class are to constantly improve your training, and your education on the legal aspect of concealed carry. BluCore offers several supplemental courses to make you a better concealed carrier:
- Concealed Carry Drill Night – Drills are run in which you can practice drawing and firing from a variety of positions that you might encounter in self-defense.
- Legal Aspects of Concealed Carry - The second supplemental class for concealed carry, this course gives a deep dive into concealed carry situations and practical case review. Taught by an active duty detective, the class is composed of a lecture and Q&A session to answer many of the common issues that can arise and when you may or may not be entitled to use your concealed weapon.
- Low Light Pistol - Most shootings happen in low light conditions, so it’s important to learn how to use a light to your advantage, and not make it a disadvantage. This class covers the fundamentals of light discipline and how to use a weapon-mounted light, or a hand-held light.
To continue my firearms training, I will be taking the above-mentioned classes, and then the BluCore Pistol II class in September.
About Chris Gragg:
Chris Gragg is an Internet Marketing consultant who works with BluCore Shooting Center as an independent contractor. He is a licensed CO concealed handgun permit holder and has taken many of our training classes. All opinions expressed are his original content, and statements are not directed by BluCore, yet he is compensated for writing the articles.
Drill of the Week: Surprise Me!
A quick reload is something that isn’t just automatic, it takes lots of practice and repetition to master. The ‘Surprise Me’ drill will help us increase our combat reload times, and is a variation of the reload drill from the week of March 31. The drill will mimic a realistic scenario in which you don’t necessarily know exactly when your gun will go empty. This is a good drill to practice because always training “one shot, reload, one shot” is good for skill building, but you’re anticipating the gun going dry after the one shot. Your reloading skills will be taken to the next level with this drill because you will now have to identify the condition of your gun and then act accordingly to get the gun back into the fight.
To set up the drill you will need three magazines, nine rounds of ammunition, and a target placed at seven yards. Load one magazine with two rounds, the next magazine with three rounds, and the third magazine with four rounds. Shuffle the magazines in your hand and then load one into your gun and place the other two either in your magazine pouch or on the table. Once you have the magazines loaded and placed where you want them, finish loading the gun and holster or start from the high or low ready position. On the start signal, engage the target with all nine rounds – reloading as needed until you are through all three magazines.
Remember, for this drill you will need to identify when the gun is empty – so rather than counting rounds, identify when the gun is empty by a visual glance into the chamber when the slide is locked back. Don’t assume you are empty if the gun does not fire. If the slide is forward and the weapon didn’t fire, tap the magazine to ensure it’s seated, and rack the slide. If the slide stays back, you are likely empty – proceed to glance into the chamber to verify, then complete your reload. For an additional challenge, add a couple dummy rounds into the mix!
Click here for a video demonstration of the drill.
We have another Every Day Carry blog from a BluCore Shooting Center employee.
Starting Left to Right:
Ares Gear Ranger belt, Werkz OWB holster with x300 light capability, Trex Light Compatible Sidecar Rig IWB holster, Stream light Protac 2L 180 lumen pocket light, Suunto Core Black Watch, Glock 17 gen 4 with Trijicon RMR and Surefire X300, 2 Magazines 1 17rounder and a 24+1 backup, Benchmade 300-1 Knife and, of course, my car keys.
I always do 10-15 dryfire draws in morning before leaving home and leave with a combat mindset to be prepared.
If you have any questions about this ECD Kit, comment on this blog and we’ll get an answer for you.
What do you carry every day? If you’d like to submit a picture and description of your EDC, shoot an email to email@example.com and we’ll post it on our Every Day Carry blog.
Proceeds from the sale of R.E.D. Shirts in the month of April will be donated to Operation Hat Trick. These shirts are available at our online store, Denver store and Austin store. If you haven’t yet picked up one of these shirts, this is a great month to do it! We support many great military based charities. This one specifically is very near and dear to us.
As a cold rush of air hits my face as I leave on another chilly February morning, I’m reminded about how seasonality can affect carrying a concealed handgun. Here in Colorado this is particularly relevant because we can experience a 40 degree swing in temperature in the same day.
One day, I literally went from carrying a light-weight, single-stack 9mm, clipped to my gym shorts in the morning, to carrying a much larger pistol/holster combo underneath multiple clothing layers that night. When my clothing and activity allow me to carry a gun with larger capacity, I usually do. As I bundled up last evening before going out of the house, the last thing I did was practice a few holster draws – having to clear around a heavy and long winter coat. While many of us may be diligent enough to practice holster draws occasionally at home and while we are at the range, how often are you practicing getting at your gun when it’s underneath that bulky winter coat while you’ve got some fleece gloves on? This winter we’ve had frigid temperatures and heavy snow impact many parts of the country, so I know I’m not the only one who’s bundled up while carrying.
Getting quick access to your firearm through a jacket or coat may not always be that different from drawing while wearing an untucked shirt or sweatshirt. However, we must realize if we put a bulky or long coat on, our typical clear-and-draw technique may not go as smooth as we would like. If you haven’t already tried drawing your pistol from concealment while wearing a coat you frequently wear during the winter, now’s the time to do it! You may notice that your typical method of lifting a shorter/lighter jacket or shirt doesn’t work so well with your jacket. If your method is working fine, carry on.
Let’s say that you have an undershirt and a buttoned-up, un-tucked flannel shirt on underneath your coat. For starters, try to get your undershirt tucked in behind your holster – this will help keep that layer of clothing out of the way and give us one less layer to clear through. Things can be a lot easier if your coat is unzipped. In that case we can sweep our coat out of the way and then pull up our flannel to gain access to your pistol grip. There are a couple methods of doing this, just find something that works well for you and practice, practice, practice. I like to sweep the jacket with my firing hand, reach across with my support hand to the base of my shirt and then pull up with my support hand while my firing hand now moves to get a good purchase on my pistol.
Another layer of difficulty gets added in when your coat is zipped up, you can no longer sweep the coat to the side. Realize that your specific technique may alter depending on the size and fit of the coat. A looser fitting, zipped coat may be able to be cleared with just one hand, while a tighter fitting coat may take both hands to pull up in order for it to not cling to your body. A general technique that will usually work well regardless of your style of coat is to move both hands to the bottom part of your coat outside wherever it is you are carrying – if appendix carrying grab the front bottom part of jacket, if side carrying grab the side bottom part of jacket etc. Grab the bottom edge of your coat and pull up with both hands, hold with your firing hand while grabbing your untucked shirt with your support hand. At this point you can release your jacket with your firing hand and your support hand holding the shirt will also keep your jacket up. This will then allow your firing hand access to your firearm. Multiple steps may seem like a bit much at first, but if you practice repeatedly you will start to get the steps down in a smooth process. Like most other things, start very slow and focus on being smooth – then speed it up as you maintain fluidity.
Thick gloves of any sort add one more layer of complexity. The winter gloves we wear to keep hands warm while scrapping windshields aren’t the same as our shooting gloves. Don’t forget to practice shedding at least your firing hand glove or even both gloves. A quick throwing off of your gloves before reaching for your coat will be easier and faster than realizing you need to take a glove off after grabbing for your gun. Forget trying to retain your gloves, which could be a natural thing for you to want to do if you don’t practice this regularly.
The main point here is to get you to think about gaining access to your firearm no matter what your clothing is, and then to practice doing so. If you are the type that already does a few draws each day before you walk out the door, with the clothing that you are going to be wearing out the door, you are ahead of the game. For everyone else; realize that if the moment comes when you need to gain access to your pistol in a time-sensitive fashion, it’s not likely to happen in a quick, smooth, controlled fashion if you haven’t rehearsed it often.
We’ve been receiving some great feedback on our Every Day Carry blog series and we’re very happy that many of you have found the blogs to be informative. We look forward to posting more EDC blogs written by our staff members, but we also want to share submissions sent in by our customers and Facebook & Twitter fans.
Thanks to T.H. for sending in the submission below:
This is a great blog, thanks for posting practical examples and explanations of everyday carry. It’s reassuring when you read the blog and there are items shown that you also carry and the consistency of 2 options of firearms based on the practicalities. My 2 options:
Here is a printable copy of our November Schedule. Training_Nov2013
To learn more about BluCore Shooting Center, check out our Website and our Online Store. We offer a variety of firearms training classes including pistol training, rifle training, and more! We also have an online gun store with guns, gear, and ammo for sale.
EDC, or ‘Every Day Carry’ is a VERY fascinating topic. Recently, we stumbled across some very interesting websites (example here and here) that got our creative juices flowing. So, we decided to start a blog series on the BluCore Blog about EDC. We know a LOT of our fans and customers carry a variety of different ‘tools’ every day.
Below is an example of what one BluCore Shooting Center staff member carries every day and some of the logic behind his choices.
Every Day Carry Items:
- (Bottom Row)
- Tumi wallet w/ integral money clip
- iPhone w/ MagPul case
- Benchmade ‘Mel Pardue’ design knife
- Ruger LCP loaded w/ 2 Glaser Safety Slugs and 4 Hornady Critical Defense Rounds (.380)
- Galco Gun leather clip style holster
- Ultralight 5.11 LED flashlight
- All weather aircraft aluminum ink pen
- (Upper right corner moving clockwise)
- Springfield XD 9mm Sub compact loaded w/ 2 Glaser Safety Slugs and 11 Hornady Critical Defense Rounds
- Spare Magazine loaded w/ 2 Glaser Safety Slugs and 14 Hornady Critical Defense Rounds
- Tucker Gun Leather IWB style holster
- Surefire E2D LED Defender
- Work keys
- Car keys
- (Upper left corner)
- Medium and Small Moleskin journals
- Spare, fine point ink pens
- iPhone head phones (standard issue)
- and of course a Combat Mindset (more on that later…..)
Explanations / clarifications:
I know EXACTLY what you are thinking. “How can one possibly carry that much stuff?” Well, I don’t necessarily have ALL of this on me at any one time. I usually have my wallet, phone, knife, light, pen, keys and one gun on me. The rest is usually w/in reach inside of my laptop bag. I can always adjust what I’m carrying to the situation. Sometimes, you can get away w/ carrying a larger firearm. Other times you can’t even carry a knife. As we said in the military “Situation and Terrain will dictate….” A fancy way of saying “It depends.”
I really like my newest wallet / money clip. Used to just carry all my cards and some cash in a rubber band. That lead to my cards getting worn out prematurely. The wallet protects the cards in the pocket and is still small enough to carry in the front pocket. HATE carrying anything in back pocket.
Love my iPhone. It’s been a great ‘tool’ thus far. Probably use it more than anything. Have experimented w/ a LOT of iPhone covers. Some are too slick and slide out of your hands or off the dash/center counsel. Others are too ‘grippy’ and you can’t get them out of your pocket. The MagPul iPhone case seems to be a great mix of grippy & smooth. Not to grippy…not to slippery.
Have really started to like my little Ruger .380. I don’t always carry this gun, but it’s a great option for when you have to ‘go light.’ Obviously, I need to pick up a spare mag for it b/c of it’s small capacity. Of course, many will argue the validity of having such a small gun for self-defense. They definitely have a point. That being said, a small gun in your pocket (or inside the waist band) is better than that race gun at home. As long as you train with the gun regularly and reach some level of proficiency w/ it, I say go for it. I can draw and fire 6 rounds into a post-it note at 3-4 yards pretty quickly. I can do the same to a note card at 5 yards. In many cases, that would be sufficient. I really like the holster for this little gun. It comes on and off very easily. It can be worn near the appendix, on the side or even the 4 o’clock w/ ease and comfort. It’s a great option for when you can’t carry something bigger.
My Benchmade knife is one of my other favorites. The 530 Mel Pardue design is thin and light. There is almost NO excuse to not have a knife on you when you can get one this light and thin. With some practice and basic knife training, you can get pretty good at quickly deploying this little knife. It’s not the best utility knife. If I think I’m going to be doing that sort of thing, I carry something different. This one is purely a self defense tool.
The little 5.11 flashlight and self-defense style pen were gifts. I can easily carry the little light in a pocket. It’s not the brightest light, but it’s sufficient. As we all know, it’s important to have good target ID in all situations. At night, that requires a light. The pen can be used for self defense if necessary. It’s not sharp on the end, but if hold it correctly and thrust it at someone, you can do some damage. As we all know, we can’t ALWAYS carry a gun (or even a knife). There aren’t a lot of places prohibiting the carrying of flash lights or pens.
The Springfield XD 9mm Sub Compact is a great little hand gun. I have yet to find a gun of similar size that matches it in magazine capacity. The small magazine sits flush and still manages to hold 13 9mm rounds. The extended magazine holds 16! When I carry this gun, it’s typically w/ the small magazine. In some instances, I do carry the spare (either in a mag pouch or just in my brief case). When it’s not convenient to carry this gun on me, it’s in the lap top bag (inside the holster) ready and waiting. I have the magazines loaded just like the Ruger LCP magazines. The first couple of rounds are Glaser Safety Slugs. The theory is that these work great up close and do a lot of damage w/out over penetrating. After that, the magazines are filled up w/ Hornady Critical Defense rounds. It’s been a pretty well reviewed round thus far. I’m in the process of experimenting w/ the new Liberty Ultra Defense rounds. I like what I see thus far. I really like how light it makes the magazines. I need to do some more research and testing before making the switch to this bullet though (more to follow no doubt!) The Tucker Gun Leather holster is top notch. I really like the features and how easily it adjusts. Plus, it’s extremely comfortable. It’s not as easy to take on and off as the little Galco. I’m in the process of looking for a small kydex holster that I can quickly take on and off for my 9mm. I’m also a huge fan of Cross breed holsters. I intend to buy one soon and test it. We have a LOT of them here at the shop. Not pictured above, but pictured below is an image of my belt. I really like these belts by Blade Tech. As many of you know, the belt is a VERY critical part of how you carry your preferred firearm. It has to be able to hold the gun in the right spot. This belt does that and, more importantly, it doesn’t look like a duty or tactical belt. Nothing says “I’m carrying” quite like a tactical belt.
The surefire E2D LED Defender is a really awesome flashlight. It’s SUPER bright and heavy duty. The front of the bezel is has a raised strike surface. It protects the light and allows you to use the light as a striking tool. If you can’t carry your gun somewhere, you need to have this light (or a similar light). It can be used to deter people if they are getting close. It can also be used to temporarily blind and strike if necessary. Obviously, it can also be used to see things in the distance at night or simply ID a target. I like lights.
Work keys and car keys are self explanatory. I can quickly connect or separate the 2 sets. I need to add a small mini-tool and a woven 550 cord (para cord) lanyard as well.
I constantly use (and fill) my moleskin journals. I love taking them out and writing down notes or just ideas. The medium sized one slides in and out of my laptop bag easily. The small one is in the bag as well. I can carry it on me if I so choose. Never know when you are going to have a great idea. Gotta make sure you capture it! I also love the fine point ink pens. I can seem to cram more words into the journal w/ a fine point. Everyone’s different on that one. Just personal preference.
For the headphones, I’m not much of an audiophile. So, I just used the standard iPhone headphones. I love using them for conference calls on the iPhone. I keep them in the brief case as well.
The last and MOST IMPORTANT tool is my Combat Mindset. I am always on the alert. I leave the house w/ the attitude that it is unlikely I’ll face a scenario that requires me to use any of this to save my life but it is definitely possible. It’s a balance between being prepared and being worried. I choose NOT to worry, yet be prepared.
As I finish up explaining the ‘stuff’ I carry, I realize I’m leaving out one critical item…my watch. This watch has served me well. I’ve already replaced the batteries on it twice. It keeps on ticking! I’ve recently replaced the strap as well. It’s been on 5 combat deployments, countless training trips, dozens of skiing trips and all my recent hunting trips. It is the Suunto Observer. It was issued to me back in 2005. It tells time, altitude, pressure, has a compass and even opens beer bottles…. As you can see, it has seen a few miles. Here is a link of me opening a beer w/ my trusted Suunto Observer.
So there you have it. One person’s example of his ‘Every Day Carry‘ items. As mentioned, not all of this stuff is always on him. But most of it is usually w/in reach. The biggest thing is his attitude….his Combat Mindset. We couldn’t agree more. Of all the things you carry, attitude and mindset are the most important. Don’t be paranoid…just be prepared!
Let us know what you think here. What are your thoughts? What do you carry? Please email us w/ your submissions and stay tuned to similar articles on the future!
Many times we are asked, “Where do I start?” or “What’s the first class I should take at BluCore?” Since we are a gun store and shooting range, many people might assume that we would say NRA Basic Pistol or BluCore Pistol I. Actually, your most important “defense tool” is your mind, and we think one of the most important classes we offer is Combat Mindset.
We feel that this is an essential class for anyone who leaves their home, which is just about everyone. Some of the key topics we cover are: Awareness, Attitude, Mindset, Preparation (mental and physical), and De-escalation.
Whether you carry pepper spray, a knife, a gun or nothing at all, you will benefit from this class. Criminals look for easy targets, so why not reduce your chances of being a target by employing a Combat Mindset?
Click here for more information about the class, the cost, and the next available date.
In case you missed it, one of our employees wrote a blog about a threatening situation he encountered. It’s an interesting read about what went through his head during and after the situation. Those who have taken the Combat Mindset class will see that he employed many of the skills taught in this class.
To learn more about BluCore Shooting Center, check out our Website and our Online Store. We offer a variety of firearms training classes including pistol training, rifle training, and more! We also have an online gun store with guns, gear, and ammo for sale.
It was first part of October in the early evening. The sun was still up and the temperature was slightly cooler than normal. Thoughts were racing through my mind as my wife, our three month old baby, and I headed home from an excursion to the store to buy supplies for our vacation to the mountains. I was checking items off my mental to do list as we drove down the street towards our house. My mental checklist was interrupted by my wife saying, “Watch out for this guy, he looked at me weird…” I glanced in the rear view mirror to see what she was talking about. I could not make out anything specific except an individual who was walking out from behind the trash dumpster. We pulled into the driveway and although my wife had spawned a part of my brain to “watch out,” I went back to my mental checklist. I got out of the driver’s seat and stepped back to the passenger door to retrieve the car seat that our young baby had fallen asleep in. As I leaned into the vehicle, I looked to my right and about 10 yards away was the guy I was “watching out for.” He was just standing there looking at me when he suddenly announced in a overstated fashion, “What’s going on?” I responded with a simple nod and a quick, “Not a whole lot, just getting home.” Expecting it to just be a simple greeting from a guy walking through the neighborhood, I went about my business. In the back of my mind the situation seemed kind of odd to me, so I started scanning the surrounding area for anyone or anything that seemed out of place.
As I made my way to the rear of the vehicle, I glanced to my right so I could keep tabs on where this guy had gone. To my surprise he had advanced down the road about 30 yards, but he was just standing there looking back at me. It was as if he was waiting for me to look that direction because as soon as I did, the words rang out, “What are you looking at bro!!!?” These words were presented with the same attitude and exasperation that I heard in his initial interaction with me. I was not looking for a fight or or any type of confrontation, so I ignored the comment and went back to retrieving the groceries from the back of the Jeep. Once again, I glanced down the road and just as before he was standing there looking back at me. In a much more aggressive tone came another challenge, “I said, what the f*ck are you looking at bro!!!?” At this point two things became very apparent to me; first, ignoring this guy is not going to work, and second, he seems to be looking for trouble. I countered back with, “Hey man, I’m not looking at anything. You are the one that is standing there looking at me.” I was unsure of what the comment would accomplish, but I thought that some sort of response might satisfy his questions. I was wrong. This statement summoned an immediate and heated response! He went from annoyed to fuming mad in a split second and barked, “What the f*ck did you just say to me?” as he turned his full body towards me and advanced a few steps.
In a surreal moment everything in my brain switched. I became acutely aware of myself, the things around me, and of course this guy. A lot of thoughts flashed through my mind faster than I would have ever expected. In my mind’s eye, I flashed back to a few hours earlier in the day and watched myself press check my carry gun before holstering up.
I found myself standing there having numerous realizations all at the same time. I looked down and noticed that the car seat with my baby was to my left, which meant it was sitting in between me and this crazy guy. I realized that my wife was on the other side of the jeep headed to the front door with an armful of groceries. I felt the weight of my handgun on my right side. I rarely notice the sensation of having a gun on me, but at this moment it became an awareness that I could not ignore. After becoming so attentive of these initial items, I realized that my brain was going through a mental checklist of the tools that I had at my disposal. I thought of the knife that was clipped inside my right front pocket and the Surefire flashlight in my back left pocket. As I made my way down this mental checklist of tools and plans, my brain interrupted me and it was screaming, “BABY! BABY! BABY!!!” I once again focused on where I was, where the baby was, where this guy was, and where all three of us were in relation to each other. Without thinking I took a quick step to my left, picked up the car seat, set it behind me and took a few steps forward. In the midst of this movement, I barked an order to my wife to come get the baby. Now my focus was split between two things. First, I was focused on this guy so I could evaluate how close he was, while also noticing that he was still moving towards me. I became aware of how rough he looked, and I zeroed in on the the fact that he had both of his hands in his hoodie pockets. At the same time that I was making all of these assessments, I was keeping track of the fact that my wife had retrieved the baby and had retreated to the other side of the Jeep. I scanned my surroundings a few times to see if there were any other individuals that I needed to keep tabs on. Then the threat rang out. In an angry slur of words he growled, “If I come over there, you are not going to like what I have to say!” After the fact, it struck me as a weird comment; why would someone who has no qualms about confronting me feel the need to use a play on words? Why wouldn’t he just come out and say that if he comes over that he is going to “kick my ass?”
Quickly, I met his comment with a roaring command, “STOP!!!” “DON’T COME ANY CLOSER!!!” He seemed surprised at the aggressive tone of my voice and he stopped his forward progression. A million things were racing through my head: Does he have a gun or knife? Why are his hands in his pockets? Where are my wife and baby? What if he comes closer? What if he attacks me? As these questions raced through my head, I started to see scenarios playing out in my mind. How would I take cover? What clothing would I need to sweep out of the way if I had to draw my gun? What would I do if he injured me? Through the midst of these thoughts, I again barked an order to my wife to call the police.
The scenarios kept streaming through my head and to my surprise a single name echoed in my thoughts… Trayvon Martin!!! In a split second, facts and information flooded my brain as I thought of the headlines and articles that had depicted the long, hard legal battle that George Zimmerman had faced. Information that I did not really know, but somehow had retained, flashed through my memory about a guy who found himself in a situation where he made a decision to defend himself and then faced a long, treacherous road to prove his innocence. Could this happen to me? What would happen to my family if it did? This thought process was quickly disturbed by another snarling comment. “You should be careful who you mess with.” This single remark quickly snapped me back to the threat that I was dealing with in real time. My mind was once again focused purely on this guy and if he was going to cross the proverbial line in the sand that would force me to take action. As the situation had the possibility of escalating, my mind blocked out everything except what my reactions would be to whatever he decided to do. To make a long story short, a few more heated words were exchanged and then this individual decided that it was time to move on down the road. As he strutted away, he looked back a few times and left me with a few parting words that I was unable to hear, but I got the gist of what he was trying to say.
The evening wrapped up being very uneventful. About 20 minutes later the police arrived; they seemed fairly uninterested in the situation. This was made clear to me by both the slow response time and their nonchalant attitudes. This drove home the conviction that it is my responsibility to protect my family. The police don’t always have the ability to be there right when you need them, and most likely they will show up after the fact to take pictures and write notes.
The next day I took some time to myself to evaluate the events of the previous evening. There was something about the whole situation that kept bothering me. It was not until I broke the situation down and assessed it from some different perspectives that I got to the root of what was nagging at me in the back of my mind.
I could not help but question if the time spent thinking about the Trayvon Martin case could have put me in additional danger. Could the few seconds of brain power that was used on those thoughts have been better used in evaluating the threat, making a decision, or continuing to check my surroundings to make sure that this guy did not have a buddy coming up behind me? Though these thoughts seemed completely involuntary, I could not get out of my head that they seemed like a mental road block.
Could the woes of another man prevent me from making the right decision? Could it slow me down enough that I could lose the opportunity to make a decision? Did I now have a predisposition that I did not know about? Did all of the stories of an innocent man struggling to prove his innocence put a block in place that would hinder me from being as mentally acute as I would be if I had no knowledge of that situation? If this was the case, how deeply rooted was this disposition? Is it a good or a bad thing, and what am I going to do with it?
I spent the following days in a mental chess game playing through different scenarios, processes, and thoughts. I was trying to figure out exactly how I felt about this situation and what I wanted to do about it.
How deeply rooted was this disposition? Not having faced any other situation since that day, I am unsure if it would be a repeated issue or if my thorough analysis had laid it to rest in my mind. During this process I tried to evaluate all of the information I had taken in on the Trayvon Martin case. Thinking back over the last year, I realized that I had never intentionally sought out any particular information. I remember reading articles periodically, as well as seeing news stories or updates occasionally on the news. I never avoided reading about the case, but I also never felt as if I had been motivated in any way to seek out facts or information about what had happened. My knowledge of the case was probably similar to the average news reader and watcher. I knew the basics of the case and had read about the final outcome. This helped to put my mind at ease because I was questioning whether I had created this mental block by reading too much about this case.
One of the biggest factors that put my mind at ease during this evaluation was realizing that some news stories have affirmed decisions I have made. When I read about the Sandy Hook Shooting, I was grateful knowing that I had made the decision to carry a gun so I would have the tools and training to protect my baby daughter if needed. When I read about the Mall Shootings in Kenya, it reminded me of all of the times I have been dragged to the mall by my wife and I am glad that I had the means to protect her if I had been forced to. There are countless news stories that I have read or seen on TV that, without knowing it, constantly affirm my decision to take the protection of myself and my family into my own hands.
Is it good or bad? My initial response was that it was very bad that I had felt like I had a mental block. But the more time I spent looking at all that went through my mind and all of the factors that were at play, I realized it was simply some unresolved thoughts that had flashed through my mind. It was information that I had downloaded into my brain that I had not processed yet. As my mind processed the possible threat I was faced with, it brought up related data and information. I guess I look at it the same as doing a Google search. Some search results are relevant and some are not, but Google connects all of the results somehow.
What am I going to do with it? After thinking through the previous items, I realized that I need to be “intentional” with the information I retain. It is inevitable that through daily life everyone is going to take on information through conversations, news articles, news stories, movies, books, emails, and so on. The point is that an individual is not always in control of the information they absorb. Some stuff is irrelevant, but certain information will impact those of us who have chosen to be prepared to protect ourselves in and out of our homes. This is where being “intentional” comes into play. I realized that the reason those thoughts about the Trayvon Martin case rushed through my mind were because they were lingering unresolved.
If I had thought through that information and data at a previous time, I feel like those thoughts would have never entered my mind during that situation. I believe that by being intentional about the data we absorb, we can greatly reduce the chances of mental roadblocks while under stress. From now on when I read a news article or watch an unfolding news story I will do a quick evaluation. “Does this pertain to the decision I have made to carry a gun for self defense and home protection?” If so, I will make the effort to evaluate the information, how it pertains to me as a protector, and whether it warrants a change in mindset, tactics, or training to serve me well in the future.
With this newfound resolve, I am comfortable with how I handled the events of that evening and how I will process relevant information moving forward. Situations like the Trayvon Martin case are opportunities for all of us to learn, adapt, and adjust as we continue to hone our skills and arm ourselves with the information, training, and tools necessary to keep us safe.
This article was written by one of our employees. We are thankful first and foremost that he was able to de-escalate this threatening situation and everyone is safe. We are also very appreciative that he took the time to write about it and thoroughly reflect on how he handled it and what he learned from it. For those who have taken our Combat Mindset class, you will recognize several topics we discuss in this class were utilized during the course of this incident. Because this employee has done extensive mental and physical (range) training, he was able to remain calm while he observed and assessed the situation. He had the tools (gun, knife, flashlight) necessary to defend himself and his family if the adversary did not back off, and he has the training to quickly and decisively act if necessary. More importantly, he had the mindset and knowledge to attempt to de-escalate the situation first before progressing to the next level of defense.
As we like to say, “A little preparation and mental training goes a long way! Being one of the few who remains calm in a crisis is incredibly powerful.” This is a prime example of that!