Two cars in the snow after an auto accident.

Winter Preparedness: Building Your List

Due to a recent move, I now have to consider cold weather in my preparedness calculations. Prior to the move, I lived in Florida for more than a decade; three months of freezing temperatures initially had me off balance. For me, there are 3 layers of preparedness outside of the home: Vehicle, Every Day Carry, and extended. I will touch on all three; however, for me the distinction between them is important.

Shooting a pistol with four cartridge cases in the air

Drills for 3 Gun

I have been shooting, training, and training others a long time. I am not a top competitor at 3 Gun. However, I recognize 3 Gun as a shooting sport that is a lot of fun, especially for those who love to shoot. That must come first.

SIG Sauer 1911 handgun with Federal Syntech ammunition

Review: Federal Syntech .45 ACP Ammunition

A few months ago, Federal Ammunition announced American Eagle Syntech—a new concept for range use. While there are many highly-developed loads for personal defense, seldom has much effort been expended in developing range ammunition. American Eagle Syntech is the first range-specific ammunition designed to reduce fouling and extend barrel life with a high-tech polymer bullet coating.

QuikClot Advanced Clotting gauze

Mass Shooting — Minimizing the Damage

Every single person in the country—except the perpetrators—agree we need fewer deaths from school / mass shootings. Those of us in the gun community know more guns in the hands of good guys means the bad guy gets neutralized (killed) faster. This would greatly reduce the number of casualties. Unfortunately, outside of a few locations, that kind of action is a non-starter… because of politics. However, even if it wasn’t, there is another angle to attack this problem. You also have the potential to increase the survivability of those injured.

Tourniquet and field dressing

At bare minimum, your blowout kit should have a pressure dressing, gauze and a tourniquet.

Notice, I am not focused on preventing school / mass shootings. That is not something that will ever happen. Evil people do evil things, and they greatly prefer to do them in low-risk, high-emotion, high-casualty areas. Regardless of where you are on the gun debate, and I am pretty sure I know where you stand if you are reading this, we should all agree that reducing the number of deaths at school or other mass shootings is a great goal. Ask yourself, “How can we reduce the carnage caused by mass shooters if the law prevents carrying a firearm in the most likely areas?”

The law prevents you from carrying a defensive handgun, and in some places even from carrying a knife, but it does not prevent you from carrying a tourniquet. These laws do not stop you from carrying rolls of gauze, compression bandages, or chest seals either. Think about that for a minute. At the most recent school shooting, how many casualties died due to blood loss 10–30 minutes after being shot? More than half of the people killed at Pulse Night Club died 20–45 minutes after being wounded. How many of those people could be alive today if someone had applied a tourniquet to their leg or arm?

Sometimes you have to work with what you have or what exists. Of course, I carry a gun (sometimes two) everywhere I go. That often means, I don’t go certain places because my life is worth it. The Post Office is a prime example. In all 50 states, it is illegal to be armed in a Post Office. However, there are alternatives.

  • Buy stamps at the grocery store.
  • Use Post Office kiosks as those are not Federal Property and you can most often carry there.
  • Use parcel businesses that do Post Office functions.
  • My late wife and I had a plan for when we absolutely had to go to the Post Office. One of us went in, the other stayed in the car armed and vigilant.

The same thing applies to gun free zones, when considering the reduction of the death rate. Have emergency medical supplies on you or in your vehicle. My everyday bag is a tactical backpack (Drago Assault Pack) with a medic bag on the left side and a tourniquet holster and Gen 7 Cat tourniquet on the right side. Along with basic band aids, Tylenol, etc., my medic bag has:

QuikClot Advanced Clotting gauze

Many first aid items you can apply to yourself or others with a minimum amount of training.

I also have a moderate amount of training on how to use these items, but that isn’t even really the point. Quite often there is someone in the crowd who knows how to use them, but a sucking chest wound is likely fatal without a vented chest seal. Even if a doctor, nurse, or EMT is around, they can’t do much without the proper equipment.

My backpack, with the medic cross on the side bag and the exposed tourniquet holster on the other side will alert any professional to possible useful contents—even if I am already a casualty. If I am still active, I can use them or provide them to a more qualified person. The contents of my EDC medic bag can save between one and three people until proper medical attention can arrive. The med kit also works for more common issues such as car wrecks, industrial accidents, or stabbings.

Tactical medicine scenarios with medics, instructors and victims

Even if you are unable to apply aid to yourself, there is a very good chance someone will be able and qualified—if the materials are there.

Let’s make the Mandalay Bay Concert shooting a teachable moment.

Of the 51 people who died:

  • 21 were shot in the head or neck – Likely, a med kit would have been of little help for them.
  • 21 were shot in the chest – A vented chest seal may have reduced the death rate by +/- 30% (4 to 7 additional survivors).
  • 15 were shot in the back – A vented chest seal may have reduced the death rate by +/- 30% (3 to 5 additional survivors).

1 was shot in the leg – A tourniquet would have provided nearly a 100% survival chance.

If my numbers are anywhere near accurate, the 51 deaths drops by 8 to 13 people. No one will suggest that roughly 40 deaths would have been good thing, but I think a 20% reduction would have been a great thing. I also know the families of those saved would be much happier with them still among the living.

The concert had an attendance of approximately 20,000. If one person out of 200 had a kit similar to mine, there would have been 100 such kits. If we assume 90% of those people fled the scene or hunkered down, that still means there are 10 usable kits in the area. These would be immediately available for those who were fighting to save the wounded. As it stood, the Las Vegas PD and other first responders did a great job and did have a fair amount of this equipment on hand. Unfortunately, when seconds counted, they were miles and minutes away.

When you, a loved one, or a fellow country music fan is bleeding out, a delay of seconds can be crucial. A delay of minutes… fatal.

Are you prepared? Can you spare $200 for durable goods to save your, or someone else’s, life if the unthinkable happens?

Shotgun with several shotshells

The Shotgun for Home Defense

Not long ago, the conversation turned to shotguns at the gun shop. While even the folks that are not the ones we call “gunny” know the merits of a shotgun for home defense, there are many opinions on the proper load and the best shotgun. The shotgun is primarily a projectile launcher and it is best to use what you are comfortable and familiar with.

U.S. Law Shield Protect Thy Neighbor video cover

Deadly Force to Protect Your Neighbor — Is it Legal?

Many of know about the use of force or deadly force when it applies to ourselves or immediate loved ones. However, the question of whether that protection applied a neighbor or total stranger was recently posed on The Shooter’s Log. For legal matters it is always best to consult an attorney, so U.S. Law offered the solution.

Stand Your Ground extends the rights to defend ourselves outside the home with no duty to retreat. Picture By: Oleg Volk

Do You Have the Right to Stand Your Ground?

On July 19, 2018, Markeis McGlockton was shot and killed outside a convenience store in Clearwater, Florida, after a confrontation with a legally armed citizen. The man who shot him was identified as Michael Drejka, who McGlockton shoved to the ground for confronting McGlockton’s girlfriend over a parking space.

Once you’re behind cover, then draw and shoot from a less-exposed position. Photo courtesy of Mike Seeklander.

Throwback Thursday: Thinking (and Practicing) Outside Of The Box – Defensive Handgun Deployment, Part II

Last week, I talked about putting three tools to work to increase your survivability in a gunfight: Those ideas were movement, combatives, and proper weapon deployment timing. This week, in Part II, I want to show you three set ups to drill movement, combatives, and proper weapon deployment timing in your own training. Don’t forget, these drills can all be done dry-fire or with some sort of training handgun like a S.I.R.T. or airsoft gun to ingrain the skills without shooting live ammo.

Bug Out Bag Checklist

The Bug-in v. Bug-out Question

I admit, I have been a prepper—to various degrees—for decades. In that regard, my plans have always been to bug out if things got rough. As a former resident of Florida, we always rated things on the hurricane scale. For me, anything more than the equivalent of a Category 2 hurricane meant bugging out to higher ground.

Picture shows a family playing a board game by lantern light in a room with no electricty.

Preppers: The Emergency Action Plan

During an emergency panic can easily take over and cloud your thinking, as well the thinking and actions of those around you. Having a plan is only half the battle. After all, having a tourniquet in the right scenario can be a life saver, but you have to know how to apply it; it will not apply itself. The same is true of a plan. If you have not rehearsed it, trying to figure it out in the middle of a natural disaster is a disaster of a whole other kind.

How to clear a firearm video

Safety 101: How to Properly Clear a Pistol

If there is one thing that likely causes more negligent discharges than anything else it is improperly clearing or failing to clear a firearm. In plain English that means failing to remove the bullets from the gun. After that, someone or something presses the trigger. If you are lucky, the only thing that will happen next is a ringing of the ears and the requirement for a fresh pair of underpants. Unfortunately, this easily preventable scenario results in serious injury or death . Here are a couple videos to show you how and walk you through the procedure.

Bob Campbell defending the home with a shotgun

Review: XS DXT Shotgun Sights

Some years ago, a company came out with a line of firearms sights based on the old English Express sights. These sights are not intended for target-grade accuracy, but to allow the shooters to quickly get on target and get a hit. Designed to give professional hunters a fighting chance against a dangerous charging animal, this sight translated well to personal defense.

News reporter on the scene

Gun Fights are Dangerous — Even if You Win

An armed resident and an intruder were both killed. The intruder was killed by the homeowner. The homeowner was killed by a responding officer. Read the following account of what happened. The details are sparse, but the commentary regarding the dos and don’ts in the comment section should be revealing.

Teenager shooting targets at the gun range

Getting Your Kids Off the Internet and Out to the Range!

I am a huge advocate for getting kids outdoors. With warmer weather now upon us, many of our kids are home for the summer. Too many pre-teens and teenagers find themselves inside on a beautiful day, either on the Internet or playing video games. Depending on their ages, there are a lot of outdoorsy ideas that can help get your kids outside this summer. It’s not only fun, it’s good for them!