Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Training - Details, details, details . . . . .


“The devil is in the details . . .”

Detail:     a part of a whole: as

       a small and subordinate part

                 a part considered or requiring to be considered

                separately from the whole

Personal defense, as with many things, is made up of a broad range of bits and pieces – “details”. These details must be attended to each and every day, each and every hour to insure you have the best possible chance of survival. (sounds dramatic, I know). Perhaps a conversation – names changed to protect the innocent:

Bonnie: “You train people how to shoot guns???” Asked while I was nose deep in one of her co-workers computers.

Me: “Yep, been doing that for a few years or more now.” Said while gently cursing the driver for the printer I was trying to attach.

Bonnie: “I got my carry permit a while ago. I have an LC9.”

Well, this perked my ears a bit since I have a LC9 as well. And I was surprised/curious at her having a permit.

Bonnie: “I have it to protect myself from my ex . . . he’s out of jail again. I finally got a permanent restraining order, but he still scares me.”

We had chatted about her ex in the past but she had never expressed such fear before. Given that we were in her work place I was curious how she was carrying.

Me: Sounds like a good idea to carry – how do you carry here at work?”

Bonnie: Oh, I don’t, it’s at home. But I know right where it is. They’ve suggested I carry here, but I haven’t yet.”

The conversation continues about types of on-body carry, her gun was at home where it would do her no good in the parking lot, and assorted other fears/concerns/questions she had followed.

Details . . . . details . . . . details . . . .

Such as being in fear for one’s life, acquiring a carry permit . . . . and then leaving your defensive weapon at home because of the “hassle” of carrying it . . . .

So let’s chat a bit about the range of details involved is having a weapon for personal defense and your actions throughout your day that may (or may not) help to keep you safe.

Your Weapon

One of the fundamental details of your defensive weapon is its actual selection. What handgun – I am focusing on handguns, not knives, keys, pepper spray, or other secondary weapons – are you going to choose? This “detail” is filled with other “details” – size, fit, ease of concealment, capacity, caliber, “stopping power”. And almost immediately many folks will let this overwhelm them ‘ “there are so many choices, I just don’t know how to pick one” – that they stop looking and buy the first handgun that is placed in their hand.

Take your time. Talk to other people who carry to see what they like. Go to a range and try a variety of handguns. There are a couple of criteria that MUST be met for your handgun to be an effective personal defensive weapon.

You must be able to shoot it accurately. You must be able to safely and effectively handle it and clear it if it malfunctions. You must be able to conceal it comfortably. I believe it should be at least a .38 special or larger center fire handgun. You MUST CARRY IT EVERY DAY!!! ALL DAY!!


This is another “detail” many folks kind of shrug off. Many, once they get their permit, simply let the training evolve into a range trip or two each year to “put a few rounds down range”. Again, the “details” are lost . . .

Details such as marksmanship, draw from concealment, threat recognition, speed reloads, the uses of a tactical reload, clearing malfunctions, engaging a threat from 9 feet to 50 feet, movement, cover, concealment . . . . details, details, details.

Again, many folks let the volume of “details” overwhelm them and simply opt for what’s easy . . . . a couple of trips to the range a year to “put some rounds down range”. Don’t be “that guy/gal”. You have purchased a weapon to defend yourself – please – learn how to use it and become (and remain) proficient with its use.

Daily “Load Out”

Every morning, after I finish dressing, I stand in front of my dresser a put my wallet, flashlight, defensive knife, “Juice”, watch, phone, spare magazine and Glock17 “on”. Gun “geeks” call this their EDC – Every Day Carry. And, for me, that it is – EVERY day carry.

This is another one of those “details” that people become overwhelmed by – and it is an accumulation of the two above. If you have a weapon that is so big, so uncomfortable that you can’t easily carry, conceal and use it . . . . you won’t carry it. If you have a weapon that you are unfamiliar with, are not confident with . . . . you won’t carry it.

Entering/Exiting Vehicles . . . . and moving about your day

Going back to Bonnie and her fear of her ex. Getting into and out of your vehicle are two of your most vulnerable times of the day. You are focused on keys, doors, where the heck did you park your car . . . . rather than your surroundings. This plays into Jeff Coopers “color code” or the NRA’s “levels of awareness” and is perhaps one of the more difficult “details” of your personal protection.

You must simply be “aware” of what’s going on around you. Any familiar faces around that you really don’t want to see? Is someone trying to invade your “personal space”. Does something “feel off”? Are you parking/walking with your safety in mind? “Details”.

And, again, the implementation of the “color codes” or “levels of awareness” can feel like such a hassle that many folks simply don’t . . . . don’t pay attention to their surroundings, don’t pay attention to people around them, don’t pay attention to where they park or where they walk. And, for the vast majority of people – that’s just fine. But for some . . . . they end up dead.

“The devil is in the details” . . . . the threats to your life, your ability to defend yourself, your safety and the safety of your family and friends, your ability to return home at the end of the day for a kiss with your spouse and a snuggle with your kids . . . . depends on your willingness to pay attention to the “details” of your personal protection . . .

Because if you depend on luck . . . . .

. . . . it may well run out just when you need it most.


  1. Good points & an excellent reminder of the necessary things. Thank you.

    1. It is about a life-style change. It takes time, practice and determination to take care of all these little details.

  2. Good points, attention to details (personal AND surroundings) will keep your butt alive!

    1. Yep - miss the little things and a bad situation and you will have a very bad day!

  3. First time here, saw you on Brigid's list at HOTR. Looks like a good start. IL resident awaiting legal CCW; until then it's still hope and spray.

  4. Great info as usual, thank you!
    PS: Thanks again for the bore snake help, my guys love it!