February 11, 2017

Vol. 11  No. 06

News Letter

Staying Alive®:  Firearms Training & Texas License To Carry

Michael J Arnold


Scheduled Training:

Texas License To Carry

CLICK HERE for class registration form

Random Shots:

There are no participation trophies in a gunfight, Snowflake.


Constitutional Carry?
(Why not?)

New Hampshire: Constitutional Carry, SB 12, passes House Committee.

Closer to home, the Texas legislature is once again kicking around the idea of Constitutional Carry, in the form of House Bill 375, or the Constitutional Carry bill.

Author of the bill, Jonathan Strickland says he doesn't believe, "... Texans should have to take a required class or pay a fee to exercise their Second Amendment rights to defend themselves,”

So, where's the argument against Constitutional Carry?

One persistent argument has been that responsible carrying of a handgun has to include training.  I don't disagree with that.

What I do disagree with is that the training must be in the form of a State mandate.

The argument, then, becomes:  People who carry guns will not get the necessary training, if the State doesn't require it.

This argument is based on the erroneous beliefs that (1) gun owners are basically "irresponsible," and (2) the State required training actually has value; neither is a true statement.

  1. I believe Texas gun owners have been proven to be the most "responsible" citizens in the State.  Evidence of my belief can be found in the Conviction Rates for Handgun License Holders Reporting Period: 01/01/2015 - 12/31/2015.

  2. The value of training required by the Texas Department of Public Safety, for obtaining a License To Carry hovers somewhere around zero.

Since little Donna Campbell, et al, succeeded in trivializing the Texas CHL/LTC program, by allowing 4 hour classes, the only purpose the program currently serves is to fatten the coffers of the State.

Responsible gun owners will always find a way to train.  Yesterday, just such a group found their way to the range, where I normally teach.  The group consisted of a mix of licensees, non-licensees, and instructors.  None of them attended because they were required by law to be there.  They came, as responsible gun owners, to learn and to improve their skills.

The best part of the day came during lunch, afterwards.  Members of the group were already planning our "next" range trip.

On the same subject, I hope you will find the following article interesting.

-- Michael

Would People Still Get Training If All States Were Permitless Carry?

Mark Hardy

A lot of people think if the law doesn’t require gun training, new gun owners won’t seek it.  This assumption doesn’t hold up, though.  Just look at the training rates after Idaho became permit-less to answer that question.

According to John Sowell, journalist for the Idaho Statesman, Idahoans have continued to seek gun training despite the state going permit-less.  This permit-less status was enacted in July. Anyone 21 years or older can carry a concealed weapon in most public places without a permit.

Firearms instructor Joe Torock told the paper, “People are still coming in great numbers.  The net effect is that a lot of people like the idea that they can carry a concealed weapon without a license, but they’re also looking for the training that it involves.”    

Train like your life depends on it.

(It Could)

Should You Get Involved When a Stranger is Attacked?

Jim Wilson

Sadly, a common fantasy of folks who have just gotten their concealed-carry license is that they will happen onto a crime in progress, intervene and become the new hero in their town.  Well, I suppose you can daydream all you want, but please give some serious thought to what could happen when you decide to get involved in suppressing crime.  The fact is quite a number of things can happen, and most of them are bad.

We each have our own idea of what constitutes a particularly heinous crime.  It may be attacks against women, or the elderly, or children, or even police officers.  How can you be sure that what you think you are seeing is what is actually happening?  Even attacks on officers?  Yep.  You ever heard of crooks putting on police uniforms to commit crimes?  Look it up.    

Load When You Want to, Not When You Have to!

Dave Spaulding

The above statement has made a lot of sense to me over the years.  I first heard it while taking the Heckler & Koch MP-5 Instructor Course in the late 1990’s.  Those who have used the weapon system know it does not lock open on the last round.  The non-reciprocating cocking handle is located above the hand guard and protrudes from a tube at approximately a 45° angle.  It is not connected to the bolt carrier and therefore cannot be used as a forward assist to fully seat the bolt group or lock open.  The lever is locked back by pulling it fully to the rear and rotating it slightly clockwise where it can be hooked into an indent in the cocking lever tube.  The FBI requested a “bolt open” feature on their 10mm version the MP-10.  Thus, when the MP-5 ran dry, not only did you have to “push through” the hesitation caused by no round fired, you then had to eject the spent magazine, insert a new one and work the bolt handle to chamber a new round.  If you had the presence of mind to merely swap magazines before you drained the 30 round box magazine, life was a whole lot easier!     

Is It Safe to Dry-Fire Your Gun?

Sheriff Jim Wilson

From the Ruger Instruction Manual:


Dry firing your RUGER® SR-SERIES with the magazine removed may result in damage or unnecessary wear to the magazine disconnect mechanism and/or striker.

Not sure about your gun?

Try this:  Read your Instruction Manual.

-- Michael

Dry practice – practicing shooting techniques without using live ammunition – is an excellent way to strengthen the basic skills of good marksmanship.  You will notice that I am using the term “Dry Practice,” instead of “Dry-Fire Practice,” in order to remind us that there is no firing, no loud noise and no bullet holes in stuff that you don't want bullet holes in, when dry practice is done correctly and safely.

All dry practice should begin by unloading the firearm.  Check your gun several times to make sure that there is no ammunition in it.  In fact, you should put all of the ammunition for that gun in another room.  During a dry practice session, you simply can't check your gun often enough to make sure it is unloaded.  Practice sessions don't have to run very long – 10 to 15 minutes is plenty of time to focus on your shooting skills.    

Question: Do You Look Down Every Time You Holster/Re-holster Your Firearm?

Brandon Curtis

This article serves to bring up a teaching point.  Back in the days when law enforcement trainers held sway in the defensive education world, it was de rigueur to holster (or re- holster) the pistol or revolver without looking.  In fact, it was the mark of several shooting schools that their students always holstered without looking.  I confess I fell into that line of thinking when I started training seriously in the mid- 1990s, but since then I’ve come to a very different point of view.  Today I practice and teach looking at the holster (if physically possible) while holstering.  If the situation is so dire that you can’t take your eyes off the scene, you still need your gun!  Holstering should always be done reluctantly and deliberately, and that means looking at your holster while the gun goes in.

-- Grant Cunningham

Buying a Gun Does Not Make You a “Responsible Gun Owner”…

Kevin Creighton

…training, practice, and following the rules of gun safety make you a responsible gun owner.

Whether it was driven by a fear of a gun-grabbing Chief Executive or the fear of more crime in their communities, Americans bought guns in record numbers.  As a result, 2016, like 2015 before it, was a banner year for gun sales in the United States.

As I’ve said before, buying a gun to protect yourself and your loved ones is one of the most grown-up decisions you can make your life because by buying a gun, learning how to use it, and keeping it handy, you are acknowledging that it is you yourself who will be the “first responder” to a crime, rather than a law enforcement officer.    

Training Scars

Greg Ellifritz

Training scars … we all have them.

I’m not talking about training scars like the black eye you get when your partner goes a little too hard while sparring or the scars you get when you cut your finger trying to quickly open your fighting knife.   The training scars I’m talking about are the unintentional bad habits you have acquired during the course of your training.

All training, no matter how realistic, is artificial. It isn’t actual combat. In the interests of safety or convenience, we sometimes do things in training that we wouldn’t want to do in combat.  If we continue to perform those artificial actions over a long period of time, they become habits.  If negative, those habits are called training scars.  Sometimes training scars are inconsequential.  Sometimes they are fatal. Let me give you an example:

Some of the first identified fatal training scars in the law enforcement context occurred in a gunfight in 1970, later referred to as The Newhall Massacre.  During this gunfight, four California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers were killed in less than five minutes.  The officers displayed several training scars that day, which may have lead to their deaths.    

Skills Check: Dummy Round Drills

Ed Head

Mixing live ammunition with dummy rounds will enhance skill in clearing malfunctions, as well as helping to diagnose any shooting-related flinching that might occur.

One of the most informative training drills I ever participated in took place many years ago at Glock’s indoor range at its Smyrna, GA, headquarters.  After preparing several magazines with a mixture of live and dummy rounds, the lights were turned off and —in the inky blackness— we were instructed to shoot through these magazines while correcting any stoppages or malfunctions by feel.  On the surface this may sound simplistic, but I have to tell you, by the time I was finished I had developed the ability to feel what the gun was doing and instantly apply the fix necessary to keep it shooting.    

Situational Awareness For Women


As a mom, I sometimes tend to not have my focus where it needs to be.  So, when I see other moms out and about with their little people and they are struggling to keep their kiddos close to them, pick out the groceries they need, hustle everyone to the car, get them inside safely, get the groceries in the car, then the cart has to go back… I understand it can be ridiculously overwhelming for them, as it once was for myself.  Except now, we see moms trying to juggle all these tasks while having a phone stuck to their ear.  Our focus tends to float away from our environment and the possible dangers that are lingering around us and our children.  We zone our focus on to whatever is going on at the present moment and we don’t always have the thought in the back of our minds that we might be in a position we’d rather not be in.    

Skills And Drills For Saving Lives

Ralph Mroz

I’ve argued “tactical” didn’t mean you had to run a gun like some guy fresh out of a high performing specialized unit.  So what does it mean for the average person?

Before we even address weapons, you have to know — know in your bones without a sliver of “maybe” and to the fullest measure possible — you will not let anyone harm someone you love or are responsible for.  Second is answering what Mas Ayoob calls “The question.”  Can you take a human life if it’s necessary in order to protect a life?  If the answer is even a tiny bit “I don’t know” then you need to cogitate on the subject for a spell. We call it mindset.

A standard drill is to draw and fire on an 8″ plate at seven yards, without concealment and from an open-top holster.  Try and do it in 1.5 seconds. Use frangible ammo, if you can, when you’re this close.    

The "Run-to-the-Store Gun


A recent thread on Reddit, of all places, spurred me to write something on the topic of what I call the “run-to-the-store” pistol.  Here’s how this tends to work: people online discuss their vast arsenals, the benefits of a Sig P226 versus a Glock 17 versus an HK (actually, on Reddit, it’s almost invariably a Taurus or XD), along with AR vs. AK, Daniel Defense vs. BCM, 9mm vs. .45, etc.  But then comes the good old, “But when I just have to run to the gas station/7-11 to get some milk, I usually just throw my X into my pocket”, where X can be a Ruger LCP, Kahr .380, J-frame, or some other model offering limited capacity, poor grip characteristics, (often) poor sights, and dubious fight-stopping ability.  The usual rationale for said decision is that “it’s just a quick run out” and “I don’t feel like putting on my holster, gun, spare magazine, etc.”  Truth be told, I know of at least one ex-Tier One Operator—now a member of the training industry—who told me he often does this.    

Privateer Publications Responsible Information About Shooting, & Self Defense

by: Chris Bird


Staying Alive in Airports

Chris Bird

Once upon a time flying used to be fun. No Longer. The worst part of flying nowadays is time spent at airports.  Travelers are now subjected to unreasonable search and seizure of their persons and their belongings. Somewhere in the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution we are supposed to be protected from government minions pawing us and our belongings unless they have probable cause to believe a crime has been committed or is about to be.  I have had nail clippers confiscated from me and I heard complaints from people who had attended the SHOT (Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade) Show some years ago of being relieved of plastic replicas of Glock handguns about an inch long.  Government theft.  The whole charade is little more than a public relations performance to make travelers think they are being well protected.  However, every once in a while Homeland Security will test the system.  Invariably, their agents manage to get guns, knives and fake bombs through the security checks.    

Bayanihan Kali:  Fighting and Emergency Medical

by:  Rudy Salazar

Scheduled Training:

Tabak Toyok (Nunchaku) Seminar


March 11, 2017
8:30am - 12:00pm
Lt. Ken Murray, BCSO
(click here for bio)
     TCOLE Instructor, and
     Lakan Guro, Bayanihan Kali

CLICK HERE for a complete calendar of scheduled training opportunities.

Skill Set: Knives for Self-Defense

Tiger McKee

Almost everyone carries a knife.  Most of us carry a knife for every day use, but also for "tactical" applications as a weapon if necessary.  This is a great idea.  Knives are simple, effective and fairly easy to use.  Plus, there are many places firearms are prohibited and but you can carry a knife.  But, just like with any weapon, there are several things you need to think about.  (Remember, you are responsible for knowing the law for carrying and using edged weapons.)

What type knife should you carry?    

SAAMAG:  Self Reliance

by:  Pat Scott


Monthly Meeting
Subject: To be announced.
Instructor: Pat
Date: February 26, 2017
Time: 2:00pm - 4:00pm
Place: Location is available by CLICKING HERE to contact Pat for the latest information.

Please RSVP using the same link.

Note:  We will assemble "Meals-In-A-Jar" immediately after the meeting.

If you are already signed up for "Meals-In-A-Jar," don't forget to bring canning jars and lids, or Mylar bags.

The next garden bed I build, that's not a wicking bed, will be this "Lasagna Garden."  I'm all in favor of not having to dig, especially since the in-ground beds at my place have to be dug with a pick axe & rock bar or a mini-excavator.

A couple of things I want to add to this article; since this bed probably won't get hot enough for long enough to kill seeds, be very cautious about what you put in/on the layers.  If you put something with seeds in the compost layer, you could have something sprouting and growing that you don't want.

Another thing, you can add amendments while you're letting the compost layer work; dry molasses, blood meal, a layer of alfalfa hay, trace mineral powder, herbivore manure (horse, cow, sheep, etc.).  All these would help increase the fertility.  If you have a flat soda, pour it on the pile.  Compost works because the good bacteria get busy and grow.  Bacteria love sugar.

-- Pat

The Easiest Gardening Method You'll ever Try

- -

A thriving garden is the beating heart of the homestead.  For many people, though, keeping a garden can be a challenge.  Traditional methods require heavy machinery for soil preparation, questionable chemical fertilizers, all adding up to a prohibitive upfront cost.  A great and easy method of gardening that has a very low financial demand is the “lasagna garden.”    

Published by:

Staying Alive, Inc.
PO Box 126
St Hedwig, TX 78152


Michael Arnold
Chris Bird
Rudy Salazar
Pat Scott

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