Armed Lifestyle - Issue 1 - March 2022

Welcome to the very first issue of THE ARMED LIFESTYLE! In this new FREE TO READ online magazine we will aim to explore our shared world and values through reviews, interviews and special features but we will also spotlight ranges, instructors and top quality training from around the world written by a staff of individuals who are National Rifle Association and USCCA certified instructors as well as being being husbands, wives, not-for-profit volunteers, hunters, first responders and superbly experienced figures within their own disciplines. Our content will an assortment of topics such as new shooter empowerment, "It Happened to Me" survivor stories with what lessons were learned, introspectives on what it means to a hunter to go into the field with their grandfather's rifle years after he's passed to feel closer to what they shared and how firearms can link us to our roots as well as create new memories. The Armed Lifestyle Magazine will distinguish itself as a celebration of Second Amendment rights worldwide and We The People who live within it. With so many new people exploring this world for the first time every day and those who attack it, this is OUR magazine and OUR voice! That is exactly what the success of the Armed Lifestyle Magazine will be based on. This publication will feature the amazing people in the self-defence, outdoor and training industries as well as all the wonderful people who share and make up OUR lifestyle. We will focus on being mentally armed with the knowledge, skills, correct mind-set, and understanding of all the kit and gear that you need to be the best YOU possibly can be to protect yourself and others. Top products, trainers, field to table adventures and much more will be coming your way, and it starts right here in Issue 1!

Welcome to the very first issue of THE ARMED LIFESTYLE!
In this new FREE TO READ online magazine we will aim to explore our shared world and values through reviews, interviews and special features but we will also spotlight ranges, instructors and top quality training from around the world written by a staff of individuals who are National Rifle Association and USCCA certified instructors as well as being being husbands, wives, not-for-profit volunteers, hunters, first responders and superbly experienced figures within their own disciplines.
Our content will an assortment of topics such as new shooter empowerment, "It Happened to Me" survivor stories with what lessons were learned, introspectives on what it means to a hunter to go into the field with their grandfather's rifle years after he's passed to feel closer to what they shared and how firearms can link us to our roots as well as create new memories.
The Armed Lifestyle Magazine will distinguish itself as a celebration of Second Amendment rights worldwide and We The People who live within it. With so many new people exploring this world for the first time every day and those who attack it, this is OUR magazine and OUR voice!
That is exactly what the success of the Armed Lifestyle Magazine will be based on. This publication will feature the amazing people in the self-defence, outdoor and training industries as well as all the wonderful people who share and make up OUR lifestyle. We will focus on being mentally armed with the knowledge, skills, correct mind-set, and understanding of all the kit and gear that you need to be the best YOU possibly can be to protect yourself and others. Top products, trainers, field to table adventures and much more will be coming your way, and it starts right here in Issue 1!


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MARCH <strong>2022</strong><br />

<strong>Issue</strong> 1<br />

here we go...<br />

4 – Why the <strong>Armed</strong> <strong>Lifestyle</strong>: Amy Lucas leads us off by explaining the core value of knowledge being<br />

what arms people rather than the tool in hand. Learn how she balances daily life using a proper mind<br />

set and training to prepare herself for a wide range of possible scenarios we all may face on day.<br />

10 – Editor’s Notes: AL Magazine Editor, Trampas Swanson welcomes everyone to our first issue and<br />

describing our mission statement. Find out who we are, where we’ve been, where we’re heading and<br />

what to expect from our team along the way. Great things to come!<br />

12 – Body Language: What you don’t say is often more important than what you do. In this article,<br />

Amy Lucas discusses how you carry yourself and the image you project to others can be the first line<br />

of defense in not becoming a victim.<br />

16 – SIRT Training: Few things come along in life that rightly earn the title “game changer”. Learn what<br />

makes NRA & USCCA Training Counselor, Trampas Swanson say the SIRT pistol from Next Level Training<br />

has earned the crown as the king of firearms training aids.<br />

21 – Writing Shotgun with Charlie: Firearms Instructor and YouTube personality, Charlie Cook joins<br />

the team with this ongoing segment for each issue that pays homage to his vastly popular video series<br />

called “Riding Shotgun with Charlie” in which he interviews some of the 2A community’s top names<br />

while he drives them around in his car.<br />

25 – USCCA Family Protection: Trampas Swanson and Dan Tonto team up to give readers an inside<br />

perspective on the United Concealed Carry Association and their available training opportunities.<br />

Discover for yourself why joining as a member is a “must have” for those who train to protect themselves<br />

and their families.<br />

30 – G44 Glock Shooter’s Missing Training Link: For years, Glock shooters have searched for an<br />

inexpensive .22 caliber training option to their larger caliber pistols. After thousands of rounds down<br />

range and numerous students taught over the past two years using the Glock model 44, the long-term<br />

T&E results are in.<br />

34 – First Aid First: Dan Tonto shares his knowledge of over two decades as a paramedic on why First<br />

Aid skills and basic equipment are critical to being prepared for critical incidents that could happen at<br />

any time at home, work and anywhere else we may be daily.<br />

37 – Dementia and Firearm Safety: Mental heath is an issue often dealt with yet rarely discussed<br />

within the firearms community. AL Magazine seeks to change that narrative with each issue, starting with<br />

staff writer, Jamie Headley discussing what happens when a loved one and their family face the onset of<br />

dementia. Learn what may be your options and who is out there to help. Do not miss this article!<br />

40 – When the Treat Isn’t a Bad Guy: Threats come in many forms, not just human. As part of being<br />

truly “armed” for survival, Don Alley discusses the importance of an emergency preparedness plan and<br />

where to begin. Look for this topic to be regularly explored as we move forward.<br />

44 – 6mm Airsoft Training: Discover why the world of airsoft isn’t just for kids anymore. Bill Pryce<br />

Thomas explains how the 6mm platform has changed to closely mimic “real steel” training around the<br />

world.<br />

49 – The Last Word with Rob Pincus: As each issue wraps, one of the industry’s top training experts,<br />

author and 2A advocate, Rob Pincus sends readers off with his final thoughts. In this issue, Rob discusses<br />

the difference between Training and Practice. We’ll learn why are each important and when should they<br />

be used.<br />

Editor: Trampas Swanson<br />

Graphic Design: Baz Thakur/<br />

Deadshot Design<br />

Publisher: Calibre Publishing<br />

Cover pic: Amy Lucas<br />

<strong>Armed</strong> <strong>Lifestyle</strong> magazine is a digital-only<br />

publication available FREE OF CHARGE via<br />

the AL App on a wide range of digital<br />

platforms, including iOS, Android and<br />

Windows. For more information, visit<br />

www.pocketmags.com and search “<strong>Armed</strong><br />

<strong>Lifestyle</strong>”.<br />

<strong>Armed</strong> <strong>Lifestyle</strong> can also be read online at:<br />

www.issuu.com, www.magzter.com<br />

and www.readly.com<br />

Calibre Publishing Limited<br />

Wyche Innovation Centre,<br />

Walwyn Road,<br />

Upper Colwall,<br />

Malvern,<br />

Worcestershire,<br />

WR13 6PL<br />

Tel: 01684 878 003<br />

Web: www.thearmedlifestyle.com<br />

©Calibre Publishing Limited <strong>2022</strong><br />

Letter, idea or question?<br />

Got something to say? A question for our<br />

experts? An article or article idea? Drop us a<br />

line and let us know. Either email the editor<br />

(editor@thearmedlifestyle.com), write to<br />

us at the Calibre Publishing address above,<br />

or talk to us on Twitter or Facebook.<br />


4<br />

Why the <strong>Armed</strong> <strong>Lifestyle</strong>?<br />

Why the <strong>Armed</strong> <strong>Lifestyle</strong>? By Amy Lucas<br />

knife <strong>Lifestyle</strong> because is defined I like the as design the physical, and frequently psychological, teach the social, Marines. and<br />

economical Originally, values, we used interests, obsidian, opinions, bone, and or behaviors antler. When of a certain steel<br />

became individual, available group, or - that’s community. what we It is used. how a Many life is have lived. said The it<br />

before, armed lifestyle the best is knife not is just the about one you weapons, have. We it train is about with arming knives<br />

of yourself various with lengths the skills, to adapt knowledge, to distance. and I tools like the to allow handle you to to have be<br />

a able slight to handle curve at all the the back situations or with life a pommel, throws at so you the both hand good doesn’t and<br />

slip bad. off It the is a back. mindset The you grip choose. should Most be textured of us utilize and not this round. mindset I<br />

prefer to some a guard, extent so regularly. the hand Schools won’t slip conduct off the fire grip drills, and we onto talk the to<br />

blade. our kids For about a fixed what blade to do you in really an emergency, don’t need we anything keep a over first 8-9 aid<br />

inches. kit and A spare pocket tire knife in the blade car. should Living be an about armed 5 inches lifestyle (depending is about<br />

on integrating your local that laws), mindset have into a textured your daily grip and routines if possible, and making a guard it<br />

of your some natural type. state Having of being. a wave type design for fast opening is<br />

also We desirable. understand A slight that curve gaining at the back ability of to the protect handle our is lives also<br />

desirable. may mean Knives changing should how not we be think shiny! and how we carry ourselves.<br />

PMCI: It also With means so that many we knife need styles to be being very aware taught of by our instructors, surroundings how<br />

does and what the Apache is going Fighting on around system us. differ? If trouble shows up and we<br />

Redfeather: cannot escape, We we don’t can stand handle our it, and ground. have We mentally fight like prepared the wind! for<br />

Why the most stay probable in place? situations. We do not fight as if we were dueling but<br />

as if Choosing we are on to a carry battlefield. a firearm We is don’t certainly train for one points way but of being more<br />

of prepared a freestyle to defend method. against While teaching a threat. the However, use of the responding knife we<br />

incorporate appropriately the in Native a defensive Culture as situation well. We does want not our students just come to<br />

understand naturally it the needs reality to be of the learned. knife. It is is something necessary to you avoid! become<br />

PMCI: confident What and role skilled does with the fighting that firearm knife which play into takes the commitment<br />

military, law<br />

enforcement to continuously and training private and military educating application yourself. as well Becoming as a civilian<br />

world Expert filled doesn’t with happen concealed overnight carry firearms? but rather over time and with<br />

Redfeather: repetition. The military and law enforcement has always carried<br />

knives Carry both a firearm for utility is and not CQB. always Training feasible to access or even the legal, blade so when it is<br />

out wise of to ammo also consider or when the non-lethal firearm options is grabbed as well. is vital. Pepper A knife spray, is no<br />

match knives, for tasers, a firearm tactical but flashlights a man with and a knife pens can are sometimes all good alternate access<br />

their options, weapon just make quicker. sure There you are understand a variety the of knives laws governing out there<br />

specifically possession of designed those items for easy in your access State. from Just a utility like a belt firearm, or vest. those<br />

PMCI: tools will Are be they far any more specific effective exercises if you have you would trained recommend with them and for<br />

those have a looking solid to understanding contour their strength of how and to deploy dexterity those for knife skills training? during<br />

Redfeather: a dynamic critical We have incident. specific Martial routines arts and that other can hands-on help develop selfdefense<br />

and modalities dexterity. are also Among great those options, routines but they we train come using with a<br />

reflexes<br />

war commitment post (also to called training a pell), as well. using different patterns of cuts and<br />

stabs, You and have starting the right slow to learn defend both yourself edge alignment in this country, and good but<br />

body that right mechanics. also comes Training with in water responsibility, also teaches and control it shouldn’t and adds be<br />

strength. taken lightly. In my classes I always talk to my students about<br />

PMCI: For those looking to get into knife training, where do you<br />

suggest they start for training?<br />

Redfeather: With us! We have seminars on a regular basis which<br />

you can sign up for in my website, www.apache-knife.com<br />

PMCI: Before we go, could you please let our readers know a<br />

the importance of training. Whether it is with me or another<br />

instructor it is imperative to continue learning and practicing since<br />

most defensive skills are perishable. I teach most of my classes In<br />

Michigan and our Concealed Pistol License (CPL) Permit class is 8<br />

hours. The requirement for Michigan is 5 hours in the classroom<br />

and 3 on the range. The student must shoot a minimum of 30<br />

rounds to qualify. If you complete the eight hours of training,<br />

plus meeting the strict application eligibility requirements, you<br />

can apply for your CPL. If that is approved, it is then legal for you<br />

to carry a concealed firearm. As far as the State is concerned you<br />

have completed enough training to legally carry. But I can assure<br />

you, if that eight-hour class is all the training you have done, it is<br />

not enough.<br />

The difference between marksmanship on the range is quite<br />

different from a defensive shooting incident. Michael Martin, the<br />

Author of Concealed Carry and Home Defense Fundamentals,<br />

points out that unlike relaxed exercises on the range with paper<br />

targets at 50 feet, dynamic critical incidents are usually fast, they<br />

are usually close (with nearly 90 percent falling between nine<br />

and 15 feet), and when rounds are fired, multiple rounds are<br />

usually fired.<br />

Training can take on many forms. Most people think shooting<br />

a box of rounds downrange is adequate practice. And I would

say that process is just that, practice. Not training. In the book<br />

Defensive Shooting Fundamentals, by Rob Pincus, he describes<br />

a Dynamic Critical Incident that will be Surprising, Chaotic, and<br />

Threatening. The course teaches intuitive shooting methods<br />

designed to provide you with the most effective and efficient<br />

training for the most probable types of self-defense situations.<br />

Defensive shooting fundamentals will guide you through<br />

the steps you’ll need to take to go from just sending rounds<br />

downrange to training in specific tested methods of armed selfdefense.<br />

This is just one of the many courses available to you to<br />

expand your defensive skills.<br />

Being a responsible gun owner means understanding when<br />

a person is justified in their legal use of deadly force. If you<br />

must defend yourself and you did not respond to a situation<br />

correctly, you could find yourself in another situation, but this<br />

time defending yourself from legal ramifications. The prosecutor<br />

is likely going to try to convince the jury that you took the class,<br />

and you should have known better.<br />

In a perfect world, you only need to be told something<br />

once to master it. But unfortunately, our brains do not work like<br />

that. After one hour of training, people retain less than half of<br />

the information presented. After one day, people forget more<br />

than 70 percent of what was taught in training. After six days,<br />

people forget 75 percent of the information in their training. It<br />

is well established that repetition is the key to memory. When<br />

we practice shooting or a new movement repeatedly, we are<br />

literally “grooving” new neural pathways within our central<br />

nervous system. This is also known as “muscle memory.” How<br />

often have you ended up in the driveway of your home and put<br />

your vehicle in park and don’t even remember driving home?<br />

We have become so proficient in driving that we are on “auto<br />

pilot.” Well just like you are on “autopilot” while driving we<br />

want that same proficiency while handling and shooting firearms.<br />

Repetition is key.<br />

In the <strong>Armed</strong> <strong>Lifestyle</strong> Magazine, we will be introducing you<br />

to many training courses out there that would be beneficial to<br />

you. You will also be introduced to some of the best Instructors in<br />

the country! We will also offer training tips and drills that you can<br />

do without even having to leave your home.<br />

I encourage you to continue training for the armed lifestyle<br />

because the right to bear arms does not supersede the<br />

responsibility that comes with it.<br />

“The only way to be sure that your gun will always be there<br />

when you need it is to always carry it with you.” – Massad Ayoob<br />

AL<br />

Why the <strong>Armed</strong> <strong>Lifestyle</strong>?<br />


6<br />



New Shooter<br />

Perspective By: Jamie Headley<br />


WOMAN’S JOURNEY – Part 1<br />

As a firearms instructor I love working with new shooters. It<br />

is rewarding to help someone overcome the natural fear of a<br />

loaded gun and begin the journey of using it safely, responsibly<br />

and with the respect it deserves, but the best part is when they<br />

realize shooting is fun. Really fun. I can relate to these students<br />

because it wasn’t that long ago that that was me. I often tell new<br />

students that I was in their exact shoes less than 2 years ago. It<br />

seems to calm them to know that an ordinary person just like<br />

them was able to learn to shoot and even become an instructor.<br />

Then I inevitably get the question, “how did you do that”?<br />

To do this story justice we need to go back in time a bit. I did<br />

not grow up around guns. Which is probably good as I was kind<br />

of a dorky kid. Although my father served in the military before<br />

I was born, he never spoke about firearms and there were not<br />

any in the house to my knowledge. My first real exposure to<br />

guns was about 15 years ago. My husband Scott is a hunter and<br />

former military, so we had guns in the house. I was not opposed<br />

to them and always wanted to learn to shoot and eventually<br />

we went to the range so he could teach me. (Potential mistake<br />

number 1 - Don’t have your spouse teach you things regardless<br />

how good they may be at said subject) So there I was with a Sig<br />

Sauer 226 .40 caliber in my hot little hands feeling nervous but<br />

ready to make that target my bitch, but things didn’t go the way<br />

I planned and the experience pretty much sucked. I couldn’t rack<br />

the slide and my hands shook, my heart raced, and I jumped<br />

every time someone else’s firearm went off. I am pretty sure<br />

I closed my eyes every time I pulled the trigger. After we got<br />

home, and I downed a couple of glasses of wine, I admitted to<br />

Scott that I really did not enjoy our day at the range (he guessed<br />

that by the near nervous breakdown he witnessed ) but I told<br />

him I thought it was important to know how to handle guns<br />

safely if they were going to be in the house and I wasn’t ready to<br />

give up. I figured the next logical step would be to buy a gun for<br />

me. I figured maybe something smaller with less recoil would be<br />

a good option.<br />

A couple weeks later, we were on our way home from a<br />

funeral, and I needed some retail therapy to cheer me up, so<br />

when I saw a gun store, I suggested we stop in. As I looked<br />

around, I was drawn to a Smith & Wesson 686 .357 Magnum<br />

revolver. Why that gun? I don’t know. It was heavy in a good<br />

way, and I liked the way it felt in my hand even though it scared<br />

me. Maybe it looked like what I thought a gun should be after<br />

growing up with my father watching John Wayne and Dirty Harry<br />

movies. I have no idea why I thought that was the appropriate<br />

gun for me. If you are unsure why I say this, note the photo of<br />

one below. It is huge. Regardless, we bought the .357 that day<br />

and went out to the range a few weeks later. Scott had me use<br />

.38 ammunition, knowing that the recoil of .357 caliber rounds<br />

would probably make me cry. Unfortunately, the result was<br />

pretty much the same. I was nervous and none of it felt natural,<br />

so I put it in the gun safe, drank some wine and didn’t touch it for<br />

a of couple years.<br />

I am told I can be stubborn; I prefer being thought of as,<br />

not one to quit, but that’s just semantics. Bottom line is I was<br />

still determined to learn to shoot, so I agreed to take the CPL<br />

(concealed pistol license) class thinking maybe if I learned<br />

more about guns in a structured environment and not from<br />

my husband, I would get more comfortable. The CPL class in<br />

Michigan is 8 hours long, 8 HOURS LONG. I spent the entire 5<br />

hours of classroom time in an inner turmoil trying to decide if<br />

I wanted to even carry a gun (concealing that .357 would be<br />

interesting to say the least) and if I could really take a life, even<br />

in defense of my own. I ran over a squirrel the week prior and<br />

cried and apologized to St. Francis the whole way to work. By<br />

the time we got to the range part of the class, I was a mess.<br />

Oh yeah, and no one mentioned that I was going to have

to “qualify”. I guess I should have assumed that, but I didn’t. It<br />

might have been good to know I was going to have to shoot one<br />

handed, run other drills, not just stand there and shoot. Had I<br />

known, I would have practiced or possibly bailed on the class and<br />

gone shopping with the girls, so I guess it was good I didn’t know.<br />

So, there I was, terrified and visibly shaking like a chihuahua in<br />

wintertime. (Note: the range “qualification” for CPL in Michigan<br />

is not defined and is left up to the discretion of the instructor. If<br />

you are new to shooting and decide to take the CPL, ask what the<br />

qualification course of fire will be so you can prepare.)<br />

The instructor took one look at my .357 Magnum and vibrating<br />

hands, and suggested I use his small snub nose revolver. It was<br />

much smaller and certainly looked less intimidating and fit better<br />

in my hand. What I didn’t know then was that the smaller barrel<br />

made the gun have far more recoil, so much recoil that my hand<br />

hurt for days afterward. Emotionally and physically exhausted, I<br />

made it through the range qualification and passed the class. But<br />

knowing what I know now, I shouldn’t have. I would like to say<br />

that I found and tapped into my inner Warrior Goddess and ruled<br />

that range, but that did not happen. I didn’t point the gun at<br />

anyone or do anything else grossly negligent or unsafe, but had<br />

I been in an actual defensive situation, the only thing that would<br />

have saved me is my attacker laughing too hard at me to attack.<br />

That instructor should not have passed me. It was a pity<br />

passing. I filed the paperwork, got my CPL, promptly sold the<br />

.357 and headed to the sporting goods store to find a more<br />

appropriate gun once again for me.<br />

I know this is starting to sound like the definition of insanity<br />

– keep doing the same thing and expect a different result but<br />

hang in with me here. I ended up settling on a Ruger 9mm ECP<br />

subcompact. Why that gun? At least there was a bit more logic<br />

to my choice this time.<br />

I am 5’4’’ and have<br />

really small hands (my<br />

ring finger is a size<br />

3.5) and I had trouble<br />

racking the slide on<br />

my husband’s guns<br />

presumably because of<br />

the size and strength<br />

of my hands. I saw<br />

a woman at the gun<br />

counter who was about<br />

my size and I asked her<br />

if she had a gun. She pulled back her jacket to reveal she was<br />

carrying and told me it was a Ruger 9mm sub compact. She said<br />

she loved it and had no problem with the slide. So that became<br />

my next gun. A few weeks later I grabbed my new gun and went<br />

to the range with a friend who was a Range Safety Officer (RSO),<br />

thinking I might be less nervous having someone other than my<br />

husband teach me. I did find the Ruger more enjoyable to shoot<br />

but I was still struggling with the slide and was still terrified and<br />

exhausted after just 50 rounds down range.<br />

So back into the safe went my gun. Fast forward 4 years<br />

to early <strong>March</strong> of 2020. My husband and I were exploring Ann<br />

Arbor MI, (we had moved to the area the prior year) and saw<br />

a gun range. We decided to check it out and we were very<br />

impressed with the 3 separate bays, classroom, nice retail space<br />

and member’s lounge. We decided we would join Ann Arbor<br />

Arms (A3) and I was once again psyching myself up to learn<br />

to shoot. What can I say? I am a distant descendant of William<br />

Wallace, there is just not a lot of quit in my genetic makeup.<br />



8<br />


Covid hit and while locked down in my house and experiencing<br />

the world through Zoom, I signed up for a virtual beginner’s<br />

handgun class that was being offered by A3. Without the stress<br />

of being on a range I felt like I really absorbed the material<br />

taught and reached out to the instructor to schedule a private<br />

lesson once the range opened back up. I took my first lesson<br />

with Lead Instructor Robby Torres in June of 2020. Something<br />

clicked in that lesson. I was still nervous, but Robby was very<br />

encouraging and able to ease my fears and convince me that I<br />

was not going to hurt myself or anyone else if I just followed the<br />

4 Universal Safety Rules.<br />

I took my second lesson the very next day.<br />

Next, I set a goal of simply becoming competent with the<br />

gun, nothing more, nothing less. I wasn’t sure I wanted to carry,<br />

I just wanted to learn to shoot. I was still struggling a bit with<br />

racking the slide, although not as much, so we sold the Ruger<br />

(are you seeing a pattern here?) and I bought a S&W 9mm EZ.<br />

Yes, this time I bought the gun, not Scott. It was in my name<br />

and that gave me a little boost of confidence and empowerment.<br />

The EZ was made for someone like me. The slide was very<br />

easy (hence the name EZ) to rack and equipped with a standard<br />

external safety as well as a grip safety which calmed my fears of<br />

unwittingly shooting myself. I committed to training and took a<br />

lesson with Robby almost every week. I also started doing dry<br />

fire drills at home that he showed me to improve my confidence<br />

and dexterity with the gun. That also helped save on the cost of<br />

ammunition. All the staff at Ann Arbor Arms were kind, patient<br />

and willingly answered my questions. Within a few weeks, I<br />

achieved my first big milestone. I went to the range to shoot<br />

by myself. I had achieved the confidence to handle the gun<br />

without immediate supervision, although I am sure the guys<br />

were keeping an eye on me and an ear out for screams. I was<br />

hooked.<br />

There is something really empowering and exciting about the<br />

sound and feeling of slapping a magazine into a gun, racking the<br />

slide and firing away.

Even the<br />

smell of the gun<br />

powder was enticing. It smelled<br />

like victory.<br />

True to form, a couple of months<br />

into my training I realized I did not<br />

like the grip safety on my S&W.<br />

Having small hands, it was just one<br />

more thing that could interfere with<br />

my grip. So, you guessed it, I sold it and<br />

bought a Glock 43X which is a single<br />

stack, 9mm sub compact. Most of the guys at A3 carried Glocks,<br />

as did my husband and my close friend who is a police officer. I<br />

felt like I had graduated. The Glock wasn’t a gun made for people<br />

with weak hands or specifically for women. It was a gun that<br />

men carried and respected. By this time, I had gotten fluid with<br />

the movement of racking the slide and realized it was a matter<br />

of momentum and technique more than strength, so I had no<br />

problem with the 43X slide. In addition to my lessons, I also took<br />

some classes as A3 and met some<br />

great women who became friends<br />

that I could share this journey with.<br />

We tried each other’s guns, shared<br />

ammo and tips on things we learned.<br />

A3 became my happy place. During<br />

one of our range outings, my friend Deb<br />

had me shoot her .22LR caliber gun. It was such fun, and .22LR<br />

ammo was far less expensive and still available. Also, minimal<br />

recoil, no big bang, just total pew pew fun! Feeling totally loyal<br />

to Glock at this point, I bought a Glock 44 .22LR. I now had 2<br />

guns and I was hitting the range weekly. I also started to wonder<br />

if I was going to end up on some ATF watch list. My skills<br />

were getting better, and I had broadened my goal to becoming<br />

competent to carry not just shoot.<br />

Magazines have word limits on articles, and I have hit that<br />

limit, so check back in the next issue for the rest of the story.<br />

There are more guns coming and going and lots more to share.<br />

Until then here are some things to consider if you are new<br />

to shooting or are hoping to persuade someone else to consider<br />

shooting:<br />



Assume every gun is loaded and treat it as such<br />

Never point the gun at anything you are not willing<br />

to destroy<br />

Keep your finger off the trigger until you have<br />

acquired your target and are ready to destroy it<br />

Always know what is around and behind your target<br />

It is perfectly normal to be scared, in fact, shaking, jumping,<br />

heart racing are all the intended physiological responses your<br />

sympathetic nervous system creates. Don’t feel foolish about<br />

your body doing exactly what it was designed to do.<br />

Understand it will take a little time to get comfortable and<br />

build skill, but i you will get there. Shooting is not terribly<br />

complicated once you have the proper grip, stance, presentation.<br />

Don’t give up.<br />

Take a few private lessons with a professional instructor. Make<br />

sure you are comfortable with this instructor. If not, find another<br />

one. I really do not recommend learning from anyone who is<br />

not a certified instructor regardless of their history with firearms.<br />

Consider joining a range and meeting other new shooters.<br />

Having a tribe and a home base really helps.<br />

Dry fire training goes a long way and is free. Commit to doing<br />

that at home. Make sure the gun is unloaded and clear and keep<br />

all ammunition stored away from where you are dry firing.<br />

Depending on your interest level and goals there can be A<br />

LOT to learn. Just take it in small chunks – or do what I did and go<br />

all in!<br />

Remember, using a firearm is serious and a huge<br />

responsibility, but it can also be lots of fun!<br />

Stay safe, stay responsible, stay tuned for the next issue! AL<br />



10<br />


Mission Statement: By Trampas Swanson<br />

After over seven years of being THE<br />

industry magazine for the private<br />

contracting world with PMCI Magazine,<br />

we discovered the growing interest came<br />

not just in the form of those who carried a<br />

gun professionally but their family, friends,<br />

and many others. Requests regularly<br />

poured in about home protection, how<br />

to spot danger in our daily lives rather<br />

than on post in a foreign land and much<br />

more. When editor, Bill Pryce Thomas was<br />

asked by owner, Nigel Streeter to bring<br />

his excellent leadership to our parent<br />

company, Calibre Publications, the timing<br />

was perfect to evolve to meet the needs<br />

of the growing demand. With a firm<br />

salute to the those who came before us, it<br />

is a great honor as the new editor to begin<br />

this new journey with you all.<br />

Welcome to the inaugural issue of The<br />

<strong>Armed</strong> <strong>Lifestyle</strong> Magazine!<br />

This publication was founded with a core<br />

mission to educate readers on a wide<br />

range of topics that could prove vital to<br />

their abilities to safely enjoy daily life.<br />

Many of the <strong>Armed</strong> <strong>Lifestyle</strong> writers come<br />

from former Military, Law Enforcement,<br />

Fire / Rescue backgrounds, and all are<br />

current Firearms Instructors or Training<br />

Counselors. More importantly, these<br />

men and women are all someone’s son<br />

or daughter, husband, or wife, parent or<br />

even grandparent. These writers have<br />

all spent year’s training and learning to<br />

recognize threats within our environment<br />

to protect ourselves, our families, homes,<br />

and communities. For them, the <strong>Armed</strong><br />

<strong>Lifestyle</strong> Magazine is an extension of their<br />

classrooms to provide readers ongoing<br />

education and fellow instructors across<br />

the country quality reference materials to<br />

better help them educate others as well.<br />

Let’s start with the elephant in the room,<br />

our title, starting with the term, “<strong>Armed</strong>”.<br />

Traditionally, the term “<strong>Armed</strong>” has been<br />

defined for centuries as being equipped<br />

with a weapon of some sort to harm and<br />

possibly kill. This leaves no explanation for<br />

empty handed aggression or the ability<br />

to use your cognitive thought process to<br />

survive a threat.<br />

It is now <strong>2022</strong> and well past time to<br />

redefine our ancestors outdated and<br />

grossly misused definition of the term<br />

“<strong>Armed</strong>”. Our goal in doing so is to widen<br />

our thought process about what being<br />

armed really boils down to. Simply put,<br />

“<strong>Armed</strong>” with the proper mindset, skill,<br />

knowledge, and willingness to create and<br />

execute a plan for survival, whether the<br />

threat is an attacker, a natural disaster,<br />

or a global pandemic. Realistically, any<br />

item we as humans pick up in our hands<br />

is simply a tool until we use our mental<br />

capacities to weaponize it by putting it<br />

into action.<br />

<strong>Armed</strong> <strong>Lifestyle</strong> Magazine aims to<br />

educate readers on the rich history,<br />

valued traditions and core fundamentals<br />

needed to navigate the ever increasingly<br />

violent world in which we live in. Along<br />

the way, we will enjoy being able to<br />

explore outstanding training in the fields<br />

of situational awareness, mental health,<br />

firearms marksmanship, defensive<br />

shooting, critical incident survival from<br />

certified professionals. Industry experts<br />

will weigh in on their favorite products to<br />

better help put these skills into action as<br />

well as points to ponder after reading each<br />

issue. Best of all, we’ll learn about some<br />

truly amazing people in which we get to<br />

share our armed lifestyle community.<br />

This is Our Time and Our Story. Enjoy! –<br />


12<br />


BODY LANGUAGE By: Amy Lucas<br />

While working as a Corrections officer in a maximum-security<br />

prison I had contact with prisoners that were incarcerated for<br />

some of the most heinous crimes. Most were doing lengthy<br />

sentences or life with no chance of parole. I was incredibly young<br />

when I was hired into the department and attended 16 weeks of<br />

training to learn how to manage prisoners in all situations.<br />

Although the training was thorough it does not prepare you<br />

for everything you are going to see or deal with daily. I was<br />

raised in a nice rural area, in a loving home, and had never dealt<br />

with any type of scenario or situation that was potentially life<br />

threatening. Heck, I had never even been in a fight.<br />

While in training, we learned about Body Language. Body<br />

language is the process of communicating nonverbally through<br />

conscious or unconscious gestures and movement. It became<br />

apparent very quickly that I needed to pay attention to the<br />

offender’s body language. It was also important to be able<br />

to carry myself in a specific way that showed confidence and<br />

authority while acting calm and cool in a place that was not<br />

always calm and most definitely not cool. I also had to work on<br />

my verbal communication skills. I had to find the balance with my<br />

tone of voice and how to respond appropriately. What I said and<br />

how I said it could affect the prisoner’s response. The prisoner’s<br />

preyed on the weak and always waited for the right opportunity.<br />

Reading a person’s body language and what was going<br />

on around me took quite a bit of time but eventually became<br />

second nature to me. It was important to be able to see when<br />

things were getting ready to go left and for me to be ready for<br />

WHATEVER might come my way that shift. Even when leaving<br />

those prison walls for the outside world I carried myself in the<br />

same manner. The difference was when working on the inside<br />

I knew who the “bad guy” was. In the world I did not. Paying<br />

attention to your surroundings and the people around you should<br />

be second nature to you when living the <strong>Armed</strong> <strong>Lifestyle</strong>.<br />

However, you do not get 16 weeks of training like I did and<br />

the people around you are not prisoners. You must retrain your<br />

brain, mindset, and how you carry yourself when walking out<br />

your front door every day.<br />

Locator apps on your phone and telling people where you<br />

are is a good thing, but we want to prevent an attack from even<br />

happening in the first place. Most times, we are not prepared. We<br />

need to think like a criminal. You do not need to have criminal<br />

tendencies to put yourself in the mindset of a criminal. These<br />

attackers are weak, cowardly pieces of garbage. They have<br />

no remorse or no feelings when looking for a target. They are<br />

constantly looking for the greatest gain for the least amount of<br />

trouble. So, here is the body language you can quickly and easily<br />

do every time you enter a potentially dangerous area to reduce<br />

the chances of being targeted and attacked.<br />

Do not play on your phone. If an attacker is on the hunt and<br />

you have your head in your phone, you are more likely to be<br />

a target because you are distracted. They can easily make a<br />

surprise attack on you. Twenty-three percent of people convicted<br />

of robbery were interviewed and they said they looked for<br />

people who were distracted or looked lost or drunk as someone<br />

they thought they could overpower.<br />

Keep your head up and your shoulders back and strong solid<br />

posture. This is strong, competent body language. It not only<br />

attracts good people to you, but it also helps to repel attackers<br />

because he wants to go after someone who seems easy and not<br />

someone who seems strong minded.<br />

Walk with purpose taking in your surroundings as you walk.<br />

You will come across as stronger and more confident, but you will<br />

be able to spot an attacker sooner making him feel like you just<br />

spoiled his surprise attack. Making eye contact with someone<br />

sends them the message that “I see you.” That alone will make<br />

you less attractive to the potential assailant.<br />

Look a little mean or unapproachable. Eyebrows closer<br />

together, lips together, no smile, fists clenched lightly down at<br />

your sides. This will subconsciously say no to anyone who sees<br />

you to stay away.<br />

Keep your valuables out of sight. If you have a watch or a<br />

bracelet tuck it underneath your sleeve. If you have a necklace,<br />

cover it with your shirt or your jacket. If you feel like the area’s<br />

dangerous you may want to remove that visible jewelry and<br />

safely put them in pockets closer to your body. When muggers<br />

were interviewed to describe the ideal person to rob, they are


14<br />


clearly looking at your clothes, valuables, and even your shoes.<br />

They typically would not bother someone wearing gym<br />

clothes or carrying a gym bag. As they would not likely have<br />

anything of value on them.<br />

Hold your bag or purse closer to your body. Do not dangle it<br />

off your elbow so anyone can quickly just grab it off your arm and<br />

run. I recommend carrying a cross body purse or satchel. Avoid<br />

carrying all your valuables in your purse. If you must carry cash,<br />

wear a pouch or money belt to hide it. Have your bag positioned<br />

towards the front not against your backside. Avoid walking next<br />

to the street where your purse could be yanked from your arm by<br />

someone on a motorbike or vehicle passing by.<br />

Your hands are going to be one of the main things he focuses<br />

on, looks at and evaluates because your hands are what could<br />

stop him and even hurt him. Hold something in your fist that<br />

could be dangerous to an attacker, but that is also legal. If you<br />

have mace, hold it in a clenched fist. Mace is not going to deter<br />

the bad guy while it is in your purse or pocket. It is going to deter<br />

them while it is in your hands. You might decide to carry a tactical<br />

flashlight. By always keeping a good flashlight on you and using<br />

it to illuminate dark places like under cars and around corners or<br />

you could use it to temporarily blind the attacker. You could also<br />

hold a sharp key, so it points out of the knuckle. About two thirds<br />

of muggers said they followed people before attacking.<br />

Be careful of anyone that tries to stop you to ask for the time<br />

or directions. You might take that quick look at your watch to<br />

give the time and boom he has you. They are trying to stop you,<br />

preoccupy you, and then attack you at the time. Do not break<br />

your stride and do not stop. If they are persistent, it might be<br />

time to give loud verbal commands, such as “Stop! Get away<br />

from me!” Not only will the bad guy understand what you want<br />

him to do but it will bring attention to anyone in the area that<br />

something is not right.<br />

The trips to and from your car when arriving or leaving could<br />

leave you vulnerable. Make sure you look on all sides of all<br />

windows before you open your door. Always check the backseat<br />

of your vehicle ideally before you get in. Always look in your<br />

mirrors before you exit your vehicle to make sure no one’s outside<br />

your vehicle waiting for you to exit. If you do not plan to exit your<br />

vehicle, immediately remember that when you put your car in<br />

park most vehicles doors unlock. So, make sure that you lock the<br />

doors or turn off that feature in your vehicle if you are getting<br />

out right away. Park in well-lit areas and close to areas that can<br />

be observed by others. Check all your mirrors before exiting the<br />

vehicle.<br />

Identify Escape Routes and opportunities to increase distance<br />

between you and a threat (walking, running, or driving away).<br />

Get into the habit of scanning any area that you enter and look<br />

for the exits.<br />

Take the long route with the crowd instead of the shortcut<br />

through the alley. Regardless of how convenient a shortcut might<br />

seem, or however safe you might feel heading to your car late at<br />

night all alone, that is the kind of behavior that criminals count<br />

on to find easy victims.<br />

And finally, take the time to monitor yourself! Doing just one<br />

or two of these things may reduce the chances of an attack. But<br />

doing all these things together will significantly reduce those<br />

chances. Paying attention to your surroundings and your body<br />

language could prevent an attack. AL

Proudly Celebrating<br />

25 Years of<br />

Made in America,<br />

Or Not Made At All.<br />


16<br />



As a nationally known firearms instructor and training counselor<br />

certified by both the NRA and USCCA, I regularly receive<br />

emails from people inquiring about tips and tricks on how to<br />

improve shooting and training techniques. Folks from all ranges<br />

of experience levels are all looking for that “Holy Grail” of<br />

aftermarket products to do the hard work of training for them<br />

and immediately make them a better marksman. Questions<br />

about new grips, expensive replacement triggers, lasers and<br />

various other devices both new and old are regularly covered.<br />

While yes, there are tons of great products on the market to<br />

make life shooting sports more comfortable, my answers always<br />

gravitate back to focusing on the fundamentals of sight picture,<br />

sight alignment and trigger press.<br />

majority of the industry’s shooters today, there is one product<br />

that will NOT do the hard work and time invested for you, but<br />

WILL give you the means to be able to make your time off the<br />

range just as valuable as the time spent with live fire.<br />

One of the best ways to practice all three aspects<br />

marksmanship and to obtain noticeable results quickly is with<br />

dry practice. Unfortunately for some pistols, high repetition dry<br />

practice can cause long term damage. With striker fired pistols<br />

such as the 80% of the world’s shooting population, the slide<br />

must be manually cycled to reset the trigger each time it is dry<br />

fired. While this may sound like a simple way to train, it may<br />

cause the shooter to form bad habit or “training scar”. Due to<br />

breaking from their master grip to cycle during dry practice, it<br />

often carries over during live fire to subconsciously try to cycle<br />

the slide as they would in dry fire practice. Fortunately for the<br />

Back in 2015, while our team was attending the world’s<br />

largest industry only firearms / outdoor trade show known as<br />

SHOT SHOW in Las Vegas, NV, I discovered the most innovative<br />

training tool created during the 42 years of my shooting<br />

experience. The Shot Indicating Reset Trigger (SIRT) Model 110<br />

was a Glock shaped laser training pistol produced by NextLevel<br />

Training. The company was founded by SIRT inventor, CEO Mike<br />

Hughes. For those who followed television’s reality shooting<br />

show, TOP SHOT on the History Channel, may remember Mike<br />

as the season 3 finalist cutting the Superman-like physique and<br />

square jaw. What viewers didn’t realize at the time was Mike’s<br />

company was on the verge of creating what would change the<br />

training world for serious shooters in the form of its SIRT pistol.<br />

Modeled loosely after the most popular service firearm in the<br />

world today, the Glock model 17 9mm, the SIRT pistol is designed<br />

as an inert firearm shaped training device designed to teach<br />

proper, consistent manipulation of the trigger while allowing for<br />

quick and easy self-diagnosis without need of live ammunition or<br />

a training partner. With trigger control arguably being the single<br />

most important aspect of any shooting discipline, this device

does not need snap caps or real firearms to work. Unlike standard<br />

striker fired pistols, the SIRT pistol is a fully self-contained unit<br />

using red and green laser technology with a resetting trigger to<br />

simulate that of the Glock trigger. By training to feel the break<br />

point of the trigger and watching the red laser projected under<br />

the barrel activated by interface of the trigger pull, one can learn<br />

what is commonly called the “Glock reset” drill and only let out<br />

on the trigger between shots enough to reset the trigger while<br />

not allowing slop or over travel in the trigger pull using muscle<br />

memory and the positive “click” and feel of the reset. Depending<br />

on model, the SIRT uses of either a second red (Model 110)<br />

or a separate green laser (Pro Model) mounted in the muzzle<br />

activated by the breaking the shot, the user can verify where the<br />

training shot would hit in relation to the authentic Glock sights<br />

mounted on the top of the slide and can be easily replaced with<br />

any appropriate aftermarket options.<br />

For the past seven years, I have been using a Pro Model SIRT<br />

Model 110 both for my daily personal training routine and as<br />

part of my range drills for the students I teach weekly. During<br />

this time, I have easily shot well into the thousands of simulated<br />

rounds while seating in my office, practicing home defense drills<br />

walking through my house during the day and night as well as<br />

on the range between live fire exercises. Personally, I have seen<br />

three main advantages in this device since using the SIRT as part<br />

of my training routine.<br />

Over the past two years, we have been using the SIRT pistols<br />

with a great firearms training simulator system from Laser Ammo<br />

called the Smokeless Range. (More on this in coming issues so<br />

stay tuned!) Not only has the Glock, S&W and SIG variants of the<br />

SIRT worked well with the simulator to help students hone their<br />

fundamentals but also help illustrate intuitive defensive shooting<br />

techniques to advanced shooters. This combination of training<br />

equipment allows large groups of students to training much<br />

more safely in environments more conducive to true learning<br />

than standard one-way ranges could every possibly allow. Let’s<br />

look at several factors that make the SIRT such a valuable training tool.<br />


With the SIRT being almost exactly the same size and weight as<br />

my Glock 17, I can use my standard Streamlight attached to its<br />

railed dust cover, fit it into my standard training holster and safely<br />

practice my speed reloads using the weighted interchangeable<br />

magazines.<br />


Powered by a single $3.00 US Lithium 123 CR camera battery, it is<br />

estimated the average user gets around $0.0002 per shot before<br />

having to replace the battery. Drills and shooting challenges can<br />

be performed in any room or back yard without the need of LIVE<br />

FIRE and range fees.<br />


With my personal training, the SIRT pistol quickly helped give<br />

me feedback I could easily see for myself and help develop<br />

proper muscle memory when not on the range. The SIRT greatly<br />

enhances point shooting to the degree that you may sometimes<br />

start instinctively index shots before using the rear sights. The<br />

SIRT develops a strong trust in your natural aiming instincts. As an<br />

instructor, I have seen the SIRT quickly reduce recoil anticipation<br />

in my students by having them shoot a few shots with the SIRT<br />

before going to LIVE FIRE. During a student’s shooting session, if<br />

I begin to see a pattern in their shots starting to routinely strike<br />

low, I will stop them, have them again fire the SIRT a few times<br />

and continue with LIVE FIRE exercises. Every time I have done<br />

this, the student’s shots will immediately return to point of aim /<br />



point of impact. The lack of recoil present while performing the<br />

same range of motions tends to carry over mentally back to<br />

the LIVE FIRE. When first performing this, you will see shooters<br />

possibly going back to anticipating recoil after a few shots, but as<br />

the switch back and forth from SIRT to LIVE FIRE, you will see a<br />

huge difference quickly.<br />

So if the SIRT is so great, who would benefit the most from<br />

training with one? Let’s look at a list of top answers.<br />

- Firearms Instructors / Training Counselors<br />

- Novice shooters learning proper technique<br />

- Experienced shooters looking for cost effective ways to train<br />

from concealment or dry firing a skill challenge<br />

- A shooter looking to cure training scars<br />

- Tactical users such as Law Enforcement or citizens training to<br />

defend themselves in a CQC or Close Quarters Combat situation<br />

- New shooters seeking to learn proper safe firearms handling<br />

- Competition shooters looking to dry practice their course of<br />

fire during a walk through<br />

After reading the list, you may think this covers pretty much<br />

anyone interested in shooting. You would be RIGHT! The SIRT<br />

pistol offers something for all ages and skill levels to benefit<br />

from. The only change I would like to eventually see made to the<br />

SIRT is the implementation of a moving slide to simulate charging<br />

the firearm during training with changing magazines.<br />

With a retail price ranging from $239 - $469 depending on<br />

which type laser and slide material you may want, the benefits<br />

of having a child safe training tool you can work with any time<br />

of the day or night are personally well worth the investment. As<br />

a father of two small daughters, this was a huge bonus. By not<br />

being a live firearm, you can also travel anywhere with the SIRT<br />

and train without interrupting your regular training regimen.<br />

At the end of the day, if you are one of the millions who<br />

regularly shoot striker fired pistols such as over 80% of the<br />

world’s Law Enforcement carrying Glock handguns or over 70%<br />

of US citizens carrying Glocks as concealed carry weapons,<br />

you NEED a SIRT in your life. This training device has proven to<br />

greatly enhance shooting skills safely and efficiently as well as<br />

promoting the desire to training more often outside of the range.<br />

This ultimately equates to more LEO and civilian lives having a<br />

much better chance of surviving armed encounters over time.<br />

Recently, my personal favorite variant of the SIRT pistol has<br />

been the new model 115C which emulates the size, weight and<br />

look of the Gen 5 Glock 19 9mm pistol. It fits in all my Inside and<br />

Outside the Waistband holsters while offering the same index<br />

point from the draw. Its duty sized counterpart, the model 115<br />

would make a great addition to any security or law enforcement<br />

agency’s training program.<br />

Overall, I have been very impressed with the entire SIRT<br />

catalogue over the years. To highly recommend these training<br />

devices students and fellow instructors is probably the easiest<br />

endorsement I have given in a decade. To find the SIRT pistol that<br />

fits your needs, visit them at www.nextleveltraining.com.<br />

**** Editor Note**** Save money with each purchase by<br />

using Discount Code: STG2020 at checkout.<br />







Riding Shotgun With Charlie came from a speaking project. I’ve<br />

been in Toastmasters for a few years and I was working on a<br />

manual called “Communicating on Video“. Toastmasters is an<br />

organization that helps people with public speaking. It helps with<br />

much more than speaking. It gives you confidence, organization<br />

skills, and leadership skills, too. There were five projects in that<br />

manual: interview someone in a tv talk show or radio show<br />

format, be interviewed by someone in a tv talk show or radio<br />

show format, conduct a press conference, make an editorial<br />

video, and make a video teaching someone how to do a speech.<br />

While I was working on all those projects, I had the idea for<br />

Riding Shotgun With Charlie.<br />

I wanted to hang out with rockstars and even be a rockstar when<br />

I was young. Who didn’t? Yes, you can ask me how it worked out.<br />

I spent 10 years playing trombone in a Motown, funk, disco band<br />

in Boston. During my gigging years, I opened for Dolly Parton,<br />

Ray Charles, and even Earth, Wind, & Fire. The band even played<br />

at Meatloaf’s daughter’s wedding and Meatloaf came up and did<br />

a 10 minute version of Mustang Sally with us.<br />

I got into firearms in 2002. I had been an instrumental music<br />

teacher in public schools for a few years. After September 11,<br />

we had a meeting where the principal said if anyone was in the<br />

school that shouldn’t be there, he would get on the intercom<br />

and announce that “the eagle has landed” and everyone was<br />

supposed to lock their classroom doors and hide under the desks.<br />

I ended up telling the other teachers that if the teachers on the<br />

first floor had firearms, they could shoot the bad guy and have<br />

the police send a body bag. They thought I was crazy. I went<br />

out to find out what I needed to do to get a firearm license in<br />

Massachusetts. It took about 4 months, which included taking<br />

a class, being interviewed by the local police, and passing<br />

background checks. And of course, paying a fee.<br />

I was excited to have a license to have a firearm. I ended up<br />

taking some other training that involved some live fire (NRA<br />

Basic Pistol Course) and I was hooked. After acquiring some<br />

family firearms and joining a local range, I got into it more. I<br />

became a Range Safety Officer so I could run bowling pin shoots.<br />

Then I started helping with some firearms training with the Gun<br />

Owners Action League. Eventually GOAL’s Director of Education<br />

suggested I become an instructor, which I did.<br />

Over the years, I taught at a local shooting school and started<br />

teaching classes on my own. Eventually, I would teach 20 people<br />

in a course at the shooting school and realize how much the boss<br />

was making. Then I got a bit more focused and started pushing<br />

my own classes. I got certified to teach a number of NRA courses:<br />

Basic Pistol, Basic Rifle, Basic Shotgun, Personal Protection Inside<br />

the Home, Refuse To Be A Victim. And a couple of non-NRA<br />

classes: Utah Concealed Firearm Permit & SABRE Pepper Spray.<br />

I watched Carpool Karaoke with James Corden. If you haven’t seen<br />

it, a late-night talk show host takes some rock and pop stars out<br />

for a ride in his car, pretends to get some coffee, then plays music<br />

of the artist he’s with, and they sing along and tell stories about<br />

the band or how the song came about. It’s so ‘fake’ that I’ve<br />

heard the car is on a flatbed tow truck and he isn’t even driving.<br />

Regardless. I noticed that James Cordon is chubby, English and<br />

mildly funny. And I thought “I’m chubby, I can speak English,<br />



22<br />


I’m mildly funny. I can do what he’s doing!” I declared that I was<br />

going to start a show driving around gun folks in the car and I<br />

was going to call it Riding Shotgun. I found out that there was<br />

a website called Riding Shotgun. My mentor, Dennis, said that<br />

I need to inject my personality into my projects. So I called it<br />

Riding Shotgun With Charlie. Seems simple enough.<br />

I bought a couple of GoPros from Facebook marketplace and<br />

Craig’s list. I tried taking a class on editing video but learned a<br />

lot from trial and error. Mostly error. I felt like a terrorist, I just<br />

wanted to learn to fly the plane. There are many things in video<br />

editing that I didn’t want to learn because it wasn’t going to<br />

apply to what I was doing. Learning was (is) a slow process for<br />

me so it took some time.<br />

I contacted some friends who were firearm instructors, some<br />

musician friends, and my mentor, to see if they’d be up for it. It<br />

was all paying dues to learn some interviewing skills and learning<br />

how to edit. I probably did 5 or 6 shows with some local friends.<br />

I found out that a long-time friend’s husband was a victim in<br />

an armed robbery, and it ended up being written about by Rob<br />

Pincus & Mark Walters in “Lessons from Unarmed America”. So,<br />

I called my friend, set up a weekend to fly to Minneapolis and<br />

film a show with her husband. He suggested a weekend during<br />

the Minnesota State Fair, when Mark Walters would be doing a<br />

remote radio show. I was able to film a show with Mark while I<br />

drove him from the hotel to the fair. Mark asked me to be a guest<br />

on <strong>Armed</strong> American Radio that evening. Ironically, one of the<br />

guests was Paul Lathrop from Second Amendment Foundation’s<br />

Polite Society Podcast. I had no idea that I would end up as a<br />

regular co-host on PSP a few years later.<br />

I had a layover in Chicago on my way back to Boston, I checked<br />

my voicemail and there was a message from Mark. He said<br />

he loved the show, loved the idea, no one was doing a show<br />

like this, and he wanted to help promote it. I had no idea what<br />

they meant. I had no idea what the show could be or where it<br />

would take me or anything else. When Mark called me two days<br />

later and asked if I wanted to speak at the Gun Rights Policy<br />

Conference in Tampa in a month, I HAD to say Yes!<br />

There I ran into everyone who was anyone in the gun rights<br />

community. Massad Ayoob. Alan Gottlieb. John Lott. Tom Gresham.<br />

Folks like Cheryl & Danny Todd, AWR Hawkins, Nikki Goeser. One<br />

of the people I ran into was Amanda Suffecool. She and her<br />

brother, Rob Campbell, had a radio show outside of Cleveland<br />

called Eye On The Target. In May 2015, they were looking to talk<br />

to instructors in every state. I reached out and got to be the guy<br />

from Massachusetts. I saw Amanda’s nametag and asked if she<br />

had a radio show. She said yes, then she Facebook requested me,<br />

and invited me to lunch with her and another friend.<br />

GRPC that year was a success to me. And for me. I wasn’t putting<br />

out RSWC shows yet, but I did have GunGrams. These are videos<br />

where I play the trumpet while I shoot a gun as a percussion<br />

instrument. I’ve got 280 videos on YouTube, and they’ve been<br />

watched over 20 million times on my channel and on other<br />

people’s channels and videos. There were also several people<br />

that wanted to know what I was doing and how they could get<br />

on the show. It was wonderful to make so many new freedom<br />

loving friends.<br />

A few months later, Amanda invited me to co-emcee a concealed<br />

carry fashion show with her outside Cleveland. Again, how can I<br />

say no?! While I was in Ohio, I drove up to Detroit to film a show<br />

with Marcus Allen Weldon. He was known as “the Santa shooter”<br />

as he was dressed as Santa Claus and involved in a self-defense<br />

shooting. I was slowly “getting the stagecoach across America”.<br />

I kept filming shows during the next few months. I filmed in DC<br />

with Rev Kenn Blanchard and NJ with Anthony Colandro. I was<br />

a fan of both, as I was an avid listener to both of their podcasts.<br />

Things were really moving, and I don’t know how it happened.<br />

Since the beginning, I’ve done over 130 shows in 30 states.<br />

One of my objectives is to do a show in every state. That takes

planning and work. For the last 2 years, every time I’ve gone<br />

someplace, for funerals, taking kids to college, visiting friends,<br />

whatever, I’ve filmed a show. I’ve done a little ‘southern tour’ in<br />

2020, hitting Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia. In the summer<br />

of 2021, I went to Sioux Fall, SD, to take a MAG40 class. I filmed<br />

shows in Iowa, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas. Within two<br />

weeks, I was heading to Ohio for a FASTER Saves Lives course and<br />

filmed 2 shows in Ohio. I’ve done more traveling in the last 2<br />

years than I have in the previous 10 years.<br />

The idea of the show is to interview people in the firearm<br />

community. Authors, activists, good people involved in selfdefense<br />

situations, instructors, YouTubers, podcasters. People<br />

that are the movers and shakers in the 2A community. I want to<br />

have video interviews of people who are just people. People that<br />

are living the <strong>Armed</strong> <strong>Lifestyle</strong> and sharing that way of life with<br />

and to others. As a community, we need to show others that we<br />

ARE everyday people. We’re parents. We’re colleagues. We’re at<br />

the grocery store. We’re at the local restaurants. We’re at the local<br />

coffee shops. We love and care about our family and friends, just<br />

like our non-gun friends (if we have any-Hehe). We want them<br />

to be safe too. We’re all trying to live our own American Dream.<br />

The American Dream is vast. And the American Dream is what<br />

YOU want to do and to make sure you’re pursuing it.<br />

Having Riding Shotgun With Charlie is part of my American<br />

Dream.<br />

Writing (Shotgun) With Charlie is an extension of the show. I’m<br />

going to be writing the conversation with my passengers. There’s<br />

a lesson to learn from everyone. Maybe a new lesson. Maybe a<br />

reinforcement of something you already knew. Maybe something<br />

to avoid. They say you “either win or learn”. I”m hoping you do<br />

both. In the YouTube descriptions, I’ve got a “favorite quotes”<br />

section. They’re things the passenger says that stick out and had<br />

an impact on me. I hope they help you, too.<br />

I’ve been fortunate to have some success with RSWC. In 2017<br />

at the Gun Rights Policy Conference, the Second Amendment<br />

Foundation awarded me “The Defender of Liberty”, which was<br />

something I wasn’t expecting. That year, I had a few million<br />

views of GunGrams around the world. In 2019, they awarded me<br />

“Ray Carter Blogger of the Year”. I went around for 2 days saying<br />

“Blogger of the Year…didn’t write a word”. That’s when I started<br />

writing show notes, which also led to having the show and show<br />

notes published on Ammoland. I”ve had folks like Massad Ayoob,<br />

Rob Pincus, Hickok45, Ashley Hlebinsky, Dianna Muller, and Alan<br />

Gottlieb (in HIS Corvette!) on the show. There’s a few people that<br />

are ‘Dream Passengers’ that I haven’t had on the show. Yet.<br />

Moving forward in each issue of the <strong>Armed</strong> <strong>Lifestyle</strong> Magazine,<br />

I’ll be writing more about the show. I’m sure my English teachers<br />

wouldn’t have ever thought I’d be writing. Me, neither! But I’m<br />

excited to be writing and sharing the show and it’s lesson here<br />

with you in <strong>Armed</strong> <strong>Lifestyle</strong> Magazine. We’re all living the <strong>Armed</strong><br />

<strong>Lifestyle</strong> in some capacity. Writing (Shotgun) With Charlie is going<br />

to help teach you about laws around the country, how to handle<br />

some situations, how to be more at your own level, so you too<br />

are living the <strong>Armed</strong> <strong>Lifestyle</strong>.<br />





Evil in our world lurks at every corner. It plots, plans, and<br />

searches for an opportunity to act in ways that could potentially<br />

permanently change our lives physically, mentally, or sadly both.<br />

Rightfully defending yourself against such evil should not<br />

come with the continuing threat of being punished for exercising<br />

our premortal instinct of self-preservation. Between politicians<br />

and liberal legislation banning or limiting our rights to carry<br />

certain tools essential to protection, it is more important than<br />

ever to make sure we are protected both criminally and civilly<br />

should the day arise that we should be the righteous that stand<br />

bold as a Lion against such threats to our lives and the lives of<br />

others.<br />

I’ll start this article with the statement that this is NOT a paid<br />

advertisement but rather a report on one of the most important<br />

aspects of personal protection for the prepared member of the<br />

armed lifestyle. The television news and other media outlets<br />

have spent years trying to wrongfully train citizens of the United<br />

States and other countries around the globe that self-protection<br />

is limited or even completely wrong. It is time to change that<br />

narrative and become better educated and personally protected<br />

home and abroad. We as prepared citizens need to fully<br />

understand how entities like the USCCA and its parent company,<br />

Delta Defense can help give us a good peace of mind that in<br />

the event we must protect ourselves or a loved one. We need<br />

to know that someone will be in our corner to help us navigate<br />

the legal system and to not end up being punished civilly at<br />

a substantial financial loss or criminally by losing our valuable<br />

freedom because we chose to do what was needed to survive a<br />

violent encounter.<br />

As a former Law Enforcement officer, I have seen firsthand<br />

how myself and others could quickly end up in the spotlight for<br />

merely doing our job correctly as trained. Regardless of how<br />

brave your actions are or at whatever considerable personal risk<br />

you managed to overcome to accomplish your mission, you are<br />

ALWAYS going to end up the bad guy in someone else’s story.<br />

Stop an armed robber, mugger, or murderer with lethal<br />

force and expect the family to sue because you injured or killed<br />

someone that they misjudged. Thankfully, during my days as<br />

a Sheriff’s SWAT team operator, we had entities such as Police<br />

Benevolent Association (PBA) and Fraternal Order of Police (FOP)<br />


with Dan Tonto<br />



26<br />


to advocate for us inside and outside the courtroom to make<br />

sure justified law enforcement officers didn’t have to suffer<br />

from unjust and unethical criminal prosecution and civil action<br />

lawsuits. Sadly in those days, civilians did not have such luxuries<br />

despite facing the same threats lurking within our environment.<br />

After I retired, I went on to become a civilian firearms<br />

instructor and training counselor, responsible for not only training<br />

new and experienced shooters but other new instructors as well.<br />

Once I became certified through the National Rifle Association<br />

(NRA), I discovered a much younger organization, the United<br />

States Concealed Carry Association (USCCA). Unlike the NRA’s allencompassing<br />

sporting guns outlook, the USCCA’s training division<br />

was focused solely on what their name implies, concealed carry<br />

of a firearm with a curriculum designed to assist shooters at all<br />

skill levels. As an instructor, I appreciated the more up to date and<br />

personal defense focus of the USCCA amid a growing demand for<br />

self-defense training within our industry.<br />

For me, this was not an either / or decision to choose between<br />

organizations. I am and will always be a Benefactor Life Member<br />

of the NRA. I appreciate their fight for our Second Amendment<br />

rights in political circles and all the excellent training they have<br />

established as the gold standard of fundamental marksmanship<br />

training. The USCCA offered more focused essential, concealed<br />

carry and home defense training for the types of new shooters<br />

and professionals coming into the gun-owning world that may<br />

not have grown up with the “old guard” NRA, hunting, and<br />

shooting skeet.<br />

The USCCA’s roots lie as one of my favorite publications;<br />

Concealed Carry Magazine helmed by Founder Tim Schmidt,<br />

Executive Editor Kevin Michalowski, and the fantastic staff<br />

of editors, columnists and contributing writers. The articles<br />

and insight provided in each issue free to its USCCA members<br />

was a huge inspiration for the <strong>Armed</strong> <strong>Lifestyle</strong> Magazine to<br />

be created to branch out from the niche of self-defense and<br />

explore the whole 2A environment. At the heart of all of it, the<br />

USCCA founder wanted to make sure his company could protect<br />

those who mattered most, the responsibly prepared citizens.<br />

Delta Defense, the parent company to the USCCA, developed a<br />

membership program that would help with any expenses upfront<br />

and residual that may be incurred during a critical incident such<br />

as having to defend against an attacker. Notice, I have not said<br />

the word firearm? That’s because this protects more than just gun<br />

owners, it protects anyone willing to stand against a threat and<br />

win, whether that’s empty handed, with a knife or even a vehicle<br />

in situations such as potential carjackings.<br />

Having had experience with how comforting it is to have<br />

this sort of support from an established company that not only<br />

believed in someone doing what’s right but that will be in your<br />

corner every step of the way, I understand how underrated and<br />

invaluable this could be for civilian concealed carry practitioners.<br />

I’m not sure about you, but I don’t have tens of thousands<br />

of dollars, hundreds of thousands of dollars or more needed<br />

in costs to deal with the legal fallout that will come if I must<br />

defend myself from a home invasion in the middle of the night.<br />

Thankfully, the USCCA does, and they offer it and much more to<br />

its members including a robust training platform which will help<br />

its members become fully immersed in self-defense training and<br />

education which is designed to help members become mentally,<br />

physically, and legally prepared should they find themselves<br />

involved in a self-defense situation.<br />

I became a member of the USCCA as well as a range partner<br />

via our Swanson Training Group (STG) in January of 2019. What<br />

I did not know until then was how much available training via<br />

streaming video and downloadable material each member of the<br />

USCCA had access to via their member’s only website. From the<br />

time I had discovered the USCCA’s membership benefits packages<br />

until the time I ultimately signed up, I researched dozens. I<br />

quickly realized there were only three viable contenders in which<br />

roughly all things were almost entirely equal. Unlike the other<br />

two contenders, the USCCA offered the package I most wanted,<br />

a network of not only great attorneys but also a deep bench<br />

of highly respected firearms and self-defense instructors from<br />

across the country to educate people in and out of the classroom.<br />

With the membership package I signed up for myself and my<br />

wife, Candace, who is also an instructor, we get regular online<br />

training opportunities and discounts from well-known partner<br />

companies. In the first three months alone, I ended up saving<br />

more money in discounts and training than what I paid for the<br />

membership for the entire year!

As of last year, the USCCA launched even more member<br />

training with an entire line up of videos and range challenges<br />

under what they call the Protector Academy. These videos are<br />

regularly updated and range from how to teach your children<br />

about safety to how to properly use a red dot option on your rifle.<br />

While the video series in each category is not a full four-to-eighthour<br />

course, it will educate you enough to decide if you wish to<br />

find a local instructor to learn about topics more in depth.<br />

My personal favorites include Emergency First Aid and Tips on<br />

How to Stay Safe on Social Media. For first time gun owners, the<br />

information on firearm selection, best ways to carry and how to<br />

prepare to make your first trip to the range are amazing.<br />

Since signing as a range partner, our company has been able<br />

to work with some of the great Delta Defense representatives<br />

over the past few years, who helped facilitate our training<br />

company to teach in Las Vegas in addition to locations around<br />

our home territory of Florida. During this time, I have also been<br />

able to befriend other representatives across the country as well,<br />

who have equally done a great job of creating opportunities to<br />

help educate more people via in person classes and free monthly<br />

webinars. These consummate professionals have worked<br />

tirelessly to become vital assets to both their range partners<br />

and potential students looking to learn the benefits of such a<br />

beneficial membership in the USCCA.<br />

A couple of years ago, my region of Florida received a new<br />

representative that hit the ground running with our training<br />

group, Dan Tonto. Coming from years of experience in sales<br />

from other industries as well as public service as a firefighter/<br />

paramedic, Dan was very impressive from day one with his out of<br />

the box thinking and an eagerness to learn, train and promote the<br />

growth of every range partner he works<br />

with. That sort of selflessness and fresh<br />

thinking really got our team on their<br />

“A-game” to brainstorm how we can<br />

educate more people on the importance<br />

of having legal and financial protection<br />

for those who train hard every day to<br />

protect their families.<br />

As Dan helped me learn more about<br />

the world of Delta Defense / USCCA<br />

protection in the early days of getting<br />

to know each other to better explain to<br />

our students, I, in turn, invited him and<br />

his wife to train with our STG team. We<br />

had a great time in class, along with our<br />

other students and even more so on the<br />

range. The first day working together<br />

one on one, Dan showed off his skills by<br />

shooting a playing card in half at 10 feet.<br />

Game, set, match, Dan “Da Man” Tonto.<br />

I think it is safe to say, he grasped the<br />

fundamental concepts and represented<br />

the Delta Defense / USCCA team very<br />

well!<br />

I have learned a lot in a short<br />

amount of time, things that I feel like I<br />

have taken for granted before working<br />

with Dan. Although I have been a<br />

member for three years now, I feel even<br />

more confident in my family’s decision<br />

to take the plunge and become USCCA<br />

members. To best explain why the<br />

USCCA membership is so important to consider, I prefer to wrap<br />

this article with Dan’s own wise words.<br />

Dan - Do you feel that you are COMPLETELY prepared for a<br />

self-defense incident? In other words, you train on a regular basis,<br />

you have a self-defense plan in place, and you have attorneys at<br />

the ready for your criminal and/or civil defense should you need<br />

them because you acted in self-defense by using force.<br />

Being prepared for a self-defense incident requires a 100%<br />

commitment on your part which means you must be prepared<br />

mentally, physically, and legally.<br />

Considering there is a violent crime in this country every<br />

26 seconds (FBI statistic), being unprepared is NOT an option. If<br />

you called the police for an emergency and you knew that the<br />

responding officers had a total of just 4-hours of training, would<br />

you be okay with that? Well, that’s how much training most<br />

concealed carry holders have if that. Quite honestly that’s just not<br />

enough. Police officers carry firearms for the same reasons as law<br />

abiding citizens do; for self-defense, yet they continuously train,<br />

and the average CCL holder does not train at all or has minimal<br />

training.<br />

As a member of the USCCA, you will have access to some<br />

of the “best-in-class” online self-defense education and training,<br />

along with the ability to search for and attend “in-person” classes<br />

with one of thousands of USCCA Certified Instructors around the<br />

U.S. In addition, the USCCA has purchased a Self-Defense Liability<br />

Insurance Policy and all members get added on to their policy as<br />

an “added insured.” That means if you are involved in a covered<br />

self-defense incident, you will have help in both criminal and<br />

civil court. For covered incidents, there is NO LIMIT on defense<br />



28<br />


expenses for both criminal and civil court and as you can imagine,<br />

attorney fees will add up quickly. There is also a $2,000,000<br />

annual liability insurance limit which is applied towards damages<br />

if they are awarded in a civil case. There is also a $100,000 cost<br />

of bail expense limit included in the policy as well. The USCCA’s<br />

Attorney Network is made up of over 1200 attorneys and USCCA<br />

members have access to the Critical Response Team, an in-house<br />

team trained in Crisis Management who are available 24/7/365<br />

who will get you in touch with your attorney and other resources<br />

immediately.<br />

I often hear people say they have a better chance of getting<br />

struck by lightning than being involved in a self-defense incident.<br />

That’s just not true. According to the National Weather<br />

Service, just 270 people get struck by lightning in the U.S. every<br />

year. Conversely, according to American Gun Facts.com, there are<br />

between 500,000 and 3,000,000 instances where a firearm is<br />

used in self-defense every year; that’s thousands per day. Twohundred<br />

and seventy people will definitely fill up a room, but it<br />

would take about 50 football stadiums to fit 3 million people.<br />

That’s crazy. If you are the “Protector” of yourself and your<br />

loved ones, this membership is a “need to have” and should be<br />

part of your self-defense plan because it is so comprehensive.<br />

Memberships start at just $29/month; a small price to pay<br />

for so much value; especially considering there is also a 365-<br />

Day Money-Back Guarantee making it essentially risk free to<br />

join. Please scan the QR Code below to get a FREE self-defense<br />

e-guide, as well as more info and details on how to join.<br />

You can also reach out to dan - dan.t@deltadefense.com<br />

Don’t leave your family’s safety and security up to chance.<br />

Learn which firearms and calibers are legal (and which are not), what ammunition is<br />

reliable, accurate and gets the job done, and which gear keeps your weapons safe<br />

and legal in this easy-to-read and comprehensive “Defend Yourself” guide.<br />

Receive this FREE life-changing and lifesaving<br />

guide by scanning this QR code:<br />


Next_Gen_Lead_Generation_Card_3-4-2021.indd 1<br />

3/5/21 1:20 PM

mc2sc<br />



©<strong>2022</strong> O.F. Mossberg & Sons, Inc.<br />


Slim, lightweight, and perfect for comfortable concealed carry— the<br />

all-new ergonomically-designed MC2sc Micro-Compact has double-stack<br />

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and an optic-ready slide for easy direct mounting of micro dot optics.<br />

Mossberg — Makers of dependable, hardworking firearms for more than a century.<br />


SAFETY TIP: Store firearms securely, inaccessible to children and unauthorized users.<br />

Consult and comply with any and all applicable federal, state, and local: laws,<br />

regulations, requirements, and/or restrictions, including but not limited to those<br />

regarding the purchase, ownership, use, transport, and carrying of a firearm.

30<br />


THE G44:<br />

Glock Shooters’ Missing Training Link - By Trampas Swanson<br />

Question? What happens when you cross the history’s<br />

most popular caliber with the world’s most popular firearms<br />

manufacturer?<br />

Answer: You get the Glock model 44 chambered in .22 LR!<br />

For the diehard Glock fan base, this was a long-awaited platform,<br />

shooters had been searching for decades. These shooters had to<br />

sit by the side as they watched companies such as S&W, SIG,<br />

Ruger, even Colt release or license .22 versions of their popular<br />

larger caliber handguns and rifles. Prior to December of 2019,<br />

only option for running .22 LR on a Glock platform came in the<br />

form of a conversion unit from Tactical Solutions that was almost<br />

as expensive as the base model Glock it was designed for.<br />

Finally, after much anticipation, the model 44 hit the market<br />

just as we moved into the year 2020 and Glock shooters rejoiced.<br />

I should know, because honestly, I was one of them. After<br />

spending a half hour shooting a sample of the new pistol on<br />

the range during SHOT SHOW 2020, I immediately requested a<br />

sample for T&E as soon as I could. During two years of range<br />

training during the COVID pandemic and resulting fall out, I have<br />

been able to work intimately with the G44 on the range teaching<br />

classes and honing my own skills. As time progressed, I wrote<br />

for several industry publications about my first thoughts and<br />

developing opinions on the G44 as the round count on the gun<br />

grew higher. After thousands of rounds and hundreds of students<br />

taught, shooters and instructors alike weigh in for the final report!<br />


As we entered the COVID shutdown, the United States crossed<br />

into a period of widespread ammunition shortages. The leading<br />

cause was due to the growth of over 10 million new gun owners<br />

over the span of 2020 and 2021. Major ammo manufacturers<br />

report in at anywhere for 12 – 14 months in backlogged orders.<br />

Unlike the common defensive calibers such as 9mm, .45, 5.56,<br />

it has been easier to find bulk quantities of .22 LR at affordable<br />

prices when in stock. Regardless of what brings shooters to the<br />

range, they all have a common need for affordable ammo and<br />

trigger time to have fun growing their skillsets.<br />

The hot “buzz” term for all these new and traditional gun<br />

owners over the past two years has been the same, Self Defense!<br />

Between media fearmongering, increased national violence<br />

and the rapid growth of powerhouse organizations such as<br />

the United Concealed Carry Association, people have flocked to<br />

firearms training. Professional firearms instructors have seen vast<br />

increases in Concealed Carry, Basic, Advanced firearms, Situational<br />

Awareness and First Aid courses. As an NRA and USCCA Training<br />

Counselor, I have not only taught hundreds of students during<br />

this span and before, but also been honored to help certify new<br />

firearms instructors as well. I have seen how our Swanson Training<br />

Group (STG) methodology, techniques, and proper mindset has<br />

trickled down to the students of our candidate instructors and<br />

continued forward.<br />

The challenges of teaching students how to properly shoot lie<br />

in helping them learn proper stance, breathing, grip, sight picture<br />

/ sight alignment, trigger control and follow through / recoil<br />

mitigation. Over my twenty years of helping law enforcement<br />

and civilian shooters become more efficient with firearms, I

have noticed where the most learning occurs. In the classroom,<br />

the stance and grip can quickly be attained and practiced using<br />

training aids as simple as blue guns or ASP red guns, both which<br />

are simply gun shaped blocks of solid plastic. To get true feedback<br />

from sight picture / sight alignment and trigger control, SIRT<br />

guns from www.NextLevelTraining.com or high end 6mm guns<br />

driven by green gas have proven to be faster to decrease learning<br />

curves. These greatly assist in getting students better focused on<br />

the fundamentals. However, when it comes to breathing, recoil<br />

mitigation and follow through, nothing can take the place of live<br />

fire. This is where the Glock model G44 comes in handy.<br />


When I originally received the pistol from Glock I was sad to see<br />

the model 44 only shipped with two 10 round magazines, unlike<br />

most other Glocks that come with three magazines. Since then, I<br />

have managed to acquire 4 other factory magazines from various<br />

resources. Like its larger counterparts, the G44 included standard<br />

Gen 4 style backstrap additions for those with larger hands.<br />

The overall size of the frame and slide were that of a standard<br />

model 19 chambered in 9mm. With the Glock model G19 being<br />

the most popular model among civilian sales and second behind<br />

the full sized G17, Glock clearly marketed the G44 to the largest<br />

possible audience.<br />

While the dimensions are almost exact, the G44 comes in<br />

about 9 ounces lighter than its G19 counterpart. This is mainly<br />

due to the G44’s hybrid slide that incorporates a steel core breach<br />

block and rails wrapped in a lightweight polymer cover. This<br />

keeps the slide light enough for the force of the .22 LR to reliably<br />

cycle the slide. Combined with a fluted chamber that allows for<br />

gas flow around the cartridge during firing to clear debris away,<br />

the action helps fight fast build up commonly associated with the<br />

tight tolerances of the .22 platform.<br />

The G44 ships with the standard white dot front sight and<br />

white outlined “U” shaped and can be upgraded with any sights<br />

that will fit models such as the 19, 17, 34 or their corresponding<br />

models. This allows shooters to closer replicate their favorite<br />

larger firearm they may carry to training, duty or everyday carry<br />

(EDC). The standard 5.5 lb trigger felt like every “out of the box”<br />

Glock I have ever shot. The flush fit ten round magazine loaded<br />

easily and dropped free cleanly. After several sessions in my<br />

office dry practicing magazine changes and trigger presses, I was<br />

looking forward to getting some rounds down range as soon as<br />

possible.<br />

G44 SPECS<br />

Caliber<br />

Overall Length<br />

Slide Length<br />

Width (Overall)<br />

Slide Width<br />

Height w/ Mag.<br />

Overall Sight Distance<br />

Trigger Travel Distance<br />

Magazine Capacity<br />

.22 LR<br />

7.28 inch<br />

6.85 inch<br />

1.26 inch<br />

1.00 inch<br />

5.04 inch<br />

6.02 inch<br />

2.76 inch<br />

10 rounds<br />



During one of my many range trips, I was joined by fellow<br />

instructor, Jim Wenzel and well-known holster maker, John<br />

Phillips aka the “King of Kydex” from Survivor Creek to offer<br />

their perspectives on the G44 as well. Our team met early one<br />


32<br />


morning at the Baldwin Pistol School owned by good friend, Tom<br />

Martin. Over the next two hours, shooters ran various strings of<br />

fire and made their notes. The ultimate compliment to come from<br />

this initial session was simply, “It shoots like a Glock”. The pistol<br />

ran flawlessly and felt very natural to a group of guys who have<br />

spent the bulk of their shooting careers pulling Glock triggers.<br />

Part of our session included running the G44 with the<br />

Swarm .22 caliber suppressor from Elevated Silence (www.<br />

ElevatedSilence.com ). A good day got even better when we<br />

switched to running suppressed. There was barely any noticeable<br />

point of aim, point of impact shift even at the 20 yard mark.<br />

All hits staying within the paper target’s 9 right or any of the<br />

4” steel used during the day. The diminutive suppressor “hands<br />

down” out performed three other .22 caliber suppressors I had<br />

in our inventory. Using the shorted configuration of the Swarm<br />

performed flawlessly, delivering the same impressive accuracy<br />

with the threaded barrel as the standard nonthreaded Glock<br />

barrel showed unsuppressed. Both Suppressor and Mini Mag<br />

ammunition from CCI were used with only a difference of a ¼”<br />

in accuracy difference in the two. The suppressed ammunition<br />

grouped slightly lower than the full power variant. This range<br />

session made me really excited to introduce this pistol to my<br />

students at the range.<br />

Rather than just having new shooters jump from running SIRT<br />

or 6mm guns in the classroom to live fire with their 9mm or<br />

.45 caliber pistols on the range, my STG instructors and I divide<br />

shooting into subcategories as well. Depending on the skill level<br />

of our students, we will work them from the SIRT and 6mm to<br />

a .22 caliber handgun in which all their basic fundamentals can<br />

be practiced over and over under the watchful eye of a qualified<br />

instructor. This offers our students all the major fundamentals<br />

while keeping cost and recoil low. In the past, I often used a<br />

Ruger MKIII and MKIV 22/45 pistol for initial live fire.

As many readers know, the Ruger Mark series of pistols are<br />

an ultra-reliable and accurate .22 option for new and seasoned<br />

shooters alike. With most of our students running Glock 9mm<br />

variants, the Glock 44 was quickly adapted and helped learning<br />

curves between .22 and larger calibers greatly decrease. Even<br />

more so than using the Ruger Mark pistols. Students moving from<br />

the feel of the factory Glock trigger and standard factory Glock<br />

sights of the G44 to the same of the G17 or G19 was a direct<br />

transfer of comfort and proficiency. Try as others may, nothing<br />

feels and performs like a Glock than another Glock.<br />

During the range trip, the G44 was shot over 800 rounds.<br />

Aside from the occasional shooter induced error and two noted<br />

failures to go into battery issues due to an extremely dirty<br />

chamber, the G44 had not regularly had any malfunctions. After<br />

the shooting ceased for the day, fellow instructor, Tom Martin<br />

spoke to me about an issue he had with his three G44 pistols. It<br />

seems Tom had been given some bad ammo in which produced<br />

above average chamber pressures. The results were ejectors<br />

constantly breaking and needing replaced before the problem<br />

was diagnosed. While this is a relatively simple fix, it still is not<br />

something you wish to regularly deal with. Since having this<br />

issue and disposing of the problematic ammunition, Tom has<br />

reported zero issues afterwards.<br />

pistol has to capability to make you a better thinker, shooter and<br />

strategist if done correctly.<br />

Retailing for $430, the average market price found in the local<br />

gun shop is right round $399. I recommend this pistol as a great<br />

training aid to many of the new NRA and USCCA Instructors I certify<br />

to begin their teaching endeavors. The accuracy, constant trigger<br />

pull, familiar size and weight make for a perfect combination<br />

for an affordable pistol for training. With the rising cost of<br />

ammunition and lack of availability, the Glock 44 offers one of<br />

the best options on the market to continue live fire training and<br />

to best educate others in the process.<br />

Many will agree concept of a .22 caliber version of the<br />

most popular handgun platform in the world was long overdue.<br />

However, I applaud Glock for taking their time to get it right the<br />

first time. The best way to really appreciate G44 is to shoot one<br />

for yourself. Several ranges across the country offer them to rent<br />

prior to purchase. I highly recommend giving it a try for yourself.<br />

To find out more about this model and other Glock products, visit<br />

www.us.glock.com.<br />



Overall, I recommend the Glock model 44 for a myriad of<br />

reasons. As a long time fan of the innovative Ruger Mark series<br />

and the classic Browning Buckmark line of pistols, the one clear<br />

advantage the Glock offers over the others is the one to one ratio<br />

it shares with the Glock 19. (For those wondering, the G44 it will<br />

not interchange slides with its larger caliber cousin.) From the<br />

new shooter to the tactical officer or GSSF competition shooter<br />

doing practice walk throughs with low budget live fire, this<br />


34<br />



In life the most prepared of us will always have a better chance<br />

at completing the mission versus those who are not prepared.<br />

How many times have we seen someone sick or injured and<br />

we see people standing around doing nothing? As a paramedic<br />

for the last 31 years, and a USCCA Certified Firearms Instructor,<br />

two roles that require a lot of mental and physical preparation,<br />

nothing could be truer. In fact, at Delta Defense, the Service<br />

Provider of the U.S. Concealed Carry Association, the organization<br />

where I work, we preach this every day because nothing is more<br />

important than being prepared, whether it’s defending yourself<br />

from an attack or treating someone who has been injured or<br />

just falls ill. We are our own first responders. As they say, when<br />

seconds count, emergency services (police, fire, EMS) are just<br />

minutes away.<br />

Providing first aid for someone who is sick or injured is not only<br />

a noble cause, but it is something that all of us should have<br />

some basic understanding of. First aid is just that; it’s providing<br />

immediate care to the sick or injured whether further advanced<br />

level care is needed or not. If further advanced level care is<br />

needed the “first aid” that you provide can be the difference<br />

between life or death.<br />

So now the question or questions become: how can I provide first<br />

aid to someone if I don’t have any medical training? What should<br />

my emergency first aid kit also known as a Multiple First Aid Kit<br />

(MFAK) look like or have in it? There is also something called an<br />

IFAK, which is an Individual First Aid Kit which is essentially a<br />

small MFAK and used to treat yourself or just one person. An IFAK<br />

has much fewer contents and is designed to be added to your<br />

gear and not as a standalone. The MFAK treats multiple people<br />

and is designed to be carried by itself as its own entity. For the<br />

purposes of this article, I’ll be discussing the MFAK (larger kit)<br />

although having an IFAK (smaller kit) is a great idea, it just won’t<br />

be sufficient to treat multiple people. I should also note that the<br />

M in MFAK is sometimes used to refer to “mini”, “medical” and<br />

“military.” My advice; don’t get caught up on the name, just<br />

understand that a larger portable kit will treat multiple people<br />

whereas a smaller kit will be limited to just one person.<br />

First and foremost, providing first aid to someone does not require

special skills or years of training. It requires a bit of education and<br />

the understanding of whatever you put in your MFAK; you know<br />

how to use/operate it. You can start by taking a first aid or CPR<br />

class through an approved body like the American Red Cross (First<br />

Aid, CPR & AED), Stop The Bleed, the American Heart Association<br />

(CPR) or the U.S. Concealed Carry Association’s Emergency First<br />

Aid & Fundamentals Class. The classes offered would take up<br />

less than 8-hours of your time. There are also many great first<br />

aid videos online as well. The only caution here is to make sure<br />

the presenter is a qualified individual for whatever he or she is<br />

teaching. Watching a video of a layperson teaching a first aid<br />

technique without any credentials is not advisable.<br />

Emergencies that require first aid are broken down into two main<br />

categories: Medical and Trauma.<br />

Examples of medical emergencies would be: sudden cardiac<br />

arrest, chest pain, shortness of breath, abdominal pain,<br />

nausea and vomiting, stroke, diabetic emergency to include<br />

hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia (too little or too much blood<br />

sugar), fainting/loss of consciousness (also known as syncope<br />

pronounced siNGkəpē), shock (sudden loss of blood pressure),<br />

etc. You may need to provide first aid for a heart attack victim<br />

or someone having a stroke or other medical emergency. The<br />

simple act of calling 911 and being there to comfort someone is<br />

huge and should not be minimized.<br />

Traumatic injuries result from an individual being physically<br />

injured. Motor vehicle crashes, gunshot wounds (GSW),<br />

stabbings, blunt force trauma, falls, drownings/near drownings<br />

and environmental injuries are all examples of how someone<br />

can suffer a traumatic injury which can result in: minor or<br />

major bleeding, strains/sprains/broken bones, minor/severe<br />

lacerations, concussion/head injury, burns, frostbite, heat related<br />

injuries (heat stroke being the most severe and can lead to<br />

unconsciousness or even death if not quickly treated), traumatic<br />

pneumothorax (a condition where air leaks into the pleural cavity,<br />

the space between the lungs and chest wall causing the lung or<br />

lungs to collapse or partially collapse), tension pneumothorax;<br />

similar to traumatic pneumothorax but air is unable to escape<br />

the pleural cavity thereby squeezing the lungs and heart making<br />

them unable to function), unconsciousness and cardiac arrest.<br />

The severity of the medical or traumatic emergency will determine<br />

if advanced level care is required beyond the first aid provided.<br />

As an example, if someone suffers from a slide bite injury on the<br />

hand while at the range, chances are some hydrogen peroxide<br />

or soap and water and an adhesive bandage will do the trick and<br />

no further medical attention is necessary. The most important<br />

factor is being able to quickly identify if the medical or traumatic<br />

emergency is life threatening or severe enough to require further<br />

medical intervention. Your assessment skills will be the best tool<br />

you have. Once you have assessed the situation, what you do<br />

next will be the next most important thing.<br />



36<br />


For example, if someone has a severe arterial injury to an<br />

extremity where blood is literally spurting into the air; the<br />

patient needs a tourniquet applied immediately depending of<br />

course where the injury is. If the severed artery is too high up on<br />

the extremity or it’s coming from the head or neck; you’ll have<br />

to use something else like an Israeli Bandage (a.k.a. Emergency<br />

or Combat Bandage) or a bulky dressing with the application of<br />

direct pressure to stop the bleeding. The main goal is to stop the<br />

bleeding before the patient bleeds to death. The good news is,<br />

that anyone can apply direct pressure to a wound that is severely<br />

bleeding. That simple act alone can save someone’s life.<br />

Let’s talk about what supplies you need in your MFAK. This is<br />

going to be based on your level of training, but as you will<br />

see, your MFAK needs to be portable and have basic supplies.<br />

Remember, these kits are designed to render first aid, not<br />

advanced life support. I am a paramedic trained to perform many<br />

advanced life support techniques, yet my MFAK is very basic with<br />

very few exceptions. What helps me over the layperson are my<br />

assessment skills, but that should not deter you from providing<br />

competent first aid to someone in need. Like anything else in life,<br />

the more training you have in something, the more of an expert<br />

you will be. In providing first aid in a severe emergency, the goal<br />

is to get the patient to the next level of care; most likely EMS<br />

whose job it is to get the patient to a medical facility.<br />


Tourniquets (SWAT-T – Stretch, Wrap & Tuck tourniquet and CAT<br />

– Combat Application Tourniquet), Israeli Bandage (Emergency<br />

Bandage, Combat Bandage-2 or more), bulky dressings, gauze,<br />

adhesive bandages, steri-strips, HyFin vented chest seal,<br />

emergency blankets, CPR mask, tape, gloves, trauma shears,<br />

aspirin (for heart attack), glucose gel (for hypoglycemia), liquid<br />

bandage, QuikClot, SAM (structural aluminum malleable) splint<br />

for long bone fractures, chest decompression needles, work<br />

gloves, a tactical pen (one with a tungsten tip to break glass,)<br />

LED pen light, Pulse Oximeter (a device that shows someone’s<br />

oxygen saturation in the blood), knife, seatbelt cutter.<br />

You may consider other items or more of certain items based on<br />

the mission.<br />

As you can see, with the exception of chest decompression<br />

needles which are generally used by paramedics and physicians,<br />

my MFAK is very basic, BUT you need to be proficient with the<br />

supplies you carry. For example, the application of a tourniquet or<br />

Israeli Bandage requires practice because when either is needed,<br />

time is NOT on your side.<br />

Ultimately, being prepared should always include having access<br />

to an IFAK/MFAK with the knowledge of how to use the supplies<br />

contained within and the knowledge of providing basic first aid<br />

to ourselves or our fellow citizens in need. We never intend to<br />

be sick or injured or come across someone who is sick or injured,<br />

but if you do, wouldn’t you like to know what to do? You may just<br />

save someone’s life. For more information on first aid and saving<br />

lives check out the organizations below.<br />

https://www.usconcealedcarry.com<br />

https://www.heart.org<br />

https://www.redcross.org<br />

https://www.stopthebleed.org<br />

Dan Tonto went to the Connecticut State Fire School during college;<br />

volunteered as a fire fighter/paramedic in his community and<br />

was a Lead Paramedic Supervisor for a hospital-based EMS system<br />

which provided EMS to the City of Danbury, CT and surrounding<br />

areas. Currently, Dan is an Account Executive for Delta Defense, a<br />

USCCA Certified Firearms Instructor and has been a Paramedic and<br />

CCL holder for over 30 years.




Alarge segment of the American population<br />

is moving into the clinical age range where<br />

dementia is a legitimate concern. The fact that<br />

we are living longer, increases the odds of a<br />

person having some form of cognitive impairment<br />

prior to death. With gun sales continuing to hit<br />

record levels for the last two years, the number<br />

of persons with dementia (PWD) who possess<br />

firearms is likely to continue to increase.<br />

There are many safety concerns when caring for a PWD but most<br />

dangers are a risk primarily to the PWD not caregivers or others.<br />

Firearms obviously increase the scope of risk and put those in the<br />

vicinity of the PWD in potential danger. In May of 2015 a former<br />

law enforcement officer accidentally shot his wife of 57 years. As<br />

the ambulance raced to save her, he was unaware he had caused<br />

her any harm.<br />

As a dementia consultant I have delt with this issue more than<br />

once. The law enforcement officer noted above was not a client<br />

and thankfully I have never had a client in a situation where a<br />

firearm had been discharged. Recently, I met with my friend and<br />

client Deb to assist her in planning for her father’s care as he had<br />

just been diagnosed with dementia. Her father, Bob, had been<br />

becoming more and more forgetful and confused over the past<br />

several months and had even gotten lost driving a very familiar<br />

route to the grocery store. Bob lived alone and, understandably,<br />

wanted to stay in his home if possible. He was struggling with the<br />

diagnosis and how it would change his life. We talked through<br />

care options as we walked Bob’s house so I could assess for fall<br />

risks and other safety hazards. When we got to Bob’s home office<br />

I saw the mounted deer head, the gun safe and Bob’s framed<br />

military memorabilia and awards. Deb anticipated my question<br />

and said “Yeah, Dad still has his guns, and it makes me nervous<br />

after seeing how confused he was the day he got lost. I am also<br />

concerned about caregivers coming into the house with all his<br />

guns here. But he is not going to give them up willingly. That is<br />

one of the issues I need you to help me with.”<br />

Having met Bob, I knew this was going to be a tough obstacle.<br />

Bob was a decorated veteran, avid hunter, and staunch supporter<br />

of the 2nd Amendment. He was a competitive shooter as well<br />

as a range safety officer (RSO) at his gun club, albeit a decade<br />

ago. Shooting and guns were a big part of Bob’s lifestyle and his<br />

identity.<br />

I have been through this with many clients, trying to find a<br />

way to help them through the dementia journey safely while<br />

still allowing them to maintain as much of their independence,<br />

identity, and dignity as possible. It is always tough, but some<br />

journeys are tougher than others and I knew this would be a<br />

one of those. No one wants to give up their independence and<br />

rely on the care of others even if they are aware that is the only<br />

logical solution. This is why suicide is always a concern in these<br />

situations. To complicate the issue, dementia can rob a person of<br />

insight and awareness of their impairment which will make logic<br />

and reasoning an ineffective tool in convincing a PWD that they<br />

need to make changes and accept help.<br />

Mayo Clinic describes dementia as a term used to describe<br />

a group of symptoms affecting memory, thinking and social<br />

abilities severely enough to interfere with your daily life. The<br />

term dementia does not refer to a specific disease but to the<br />

symptoms listed above. Several diseases and medical issues<br />

can cause dementia. Many people associate dementia with<br />

Alzheimer’s disease, which is the most common cause of<br />

progressive and irreversible dementia in older adults, but there<br />

are several other causes of dementia. Here are some examples<br />

of causes of reversible and irreversible dementias:<br />

Depression<br />

Adverse effects of medications<br />

Endocrine issues<br />

Normal pressure hydrocephalus – or fluid on the brain<br />

Alzheimer’s disease (irreversible)<br />

Huntington’s disease (irreversible)<br />

Lewy Body (with or without Parkinson’s - irreversible)<br />

Although dementia involves memory loss, presenting with<br />

memory loss alone doesn’t mean you have dementia, although<br />



38<br />


it’s often one of the early signs of the condition.<br />

Depending on the cause, as we noted above, some dementia<br />

symptoms might be reversible. Symptoms vary but common<br />

symptoms include:<br />

Cognitive changes<br />

Amnesia - Memory loss<br />

Anomia - Difficulty communicating or finding words<br />

Aphasia – Difficulty articulating thoughts into language or<br />

understanding language<br />

Agnosia – Inability to recognize common items or understand<br />

how to use them<br />

Apraxia - Difficulty with coordination and motor functions<br />

Anosognosia – Inability to recognize symptoms or deficits<br />

Difficulty with visual and spatial abilities, such as getting lost<br />

while driving<br />

Difficulty reasoning or problem-solving<br />

Difficulty with planning and organizing<br />

Confusion and disorientation<br />

Psychological changes<br />

Personality changes<br />

Depression<br />

Anxiety<br />

Inappropriate behavior<br />

Paranoia<br />

Agitation<br />

Hallucinations<br />

Clearly these symptoms are not conducive to safely handling a<br />

firearm. The presence of anosognosia can make the process of<br />

implementing care and other safety measures very difficult. If a<br />

person is unable to perceive their symptoms or illness, they will<br />

likely be unwilling to take steps to eliminate the risks such as<br />

driving, accepting care, having someone else manage finances<br />

and giving up firearms.<br />

I wish I could tell you there was an easy solution for this issue,<br />

but there is not. Each case of cognitive impairment is somewhat<br />

unique because each person is unique and there are a variety of<br />

ways the impairment may present. Some people with dementia<br />

can understand the risks the dementia poses and willingly give<br />

up car keys or move into an assisted living environment, but<br />

many of my clients do not understand the gravity of the situation<br />

and fight any changes even though they are in their best interest.<br />

Again, logic and reasoning do not always matter.<br />

In the case of my client, Bob hated the idea of removing his guns<br />

and having caregivers come in. It felt intrusive and like he was<br />

being robbed of his independence. He was in his right mind to<br />

feel that way. This was intrusive and it was removing some of his<br />

independence. Dementia does that and it is horrible.<br />

Luckily in this case, Bob was in the early stages of the disease<br />

process and was able to understand the need for these changes.<br />

He was willing to have his daughter store his guns for him, but<br />

he felt vulnerable not having any firearms in the house. We<br />

were able to convince him to try some alternative solutions. We<br />

installed an alarm system that could be controlled remotely by<br />

Deb and had a fob with a panic button setting that he could push<br />

in case of emergency. Since Bob was still able to conduct his<br />

basic activities of daily living or ADLs (bathing, feeding, mobility,<br />

dressing, toileting) we were able to utilize family and friends<br />

to assist with instrumental ADLs which require more complex<br />

thinking or problem solving (managing finances, driving, home<br />

maintenance, meal preparation, medication management). But<br />

at some point, as his dementia progresses there will be a need<br />

for increased care that will require professional outside services.<br />

What should you do if you have a loved one who is displaying<br />

signs of dementia? Each situation is a bit different, however here<br />

are some things I can recommend:<br />

If a loved one is experiencing the symptoms above, get them<br />

assessed and diagnosed as soon as possible. As I noted above,<br />

some symptoms are reversible, but if it is a progressive dementia<br />

the sooner it is diagnosed the more able the person with the<br />

disease will be able to participate in decisions regarding their<br />

care. Diagnosis usually begins with a visit to the primary care<br />

physician followed by a neurological examination and potentially<br />

a neuro-psychological exam. This is done to rule out reversible<br />

symptoms as well as gain an understanding of what areas of the<br />

brain are impacted by the disease. In an irreversible dementia,<br />

treatment is focused on symptom management and quality of<br />

life since there are no curative options.<br />

Educate yourself on dementia. The more you know the better<br />

you can plan and advocate. Familiarize yourself with reality<br />

orientation vs therapeutic fibbing. For example, if a loved one<br />

is confused and asks about the whereabouts of another person<br />

who has passed, orienting them back to reality by stating “Mom,<br />

you know Dad is dead” is not always the best option. That cold<br />

hard truth can often cause confusion, suspicion, a resurgence of<br />

grief, fear, and anxiety. Although counter intuitive, a therapeutic<br />

fib and a distraction to something pleasant, such as “I’m not sure<br />

where Dad is, but let’s go have some ice cream while we wait<br />

for him” can often re-direct their thinking to something in the<br />

present and avoid the pain of reality orientation. This can be very<br />

difficult because we are taught not to lie, but when a loved one<br />

is cognitively impaired our primary responsibility is to keep them<br />

safe and help them have a good day. Do or say whatever it takes<br />

to give them a good day.<br />

Understand that progressive dementias like Alzheimer’s cause<br />

brain failure and are due to the physiological changes and<br />

breakdown of the brain tissue. Your loved one cannot control<br />

the dementia symptoms anymore that someone with a severe<br />

brain injury can. They are not necessarily trying to be difficult, so<br />

try to be patient.<br />

Understand that dementia is often unpredictable, just because<br />

Dad never wandered or was aggressive etc., does not mean that<br />

those presentations can’t happen without warning in the future.<br />

You need to be proactive and prepared for how the disease will<br />


Ask for help. There are multiple organizations and advocates that<br />

can help you. It is incredibly hard to be a full-time care giver and<br />

a family member at the same time. Beware of organizations that<br />

help you find care options and get paid by the care community<br />

or agency for the referral. They are not working for you; they are<br />

working for referral money.<br />

Formulate a plan. You will need to understand medical, financial,<br />

insurance and legal options and impacts.<br />

Prepare to deal with change. Your loved one is going to change<br />

and how you care for and support them may need to change as<br />

well.<br />

When it comes to dealing with firearms in the home, the<br />

organization Hold My Guns® is a wonderful resource. In a recent<br />

conversation, Sarah Joy Albrecht, Founder and Executive Director<br />

of Hold My Guns® shared how the nonprofit works.<br />

“Through partnering FFLs, Hold My Guns® provides a voluntary,<br />

supportive off-site storage option for gun owners when there is<br />

concern about unauthorized access to firearms by a household<br />

member experiencing cognitive decline due to dementia. As a<br />

for-gun-owners, by-gun-owners nonprofit, our team encourages<br />

all gun owners to take a self-governance approach to protect their<br />

household by keeping firearms secured to prevent unauthorized<br />

access that can lead to tragedy. One of the reasons we daily<br />

carry firearms is because we know that we can find ourselves in<br />

unexpected situations where we need to address a threat with<br />

deadly force. Yet, we must humbly recognize that unexpected<br />

situations go beyond encountering a criminal at the grocery store.<br />

Tomorrow may bring an unexpected brain injury due to a car<br />

accident that could result in cognitive impairment. It is imperative<br />

to have a personal safety plan in place that includes a plan for<br />

the secure storage of firearms. Do not put off creating such a<br />

plan because you only associate cognitive decline with aging --<br />

it is something that can happen to anyone. Furthermore, Hold<br />

My Guns® highly recommends consulting with an attorney and<br />

creating a Gun Trust, which allows for joint ownership of firearms.<br />

A Gun Trust is helpful because it facilitates the transfer of firearms<br />

between members of the trust, and can make utilizing off-site<br />

storage easier, without unintentionally violating state laws. Hold<br />

My Guns® cannot underscore enough the necessity of the right<br />

to pre-deprivation due process. Taking a proactive approach by<br />

having a Gun Trust and a personal safety plan for firearms storage<br />

are two ways that gun owners can sustain agency during times of<br />

crisis or personal need. This helps to preserve rights not only for<br />

individuals but for gun owners everywhere.”<br />

Walk the Talk America (WTTA) is another organization that has<br />

been doing great work to reduce any negative outcomes at the<br />

intersection of firearms and mental health issues. Rob Pincus who<br />

is a nationally known firearms trainer, author and consultant also<br />

is a board member of WTTA and he has helped several people<br />

that are dealing with impairment issues address the hard choices<br />

that have to be made. In a recent discussion Rob stated, “One<br />

thing that I know has helped some families is the technology<br />

advancements that have been made regarding securing staged<br />

defensive firearms. For situations when impairment isn’t<br />

constant, it may be possible for someone to contact a family<br />

member or trusted friend to open a Wi-Fi connected safe in<br />

an emergency situation when the affected person is lucid and<br />

convinces the responsible party that they are in a state where<br />

access to a firearm would be appropriate. While there are obvious<br />

pitfalls to that arrangement, in some cases, they will be less<br />

concerning than the thought of the tragedies that could occur<br />

with unsupervised access to firearms while in an impaired state.”<br />

If you can’t remove the firearms initially, remove all ammunition<br />

or disable the firearm. Keep them locked in a safe location not<br />

easily accessed by the PWD or outside visitors. Insure any that<br />

are valuable and do not publicize the presence of them in the<br />

home.<br />

Clearly the issue of removing firearms is a serious one in a<br />

dementia situation and one that should be addressed early on.<br />

As difficult as doing that may be, I can assure you it will be better<br />

than the possible alternative of someone getting injured or killed<br />

and the aftermath that will follow if that happens.<br />

Jamie Headley is a USCCA certified firearms instructor with<br />

Steel & Stilettos Firearm Training. She is also the founder and<br />

President of Dementia Services Group, a dementia consulting<br />

company that helps families navigate the dementia journey.<br />



40<br />


When the threat isn’t Bad Guy<br />

Implementation of the armed lifestyle is one of accepting<br />

personal responsibility. We care for and love our family and circle<br />

deeply, so much that we take their safety as a duty that we will<br />

perform. We do not shirk that responsibility onto the state, onto<br />

law enforcement who cannot necessarily be right there right<br />

when we need them, or onto anyone else.<br />

We get the training, the skills, and earn the proficiency. We<br />

spend the money on the gear we need to do this, which means<br />

sometimes we don’t have that cash for tickets to The Game or<br />

the evening out. We do this because our people are worth it to<br />

us, and we understand that there are bad people in the world<br />

who will put their desires and gain over the safety of our people.<br />

We remain vigilant against it.<br />

Defensive training is all about the protector against the Bad Guy.<br />

Another person. Conflict between people. Good training takes<br />

Bad Guy’s intent, resources, and behaviors into account, and<br />

assesses and expands the same capabilities of the protector. Bad<br />

Guy may move quick and rush us. We train to get off the X, move<br />

behind cover, and increase Bad Guy’s time and distance to get to<br />

us. Bad Guy might have a knife, bat, gun, or more. We train for<br />

threat prioritization and engagement. Bad Guy might be three<br />

individuals. We train multiple threats and transitions.<br />

A day of this great training at the range or the dojo is one skill<br />

building and camaraderie among a growing group of like-minded<br />

people, but we never forget that it is purpose-driven serious<br />

training for protecting your circle.<br />

If we truly care about our circle, and our protective instincts run<br />

deeply for them, we must consider much more than Bad Guy as<br />

the only threat we face. What if the threat is not an interpersonal<br />

one? What if the threat is a tornado, a flood, an economic<br />

downturn, or a pandemic? When bad things are about to happen<br />

and our family looks at us for the answers, what will we have for<br />

them? Or are we only a guy with a gun?<br />

This is where our personal responsibility shines; the demonstration<br />

to our loved ones that we are looking out for them, their wellbeing,<br />

and our futures. Whether as simple as having charged<br />

flashlights in a nighttime power outage, or as complicated as

obtaining resources that will<br />

harm,<br />

in protecting from harm, and<br />

assist<br />

u s t always be taken into<br />

m<br />

account.<br />

H E L T E R<br />

S<br />

which insulates you from<br />

That<br />

environment or helps<br />

the<br />

the environment to be<br />

condition<br />

trapping equipment, preservation<br />

and<br />

knowledge.<br />

u s t be at the forefront during<br />

m<br />

survival related actions<br />

all<br />

E S C U E &<br />

R<br />

E C O V E R Y<br />

R<br />

situation as well as recover from<br />

the<br />

situation.<br />

the<br />

T h e e l e m e n t s o f<br />

S u r v i v a l<br />

P O S I T I V E M E N T A L A T T I T U D E<br />

P R O T E C T I O N<br />

Awareness of factors that might cause<br />

actually defending against harm.<br />

I M M E D I A C Y O F N E E D<br />

F I R S T A I D<br />

hospitable.<br />

more<br />

sleeping bag, clothing, fire<br />

Tent,<br />

S U S T A N A N C E<br />

the knowledge, skills, and<br />

Food,<br />

necessary to locate it and<br />

equipment<br />

it suitable for use.<br />

make<br />

skills, foraging skills,hunting<br />

Hunting<br />

knowledge, skills, and gear<br />

The<br />

to mitigate injury.<br />

necessary<br />

H Y D R A T I O N<br />

Water, the knowledge, skills,and<br />

equipment necessary to locate it<br />

make it suitable for use.<br />

and<br />

filtration knowledge<br />

Containers,<br />

and gear.<br />

knowledge, skills, equipment,<br />

The<br />

other resources to remove from<br />

and<br />

Tools, repair materials,insurance,<br />

out gear, improvisation knowhow,<br />

bug<br />

fuels, supplies.<br />



42<br />


having multiple revenue streams inverse to trends in a financial<br />

downturn (i.e., having a side hustle that is resilient to, or does<br />

better, in an economic downturn, such as an auto mechanic), our<br />

ability to handle crisis has been considered and planned.<br />


Our goal in this endeavor is to make an emergency preparedness<br />

plan that will cover as many of the threat scenarios as we face,<br />

and to address these threats within the time, effort, and money<br />

constraints we have for it. To do that, we’re going to limit the<br />

scope of our initial preparedness efforts to one objective. Survival.<br />

This is the ‘true’ survival… the same one that all the reality<br />

survival and bushcraft shows and channels use, in fact, and with<br />

the appropriate hierarchy. It seems relatively simple, but there<br />

are significant considerations once every threat is factored in.<br />

When considering threat scenarios (actual events, such as a flood<br />

or a forest fire), our preparedness should be informed by the<br />

survival hierarchy so that we know what to address. These are<br />

our priorities. If a desired preparedness objective does not fit one<br />

of these priorities, we should really be considering why it’s being<br />

included.<br />

The first, second, and third preparedness priorities are positive<br />

mental attitude, protection, and first aid. Generally, whatever<br />

other preparedness priority we were attempting to accomplish<br />

will be interrupted to deal with threats to our safety (protection)<br />

and treatment of injury (first aid). Yes, there are exceptions.<br />

Immediacy of need is the driving force for prioritization. After<br />

that, shelter, hydration, nutrition, and rescue/mitigation are<br />

considered. But always be thinking of these in parallel.<br />


The typical protection enthusiast will spend hours selecting the<br />

right pistol, then a few holsters for various carry modes, then<br />

maybe another pistol that’s smaller for more discreet carry, then<br />

sights, magazines, mods, and hopefully training. Selecting the<br />

perfect knife is just as fun. The important part here is not the gun,<br />

knife, and stuff; it’s the “spends hours”. That’s where we begin.<br />

Realistic preparedness planning has two assumptions:<br />

1.) You do not have infinite time.<br />

2.) You do not have infinite money.<br />

With these assumptions in mind, determining what is desired<br />

from the preparedness efforts is next. Is this just getting a bunch<br />

of cool-guy stuff? Taking some cool-guy classes to brag on the<br />

‘Gram? If so, this column might not be for you. If instead it’s to<br />

develop effective preparedness planning that maximizes the<br />

safety and survival of your circle, read on.<br />

Since we do not have infinite money, maximizing the value of<br />

each dollar is important. Don’t bankrupt the family buying $10k<br />

in MRE’s when you have no real strategy or even an idea of what<br />

threat you face. The preparedness industry is often called “The<br />

Industry of Fear” because of irresponsible marketing techniques<br />

preying on the uninformed. Yes, someone has made a gadget<br />

that will play right into your fear, but when you develop a<br />

preparedness strategy there will be no need for it in your<br />

equipment list.<br />

Your initial outlay should be about $2. A pen, and some paper.<br />

(And yes, using a computer is fine.) “But but but… I want a Bug<br />

Out Bag!”, I hear you exclaim. Yes, I do too. But why buy a bag<br />

when we have no idea what will be going into it, what it needs<br />

to endure, or anything else? Let’s not fund the Industry of Fear,<br />

let’s have a plan and a purpose. There will be plenty of stuff to<br />

do, and plenty of things to buy, and some of it will be Cool Guy<br />

stuff. But since we don’t have infinite money, let’s put it where it<br />

needs to go first.<br />

We simply must eschew any mindset of “I’m a git er done kinda<br />

guy, screw your dumb planning”, or “won’t need documentation<br />

in the apocalypse”. There are a lot of people that think planning<br />

and organization is useless and characterize thoughtfulness of<br />

approach as unmanly or weak. The reality is that this is mission<br />

planning with time, resource, and objective considerations, and<br />

your family is depending on you to do it well. The attitude of<br />

false bravado where people think end-of-world prepping is all<br />

this endeavor is about is a part of prepper myth that we are<br />

going to avoid.<br />


The assignment for this month is to take that $2 pen and<br />

paper (honestly, a laptop is better!), and write down every<br />

threat scenario you face, or are concerned about. These are the<br />

environmental, socioeconomic, interpersonal, infrastructure,<br />

and other actual real-world situations you and family may face.<br />

There are quite a few examples in the word cloud, but don’t just<br />

use that as a list. If you live in the desert, a forest fire is not<br />

something you might need to deal with. You might also have<br />

many that aren’t on the list.<br />

It’s OK if you miss some threats. The plan we are going to make<br />

is very easily adjustable as new threats are identified, as well as<br />

when new resources are obtained, skills are learned, and tasks<br />

are accomplished.<br />

Ultimately, this list is for YOUR plans for YOUR family in YOUR<br />

situation. Pre-made plans might be a decent start, but when your<br />

family is looking to you to make things right, you’ll be glad you<br />

had your solution and not one made up by someone else.<br />

Donald Alley is a firearms, personal protection, and<br />

emergency preparedness instructor in Michigan with Keep<br />

and Bear, LLC . He is a black belt in jujutsu, and an NRA and<br />

USCCA instructor.

44<br />


Living The Gas Life<br />

The Inside Track<br />

By Bill Thomas<br />






I’ve been shooting now for nigh on fifty years, some thanks to<br />

the military when I was a young cadet, but most of it privately.<br />

Given the opportunity I would shoot anything from a potatogun<br />

up to a howitzer… if it goes “pop or bang” then it’s fair<br />

game as far as I’m concerned, and with every platform I try,<br />

a learn just a little more. For the last 28 years I’ve also been<br />

involved with what has more recently become known as “6mm<br />

Training”, and I’m not for one moment going to try and pull the<br />

wool over anyone’s eyes that when we talk about “6mm Training<br />

Platforms” we are talking about airsoft “replicas”; yes, the very<br />

self-same “replicas” that you’ll find on old paintball fields and<br />

some actually very advanced dedicated skirmish sites worldwide<br />

in the hands of enthusiast players quite literally “having a blast”<br />

each and every weekend!<br />

However, how many times have you heard now-famous<br />

shooting luminaries start their story with “it all began with my<br />

little Red Ryder…” so let’s not be TOO harsh on these BB-spitting<br />

creations, as unlike that beloved Daisy model some of them<br />

actually replicate real-world firearms down to exact weight, size,<br />

and every other specification you can imagine, and many of them<br />

are of extremely high quality, offering performance that once<br />

again might make you sit back and think… hard! The electricpowered<br />

models that you’ll see mostly on the airsoft gaming<br />

sites that originated many years ago in Japan though are not<br />

what I’m talking about here, although they are GREAT fun; what<br />

I’m talking about are gas blowback pistols and rifles (GBBPs and<br />

GBBRs) which mimic entirely the operation of a real firearm.<br />

When I was at SHOT with Trampas back in 2019 I spent some<br />

time showing him what I believe are amongst the most versatile<br />

non-lethal firearm training tools ever, and it’s been great to see<br />

other shooting buddies adopting a new direction as they now<br />

also believe that “6mm” can assist them in filling their evergrowing,<br />

never-to-be-full training toolboxes! I spent some time<br />

with Trampas showing him both gas-powered pistols and “AR”<br />

models, and he found it incredible that just like the “real deal”<br />

he could pretty much create the platform he wanted, using the<br />

same style of accessory parts that he would mount on a real<br />

.223 carbine. He asked me about stocks, rails, optics, different<br />

barrel lengths, and accessories and all I could tell him was “yup,<br />

no problem, you can build that” and it was a joy to see a new<br />

appreciation dawn for him.

And the creation of what many may still see as “toys” is<br />

just as large a business in the big, wide shooting world as any,<br />

and some of the big “firearm names” like SIG are really pushing<br />

this forward, with many more handing out licences to approved<br />

partners. But okay, I’m going to come out and say it bluntly<br />

again… who in their right mind would head to a range training<br />

session with a gas BB pistol, rifle or carbine??? Surely you’re<br />

going to be laughed at by “serious shooters”, right?<br />

I’d say an unequivocal WRONG! Indeed, as far as I’m concerned<br />

there are some instances where the not-so-humble-any-longer<br />

GBB can positively thrive in the training role; for sure, they’re not<br />

going to help you any with muzzle-signature acceptance or recoil<br />

management, but they CAN help with safe handling, efficient<br />

sighting and workspace manipulation processes, and a whole<br />

host of other “skills and drills”. It does take an utter change in<br />

mind-set to reach this point of acceptance, but there are those of<br />

us that have been crying “overall benefit” for a LONG time!<br />

Once upon a time I may have agreed with them, as the old<br />

systems that were first available certainly had their “moments”!<br />

Once upon a time “gas guns” and spring-powered toys were IT<br />

though, and if you’ve been involved as long as I have you will<br />

remember the name “Nagata” and models of the 80’s and early<br />

90’s form the likes of JAC, Maurzen, Asahi, MGC, Kokusai, Escort<br />

and Sun Project! These were the days of the intricate “bullet<br />

valve” (and even bellows!) and they were totally different from<br />

what we would now class as a “gas gun”. Many required and<br />

external bottle and hose setup to drive them along, and that<br />

put a lot of people off, including me, until in the 1990s along<br />

came “airsoft gods” Tokyo Marui with their commercial electric<br />

gearbox, and the rest, as they say, is history.<br />



Most times when I speak to shooters, and not necessarily new<br />

shooters at that, about training with a “6mm platform” I’ll<br />

undoubtedly be met with a collective shaking of heads, and I’m<br />

certain that many must think “the old boy has finally lost it”, but<br />

it’s an agenda I come back to time and again. Many shooters<br />

that I speak to who have been into maximising their options for<br />

safe training for a while get a bit jaded, and I all too often hear<br />

the words “I want more options, more scope to train safely and<br />

effectively, and not necessarily on a range”, but still they refuse<br />

to look at a platform that is easy to maintain and now cheap to<br />

run as the way forward, citing all the old tropes that gas-powered<br />

“BB guns” are “just for the kids”, are expensive, that they’re hard<br />

to get any real performance from, and that they don’t perform<br />

when the temperatures plummet.<br />

However, at the very same time that TM were dominating the<br />

electric game-gun market, and rightly so, at the same time we<br />

saw the rise of the GBB pistol, and as we came into the 2000’s<br />

“GBBs” were readily available and generally reliable; yes, mags<br />

were a pain, and if you didn’t look after them they would vent in<br />

a huge cloud of gas the moment you looked at them, and they<br />

would definitely do it the moment you REALLY needed your pistol<br />




to perform! And alongside this was the fact that the gas used to<br />

power the pistols was not what we are used to today; you bought<br />

your “can o’ gas” but honestly had no idea what was in it, and to<br />

be frank, most of the gas manufacturers didn’t have a clue either!<br />

However, time moves on, and with it we have become more<br />

questioning of EXACTLY what goes into the “mix” when we buy a<br />

can of gas, and we understand more why certain components are<br />

more important than others when it comes to optimal efficiency<br />

of a gas platform, and this moves me neatly onto debunking<br />

MYTH #1, that gas platforms are inefficient and hard to get the<br />

best from! Fact is that airsoft gases have become better and more<br />

consistent over the years as the best producers have looked into<br />

what needs to be added to the base gas, how pressure affects<br />

the gas/mix in the bottle, and even the shape of the bottle itself!<br />

GBBRs are also arriving from source at a safe power level direct<br />

from the manufacturers so we’re not having to immediately fettle<br />

them to get them within country-legal limits any more, although<br />

I will be the first to say that when many gasses are heated you<br />

will get an upswing in power, but this can be mitigated against<br />

and managed.<br />

GBBR hops (the way you put spin on the BB to attain<br />

accuracy) too were once the very bane of my existence, and like<br />

many others I fabricated weird and wonderful tools of my own<br />

in order to adjust the hop of my earliest gas platforms; if you<br />

look back at some gas rifle designs it was almost impossible to<br />

adjust the hop without first cranking the upper and in some cases<br />

removing the BCG (yes, they have BCGs!), which was of course<br />

massively frustrating when you were trying to get the best and<br />

most consistent trajectory for your BBs! Again, this is starting to<br />

be meaningfully addressed by the likes of VegaForceCompany<br />

in Taiwan with their “Guide Hop”, and I would simply point you<br />

towards one of the great airsoft company’s (in my opinion) G&G<br />

with their muzzle hop adjustment when it comes to ease of fine<br />

tuning; I’m really interested to see what G&G come up with when<br />

their gas MGCR carbine platform finally becomes a reality!<br />

So, onto MYTH #2 “ammo capacity”; the fact is that most<br />

GBBRs run on real capacity magazines or “realcaps” of 30 BBs,<br />

although a handful of manufacturers have upped that; remember<br />

that for the gaming side the magazines will carry hundreds of<br />

BBs and many electric guns (not the newer ones for sure) will<br />

continue to cycle once the magazine is empty. Many of us as<br />

civilians run semi-only rifles and carbines, so therefore if you are<br />

training on a semi-only platform with a “real capacity magazine”<br />

this is an advantage rather than a disadvantage! A GBB pistol or<br />

carbine will lock the slide or the BCG to the rear when the last BB<br />

is fired, just like your regular 9mm or .223 will, and the reloading<br />

drills are exactly, 100% the same.<br />

Now I’m not for a moment suggesting that any of us are<br />

anywhere close to “Operator Level” as that’s patently ridiculous,<br />

but WE CAN train with our chosen platform to perform our drills<br />

and to take aimed shots effectively, and I’ve found that with a<br />

number of my gas rifles I am able to actually use an optic to get<br />

on target too! To paraphrase here, you REALLY need to look at<br />

running a GBBR not as an airsofter, but as a shooter, although<br />

in many instances these things are, in my mind, one and the<br />

same when you reach a certain point. For many of us this is what<br />

shooting is all about, right, working as safely and efficiently as<br />

possible with a firearm, and who doesn’t love that moment in<br />

a training session when ammo runs low and you need to pull<br />

off something amazing, and you can because you’ve trained<br />

correctly?<br />


So, consistent platform performance can be assured these days,<br />

and lower mag capacities are right for us when it comes to training,<br />

but there’s still that question, MYTH #3, about maintenance isn’t<br />



48<br />


there? Bottom line, in my opinion a GBBR is actually just as easy<br />

to maintain as a real firearm! A GBBR, specifically an open, fulltravel<br />

bolt model, is basically as close as you can get to a real<br />

firearm in terms of operation. There’s a big old bolt carrier group<br />

that moves back and forth in the upper receiver, whilst the lower<br />

houses a trigger group, fire controls and a magwell… and that’s<br />

all she wrote (okay simplification, but you get my drift…)! When<br />

it comes to the cleaning I learned a LOT from my old USMC buddy<br />

Robbie (who is also a “6mm Believer”), and his “top tips” are;<br />

“After break-in period or parts have been properly tunedpolished,<br />

clean your rifle! Degrease all parts (dash of dawn dish<br />

soap in hot water, clean cloth wipe away all grease and dirt,<br />

then remove any residue with rubbing alcohol (90%), especially<br />

barrels and any hop buckings after every use. Touch up, then<br />

remove excess; treat all seals with a cotton swab dipped in pure<br />

silicone and Teflon (Dupont is my fave) but don’t allow this on<br />

buckings (always degrease buckings!) or use it in barrels as it will<br />

affect consistency and accuracy big big!”.<br />

So, in a nutshell what do you need to be doing in terms of<br />

maintaining a GBBR, and ultimately it’s pretty much the same as<br />

working with a real firearm, you need to keep your barrel clean,<br />

and the working parts lubricated. You need to clean the platform<br />

after each use (not strictly necessary but it’s a good routine to get<br />

into!), and keep the outer parts lightly oiled, especially with steel<br />

models! You need to keep on top of your magazine maintenance<br />

and make sure that seals, valves and o-rings are all in good<br />

shape, and make sure that you don’t overgas your mags in the<br />

first place.<br />

Overgassing, just like with a GBB pistol, can be the downfall<br />

of many a user! All too often I see people just holding the gas can<br />

down onto the fill valve and giving it a LONG old punch of gas,<br />

but remember now what I said about different “gas mixes”? A<br />

constant stream of gas can not only chill things down and cause<br />

the mag to vent, but can now also result in not getting the best<br />

“balanced mix” inside, so take your time and feed the gas in<br />

using smaller squirts with a “settling gap” between squirts! Also,<br />

whilst heating a magazine may seem like an obvious move to<br />

get more performance, the very dynamics of gas mean that if<br />

you re-gas a warm mag you may not get a complete fill, so be<br />

wary of that too!<br />

So, with all that said, what’s to stop you “Living the Gas Life”<br />

as part of an <strong>Armed</strong> <strong>Lifestyle</strong>? I’d say very little other than an<br />

open mind. In terms of safety, with a GBBR nothing happens<br />

until you load a magazine and charge the platform, and indeed<br />

nothing CAN happen once your magazine is out, so even if there<br />

is a recalcitrant BB in the “chamber” there’s no way it can leave<br />

the barrel until you insert the mag again. Gas magazines though<br />

are really still the prohibiting cost factor these days when it<br />

comes to owning and running a gas pistol, rifle, or carbine, as<br />

the price of the actual platform appears to be coming down and<br />

down! Sure, you’ll still pay a pretty penny for as platforms from<br />

the likes of WE, VFC, GHK, TM and Umarex but largely these days<br />

you get what you pay for, and that’s a gas platform that is ready<br />

to roll from the box!<br />

Ultimately “Living the Gas Life” is all about how you approach<br />

your training, and there most definitely will need to be a definite<br />

“attitude adjustment” if you want to live it fully. If you’re prepared<br />

to take that step and join those of us that love a gas platform and<br />

train hard with one as part of a fully-rounded “firearm workout”<br />

that uses EVERY tool in that box, trust me, you’ll have an absolute<br />

blast when you do!



Magazine. It’s been many years since I’ve regularly written for<br />

any publication, but it is fair to say that my first opportunity<br />

to influence a large audience was in print. Over twenty years<br />

ago, I was given an opportunity to write a column in S.W.A.T.<br />

Magazine. I had written many articles prior to that moment,<br />

but this was different. In a column, I could write about whatever<br />

I wanted. It wasn’t a commissioned article about a specific<br />

product, course or technique. It was a blank page to fill as I saw<br />

fit. I wrote about how important it was for armed professionals to<br />

understand the difference between qualifying, which they were<br />

required to do annually and truly training to learn new techniques<br />

and expand their capabilities. I thought it was an important<br />

article. Even with all the content I’ve produced since then, I’m<br />

proud of it, especially because for years to follow people would<br />

tell me that it influenced them and changed their perspective a<br />

bit. Twenty years ago, I was thrilled to motivate people to train<br />

more than they were required to.<br />

The training community has changed dramatically since the<br />

1990s. It is much larger, much more diverse and the average<br />

American gun owner spends dramatically more time and money<br />

on training (believe it or now…). So in this first article for my<br />

column in <strong>Armed</strong> <strong>Lifestyle</strong>, I want to affect the way you think<br />

about the difference between training and practice.<br />

Training: Learning new concepts or skills.<br />

Practice: Developing your ability to perform and apply what<br />

you’ve learned.<br />

I find far too many people think that attending a class or<br />

two is enough to be prepared to defend themselves or others<br />

with a firearm. Unfortunately, the way some classes are<br />

presented encourages this. If there is a “final exam” taken or<br />

big “qualification course” shot at the end of the course, it can<br />

mistakenly convey to the student that if they pass the test,<br />

they are finished. That they have accomplished their underlying<br />

goal. This is a mistake. There is always work to be done after<br />

any worthwhile class, and that work is “practice”. Everyone who<br />

has taken a live fire defensive shooting skills course with me<br />

has heard me say “there is no way you will be able to own the<br />

physical skills at the end of the day, you will need to practice.”<br />

Tens of thousands of students have gone through I.C.E.<br />

Training’s Figure 8 Drill. Many of them have asked their instructor<br />

if they could do it again. They often feel strongly that they could<br />

do better if they had another chance. Wanting to pass a test<br />

at the end of a course is a result of conditioning to expect that<br />

such a test is part of the process. In reality, the Figure 8 drill is<br />

run in a way that is intended to show you what you need to<br />

practice after the training course is over. There is no “passing”<br />

in the traditional sense, unless the instructor does a poor job<br />

of running it. The whole point is to push the student to failure<br />

and give them some clear areas to focus their practice on. If you<br />

are thinking “Kobayashi Maru”, it’s not quite that dramatic, but<br />

learning the important lessons from the Figure 8 Drill does take<br />

some character… and putting in the work after a class does as<br />

well. Attending a class can be fun and challenging in an exciting<br />

way. Completing a course is an accomplishment, usually with<br />

a group, that you can document, talk about and be proud of.<br />

Practice is the work. Practice is often done alone. Practice doesn’t<br />

seem as worth celebrating… but it is. Practice is where you really<br />

get better. Practice is where you reach your potential. After time,<br />

Practice is where you maintain your abilities.<br />

In truth, you should be practicing much more often than<br />

you are training. Once you’ve taken a quality class or two and<br />

learned valuable fundamental concepts and techniques, the<br />

practice begins. You should practice frequently after taking a<br />

class to ingrain the techniques that were new to you. You should<br />

practice in a way that prepares you to apply your skills in an<br />

actual defensive event. Practice, as the saying goes, until you<br />

don’t make mistakes… and then increase the challenge as you<br />

can to develop your skills to a higher level.<br />

I’ve been looking forward to this project and the opportunity<br />

to share more thoughts on preparation for armed defense<br />

through this column. I hope you learn some things here and<br />

begin to consider reading these pieces as a valuable part of your<br />

training regimen… and that it gives you many things to practice!<br />



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